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Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC)

RAC Supports Growth With Digital Transformation and Strategic Partnership With Hitachi Vantara

Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC)

INDUSTRY

Agriculture

SOLUTIONS

Application Modernization: ERP Modernization Services for Oracle

SERVICES

Digital Implementation Services for Oracle

Application Managed Services for Oracle

PARTNER

Oracle

Challenge

The Challenge:

Enable business growth with streamlined processes and greater automation. 

Solution

The Solution:

Partner with Hitachi Vantara to implement Oracle Cloud HCM, upgrade Oracle EBS and digitalize processes.

Outcomes

  • Improved business agility and productivity with streamlined processes and greater automation.
  • Halved the time to hire and onboard many thousands of seasonal field staff.
  • Supports innovation and enables better decisions with rich business insights. 
  • Risk mitigation and cost optimization.

Challenge: Supporting Growth with More Efficient Business Processes

From blueberry pie to raspberry jam, blackberry crumble to strawberry sundae - as the largest producer of fresh berries in the world, it’s likely that Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC) grew the key ingredients.

RAC has operations across North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Although the company’s main activity is agriculture, it’s the people that are the heart of RAC’s business. The family-owned company is focused on developing a culture of honesty, fairness and respect and enriching employee communities.

With its roots going back more than 100 years, RAC has doubled in size over the last decade, and aims to double again within the next 10 years. To support this growth, RAC needs to ensure it has the right systems and processes in place.

“With many thousands of seasonal employees and the potential for that number to grow significantly, we need to be able to onboard and offboard workers efficiently,” explains John Thompson, CIO at RAC. “Although we were already using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and Oracle HCM (Human Capital Management), the systems were ageing versions, only deployed in certain regions and used in a suboptimal way. For example, in Mexico, our onboarding process was still entirely manual.”

This inconsistency meant that the company had multiple sources of business data and only static, localized reports, which hampered its ability to make informed business decisions. RAC recognized that to support growth, it needed to eliminate its digital debt and brought Thompson onboard to lead a transformation that would streamline, standardize and automate processes.

“Although RAC has an extremely competent IT team, the company’s expertise lies in growing berries, not technology,” comments Thompson. “To be more progressive and agile as a business, we need the right IT partners to complement our internal team.”

“With automated processes, we can move employees to positions where they can add more value to the business, which in turn will aid growth. With Hitachi Vantara by our side, we’re building the foundations we need to double in size.”

–John Thompson, CIO, Reiter Affiliated Companies

Solution: A Strategic Partnership Optimizes Oracle Systems

Having worked with Hitachi Vantara for the last 10 years to help maintain its Oracle-based systems, RAC turned to the long-term partner for help with its digital transformation. “We did our due diligence, but Hitachi Vantara already understood our business, offered a compelling formal proposal and had the skills and experience we needed,” explains Thompson. “Perhaps most importantly though, Hitachi Vantara is a good cultural match, with values that align to our own.”

Hitachi Vantara helped RAC upgrade its running end-of-life systems to the latest versions of Oracle EBS and Oracle HCM Cloud. It also migrated RAC’s Oracle HCM Cloud system from an on-premise environment to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

The projects started in January 2020 with both Oracle HCM and Oracle EBS Cloud going live in the production environment for the US and Mexico in July and September 2020 respectively. COVID-19 lockdown didn’t slow the teams down. “We had to completely change operating model two months into the project due to the pandemic,” explains Thompson. “Meetings then had to be virtual. But it didn’t slow us down too much – Hitachi Vantara helped us maintain momentum.”

Additionally, Hitachi Vantara  provided program management and technical expertise, recommended best practices, helped avoid common pitfalls and provided the team with the confidence to achieve its goals.“Hitachi Vantara’s role is far more than just a systems integrator,” says Thompson. “The team took on a strategic role from the outset and is an active part of our steering committee, working closely with our leadership team to ensure the best project outcomes.”

Hitachi Vantara continues to support RAC’s Oracle systems, providing problem resolution, continuous improvement and customizations so the company can maximize its investment in the solutions. As a strategic partner, Hitachi Vantara is helping RAC shape the future of technology and plan its business systems for the next three to five years.

The next phase of projects involves rolling out Oracle HCM and the latest version of EBS for Canada, Europe and Africa. Once the entire organization is on the same toolset, RAC will be able to share information and best practices and align its processes. This will not only provide the management team with access to global business insights, but also make it easier for employees to move between regions within the company. 

Outcome: Establishing an Agile Foundation to Innovate and Grow the Business

Both the Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle EBS projects were completed under budget. Their success has helped improve the general perception of the IT team at RAC, demonstrating that it is a true business enabler. “By upgrading our Oracle business systems, we’ve achieved our original goals around cost-avoidance, eliminating complexity and supporting growth with greater scalability,” confirms Thompson. “Moving to the cloud has also reduced our infrastructure requirements, which frees up staff for other activities.”

RAC has already been able to improve its KPIs (key performance indicators) with Oracle HCM upgrades in place with the help of Hitachi Vantara. For example, hiring and onboarding field employees now takes 15 to 30 minutes, rather than 30 to 60 minutes. With many thousands of staff to administer every year, this makes a significant impact on the efficiency of RAC’s HR admin team. The richness of the real-time data that RAC can now access is a key business differentiator. With a better understanding of where people are, the management team can communicate more effectively to avoid labor deficits.  

The EBS upgrade has also helped boost productivity. “With automated processes, we can move employees to positions where they can add more value to the business, which in turn will aid growth,” concludes Thompson. “With Hitachi Vantara by our side, we’re building the foundations we need to double in size.”

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