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Customer Orchestrator Use Cases: Solving Real-World Challenges

A.J. Schifano, Product Manager of Oracle JD Edwards, recently sat down with several customers to hear about their Orchestrator use cases and how they are utilizing it to solve real-world challenges in their businesses. The customers on the panel included:

  • Mark Stone, Vice President of Eastern Propane and Oil
  • Melody Bivona, Manager of Applications Architecture at PennEngineering
  • Marc Hernandez, Technical Business Analyst for Vecellio Group, Inc.

Schifano began by explaining that he does not work in the “real world.” He works at Oracle, innovating products to be used in that “real world.” By engaging with Stone, Bivona, and Hernandez, Schifano was able to audit the application of Orchestrator for actual users.

The most recent updates to Orchestrator are found in Orchestrator Studio 9.2.4, which offers homepage access to all components, an editable graphical view of orchestrations, and a scheduler user interface with a click to schedule feature. Previously, users found it cumbersome to start the scheduler and place orchestrations on a schedule. With the new Studio, however, it is as easy as flipping a switch.

Customer Orchestrator Use Cases

Eastern Propane and Oil’s Orchestrator Use Case

Eastern Propane provides products and services to companies in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The company is the sixteenth largest propane gas retailer in the U.S., and it has been family-owned and operated since 1932.

As for their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne footprint, Eastern Propane originally implemented JD Edwards in 2012. They upgraded to JDE 9.2 (Tools 9.21.8) in 2018. They have 450 users across 12 locations—half of which are strictly mobile users. The workforce is mostly a mobile workforce. There are over 100 delivery trucks and over 100 service trucks throughout New England. The key integrations utilized by Eastern Propane are:

  • Oracle Real-Time Scheduler 1.0
  • Oracle Sales Cloud 21A 11.13.20.01.0
  • Oracle Field Service Cloud 21A Update 3
  • MPX Billing/Customer Portal

There are currently two main uses of Orchestrator at Eastern.

First, Eastern uses an integration between JD Edwards and the Oracle Field Service Cloud to quickly and easily extend critical data and business functions into the field. There are 17 bi-directional integration points that empower service techs to do their jobs more safely and accurately. Time taken for in-house to mobile communication has decreased, and Eastern service techs have become more efficient with less time required for paperwork.

The 17 integrations are:

  • Service Work Orders
  • Daily Cycle Counts
  • Daily Truck Non-Serialized Inventory
  • Daily Truck Serialized Inventory
  • Daily Tank Depot Inventory
  • Daily Warehouse Non-Serialized/Serialized Inventory
  • Completed Service Work  Order
  • Complete Service Work Order – Labor
  • Complete Service Work Order – Non-Serialized Parts
  • Completed Service Work Order – Gas Check
  • Completed Service Work Order – Appliances
  • Completed Service Work Order – Piping
  • Complete Service Work Order – Tanks
  • Time & Attendance
  • Completed Cycle Counts
  • Parts Order Request
  • Create First Fill Sales Order

The main integration point can be displayed in the following use case:

Eastern Propane Customer Service receives a call from a customer requesting service. While on the phone, the customer service rep uses a JD Edwards custom service order quick entry. They click the “OK” button, which makes an orchestration call. This puts the order into Oracle Field Service Cloud. The Cloud responds with an activity ID, which opens up a Cafe One plug-in. This gives the service rep a schedule to negotiate a time and date for a service tech to arrive at the customer’s place of need. Once the date is selected, the plug-in makes a call directly back to Field Service Cloud, services it, and gets dispatched out to the field so that the service tech can see it on his tablet and be routed to the customer.

The second integration built with Orchestrator replaces a batch process. In the past, a customer who wanted to access account information in the billing portal was not able to see up-to-date information. At best, the information was 24 hours old. Because most customers utilizing the portal needed real-time billing info, a high volume of calls was coming into the call center. By giving customers this information in real-time via Orchestrator, the customer can enjoy a better overall experience and Eastern employees are freed up for higher-level tasks.

The customer authenticates onto the customer portal, and a REST API call is sent to Orchestrator. Orchestrator invokes some sequel and returns back based on JSON, which is used to load the screen for the custom portal.

Orchestration at Eastern was possible because of the ACBM Solutions for Orchestrator Training. It took a week of training one month prior to beginning the OFSC implementation. Eastern contracted ACBM Solutions to consult and provide support for duration of OFSC Implementation. With their guidance, Eastern was able to quickly learn Orchestrator and develop the required integrations — maintaining the project’s timeline and even allowing for significant scope creep.

PennEngineering’s Orchestrator Use Case

PennEngineering is a global leader in fastening solutions. Their fasteners are used worldwide for diverse industries including electronics, computer, data/telecom, medical, automotive, marine, aerospace/aircraft, and general manufacturing.

PennEngineering has been on JD Edwards for 20 years. With the first implementation in 2000, they are now running Apps 9.2 on Tools 9.2.3.5. With 600+ users in 12 locations, PennEngineering stands by a hard rule of no custom code. Their reliance on JD Edwards code has enabled them to stay current, but they have been limited in the area of quickly delivered streamlined solutions. They, too, had ACBM do a workshop and have been using Orchestrator ever since.

PennEngineering has many orchestrations in place. Presenter, Melody Bivona, favors orchestrations that benefit the end user by saving them time and automating repetitive processes. She believes efficient users input accurate data, and so contribute to a successful company.

PennEngineering wanted to streamline the component making process.

Before Orchestrator, the process went like this:

  1. Complete component work order.
  2. Create work order for finished part.
  3. Issue component to work order.
  4. Print router for the finished part.

This solution was provided by Orchestrator:

  1. The end user has an input to complete their work order.
  2. Based on their completion, Orchestrator allows PennEngineering to combine component work order creation, issuing of the component, and printing of the router into one step.

The new process looks identical to the old for the end user. To make it super efficient for the user, the orchestration is called through DSI. They have handheld scanners to scan work orders. Behind the scenes, the remaining processes occur.

Once created, it was realized that this same process could be extended to individuals responsible for sending outside operations work orders. By applying form extension and a personal page, Bivona was able to add a button to orchestration, meaning an admin would have the ability to issue the materials and send them out.

This entire use case took about two hours to design and document and one full day to develop and test.

Business Benefits

This orchestration reduced the time it takes for the process by 80 percent. On average, PennEngineering does this process 15 times a day at automotive plants. In addition to saving valuable time, the new approach also reduced the number of data entry errors.

The orchestration components include:

  • Service request using P31114
    • Inputs
      • Work Order Number
      • Quantity complete
  • Service request using P48013
  • Service request using P31113
  • Report Request to print router (custom batch report)

Additionally, PennEngineering uses JDExcelerator from ACBM Solutions. This enables their BSAs and power users the ability to update business data quickly without the use of SQLs.

For example, PennEngineering’s planners are now able to respond immediately to fluctuations in demand and capacity with the ability to quickly update critical planning data using Orchestrator and JDExcelerator.

Vecellio Group, Inc.’s Orchestrator Use Case

Vecellio Group is a family-owned business founded in 1938. They, too, aim for a small number of modifications, layered over existing applications in order to maintain flexibility for taking updates. The company is a top 50 highway construction contractor, owning various companies with different products. Headquartered in West Palm Beach, they also have a secondary office in West Virginia. They specialize along the eastern seaboard with divisions for paving, quarrying, fuel, etc.

Vecellio is running Apps 9.2 and Tools 9.2 for 500 users at 25 sites. The JD Edwards footprint consists of finance, job cost, contract billing, purchasing, sales, payroll, and HR.

Equipment admins were entering meter hours weekly using the E1 Meter Readings application (P12120) for 300 pieces of heavy machinery. Apart from being tedious and untimely, the process was prone to manual error, resulting in adjusting entries on the G/L.

With Orchestrator, Vecellio increased the frequency to daily with accurate readings every time. This, in turn, allowed them to run preventative maintenance schedules using an automated process rather than manual work orders. This took about four weeks to develop the core functionality and another week for the email summary piece.

Vecellio is alerted when equipment is not reporting correctly or as expected. Ephlux did the initial development and has made adjustments as they moved up in tools releases regarding Java components.

Conclusion

While Orchestrator has been leveraged by companies to simplify tasks, automate repetitive processes, and improve data integrity, Orchestrator Studio 9.2.4 takes these advantages to new heights. Use cases such as those presented by Eastern Propane, PennEngineering, and The Vecellio Group are a convincing case for utilizing Orchestrator capabilities. Leverage the discoveries of these companies for your own organization to apply real-world solutions with orchestrations.

To learn more about Orchestrator use cases, check out the panel discussion and additional resources below.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more JD Edwards content, join us next year at INFOCUS 20, the premier deep-dive JD Edwards focused event of the year! The event will take place August 25-27, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. Call for Presentations is open now! Submit a presentation by May 5, 2020, for the chance to speak at INFOCUS 20.