Rosendin Electric takes paperless route with Oracle Fusion Middleware

Mark Fontecchio

Industry: Electrical contracting

Company: Rosendin Electric Inc., based in San Jose, Calif., is a national electrical contracting firm that performs jobs at places like hospitals, corporate campuses and data centers. It has been in operation since 1919, has about 3,000 employees and is looking at potential revenues of about $900 million this year.

Problem: As the company expands its operations across the country as well as the globs, it needed to find a way to improve the procure-to-pay process. The manual, paper-based procurement and payment process wasn’t accurate or efficient enough.

“We saw the opportunity to totally eliminate paper and the paper trail from our business,” said Sam Lamonica, the company’s chief information officer. “We do a ton of work with some suppliers and we wanted to streamline the process and stay within our company’s goal of going paperless.”

Solution: The company was already using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) for financials and purchasing, so it sought software that could integrate with that.

Implementation timeframe: Analysis of various invoicing, middleware and service-oriented architecture (SOA) platforms began in February 2010. About four months later the company implemented Oracle SOA Suite 11g and WebLogic Suite 11g.

Implementation details: The company had tried using some electronic invoice contractors, such as Clearbridge, which build software specifically electric contractors. Under that system, Rosendin would send Clearbridge the invoices, and Clearbridge would turn them into electronic records and send them to the vendors. That was one option, but Rosendin decided that it would rather eliminate the middleman and needed to create and send the electronic invoices to the vendors itself.

Rosendin also looked at other middleware providers such as Tibco. But considering that Rosendin already ran Oracle Database and EBS, Fusion Middleware was the leading contender. Anand Tamboli, director of business applications at Rosendin, said the company particularly liked how it could use Fusion Middleware for electronic data interchange transactions with its suppliers.

“It was also the skill sets with the team I have,” Lamonica added. “They had familiarity in that environment. And we wanted to make sure the middleware provider had a decent idea of how the transactions with our vendors went on the daily basis.”

Hurdles: Tamboli said one of the major hurdles to implementing Fusion Middleware was the electrical contracting industry itself. About 90% of Rosendin’s customers are repeat customers. That is good because there is a lot of trust between Rosendin and its suppliers. But that trust actually created a problem.

“Oftentimes we will make orders after a phone call or an email before the purchase order is even created,” Tamboli explained. As a result, the email or fax would become the de facto purchase agreement. Then, when Rosendin created a more official purchase order, there was the possibility of creating a problem, possibly of duplicative orders, possibly of the two not matching up to one another.

So Rosendin had its suppliers enter transactions themselves.

“So now when we get the transaction, the (purchase order) matches the invoice that comes in,” Lamonica said. “It makes the entire transaction process easier for accounts payable. All the codes and line items match.”

Rosendin has implemented this process for two of its top 15 suppliers and hopes to have it for all its top suppliers by the end of this year.

Wish list: Rosendin wants better application integration with more vertical applications. In particular, the company is looking for integration with two construction management software packages it uses -- Prolog and Vela Systems.

“We want the ability to build stronger relationships with the companies that we have to buy software applications from, because we can’t do some of the things we would like to do,” Lamonica said. “We get good features from Oracle, Prolog and Vela, but there isn’t much integration between them. We would like Oracle to forge more relationships and get a standard interface between the two.”

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