Against the backdrop of a continuing and unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic that is disrupting logistics for enterprises, Oracle has updated its Fusion Cloud Supply Chain and Manufacturing (SCM) suite with new tools to increase efficiency of trade and transportation operations.
The updates, added to the Oracle Fusion Cloud Transportation Management and Oracle Fusion Cloud Global Trade Management modules in the SCM suite, are designed to let businesses predict delivery times, automate transportation processes for shipments, analyse trade data and deal with multiple languages globally. The entire SCM suite runs on Oracle Fusion Cloud.
Supply chain disruptions have had an impact on businesses and their IT strategies. In a survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG after the pandemic hit in 2020, about 80 per cent of respondents claimed that making operations and supply chain processes more responsive to change was their biggest digital transformation priority.
The survey, which polled 780 digital transformation strategy leaders in 10 countries and territories across 12 sectors, also shows that nearly 63 per cent respondents believed that the pandemic has played the role of an accelerant in the execution of their digital strategies.
Machine learning helps forecast shipping time
To help enterprises better handle transport, Oracle has added an intelligent transit time predictor to its Transportation Management module.
The machine-learning algorithm that underpins the transit time predictor enables users to analyse the impact of any delays or interruptions in the delivery process including extreme weather or airport/port delays, along with network-level disruptions such as labour and capacity shortages, said Derek Gittoes, vice president of supply chain management product strategy at Oracle.
The algorithm takes into account all shipment-based historical data for the particular enterprise and analyses it after bifurcating it into nearly 200 attributes, according to Gittoes. “By doing this analysis, the tool can accurately predict delivery times and lower costs associated with delays, expedite shipments, and help maintain additional safety stock,” he said.
The intelligent tool could help companies fine-tune capacity while also reducing idle time, said Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research.
The Transportation Management update also adds automated spot bidding (the process of tendering a shipment to several carriers) and the ability to combine and track multiple shipments in the SCM cloud’s logistics platform, Gittoes said. The automation helps eliminate human errors, manage freight costs better and avoid shipment delays, he added.
The biggest advantage of this new transport management feature, according to Constellation’s Wang, is that it automates many manual processes, which could result in time and cost savings.
Oracle said that it had run a pilot with Western Digital for the new tools to check their efficacy. The machine-learning capabilities helped improve ETA accuracy from 64 per cent to 93 per cent, said Joseph Hodges, director of Western Digital’s Logistics Centre of Excellence, in a press release.
Real-time analytics for supply chain
Updates for both the transportation and global trade management modules include the ability to run real-time queries on data being ingested by the applications, for better supply chain management across an enterprise’s global operations.
Enterprises can use the analytics on all historical to better manage shipments, Gittoes said. What is even more interesting is that these analytics tools can be used to gain deeper insights which can be later viewed in combination with other departmental reports,” Gittoes said.
Another addition to both the transportation and trade modules is a real-time multi-language response capability for the Oracle Logistics Digital Assistant, designed to allow enterprises to work faster without the need for additional resources by responding to queries in customers’ native languages.
This reduces operational costs and quickly respond to customers, regardless of geographical location or language, Gittoes said.
Enterprises increase investment in supply chain
Oracle seems to have released the update to make its SCM suite more well-rounded and capitalise on the trend for enterprises to increase their expenditure on supply chain management
“The big players do not have solutions out of the box. Enterprises often have to pay for expensive add-ons and consulting projects,” Wang said, adding that the supply chain management market has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic.
An IDC report shows that the worldwide supply chain management applications market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 per cent through 2025, reaching $15.4 billion, compared with $11.2 billion in 2020. By 2025, 45 per cent of the SCM applications market revenue will be derived from public cloud services applications, IDC predicts.