Oracle announced this month the latest quarterly releases of Oracle Transportation Management Cloud and Oracle Global Trade Management Cloud. The quarterly release is noteworthy because of the current increased challenges, uncertainties and event volatility occurring in each of these key supply chain management business process support areas.

Business Process Background

It is no secret to our logistics and supply chain management readers that their world’s have become far more dynamic and challenging.

Consumers and customers continue to permanently shift their buying preferences to favor an Omni-channel buying experience that engages multiple fulfillment or goods return channels. The notions of product research and ordering via the web, delivery direct or pickup at a local brick and mortar presence are now the table stacks for industry competitiveness. That trend alone compels  retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to evaluate digital transformation in key process areas now more seriously, including logistics, transportation, and global trade management.

The global trade and tariff landscape is undergoing a significant amount of uncertainty and change. Supply Chain Matters is now providing weekly and bi-weekly updates to help our multi-industry readers to stay abreast of the implications of a changing global trade landscape along with the imposition of added tariff and incremental cost factors on either imported or exported products and components. Bottom-line, compliance and global trade movements are becoming much more dynamic and challenging in the current trade environment, requiring the most timely and up-to-date information.

While all of the above is challenging in itself, natural disasters impacting specific global regions continue to become far more significant in occurrence and test the agility and resiliency of a company’s supply or demand networks. Last year’s devastating hurricanes inflicting damage and severe flooding in the Caribbean and the United States. Major earthquakes and wildfires, extreme weather and other record-breaking events have each impacted transportation networks, and spiked transportation and logistics costs.

We would be remiss to not mention cargo theft, which continues to be a longstanding challenge for shippers and customers.

 

Oracle’s Quarterly Release Highlights

Oracle has released its latest quarterly enhancements for Oracle Transportation Management Cloud and Oracle Global Trade Management Cloud. Readers may recall that the former Cloud-based application suite is the former G-Log application which was acquired by Oracle several years ago. G-Log was always considered a best-in-class TMS application and Oracle has continued to invest in the application to make it better. With both applications now integral parts of Oracle’s SCM Cloud suite, users gain the opportunity to benefit from both robust functionality and built-in integration of business process support. Integration of transportation with order management is becoming far more important for supporting current and future Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs.

From an application functionality perspective, the latest release of Transportation Management Cloud provides enhanced routing and planning capabilities to help shippers make more-informed decisions when planning routes or optimizing transportation resources. Dispatchers can assign drivers to shipments in OTM, sending such information to a driver mobile device for real-time changes. It further helps to predict estimated time-of-arrival more accurately, an important new requirement for online shoppers ordering larger, more expensive goods such as furniture, appliances, or other household goods. The application can now account for factors such as historic traffic patterns including traffic rush hour patterns in specific cities, by incorporating such data from an external distance engine vendor. Once this data is factored, the information is referenced to create shipment loads that factor the impact of expected congested traffic. A new added feature benefiting fleet managers or dispatchers is the ability to now set-up alerts to unplanned deviations in delivery scheduling, which can help with the detection of security breaches.

A more simplified, easier to configure user interface refresh is included in this release, along with Oracle’s suite-wide implementation of Oracle Content and Experience Cloud conversation support allowing users to collaborate and communicate with other similar interface users, including social based information sharing. The new Oracle OTM/GTM REST API Service, a lighter weight API service is now incorporated to allow static and mobile users to perform quick data inquiries or data exchanges. A Long Running Task Monitoring and Control feature provides the ability to constantly monitor and control long running tasks, a prerequisite capability for ultimately providing what Oracle describes as a near-zero downtime upgrade and software patching experience.

Augmented optimization-based planning further allows shippers to map end-to-end fulfillment and actually simulate integration flows with Oracle Order Management Cloud and Inventory Management Cloud. There is enhanced support for planning and managing shift-based drivers including added support for planning and execution of schedules for private and dedicated fleets, including a driver-oriented workflow on a mobile app.

Oracle Global Trade Management Cloud now includes redesigned regulatory content interfaces to provide added flexibility for third-party information to be added into the application, a rather important requirement in today’s constantly changing global trade and tariff environment. It further supports the management of non-tariff measures that are deemed to be a known impact to the supply chain. Further included is support for multiple languages of the same tariff as well as related regulatory notes. Added usability enhancements include added out-of-the box menu structures organized by business process. A new Restricted Party Screening Workbench helps users to quickly resolve open issues.

An enhancement that caught our particular attention was improvements in the calculation of estimated landed costs. In the current global trade environment, landed costs of products are under constant review and analysis to factor added tariffs or changed country routings to landed costs. It is a decision support area that we have urged clients and readers to augment in order to provide senior management and executive-level sales and operations planning with needed information in determining whether to evaluate changed product sourcing.

 

Reader Takeaway

Transportation, logistics and global trade management decision support and analysis are indeed the new table stakes in managing today’s rather dynamic global and domestic logistics, transportation, and compliance environments.  It is good to observe enterprise technology providers such as Oracle in continuous development cycles to provide industry teams augmented technology support in such areas.

 

Bob Ferrari

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