In our previously published Supply Chain Matters blog, we shared details of our 2021 Prediction indicating that Omni-channel Focused Processes and Customer Fulfillment Capabilities Are Now Essential to Business Growth.

There is a growing realization that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a longer-lasting shift toward online fulfillment not only in B2C but in B2B customer fulfillment dimensions. Market estimates at the close of 2020 indicated that online commerce will range from 17 percent to upwards of 20 percent of global retail sales in the not-too-distant future.

Our slate of 2021 predictions further include the need for the ability to assess and better control the exploding costs that are occurring in Omni-channel online fulfillment areas. Now more than ever, the ability to assess different lane and carrier costs, as well as the ability to have more flexible online fulfillment capabilities, are new table stakes in managing costs to serve.

Our prediction called for reassessment and new thinking of near and long-term chain chain technology strategy, one of Cloud based technology that brings together an interconnected network of synchronized planning, multi-tier supply network visibility, and real-time, more synchronized customer fulfillment execution. A further consideration was that in assessing enabling technology, focus on market offerings that pre-integrate various technologies, avoiding the need for added customization and information integration efforts.

Agile Supply Chains Bob Ferrari

One example of these tenets is an announcement this week from Cloud based ERP and supply chain technology provider Oracle for optimizing customer logistics capabilities.

The enterprise technology provider has made available to its Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain and Manufacturing suite customers augmented logistics capabilities within Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) and Oracle Global Trade Management (GTM), both being a part of the Oracle Cloud SCM applications suite.

This new update provides added capabilities that can enhance the customer fulfillment experience. They include, among others:

  • The ability to now leverage Oracle Logistics Machine Learning within transportation processes to predict transit times more accurately, detect unplanned delays that lead to added costs, as well as increase overall logistics efficiencies.
  • Enhance compliance with rules of origin criteria among hundreds of various trade agreements, a rather important need in today’s more dynamic global trade environment where added port delays can have significant cost and service implications.
  • The ability to connect logistics flows among Oracle OTM, Oracle Warehouse Management (WMS) and Oracle Internet of Things, providing the ability to monitor location, environmental condition, or other physical aspects of shipments.
  • Support automated transactions with ocean container carriers from booking through settlement, along with a 3D Load Configuration Editor that provides the ability to manage the loading of container-based shipments.
  • Leveraging newly developed Oracle Logistics Digital Assistant capability that provides a conversational interface and access experience that can allow mobile based users the ability to access shipment information and send requests to Oracle OTM and Oracle GTM.


The important differences demonstrated by Oracle, is that rather than individual technology tool kits, technologies such as AI/ML, IoT and Digital Assistant are already pre-integrated among various applications and data management and insight needs. This includes Oracle’s Intelligent Track and Trace IoT enabled process capabilities.

These are important considerations that technology select teams should weight when evaluating technology selection. They go a long way in avoiding added costs for resident data scientists, added IT integration, technology licensing and support costs.

Bob Ferrari

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