CASE STUDY Owens-Corning's Enterprise System Struggle
In the early 1990s Owens-Corning was a U.S. leader in the pro- Owens-Corning's project began with its insulation group,
duction and sale of such building materials as insulation, siding, and those on the project team understood this. They undertook
and roofing, but management wanted the company to grow. a redesign process before implementing SAP's R/3. They set up
The company had only two possible paths to growth: offering a cross-functional teams to identify the handoffs and touch points
fuller range of building materials, or becoming a global force. To between the various functions. For example, the process that
increase its range of products Owens-Corning decided to runs from the time the firm needs to buy something through the
acquire other companies. To become a global force, manage- payment issuance to the supplier touches logistics and accountment
realized the company would need to become a global ing. The teams also kept in close contact with suppliers who
enterprise that could coordinate the activities of all of its units in needed to know what Owens-Corning would require of them.
many different countries. As a result of the redesign, purchasing decisions were moved
Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Owens-Corning had been from the plants up to a regional level, enabling commodity spedivided
along product lines, such as fiberglass insulation, exterior cialists to use their expertise and the leverage of buying for a
siding, and roofing materials. Each unit operated as a distinct entity larger base to improve Owens-Corning's purchasing position.
with its own set of information systems. (The company had more How did the first ERP project go? During a weekend in
than 200 archaic, inflexible, and isolated systems.) Each plant had March 1997 a team of about 60 people transferred legacy data
its own product lines, pricing... [continues]
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