The following is an evaluation of Oracles’ E-Business Supply Chain Management system. Unless noted with a brand name (i.e. JD Edwards or PeopleSoft), other brands are not part of the evaluation. Oracle has positioned Demantra as their S&OP and demand management solution for the E-Business Suite, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft ERP brands; Demantra is also used with other third-party ERP and SCM systems.
SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE AND CROSS APPLICATION SOLUTIONS
Fusion is Oracle’s SOA (service oriented architecture) middleware. Application Integration Architecture (AIA) is the business application integration technology that works with Fusion. The Fusion and AIA platform software includes tools for:
- Web Services
- Business Processes and Workflow
- Business Analysis
- Business Intelligence (BI)
- Business Event Monitoring
SALES AND OPERATION PLANNING
Demantra automates the preparation for the monthly S&OP executive meeting, including consensus building, on demand plans and supply plans. Upon approval, the plans are published and enabled for continuous monitoring and revisions. Exceptions to the plans generate alerts to the individuals responsible for resolving discrepancies or problems.
As opposed to the best fit approach to forecasting, Demantra forecasting allows for multiple models to be combined, based on probabilities of each model. The forecast dynamically adjusts to changes in trends and market conditions. Demantra forecast allows for causal factors and demand history as input. Through collaborative features, customers can collaborate on forecasting their demand. Demand data is managed at granular groupings to improve analysis and demand shaping opportunities.
Order fulfillment integrates with Order Management and WMS to auto generate pick and pack to fulfill customer sales orders.
PeopleSoft ERP uses the PeopleSoft proprietary demand management solutions.
Strategic Network Planning – Oracle’s product is called Strategic Network Optimization (SNO). SNO integrates purchasing, production, distribution, and transportation for analyzing and planning of mid-term and long term sourcing decisions. Planning tools include what if analysis, constraint-based resource optimization, constraint-based cost optimization and demand matching. SNO integrates with JD Edwards Enterprise One and Oracle’s E-Business Advanced Planning Command Center.
Distribution Planning – Planners can view the global positioning of inventory, override automatically generated allocations and optimize shipments. Postponement and risk pooling strategies help determine inventory placements. Distribution planning includes algorithms to target the most profitable customers, channels and product mixes. Available-to-Promise (ATP) and Capable-to-Promise (CTP) features are part of Global Order Promising which helps to improve on time deliveries.
Replenishment – Primary software capabilities includes capabilities to auto generate POs from demand, sales orders, and sourcing agreements.
Vendor Managed Inventory – VMI replenishes customer inventory based on stock and sales data sent to the inventory supplier or business partner.
Procurement Management – Strategic sourcing software functionality includes:
- Long Term Planning
- Support for RFP / RFQ
- Supplier Contracts
- Supplier Score Card
- Online Auctions
- Electronic Catalogs for Print and Web Publishing
The Purchase Order (PO) processing module supports centralized and decentralized procurement
methods, aggregated demand scenarios, converting demand into POs and integrated receiving and payables.
Yard Management - Oracle does not support yard management. Dock door appointments are supported, when WMS is integrated with Oracle’s TMS. Planners can manage the arrivals and departures of trailers, schedule dock door appointments and optimize dock usage.
Inbound Processing – Pallet and carton auto-identifications are matched to the supplier ASNs; receipts are auto generated. Manual receiving is supported against document types such as a PO or RMA. High volume inbound goods are directed to the more accessible locations. A sample of put-a-way types includes:
- Hazard Materials
- Item Fragmentation
- Seasonal Items
- Purchase Order Types
- Item Categories
Outbound Processing – Oracle supports several methods for planning shipments. Depending on the shipment method, processes can include shipment consolidations, trailer loading and generating ASNs. Picking methods include Bulk, Zone, Discrete, Sales Order and Wave.
Cross Docking – Inbound goods can be directed to the outbound process, with outgoing to an interim warehouse storage location. Expected receipts can be checked and matched for cross docks opportunities.
Value Added Services – Oracle’s WMS does not support Value Added Services, unless integrated with Oracle’s Project Manufacturing.
Storage – Oracle WMS supports lot and serial number tracking.
Planning – Oracle’s TMS includes decision support for:
- Least Cost Analysis
- Multi-modal Options
- Service Levels Optimization
- Zone Routing Optimization
- Carrier Selection
- Multi-Stop Optimization
- Transportation pooling
- Cross Docking Optimization
- Load Configuration and Optimization
Dispatch – Key distribution software functionality is based on load, pickups, modes of transportation and route optimization. The dispatcher is empowered to perform and automate the following:
- Assigns carriers to routes
- Produces Shipment Documents
- Generates EDI transactions
Visibility is provided throughout the shipment lifecycle.
Freight Charges and Settlements – Oracle software features include a repository of contracts for all modes of transportation, along with the functionality to calculate charges. Charges are validated for the services provided.
Fleet Management – Asset management is available for customers who manage their own fleet.
SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Oracle’s E-Business Suite does not support a full featured SRM. However, PeopleSoft’s SRM module is fully integrated with PeopleSoft’s ERP and SCM products.
Catalog Management – Key capabilities include web-based publishing with the ability to organize and publish the catalog for different trading partners. SRM transforms the supplier’s product catalog data to a uniform format for PeopleSoft’s procurement module.
Sourcing – The sourcing module manages the bidding process such as opening up a buying event (allowing named sources or general public to bid), managing the responses and analyzing the bids.
Contract Management – Both fixed item and open contracts can be created from the sourcing process. Contract management supports processes for generating purchase orders, item pricing and payment schedules.
Supplier Compliance – Supplier compliance contracts are integrated with PeopleSoft’s purchasing, payables and other SRM applications. Compliance is monitored for reporting supplier performance.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Oracle CRM software solutions include Siebel, People Soft and Oracle E-Business. The E-Business CRM software functionality includes channel revenues, order fulfillment, sales and marketing, and customer service. Oracle's Siebel is the customer relationship management software leader, however, is generally more traditional CRM and includes core modules such as marketing automation, sales force automation and customer support.
Their S&OP and Demand Management solutions have become best in class with the acquisition of Demantra. E-Business also has a full featured line of SCM products. For organizations using Oracle’s ERP solution, their SCM software becomes a top candidate for a SCM initiative.
Oracle’s footprint is large and complex, and their lineup of products is confusing. For smaller and midsized companies, Oracle will not scale down well. Like competitor SAP, Oracle implementations are complex and often take several months to implement individual modules even when excluding major tasks such as custom programming.
An area of uncertainty for investing in Oracle’s SCM software is the direction and decisions Oracle is taking with their new Fusion product. Oracle has taken the initiative to consolidate their business software applications under a common technology that integrates with their Fusion software platform. Oracle’s current position is that they will continue to support and upgrade E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards brands. However, at some point, fully supporting the three brands, plus the Fusion brand, will no longer make business sense for Oracle. As customers migrate to the Fusion products, the customer base will shrink for the other brands. Oracle’s customers will likely face uncertainties such as cost and disruption of migrating to Fusion, lack of clarity in how customized applications will function with the new Fusion brand, and the possibility of missing features or functionality in software upgrades.