By Jim Lein, Executive Director, Applications Customer Marketing, Oracle
The COVID-19 pandemic has been disrupting supply chains globally for going-on a year. Its impact on consumer buying trends has been just as disruptive. Businesses in every corner of the world continue to scramble in order to provide you with what you need and what you want.
Tramontina is an increasingly well-known manufacturer and distributor of kitchen utensils, appliances, gardening tools, and wooden and plastic furniture to over 120 countries. Rummage through your kitchen cupboards, garage, or garden shed and you’re likely to find top-quality products from this family-owned Brazilian company. And you probably bought those items at major retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Home Depot among others.
In July of 2019, the company achieved a major milestone in its multi-year digital transformation. Tramontina moved from a disparate collection of on-premises technology solutions to Oracle Cloud for finance, operations, supply chain, and IT. Of equal importance, this transformation was not just a “lift and shift” to cloud but, instead, a complete reimagining and reengineering of processes.
As the pandemic’s impact intensified, the company was able to thrive and grow, adapting to supply chain challenges and meeting their ever-changing customer needs—thanks to its new solutions.
Marcelo de Matheus joined Tramontina USA in 2018 as CIO, and he takes to heart the company’s mission to do “beautifully well” in all that they undertake.
“I’m very proud of the products we provide at Tramontina,” says Marcelo. “In fact, when my wife and I got married—long before I worked here—we received Tramontina utensils as a gift. Because of the quality, we still use them today. We are very satisfied customers.”
When the decision was made to move to cloud, Marcelo recommended against shifting their Oracle E-Business Suite solution—along with existing processes—into a hybrid environment of cloud and on-premises. Instead, he urged business leaders to support an all-cloud strategy and to work with his team to reexamine every activity. That would help all areas of the business take advantage of cloud’s unique benefits and to position the company to consume new capabilities as they are released.
“I said, let’s move everything,” he recalls. “It’s really important to have a single point of control. Information can flow from end-to-end across finance, and along both directions of the supply chain.”
Tramontina’s supply chain is a complex, two-way web of interactions with customers and suppliers, with thousands of transactions happening each hour. The business could not stand still while the company went through this digital transformation. Marcelo and his team worked with their systems integrator and the Oracle teams to re-engineer every process without disrupting day-to-day activities.
Tramontina USA has limited manufacturing facilities in the United States, primarily used to assemble products. A subset of the company’s items is offered to American customers, with about 1,900 SKUs that are unique to that market. Components and products are imported primarily from manufacturing facilities in Brazil and partners in other countries.
In normal times, the first half of the year is Tramontina’s low season. As with almost every organization in the world, uncertainty hit when the pandemic gained momentum in March.
“In April, nobody knew what the future held,” says Marcelo. “You’re not thinking, what will happen next month? You’re thinking, what will happen tomorrow? Next week? We anticipated a big hit to our revenue, but the opposite happened.”
When the American workforce was sent home, suddenly everybody was cooking more.
“Everybody says, hey, I need to cook more,” speculates Marcelo. “And they head into the kitchen and realize, oh, this pan is terrible! I need a whole new set!”
Internally, as restrictions took hold, the company quickly moved everyone but warehouse staff to work-from-home environments in just three days, which would have been difficult (if not impossible) with their on-premises systems. In Marcelo’s words, “We didn’t miss a day.”
On the supply chain side, the move to cloud enabled agility. Employees adjusted to the demands of their resellers and customers by continuously juggling supply availability from their manufacturing facilities, even while some plants needed to close for short periods of time.
“We were getting the right information every day, so we were able to plan in advance,” says Marcelo. “From a system perspective it was amazing.”
Rather than seeing revenues drop, Tramontina is seeing upticks in some months as the pandemic continues to play out. Marcelo is also seeing evidence that some customers order more than before because other suppliers have not adjusted as well to the challenges.
Tramontina has sixteen international business units. At this time, Oracle is only deployed in the United States. Although their cloud strategy isn’t viewed as a pilot, Marcelo knows that he and his team are setting an example.
“The leadership team at Tramontina USA decided to choose a market-leading cloud ERP and cloud platform,” he says. “We are increasingly representing a higher percentage of the company’s total revenue. As a growing global company, we felt it made sense to move away from E-Business Suite to a more agile cloud strategy to accommodate both our current and future needs.”