Quest spoke with Don Sauve, Programmer/Analyst, at Wagstaff about the company’s upgrade to 9.2 and all of the new features that employees have started leveraging within the organization.
- Wagstaff was able to leverage the E1 Health and Safety module to replace manual incident tracking processes in health and safety.
- CafeOne layouts have helped employees save time by removing the need to switch back and forth between screens.
- Some of the benefits of the 9.2 upgrade include support through at least 2030 and the ability to leverage the latest delivered features.
Wagstaff is a family-owned company that was founded in 1946. The company manufactures casting equipment for the aluminum industry. Wagstaff provides machinery, technology, and service that enables aluminum products to transform molten aluminum into solid shapes using “direct chill” casting—which uses water to chill molten aluminum and solidify it into desired shapes.
The company is based in Spokane, WA, and has facilities in Spokane and Kentucky, and has commissioned systems in 58 countries so far. There are regional offices around the world, including representatives in Brazil, China, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Croatia, and Russia.
The company has nearly 500 employees, a little over 300 of which are defined JD Edwards users. There are approximately 130 in the system on a day-to-day basis. Wagstaff started with JD Edwards in 1999 on B7331. The company later upgraded to XE, then 8.9, 9.0, 9.1, and just recently upgraded to 9.2 in February. Wagstaff is currently on Tools release 126.96.36.199. Wagstaff is running on the Windows 2016 platform.
While the 9.2 upgrade was mostly a technical upgrade, it has allowed Wagstaff to begin leveraging exciting new features.
Have upgrades gotten easier over time?
Upgrades have gotten more reliable. We have learned a lot over the years about what to do and what not to do, so we have been able to go through upgrades more efficiently. Our 9.2 upgrade took roughly 10 months. About four months of that time was dedicated to customization retrofits.
How many customizations do you have in your system?
We have roughly 500 customizations. We went through a review process where we dropped a few of them. We ran into situations in which people no longer had a business need for requests they made or the person who initially made the request is no longer with the company and nobody else has a need for it, so that helped us do away with some of the customizations. We also were able to replace a few customizations with features in 9.2 like personal forms.
What modules are you using in JD Edwards?
We originally licensed Manufacturing, Distribution, and Financials. Over time, we have added Plant and Equipment Maintenance Management, Health and Safety, and One View Reporting. We also bought the One View reports that were prebuilt for Health and Safety, and we are utilizing Watchlists.
Any time we have incidents, not necessarily accidents, we use Health and Safety. Activities can be reported and put in the system, so we can keep track of what people are involved, what the incident was, if any investigation took place, if any outside parties need to get involved, etc. All of this information feeds into OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reports that we periodically file, and we can use Oracle-supplied embedded BI Publisher reports to create those reports automatically. The implementation was pretty straight forward, so we were able to handle it on our own without the help of a third-party partner.
Before implementing E1 Health and Safety, we had physical file folders and file folders on networks filled with Word documents and Excel files trying to keep track of incident details. It was not cohesive or organized.
Did you enlist a business partner to help with your 9.2 upgrade?
Yes, Denovo assisted with the upgrade. Denovo handled most of the technical side—the installation and the data migration. During this upgrade, we moved from Oracle Database to SQL Server, so Denovo helped with the data transition between those. They also helped with test runs during the upgrade. It was helpful to have a partner that was knowledgeable about the pieces of an upgrade that we do not handle on a regular basis.
We also switched from RTF format for text media objects to HTML format, which allows us to use JD Edwards on any browser and deal with text attachments correctly. This helped us get rid of our dependence on Internet Explorer and got us better positioned for future upgrades.
What new functionality are you using in 9.2?
We have been using CafeOne and EnterpriseOne pages for several years now. We have roughly a dozen CafeOne layouts and 35 E1 pages that we use for different functional areas. We have also created a few personal forms, which have helped us replace some of the customizations in our system. Additionally, we have created a few EnterpriseOne Searches.
How are you using CafeOne layouts?
One example of a CafeOne layout that we use is from Item Master, which pulls up Supply and Demand. It can also pull up Item Notes and Internal Attachments in separate panes. So, if someone is reviewing a lot of different items, they can use this CafeOne layout to easily browse through all of that related information.
Our planning group uses another CafeOne layout when they are going through Work Orders. The layout will pull up the Routings and the Parts List, so they can easily view information that is related to the Work Orders as they review them. Not having to go back and forth between screens while they are reviewing Work Orders saves them a lot of time.
How are you using Watchlists?
We have a few Watchlists for our maintenance group. One Watchlist helps them keep track of maintenance orders that are overdue, and another shows them how many maintenance orders have been submitted that require approval. We also have another Watchlist for our finance group that tracks GL batches that are in error.
How are you using EnterpriseOne Search?
One of our E1 Searches is for our maintenance group. If they use a certain item for a Work Order and they want to search by that, there was previously no easy way to do that. However, an E1 Search accesses the Work Order Parts List table and completes a search in the description and the Item Number fields. This search will show the user all the places where that item was used. From that search, we can link to the Work Order for more detail.
We also have an E1 Search for our Kentucky facility to provide visibility to their non-JDE inventory information and provide visibility into this information to employees in Spokane using JDE. I wrote a SQL script to pull Hebron’s inventory information into a custom table in our JD Edwards database once a day. Now, our employees can perform an E1 Search against that table to find the inventory levels available at the Kentucky facility. Since the information pulls daily, the table stays fairly up to date. We could update the frequency if we reached a point where we needed even more up-to-date data. It only takes a few seconds to do this refresh.
What are the biggest benefits you have noticed after upgrading to 9.2?
Since we are now on the latest version, we know that we are supported through at least 2030—which is great—especially since JD Edwards continues to stay up to date on changes for tax and regulatory requirements.
We also enjoy being able to keep up with the latest features that are coming out (personal forms, Watchlists, Orchestrator, etc.). Orchestrator has the potential to be a big game-changer for us in the future because of the power to automate. We look forward to learning and working on that more in the future. We are also looking into using more features that may have been in JD Edwards for years but that we have been unfamiliar with or unaware of in the past.
Do you plan on staying current?
We will look to get current every one or two years for applications and every six months to a year for Tools. It still takes a fair amount of time to upgrade and test, and you never know what you may run into. We might also look into using tools like the Customization Object Analyzer in future upgrades as well to help simplify and save time.
How has your involvement with the Quest Oracle Community benefitted you?
Quest has a good group of people on staff and volunteers within SIGs to work with, and I enjoy being involved in the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Technology Special Interest Group. It helps give me and Wagstaff a voice in the user community, and it is gratifying for customers to be able to help drive product enhancements to Oracle.
Would you like to share your own story with the Quest community? Contact us and Quest staff will get in touch!