Oracle Enhances Transportation Management

Oracle has updated its Oracle Transportation Management 6.0 solution to provide improved oversight for transportation networks, ranging from small handfuls of trucks to fleets of ships. Oracle has been on a steady campaign of acquisitions and product releases in 2009, despite the moribund state of the economy. SAP and other companies have also introduced supply-chain management solutions.

Oracle updated its solution for transportation networks, one of the more complex real-world enterprise-related activities, with Oracle Transportation Management 6.0.

The solution, the next major update after the release of version 5.5 in May 2006, is intended to provide single-application functionality for transportation-network planning, execution, payment and process automation; it is designed to be scalable, whether the network in question is a handful of trucks or a fleet of multileg ocean freighters.

Within the solution, the company is emphasizing Oracle Fleet Management, a component that enables the management of fleet and common carrier networks via a single platform, which theoretically can translate into greater efficiencies and thus lowered costs and environmental impact.

"It gives our customers the ability to manage both their private fleet operations as well as transportation provided by third parties," Derek Gittoes, vice president of Logistics Product Strategy for Oracle, said in an interview. "It's unique for manufacturers to be able to manage both their own drivers as well as the transportation provided by third-parties; from a commercial software perspective, this has not been offered before."

Without the software, a retail giant using a combination of their own and third-party fleets might have an inefficient system in place where their trucks, once they deliver goods to a particular store, head back to the distribution point empty. With the solution in place, Gittoes says, such "dead runs" of empty trucks belonging to both the retailer and its third-party contractors can be weeded out of the system.

The solution as a whole offers expanded functionality for planning, execution and financial settlement. Oracle claims that version 6.0 will boost order management capabilities, mobile-communications and asset tracking, and utilization of drivers, among other benefits.

It will also install new capabilities for costing, payables, billables, cost accruals, revenue recognition and claim and dispute management.

Oracle has released other products in 2009 designed to introduce more efficiency into enterprise business operations, as companies look to reduce their costs and streamline their operations in the face of a massive global recession.

March 9 saw the release of Oracle Sourcing on Demand, a SAAS solution to make strategic sourcing, the process by which companies procure the best deals for supplies, more cost-effective and efficient. Using the solution, a company's experts can collaborate in order to arrive at the best possible price; Souring on Demand is also validated to meet SAS70 Type II and Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements.

Oracle has also kept up a steady acquisition pace in 2009, including the purchase of mValent, a company that produces configuration management solutions, and Relsys International, whose drug safety and risk management solutions could play a vital part in Oracle's health care IT strategy.

Other IT companies have introduced products that make the enterprise's supply chains increasingly efficient.

On March 18, SAP rolled out a new version of its SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services application, part of the SAP BusinessObjects governance, risk and compliance solutions suite; that software was designed to automate regulatory compliance across the supply chain.