U.S. Oil enlisted us to take their division to new heights, prompting the project name “Voyager.” Prior to the endeavor, U.S. Oil’s system limited them from expanding sales that involved their inventory or where they could deliver the product. Limitations in the homegrown ERP system, including the required manual efforts, presented high barriers to expansion. To overcome the tax and process implications of expanding its national and international footprint, U.S. Oil partnered with us to create a more automated, scalable system.
"On day one, we had a system that simply worked and ran our business. What was done here was unprecedented in terms of scale and the end result."
Mark Duening | CIO | U.S. Venture
We transitioned U.S. Oil from its legacy iSeries system to a custom solution designed to support its aggressive growth strategies. This transformation required implementing state-of-the-art technology, enabling the business to scale through the automation and elimination of unnecessary manual and non-value add processes. The team designed and built a supporting Agile tool in Microsoft SharePoint, including a product backlog, sprint backlog, sprint roster, sprint utilization and sprint burndown. We managed the project’s 17 functional teams and nine scrum teams comprised of both Core and U.S. Oil team members.
Teamwork and collaboration between the companies were essential to complete Voyager. We introduced and trained U.S. Oil’s teams in the Agile Scrum of Scrums approach, using the scrum methodology where nine tightly-integrated teams built out features in two-week Sprint cycles. This arrangement required ongoing testing, frequent communication, accountability and aligned timetables. Teams were co-located off-site in a uniquely visual work environment; a display of color-coded notes and shapes on the walls guided the team’s progress and was a major key to success. Our involved employees included a program manager, scrum masters, software engineers, business intelligence engineers, business analysts, SharePoint engineers, a quality analyst, and a Dynamics AX specialist.
Voyager began with six months of workshops and participation in several LEAN events to determine core functionalities and removal of non-value add processes. The system integrated with IGenTax technology to automate and streamline tax return filings, enabling U.S. Oil to move faster in new markets. The team spent 18 months developing an integration hub called RUDI along with customizations to Salesforce.com, Dynamics AX, and other commercial applications. After initial development completed, the team spent 5 months performing parallel testing, validation, user acceptance testing and product updates.
Parallel testing, which required meticulous synchronization and monthly results comparison, proved vital in delivering a high-quality product.
We delivered a new, high-quality business system on time for a May 1, 2016 launch. “On day one, we had a system that simply worked and ran our business,” said U.S. Venture’s CIO Mark Duening. “What was done here was unprecedented in terms of scale and the end result.” The project stayed within the $3.8M budget, covering both the original scope as well as additional functionalities. Overall, Voyager delivered a higher than anticipated ROI that will pay for itself faster than originally planned, in three years rather than five.
Beyond supporting future expansion, the system’s automation has already proven successful in saving money and time by identifying discrepancies in supplier invoices. The IGen technology component greatly reduced costs stemming from the former necessity of contract tax analysts for handling the implications of entering new markets. The organized, iterative Agile methodology allowed the team to identify improvement opportunities, reprioritize, and make scope modifications throughout the build.
Voyager has already improved U.S. Oil team members’ quality of life by enabling more reasonable workday hours. For example, one individual shared especially positive feedback regarding the time she gained with her family due to the new automation’s streamlining of manual requirements. Overall, the improvements for the team will have long-term beneficial effects on retention. In addition, dedicated client resources on the project team earned high recognition for their achievement, which will have a positive impact on their careers.
Our Program Manager spoke highly of U.S. Oil and our seamless, enthusiastic partnership: “The project entailed amazing teamwork, tight timelines, tough decisions, and hard work over a multi-year duration, but it was a lot of fun and personally rewarding!”
Voyager was recognized by U.S. Venture as its most successful large scale system implementation ever.
About U.S. Oil
U.S. Oil, the largest division of U.S. Venture, is an integrated supply, marketer, trading and logistics operator of refined and renewable fuels. It is responsible for an extensive, complex process that begins with the purchase of bulk fuel and ends with delivering the final product to gas stations.