Tecumseh Products Eyes Improved Product Lifecycle Management

Compressor manufacturer rolling out Oracle PLM solution to 35 sites worldwide to improve new product development and introduction processes

Compressor manufacturer rolling out Oracle PLM solution to 35 sites worldwide to improve new product development and introduction processes

Redwood Shores, CA — June 30, 2006 — Compressor manufacturer Tecumseh Products Company is set to use an enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite from Oracle, with a plan to roll out the solution to 35 manufacturing plants worldwide as part of an initiative to improve new product development and introduction processes.

Tecumseh, which supplies compressors to such companies as Coca-Cola and Whirlpool, selected the Oracle E-Business Suite over SAP as the platform for its information technology (IT) initiative called Single Common Global Growth (SCG2), according to Oracle.

One of the goals of Tecumseh's SCG2 implementation was the deployment of Oracle Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to create a single, global parts catalogue to help improve change management, drive enterprise-wide collaboration and accelerate time-to-market.

Growing Pains

The manufacturer began to experience operational challenges as it grew both organically and through acquisitions. Each newly acquired company continued to operate as an autonomous division with independent business systems. The respective divisions operated their own research and development (R&D) centers, manufacturing plants and specialized labs, resulting in fragmented product information across the entire company.

As a result, the lack of visibility into the various product development projects led to duplicate efforts, along with multiple bills of material, delayed resolution of engineering changes, surplus of inventory, increased costs associated with bringing new products to market and an inadequate use of resources.

"We've manufactured world-class components for consumer and commercial products for more than 70 years," said Tecumseh Chairman and CEO Todd W. Herrick. "Our ability to innovate and bring new products to market is integral to our success of powering many of the applications used in the HVAC, commercial and residential refrigeration, freezer and applications in open type electrical motors in more than 120 countries. Better product lifecycle management is one of our top three priorities, and we found Oracle to be the best choice to help us meet our customers' dynamic requests with quality products."

Engineering Centers of Excellence

The first step towards harnessing the full capabilities of Oracle PLM was to establish the Tecumseh Engineering Centers of Excellence, a virtual collaborative environment in which company executives have been able to evaluate business processes and apply best practices across divisions. In the centers, Tecumseh leverages Oracle to manage the product lifecycle from concept to obsolescence. The centralized view of diverse product information available with Oracle PLM is expected to allow Tecumseh to enable their virtual cross-functional teams to increase collaboration and realize economies of scale in design, manufacturing, sourcing and parts utilization, according to Oracle.

Tecumseh selected Oracle PLM for its ability to accelerate the new product development and introduction (NPDI) process, as well as improve change management of products throughout the engineering and manufacturing phases. The system automates the once manual-intensive change and approval process, helping to speed the adoption and reduce the cost of implementing any changes. Additionally, Oracle PLM provides Tecumseh with capabilities to collaborate with departments across the enterprise and extended product teams to improve the design processes by incorporating feedback earlier in a products lifecycle.

"Because there are so many bits of information that need to be documented and tracked when raw materials such as aluminum, copper, steel and plastic are converted into highly engineered components, better product lifecycle management becomes imperative to the design and manufacturing processes," said Tecumseh Global Lead for PLM Mark Spohr. "Oracle PLM allows us to create a single catalog for products. As a result, we can eliminate duplicate parts and processes, better utilize our resources and bring products to market faster."

Oracle said that its PLM solution helped Tecumseh establish a global part numbering process in order to have a single source of truth on parts available.

Additional Articles of Interest

— Manufacturers of all size are struggling to meet that challenges of managing their product information across global supply chains. Read more about the challenges of getting to one version of the truth in "Nothing But the Truth," in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— What are the skill sets that will catapult your supply management group to its peak performance? For a guide to help unlock their potential, read "Building a Better Supply Chain Professional" in the April/May 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

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