Friday Mar 18, 2016

Five Competitive Killers in the Manufacturing “Engineer to Order” Process

Call it a streetcar not desired. In September 2015, Seattle, Washington’s Department of Transportation issued penalties of nearly $800,000 against Czech company Inekon for failing to meet deadlines in delivering new, customized street cars to the city after a series of software glitches, propulsion problems, water damage in six out of seven inverters, and unfinished items like way-finding graphics and the customer information system. As of year’s end, the first street car was scheduled to arrive two years late -- not a glittering endorsement for the company.

#1 Making the customer wait – not to mention the penalties that come with those delays -- is just one of several competitive killers that manufacturers face in the Engineer-to-Order business.

ETO projects, those highly customized, small volume designs that require unique materials and sometimes last months or years, are perhaps the most vulnerable to competitive killers due to their very nature. Designs change, delivery of specialized materials could be delayed, technology updates, things could go wrong. Manufacturers that venture into ETO projects must be ready to slay these competitive killers.

#2 Rework and failures

Changes in design are inevitable in ETO projects, but lapses in transparency and communication between customers, partners and the manufacturer are not. The need for unnecessary rework hits the bottom line.

Boeing knows this all too well. In July 2015, the aerospace manufacturer took yet another charge against its USAF aerial refueling tanker program, the KC-46A. This time the price tag was $536 million after taxes, bringing the total charges to date to more than $800 million, according to one report. The KC-46 tanker is being designed, developed and tested under a fixed-price Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract.  

The additional charges, according to Boeing’s president and CEO, reflect higher estimated engineering and manufacturing costs to complete development, certification and initial production of the tanker aircraft, while holding to the program schedule for initial production deliveries in 2017. While Boeing had improved its processes after producing similar tankers for Italian and Japanese air forces, the fueling system is new to the USAF and different from the previous tankers.

#3 Overproduction

Even when an ETO project appears to be running smoothly, there are other aspect of ETO projects that can go south. Companies that manage more than one ETO project at a time can face overproduction due to a lack of oversight and coordination across projects. For instance, project managers arbitrarily set a pre-define margin of safety, but smaller ETO projects can tolerate a smaller margin of safety. Another pitfall to avoid -- if production starts too early, designs can change and require further production – adding to the waste.

#4 Too much inventory

Multiple ETO projects can also lead to unnecessary inventory. Procurement specialists sometimes buy larger quantities than they need to meet minimum order quantities, or they want to take advantage of quantity discounts, but in reality the true carrying or holding costs can often be greater than what was originally saved.

#5 Not automating the entire ETO project management process

Manufacturers need visibility across their entire project portfolio to determine optimal bid prices, better estimate delivery dates, reduce lead times, and be better able to accommodate change orders without compromising margins or delivery schedules. Updates should also be communicated regularly with the client and suppliers to keep inventory and production on track.

Oracle Primavera’s enterprise solution addresses the challenges of the ETO process. It can help ETO businesses make changes quickly, collaborate with stakeholders easily, understand where they are in the process, manage resources so they’re ready when needed, and ultimately deliver the product on time and on budget.

In highly specialized manufacturing, customer satisfaction is key. Oracle Primavera allows manufacturers to build tighter relationships through open transparency and repeatable success. Check out our White Paper, “Building a Profitable Engineer-to-Order Business,” to learn more.

For more information on Primavera’s Engineer-to-Order Solution visit www.oracle.com/goto/eto

Wednesday Apr 16, 2014

US Manufacturers Turn to Enterprise Project Portfolio Management to Capitalize on Growth Opportunities

A new white paper from Oracle, "Manufacturing Outlook: Improving Time to Market, Operational Effectiveness, and Innovation in a Highly Competitive Environment," explains that there's good news and bad news for US manufacturers in the current economic environment. On the plus side, manufacturing production is expected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015. The bad news? Many manufacturers are still struggling to recover in the aftermath of the recession, when many companies closed plants, reduced staff, and lost customers.

In the following interview, John Reichard, Oracle's director of discrete industry strategy, discusses how an updated business strategy and the right enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) solution can help manufacturers capitalize on growth opportunities in today's volatile market.

Q: What current fundamentals make the US a strong manufacturing environment?
A: First, this country has a mature and extensive infrastructure in place, along with a strong workforce that is highly trained and skilled with the latest technology used in sophisticated manufacturing processes.

Q: What's the flipside? What challenges will manufacturers be facing in the months ahead?
A: One of the biggest is the ability to quickly bring the right products to market at the right time. If a manufacturer can't meet changing customer demands, customers will look to competitors. The challenge extends beyond satisfying current demand—manufacturers must continually replicate the product delivery process to keep sales momentum growing and create greater market share.

Read the complete interview here.

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

Manufacturing Today—Innovation and Operational Excellence how to Compete in a Global Marketplace

By: John Reichard, Oracle Primavera Discrete Industry Strategy Director

Manufacturing is critical to the global economy. It is driven by innovation and operational excellence, which impacts the economy and international trade—all in a volatile and demanding marketplace; A global marketplace which over the last few years has been strained by economic, political and environmental stress. Economists describe the business climate as gradually improving but still very sensitive to market conditions and customer demands. Or is this really the new normal environment for businesses?

Manufacturers that survived the difficult economy over the last few years, now face a more competitive environment where they must do more with less to win. They will have to optimize dwindling experienced resources, choose projects wisely for improved financial results, and better manage risk to deliver on time in order to thrive. How will you innovate, evolve and compete to win in this new normal global marketplace?

One way for industries to compete is to strike a balance between innovation and process improvement to better align new product development to corporate strategy. This Innovation brings in new streams of value while process improvement provides the back-end insurance that the innovations achieved will continuously deliver competitive value. New innovation will help increase revenue, market share while building customer value. These are very important drivers to the discrete industries. We find that new product introductions contribute significantly to business growth. Companies that invest in development find it is not an optional extra but rather crucial to business growth and profitability. Is innovation a high priority for your company?

To stay competitive, many industrial manufacturing companies are focusing on global efficiency through greater collaboration, and visibility across program and projects worldwide. This transparency helps, in today’s complex product design and manufacturing initiatives resulting in higher customer satisfaction and profit margins. These metrics are vital to measuring a company’s success in bringing the right products to market on time. Cost overruns or late product launches result in the loss of credibility and financially impact to the bottom-line. How does your company ensure that you are designing, building and delivering products as promised and avoiding costly delays when different functional teams aren’t always in sync?

How do you:

  • Drive Innovation–Innovation is considered one of the most critical drivers to a company’s competitiveness. How do you choose which programs or projects satisfy customer demand, and improve market share with the required return on investment?
  • Manage Risk - Risk requires identification and management to mitigate potential quality, warranty, legal and environmental issues. Are you managing change successfully and mitigating its effects?
  • Understand Capacity–Do you have the right resources to match the demand in the markets you plan to grow in?

Each of these questions can be answered and objectives accomplished with the help of an enterprise project portfolio management solution that can streamline operations, improve time to market, increase agility, and provide visibility and transparency with all stakeholders.

If you would like to know more about how to: compete and win in the global marketplace, then I invite you to visit Oracle’s Primavera industrial manufacturing industry page for more information.

Tuesday Sep 03, 2013

Accelerating Speed to Market in the Highly Competitive Automotive Industry

In the auto industry, introducing new products to market can cost up to $1 billion depending on the product’s complexity. Getting these products to market on time is crucial in order to realize ROI during the full lifecycle of the product. Without a timely launch, OEMs aren’t only affected, but suppliers, dealer sales & services and aftermarket ecosystems lose out, as well.

Earlier this year, we saw new product launches that struggled and experienced recalls, with the potential loss of thousands of units in sales and corresponding loss of market share and customer confidence -- something that in this competitive environment is hard to win back. Studies also suggest that for every day an automotive launch was late, an OEM missed out on a million dollars in sales.2 One OEM believed that after being three months late on a major launch – it had lost 60% of the lifecycle profit.

Why does production fall behind?

Getting these products to market on time is crucial in order to realize ROI during the full lifecycle of the product.

Read the complete whitepaper here to learn how an Enterprise Project Portfolio Management solution can help in accelerating the launch of new automotive products to achieve full lifecycle return on investment.

Thursday May 17, 2012

Project Driven Supply Chain - New Oracle solution for manufacturers features Primavera

Written by Guest Blogger Brian Saldutti, Director, Solution Strategy, Oracle

Manufacturers in industries such as high tech, energy, and communications face challenges with their increasingly sophisticated products. The owners and operators they serve are coming to heavily rely upon these manufacturers to install and support technologically complex products. This shift in responsibility represents an opportunity for producers to build lasting relationship with customers while increasing their own revenues. The internal disconnect among many manufacturers’ installation services, operations and finance units often limit their ability to proactively tame such complexity.

Oracle has teamed with Infosys on a comprehensive and integrated product offering that unites the installation projects of services, the revenue planning of finance, and the supply chain of operations. Known as Project Driven Supply Chain (PDSC), this solution consists of the best that Oracle offers including: Demantra for demand forecasting, Rapid Planning for supply scenario planning, and Primavera for project delivery. This combined solution will enable enterprises to reduce inventory, improve forecasting accuracy, automate complex billing processes, and deliver projects reliably.

Primavera plays a role not only for executing projects on-time, but because all projects across the entire portfolio are centrally tracked a manufacturer has unprecedented view into impacts on both projects and resources. When bidding for business, organizations can use Primavera to anticipate the resource demands prior to contract award. In the event a finance executive needs to pull-in revenue to meet quarterly targets, planners use Primavera to model scenarios and allow changes to happen. If a late supplier shipment disrupts installation activities, Primavera can be used to help avoid late penalty charges.

This solution is a great example of how Oracle is fulfilling the promise of truly integrated applications that solve problems in way that is unique in the marketplace. Oracle Primavera’s enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) continues to be woven into the landscape of mission critical applications not only for manufacturing, but also construction, maintenance and development.

To learn more, watch here.

Wednesday Apr 25, 2012

Improving Performance Management and Project Control to Meet Cost/Schedule Milestones in DoD Procurement

In the wake of mounting economic pressure and historical shifts in defense strategy, priorities and tactics, Defense organizations are operating with significantly reduced budgets in FY2012. Despite the fact that Defense spending accounts for approximately 4.7 percent of the United States GDP, President Obama’s proposed FY2012 budget, which calls for $487 billion reduction over 10 years, significantly decreases the DoD’s buying power.

Although many Defense organizations have focused on IT reform and shared services to help them adapt to complex mission demands and diminishing resources, innovative program managers and procurement officers are implementing private sector solutions and practices to squeeze the highest value from new and existing defense programs.

It can be nearly impossible to build annual budgets that consider forecasted project and program work plans along with detailed cost data, particularly when attempting to reconcile actual and projected program costs with actual schedule performance.

Defense Systems is hosting a webcast sponsored by Oracle,on the following topic: Improving Performance Management and Project Control to Meet Cost/Schedule Milestones in DoD Procurement

In this upcoming webcast, Gary Winkler, former program executive officer for Army Enterprise Information Systems, and CEO of Cyber Solutions & Services, will share best practices and hard-won lessons aligning critical data on project performance, cost systems and schedules for truly big picture program management insight.

Participants will learn:

  • How to calculate project costs using direct and indirect costs per resource
  • How to determine if a project is ahead of or behind schedule, or over budget by analyzing the earned value of KPIs
  • Track the variances between forecasted budget and execution

To find out more information, register now for this live webcast.


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