A nutritional supplement company does Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade

USANA Health Sciences tackled three key business issues when it performed an Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade: third-party integration, employee turnover and new software modules.

When USANA Health Sciences began evaluating the feasibility of an Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade, from release 11.5.10 to release 12.0.6, the company looked at three key business issues.

First for USANA, a developer and manufacturer of nutritional supplements and personal care products in 14 international markets, was that it used Oracle Process Manufacturing (OPM), and integrating any third-party system with Oracle applications was overly complex due to dual-item masters, one for process manufacturing and a second for discrete manufacturing.

Second, some employee turnover meant that USANA’s patching strategy had been left behind. That meant that in October 2008, when the company started evaluating the upgrade, each module was anywhere from six to 18 patches behind the Oracle recommended patch level.

Finally, USANA wanted to take advantage of new modules such as Manufacturing Execution Systems and Warehouse Management for Process Manufacturing.

Moving forward on the Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade

USANA decided in November 2008 to migrate to 12.0.6, and it assembled a team and tasked it with creating a project plan for the upgrade. The upgrade team included two ERP analysts, the director of Oracle applications, and one database administrator. USANA decided against hiring consultants to assist in the upgrade because, at that time, there were no consultants with experience in upgrading an OPM customer to release 12. The initial timeline had USANA migrating to 12.0.6 in May 2009, but there was a delay, for two reasons: One, there were complications in migrating OPM data; and two, in June 2009, during the project, Oracle released a newer, more comprehensive version of the upgrade. 

So USANA decided to implement version 12.1.1.

The team created a new project plan for the 12.1.1 requirements and established November 2009 as the implementation date. In order to meet the deadline, USANA dedicated two development instances as test boxes for the migration. One instance was dedicated to user acceptance testing. The other allowed the DBA and system analysts to perform as many migrations as possible before November.

The user acceptance testing and gap analysis began in August and continued with a new migration at the beginning of September. By the end of October, USANA resolved all critical issues with the help of Oracle support and identified and documented all minor issues. The second instance, dedicated to the DBA, was used to perform 11 separate migrations from 11.5.10 to 12.1.1. By the end of October, the DBA and Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade team had a well-defined, documented process that would be used for the production migration in November.

One of the biggest concerns during the testing process was the amount of database downtime required for the migration. The initial upgrades ranged from 48 to 65 hours of actual downtime – USANA database was roughly 160 GB, and the upgrade team required the migration of a full year’s worth of financial data. But as the DBA became more familiar with the process, he recognized that the majority of the pre-migration patches could be applied weeks before the actual upgrade. So he outlined a patching schedule leading up to the production migration. By doing this, he was able to cut the actual downtime to roughly 24 hours.

At 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, USANA began the migration process in the production instance. The Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade to 12.1.1 (which included all the necessary post-migration patches) was complete by the morning of Nov. 27. Over the next 24 hours, system analysts performed all the required setup steps. By Nov. 29, users were back in the system.

Josh Whitmer is a member of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) and an Oracle ERP analyst at USANA Health Sciences. Any comments on this story? Email us at [email protected].

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