Keep software up to date without interrupting business
Achieve greater operational agility
Move from OTM on-premises to OTM Cloud
Minimized transportation costs by optimizing routes
Increased visibility into transportation across the company
Energized a collaborative workforce
Streamlined integration with other Mutual Materials’ systems
Improved scalability and business process flexibility
Sustaining entrepreneurial vision from ashes to the cloud
Entrepreneurs always hope to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea. After the great Seattle fire of 1889, as the dust settled and the city began to rebuild, entrepreneur Daniel Houlahan was paying attention. He knew that brick — not wood — would be the wave of the future, so he built a brick plant and started turning out materials that would rebuild the city. And his venture paid off — the company grew brick by brick over the next 120 years, eventually becoming Mutual Materials, a major regional employer operating more than 10 manufacturing plants and 16 branch offices across the Pacific Northwest.
Mutual Materials remains a family company, and its entrepreneurial spirit still guides its success, according to CEO and owner Gary Houlahan. “Brick is clearly the foundation of our business,” he said. “But over time we’ve always found it necessary to reinvest and be innovative. “ Today, to remain successful and stay ahead of the competition, Mutual Materials knew they needed to make the leap to the cloud.
Finding a cost-effective way to do the heavy hauling
With plants and customers across the Pacific Northwest, Mutual Materials sought a way to manage the transportation of bricks and other heavy building materials to maintain efficient operations while minimizing costs. If a shipment is sent to the wrong address or requires rerouting due to road hazards, it can quickly add time and costs to a project and impact Mutual Materials’ bottom line.
Although the company was having success using Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) on premises, hosted in a Hitachi Consulting data center, it was time to move to the cloud to make it easier to use new features and scale up without delaying daily operations. “The cloud is our future,” said Guy DeFlorio, chief technical officer at Mutual Materials. “Moving from on-premises OTM to OTM Cloud is the obvious choice for improving our efficiency and supporting greater operational agility.”
Mutual Materials chose Hitachi Consulting for the migration. “We’ve been very pleased with Hitachi Consulting’s OTM hosting and managed services. We were impressed with their understanding of Oracle Cloud, as well as our own systems and business model, and we were confident that they had the expertise and tools to deliver the solution we needed with minimal disruption,” said DeFlorio.
Making a low-risk move from on-premises to OTM Cloud
In Hitachi Consulting, Mutual Materials knew they had a rock-solid formula for success. Thanks to their long and successful working relationship with the company’s on-premises OTM solution, Hitachi Consulting already had a deep understanding of the company’s expectations and functional requirements. “We had a lot of trust in Hitachi Consulting,” said DeFlorio. “We knew we were going to the cloud with a partner that understood our environment and our business — and we knew they would do what was best for us.”
After working with Mutual Materials to determine the company’s high-level needs, the Hitachi Consulting OTM team delivered a tailored project plan that included a methodical, documented approach with testing and validation to ensure effective execution and coordination with Oracle. Hitachi Consulting’s nimble modern best practices approach to Oracle Cloud projects allowed Mutual Materials to make informed decisions during the project to facilitate their business objectives. The 12-week project’s scope included design, development, and deployment of OTM Cloud by using migration tools that maximized use of all available functionality and minimized the impact on daily business operations.
Building a strategic foundation for future success
Mutual Materials’ leap to the cloud was completed on time and on budget, and the switchover happened over a single weekend. As soon as the solution was in place, they were able to enjoy the many benefits of OTM Cloud. For example, the on-premises version of OTM was updated quarterly, but OTM Cloud is updated and patched continuously, to improve functionality and provide a better experience for users.
With OTM Cloud, Mutual Materials can manage all transportation activity throughout their supply chains on a single platform that enables the company to minimize costs, optimize service levels and automate business processes within its global transportation and logistics networks. OTM Cloud also provides a powerful foundation for future cloud projects. “The migration to OTM Cloud is the latest in Mutual Materials’ cloud strategy. The solution builds on our strong partnership with Hitachi Consulting and enables future innovations and new opportunities to drive continued business growth,” said DeFlorio.
As a family-owned, traditional company, Mutual Materials doesn’t seem like a typical candidate to be at the forefront of the cloud migration. But through the curls of smoke from Seattle’s Great Fire and through the mist surrounding cloud migration today, Mutual Materials has had a clear vision of its future. Throughout their history from 1900 through today, the company’s entrepreneurial foresight has led it to embracing new ideas and keeping its spirit strong for the next 100 years.
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