August 15, 2018

Oracle updates transportation management and global trade management platforms

Changes can help shippers provide more reliable fulfillment despite strains of tight capacity market, firm says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Business software giant Oracle Corp. Tuesday releasednew versions of its Transportation Management Cloud and Global Trade Management Cloud products, saying the changes are intended to help users reduce costs and accelerate customer fulfillment while staying compliant with global trade regulations.

The latest releases provide real-time, data-driven insights into shipment routes and automated event handling, while offering expanded regulatory support for accurate screening and customs declarations, Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle said.

Enhancements include: routing tools that account for historic traffic patterns—such as Friday afternoon traffic around the San Francisco Bay area—hazardous materials, and tolls; regulatory support that allows for more accurate screening; and advanced transportation planning for outbound order fulfillment. Other upgrades feature: a mobile app for drivers in private and dedicated fleets to help handle shift-based assignments; real-time visibility into a shipment's location through the integration of internet of things (IoT) with fleet monitoring tools; and simplified user interfaces and graphical diagnostics tools.

Together, those upgrades can help customers succeed in an increasingly complex global trade and logistics landscape, Derek Gittoes, Oracle's vice president for SCM Product Strategy, said in an interview.

Two themes drive what Oracle is doing in supply chain management, Gittoes said: industry 4.0, which includes emerging technologies in manufacturing and distribution—such as the Internet of Things (IoT)—and the digital supply chain, which supports connections between products and the customers, trucks, and manufacturing centers that handle them.

For example, the expanded transportation management platform combines Oracle's existing TMS platform with its IoT fleet monitoring cloud service, allowing users to automate the tracking of vehicles even with private fleets or third-party vehicles. By accessing sensors in truck cabs, such as electronic logging devices (ELDs) or drivers' smartphones, the system allows users to plan and execute routes and shipments with greater detail than previously possible, collecting data such as real time tracking, global positioning system (GPS) locations, and event arrival and departure tags.

Integrating that data with transportation planning allows users to save costs while providing reliable service, he said. "It's definitely an interesting time in the transportation domain, where trailer truck capacity is becoming tighter, companies are spending more to go to the spot market, and customers are looking for ways to manage those factors," Gittoes said.

By integrating more real-time data into its transportation planning process, Oracle says it can help users apply the concept of "perfect order delivery," wherein a shipper can mitigate the impact of unplanned changes in the fulfillment process before the customer even knows about them. "People wants reliability in business to business (B2B) transactions," Gittoes said. "It's just like on the consumer side, where we don't really care when an object left your warehouse, we can care when it arrives at our DC or manufacturing site."

The upgraded platforms work within Oracle's enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain cloud offerings, as well as supporting integrations with comparable products from providers like SAP SE, Infor, or other third-party software providers, the company said.

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