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

Friday Feb 05, 2016

The Fourth Dimension Has Arrived

By: Garrett Harley, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Making sense of the BIG picture

It’s a construction manager’s nightmare. Once work starts on site, it’s blatantly obvious the plans are flawed. Calls to architects and engineers might be able to resolve the issue, but what does this mean for materials, building products, subcontractors and specialists? Implications for all of these resources need to be considered in the light of the new redesign and even, throughout the project.

The arrival and popularity of building information modelling (BIM) is helping to make light of this situation. Redesigns can be considered on screen rather than onsite, on paper. What’s more, the consequences for materials and products can also be calculated.

BIM has been around for a few years, but now it’s entering the new dimension. This means that as well as three spatial orientations, the software also maps out how construction will progress through time – and it while accounting for the financial dimension too – it really delivers the BIG picture.

But BIM isn’t everything

To manage a whole project from start to finish, and through to operator handover and ongoing maintenance, BIM needs to be extended and integrated.

Construction and engineering managers need to map and display the embedded construction schedule on to the 3D model. They need to verify personnel clearances and spot any design incompatibilities. Another challenge is that construction contractors are investing in standalone BIM systems which need to be integrated with other enterprise systems, including ERP, supply chain and financial management.

Oracle makes all these systems, as well as producing project management software which can keep huge organizational projects on track. Bringing BIM into this environment can put construction managers in a better place when planning and executing building projects. And with the data managed in the Master Data Management platform it means that as changes are made throughout the project and at speed – it means you can visualize all the interconnected outcomes.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

When The Unexpected Strikes

By: Krista Lambert, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Tales of the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected. That’s a mantra every construction manager could do with heeding. But it’s easier said than done. The one thing we don’t want is the unexpected.

The bigger the project the harder it seems to keep it on track. In the US, the Big Dig, which involved rerouting and tunnelling Boston’s Central Artery to the heart of the city centre, was set to be finished by 1998. In December 2007 the project was finally finished, with a cost overrun of 190 percent at $14.6 billion, much of which was attributed to unexpected changes.

Such is the complexity of these mega-projects it’s tempting to think that overruns and cost inflation are inevitable. Certainly change is unavoidable in a project of this scale and length. But how you manage change, can make a big difference.

Preparing for change

In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 300 executives in asset-intensive industries like construction, more than 60 percent blamed unexpected change for at least half of all project overruns. More than half of respondents rank their organizations as average or below average at anticipating change (55 percent), measuring the impact of change after its implemented (55 percent) and making contingency plans to accommodate potential change (51 percent).

There is clearly room for improvement. The question is, what can be done about it? Enterprise project portfolio management software can now track and aggregate all sorts of data vital to complex projects. This helps project managers map out “what if” scenarios to assess the impact of possible changes before they happen, and figure out how much to invest in mitigating these risks. Data can be shared with all internal and external stakeholders. It can also be extracted and integrated from ERP, finance and other enterprise systems.

Managing change has always been tough, but now there are tools to help. Ignoring them could simply lead to digging a bigger hole.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Friday Nov 13, 2015

Join us for Primavera Day, coming in your area

Join Oracle for this exclusive customer briefing and learn all about Primavera’s latest solutions directly from Oracle’s executive team.

Primavera provides organizations of all sizes, across industries and regions with a global business foundation that reduces costs and increases productivity through a portfolio of rapid value, integrated and industry-focused solutions available on premise and in the Cloud.

Attend this event and get the information you need to actively evaluate plans for moving to the latest release, leverage the power of the Cloud and mobile applications, — and find out how  Primavera Cloud can further improve your business. 

 Find out more at   http://bit.ly/PrimaveraCloudDay

Thursday Oct 22, 2015

Swinerton Elevates Project Controls and Collaboration with Primavera Cloud

By: Yasser Mahmud, vice president industry strategy and business development, Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle

Swinerton Builders, a construction and construction management services company operating throughout the Western United States, has been building excellence for more than 125 years. That is no small feat in the engineering and construction sector, where volatility is the norm and competition is consistently fierce.

Innovation has been fundamental to the company’s success, whether through its 100 percent employee-ownership model, focus on green building initiatives (which have garnered numerous awards), or the creation of its Center for Excellence in Project Delivery, designed to help the company adopt advanced construction technology even faster.

Most recently, Swinterton embraced innovation in the form of the cloud and Oracle’s Primavera enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) platform to bring project controls, collaboration, and client satisfaction to a whole new level. Mike Murphy, corporate manager of project controls, Swinerton Builders, recently shared the company’s cloud journey in an exclusive webcast. There is a lot of talk about cloud and project portfolio management, and I think Swinerton’s story offers some valuable information and lessons that can help break through the noise.

So why cloud for EPPM? Based on its experience with Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service, here are Swinerton’s top five reasons:

  1. Extend collaboration and project controls across the business. A single repository for all project-related data provides stakeholders with access to real-time data, supports continuous improvement and best-practices adoption across the company, and eliminates cumbersome, paper-based spreadsheets. It also enables them to establish enterprisewide standards. The company now has a complete and accurate picture of project performance and supports consistency across the firm using standards, which include codes and templates.
  2. Gain new visibility into and control over critical projects. Key stakeholders—including project owners—can instantly check the progress of active projects, accessing up-to-the-minute information from their mobile devices as well as PCs and laptops. In addition, Swinerton executives can view critical data for all construction projects in progress across all divisions from a single screen, providing unprecedented insight.
  3. Scale up system users quickly and cost-effectively to match construction sector growth and project demand. The group can add users in minutes, with the confidence that the process is managed by a world-class IT support organization, while avoiding additional on-premises hardware investment. The flexible, cost-effective model also enables Swinerton to roll out the solution to more stakeholders, such as partners and project owners, which widens visibility and collaboration while accelerating decision-making.
  4. EPPM innovation. Right now. Swinerton gets instant access to the latest functionality, empowering users with the most up-to-date capabilities.
  5. Get out of the IT business, and put the focus back on what Swinerton does best—engineering and construction. The cloud solution alleviates strain on IT as it reduces the need to coordinate support for the application with the technology that sits below it.

To learn more about Swinerton Builders’ move to Primavera cloud, check out the full webcast with Mike Murphy and Garrett Harley, director, engineering and construction strategy, Oracle Primavera. And if you haven’t already, be sure to register for a Primavera Day event in your area and get additional information about Primavera cloud, including Primavera P6 Cloud, Primavera Unifier Cloud and more.

Monday Dec 08, 2014

Litmus Test: 86% of Large Enterprises See the Value of Business Transformation, Yet Nearly Half Are Not Fully Ready to Execute

Author: Mike Sicilia, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Primavera

 Today, “business as usual” simply does not, and will not, suffice for large enterprises seeking success. New competition is emerging, existing competitors are upping their game, and the legislative regulation is challenging organizations to reach new levels of transparency. The landscape is dynamic, and for those businesses that strive not simply to compete, but to win, the need for business transformation is urgent. However, while the majority of executives agree that business transformation is vital to maintain a competitive edge, nearly half (48%) are only somewhat or not at all prepared to successfully execute a business transformation today.

 Oracle, in partnership with Forbes Insights, explored what drives business transformation initiatives both internally and externally for a company, and what determines the success or failure of such initiatives in the study, “Making the Change: Planning, Executing and Measuring a Successful Business Transformation .

[Read More]

Monday Jul 14, 2014

Managing Change on Engineering & Construction Projects

By Krista Lambert, Engineering and Construction Strategy Director, Oracle

As the saying goes: change happens. But the recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Building in Change: Project Construction in Asset-Intensive Industries revealed that for engineering and construction projects, change is not only inevitable, it creates its own set of challenges. According to the report:

  • More than 60% of survey respondents blame unexpected change for at least one-half of all project overruns.
  • 55% of the executives surveyed consider their companies as average or below at anticipating change.

Clearly, both owners and EPC firms feel that they could vastly improve their ability to manage change. An enterprise-wide project management system not only provides greater visibility and insight into changes, but also improves communication across organizational boundaries, so you can quickly adapt to cost overruns, scope and schedule and quality impacts. To find out more, read the article Critical Components to Effective Project Execution in the latest issue of Construction Connection.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

Explore the Fundamental Connections Between Stock Value and Project Management

Senior executives are today more accountable, even vulnerable, than ever before to poor share price performance. There are numerous reasons for this, but the increasing negative impact for organizations means that senior executives need to take a more active role in making the right decisions throughout business operations. According to research conducted by the global consulting firm Booz & Co.1, over the last decade the average tenure of a global chief executive has dropped from 8.1 years to 6.3 years. This analysis of the world’s top 2,500 publicly listed companies found that executive turnover had increased from around 12% in 2000 to 14.3% in 2009, with more than a third (36.7%) of departures in 2009 being dismissals rather than part of a planned succession. project and portfolio management on share price and stock value

For project-intensive organizations, there is even more intense pressure on executives to deliver forecasted returns on investment (ROI). With the current economic climate, shrinking margins and increased global competition, the impact of huge capital investment projects extending beyond their scope and budget carries significant consequences. This places even greater emphasis on capital planning, a core business process that remains fraught with difficulties. In a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in October 20102, only 11% of companies could claim they delivered expected ROI on major capital projects 90-100% of the time, and 12% reported planned ROI delivery less than half the time. These results highlight that organizations – irrespective of industry sector – are still struggling to manage risks, accurately predict levels of ROI and consistently deliver bottom line growth from their major capital investments. Bad investment decisions can lead to huge financial losses, which serves to place the spotlight firmly on the capital planning process. It also places greater emphasis on executive decision-making capabilities to determine which potential investments deliver the greatest value and reliability, as well as providing the financial stability to attract funding.

The danger of poor evaluation can quickly lead to a significant reduction in the value of the organization’s overall portfolio and compromise long range capital planning goals. From here, it is a short journey to poor share price performance.

Click here and read this full complimentary paper that looks at the intrinsic connection between long-term capital investment and short-term market performance, and how this can in turn affect the profit outlook for project-intensive organizations. Discover existing research undertaken in this area, and highlight case examples where project management performance has impacted – whether positive or negative – the stock price and, in turn, the overall image of both the company and those in the C-suite of these organizations.

Read here and share with your colleagues.

1Favaro, Ken et al, CEO Succession 2010: The Four types of CEOs. Issue 63 2011. Booz & Co

2“Prepare for the unexpected: investment planning in asset-intensive industries,” Economist Intelligence Unit, January 2011

Monday Sep 30, 2013

Aegion Improves Operations; Gains Consistency; and Increases On-Time, On-Budget Project Delivery

Aegion Corp. is a global leader in infrastructure protection. It provides proprietary technologies and services that protect against the corrosion of industrial pipelines and rehabilitate and strengthen water, waste water, energy and mining piping systems and buildings, bridges, tunnels, and waterfront structures. It is a newly formed parent company for Insituform Technologies, Bayou, Corrpro, CRTS, Fibrwrap, Fyfe, and United Pipeline Systems.

Challenges:

  • Strengthen and standardize project management processes across the organization, starting with the company’s Insituform Technologies group.

  • Increase visibility into project schedules, budgeting, costs, and progress to identify emerging issues quickly and take action to minimize risk.

  • Improve operational efficiency and data integrity, and allow project management teams to focus on strategic priorities.

  • Standardize on a project management solution and integrate it with the company’s legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Click here to read all challenges

Solutions:

  • Deployed Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Contract Management, Business Intelligence Publisher Edition, and integrated the solutions with the company’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.0 and Oracle CRM On Demand applications to ensure end-to-end visibility and enhanced control for the company’s pipeline and infrastructure development rehabilitation projects—from new-business wins, through to project completions.

  • Standardized and created a single source for all project scheduling information that improved construction crew utilization, reduced penalties related to delays, avoided rush charges, and improved materials planning and utilization.

  • Gained insight into emerging issues and enabled more rapid corrective action, supporting on-budget and on-time completion of projects, including public sector construction initiatives that require granular reporting.

  • Standardized project scheduling and management processes to help support larger and more geographically dispersed projects.

  • Reduced the need for data re-entry across multiple systems to improve productivity and data accuracy and ensured that project management, ERP, and CRM systems share consistent and up-to-date information.

Click here to read all solutions

Click here to read the complete customer story

Thursday Sep 05, 2013

Transform your business with Oracle Primavera

If you use Oracle’s Primavera solutions, and you're attending Oracle OpenWorld, then the Primavera sessions are for you. Featuring 18 sessions, hands-on labs, demos, meet the experts and exhibits. The sessions are designed for you to gain valuable information on how to drive innovation, enhance operations or manage finance & risk, and effectively use our solutions to support both short and long-term growth through better formulation, alignment and execution of corporate initiatives and projects.

Add these ten essential sessions to your schedule:

  • What’s New and the Planned Roadmap: Primavera P6, Primavera P6 Analytics, and Primavera Gateway
  • Improving Productivity Throughout the Capital Asset Lifecycle
  • What’s New and the Planned Roadmap: Primavera Unifier and Instantis EnterpriseTrack
  • Instantis EnterpriseTrack Cloud Service for IT and Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Manufacturing Projects
  • Leveraging Oracle’s Primavera Across the Enterprise at Pacific Gas & Electric
  • New Product Update: Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Scheduling Process
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Maintenance Projects
  • Primavera PPM Solutions for Capital Projects
  • Qualcomm Streamlines Its Design and Manufacturing Process with AutoVue/Agile Products

In practical self-paced learning sessions covering everything from Oracle’s Primavera P6 solutions to Primavera Portfolio Management, Primavera Capital Planning and Instantis Enterprise Track and Unifier, you’ll discover new ways to derive maximum benefits from your Oracle software.

(Seven labs to choose from - see Focus on Oracle Primavera for more information)

Download the Focus On Oracle Primavera guide (pdf) and stay connected via Twitter.com/@OracleEPPM, LinkedIn, and Facebook/OraclePrimavera.

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