Moving to Dallas, For

By Elizabeth Bennett  |  Posted 2005-12-05 Print this article Print

2005 definitely goes down as an interesting year. But who were the heroes of the IT universe and who were the goats?

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Oreck successfully transferred call-center operations from Long Beach to Denver. But the company had to rely on quick thinking to get its financial, distribution and technology systems running.

Oreck, a longtime IBM customer, moved to a Big Blue disaster recovery site in Dallas. It also outsourced its supply chain management to United Parcel Service because Long Beach lacked communications.

The lesson: The crisis takes over, and business continuity plans can fall short and management has to work on the fly to keep the business going. Oreck managed to open its Long Beach facility on Sept. 9 with backup generators, spotty communications and a big assist from UPS for logistics support and supplies such as food and water for Oreck's employees.

On Oct. 18, Oreck became New Orleans' first major corporation to return to the city, which will take years to rebuild. CEO Oreck, home at last, notes, "I never seriously considered not going back."

6: Number of in-house technology staff needed to run Sunny Delight's $600 million global business.

When Cincinnati-based beverage maker Sunny Delight was spun off from parent Procter & Gamble in August 2004 to private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates, the consumer products company was given one year to wean itself from P&G's technology infrastructure.

To pull off the transition, Sunny Delight, or Sunny D as it's known to parents and kids, coaxed chief information officer Greg Winholt, a former P&G finance executive, out of retirement.

His goal: run a $600 million global business with an in-house technology staff of just six. His plan: outsource everything, from financial accounting software to billing, invoicing, production planning and forecasting, and inventory.

When Baselinelast checked in with Sunny Delight ("Cutting Ties," March, p. 65), the company was gearing up to pull the plug from P&G on its North American operations by April 1 and its European operations by Aug. 1.

The company hit both deadlines and outsourced the bulk of its SAP-based infrastructure to a Phoenix outsourcing firm, OneNeck IT Services.

Winholt says the company had to overcome a number of hiccups as its North American and European operations were switched over, including data errors as Sunny Delight connected interfaces between its new financial software, billing and invoicing, and production and planning.

But Winholt met his deadline, and he was happy with the results. And the company's entire technology infrastructure is being run with just six full-time employees, including Winholt, whose primary responsibility is managing Sunny Delight's outsourcing pacts. Now Winholt thinks he'll put off his retirement a little longer, forgoing the golf course for project management.

"It's been a wild ride and we faced a lot of pressure," he said, "but I also learned a lot over the past year. The bottom line is, I'm having fun again."

Story Guide:

Winners and Losers: Good Management Makes the Difference

Senior Writer
Elizabeth has been writing and reporting at Baselinesince its inaugural issue. Most recently, Liz helped Fortune 500 companies with their online strategies as a customer experience analyst at Creative Good. Prior to that, she worked in the organization practice at McKinsey & Co. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College.

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