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Supply chain visibility

OTM
Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) has provided companies the flexibility to manage all transportation related activities across supply chains on one platform. Apart from minimizing costs, optimizing service levels and providing flexible models of business process automation within their logistics networks, OTM also helps organizations in mapping their highly complex business requirements from logistics domain.

What is supply chain visibility (SCV) and what role does it play in OTM?
Supply chain visibility (SCV) is the ability of parts, components, or products in transit to be tracked from the manufacturer to their final destination. SCV's major focus is to improve and strengthen the supply chain by making data readily available to all investors - including the customer - and enabling transparency and a greater understanding of product movement and overall performance. SCV monitors and controls logistics processes more effectively by reducing inventory levels with real-time monitoring of inventory and management capabilities.

Key elements of SCV
Production
Supply
Inventory
Transportation

Production: Strategic decisions regarding production focus on customer preferences as well as demand in the market. They also analyze the type and quantity of products to be manufactured and the parts or components that should be produced, and whether they should be produced at a particular plant or outsourced to a capable supplier. They must also keep in mind production quality and the capacity of the goods to be produced that will ultimately have to meet the expectations of the customer and the market. 

Supply: An organization must select a supplier that provides the best raw materials at the best possible price. Organizations should also determine what goods their facility / facilities are able to produce both economically and efficiently so that they can maintain the availability of stocks whenever required in order to support the smooth functioning of the supply chain.
Inventory: Strategic decisions in this area always focus on inventory, particularly stock-in-hand. In SCV, this aspect is a very critical issue and determining the optimal level of stock at each location is vital in ensuring customer satisfaction as demand fluctuates.

Transportation: OTM is the world's leading transport management tool providing planning and execution solution for shippers and third-party logistics providers. A single application integrates and channelizes shipment planning, execution, freight settlement, and business process automation. OTM can be implemented for varied modes of transport, ranging from full truckloads to complex multi-leg combinations of air, rail and sea shipments. As a consequence, this tool substantially brings down transportation costs, leads to an improvement in customer service and asset utilization, and helps in delivering the benefits of a flexible solution.

Objective of SCV 
Maintaining the reliability of the supply chain is critical in ensuring that a high demand for goods percolates through at all times, as in today's competitive world, meeting deadlines and achieving customer satisfaction is of utmost importance.

Business challenges of SCV
The execution phase poses formidable challenges in terms of the entire plan. Key challenges such as order modification, shipment damage, unfavorable weather, production backlog, and similar unexpected events culminates into 'delayed shipments' and leads to serious 'supply chain issues' regardless of how robust the initial plan was. Thus, organizations constantly strive to achieve real-time tracking of their goods within the supply chain. Real-time monitoring of Goods-in-transit provides companies opportunities of identifying pertinent problems and arrive at mitigation plans for reducing their impact.
Event management through visibility: Service-level agreements (SLAs) are specified for each lane which varies from one another. These SLAs need to be monitored so that, if and when any SLA is not met, a notification is sent to the Service Provider. In order to meet this requirement, a milestone monitor is setup and configured.
The entire lifecycle of orders and shipments is managed proactively by SCV through automated milestone monitoring. When pickup confirmations have not been received within a specified tolerance interval, SCV automatically accelerates shipments and status updates are received from transportation service providers using multiple communication formats such as web, XML, or mobile telephony.

OTM and its contribution to SCV
OTM in its recent versions have helped a great deal in improving the logistics business and streamlining order fulfillment and procurement to bring down production costs and lead times. In the coming years, OTM is poised to play a significant role in determining future of logistics enterprises. Improving visibility all throughout the supply chain and removing wastages/bottlenecks shall be the key tenets of implementing OTM solution. These functionalities shall undoubtedly lead to higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness across supply chains, thus meeting the ever increasing expectations of tech savvy customers who want their orders delivered in the fastest manner possible at an optimized cost.
In a nutshell, OTM and its upgraded version have largely emphasized on:
Increasing  supply chain visibility with carrier and trading partner communications
Improving operations and network performance with embedded analytics
Reducing freight costs and increasing profit margins
Increasing customer service and supply chain reliability
Reducing supply chain and compliance risk worldwide
Outsourcing transportation, production, and warehousing that has increased unexpectedly, meeting all the challenges of SCV
To know more, please meet us at the Infosys Booth during the OTM SIG APAC 2016 Conference (Singapore) and we will be delighted to showcase our solutions.
Written by: Rachana Singh

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