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How to Succeed in Challenging Times with Innovation & Digitization


For the INFOCUS Envision 21 keynote, Lyle Ekdahl, Senior Vice President of Product Development, and Paul Houtkooper, Senior Director of JD Edwards Development, presented how innovation and digitization can help you succeed during challenging times.

During times of change, organizations have an opportunity to learn and grow. These moments are called inflection points. Companies that prepare for such unprecedented events are able to maintain ground throughout a crisis. In some cases, businesses gain greater success within a market shift as they pivot to meet consumer needs.

Regardless of your company’s pre-COVID business strategies, you now have the potential to leverage the investments you’ve made in order to alter behavior. Furthermore, if you adopt these three imperatives presented by Ekdahl and Houtkooper, your organization will be positioned not only to persevere but to achieve greater success in times of uncertainty.

Three Imperatives

Imperative No. 1 — Adopt an Agile Mindset

An agile mindset is one that pivots in the face of change, responds quickly to crisis, and creates change intentionally. To achieve this, you must understand the current market, advances in technology, and your potential for driving change.

The continuous delivery model of JD Edwards enables the company to deliver value to the customer more quickly while also providing the opportunity for more frequent customer feedback in response to new capabilities.

This ultimately accelerates the evolution of JD Edwards and the entire product line.

To adopt an agile mindset, JD Edwards embraced a paradigm shift from long-term execution to short-term executables accountable to the long-term vision. As they move products to market quicker, they receive more immediate feedback and are able to pivot accordingly.

To become more agile, organizations should take a look at what they’ve learned this year in order to prepare for the future.

Customer Example — Printpack Adopts a Code Current Strategy

Printpack was established in 1956. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, the company is an industry leader in flexible and specialty rigid packaging with extensive manufacturing and converting capabilities. Specializing in packaging pharmaceutical, agricultural, and food industries, Printpack has 19 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico with over 3,300 associates.

The business was tasked with finding ways to automate transactional data and business processes wherever possible. They wanted to strengthen control over internal IT and the use of data across all of Printpack. Additionally, they aimed to minimize the disturbance to 24/7 operations while keeping a solid foundation for integrated functions within EWOP.

To be more proactive in their approach to supporting their business, Printpack adopted a continuous innovation model and created a plan to stay current with JD Edwards on an annual basis. According to Printpack, the results from their approach include the following:

  • Enabled innovation and agility
  • Improved productivity and accuracy via automation
  • Improved utilization of technical resources by leveraging native capabilities with JD Edwards
  • Improved user experience by personalizations to improve productivity
  • Reduced business and security risks by staying current with cyber technology
  • Minimized business disruption with stable software with compatibility to third-party solutions

To summarize,  Printpack has built and continually refines a scalable and repeatable process to streamline the annual code current event. Their goal is to complete each annual event within 60 days.

Imperative #2 — Develop a Digital Strategy

According to Houtkooper, individuals in the C-Suite agree that it has become imperative for leaders to develop a digital strategy. Companies must take advantage of technological advances to enable their companies to remove friction, reduce costs, and improve decision-making. It’s all about quality and velocity.

Within the tech industry, the predominant element of any digital strategy is business process ideation.  Many organizations are following a hyper-automation strategy where anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated. They are leveraging capabilities such as robotic process automation to eliminate manual and/or redundant tasks, Additionally, they aim to capitalize on efficiencies in order to compress business cycles.

Customer Example — Treasury Wine Estates Shifts to Robotic Process Automation

 Treasury Wine Estates uses JD Edwards’ Grower and Blend Management modules in their wine-making operations. Part of the business processes, harvesting, and processing grapes, involves creating and managing weigh tags.

Industry-wide, the weigh tag point in the process has always been known as a manual process. In Treasury Wine Estates’  2019 harvest, two of their largest wineries in the Americas created over 2,500 of these manual weigh tags. This translates into about 440 hours of manual effort—which takes place during the busiest time of their year.

As they leaned into the power of orchestration and process automation, Treasury Wine Estates was able to begin automatically creating these weigh tags in EnterpriseOne. The orchestration, itself, validates the attributes of the harvest and enters quality test results without the need for any manual intervention or data entry.

Eliminating human error through automation is powerful. Beyond business process automation, another key element to a digital strategy is leveraging alternate UX.

With advances in tech such as IoT, mobile, 5G, and digital assistants, alternate UX is changing the way individuals interact with their system and do their jobs every day. Data is being collected exponentially faster, while the potential for human error is decreasing quickly. Companies are realizing that bringing the system to the user, placing the task at their fingertips, can make the entire team more efficient.

Customer Example — Worthington Industries Uses Orchestrator to Mobilize & Modernize

Worthington Industries is a leading industrial manufacturing company delivering innovative solutions to customers that span many industries. This includes transportation, construction, industrial, agriculture, and retail. Their cylinders division has been running JD Edwards for over 20 years. In all this time, Worthington’s manufacturing facilities were tracking production and inventory using pen and paper and then transferring the data to JD Edwards at the end of their shifts. Those manual and batch processes were error-prone, and they hindered the organization’s ability to react to changes, meet customer demand, and run as efficiently as possible.

Four years ago, digitalization manager Justin Skaggs attended Collaborate, where 9.2 and Orchestrator were being featured. He called his team from the conference and said, “This is the platform we need. We’ve got to upgrade.” IT leadership and business partners agreed, and Worthington kicked off the project the following week.

Since going to 9.2, mobile has been key to the company’s strategy. They built a suite of Android-based mobile apps to better manage processes in real-time and eliminate manual errors. They’ve expanded apps to do more than just inventory control. For example, they built a digital traveler mobile app that ties together the JD Edwards Quality Module with real material data and product data management drawings, placing everything an operator needs at their fingertips. Employees have adopted mobile solutions. Mobile has become essential to running shop floor operations to the tune of about 300,000 transactions per month.

The 9.2 platform has allowed Worthington Industries to build several orchestrator-based solutions. They built master data management portals in react JS, running as an E1 page, with system-to-system integration, robotic process automation, and a lot more. Orchestrator and mobile are driving changes to the Worthington Industries business processes.

Customer Example — Carr Properties Formulates an Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Carr Properties is a privately held real estate company that owns and operates 4.4 million square feet of office buildings in Metro DC and Boston. They also have 2.4 million square feet in developing projects. At Carr, there is a growing demand for strategic business data. They like to operate automation and drive innovations and make smarter decisions. They recently began two projects. The first involved replacing a manual process with artificial intelligence.

The representative at Carr Properties explained that leases are not easy to read through or organized in a specific grid. The complicated nature of leases makes it difficult to teach a machine how to read them. To do so, the company began converting lease PDFs into identifiable text. They then indexed the lease, created a table of contents, and extracted all provisions similar to the way the data is organized in JD Edwards. Finally, they leveraged Orchestrator with a bit of custom development to move the data into JD Edwards.

Utilizing Orchestrator allowed them to maintain data integrity and validate all information.

The second project emerged from COVID circumstances, as the company received zero data in 12 months. They had to pivot in order to maintain and increase their competitive advantage.

The team at Carr Properties took their existing data in JD Edwards and compiled it with third-party information, drilling down from the customer to an asset to portfolio level information. This gave them the competitive edge they desired.

Carr Properties explained that the first project gave them efficiency, reliable data, and streamlined processes. The second project adds comprehensibility, speed, and accuracy to their rental forecast.

Imperative No. 3 — Embrace a Cloud Culture

Speed and agility are best displayed in the Cloud. Organizations that have geared themselves toward Cloud and Cloud solutions are able to adjust to changing market demands and unforeseen events with economic impact quicker than those that are not embracing Cloud.

JD Edwards customers can maximize value from Oracle’s investment in JD Edwards and the Cloud. Specifically, customers are experiencing accelerated growth, lowered TCO, and improved performance after moving to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

While a Lift & Shift approach is the quickest way to embrace a modern architecture, customers can also utilize surround strategies. In this approach, customers adopt Cloud apps such as HCM and EPM that can be used to extend Enterprise 9.2 for enhanced insight.

This sets up a hybrid cloud environment. Hybrid serves the customer’s requirements in several different ways—namely location, flexibility, and control—without sacrificing performance. They enjoy both security and value at the same time. Hybrid keeps the engine humming.

For those that want to continue to move toward OCI, it is possible to start with a hybrid approach and continue toward a full move to the Cloud.

Customer Example — Blattner Company Implements a Hybrid Cloud Approach

Blattner Company is implementing Oracle’s Fusion Cloud Project-Driven Supply Chain, integrated to JD Edwards, which will enable a best-in-class supply chain management system. According to VP of Supply Chain, Kathy Presperin, the company is predicting millions in savings along with gains in efficiencies from the Oracle solution this year.

Key Takeaways

Re-design your company for resiliency and adaptability with these three imperatives from top-level executives:

  • Adopt an agile mindset
  • Develop a digital strategy
  • Embrace a Cloud culture

Leverage the inflection point that our globe has experienced to strategically position your company now and in the future. As a leader in digital transformation, JD Edwards wants to help you realize your business goals, from code-current tactics to robotic process automation to strategic data utilization to your own customized journey to the Cloud.

How to Succeed in Challenging Times with Innovation & Digitization