February 14, 2017

Oracle launches four apps for supply chain automation

Oracle launches four apps for supply chain automation

Software giant continues penetration with expanded Internet of Things package.

By Ben Ames

Business software giant Oracle Corp., broadening its expansion into supply chain technology, said it has launched a suite of four cloud-based applications that the firm said could help companies automate their operations.

Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle will expand its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio by adding components for asset monitoring, production monitoring, fleet monitoring, and the connected worker, the company said. Together, the applications are designed to help users detect, analyze, and respond to signals from industrial platforms ranging from forklifts to factory equipment, trucks, and workers, Oracle said.

Oracle's design placed an emphasis on simplified user interfaces and streamlined workflows to help customers justify their investments in IoT platforms, which have received a great deal of hype but are still an unknown quantity to many businesses, said Bhagat Nainani, Oracle's group vice president of IoT applications development, in a phone interview.

Nainani said Oracle's supply chain and transport customers have "found it hard to adopt our IoT cloud components because they were uncertain how much investment was needed up front and how it would pay off for them." In response, Oracle designed the new suite of tools to produce quick results in applications that clients are already using, Nainani said. The applications are in such areas as manufacturing, maintenance, customer service, and transportation management, he said.

The asset-monitoring unit tracks items inside the facility, such as valves, elevators, or forklifts, Nainani said. The production-monitoring unit helps machines work together on the factory floor. The fleet-monitoring unit tracks trucks, buses, or delivery vehicles and reports on conditions such as temperature, presence of load, and location. And the connected-worker unit helps employees and managers stay in touch for jobs in hazardous conditions, such as construction or mining, he said.

All four components work in conjunction with Oracle's Supply Chain Management Cloud platform, or can be integrated with other common platforms such as TMS and ERP products from other vendors, he said.

The product expansion is Oracle's latest initiative designed to claim a growing stake in the supply chain tech sector. In the past 18 months, the company has integrated its transportation management system (TMS) platform with supply chain visibility provider 10-4 Systems Inc., acquired warehouse management system (WMS) software vendor LogFire Inc., and upgraded its global trade management (GTM) platform.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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