Last week, we called attention to a Business Week article that noted that business changes occurring in high tech and possibly other industry supply chains.  Supply Chain Matters commented that traditional planning based on historic trending, forecasting and traditionally longer planning cycles may not be sufficient to plan supply chain needs in the ‘new normal’ of business recovery.

Certain Oracle customers have already recognized this need, and Oracle has responded by announcing today the general availability of the Oracle Rapid Planning.

Interesting enough, this application sits on top of Oracle’s or other existing supply chain applications allowing planners to respond quickly to changes that may be required across the supply chain. 

I was briefed on Friday by Oracle executives Roger Goossens and John Bermudez last week about the features of this new application.  They indicated that feedback provided from an Oracle supply chain customer council indicated the need to respond to events that occur within inter-planning cycles, where the need for immediate answers to business opportunities or business change becomes critical.  An example would be if a customer wants to move-up and existing order or a new prospective customer wants to place an opportunistic order for goods.

The basis of this application is to snapshot the entire planning database at any given point in time, store that information in a totally memory resident architecture, and be able to run super-fast simulations of a planning scenario.  The application itself is stand-alone, and can be utilized in either an Oracle, or other ERP or APS environment, for instance SAP.  The technology leverages Oracle’s latest Fusion middleware which comes bundled in the licensing of the application. Software deployment is flexible, either from a traditional behind the firewall licensed version, or hosted options. The user interface also takes advantage of Oracle’s latest simplified, spreadsheet-like user and graphical interfaces. Another interesting note for this application is that it leverages simulation capabilities from Demantra’s sales and operations planning (S&OP) technology.

This application may be especially of interest to Oracle’s former JD Edwards’s customers with older versions of supply chain planning that may want to take advantage of Oracle’s newer planning technology without having to take the drink of Oracle’s full suite of supply chain applications, including templates for supply review, allocation decisions or capacity review.

Oracle was somewhat vague on the pricing aspects of the overall application except to indicate that the pricing is based on Oracle’s current pricing model that pegs size of the organization or supply chain as a reference.  Current customer references are limited to existing beta customers, and may increase over time.  At Oracle’s recent user’s conference, one customer who indicated use of this application was Amway.

As industry supply chains enter post recession recovery, the need for more rapid, event-driven planning will become more apparent.  For that alone, Oracle’s timing on the release of rapid planning is opportunistic.  How attractive this application becomes will be based on Oracle’s customer education and pricing of Rapid Planning.

 Bob Ferrari

Disclaimer: This author has received no compensation or consideration for neither authoring nor publishing this blog posting.