For growing companies, the mantra of “doing more with less” often rings true: managing operations and resources with agility, speed and visibility, often supported by enterprise technologies used by larger competitors, is critical to success.
But fast-growing businesses often cannot afford to sideline business innovations to implement complicated new systems, or continue to add intricate code to their legacy ERP software.
To meet the challenge, businesses like Radio Flyer are deploying modern, easy-to-use business platforms through rapid and controlled deployment options. This article showcases the advantages growing businesses can receive by modernizing their ERP systems, citing Radio Flyer’s global IT transformation through the eyes of its Senior Director of IT.
Sayonara, Spreadsheets and Hello, Modern ERP
Signs of the resurging economy continue to sprout, with green shoots rising across different sectors and industries. With the economy on the rebound, businesses are increasing their investment in technology to keep up with growth and evolving demands; as proof, Gartner recently increased its worldwide IT spending forecast for 2012 to $3.6 trillion, anticipating a 3 percent increase from 2011 spending.
One of the segments most reliant on technology to support growth is midsize companies —established businesses leveraging every competitive efficiency and advantage to compete with much larger enterprises. To compete against the big guys, they need to create the right technology infrastructure that matches up. Sayonara, spreadsheets, and hello modern ERP.
While some businesses postponed upgrading or replacing financial, CRM and HR management systems during the recession, growing companies have started dusting off RFPs and revisiting technology options. Years ago, they used spreadsheet-based systems and processes to manage employees, customers, partners, products and revenue. Today, as companies scale up, they are apt to eschew heavily customizing their existing systems, and instead standardize on a modern, enterprise-class ERP system.
Modern ERP platforms enable growing companies to immediately address their most pressing challenges—accounting, talent management, customer retention, etc. They also put the systems and processes in place that will help them earn the next $50 million, go public, expand globally or be a more attractive acquisition target.
Modern ERP Rolled Out and Ready to Fly
For Radio Flyer, the manufacturer of the iconic red wagon, business expansion and customer service precipitated the move to a modern ERP system. As the company reached its 95th anniversary, it determined that its legacy ERP system didn’t have the flexibility or integration points to provide competitive insights into its financial operations and global value chain.
Tradition is important to Radio Flyer—we’ve delighted customers of all ages for almost a century,” says Radio Flyer’s Senior Director of IT, Tom Cesario. “But we realized staying loyal to our old ERP system could limit our business as we scaled up globally and introduced new offerings.”
To standardize its operations from Chicago to China, Radio Flyer needed a technology push, and wanted a system that could be up and flying quickly.
“After exploring our options, we determined launching a new, modern ERP platform from Oracle would support our company for the long haul,” Cesario explains. “Just as important, we felt assured we could be up-and-running quickly, through Oracle’s expert partners that are certified in rapid implementations for midsize companies.”
As the foundation of its technology transformation, Radio Flyer chose Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for financials and customer information and Oracle’s Demantra Demand Management for sales forecasting and planning. Working with Oracle partner Terillium, a member of the Oracle Accelerate program, Radio Flyer implemented Oracle on-time and on-budget.
“We now have technology on par with our partners and competitors, the world’s biggest manufacturers and retailers, and it was only possible through a fast, streamlined implementation,” says Cesario. Our business moves at a fast pace, and won’t slow down to accommodate any lengthy or complicated technology deployments.”
The technology transformation has permeated many different parts of Radio Flyer’s business. After trading in spreadsheets for integrated capacity planning, production scheduling, material resource planning and advanced forecasting with Oracle, Radio Flyer has improved reporting accuracy significantly. With cutting-edge operations and sales forecasting, the manufacturer reduced inventory levels while delivering the highest levels of customer service.
Additionally, modern technology enabled Radio Flyer to focus on technology innovation, including the addition of an exciting new feature on their website. “Build-A-Wagon was born out of a few opportunities that came together after our technology refresh,” says Cesario.
“By integrating our customer-facing website with our financial and value chain operations, we could speed order processing and minimize manual errors for personalized, one-of-a-kind orders. Our Build-A-Wagon and Build-A-Trike features on radioflyer.com provide our customers a high touch and high tech way to interact with our brand.”
Cesario concludes, “Expanding into new markets, regions and products is a challenge for fast-growing businesses—whether they’re emerging startups or established brands like Radio Flyer. By adopting leading technology, we have a platform that will keep us rolling along now and in the future.”
Deployment Options—Any Way You Want Them
Businesses have more deployment options now than ever before, depending on their unique structures and needs. Whether the preference is cloud, on premises, or a hybrid of the two, a modular, scalable deployment is available at a competitive price.
With modern ERP systems, business that once struggled to do more with fewer resources have access to the same quality of tools as their larger competitors. By adopting top-tier ERP systems tailored to individual business needs, midsize companies can support business operations while creating an enterprise system that seamlessly scales up to fuel future growth.
Thumbnail image provided by Terri Lynne Underwood.