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Smart features for managing shipping documents in Oracle Inventory Cloud

Smart features for managing shipping documents in Oracle Inventory Cloud 

A typical 'Order to Cash' or 'Return to Vendor' business process includes task of shipping goods out of the warehouse. This entails generating documentation to be carried with the shipment or documentation needed by various authorities/border control. Oracle Inventory cloud provides several configurable features which can be used to map the most common use cases or requirements associated with shipping documents creation (Ref Fig.1). The Oracle Inventory Cloud has configurations and customizations possible to make the generation of shipping documentation easy and flexible.


ship_blog2.png

Fig 1. Features and use cases


The key benefits that are derived by leveraging Oracle Inventory Cloud functionalities for generating accurate, automated and standardized shipping documents are,

  • Avoid penalties by complying with the compliance requirements
  • Reduce the risks related with export shipments
  • Improve shipping process flow by managing shipping process across geographies and business
  • Customer satisfaction is improved by being able to provide customer defined documentation


Automatic generation of the shipping documents

Oracle Inventory cloud provides seeded ESS jobs for most commonly used shipping documents. The shipment (i.e. delivery) is usually accompanied with documents like,

  • Packing slip/Delivery note - The purpose of the report is to list the customer addresses, sales line items, quantities that are included in the shipment. ESS job name - Print Packing Slip Report
  • Commercial invoice - The purpose of the document is to print the details of sales order line items packed in a shipment along with its price and total shipment value. ESS job name - Print Commercial Invoice Report 

These ESS jobs can be combined in a job set using the setup task "Manage Enterprise Scheduler Job Definitions and Job Sets for Financial, Supply Chain Management". In case custom shipping documents are created, a custom job is defined and then grouped in the appropriate job set.

Automatic generation of the shipping documents (at shipment confirmation) can be achieved in two ways,
  • Create a ship confirm rule using the task "Manage Ship Confirm Rules" and assigning the document job set (that includes the shipping documents) to be triggered at ship confirm. The rule can be used at the pick wave creation or ship confirm screen depending on the shipment steps
  • By configuring the document set rules. This is a powerful functionality which provides ability to set up business rules for selection of the document job set to be printed at ship confirmation. This setup enables more granular options and conditions for selecting the documents to be printed. 
Ex: A specific document set to be printed when customer ship-to country is Taiwan

The shipping documents can be automatically delivered to preferred mode by setting the delivery mechanism and output preferences.  The setup task Manage Shipping Document Output Preferences can be used to:
  • Define output preference for shipping document ex: Email or fax
  • Attribute based output preferences based on job role, user, organization
  • Attaching shipping documents to a shipment record 

Oracle Inventory Cloud provides rich functionality to support generation of shipping documents during various business process flows. The table below compares the shipping document generation functionalities with Oracle E-business suite R 12

Feature / Business process

Oracle E-business Suite

Oracle Inventory Cloud

Rule based printing of shipping documents

Does not support

Full support

Customization of shipping documents

Difficult to customize

Relatively easy to customize and deploy

Return to vendor flow

Supports generation

Supports generation

Drop ship flow

Does not support

Full support

Sub-assemblies shipped to OSP

Does not support

Full support



Print shipping documents for drop ship fulfillment flow - 

In the Drop ship fulfillment strategy, the seller does not keep the items in inventory, but relies on its vendors to build and ship the ordered items directly to customers. The vendor ships the goods to the customer but there are scenarios where the vendor expects the shipping documents to be generated and sent by the seller.
The scenario can be mapped In Oracle Inventory cloud by,
a) Setting the Supplier Ownership Change Event as 'ASN from supplier' in the "Manage Drop Ship Financial Flow" task
b) Setting the 'Print shipping documents for drop ship orders' option on the "Manage Receiving Parameters" task page.

The business process would follow these steps,
a) Seller communicates purchase order to vendor of the Items
b) Vendor prepares the items for shipment and communicates ASN to seller
c) ASN is created in Oracle inventory cloud (manual or through interface)
d) Shipping documents are generated for the drop ship order by the seller 
e) Shipping documents are shared with vendor and the vendor then ships out the items to the customer with the shipping documentation


Print shipping documents for return to vendor flow - 

Returning received lines to vendor is the process of moving the material which was received in the warehouse back to the vendor. Since the material is shipped out from the warehouse facility, the shipping documents are expected to be created for return shipments. 
 The scenario can be mapped In Oracle Inventory cloud by,
a) Setting the 'Print shipping documents for drop ship orders' option on the "Manage Receiving Parameters" task page.

This enables the two-step return process in Oracle Cloud applications. 
1. Return to vendor transaction is created in Oracle receiving by the warehouse receiving agent
2. The return to vendor transaction is created in Oracle shipping as a non-inventory shipment. 
3. The shipping operator assigns a shipment to the return to vendor lines, and performs ship confirm. Upon ship confirm, the shipping documents are generated

Customize shipping documents - 

One of the most common requirements is to customize shipping documents to meet specific customer needs or legal/statutory requirements. To meet the requirements, it may be needed that the shipping documents display additional data, or present data in a different layout.
In Oracle cloud applications, the shipping documents are defined as reports and created or edited using the Oracle Business intelligence (BI) catalog. The reports typically contain,
A Data model - This defines the data source, data structure, and parameters for the report
A Layout - This defines the presentation, formatting, and visualizations of the data

The following are common scenarios for customizing shipping documents,
Edit the layout of a report. Ex: Add company logo to the report output. Or remove certain fields from the report layout
Add a new layout to a report. Ex: Design a new layout template that provides details in the country specific custom clearance format
Edit a data model. Ex: Add fields to the data model used by a report so that the fields can be added to a custom layout of the report

Oracle cloud BI provides a feature of using the customize option on an existing report OR to create a new custom report using an existing report


Conclusion - 

Oracle Inventory cloud application provide a comprehensive solution to configure and customize shipping documents across multiple business processes like customer shipments, return processes or drop ship flows. Being tightly integrated with Oracle BI publisher, it provides the flexibility to easily customize and deploy custom documents by modifying either the layout or data model of the reports. These features make Oracle Inventory cloud application a powerful tool to manage shipping documents and help reduce efforts and cost in creating custom components for handling the various scenarios.






Comments

Well written Sukhad!

Well described .very useful document.

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