By Jonathan Burdett, ERP Product Marketing, Jarred Boone, PLM Product Marketing Manager, Oracle
From instruments for genetic engineering to enzymes used in DNA sequencing, Thermo Fisher Scientific provides the tools that help scientists make the world better. But to help people doing cutting-edge research, the $30 billion-a-year company needs to create new products to constantly meet scientists’ changing needs.
Because its success is so heavily predicated upon new product development, Thermo Fisher Scientific launches tens of thousands of new products annually. To support their growth and innovation, they began looking for cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) software that could sufficiently service the thousands of new products being designed and manufactured at any given time. “To stay ahead of our competition and meet the needs of our customers, we were constantly looking for ways to accelerate our time to market for new product launches,” says John Moran, Data Management Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
After evaluating many options, Thermo Fisher Scientific implemented Oracle Cloud PLM, which along with process changes, led to a dramatic increase in how quickly the company is able to launch new products. “With Oracle Cloud PLM, our goal was to design the capability to launch up to 50,000 SKUs at a time within a few weeks,” Moran says. “This used to take us up to nine months with our on-premises system.”
Thermo Fisher Scientific has grown tremendously in the last 14 years, including acquiring 20 companies in that time and now employing more than 80,000 people. Both scalability and speed to market were determining factors in the company’s decision to migrate from its former on-premises PLM system to Oracle Cloud PLM. Thermo Fisher Scientific has 24 separate divisions within the corporation, and they wanted the new PLM system to help them consolidate these business units under one application.
“Moving to Oracle Cloud PLM has provided our business with the opportunity to rethink our processes and our data model, as well as to introduce opportunities to automate repetitive tasks,” says Moran.
The two main challenges Thermo Fisher Scientific faced during its implementation of Oracle Cloud PLM revolved around data scrubbing and change management. “We had to take a hard look at all the missing, inaccurate, or invalid data,” Moran says. “We didn’t want to get this new cloud-based application and then put bad data in a new application.”
To support change management, the company set up an internal FAQ webpage to answer questions from the 5,800 employees who were directly impacted by this PLM software transformation. They wanted to ensure that employees were thoroughly trained and informed about utilizing the new cloud software system best. Thermo Fisher Scientific also designated leaders in every department to answer employee questions, resolve their complaints, and deliver training regarding how to use the new software.
“We were communicating to these employees early and often that the change was coming and why we were making this change,” Moran says. “It was important for them to know why we were doing this and what the business reasons were.”
Moran also has high expectations for the automatic quarterly updates associated with Oracle Cloud PLM: “When we put in the on-premises system a long time ago, we were working with old technology. With the cloud, you’re always working with the latest because the software is updated every quarter.”
Moran offers three tips for those considering a cloud PLM application:
Thermo Fisher chose to go with Birlasoft to implement the Product Master Data Management (MDM) capabilities within Oracle Cloud PLM. Birlasoft helped develop a roadmap and build a strategy to streamline the product commercialization process by focusing on the data quality and governance and the traceability of the product lifecycle. Birlasoft’s approach helped Thermo Fisher achieve faster launch of the products and scalability to enable multiple launches and improved customer experiences.
Armed with its new Oracle Cloud PLM system, Thermo Fisher Scientific is optimistic about its future product innovations. “We want to create a platform that’s scalable for all these divisions, so when our customers think of Thermo Fisher, they don’t think that they’re working with 24 different divisions,” Moran says. “They think that they’re working with one company.”