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.

Monday Nov 11, 2013

EPPM Is a Must-Have Capability as Global Energy and Power Industries Eye US$38 Trillion in New Investments

“The process manufacturing industry is facing an unprecedented challenge: from now until 2035, cumulative worldwide investments of US$38 trillion will be required for drilling, power generation, and other energy projects,” Iain Graham, director of energy and process manufacturing for Oracle’s Primavera, said in a recent webcast. He adds that process manufacturing organizations such as oil and gas, utilities, and chemicals must manage this level of investment in an environment of constrained capital markets, erratic supply and demand, aging infrastructure, heightened regulations, and declining global skills. In the following interview, Graham explains how the right enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) technology can help the industry meet these imperatives. Project Portfolio Management Solutions for Capital Projects

Q: Why is EPPM so important for today’s process manufacturers?
A: If the industry invests US$38 trillion without proper cost controls in place, a huge amount of resources will be put at risk, especially when it comes to cost overruns that may occur in large capital projects. Process manufacturing companies must not only control costs, but also monitor all the various contractors that will be involved in each project. If you’re not managing your own workers and all the interdependencies among the different contractors, then you’ve got problems.

Q: What else should process manufacturers look for?
A: It’s also important that an EPPM solution has the ability to manage more than just capital projects. For example, it’s best to manage maintenance and capital projects in the same system. Say you’re due to install a new transformer in a power station as part of a capital project, but routine maintenance in that area of the facility is scheduled for that morning. The lack of coordination could lead to unforeseen delays. There are also IT considerations that impact capital projects, such as adding servers and network cable for a control system in a power station. What organizations need is a true EPPM system that’s not just for capital projects, maintenance, or IT activities, but instead an enterprisewide solution that provides visibility into all types of projects.

Read the complete Q&A here and discover the practical framework for successfully managing this massive capital spending.

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