By Christiane Soto, Sr. Content Manager at Oracle
Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with Charles Chamberlain, Director of IT at Srixon/Cleveland Golf, a golfing equipment manufacturer. Chamberlain has been with this growing small-to-medium business (SMB) for over 32 years and recently led the implementation of a new Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud solution. Srixon/Cleveland Golf’s golf ball has won more than 600 golf tournaments and their current tour players include a plethora of high-ranking golf professionals.
During their search for a new SCM system that could provide accurate delivery data to customers, they initially considered building their own solution. Ultimately, they decided that a move to the cloud was the right choice to make. Read on to learn more about how the right SCM Cloud helped this small-to-medium business exceed their customer experience goals.
What’s the biggest customer experience challenge you face?
Before adopting Oracle Global Order Promising (GOP) Cloud, our main challenge was being able to promise accurate dates to our customers. We offer a lot of product variety with our wedges, in terms of number of finishes, number of lofts, number of bounces, etc. We also offer a lot of custom products, custom variations in terms of shafts, grips, and other components that could be low in stock. That was our focus in trying to find a solution: how can we give customers reliable dates? At the time of order entry we want our customers to know when they're going to get their product.
It was difficult for our customer experience department to get a complete picture of our inventory. At a high level, we can see our inventory. We know how many pieces we have. But we didn't know how many pieces were already dedicated to work orders. With Oracle Global Order Promising Cloud, we're able to spin up our orders, run through the processes, and within a reasonable time come back with accurate, reliable customer delivery dates.
What did your old process look like for predicting customer delivery dates?
As I said, our biggest challenge has been pulling the large amount of item and component data and making it work together to provide accurate, reliable delivery dates. That cannot be done in spreadsheet; we tried. There’re just too many factors involved. Therefore, our best method was to manually go through and try to figure out when a product would be available based upon item availability, which was based upon purchase order data. But that still doesn't give our customer experience person any good information, because they don't know what's already been allocated to other products by the planning department. It was an ordeal, because our customer experience reps never had accurate information.
What different solutions did you consider?
Issues around promised dates is not a new problem for us. In the 32 years that I have been with Srixon/Cleveland Golf, we’ve gone through cycles of trying to see what we can do. We didn't know Oracle Global Order Promising existed. But we knew what we wanted, so we tried to develop that software ourselves.
We brought in a developer, which was a great opportunity for our teams to get together and document the process and document what we wanted. It was a great exercise, but we ended up with a process proposal that was unproven and hard to maintain. So we were back to the drawing board.
How did you decide to go with Oracle?
One day, I get a cold call from an Oracle representative. We started to talk about the very things that we were interested in: on-time deliveries, pegging orders to work orders, and being able to provide accurate promise dates to our customers. It led to easily being able to gain buy-in from our Vice President of Operations that we needed to investigate the Oracle Cloud suite of products. Once we did, that was it. We were on our way to acquiring Oracle Global Order Promising Cloud.
It was definitely reassuring knowing that the label on the brand was Oracle. We're already an Oracle customer. We've been involved with Oracle for over 20 years. Having the name Oracle behind the product gave us confidence that we were going with a product that we knew we could put our trust in.
Are there any benefits that you can share with us?
Well, straight off the bat, within two and a half months of our go-live, we've seen an 81.5 percent increase in our on-time shipments compared to the year before. Our promise dates are accurate, and that’s a comfort to us that we haven’t had. Just last month, we achieved a 89.5% completion rate!
One thing that did surprise us is that, once we did go live, there was not a huge shift (or change) in our processes. The word is “disruptive” nowadays. With the migration to Oracle Global Promising Cloud, nothing was disruptive-- not disruptive at all. There was not a situation where everyone had to learn new processes and procedures. Now of course we had to learn the modules, but the core business did not suffer because we added functionality. As the IT director, that was great because it removed from my team the tasks around change management, training, and fielding questions and/or complaints.
Other than promise dates, how has the technology supported your custom products business?
One of the things we do well, and it is about 20 percent of our business, is custom products. We have a wide spectrum of product offerings, which can be built to meet any golfer's needs for various reasons. To facilitate those customizations, we have a configurator, where every item ends up with its own part number, because every club could be different. I might need a club that's bent two degrees flat, while the next one may need to be two degrees upright.
Every custom product has its own unique bill of materials. In the past, every time you would do a manual look-up on that bill of material, you'd have to manually go into the work order, manually go in the parts list, look those parts up, and then do your inquiries. Now that is all that sorting is done for us, providing us with the promise dates that we were after in the first place.This frees up the employees who were manually processing those records and doing manual inquiries to do other things, like providing top-notch customer experiences.
Did you encounter any resistance or challenges in moving to the cloud?
That was our first toe in the water in the cloud, but we have experience with hosting our ERP system in a private cloud, so Oracle Cloud ended being an easy choice. We chose to move to the cloud and kept our internal resources focused on other areas. Ultimately, we won’t have to bring in other employees to fulfill complicated tasks that we are not even experts in, since we were moving to new technology. For us, it was an easy step into the cloud.
So Oracle is known for working large corporations. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with Oracle Cloud as a smaller company (a small-to-medium business, if you will).
We found that in the Oracle world, Srixon/Cleveland Golf is a small company-- probably one of the smallest companies that we see when we go to conferences. But what we've seen is that even though we're a small company that is into these big software products, we still get the same benefits that the large companies get, because we're running the same processes they're running.
We now have the expandability and the ability to go forward to hit our secondary goals of order allocation and total order fulfillment. Something that we want to do is deliver a customer's order in one shipment. Ultimately, that's the goal.
Finally, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the impact your company makes. Why is golf important to customers?
That's a great question. Golf is another avenue for somebody to get out, get some exercise and create some camaraderie. But a lot of times when we go golfing, we're not going golfing. We're going talking, and golf kind of just gets in the way. That’s why we look forward to it so much. It's a bonus when we play well, and our clubs help players play well. Golf is an event that we look forward to so we can be with our friends and have a great time.
We offer quality golf equipment for all people in golf: senior players, professional players, beginning players, men, women, and people with slower swing speeds. Versatility is one of the things that we do well. Oracle Global Order Promising Cloud helps us do it even better.