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

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March 28, 2018

Resource demand analysis with High Level Resource Planning

Resource feature getting used in Primavera is limited to the projects that are in hand/currently running and resource assignment is done appropriately for the same.

But for EPC Organizations having turnover more than $500M-$1Billion or more they always have a need to know the resource shortage/excess they have on board for the next 2 years or atleast for next 6 months or 1 year at a high level.

Organizations are using different methods to get this high level resource plan for company to company mainly to know the manual worker count required example for welders/fitters/riggers etc. in the next coming year or so where this requirement and usage are at peak level every year and having a difficulty to get at the right time such resources on board.

However this can be mitigated using a feature 'High Level Resource Planning' in Primavera Web module itself but the Primavera capability is used only for a narrow level of Project Planning, Scheduling, Resource Assignments capabilities by most of the EPC Organizations however the potential to tap it's usage is already inherent to plan even for an Organizational level Project staffing requirements and mainly for EPC sectors yet not dived into that functionality.

At any given point in time Primavera already provides the Resource analysis graph for the current running projects assignments cumulatively with high level resource planning being done now we are able to get the picture to depict on Manpower planning in future.

Resource planning flow of Organizations when High Level Resource Planning is in use:

 

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Continue reading " Resource demand analysis with High Level Resource Planning " »

January 17, 2018

OTM and IoT Fleet Monitoring

 

Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) is known for logistics planning and execution across supply chain. One of the major challenge for Shippers and Logistics Service Providers is track the shipment on the move and identify any disruptions during the course of transportation.

Oracle IoT Fleet Monitoring provides real time transportation visibility which will help in

  • Provides single window to view real time shipment status

  • Map view displays the exact location of vehicle which helps in deriving ETA of shipment.

  • Define geo-fencing rules for route deviations and unauthorized stops.

  • Define rules for incidents and warnings.

  • Shipments Planned in OTM can be automatically pushed to IoT Fleet Monitoring.


OTM -IoT Fleet Monitoring Integration

IoT Fleet Monitoring provides REST API's which will help in seamless integration with OTM. Based on events in OTM, shipment can be exported into IoT FM automatically. Shipment location, arrival/departure times can be published from IoT FM to OTM.

 

 

Benefits of IoT Fleet Monitoring for

3PL's

  • Notify in advance for any potential delays.

  • Integrate with 3rd party TMS solutions.

  • Reduce the time spent on track and trace.

  • Get notified on arrival/departure of shipments.

  • Integrate with TMS to have a single view.

Shippers

  • Notify in advance for any potential delays.

  • Shipments transported under specified conditions.

  • Reduce the time spent on track and trace.

  • Integrate with TMS to have a single view.

  • Get notified when shipment near consignee.

Carriers

  • Notify when driver deviates from assigned route

  • Share real time locations with customers.

  • Identify Fuel Spending patterns and the reasons for extra fuel spent.

  • Integrate with TMS to have a single view.

  • Identify vehicle issues if any.


By Ravi Kiran Gurujala, OTM CoE.


Continue reading " OTM and IoT Fleet Monitoring " »

January 7, 2018

If Blockchain can store all the Logistics' contracts...


Short-term benefits -

  1. Carriers won't need to send their rate cards to every new customer/3PL that they start doing business with. They could simply ask their potential customers to look up the rate cards in the Blockchain. Cost of service offered to similar customers with similar SKUs would give one an indicative price point to start a negotiation
  2. Proof of Concept is readily available for customers coming onboard and for new carriers interested in exploring the Blockchain
  3. AP and AR can be managed in the Blockchain where the payments could be made in a secured fashion riding atop the Blockchain's native framework
  4. Payments could be tied to milestone events such as proof of pickup and proof of delivery. This can help maintaining an audit trail and working out a ranking system to reward the carriers that have consistently Delivered-In-Full-On-Time
  5. All the periodic changes such as the fuel surcharge updates could be applied by the Blockchain service provider thereby eliminating the need for individual carriers to respond to these changes
  6. Blockchain can serve as the single source of truth to run statistical analysis such as the rate of change in the cost of a service between different carriers
  7. Carriers don't need to invest extensively in IT. There won't be a need to integrate multiple enterprise applications. Transportation management systems would only optimize shipment planning. Execution of the shipments -  receiving events for pickup/delivery, etc, -  can be tracked in the Blockchain so the data is visible to all the stakeholders. Moreover, it simplifies data aggregation with all the source systems having to send data to the Blockchain alone.

Long-term benefits -  

  1. Blockchain would lower the entry barrier to the Logistics market. Smaller players who would have been hitherto tending to specific needs of few select customers would start uploading their rates onto the Blockchain
  2. In-house logistics of discrete manufacturing units would show interest. Why not upload their rates onto the Blockchain to offer LTL services to fill the leftover space in their trucks?
  3. Established carriers would have to confront the erosion of revenues. To combat this trend, carriers would tend to negotiate lane-based commitments with their customers. Alternatively, carriers could offer value-added services such as labelling, packaging, etc.
  4. Dynamic alliances - the original carrier would outsource its shipments to secondary carriers on certain lanes in exchange for favorable lanes with ample consolidation opportunities
  5. 3PLs could mutate and fragment their services to upload the rates of warehouse infrastructure, value-adds, and transportation services separately on the Blockchain

Who would offer and maintain the Blockchain service though? Product companies like Oracle could offer Logistics Blockchain in a SaaS based model. As to supervising the contracts between multiple carriers and working out specific needs of clients, consulting partners like Infosys could do that.

Meet our experts at the Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018, January 29-31, 2018

- Kranthi Askani

 

Continue reading " If Blockchain can store all the Logistics' contracts... " »

December 30, 2017

Blockchain-based Logistics of the future...

 
Issue: Today, a supplier/3PL estimates the cost of transportation. This is followed by the carrier completing the service at which point they send the invoice with actual cost to supplier/3PL. This invoice is then reviewed, approved, and settled. This review process is often quite lengthy and could be avoided.

 
With the aid of emerging technologies: Imagine using a blockchain technology like Ethereum. The smart-contracts inherent in Ethereum can digitally validate the milestones and trigger payments. Proof of delivery is an important milestone in shipment execution. One can imagine setting up Ethereum to digitally validate the proof of delivery and even make payments right away, thereby eliminating the need for carriers to send invoices and then wait for months to get paid. Of course this is only the basic golden transaction. There could be additional charges that the carrier would have incurred which may not have been part of the original contract. This can always be rectified with an ad-hoc invoice from the carrier.

 
All the carriers could save their contracts in the blockchain itself. The supplier/3PL can get a visibility of available contracts once the shipment is planned based on the route of the shipment. The blockchain automatically triggers tenders to the best carrier and if the carrier accepts, sends it back to the supplier/3PL for approval. If rejected, blockchain iteratively awards the tender to the next best carrier. This process repeats until the tender is accepted by both parties and shipment execution begins.


Once the carrier picks up the goods, the blockchain triggers 25% payment to the carrier as configured in the milestones. Ethereum smart contracts can come handy here. The data feed itself could be received from smart locking IoT devices installed on the truck's doors.  When the supplier/3PL planner overseeing the loading process locks the truck's door with the smart lock IoT device, it prompts him for an identification. If he chooses to identify himself via the fingerprint scanner on the lock, it sends the data to blockchain. The smart contracts on the blockchain listening to the milestones oblige with the necessary advance payment which is sent to the carrier's wallet address. But this transaction stays in "pending" status. The subsequent milestones also trigger advance payments and all of them land in the carrier's wallet address with the "pending" status. Only the final proof of delivery milestone validates the advance payments and sets the status to "validated and paid."


The final proof of delivery also relies on the smart lock IoT device in case of large FTL shipments. For smaller parcel shipments, this process has to be reimagined with the familiar old-fashioned signature on a mobile screen...


Meet our experts at the Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018, January 29-31, 2018

- Kranthi Askani


October 4, 2017

If carriers use OTM mobile...

 
Picture a carrier's user tweeting and texting, his fingers poised earnestly on his mobile, his eyes awash with colorful imagery, and his mind dizzy with an abundance of sensory stimuli.

Now imagine the same user hunched up at his desk, his shoulders drooping like the wilting branches of a neglected roadside tree, staring at his monitor, responding to tenders in OTM, his brain nearing the point of self-imposed hibernation.

Before presumptuously advocating the use of OTM mobile for everyone - in this case, the carriers - let us look at the benefits if there are any

 

1.Shuffling order movements


A carrier receives multiple shipment tenders from his manufacturing or 3PL partners. The carrier proceeds to accept some of these tenders. Once the tenders are accepted, the carrier sends his trucks to fulfill the transportation services that he has hitherto accepted. At this point, the shipment is frozen, that is to say, the shipment cannot be modified by way of adding or removing orders from it.

But of course this is far from practical. Drivers assigned to the trucks can't make any rearrangements, namely, swapping a whole order or part of an order with other drivers. Once the tenders are accepted, the process is quite rigid and inflexible. If it is the same carrier who is operating in the same lane and his fleet comprises of multiple trucks, it should be possible to rearrange, isn't it?

Consider this - Truck 'A' with shipment 'A' onboard set off to its destination. But there is a breakdown and the truck is unable to deliver the goods. The driver swishes in his pockets and pulls out of his mobile, pinches his screen to locate his truck. Now, on the map, he can see a couple of other trucks just around the corner. He extracts the equipment utilization report and finds that the other trucks are underutilized and that they can carry some of his orders, the ones that are labeled 'overnight' or 'expedited.' He quickly summons the trucks and unloads few items from his truck, scans them judiciously as he hands them over to the other drivers.

Wouldn't it be useful to be able to do achieve this in a mobile application?

To make this happen, the carrier's transportation system, OTM or otherwise, must be able to send an actual shipment XML to the source OTM instance that has the planned shipment. The planned shipment is associated with order movements via the shipment equipment. Once the actual shipment XML is received, agents can be used to identify the order movements that were offloaded from the truck that broke down in transit and remove them from the shipment equipment. Similarly, the planned shipment of the truck that carried order movements in addition to what was accepted in the tender has to be modified by adding ship units to its shipment equipment.   


 2. Carrier invoices with delta cost


Some carriers invoice their partners regularly as and when the shipments are delivered. But most carriers invoice periodically, namely, month end invoicing. Now, a lot can happen between the first and last day of a month - the sun may run out of its hydrogen atoms and the earth may be plunged into eternal darkness! There is very little that OTM can do to handle sun's demise...

But, OTM of course can be configured to handle other miserly exceptions that arise purely out of the way the logistics industry operates. For instance, by the time the carrier invoices its 3PL or manufacturing partner, the contracts would have been renegotiated or the surcharges could be updated. The way we handle these delta changes between the invoice and the matched shipment is by configuring the service provider to copy delta costs at the time of approving the invoice.

Now, let's add a bit of flavor to this. Let's say the driver is unable to take the usual route due to unforeseen accidents on that route. He takes a different route and ends up paying for driving thru multiple toll gates, and even booking for an overnight stay at a roadside inn. These additional expenses are usually 'customer recoverable' and the driver should be able to flag them on his OTM mobile application.

If the driver also decides to get his truck's headlights fixed or change the brake pedals, it is hardly a case for recovering from the customer though. 

At the end of the month, before invoice is made out to the customer, the drivers' supervisor receives a notification on his mobile while he is on the site, busy assigning shipments to this fleet. On his OTM mobile, he gets to review the additional costs incurred against each invoice, the estimated and actual invoice amounts paired for quick reading.

Other examples of these accessorial costs could be the original driver enlisting help of other truck drivers. So, for instance the truck has left location A and is on its way to location D via locations B and C. This is a multi-stop shipment. On his way, the driver is alerted on his OTM mobile of another truck driver in his vicinity who is on his way to location D, this being a direct shipment. The second driver is shipping a return delivery which happens to be completely unplanned. Owing to the nature of this return delivery, his truck now appears as a notification for other truck drivers near him on the integrated Maps application. The original driver can now choose to offload some of his orders onto the return delivery truck depending on the other truck's equipment capacity.  Now that some of the orders have been offloaded, the original truck may not need to visit few locations on his route, thereby reducing the overall cost. The original driver should be able to indicate this on his OTM mobile which must transpire as a negative cost line item of his truck's invoice. The return delivery driver may incur an additional fuel surcharge which would correspond to a new accessorial cost on his truck's invoice.

To achieve this, we would have to add invoicing functionality to OTM mobile. Picture this interface alongside the standard set of screens that we are already getting in standard OTM mobile -

Carriers can select/deselect few order movements with the click of a button and promote the changes all the way to invoices. We can trigger invoice XML from the OTM mobile once the driver makes his edits and logs a delivery event at the destination. This way the information between orders and invoices is always in sync and few invoices would fail auto-approval. Also, the invoice-generation itself will be real-time thereby eliminating manual reconciliation which is taxing and prone to errors.

In short, making carriers more inclusive in the digital transformation.

 

Engage with our experts at #OOW17 booth 1602 & learn how you can transform your #digital capabilities infy.com/2vSljwe #InfosysAtOOW


Written by: Kranthi Askani


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.

November 18, 2011

Bridging Two Islands: A curious case of Oracle AIA

Guest post by
Vinod Kumar, Consultant, Infosys

 

Telecom sector has been chronically plagued by revenue leakage problems and often seen to be spending the maximum energy and budget on areas around how to not let it happen or in other words having in place an effective Revenue Assurance mechanism. Making it one of the most published area in the industry are the solutions around it yet the clients, be it the newcomers or the old-timers, are often marred by this problem. Not that there are no solution around it but it's the understanding of the solution/product offering and the judicious implementation which makes a solution stand out.

Continue reading " Bridging Two Islands: A curious case of Oracle AIA " »

January 21, 2011

Enterprise Asset Management - Emerging trends

Guest post by
Krishna Ammapalayam Srinivasaragavan, Consultant, Oracle Practice, Enterprise Solutions, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

 

We are in the era of Enterprise Resource Planning implementations. It's estimated that by adopting ERP systems and best practices cost reduction, quality improvement, staff skills increases too many folds. Also the IT companies dealing with ERP systems receive the maximum revenue and profit in their operations.

Continue reading " Enterprise Asset Management - Emerging trends " »

December 1, 2010

Yes or No to Customization of Oracle Transportation Management?

Organizations contemplating on using IT as an enabler to manage their transportation usually have 2 options in front of them, buy an ERP like Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) or build a product in-house.  There is also a middle path; it's the path of buying and customizing. The question which comes then is whether it is advisable to buy a standard ERP, which claims to have the best processes from the industry and yet is a generic product, and then customize it. A yes or no to customization cannot be simply a "Yes" or a "No". I will try to start the debate here and discuss some critical points on Oracle Transportation Management customization.

Continue reading " Yes or No to Customization of Oracle Transportation 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 " »

May 26, 2010

Role of Reverse Logistics in enhancing customer satisfaction by improving returns management in manufacturing

Traditionally the manufacturing industry is always focused on improving the forward logistics- the focus is to cut cycle time for product innovation, time to market, order to fulfill. This led to optimization techniques of forward logistics through usage of technology. Forward supply chain visibility is a key parameter which the customer evaluates before choosing a supplier in manufacturing.

But the paradigm is shifting gradually. Today's best of class manufacturing organizations have created their own service organizations and are realizing the importance of managing the return and repairs efficiently. There is a considerable monetary value attached to this cycle- and more important it is the loss of loyalty due to an unsatisfied customer because of delay in the replacement/repair of faulty product. This loss can be easily associated with loss of revenue, market share and other financial numbers. As a result leading manufacturing companies are leveraging technology and collaborating with partners to optimize their return, repair, replacement, recycle and remarketing processes.

In order to understand the role of reverse logistics, let us look at the key functions in the value chain which impacts the overall cycle time for execution.

  • Customer service management- This involves receiving customer complaints and ensuring service contract compliance, proactive updates on service calls, status monitoring and first hand issue resolution
  • Transportation and Logistics- this involves authorizing returns, collecting, sorting, testing, stocking, shipping (transportation) and disposition
  • Depot repair- Managing repair, reverse engineering, remanufacturing, reassembly and reuse of salvaged components
  • Channel Management- This involves measuring, monitoring, tracking and evaluating the performance of channel partners
  • Financial management- This involves managing warranty and financial liability, proper inventory valuation and costing and finally recovery of appropriate costs
  •  Sales- Refurbished product sale through promotions and other channels

We need to now carefully examine the factors that impact these functions. Once we understand those we can understand the role of efficient reverse logistics in enhancing customer satisfaction. We will discuss those in my next blog- in the meantime let me know your views and thoughts. 

May 4, 2010

When is the right time to conduct End User Training in Oracle implementation?

One question that continues to baffle the program management community around Training delivery in large ERP implementation programs is when to deliver end user Training? The answer is probably not as straight as you may expect. Let's first discuss the constraints around this decision:

  • Go Live Date: If there is a huge gap between Go Live Date and User Training, the user tends to forget what they learnt as during this period they have to continue using the legacy system and will not be able to unlearn some of the old practices and habits post go-live. On the other hand, if the training continues till the last date, you will not be able to make an apt decision towards user readiness and its implications on implementation Go No Go Decision.

Continue reading " When is the right time to conduct End User Training in Oracle implementation? " »

May 3, 2010

Road towards Package Adoption and Learning - Comprehensive Training Strategy is your Precursor to implementation success

In my last blog Still waters run deep - Poor User Adoption may cost you your ERP Implementation.. I discussed at length about the importance of ERP training and the need for organizations to focus more on user adoption.  As ERP Implementations mature and grow, the focus on user training also intensifies. While many organizations have started realizing the benefits of user adoption, they often struggle to determine the right budget and the right approach to achieve it.

Continue reading " Road towards Package Adoption and Learning - Comprehensive Training Strategy is your Precursor to implementation success " »

April 29, 2010

Disaster Management in Utility Industry a solution through ERP, Oracle Enterprise Asset Management (eAM) .

Generally Utility industry  get mostly affected due to Natural Calamities as  they have huge number of Assets /Equipments installed in the field which are open to sky e.g. Transmission Towers, Transformers etc . Most of the Utility Organizations these days are looking for some sort of solution /help for Disaster Management from any ERP/Asset Maintenance system.

Continue reading " Disaster Management in Utility Industry a solution through ERP, Oracle Enterprise Asset Management (eAM) . " »

December 4, 2009

OTM Out-of-Box Integration with Oracle WMS

In the OTM world, there is a common misperception among OTM Consultants and Customers that OTM is not integrated with Oracle WMS. But the fact is OTM is integrated with Oracle WMS and leverages the same Out-of-Box OTM integration that exists with EBS for other modules like Oracle Purchasing, Order Management, Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable. In R12.1, Oracle has further enhanced OTM by including Warehouse Dock Door and Dock Schedule Information in the integration footprint.  From the warehousing perspective, the current integration means that one can perform warehouse tasks based on the transportation plan. In other words one can release lines for picking prior to dock appointment and staging the products to the dock door where the dock appointment has been made.
From a WMS perspective there are two interested integration points:
·         Shipping Itinerary Integration
·         Dock Door Appointments Integration

Shipping Itinerary Integration
The most interested integration from the warehouse perspective is “Delivery trip interface with OTM”. This is a very trickier integration, since by necessity it has to be a two way integration. EBS sends the Order information to OTM for planning and OTM sends the shipping itinerary back to EBS based on transportation constraints and goals. EBS then executes the pick, pack and ship process and resends the information back to OTM for rerating if required.
EBS concurrent program “Shipping Transportation Outbound Interface” creates Order Release in OTM from EBS Delivery.  So, as you probably guessed, deliveries in EBS are a pre-requisite for using this integration. Once the OTM transportation plan is finalized, OTM triggers planned shipment interface concurrent request to create a trip in EBS.            

Dock Door Appointments Integration
If the OTM dock appointments are used, then there is a brand new interface point introduced in R12.1. The “Dock Door Appointments Interface” is applicable for WMS only. This interface synchronizes the dock doors defined in WMS to OTM. This model assumes that WMS is the source for dock door definitions. R12.1 has “Synchronize Dock Door with Transportation Management” concurrent request for dock door synchronization.

Conclusion:
The current OTM-WMS integration is robust and works as described. However, the integration may require tweaking in case of more complex needs and/or operating a very dynamic logistics environment. There are few ‘missing links’ that needs to be addressed, that can help customers in designing a more efficient fulfillment operation.

Acknowledgements: Lakshmana Murthy Kodukula

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