How BISSELL powers data-driven decisions with Oracle Cloud solutions

August 3, 2021 | 4 minute read
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By Joe Butts, Associate Director, Oracle ERP Application Development, BISSELL Homecare, Inc.

BISSELL is a family owned business that has been a leader in the floorcare industry for more than 100 years. When I arrived at BISSELL nine years ago, my first responsibility was to manage and support our new deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite for the corporate office and global affiliates. Back then, EBS was state-of-the-art technology—appropriate for a company like ours that keeps a constant focus on innovation.

Today, innovation is driven by the cloud, and planning, in particular, has changed dramatically over the past decade. Like many organizations, we source a lot of products overseas, and we’ve seen the volume of data in our systems increase almost daily. This data explosion proved challenging for our legacy systems to manage. We have independent businesses across the world, and they often had to wait as long as 10 hours for data to be processed. The drain on system resources sometimes even led to lockouts and data loss.

Without timely, trustworthy data, both supply chain and sales and operations planning relied more on tribal knowledge than on data-driven forecasts. It was clear that we needed to give business users accurate, reliable data quickly enough to inform planning decisions, plus the ability to fine-tune supply chain planning forecasts without help from IT.

Users also wanted to get product data as quickly as possible, but governance was difficult to enforce. People kept changing item attributes when they shouldn’t have, so we had a hard time keeping data integrity intact. We needed an enterprise-wide master data management (MDM) solution that only allowed the appropriate people to change item data. 

With our strategic priorities clear, we chose a suite of Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing solutions and teamed with Deloitte to deliver solutions that are ready to navigate disruption and drive continuous innovation:

  • Oracle Supply Chain Planning (SCP) makes the forecasting process more efficient and less labor-intensive for our more than 100 active users. This reduces exceptions to a manageable number and provides a standardized forecasting methodology across the global supply chain. The capabilities in SCP let us pull in external demand drivers and causals across our 8,000 forecastable items, helping us improve forecast accuracy. Our supply planning team is benefitting from an improved supply recommendations engine and better collaboration across common demand and supply hierarchies.
  • Oracle Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Product Master Data Management capabilities (Product Data Hub) help us take control of our item master data by enabling data governance, integrity, and accountability. We’re working toward an MDM practice to aggregate the company’s critical business data; this will help reduce errors and increase efficiency across business processes. We really want to give our business users confidence in the data, so they can trust it when making decisions.

Migrating to the cloud can be a complex and time-consuming process, but by taking an incremental approach, we’ve been able to leverage the power of the cloud where we need it most, while retaining tight integration with our on-premise Oracle software. Oracle Cloud SCM applications work together to connect our new product-introduction process with demand management. When launching a new product line, we can integrate PLM data with the forecasting and planning modules. We can also bring in data from other sources, such as sales, purchases, and inventory data from Oracle E-Business Suite.

Results: Faster data, better decisions

Our cloud deployment has provided benefits for the BISSELL IT team and business users alike. The planning system increased global usage and aligned our 100+ active users on standard processes, increasing flexibility for our supply planners and forecast accuracy for our demand planners. Another great point is the reporting; we can filter by multiple attributes, including product code, to help our distribution team hone in on what they see coming—and, it’s easier to automate reporting. Collaboration has improved, because we’re all using the same toolset and the same process to achieve the same goals. Our IT team has found Oracle Cloud to be easier to maintain, and our planning teams are less dependent on IT to support them.

Oracle’s Product MDM solution was our first step significant step in our cloud journey. It really helps us enforce product data governance and ownership while improving our integrations with other systems. Now, we can trust the data, and the decisions we’re making. And because these solutions are cloud-based, they’re instantly available across our global footprint; we don’t have to worry about maintaining infrastructure—even as new functionality comes online with every quarterly release—and we’ve reduced our need for IT support.

A few more benefits we’ve been able to provide our internal customers:

  • Metrics-driven decision making: With a full suite of analytics and dashboards, we now provide enterprise-wide visibility into value-based metrics on demand.
  • Self-service: End users can review and enable relevant statistical models without IT help.
  • Global sales and operations standards: Having an online platform helped us standardize and automate processes and reporting across the enterprise, minimizing offline, manual reporting and ad hoc analysis. At the same time, we improved value-based metrics reporting and operating plan comparisons.
  • Better demand forecasting: We increased forecast accuracy using external demand drivers and causals, and gained the ability to forecast and report in multiple currencies.
  • Improved supply planning: The system now augments supply recommendations with lead times, time fences, order modifiers, and distribution rules. We can perform multi-sourcing planning, and leverage common hierarchies across demand and supply planning, for greater flexibility and enhanced analytics.
  • Scenario planning: We now have greater visibility into the impact of new product introductions, supply disruptions, and other scenarios.
  • Exception-driven planning: With fewer exceptions to handle manually, users can focus on high-value, high-variability products and customers.

The powerful analytics of Oracle Cloud SCM have opened up exciting new avenues to create a truly data-driven organization. At BISSELL, we’ve reaped tremendous benefits from the tight integration between our legacy Oracle applications and Oracle Cloud SCM—including easy deployment, streamlined business processes, smarter decision-making, and standardized best practices around the globe.

Learn how BISSELL cleaned up its supply chain.


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