In today’s highly competitive marketplace, Oracle Australia’s general manager for Manufacturing, Retail and Distribution Scott Dawes says businesses are looking for a supply chain solution that will help them embrace a customer-centric supply chain model in order to sense, plan, and respond to real-time demand signals across a network of partners, suppliers, retailers, and customers.
“By adapting to make what they sell, rather than sell what they make, manufacturers can finally realize the long-held goal of having their products arrive on the doorsteps of retailers, distributors, and customers at exactly the right time and in exactly the right volume,” he says.
“Consider the challenges for manufacturers associated with mass customisation. Customers now are requiring suppliers to provide highly configured, made-to-order products with more specialized features.”
“Rapid product proliferation and shrinking product life cycles also are forcing company decision makers to not only innovate across product portfolios, but also find new approaches for bringing products to market.”
“Globalisation, along with the rise of outsourcing and offshoring, is another major challenge.
“The globalisation of the supply chain brings rewards, such as cheaper labour costs, but also new risks, such as longer supply chain lead times and the need to keep more local inventory.”
“Finally, companies no longer can afford to tolerate profitability shortfalls when supply and demand are not aligned,” Dawes says.
“Of course, this misalignment always has been a major problem. Manufacturers have long struggled to respond to sudden spikes in demand or an unexpected inventory glut.”
“Today, however, they cannot make the wrong assumptions because it is less likely excess inventory will be sold and more likely unsatisfied customers will turn to competitors for what they want.”
According to Scott Dawes, Oracle’s approach is to provide solutions with the ability to sense, influence, and fulfil demand with best-in-class demand management and real-time sales and operations planning.
“We focus on supporting demand flow processes, lean manufacturing, and integrated execution (MES) systems within both discrete and process manufacturing in a single environment that drives manufacturing excellence,” he explains.
“Ensuring a completely secure, standards-based, scalable IT infrastructure (end-to-end and top-to-bottom) to enable global supply networks is also essential.”
“In addition, Oracle offers a best-in-class global transportation management and logistics solution that allows companies to manage and operate their entire transportation function within a single Web-based application.”
“Operations are enhanced with demand visibility, powerful analytics, and optimization solutions for a leaner, more efficient supply chain.”
Dawes points to the JD Edwards Enterprise One family of applications, Oracle Demantra and Oracle Transportation Management which include supply chain planning, execution and management as the most widely implemented of the company’s supply chain solutions.
“We’re seeing increased demand for supply chain planning, transportation management and product lifecycle management applications in particular,” he says.
“All of these applications provide high ROI in a fast timeframe.”
Oracle sees consolidation as a positive for the Australian supply chain industry, as companies strategically combine with others to strengthen product offerings, accelerate innovation, meet customer demand more rapidly and expand partner opportunity.
“For instance, Oracle’s acquisition of Agile, a product lifecycle management (PLM) applications vendor, was a strategic acquisition,” says Oracle president Charles Phillips.
“PLM is evolving into an enterprise-wide discipline that spans multiple product design systems and interacts with a wide-range of enterprise applications to manage the complete product lifecycle from concept and design, to production, sales and service.”
“Profitable product innovation is critical to product-based industries, making PLM one of the fastest growing application segments,” Phillips says.
“The addition of Agile, which will serve as the foundation of our PLM offering, will further Oracle’s strategy of delivering industry-specific enterprise applications and allows us to offer yet another strategic application to SAP customers.”