Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

Main

September 8, 2016

Internet of Things (IoT) in field service management (FSM)

In today's competitive world, real-time data and innovative service methods are vital for field service enterprises to ensure customer delight, increase revenues, and expand profit margins.

The IoT explained

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows machines to communicate with each other (M2M communication). It is built using a combination of networks that comprise of data-gathering sensors, devices, big data, analytics, and cloud computing, which communicate via secured and encrypted channels. Connected devices enable efficient predictive maintenance by constantly providing information on a machine's performance, environmental conditions, and the possibility of failures. IoT can connect machines on the field in order to record incidents in real-time into a semi-intelligent 'Gen-X' FSM system.

Integrating IoT with FSM software applications

Field service organizations always strive to consistently provide the best service experience to their customers, by ensuring immediate repair and maintenance of their equipment and machinery. By collecting data about the machine's health and performance from IoT sensors, organizations can leverage predictive and preventive field service to minimize device downtime.


Three primary traditional FSM challenges

Here are three primary issues that challenge the current reactive scenarios:

    Field technicians execute the job and fix the equipment after the issue is reported. However, the delay can impact business continuity, which in turn affects the operating profit margins


    Adding more field technicians and service trucks to the field comes at a cost and sometimes the increased capacity remains under-used


    Assigning more work to existing field teams can have a negative impact on SLAs and first-time fix rates. Even worse, it can increase the cost of travel and overtime

Essentials of a new-age FSM solution

A field service management system that integrates device sensor data, technicians, customers, and technology is the key to address these issues. It should function in a predictive and preventive mode with the following features:

    The FSM process, which includes issue identification, communication, incident creation, scheduling, and assignment can be automated, thereby ensuring zero disruption in machinery operations and no or negligible downtime. This not only increases productivity, but also expands operating profit margins

 

    Most FSM products can also automate incident creation, scheduling, assignment, and invoicing processes. Using IoT, we can predict upcoming issues based on sensors data analysis and auto-creation of incidents based on preset threshold rules

The workflow of a FSM system with IoT integration

Here is an outline of the flow of incidents in a typical IoT-enabled FSM system:

1.   Data from the equipment's sensors is collected and transmitted, using secured and encrypted channels, to a big data storage


2.   Big data management and analytics is used to parse and analyze for refined sensors data


3.   The IoT command console is configured with predefined threshold rules to identify errors and monitor the device's health and performance


4.   Incidents are auto-created in the FSM system whenever errors are detected


5.   Auto-scheduling, routing, and dispatching of field service technicians against the incidents is done based on customer entitlements, location, product, skills required for the job, technician's availability, parts availability, etc. via the FSM system


6.   A field technician performs the job at the customer's site; records the effort, parts used, travel time, and any expenses incurred; and then bills the customer


Workflow of Field Service Management application using IoT.

Six Solution benefits



Wind turbines: A case in point of how IoT integrates with FS systems

Failures in wind turbines interrupt power generation leading to lower productivity and higher system downtime, which result in varying energy production and higher operating costs. To maintain profit margins, higher efficiency and uptime are required.

Near-real-time analytics provides data so that FS teams can react faster and address the issues before they become mission critical, thus reducing impact and avoiding downtime.

The wind turbine's sensors collect real-time data that is analyzed and through which, auto incidents are created, service scheduled, and an agent assigned to fix the issues. Wind turbine sensors are also used to continuously collect operating temperature, rotor acceleration, wind speed and direction, and blade vibrations - all of which can be used to optimize the turbine's performance, increase its productivity, and execute predictive maintenance to ensure reduced downtime.


*** Authors: R.N.Sarath Babu and Haresh Sreenivasa ***


Continue reading " Internet of Things (IoT) in field service management (FSM) " »

August 26, 2016

Optimizing Supply Chain Inventory Using Oracle Inventory Optimization

 

In an increasingly competitive and globalized world every organization has to attempt novel methods to stay ahead of the competitors. Enterprises constantly strive towards improving their revenue, profitability and operating margins. It is no more possible for the enterprises to record a positive Year or Year (YoY) growth just by increasing the sales volume and thereby increasing the revenue and profit.  Most of the successful enterprises today have started looking within rather than outward to achieve their growth targets. The focus is on reducing the inventory (safety stocks), carrying and operating costs to improve the profitability without having to impact the productivity. The key to success is to optimize the overall supply chain inventory which reduces the cost of inventory and carrying costs eventually reducing the overall operating costs and contributing to improved margins.

The biggest challenge that looms over the inventory managers in large enterprises is how much inventory we should carry such that we do not compromise on the customer service level. In a global enterprise spanning across multiple geographies with multi-level and multi-layer supply chains, it is not an easy job to decide upon the ideal stocking locations and stocking strategies. With increasing number of competitors retaining the loyalty of the customer is increasingly difficult which leads to high demand variability and forecast inaccuracies. The variability in the lead times committed by our suppliers, transportation contractors and our own production engineers due to the unforeseen events, adds fuel to the fire. Given the circumstances and complexities the use of an IT tool is inevitable. Oracle Inventory Optimization is one amongst the tools available which could assist the enterprise managers in formulating and executing their inventory stocking strategies.

Oracle Inventory Optimization is part of the comprehensive Value Chain Planning Suite of applications from Oracle. The module provides a seamless integration with oracle e-Business suite transaction modules to get a snapshot of the supply chain and master data setups. It also integrates other supply and demand planning modules in VCP for further planning. IO provides the businesses with time-phased safety stock figures under the complex supply chain network.

The key advantage of IO is that it does a multi echelon inventory planning there by optimizing the inventory in the entire supply chain network as a whole in contrast to the conventional inventory planning techniques/tools which does a local optimization of the inventory. Businesses can now plan their entire supply chain network in a single plan. Along with the flexibility in fulfilment lead times and in-transit lead times between various levels of the supply chain network, IO recommends ideal stocking location of the inventory through postponement. Based on the supply chain network, it attempts to pool the risk of variability at higher levels in supply chain to a level lower in the supply chain network which would considerably lower inventory levels and costs without affecting the service level targets.

IO takes into account not just the demand variability and the forecast inaccuracies but also accounts for the variability of your manufacturing, in-transit and supplier lead times. It provides an insight on the contribution of each of those variability towards the overall proposed safety inventory levels.

Illustration 1: Time-phased safety stock analysis in analysis workbench

IO allows the users to perform different inventory simulations with different business objectives such as target service levels, budgets for different category/class of items for different customers/geographies. Inventory planners can perform different what-if scenarios and compare the outcomes related to target safety stock levels, budgets, inventory costs etc in Analysis workbench. The workbench provides the comparisons in both tabular and graphical formats with different types of graphs which are easy to interpret. The users can perform budget, cost break down, profitability analyses along with the safety stock and postponement analysis using the analysis workbench.

Illustration 2: Bar chart comparing safety stock recommendations for different IO Plans

 

Illustration 3: Line chart comparing safety stock recommendations for different IO Plans

 

Once the planners have arrived at ideal safety stocks in line with business objective, this information can be input to Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) for supply planning.

To conclude, Oracle Inventory Optimization is a very handy tool to enterprise managers which acts both as a strategic tool to decide upon the inventory stocking locations and as a tactical/operational tool once the strategy is formed. Its seamless integration with other Oracle demand and supply planning tools make it easy to implement and use.


August 17, 2016

Data transfers to / from Oracle Transportation Management

Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) manages all transport activity across the supply chain cycle. It provides features to enable users to manage master data like location, corporation, equipment, item, commodity, rates, etc., and also monitor transaction data like order release and shipment data. However, OTM cannot work as a standalone system, as most organizations maintain their master / transaction data in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Integration helps bring ERP systems and OTM consolidate data, which is critical for a comprehensive logistics system. 

OTM exchanges information in the form of XML (GLogXML), thus making it mandatory for the interacting system to process XML also. An ERP system, on the other hand, has its own methodology to store and communicate information. For example, Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) stores data in an Oracle Database, SAP stores it in the 'Pivot' format, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) stores data in a predefined format. For these systems to interact with OTM and exchange messages, a middleware that can appropriately translate messages between them is required.

int1.PNG

Exchange information from ERP systems to OTM

int2.PNG

Exchange information from OTM to ERP systems

Although OTM is compatible with most middleware software's currently available in the market, Oracle Fusion Middleware is recommended for integrations. Additionally, Oracle also offers its Process Integration Pack (PIP), which seamlessly integrates EBS and OTM using Fusion Middleware.

The GLogXML schema is the back bone for integration and consists of the 'Transmission Element,' which is the primary document for inbound / outbound integration. The 'TransmissionAck' element represents acknowledgement from OTM for the sent / received transmission. Transmission Report presents the summary of errors encountered during the integration process.

Transferring Information from ERP systems to OTM

Messages can be posted to OTM in one of the following four ways:

  • ·         HttpPost

o   WMServlet: Default servlet to post transmission to OTM

    http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.WMServlet

o   TransformerServlet:  Applies XSL transformation to XML data in order to generate a valid transmission XML and upload it to OTM.  The XSL file should be uploaded in OTM, which will be used for inbound transmission

     http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.TransformerServlet

o   DirLoadServlet: Bypasses application server to upload data into OTM. This will be used when data is loaded into OTM and processed later

http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.DirLoadServlet

  • ·       Web service: OTM supports Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Web Services (IntXmlService) for inbound transmissions. The web service is deployed in the application server
  • ·         Oracle Advanced Queue (OAQ): OTM supports Oracle Advanced Queue (OAQ) for sending and receiving XML transmission to/from OTM. The advantage of using OAQ is that it guarantees message delivery.
  • ·         Manual upload: Upload the XML file from OTM's front end. This is predominantly used for testing

OTM authenticates the username and password specified in the transmission XML.

Username and password can be specified in the HTTP header, when GLogXML is posted via HTTP post to WMServlet.

When GLogXML is posted via web service, username and password can be specified in the web service security token.  

Transaction Code in GLogXML helps OTM identify the operation to be performed on the received transmission. Transaction Code I (Insert) creates a new record; II (Insert Ignore) creates a new record if the record does not exist; U (Update) updates the existing record; D (Delete) deletes the record; NP (No Persist) does not persist data in the database; and R (Replace) replaces the parent and child objects.

Transferring data from OTM to ERP systems

A message can be posted from OTM in any one of the following ways:

  •            Automatically as part of workflow notifications
  •            Manual Scheduling outbound transmissions

At the same time, an external system can be configured to post data from OTM to:

  •          FTP server
  •          HTTP/HTTPS
  •          Queue
  •          Web service

Out XML Profiles help exclude portions of XML while posting out of OTM. This also reduces the size of the XML file and improves performance.

Although OTM provides multiple options to send / receive information, a web service is the recommended approach to interact with OTM as it is highly scalable, can handle huge volumes of data, and supports multi-threading.

                                                                                                                Written by: Ravi Kiran Gurujala

Improve bottom-line with enhanced fleet management features

Most fleet managers face challenges in day-to-day operations to optimize load, improve driver productivity, reduce fuel expenditures, check wear and tear of assets, and more, which ultimately leads to revenue losses. At the same time, increased fuel costs, low customer satisfaction, and an excessive maintenance bill compounds their problems. As a result, companies spend nearly 10 - 15 percent of the total cost of the goods per annum (on an average) to ensure that their fleet management gains efficiency.

Oracle Transport Management (OTM) with Oracle Fleet Management -- bring together all stakeholders on one platform, optimize resources, reduce transportation costs through better consolidation of orders with regard to resources, and also provide visibility into fleet resources.

Six key features of Oracle Fleet Management that improves efficiencies

  •  Automatic trip assignment: Fleet drivers can play a crucial part in the overall improvement of fleet metrics. If the drivers are utilized properly, it has an overall impact on fleet operations. Oracle Fleet Management optimizes automatic trip assignment using resources available at a given time and location
  •  Comprehensive tracking of driver's performance: It is always difficult for the fleet manager to keep track of driver breaks, which could impact the time to deliver shipments. Oracle Fleet Management evaluates a driver's hours of service and calculates the breaks required for the given duration of the trip
  • Consolidation of fleet data: In an enterprise, there are multiple information systems which need to function harmoniously and efficiently. Oracle Fleet Management and Oracle Transportation Management brings all stakeholders on a single platform for better communication and visibility
  • Real-time visibility into resources and traffic: As fleet operations are geographically widespread, fleet managers find it difficult to establish communication with their drivers or locate them. Oracle Fleet Management provides real-time visibility of fleet resources via an on-board device (TOMTOM, Teletrac Navman, etc.). Through an enhanced user interface (UI), it also enables fleet managers to view the last location of the driver and current traffic conditions on a map to plan out activities in a better way
  • Compliance with rules and regulations: Rules and regulations are set by authorities to ensure driver safety primarily. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) fact file, in 2014, nearly 3,978 trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. The second most common cause for crashes were fatigue, illness, etc. By setting an hours of service rule and managing availability as per events for each driver, Oracle Fleet Management contributes to optimal planning, driver safety, and avoids breaches of the rules and regulations set by the country's authority
  • Reduction in manual financial settlements: The transportation of goods always involves a lot of paperwork, and maintaining finances manually is a tedious task, not to mention time consuming. Oracle Fleet Management aids in the reduction of paperwork and automatically segregates payables to drivers and external carriers, making the process transparent and reliable

Implementing Oracle Fleet Management enables your business to have real-time visibility of fleet resources, reduced IT development and support costs, and improved cash-to-cash cycle time. The direct result of this is the decrease in transportation costs by 5 - 25 percent with better consolidation and resource optimization. Business productivity shows a marked increase of 5 - 30 percent as all stakeholders function via a single platform. This also helps in enabling better service time and improves customer satisfaction.

Written by: Pratik Udhishter Sharma

August 13, 2016

Oracle Transportation Mobile app: A review

Oracle has come out with Oracle Transportation Mobile app version 1.1 which is compatible with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) 6.3.X version. This app provides a very natural mobile experience as the user can work with this application using the swiping, scrolling, and rotating mechanism. You can download this app from the App Store or Google Play. While reviewing this app, I will be analyzing it based on the following criteria:

1. Ease of use: Mobile app should be intuitive and easy to use

2. Functionality to review tendered shipments / accept tendered shipments

3. Ability to add events

4. Feature to add signature

5. Capability to add damaged item's condition / photo

6. Functionality to view contact details of consignee

7. Ability to work offline as connectivity can be missing in remote locations such as Alaska / Hawaii

8. Feature to review invoices

9. Ability to add multiple events across multiple shipments

Having reviewed the OTM mobile app, this application is easy to use and fun to work with. From an initial setup perspective, it is quite easy to get started. The transport carrier needs to login using an email ID and password. The admin needs to provide certain access control lists to the service provider, to provide permission to access the application and to be able to enter events. When connected to internet, you can begin with onboarding carriers on this app within a week by doing necessary setups and providing the login/password info to the carrier.

As soon as shipment is reviewed for execution and tendered to carrier, the carrier can view it immediately by refreshing his data on the App user interface. The carrier can review shipment information such as shipment stops, weight, order information, item information, equipment information, and consignee contact information. This helps create a complete paperless experience, thus aiding the cause of green transportation.

The application provides the ability to accept / reject the tender, and the response is immediately available to be seen by shipper. Thus, there is no translation (B2B) involved in between. Carriers can cut down on the cost of B2B implementation with this app.

Once the carrier is ready with the pickup, he can add events like pickup, in transit, delay events with date / location. The application provides the capability to add an event based on the shipment's stop location or current location. The application also provides the capability to add photo / signature for the event where the set-up is defined in OTM. Hence, it should be known to the carrier that he/she can add a status on certain events only.

This application comes with a local Structured Query Language (SQL) database which allows relevant data associated with the shipment to be stored on the mobile. However, in case connectivity is an issue, the carrier must be able to only view the shipments but will not be able to add events till the connectivity issue is resolved.

The application does not provide the capability to review invoices as an out-of-the-box feature. It could, however, be possible to add it via Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs), but I am yet to review REST APIs. Also, the application does not provide the capability to add multiple events in its current state, and only one event can be added to one shipment at any given time. Overall, this application helps in providing enterprises with quick onboarding capabilities to their carriers /drivers.

otm_mobile_app.PNG

Screenshots from the OTM Mobile App

OTM Mobile app Features

Rating ( 5/ 5)

Ease of Use

5

Review Tender / Accept Tender

5

Ability to add events

5

Add Signature

5

Add Photo

5

View Contact Details

5

Ability to work offline

2

Review Invoices

0

Ability to add multiple events

0

The app gets an overall rating of 3.5/5

Written by: Vipin Kumar Madan

Designing Next Generation Supply Chain and Logistics

In today's world, global economy can be erratic and businesses around the world need to adapt to ever changing scenarios. Moreover, growing competition and tectonic shifts in technology have forced businesses to re-think their supply chain and logistics strategies. Supply chain professionals around the globe are exploring possibilities and leveraging cutting-edge technology to gain competitive advantage. We discuss here top-two disruptive technological breakthroughs, which are crafting the next generation of supply chain and logistics. 

Device mesh: Hyper-integrated, Automated and Responsive supply chain

Let's face it!  In the last couple of years, an explosion of technologies is transforming the way supply chains will function in the coming years. Trending technologies include automatic identification and data capture (AIDC), Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth connectivity, electronic sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID), cloud computing, mobility and many more! Together, these technologies create a digital mesh of devices, which transform the supply chain and logistics processes. This enhances the information flow and communication between various supply chain units and stakeholders.

Device mesh is gaining popularity because they are able to address the gaps between ground realities and planning estimation in a volatile business scenario. In addition, they enable decision makers to respond to situations in a fast and efficient manner and avoid delayed communication. Also, we can't discount the valuable feedback we get from customers via various means such as customer service contact, social media platform, online interaction etc. -  Just imagine the possibilities if we can have all of it almost real time!! Device Mesh unlocks such possibilities.

Especially logistics providers around the world are early adopters of cutting-edge technologies and have been able to improve logistics visibility, ensure on-time delivery, and enhance customer service through device meshes.

a.png

Three pronged benefits of Device Mesh in Logistics space

Other areas such as enterprise wide visibility, warehouse and yard management, and fleet management have immediate benefits of adapting to such technologies. Businesses can have better control over their assets across inventory and transportation, reduce operational costs, or improve data accuracy.

Advanced Machine Learning and Analytics: Smart supply chain solutions

We live in an era of data explosion such that by the time you complete reading this line over 2.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook. With every second more data get created, but there are limitations to amount of data a human alone can analyze. Machine learning algorithms viz. supervised and unsupervised help us analyze such big data explosions and spot trends, behaviors, and possible bottlenecks in supply chain and logistics.

Machine learning remains a consistent technology trend, which is bound to stay valuable in the coming years. Though a recent entrant in the trend hype, it has quickly evolved to capture attention across businesses. In fact, machine learning replaced big data last year in Gartner Hype Cycle.

b.png
Gartner Hype Cycle 2015

For comparison here is Gartner Hype Cycle for 2014

Whether we talk about IoT, digital mesh, automation agents, user experience or smart machines; machine learning has an important role to play. Organizations around the world are waking up to the possibilities and insights that machine learning has to offer and are using it to gain competitive advantage. Logistics providers are saving millions of dollars each year by learning from data they generate.

Machine learning goes hand-in-hand with analytics. Data science as depicted on Gartner Hype Cycle is classified under innovation triggers -- businesses now have tools at their disposal to generate intelligence from historical data and to take it to next level. The advent of predictive analytics and advanced business forecasting techniques are helping businesses to mitigate risks, trigger early warning systems in supply chain, manage manufacturing better and anticipate demand beforehand.

Speed, agility, responsiveness, smart, and efficient are adjectives which define next generation supply chains. Evidently over time it will change the way business is done but there are extra costs which are involved in incorporating these technologies to your existing supply chain. Before embracing such disruptive changes, it's recommended that pros and cons are weighed rationally to have more benefit out of such enterprise.

Written by: Deepshikhar Tyagi

 


August 12, 2016

The Global Impact of TPP and Oracle GTM's Adaptability

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a proposed trade agreement signed initially by the four Pacific Rim countries of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, and later by Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam.

The main objectives of the agreement are:

          -          Comprehensive market access
    -          Inclusive trade and development
    -          Regional integrations
    -          Addressing new trade challenges

The signing of the trade treaty is bound to usher in the following changes:

1)      More cumulative rules of origin

Countries that are a part of the same Trade agreement can share production/manufacturing of goods and can comply with the concerned laws of origin together if the Trade agreement allows for 'Cumulative Rules of Origin'. It simply means that a manufacturer in a country can use raw materials from another manufacturer in another country (that is a part of the trade agreement) without losing the actual status of the input.

How Oracle GTM will help: Using Oracle Global Trade Management (GTM), any import (to be used as an input in the manufacturing of an item) coming to a member country from another member country can be flagged, and the final item created can still bear the country of origin as the one where the plant is located.

For example, Oracle GTM is being implemented for a customer in Canada (member country) who is importing some parts from Malaysia (another member country) to create an item. This customer further exports to Israel and wants to enjoy the benefits of the agreement that Canada separately has with Israel.  Using Oracle GTM, the customer can change the origin of all incoming parts from member nations to 'Canada' and enjoy the desired benefits. At the same time, it can also ensure that the parts coming from non-member nations still show their actual country of origin.

This can be done by simply creating a compliance rule set-up that screens the origin locations of all the incoming parts and checks them against the list of member and non-member nations.

gtm3.png

2)      Non-discriminatory trade liberalization

Non-discriminatory trade liberalization will be a byproduct of the TPP. With this agreement, more modern, simpler, standardized and more transparent regulations will come into existence to facilitate trade. This will be very similar to the case of European Union (EU), where customs procedures have been standardized across all 27 member states.

This simply means that a lot of countries engaging in trade with TPP members will be exempted from certain mandatory documents that were required earlier. A long list of documents will most probably be reduced to just a few documents. Some of these documents, however, will be demanded by customers and will have to be produced only when asked for.

How Oracle GTM will help: Oracle GTM's feature of 'document generation' offers high degree of customization (unlike other GTM solutions) and can be made to create a single document that contains all the information required by various regulatory bodies. With its next release, Oracle also plans to introduce a readymade, customer-driven 'document request' feature that will allow customized documents to be created as per requests made by the customer.

3)      Landed cost calculation to become a decisive factor

In the non-discriminatory environment that TPP will bring, various countries will be treated alike by importers. There will be no or minimal non-tariff trade barriers like 'export subsidies,' 'import quotas,' 'determination of the eligibility of an exporting firm by the importer,' 'preference to domestic suppliers,' etc. Under such conditions, 'landed cost' of import / procurement will play an important role in deciding which country to import from.

For instance, an importer in Canada, interested in importing from a TPP member country, will treat all members alike and will not give any special treatment to a particular member nation. Thus, deciding whether to import from Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, or even Mexico will depend heavily on the 'landed cost in Canada' for all these options. In earlier times, Mexico would have received preference due to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its proximity to Canada, resulting in lower logistics cost. Now, however, that will not be the case.

How Oracle GTM will help: Oracle GTM's 'landed cost estimator' feature allows any customer (importer) to create test scenarios that allow imports from various nations and then comparisons of the results. It also allows the importer to add tentative costs like freight, insurance, duties, etc. After creating and analyzing different scenarios, the customer will be much better placed to decide which country to import from.

gtm4.PNG

4)      Duty drawbacks / rebates by the government to see growth

Exporters based in the member countries outside of the free trade zones (FTZs) will also increase in number. A number of local manufacturers and merchants who will export to other TPP member countries will claim duty drawbacks / reliefs from their governments. This will give rise to a need for quick and accurate document generation.

How Oracle GTM will help: Usually, to claim the benefits of duties, a 'proof of export' has to be made. The 'document generation' feature of GTM, once again, will help exporters produce these 'proof of export' documents and will help the exporters reap the benefits of duty drawbacks / relief faster.

Written by: Ravikiran Narayan Khobragade and Mohammad Haider Talat

Infosys Edge: Plug-Tune-Play Oracle GTM Solution

In today's rapid globalization, most successful organizations operate in more than just one country -- for sourcing raw materials, importing goods, exporting finished products, and more. However, while operating in international markets, organizations need to abide by complex international trade laws that might require them to do some or all of the following:

      1)      Classify their products based on an international system or source / destination country-specific system. For example, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for American goods
 2)      Avoid trade with people / companies suspected of being involved in international crimes / terrorism
 3)      Avoid trade with countries that are under embargoes. For example, Sudan, Syria, etc.
 4)      Comply with the trade treaties that the involved countries are a part of. For example, mandates issued by Nuclear Suppliers Group for a member country such as Australia
 5)      Comply with country-specific trade obligations. For example, no Israeli-origin goods are to be allowed for imports in a member country of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), such as Saudi Arabia
 6)      Assign license numbers to goods that are controlled / in dual-use --  for example, Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) for US exports
 7)      Create and provide regulatory / commercial documents that need to accompany goods -- for example, commercial invoices and bills of lading
 8)      File relevant documents electronically with the local customs authorities -- for example, 'Paperless Customs and Excise' or PaperLess Douane en Accijnzen (PLDA) in Belgium

Country-specific requirements

It is crucial to note that all these requirements vary drastically from one country to another.

For instance, in a member country of the European Council (EC) -- like Germany -- the exporter needs classification codes that are specific to EC (HTSEU), customs filing that is specific to Germany (Automatic Rate and Local Customs Clearance System / ATLAS), and other similar trade compliances specific to the trading bloc or the country. However, when you consider an APAC country -- such as New Zealand -- the exporter needs classification codes specific to the island nation (NZHSC, in this case) and customs filing with electronic cargo information (ECI), which is again country-specific.

Standard Oracle Global Trade Management (GTM) implementation

Any GTM software -- or to be precise, Oracle GTM application -- provides a tool that can be configured and customized to suit the trade-specific requirements of a customer. It comes with absolutely no data of its own. Hence, any system integrator (SI) working for a customer has to first provide country-specific data to Oracle GTM, followed by the industry-specific data, and then the company-specific data. Once the master data is fed into the system, one needs to further build the configuration by writing rules, business flows, and many more complex equations. Once this is done, the SI performs the testing, fine-tunes the system, and finally takes the configuration live for the customer. This activity usually takes months of effort, numerous exchanges of information, and several rounds of testing.

Infosys readymade solutions

At Infosys, we have walked an extra mile in the Oracle GTM space by creating what we refer to as 'Infosys Edge: Plug-Tune-Play Oracle GTM solution.' With a dedicated team of over 150 consultants from the 'supply chain' and 'global trade' spaces, Infosys performed extensive research on certain key geographical pockets and has now come up with pre-loaded and pre-configured solutions for various trading regions / countries of the world.

As a direct result, this set of solutions has drastically reduced the time and effort that it takes to deliver a GTM solution to a customer. Where a routine solution requires loading, configuring, customizing, testing, and fine-tuning before the application goes live; with Infosys, the process simply comes down to testing and fine-tuning. We have already implemented the system readymade for various countries in North America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions.

Furthermore, if you are a defense equipment-manufacturer based out of Australia, we already have a system prepared for you that does the following:

     1)  Checks classification of your items as per the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC)
2) Screens your business processes / transactions as per the list provided by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions and additional Australian Autonomous sanctions
3) Checks if any of your exports fall under the Defense and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) and whether licenses like a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) or Defense Export Permit (DEP) are applicable
4)  Creates shipment data for customs filing with the integrated cargo system (through CI / customs interactive facility or EDI / electronic data interchange)
 5) Flags all transactions that fall under any of the trade agreements that Australia is a part of -- for example, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

Since our readymade solutions already have most (if not all) of the capabilities that a business such as yours might need, it drastically brings down the total time and effort required by us to provide the right solution to you.

 

GTM_pic1 (1).jpg
Written by: Ravikiran Narayan Khobragade and Mohammad Haider Talat

August 11, 2016

OTM on Cloud: Buy Vs Rent Dilemma for Transportation Management System

For enterprises, running operations on cloud has come a long way from being just a cost saver to a rapid business enabler.

In today's fast-changing dynamics, chief information officers (CIOs), who are keen to implement transportation management solutions for their organizations, are immersed in the following dilemma:

Do I buy a transportation management system (TMS) product and implement it on-premise or do I rent the services over cloud for my TMS?

At the same time, CIOs of companies that already use TMS systems are in a different dilemma over the following:

Do I continue investing and upgrading to a newer version or do I move the processes to cloud?

The answers to the above questions are not simple! In this blog, we will elaborate on how Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) cloud solution and Infosys help CIOs make this decision.

Customer Category

We, at Infosys, strive to understand customer needs and their existing processes before we provide a recommendation. Towards this, we evaluate the client capabilities across the following:

     a. IT landscape
b. Objectives and pain points
c. Current TMS solutions
d. Solution complexities and dependencies
e. Existing business processes

     Based on our evaluation, we try to categorize the client in the following buckets :

    a. Entrants: No TMS and transportation processes are small-scale and adheres to industry standards without much deviations.
b. Intermediate: No TMS or client has homegrown applications with complex business processes
c. Complex: OTM is already implemented but running on an older version or is highly customized leading to significant expenses on infrastructure and licenses

Infosys can help companies transform from a state of legacy or no systems to one with future-proof systems. Our evaluation process for each of the above categories differs. We believe in the basic mantra that software must compliment the business and not define it, but somewhere Oracle has put most, if not all, of the best practices into the software. Hence, it is always best to see if the processes can be made lean and mean. Infosys puts the effort in understanding the business and the criticality of the process implemented before any recommendation is provided to the client.

     a. Entrants: There are some smaller companies which do not own comprehensive transportation systems. Moving to OTM solution is the best option for them. They get industry best practices at the least cost possible. It kick-starts the redefinition of their processes, improves their business, and paves the path for growth. As a result, they get to own industry standard processes at a much lower investment. We also enable them to choose from a range of pre-configured solutions to rapidly reduce implementation life cycles by using standard processes and valuable, bolt-on applications
b. Intermediates: The best option is to move to OTM to make their systems future proof. We provide an assessment of the solution and a recommendation based on the complexity and client objectives.  If after careful evaluation, it is still found that certain customizations are absolutely necessary, then OTM can be complemented with the Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. The combination of OTM and PaaS helps to bridge the gap between customizations and standard features
c. Existing: Many companies run on legacy transportation management solutions. This requires additional investments for upgrades and continued support from software vendors. This is where the move to OTM Cloud will also be helpful. We can migrate the solution to OTM Cloud and complement it with Oracle PaaS solution

     Each industry has it specific nuances and any solution has to be reflective of that. Our solutions are industry-specific and take care of these nuances. In addition, they can be rapidly implemented with pre-configured OTM instances, documentation, mobility, etc. The solution suite from Infosys can include the PaaS solution as well, if the standard features of OTM do not fulfill all requirements.

The combined benefits of implementing our solution along with OTM Cloud are as follows:

     1.  Low cost which makes the OTM Cloud proposition very attractive. There is no investment on infrastructure 
2. Rapid implementation methodology helps customers gain faster return on investment
3. Upgrades are managed by Oracle and Infosys, which ensure that the client's technology infrastructure remains current. Cost-effective license fee as customers avail a subscription based model
4. PaaS solutions are provided for functionalities that do not have a standard OTM feature

Written by: Anirban Roy and Sambasivam

Rate Maintenance: A task simplified by OTM v6.4

Amidst a multitude of enhancements over previous versions, Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) v6.4 has caught the attention of OTM practitioners and users with its improved fleet management, rate maintenance, and mobility features. Considering the criticality of rate maintenance function and also the frequency with which OTM rates need to be updated, it won't be an exaggeration to conclude that the rate maintenance tool is poised to stand out as one of the key driving factors for OTM 6.4.

Global economy today is highly dynamic, complex, and competitive. Businesses strive hard to synchronize their offerings along the crests and troughs of the economic indices. In such an uncertain terrain, logistics service providers and carriers are left with no other option but to frequently update their service offerings with revised pricing structures. In today's world, rates and accessorials are in constant flux while service providers and transportation lanes are constantly being added or removed from supply chains. Thus, from the perspective of OTM users as well as those responsible for maintaining the IT infrastructure, these fluctuations emerge as one of the most complex, time and resource consuming activities. Let me begin by listing down the key reasons that favor this improved rate maintenance tool:

  • Conventional rate upload process in OTM is time consuming, resource intensive, and expertise requiring activity
  • OTM rate tables are highly interlinked and inter-dependent; also, as these involve a large number of related attributes, the scope for error is huge
  • Owing to volatility of market forces, there are frequent fluctuations in rates and consequent revisions to the offerings of service providers

However, before jumping to conclusions, it's important to understand the 'hows' of the conventional rate upload process. Basically, rates in OTM, be it buy or sell, are configured through either of the following methods:

  • Manual entry via user interface
  • Table-by-table upload of comma-separated values (CSV) through Business Process Automation- Integration

The manual entry method mostly involves business users and is used only for a small number of records. The CSV upload method is more popular for editing and uploading large number of records, but on the flip side, the tables have many dependencies and unless correct values are inserted, it would lead to complex errors. To illustrate this point, I would like to quote a few interrelated tables such as X-Lanes, Rate Versions, Rate Offerings, Rate Geos, and so on. Also, each of these tables consist of umpteen attributes, which correspond to a totally different set of values.

In such a situation, OTM v6.4 seems to have brought a much needed intervention in the form of its Rate Maintenance feature. However, as all good things come at a cost, this feature too requires a license for OTM Sourcing. Its user interface leverages the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), which is being used to enhance overall user experience throughout OTM.

The Rate Maintenance feature comprises of the following key processes:

  • Managing rate load definitions or defining structure of desired rates: Users begin by simply selecting a template or sample rate to define the fields they want to collect or modify. They then configure what and how they want the proposed rates spreadsheet to look like based on the available rate attributes
  • Downloading existing rates or generating spreadsheet: Depending on whether 'new rates' are to be configured or 'existing rates' need to be modified, users select either of the two available options: 'download without rates' for former and 'download with rates' for latter. Using the Rate Load definition ID and based on the selected option, users query the rates which they want to create / modify
  • Populating / editing rate data in spreadsheet: Users populate the spreadsheet with the new rates or rate updates
  • Uploading the rates spreadsheet: Once data entry is completed, the rate spreadsheet is selected to be loaded into OTM
  • Reviewing, approving, and making rates operational: Approval actions enable the user to review and approve the rate changes. An audit trail of all rate uploads and approval activity is maintained. Lastly, the user finalizes the rates making them operationally available

Thus, in this manner, users are able to easily upload and maintain rates in a logical and user-friendly way. The interface and workflow shall undoubtedly play pivotal roles in shortening the quote to contract process. In a nutshell, this Rate Maintenance feature of Transportation Sourcing v6.4 leads to improved productivity by enabling business users to manage rates without requiring technical knowhow of the OTM rate tables.

On a similar note, prior to v6.4, Infosys OTM competency too had developed a homegrown service solution in the form of a mass upload tool to facilitate such requirements.

Written by: Prayash Baruah

December 7, 2015

Carrier Collaboration using OTM Portal

 

The transportation of every shipment requires collaboration with carriers. Carrier collaboration can be achieved in various ways with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM):

  1. Communicating through EDI with carriers that have EDI transmission capabilities

  2. Email and fax-based communication

  3. Offline communication on phone followed by manual entry of response into the system

  4. Carrier collaboration using the OTM Carrier Portal

We will focus on the simplest and the easiest approach to implementing carrier collaboration, which is the OTM Carrier Portal. OTM provides a carrier domain named SERVPROV. Every service provider in the operational domain creates a user ID in the SERVPROV domain. In most cases, this is the user ID provided to carrier. The most commonly used features in this domain are:

  • Responding to the tender sent to the carrier (normal as well as spot tender)

  • Adding shipment tracking events for visibility

Apart from the above there are several other very useful features that can enable more effective communication with carriers. Let us take a look at some of the important ones.

User Management

Many of the shippers and 3PLs, have different carrier IDs created in their ERP systems. In reality, however, these multiple IDs represent the same carrier. Especially for 3PLs depending on the OTM domain strategy they have, the same carrier IDs created in multiple domains. When the tender is sent, it is the same carrier user that responds. It can be frustrating for carrier users if they need to use a different ID for every carrier ID created in OTM. The "Manage User Association" feature helps overcome this problem by creating a single ID for all carrier IDs.

The reverse is also true where there are various users for the same carrier, depending on the location from where the shipment is being dispatched. "Manage User Association" again comes to the rescue by associating dispatch locations with users based on the source location of the shipment.

Carrier Capacity Limits

Carrier capacity is usually used to denote the capacity provided by the carrier. But the capacity keeps changing depending on the situation. With OTM, the carrier can override the capacity for any lane(s) so that the actual capacity available is used for planning.

Self-Billing

The self billing process is fast catching on with shippers. More and more shippers are creating carrier invoices themselves and asking carriers to validate the invoices. This can be easily implemented by tweaking the existing Virtual Private Database (VPD). There are two ways of achieving this:

  1. Provide access to view the shipment and ask carriers to verify the cost on the shipment and provide feedback

  2. Generate the invoice and provide access to carriers to verify the invoice. If the carrier accepts the OTM generated invoices, only then is the invoice approved to create vouchers

The invoice view has a placeholder for comments if the invoice is not acceptable. The operational user can then change the invoice based on the feedback.

This speeds up the carrier billing process and provides complete visibility on the current status of the transaction including the current responsible party.

Response to Bids

OTM provides a sourcing feature which can be used to attract bids from carriers. As a part of this process, an Excel sheet is sent for the carrier's response. The Carrier Portal is an effective platform to upload response bids. The upload of Excel files reduces time for the response and also helps with ongoing data integration. While uploading, the system verifies the structure of the Excel file allowing the carrier to rectify it in case an error occurs.

Since, not all carriers are EDI-enabled and communication using phone, email, fax, etc., is difficult to track, visibility into the transportation chain is impaired. In this scenario, the OTM Carrier Portal with its robust features including custom menus and screen sets provides a highly efficient and convenient way of communicating with carriers.

Do drop in to meet with us at the Infosys booth during the OTM SIG APAC Conference. We will be happy to discuss how you can improve your carrier collaboration.

September 4, 2014

"Internet of Things": A way towards wonderful "In-Shop" experience

Posted by Ashish Verma, Senior Consultant, RCLORC-SBL

 

The word "Things" rang a bell when I heard this term for the first time. I researched and found that "Things" can be any tangible object that can be represented by an IP address and has capability to communicate with world of internet. This excited me a lot as it looked to be an upcoming revolution. The "Internet of things (IoT)" is at its early stages of development and will keep on evolving with the convergence of technological advances in sensing devices/microelectronics, telematics and analytics. This whole thing of "Things" looks amazing and paves way for immense possibilities of data sources and its flow. 

Recently I started working for a retail client and this gave me an opportunity to ask myself how this new concept will change the purchasing behavior or rather purchasing experience of customer (read "connected customer")? How retailers are going to react to the "IoT"? Will they adopt it or not? Will it have an impact on their processes? Will it help them regain what they have conveniently lost to online retailers? Let's explore in the below few lines.

Going by the definition of "IoT", it is evident that it has capability to allow products and shelves to communicate with inventory management system, order management system, billing system or with any other IT system. This brings a lot of interest and if we further ponder upon its applications in "in-shop" retail house, it opens a gate for the whole new shopping experience. Customer will no longer be needed to stand in a queue for billing at a retail store....looks like I am kidding? But next few lines will let you know how it is possible. Customer will take a product from the shelf and put it in a "Smart Cart". The smart cart will have the scanning capability attached to it. This smart cart will update the billing system and the smart shelf will keep updating the replenishment system as well. The same smart cart will keep updating you about your billing amount to allow you to make further purchase decision. Auto checkout counter will generate bill to your credit/debit card for the items in your shopping cart. Fabulous! Customer's waiting time at billing counter has almost been reduced to naught.....bang on........customer is happy. 

Another interesting application of "IoT" is in retail apparel house. We all have seen that almost every apparel house has fitting rooms located at the corner of their store........what if we have connected fitting rooms enabled with "IoT". It will be really interesting to see how connected fitting rooms will help customer choose the right cloth in case he has picked up a wrong size or colour. A connected fitting room will know which items you have picked up, what you are trying on and will let you request different sizes and colours from the room itself.  But let me add a word of caution here, though this idea looks very promising and interesting but the cost of such fitting room is a factor that needs to be evaluated vis-a - vis the RoI that it will generate. Real challenge will be to see if supporting staff is able to provide needed support for the customer sitting in a connected fitting room when store is crowded and other customers need equal attention on the floor as well. 

After learning about "IoT", one thing is very clear to me that upcoming digital technologies have open many floodgates for innovation in retail industry. There pros and cons can be evaluated by retailers before going for "IoT" enabled store but it is sure that this new way of shopping experience will be a key competitive differentiator for the retailers and a way to increase foot fall in their stores. At least at the outset, this looks an attractive proposition both for the customer and the retailer. Isn't it?

Guys, this topic has opened a new gate of thoughts for me something like Pandora's Box and I am going to explore more on this in coming days. So, do look out for my next blog on "IoT" wherein we will check out how it is changing not only the "things" within the shop but beyond as well.

September 16, 2013

Cloud Vs On Premise - Where do you go?

One of the most frequently asked questions by Enterprises all over the world today is - Should their Applications be on the Cloud or On-Premise?
My 3 part Blog series tries to answer this question by looking at various aspects of Cloud and On Premise solutions and then coming up with the best suited model as per Customer Business requirements.

In the first part of this blog series, we will be taking a deeper look into the features of both the Solutions.

Continue reading " Cloud Vs On Premise - Where do you go? " »

February 17, 2013

Eco-Transparency: Paperless Document Generation Capturing EAN

We have all studied the concepts and the evolution of a "Learning Organization". But gone are the days when one could survive and excel by merely learning. Organizations are progressively operating in an era of setting emulatable examples for others, thereby being a "Teaching Organization". Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and distributors these days are increasingly laying more and more emphasis on the social responsibility, working towards a greener supply chain. Organizations have realized that they have Community and Environment as their major stakeholders. Therefore the excellence each organization is aspiring for is truly the green supply chain they are ingrained in. It is important to be profitable and at the same time remain sustainable. This is to be practiced by the pioneer and emulated by the other industry players.

Continue reading " Eco-Transparency: Paperless Document Generation Capturing EAN " »

December 12, 2012

Same Day Delivery and Growing importance of specific Optimization Technologies

E-Fulfillment and Promise for the same day delivery of Grocery and certain Durable Items are the areas where all most all the Retail Chains are trying to build their Competitive edge and grab the wallet share

Continue reading " Same Day Delivery and Growing importance of specific Optimization Technologies " »

December 3, 2012

Let's Explore LETZ!

In my previous blog titled 'Multiple Time Zones in Single Global Instance - A Business Perspective', I have discussed about the key business requirements and challenges in implementing multiple time zones in a single global instance from Finance and Accounting perspective. In this blog, we will discuss on How Oracle LETZ (Legal Entity Time Zone) Solution could address these challenges for Global companies that operate in multiple time zones in single global instance.

What is LETZ?
LETZ is a standard, but controlled Oracle feature introduced in 11.5.10. In LETZ, Oracle has identified certain transactional events and enabled conversion of legal date and period of those events from server time zone (Corporate Time Zone) to the time zone of the legal entity in which the event has occurred.

Continue reading " Let's Explore LETZ! " »

July 3, 2012

CRM to CXM to C3E - Innovation or Evolution?

While CXM (Customer Experience Management) was floated as a concept almost a couple of years ago, it seems quite recent in wake of the fact that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been the mainstay of enterprises worldwide for almost 2 decades now. Despite the fact that most of the organizations are yet to latch on to this, and the fact that the ones who have latched on are yet to mature the concept when implemented on ground, the industry is looking for something newer already. The new acronym on the block is C3E (Cross-Channel Customer Experience), and at least for now it seems to satisfy everyone's appetite for innovation.

Continue reading " CRM to CXM to C3E - Innovation or Evolution? " »

June 13, 2012

Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications : Be Mobile, Be Quick, Be Accurate and Reduce Waste

Guest post by
Shantanu Bedekar, Senior Consultant, Infosys

 

Anyone who has visited a manufacturing plant or a warehouse knows that there is always a time-lag between physical movement of material and recording the same in the system. The unavoidable reason of this is: material is stored in racks, bins, containers spread across the warehouse or shop-floor but computer terminals on which Oracle forms are opened to enter data are far and few.

Continue reading " Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications : Be Mobile, Be Quick, Be Accurate and Reduce Waste " »

April 28, 2012

Product Maintenance In A Strict Regime

One time success comes to many but sustained excellence is not everybody's cup of tea. World class organizations maintain their growth momentum year after year, operating in strict regime. This is true for leaders in retail as well as printing and digital solution industry. Players under the Food and Beverage industry, operate under a strict legal and compliance regime. International Agencies like FDA, FCC, and USDA mandate the tacking of lot attributes like the product expiration date throughout the supply chain. Also, corporate governance norms like Supplier Social Responsibility mandate the tracking of the products' country of origin. This is important to ensure that organizations do not indulge in any kind of malpractices like sweat shopping.

Continue reading " Product Maintenance In A Strict Regime " »

October 5, 2011

Impediments to supply chain integration: An SME perspective

Guest post by
Kamaljeet Singh Bhatia, Lead Consultant, Infosys

 

The last few decades has witnessed numerous examples of significant competitive advantages through supply chain integration. Information sharing through superior technology is making enterprises capable to innovate and integrate in the complex networked environment. However information integration in supply chains is limited to large enterprises and small to medium scale enterprises (SME's) significantly lag to leverage technology for supply chain integration.

Continue reading " Impediments to supply chain integration: An SME perspective " »

August 28, 2011

Establishing The Centroid Of Magic Triangle - Hitting the Bull's Eye of CMO Engagement

Organizations in the Retails industry envision improving the productivity, robustness and operational efficiency of their Global distribution network. In order to do so they plan to implement standardized processes coupled with integrated infrastructure and systems across all the Contract Manufactures and Packers under a single application ecosystem. As discussed in my earlier blogs contact manufacturing in the retail sector has taken the world by storm and organizations continuously strive to raise their bar each day.

Continue reading " Establishing The Centroid Of Magic Triangle - Hitting the Bull's Eye of CMO Engagement " »

July 19, 2011

Centralized Procurement with Oracle Fusion

Introduction

With the business expanding across globes and with manufacturing organizations resorting to sub-contracting, there is a need for organizations to look at procurement beyond their current markets.  This introduces the need for a centralized procurement function for better purchasing efficiency, better control over organization spend, and central and simpler management of contracts with suppliers.  Oracle Fusion Procurement introduces new and better features that aid organizations to better manage their procurement functions.  The following are the advantages of a centralized procurement function:

  • Better control over organization spend
  • Consolidated purchasing across business units
  • Leverage volume discounts by consolidated demand
  • Better supplier relationship management
  • Single point of contact in buying organization for supplier
  • Centralized contracts - easier implementation and better management
  • Consolidated measurement of supplier performance
  • Reduced overheads

Continue reading " Centralized Procurement with Oracle Fusion " »

March 7, 2011

Supply Chain Best Practices: Reduced TCO via Best Of Breed or ERP WMS

It has been debated over and over again if Best of Breed WMS is more suited to lower the Total Cost of Ownership as compared to an ERP based WMS. But a settlement has not been reached yet. Organizations with logistics management as their core competency may choose to favor best of breed software whereas a traditional sales company or retailer may choose to look in the other direction.

Continue reading " Supply Chain Best Practices: Reduced TCO via Best Of Breed or ERP WMS " »

February 28, 2011

Exploring Item life cycle management options

Every country is making its Food and drug administrative control laws more and more stringent. Each country has a different requirement to get the products in specific labels formats, label colors, holograms, compositions etc. Issue is more challenging if item life cycle is short and old SKUs are getting replaced by new SKUs

Continue reading " Exploring Item life cycle management options " »

Strategizing and Prioritizing of porting ERPs to Mobile Devices

In my earlier blog I had talked about why businesses will have to port ERP applications to mobile platform as smart phones populations and popularity increase and so will demand for mobile based ERP apps driven primarily by on-demand mobile workforce. However, once a business decides to go ahead with this initiative, it would be equally important to prioritize where to start and drawing up a roadmap. It would not be unusual to have conflicting perception of priority across various business units within the organization. In fact the biggest challenge could be to get buy in of senior executives including CXOs especially those who are answerable to the board.

Continue reading " Strategizing and Prioritizing of porting ERPs to Mobile Devices " »

December 27, 2010

MES for Process Industries

What is MES ?

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) acts as central repository for all the data transacted, but there is no way of controlling the operations or passing the information between plant control system & ERP in integrated manner.

MES (Manufacturing execution systems) help in detailing the process and also controlling the operations through the systems. MES uses the data and provide results on the plant activities in minimal time. MES Collects the data from plant system, store them, and the output are used to control the functions in enhancing productivity and process on the whole.

MES for Oracle Process Manufacturing (OPM):

MES for Process Manufacturing adds new batch execution functionality and increases usability for manufacturing operators. 

Continue reading " MES for Process Industries " »

November 7, 2010

Task Of Avoiding Stock Outs- Task Management

Out of Stock is a common problem that has smitten retailers immemorial. It is a part and parcel of the industry dynamics. One of the core WMS concepts can come in really handy and act as a panacea.

Continue reading " Task Of Avoiding Stock Outs- Task Management " »

September 13, 2010

Oracle Edge Products - What are the latest Retail Needs

Most Retailers have by now embraced the Internet's effect on their businesses. Earlier versions used to see Retailers creating a different entitity such as XYZ Online or XYZ.net for their online sales. But with the recent phase of Multi Channel Commerce initiatives Retailers are quickly merging operations for procuring, selling and shipping items across the multiple channels. This meant that the IT applications had to quickly adapt and integrate with each other to serve the growing business needs of a seamless enterprise. Oracle has taken a big step in acquiring or developing solutions to meet this growing need of Retailers! This post describes what these new products are and why they are called Edge!

Continue reading " Oracle Edge Products - What are the latest Retail Needs " »

September 2, 2010

Critical points to be consider while "Asset Group" Design process for Successful eAM implementation

Generally Asset Group is new concept to most of companies switching over from legacy plant maintenance system to Oracle Enterprise Asset Management system, as in most of the legacy system it does not exists, they have Asset/Equipment numbers without Asset Groups, in Oracle eAM assets are created from Asset Groups only, so Asset Group is mandatory in Oracle eAM. This blog would explain the impact of Asset Groups in various places of the eAM application and help to expedite the Asset Group design process.

Continue reading " Critical points to be consider while "Asset Group" Design process for Successful eAM implementation " »

May 22, 2010

Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 3)

There are many ways to achieve Leaner ERP implementation, and I have discussed some of the strategic levers for it in my previous blogs Go Lean (Part 2) and Go Lean (Part 1) like senior management and executive sponsorship, robust decision making framework, effective change management approach, upfront planning for middleware and reporting platforms, solution design workshops, selection of appropriate edge products and leveraging localizations. However, there are many tactical and operational levers also available for enterprises to adopt, which are primarily part of implementation execution cycle. I am discussing here some of these levers and best practices to minimize customizations:

  • Boot Camp Trainings - Before initiating the solution design phase, organizations must seriously consider to conduct the boot camp trainings on chosen ERP to their key super users, business analysts and implementation core team, facilitated by System Integrator (SI). The intent for boot camps must be training to the team for vanilla features and functionalities of ERP relevant to their industry processes. This will enable them to bridge many gaps and requirements through seeded ERP functionality, and increase the overall fitment of the package application, leading towards reduced customizations.

Continue reading " Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 3) " »

May 7, 2010

Dairy Industry Challenges & Oracle's Solution

In this information age, with increasing awareness, consumers are becoming health conscious & want surety that the food product they consume is Safe.  They are not happy with just to know the location of manufacturing plant, but are interested to know from where the raw material is originally sourced. Dairy industry, which typically produces a range of products for a variety of markets, faces even greater challenge in tracing individual product. This calls for tighter Integration between all the channel partners across the supply chain.  

 

The dairy industry is a vertically integrated industry with both upstream and downstream trade partners of the supply chain dependent on each other to ensure quality food. I will discuss some of the challenges dairy industry is facing and Oracle's Solution for the same.

 

Continue reading " Dairy Industry Challenges & Oracle's Solution " »

March 15, 2010

Is it possible to achieve "Zero" breakdown in Maintenance World?

In maintenance world when we talk of "Zero Break down" most of the time maintenance crew says that it is not possible to achieve zero break down.  So is it really possible to achieve "Zero Break down" for a Machine /Equipment?  The answer is "Yes". 

What is breakdown? :- When a Machine (M/c)is working and suddenly something fails for e.g. in case of CNC M/c hydraulic hose pipe rupture and it leads to heavy oil leakage, thus Beak down due to hydraulic leakage occurs on the M/C.
Above Failure could have been anticipated by doing regular check of hydraulic hose piping by carrying out proper preventive, predictive maintenance.
What is "Zero Breakdowns"? :- When the Maintenance Department hand over a M/C to Production Department for the Production activities, that time maintenance department can confidently say the M/C would not fail due to "Hydraulic leakage" for another 24 Hrs as they have done a proper inspection/rectification through Preventive and Predictive Maintenance on the M/C  on Hydraulic side. This 24 hrs of running time without any Hydraulic failure is said to be "Zero Break Down" in Hydraulic piping area.
 After 24 Hrs again maintenance team would take the machine in their custody to do preventive and predictive maintenance to ensure that there would not be any failure due to "Hydraulic leakage" for another 24 hrs, thus maintenance team take over the control of M/C after certain running period of the M/Cs and do preventive/Predictive maintenance to achieve "Zero Breakdown" in specific area e.g. 'Hydraulic Pipe failure'. Over a period of time by doing proper, regular preventive maintenance on almost all the areas of M/C instead of specific area leads to achieve Total "Zero Breakdown" on an asset for certain mentioned period time frame by the Maintenance department.

 

Continue reading " Is it possible to achieve "Zero" breakdown in Maintenance World? " »

September 23, 2009

EBS R12 Roadmap: A Global Retailer’s challenge in picking the optimum upgrade solution approach to R12 with an existing Oracle product portfolio

On the EBS R12 Roadmap, retailers with an existing Oracle product portfolio and operating globally across multiple business units and having multiple oracle instances face the everlasting dilemma whether to Upgrade for achieving the new package benefits at a relatively lesser cost versus - to Re-Implement a fully re-engineered R12 based solution bringing in maximum benefits but probably at a relatively higher cost.

Continue reading " EBS R12 Roadmap: A Global Retailer’s challenge in picking the optimum upgrade solution approach to R12 with an existing Oracle product portfolio " »

April 17, 2009

Retail Order Management - Emerging Trends

Economists continue to come up with new theories around recovery, some talk about an L shaped recovery and off late some are suggesting a V shaped one. One thing that is emerging clearly in this economic climate is the distinct presence of Internet in Retail Sales. The traditional mall based sales in US have seen a decline in the recent years and e-commerce a catch phrase of the 90s is begining to show its effect on the Retail Sales. I focus on some interesting emerging trends in Order Management seen across Retailers who are mixing the power of the internet with the spread of their physical stores.

Continue reading " Retail Order Management - Emerging Trends " »

January 24, 2009

Demystifying Merchandise Accounts Payable

Merchandise Accounts Payable, a mouthful isnt it? This blog explains and simplifies the complex area of Merchandise Accounts Payable, often seen in Retailers or Wholesalers. It also presents a point of view on various Oracle Products and their fitment to this business area.

Continue reading " Demystifying Merchandise Accounts Payable " »

November 24, 2008

Using Operational Levers To Boost Supply Chain Performance

To remain competitive in today's environment, manufacturing companies are looking at boosting their supply chain performance. One of the key levers for improving supply chain is 'cost reduction' at various stages of the entire chain.

Continue reading " Using Operational Levers To Boost Supply Chain Performance " »

June 5, 2008

Retail Financials or Financials for Retailers- Part Deux?

Now we have established that Retailers are a special breed of organizations (see here) and their financials definitely deserve a special look. I think this difference in their operations has tremendous impact on their choice of applications. Some of the common notions of Oracle Applications such as Procure to Pay do not work for retailers.

Continue reading " Retail Financials or Financials for Retailers- Part Deux? " »

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Follow us on

Blogger Profiles

Infosys on Twitter