A powerful combination of careful planning, extensive preparation, employee-inclusive testing and incredible teamwork resulted in a seamless transition to Oracle ERP at the company’s largest manufacturing facility near Budapest, Hungary in February. Following several weeks of seeing the new system in action, our OneVision leaders are reflecting on what made the initiative so successful and what it means for the Hungary team, all of CooperVision and future deployments.
Hungary OneVision Go-Live: ‘A Major Win’ for CooperVision
Keeping pace with rapid growth and global expansion is anything but easy. At CooperVision, the challenge is compounded by multiple business processes that exist throughout the company as well as related systems that were not necessarily designed for the business breadth and multinational scale that have become essential.
Enter the OneVision transformation initiative, focused on creating, integrating and aligning the right processes and systems that CooperVision will need as momentum continues. The significant outcomes will touch every aspect of the organization leading to more efficient and effective workflow, a global view of activities and a more consistent and excellent customer experience. In some cases, the benefits are already being seen. Case in point is the latest OneVision implementation in Hungary, which is winning applause and creating even more confidence about the road ahead.
Being described as ‘a major win’ for the business, OneVision’s largest Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation to date went live on February 5 at the company’s facility near Budapest, Hungary. At its heart, the system provides a suite of advanced digital tools that deftly link past, current and projected customer needs with myriad aspects of supply chain, production and service. The resulting improvements in visibility, tracking and accuracy for CooperVision teams translate to faster, better and more valuable delivery of products and services plus enhanced customer relationships.
After more modest installations in South Africa and Mexico, the Hungary initiative represented a huge leap forward. The location is responsible for manufacturing approximately 1.8 million clariti® silicone hydrogel contact lenses every day, accounting for 25 percent of overall global lens production.
The business process transformation in Hungary didn’t happen overnight. It’s been two years in the making, with a detailed roadmap focused on four key aspects: planning, preparation, training and teamwork. Starting as two separate groups, the Hungary team and the OneVision team evolved into one integrated, cohesive unit.
“Early on, we recognized that our OneVision team needed to spend significant time in Hungary to get to know the facility and the people there,” explains Kevin Barrett, Senior Vice President, European Manufacturing. “The way this large, diverse group of employees collaborated across functions was impressive. This played a big role in the successful implementation.”
Another factor in the project’s success was the volume and depth of testing and training that took place well in advance of the go-live. Multiple rounds across multiple weeks forced issues into the open, where they were identified and addressed in advance of the go-live. In addition, a business process group was established to partner with the IT team, collaborating to understand and address the business process impact of the new systems being implemented.
It’s also important to recognize that employees involved in the transition took personal ownership, working with subject matter experts to create their own workflow implementation manuals. “Our OneVision experts genuinely helped our colleagues in Hungary pull rather than push the project through completion, so that there would be full ownership,” explains Kevin. “They were ready and eager to go live. We knew issues could arise, but we were absolutely confident our combined team on the ground would be able to handle them.”
Kevin credits OneVision co-leads Lee Dame and Joel Hendershot for doing a “tremendous job” guiding the process, along with project leaders Bob McNeil and Richard Penny in partnership with local Hungary project leader Angela Orban, supported by Jamie Snell and the business process team.
In considering the project’s success, Lee Dame and Joel Hendershot agree that having a fully engaged and integrated team won the day. “Everyone wanted to be a part of the solution,” Lee explains. “From the commitment of the Hungary OneVision project team and site leadership, to the individual sense of ownership demonstrated in the testing and training cycles, to our teams understanding the ultimate outcomes, this was an all-in effort and it showed.”
At one point, shortly after the go-live, while reflecting on the many months that the project team had been away from their home offices and working at the facility, the Budapest-based business process owner turned to Joel and said with an appreciative smile, “It’s time now for the project team to take a step back and let the folks on the floor take control of the system. We’re ready!” That pivotal moment was testament to a job well done by the project team as well as the local team’s readiness and level of ownership.
To understand the magnitude of the transition, it’s important to remember that the Hungary site started from scratch in 2007—then Sauflon—with only five team members.
Angela Orban, who also serves as Director of Packaging and Distribution in Hungary in addition to being the local implementation lead, recalls those early days, and how much the site and the team have grown since then. “We grew to producing 1.3 million lenses per day on a totally paper-based system,” she says. “When Sauflon was acquired by CooperVision in 2014, the CooperVision leadership team asked us what we needed to build on, how to sustain continued growth, and what we needed to do an even better job. Each of us asked for an ERP system. We had a small inventory system in place, but we knew without the proper systems, we wouldn’t be able to grow.”
Angela communicated regularly with her team throughout the planning process to help them understand the long-term benefits of switching to Oracle. But it wasn’t a hard sell. The Hungary team understood the benefits: greater accuracy, timeliness, transparency, visibility and easy data access to name a few. When it came time for the go-live, people were ready and eager to embrace the new system.
On day two of the go-live, Angela asked to see Decanting Operator Richard Lehoczki, the person who was in charge of receiving and putting away silver stock inventory, so she could explain the new process. It turns out that she didn’t need to.
“The night shift supervisor said, ‘Richard has been performing the task in Oracle since yesterday,’” she explained. “Our users were prepared; they had great training, documentation, support, and most importantly, continuous communication throughout the process. We didn’t expect everything to go perfectly, but we knew we could correct any errors quickly and efficiently to keep things running smoothly. That’s what made the transition so successful.”
Lessons from previous go-lives in South Africa and Mexico also helped to inform the process for Hungary, and made for a seamless transition that will serve as a template for future implementations. In fact, plans are underway for future Oracle ERP implementations to apply key learnings from the successful experience in Hungary moving forward.
“This is an important milestone,” Joel exclaimed. “It’s about gaining confidence in our ability to achieve and sustain this kind of work as an organization. The Hungary go-live is a major proof point in our ability to do just that.”’