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 19, 2016

Five Reasons to Move to Cloud-Based Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Five Reasons to Move to Cloud-Based Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Industry studies show that 20 percent of projects may fail as organizations take on more risk in search of higher rewards. To mitigate risk, organizations are turning to modern project management solutions such as Oracle's Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service. Learn about five critical benefits of moving project management to the cloud.

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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 Oct 05, 2015

Don’t Be Late

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

Don’t be late, be better informed

If nothing else, construction and engineering projects present ample opportunity to fail. Complexity in assets, supply chains, finance, workforce skills and client requirements all present risk that could jeopardise success. A small slippage or error in any of these areas can easily cascade through the project to contribute to catastrophic failure. It’s little wonder construction and engineering project management is such a tough job.

In a survey of 304 senior executives from a variety of asset-intensive industries, more than a third said they miss their budget (39%) and schedule (34%) targets on major projects at least a quarter of the time[1]. The study by the Economist Intelligence Unit also found more than 60 percent blamed unexpected change for at least half of all project overruns.

The answer is in the data

It’s true that data is everywhere. But finding that nugget of data can help to reduce risk and improve the chances of success. To achieve this, you need to have the ability to manipulate your data in searching for better questions….this is where there is real value.

Every project creates a huge volume of data. From the bid process through to the project’s handover to clients or operators, there is a myriad of Word files, spreadsheets, PDFs and databases. But is the small valuable data easy to find and use? And is it available to the right people at the right time?

There are five main areas where construction and engineering firms are benefiting from improving how they organize and access data:

1. Lead to contract execution: win the right work with the right customers, at the right margins

2. Project and construction execution: manage change while reducing risk and improving margins

3. Digital handover: simplifying the transition to Operation and Maintenance

4. Project visualization: simulating construction sequences and spotting challenges

5. Lifecycle data hub: organizing data and making it coherent

But as with anything in life, it’s impossible to eliminate risk. But you can improve the chances of success.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.



[1] Building in change: Project construction in asset-intensive industries http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/primavera/building-in-change-eiu-report-1489240.pdf

Sunday Feb 08, 2015

Managing Change on E&C Projects

Written by Krista Lambert, Director Engineering & Construction Strategy, 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 E&C 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 disruptions in labor, materials, and costs. To find out more, read the article Critical Components to Effective Project Execution in the latest issue of Construction Connection.

Wednesday Feb 04, 2015

Visualization and the Digital Project

written By Garrett Harley, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle

5D virtual construction will transform the construction industry

 Redesign should take place on the computer, not on the construction site.

 5D virtual construction modeling, or 5D BIM (short for building information modeling) enables the various participants of a construction project—from designers and contractors to owners—to visualize and display the entire construction progress sequentially over time, factoring in a critical component: actual and forecasted costs. It has the potential to vastly transform the delivery of projects large and small.

 Here’s how BIM technology has progressed through the years:

3D: Three-dimensional design modeling that enables project visualizations, walkthroughs, clash detection, and item scheduling

4D: 3D modeling plus time, linking the project schedules: resources, tasks, etc.

5D: 4D plus cost, integrating design with estimating, scheduling, and costing

 Leveraging the data available in the 3D BIM model, 5D BIM optimizes construction project management, enabling project team members to visualize the progression of construction activities and the associated costs. Beyond the ability to maximize physical and constructability constraints, 5D virtual construction gives companies the ability to better manage budgets and forecasted expenditures. Understanding construction sequencing can help prevent problems related to constructability and optimize cash flow within the framework of construction sequencing.

 In today’s environment, many E&C companies and some owners have begun to adapt and adopt 5D into their work processes. Recent surveys predict that 100 percent of owners and 80 percent of contractors will use BIM in some way in 2014.

 Currently, there is no standard definition of BIM and many partial or incomplete solutions. Dual standards have been developed by different organizations such as the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) by the buildingSMART allianceTM and ISO 15926. The number of developers in the BIM space has also grown creating integration issues.

For visualization to drive projects from concept to completion and into operations and maintenance, developers must extend current BIM capabilities. Users need mapping and display capabilities between the embedded construction schedule and the 3D model. They need easy, effective ways to verify clearances, identify design incompatibilities, and detect clash or collision points.

 All construction contractors are currently investing in standalone, specialized niche technology, so now is the time to bring those niche technologies together in an interoperable environment.

 For more information on BIM, read the whitepaper: “Leverage 4D Building Information Modeling (BIM) to Help Meet the Challenges of Infrastructure Growth”

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 .

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