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Oracle Supply Chain Management

Trends and Opportunities for Supply Chain Viability

The headlines over recent months have shown how the supply chain has moved to become front and center of people’s attentions - whether personally as consumers or professionally as corporations. Dominic Regan, Senior Director, EMEA Logistics Applications, shares some of the latest challenges and trends with us. During the pandemic, the supply chain community focused on keeping our society fed, supplied and healthy in the midst of disruption. What are the weaknesses that have been brought to light? Before talking about the weaknesses, I think that first it is important to recognize how well many supply chains have coped during the pandemic. Very often as supply chain professionals we spend a lot of time fire-fighting, and perhaps don’t step back and appreciate what we have actually achieved. If nothing else, the headlines over recent months have shown how the supply chain has moved to become front and center of people’s attentions - whether personally as consumers or professionally as corporations. So, when faced with the scale and size of global disruption that simply could never have been anticipated, I believe supply chains have in many cases proven to be both remarkably agile and resilient. We have seen customers managing unprecedented spikes in demand, customers who have successfully found new suppliers at short notice, and even customers who have switched entirely the products that they are manufacturing or distributing. We have also seen companies which have had to stop production entirely for diverse reasons. The automotive industry is perhaps a classic example of this, where McKinsey reported only last month that “the COVID-19 crisis has compelled about 95 percent of all German automotive-related companies to put their workforces on short-term work during the shutdown.” So why is it that some industries and companies have coped, whereas others have not? I believe a lot of this comes down to transparency, whether in terms of understanding the supply chain network and how it is made up of many interconnected players, or in terms of understanding the location and availability of inventory, whether in motion or at rest. Without this transparency it proved impossible for companies to put contingencies in place, certainly in the timescales that the pandemic required. So, we saw, for example, how single-country sources of supply meant that sometimes complete industries had to shut down, but also how the absence of inventory visibility meant that companies could not guarantee delivery times or certainty of supply. “By gaining this transparency, and then understanding how to analyze and act upon it, it will enable companies to become more agile and resilient” What does this mean for the future? Well I think the drive we have seen in recent years to get more accurate, granular and real-time data will become embedded as the foundation for supply chain transparency going forwards. This transparency will embrace the physical, financial and informational supply chains - meaning that companies become better at understanding the supply chains they personally operate as well as those other networks and partners they interact with, but also how the dependencies these supply chains have with other business functions such as Sales & Marketing, Research and Development and Post-Sales Service. By gaining this transparency, and then understanding how to analyze and act upon it, it will enable companies to become more agile and resilient, which I believe will become as important measures for the supply chain of the future as efficiency has been in the past. Aligning corporate and supply chain strategy Working with many companies globally and in Switzerland, what are the main inhibitors for supply chain viability and how is Oracle helping find solutions? The study we just released with the University of St Gallen “The Rise of Supply Chain Viability - digital solutions as a boosting role” highlights the steps necessary to achieve supply chain viability, and clearly companies that lack these foundations will find it difficult to progress. Lack of visibility and transparency, for example is one area. “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”, this saying is equally true for factors as diverse as freight spend, shipment utilization or the impact of the supply chain on carbon footprint. Clearly without visibility and transparency it is difficult to know what needs addressing, let alone where to start. However, there are other factors that also come into play. In particular I think a failure of alignment between the broader corporate strategy and the specific supply chain strategy can be a major inhibitor. This is perhaps one of the areas where I see differences in companies around the world, with many European companies - including those headquartered out of Switzerland - having perhaps a stronger focus on their Corporate Social Responsibility agendas than those based elsewhere. For example, one can look at companies in the Consumer Goods sector, such as Unilever and Tetra Pak, or in the automotive sector such as Volvo, whose websites speak to how sustainability is embedded as much in their culture as in their operations, whether this is in terms of ensuring products and components are ethically sourced or in terms of looking to reduce carbon-usage or the prevalence of single-use plastics across the supply chain. I believe companies such as these, who have become strongly customer-centric and who see sustainability as a corporate - if not societal - objective, will be better aligned in terms of achieving supply chain viability. In terms of how Oracle can help, if I look at my own area of logistics then clearly our execution level solutions such as Transportation, Global Trade and Warehouse Management can deliver the foundational requirements for supply chain efficiency. There are also technologies such as blockchain which feature in our Intelligent Track & Trace application that can help companies gain visibility into their multi-tier networks and understand the chain of custody. We also see how Machine Learning and Adaptive Intelligence can be used to deliver the type of automated predictions, and tracing of products and processes, that would otherwise go untapped. This ability to maximize the value of newer technologies, along with the ability to run scenario planning that helps deliver agility and resilience, is what I believe results in Oracle having an unrivalled portfolio to help companies progress towards supply chain viability, regardless of their current IT landscape. Starting by gaining that visibility and transparency is the bedrock for progression, as without this transparency companies run the risk of doing things based on gut feel and emotion rather than empirical evidence. It is surprising how many times gaining some simple visibility either highlights deficiencies in an operation, or presents some unexpected opportunities. But even visibility takes time, so you might want start in a specific operational area such as transportation, which has the by-product that it can also help deliver improvements in customer service. Ultimately what is important is not to focus on having visibility, or how you get it, but rather on what you then do with it. Clearly in terms of supply chain viability it is the case that visibility and transparency are just one step along the journey, albeit an important one. So, identifying the resulting business value that will come from this visibility, and then using that to drive ongoing rollout and adoption is key. Tetra Pak, for example, decided to become a global supply chain leader in the food packaging and processing industry by 2020. They leveraged Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) Cloud to gain a competitive advantage by completely overhauling their transportation management platform to improve their logistics capabilities, obtain real-time predictive shipment visibility and coordinate efforts on a global scale. Whilst visibility was important to them, it was not an end goal in itself. So, their supply chain control tower project was defined with a clear progression that moved from an initial focus on improving logistics efficiency, then to ensuring world class customer experience, to finally enabling optimized and sustainable transport management. This approach allowed them to start small, with a number of pilot deployments, before moving to several regional streams that together will deliver global visibility. All of this was done with a clear vision of both their corporate and supply chain strategies. To me this approach is ideal, and provides a model to follow for other companies progressing towards a vision of supply chain viability. 

The headlines over recent months have shown how the supply chain has moved to become front and center of people’s attentions - whether personally as consumers or professionally as corporations. Dominic...

Oracle Supply Chain Management

Why do you need a data driven supply chain for 2021?

The new reality of 2020 pushed organizations to realign operations and supply chains to thrive. The focus is now on adaptability, speed, risk reduction, and sustainability whilst adopting more flexible sourcing and distribution strategies as regionalization has become a trend. The Institute of Supply Chain Management of University of St Gallen just released its latest study in collaboration with Oracle called “The Rise of Supply Chain Viability - Digital Solutions as a boosting Role”. The study's goal is to assess the triggers of Supply Chain Viability and look at the role of digital solutions in achieving Supply Chain Viability. Find the full study here. Professor Hofmann, Director, Institute of Supply Chain Management, University of St Gallen, shares some of the takeaways. Cloud solutions for Supply Chain Viability What are the main take-ways of your study? The increasing emergence of trend breaks, the shift of ecological and social imperatives and customer advocacy forces traditional supply chains to change. The need for sustainability and resilience is higher than ever before, which should be strongly focused by Supply Chains to survive in the future. Supply Chains should push the implementation of sustainability to survive on a long-term basis. The key enabler for supply chains to become viable is seen in the digital transformation. Today Cloud Solutions are the most promising technology to achieve a viable supply chain. What is specific for Switzerland? Do you see any threats or opportunities for Swiss companies? The global interrelation of Swiss supply chains and dependencies on international supplier networks paired with the strong export and transit orientation forces Swiss Supply Chains to implement transparency and sustainability as well as resilience to survive in the future, react to regional and global changing conditions and sustainability requirements. Due to the global relations and dependencies of Swiss supply chains, various changes not directly impacting the swiss economy can have huge influences on their Swiss supply chains. However, focusing on Supply Chain Viability and the implementation of sustainability and resilience in line with digital transformation can foster the global strength of swiss supply chains especially in times of emerging disruptions and global shocks. How have Swiss executives so far reacted to the findings and what do you expect over the next few months? Swiss executives realized the rigidity and complexity of current supply chains and the need of change to become resilient and sustainable to survive in the future. Within the next months supply chains will still struggle to survive the COVID-19 crisis as it will have tedious, far-reaching consequences. Despite this, supply chains will implement first instruments to predict future risks and changes and develop scenarios to overcome them. However, the transformation to viable Supply Chains will be a longer journey for some. What is your advice to Swiss companies wanting to ensure that their supply chain is ready for 2021? Focusing strongly on sustainability implementation and resilience as well as driving the digital transformation is key to achieve Supply Chain Viability. Supply Chains need to establish ecological and social orientation and long-term sustainability of all measures in their supply chain by using technological innovations to improve sustainability within and across Supply Chains. At the same time, adaptability should be built up in order to be able to react to disruptions. Data and analytics for agile and resilient supply chains “Ultimately, the companies that have their data under control and that use the appropriate technology to collect it will have the most agile and resilient supply chains.” Darko Belic, CEO of DHL Automotive GmbH and Head of DHL LLP Ford of Europe Much of the vulnerability related to supply chains is about the lack of visibility of inventory, whether static or in-transit, and how it can be affected by factors that are typically beyond the scope of a company’s own supply chain. This is why Oracle has been working alongside DHL Resilience360 a web-based Big Data Supply Chain Risk Management Solution, to provide logistics planners and customer service clerks using Oracle Transportation Management with the ability to achieve enhanced visibility of potential risks on a global level to supply chain operations in order to react to near real-time incidents during both planning and execution, including the ability to re-plan shipments where necessary to avoid disruption and to pro-actively inform end customers of potential delays and delivery disruptions, offering value-added information services, avoid loss of reputation and protect their company’s top line. For some time DHL Supply Chain has been leveraging the integration of both solutions to offer their Lead Logistics Partner service to global shippers across multiple industries including Automotive and Life Sciences. Darko Belic, Managing Director of DHL Automotive GmbH and Head of DHL LLP Ford of Europe tells us more. What is your strategy to build resilience and transparency in the face of global disruption and how is Oracle’s technology helping? In order to create resilience and transparency managing and interpreting data efficiently is crucial. The team can react to unplanned disruptions if it rapidly knows where the material is located, if it is impacted by a local disruption like a local lock down for example, if regions on route are impacted and if the destination is accessible. This information is required in real time to allow for rapid decision taking. DHL uses “Resilience 360” in order to collect data from different sources like the www, social media or others and overlay the gathered data with its network. Ultimately, the companies that have their data under control and that use the appropriate technology to collect it will have the most agile and resilient supply chains. What about the human relationship within the supply chain? How do you develop the talent and culture to support innovation? Innovation and digitalization won’t be televised. An environment and organizational set up which does not give room for creativity will not empower its people to develop new ideas. One intuitive option to foster continuous improvement is to implement “think tanks” or dedicated teams in operations which solely focus on innovation and service or process improvement. Digitalization is mistakenly perceived as equal to efficiencies and reduced workload. The truth is that digitalization is key for companies to succeed in a global economy and supply chain as it helps not only to secure jobs but also can to enrich them. It not only attracts employees but offers existing ones the possibility to learn new skills. Robotics for example can replace repeating copy & paste tasks and enable the employee to focus more on value added services which are on the other side leveraged by digitalization. A good example is Track & Trace. Instead of calling the carrier to localize a truck, this solution can provide the information real time and the employee can focus on tasks like optimizing the routes instead, using the information to improve dock schedules at destination, keeping the inventory levels under control and planning contingencies earlier if needed. In this case a rather time-consuming low value task (phone call) is being replaced by other more strategic ones. What are your recommendations for companies embarking on a journey to a viable supply chain? Start with the current state mapping and define where you want to be in 1 to 5 years. Reduce the complexity of your long-term strategy by breaking down the rather complex and intangible vision into less complex and more tangible shorter-term actions and be open to adapt and amend your strategy during your journey if new technological developments offer better solutions. For example, if you are currently storing your data in Excel sheets and ordering your transports via phone, do not try to implement blockchain or internet of things but rather focus first on setting the basics like smarter connectivity tools with your stakeholders, implementation of master data like data lakes and a proper TMS and data managing system like Oracle. Once the basics are set review and re-asses your next steps and strategy and adjust if needed on learnings and new developments.

The new reality of 2020 pushed organizations to realign operations and supply chains to thrive. The focus is now on adaptability, speed, risk reduction, and sustainability whilst adopting more...

Oracle Supply Chain Management

6 opportunities to eliminate waste in supply chain projects

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation. During these uncertain times, it is even more important to streamline efficiencies for effective project management and to eliminate waste on highly capital-intensive projects. Some examples of asset intensive projects are nationally based cellular buildouts or a utility company’s project to install smart meters throughout a city. According to PMI Pulse of the Profession* survey, 9.9% of every dollar is wasted on poor project management, which equates to $99 million on a $1 billion project.   According to the same study, only 64% of the most mature project management teams deliver a project on time, and only 67% of projects are delivered on budget. When you compare those KPIs to low maturity project teams, only 36% of projects are delivered on time and 43% are on budget. Unnoticed Project Wastefulness There are many reasons for the excessive waste and poor project performance—a lack of visibility into financials for a given project, disconnected software applications, manual processes, workarounds to derive data from siloed information. Some traditional supply chain solutions provide data as sources for some of the project metrics, but they often don’t provide the detailed insight that a project manager needs to course correct quickly to prevent waste or knowing when to adjust supplies. Phases of a project Let’s dig a little deeper into the progression of an asset-intensive project, such as building a cellular network. Here are the typical phases of such a project: •    Quote/bid, initiate the project – This includes engineering functions, as well as negotiations, legal reviews, contracts, and project planning.  Depending on the contract terms, it may include prototypes of cell towers or suppliers providing quotes for other major physical components of the cellular network that are being built out or upgraded. •    Supply Chain Planning and Materials Management – This starts the initial phase of the supply chain processes that include planning, ordering, manufacturing, managing inventory, and transporting goods for the project. It also typically involves subcontracted services for specific aspects of the project, e.g. hiring architecture or site planning company, engineering services, or welders and electricians to help construct cell towers. •    Construction – Actual work of the project is performed at project sites. The project manager carefully manages the process, inventory and contractors to try to avoid delays and mitigate risks so that the construction project is completed on time and within budget. •    Transfer of ownership and service – Here, the completed asset, in this case, a cell tower network is transferred from the project manager/contractor to the owner. Depending on the project, it may be a private company or a public entity. And then, the asset typically rolls into a maintenance phase. At this point warranties, service contracts, SLAs, and replacement parts come in to play when there’s a hardware failure, upgrade or damage to a cell tower network. •    Capitalization, billing and revenue – The finance department will account for the receivables and payables, properly attributing costs and expenses to the correct project, and capitalizing assets. Common Challenges to Overcome What has been described is the intersection between projects and supply chain processes. Without an integrated solution, these processes can be a muddle of disparate management software applications, manual tasks, and cumbersome work-arounds. Add in delays in the timeline because of macroeconomics events, inclement weather, resource scheduling conflicts, permit reviews, approvals from cities or component part delays, and you could quite easily have a confusing trail that requires forensic investigation to see if a project is on budget, let alone identify the nuances of project waste and detect in-flight project scope creep. The Solution:  Six Opportunities to Eliminate Waste in Supply Chain Projects An end to end project-driven supply chain solution that integrates the six functions listed below can help project managers eliminate waste.   1.    Project planning—with dashboard KPIs to streamline scheduling and budgets for individual projects to quickly gain insight and track the progress at any point in the lifecycle. 2.    Procurement—designed for project-specific purchasing to ensure materials are priced, procured, and received into inventory according to the specifications of each individual project. 3.    Supply chain—with automated functionality to orchestrate a complex multi-project supply chain, you can set up business rules for project requests, orders, creating documents, look-ups and attachment categories, and replenishment planning with a dashboard work area to manage the workflows. 4.    Manufacturing—offering functionality to create work orders, review availability and pick materials at the project or task level, attribute work orders as well as manage inventory and costs per individual project. 5.    Maintenance—with a process flow to create work orders, issue parts from a common or project-specific inventory, the solution also enables you to purchase outside services, import materials, and resource costs, with all costs, resources, and details associated with individual projects. 6.    Finance—with controls to ensure that multiple projects, customers, and associated activities can be accounted for separately with visibility into costs, expenses, and payables. Benefits of a Project Driven Supply Chain Fully supporting supply chain processes within the context of a specific project, including procurement, inventory, ordering, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance and costing, as well as finance functions and project accounting makes it makes easier to gain oversight and take corrective action as needed.  When connected to finance, the project manager can gain visibility into how each project relates to the planned budget at any point in time. For more information on a complete suite of cloud-based applications, go to www.oracle.com/applications. For Project-driven supply chain information, go here.   *2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession Survey                    

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation....

Oracle Supply Chain Management

6 Opportunities to Eliminate Waste in Supply Chain Projects

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation. During these uncertain times, it is even more important to streamline efficiencies for effective project management and to eliminate waste on highly capital-intensive projects. Some examples of asset intensive projects are nationally based cellular buildouts or a utility company’s project to install smart meters throughout a city. According to PMI Pulse of the Profession* survey, 9.9% of every dollar is wasted on poor project management, which equates to $99 million on a $1 billion project.   According to the same study, only 64% of the most mature project management teams deliver a project on time, and only 67% of projects are delivered on budget. When you compare those KPIs to low maturity project teams, only 36% of projects are delivered on time and 43% are on budget. Unnoticed Project Wastefulness There are many reasons for the excessive waste and poor project performance—a lack of visibility into financials for a given project, disconnected software applications, manual processes, workarounds to derive data from siloed information. Some traditional supply chain solutions provide data as sources for some of the project metrics, but they often don’t provide the detailed insight that a project manager needs to course correct quickly to prevent waste or knowing when to adjust supplies. Phases of a project Let’s dig a little deeper into the progression of an asset-intensive project, such as building a cellular network. Here are the typical phases of such a project: •    Quote/bid, initiate the project – This includes engineering functions, as well as negotiations, legal reviews, contracts, and project planning.  Depending on the contract terms, it may include prototypes of cell towers or suppliers providing quotes for other major physical components of the cellular network that are being built out or upgraded. •    Supply Chain Planning and Materials Management – This starts the initial phase of the supply chain processes that include planning, ordering, manufacturing, managing inventory, and transporting goods for the project. It also typically involves subcontracted services for specific aspects of the project, e.g. hiring architecture or site planning company, engineering services, or welders and electricians to help construct cell towers. •    Construction – Actual work of the project is performed at project sites. The project manager carefully manages the process, inventory and contractors to try to avoid delays and mitigate risks so that the construction project is completed on time and within budget. •    Transfer of ownership and service – Here, the completed asset, in this case, a cell tower network is transferred from the project manager/contractor to the owner. Depending on the project, it may be a private company or a public entity. And then, the asset typically rolls into a maintenance phase. At this point warranties, service contracts, SLAs, and replacement parts come in to play when there’s a hardware failure, upgrade or damage to a cell tower network. •    Capitalization, billing and revenue – The finance department will account for the receivables and payables, properly attributing costs and expenses to the correct project, and capitalizing assets. Common Challenges to Overcome What has been described is the intersection between projects and supply chain processes. Without an integrated solution, these processes can be a muddle of disparate management software applications, manual tasks, and cumbersome work-arounds. Add in delays in the timeline because of macroeconomics events, inclement weather, resource scheduling conflicts, permit reviews, approvals from cities or component part delays, and you could quite easily have a confusing trail that requires forensic investigation to see if a project is on budget, let alone identify the nuances of project waste and detect in-flight project scope creep. The Solution:  Six Opportunities to Eliminate Waste in Supply Chain Projects An end to end project-driven supply chain solution that integrates the six functions listed below can help project managers eliminate waste.   1.    Project planning—with dashboard KPIs to streamline scheduling and budgets for individual projects to quickly gain insight and track the progress at any point in the lifecycle. 2.    Procurement—designed for project-specific purchasing to ensure materials are priced, procured, and received into inventory according to the specifications of each individual project. 3.    Supply chain—with automated functionality to orchestrate a complex multi-project supply chain, you can set up business rules for project requests, orders, creating documents, look-ups and attachment categories, and replenishment planning with a dashboard work area to manage the workflows. 4.    Manufacturing—offering functionality to create work orders, review availability and pick materials at the project or task level, attribute work orders as well as manage inventory and costs per individual project. 5.    Maintenance—with a process flow to create work orders, issue parts from a common or project-specific inventory, the solution also enables you to purchase outside services, import materials, and resource costs, with all costs, resources, and details associated with individual projects. 6.    Finance—with controls to ensure that multiple projects, customers, and associated activities can be accounted for separately with visibility into costs, expenses, and payables. Benefits of a Project Driven Supply Chain Fully supporting supply chain processes within the context of a specific project, including procurement, inventory, ordering, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance and costing, as well as finance functions and project accounting makes it makes easier to gain oversight and take corrective action as needed.  When connected to finance, the project manager can gain visibility into how each project relates to the planned budget at any point in time. For more information on a complete suite of cloud-based applications, go to www.oracle.com/applications. For Project-driven supply chain information, go here.   *2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession Survey                    

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation....

7 Ways to be an Inclusive Leader while Social Distancing

Throughout my career, I have always appreciated that people are the most critical resource and determinant of whether our initiatives will be successful. New technologies, processes, and strategies will only work if team members are motivated and appreciated. As we navigate these uncertain times, we must challenge ourselves to further develop and enhance our talent management strategies. Inclusive leadership is important whether in person or working remotely.  Being inclusive at a distance can absolutely be challenging, but I am confident we can figure it out. Almost overnight, many businesses moved to remote operations and began using web conferencing. YES! But, let’s not stop there. Online meetings are a great first start, but more effort is needed. For leaders who are accustomed to onsite employees, the dramatic shift to employees who are remote takes a shift in mindset. Many studies have reported that employees are actually more productive at home. I have been a virtual team member at Oracle for almost my entire career here, and I absolutely love that there is no traffic between my bedroom and office. Yes! If there is any good news about the challenges we are facing, it is certainly that my colleagues have reduced their commute by as much as three hours a day. However, one of the many down sides of mandatory shelter-in-place order is the anxiety and worry that jobs could be in jeopardy since “out of sight” could also mean “out of mind.” Fearful employees may even take extreme measures by creating and working on many “busy” projects and also by sending volumes of unnecessary emails. Avoiding and reducing this level of stress is why managers and leaders at all levels must develop or enhance inclusive leadership techniques to promote cohesion, collaboration, expectations, and cooperation as we collectively navigate this new uncharted territory.   What is Inclusive Leadership? It’s a verb … an action … in which leaders intentionally create an environment where the entire team is comfortable and confident in bringing forth their respective ideas and recommendations. This goes above and beyond usual techniques that focus on the outcome more than the process. In outcome-focused leadership, the team is almost singularly focused on getting the task completed without room for discussion about different approaches for completing the task or even evaluating whether the approach will yield the best results. Inclusive leadership means understanding the strengths of each person on the team and what is needed to maximize their contributions—starting with making sure that everyone on the team understands the importance of their role within the context of the larger organization. It also involves creating opportunities for team members to build relationships. This doesn’t change just because everyone is in a different location. In a normal work environment, effective leadership is challenging. But now, as the ground seems to be shifting under our feet from week to week, inclusive leadership can make the critical difference between a team that’s just hanging on and one that’s thriving. Here are my tips for practicing inclusive leadership: 1. Communicate, communicate, communicate Leaders cannot communicate enough when everyone is juggling different priorities at work and at home. Challenging schedules intertwined with work and home responsibilities, like managing children while working from home or caring for family members, may mean that each person receives communications differently and at different times. Thus, leaders must use all appropriate communication mechanisms at their disposal to reach the team—email, text, video conferencing, and chat. In sharing details about new business initiatives, strategies, customer engagements, or partnerships, leaders must carefully consider the overall communication plan to reduce the grapevine and rumor mill. 2. Provide clear, consistent communications In times of uncertainty, team members need frequent and direct communication—almost to the point of over communication in order to stay focused. In communications, please consider that if the team members know what to expect and how any news impacts them directly, they will be less stressed. This may include details about how the company is doing as a whole, how the team is tracking against goals, new business models, pivot strategies, new technology roll-outs, etc. Incomplete details and unanswered questions can escalate challenges and uncertainty. 3. Create frequent, proactive touch points to connect your team In team meetings, it is a good idea to build in time for short round-robin discussions to check in on team members, foster comradery and promote networking. Each meeting could have a different topic and team members can suggest creative discussion topics. Here are a few ideas to get you going: •    Mindfulness Mondays—encourage each person to share something they do to promote self-care, for example, recommending their favorite wellness app, online exercise class, or podcast •    Happy Hour Tuesday—ask everyone to share some good news … it can be work-related or personal •    Recognition Wednesday—each person acknowledges someone on the team who helped them recently •    Thankful Thursday—encourage people to share something they appreciate … again, it can be about work or in their personal lives •    Funday Friday—ask people to share something they are looking forward to that weekend Other ideas: •    Binge Mondays—what did you binge-watch over the weekend? •    Throwback Thursday—remember when … there were no iPhones, there was no email, there was no social media, etc. •    Reimagine Friday—what would you do about xyz initiative if you were in charge? 4. Share boundaries for the day or the week In the current environment, team members are juggling many priorities that may not coincide with the typical work day. If team members aren’t going to be available for specific segments of work day, ask them to share their availability by email or via another collaboration tool so that the entire team knows when to connect and/or when to expect a response. 5. Avoid accidental exclusion Inclusive leadership means no one is left out. This means paying extra attention to emails and posts that could unintentionally forget someone. For instance, if leaders hold a call about a particular topic, excluding someone from a meeting related to their responsibility only serves to alienate them and result in their worry about their roles. Another example is related to LinkedIn posts where the leader creates a post thanking specific people who worked on a project. Please be sure not to forget anyone by accident. Further, if leaders like and share posts on LinkedIn or other social media outlets, be sure to mix it up so you’re following, liking, and sharing posts from people across the organization. Optics are important. Trust me, team members notice if leaders only like the posts of upper management. A few unintentional slights like these can cause the team to feel completely marginalized. 6. Welcome new employees Usually when a new team member joins, they are taken around the office and introduced to all of the other team members. We can’t forget the benefits of a having a network and a few “go to” team members we can ask questions. In a remote environment, we must mirror this process as much as possible. Everyone must make an extra effort to get to know new team members by engaging them, inviting them to a virtual coffee, helping them get to know others in the organization, and also sharing context to get acclimated to the team as soon as possible. 7. Strike a balance between managing and micromanaging Demographic characteristics of the team must also be considered. There is a difference between Gen Y and Baby Boomer team members just as there are differences between new team members and seasoned ones. Each team member requires a different level of interaction, guidance, and autonomy—especially in remote environments where the inclination is to ask for daily reports and over-managing. And while it’s important to remember that everyone may be different, a new team member in a remote environment will require much more engagement than a tenured employee who knows the organization. At the same time, seasoned team members still need help and guidance from time to time. Although these team members typically prefer autonomy, leaders must not ignore them since there is a risk they could feel adrift within the organization. "Pay-it-forward" for employees and customers In closing, every leader has the ability to be an Inclusive leader. With intentional effort, leaders can enable and promote an inclusive environment in a virtual setting that is just as effective as the physical office space. I think the saying that “customers will never love you, until your employees do first” is 100% true. The benefits of new and strengthened alliances, collaboration, and comradery are well worth the effort. Customers and business partners will see and absolutely recognize these efforts. It’s a win-win! For more information about how Oracle Cloud Applications can help you and your team work remotely, go to www.oracle.com/applications. To learn more about Kimberly Ellison-Taylor you can access her Oracle Executive Biography here and also follow her on Linkedin.    

Throughout my career, I have always appreciated that people are the most critical resource and determinant of whether our initiatives will be successful. New technologies, processes, and strategies...

Oracle Supply Chain Management

3 Ways to Apply Emerging Technology to Your Company

In our last blog [1], we covered several housekeeping items for your business applications that you and your team could tackle during this stay-at-home period. One of the suggestions was learning about an emerging technology, such as AI, IoT, or digital assistants. In this blog, I’m going to dig deeper into specific emerging technologies and how you can apply an emerging technology to add extra value to your company. First, learn about your company My first recommendation is to gain a better understanding of your company.  If you’re working for a publicly traded company, a good place to start is the 10-K. It’s a document that your company is required to file every year with the SEC. It details financial performance, earnings per share, the organizational structure, subsidiaries, executive compensation, and much, much more information. The purpose of the 10-K is to make investors aware of the innerworkings of a company so they can make timely buy/sell decisions. It’s a great place for you to gain a big picture understanding of your company over and above what you may know about your specific line of business, geographical region, or the particular division in which you work. Next, learn more about your company’s new objectives   Most likely, these will be internal documents, and they may be readily available. The strategic goals may have shifted so be aware. These will help you understand the path forward … how your company plans to grow, new markets the leadership wants to enter, and possibly new products on the horizon. These strategic priorities may also give you an indication of challenges, struggles, and points of pain that your company needs to address during this time.   Apply emerging technologies to your company’s objectives Once you have an understanding of your company’s growth strategies and challenges, you can apply the information you learn about emerging technologies to help solve a challenge, streamline a process, or improve the employee or customer experience. This is your opportunity to think outside of the box as they say, but be sure that your ideas are tied to strategic objectives. Here are some examples of emerging technologies in action that may get you thinking about ideas for your company. Artificial Intelligence for Sales and Marketing The current crisis situation has literally shifted markets in a matter of days. Some segments of the economy went from tremendous growth to double-digit losses in a week. Your company may need to shift its sales strategy in the short-term to find ways to recover lost revenue or tap into new markets to keep pace with economic shifts. AI solutions apply machine learning algorithms to your customer data to identify an ideal customer profile and then match that profile to trusted 3rd-party data to create a target list of prospects for your sales and marketing teams. AI for Supply Chain Similar to entire markets that shifted quickly, suppliers all over the world found themselves dealing with shipping and receiving restrictions that may have prevented them from fulfilling orders. That situation may have put your company in scramble-mode as you tried to find new suppliers.  Depending on your industry, component parts may have spiked in price, impacting sales projections and profit margins. An AI application can analyze your ERP data, including current suppliers, POs, invoices, payables, etc., and compare company information with 3rd-party data to give you insight into your supplier ecosystem. It can also help you rank suppliers, figure out where you can negotiate better discounts, and create models to help your company optimize procurement processes. Digital Assistants/Chatbots for Workforce or Customer Experience This conversational interface uses machine learning and natural language processing to guide people to the right source of information, the appropriate live support person, or walk someone through a process. Digital assistants can be a relatively quick and easy way to fill a gap as your company shifts staff with people working from home. Chatbots can also greatly improve the user experience for both internal and external use cases.  For example, your company can add a digital assistant to your employee portal to help people find specific HCM benefits information, or you can add a digital assistant to the home page of your website to help people get to the right resource to help with a specific question or issue. Learning More Please read my last blog that is referenced at the end of this article for more information on emerging technologies. There is a lot of free content online; from YouTube tutorials to online classes. According to a recent cnbc.com article, many 4-year colleges are offering free online classes, so people can learn while staying safe at home. You can search for the online classes about emerging technologies that fit your interests and company objectives. I hope this gives you inspiration to learn something new so you can apply emerging technologies to develop professionally and to help tackle the priorities and challenges in your company.   For more information on a complete suite of cloud-based applications that includes emerging technologies, go to www.oracle.com/applications     [1] https://blogs.oracle.com/saas/tackling-your-cloud-applications-to-do-list          

In our last blog [1], we covered several housekeeping items for your business applications that you and your team could tackle during this stay-at-home period. One of the suggestions was learning...

IoT for Supply Chain

Back-to-Basics Security During the Not-so-Basic IoT Era

In this period of social distancing, our “smart” connected IoT devices are helping us in ways we never imagined. For example, voice assistants now help people navigate guidelines from vetted sources to assess COVID risk and symptoms, and telehealth apps and triage chatbots are further guiding evaluations. In a growing effort to keep surfaces clean and hands-free, there has been a boon to smart home voice control of things we now look at as “surfaces”: TV remotes, light switches, thermostats, door locks, security cameras, TVs, DVRs, A/C/heating units, and refrigerators. This has created a complex web of connectivity among IoT devices labeled “smart” despite their security and privacy vulnerabilities. We should heed FBI warnings and articles about drive-by hacking of “things,” and think about the data entry points we create— not only for hackers, but manufacturers, app developers and anyone who might want to eavesdrop and violate the sanctuary of our homes during these times of crisis. The issue extends to healthcare and other industries implementing the IoT for efficiencies. For example, healthcare devices have been found to be more vulnerable now than ever. Gartner estimates there will be about 25 billion connected things by 2021. As IoT “things” get coopted into botnets, bad actors can prey on embedded electronics, opening paths of entry for connected-appliance cyberattacks. They infiltrate “simple” devices without detection and gain access to the more important smart phones and computer networks they know connect to more coveted networks and devices. During our time of socially distanced work and personal life, it’s important that we all get “back to basics,” slowing down to ask the logical questions about security, such as: •    What problem does adding an IP address ‘here’ possibly open up? •    What malware and other vulnerabilities may my smart devices introduce to shared networks? •    As IoT is introduced to services, applications or products, what security fixes can go in at the same rate? Smart capabilities don’t have to lead to not-so-smart decisions at home as our personal and professional lives intersect. We just need to check that the things we use are designed to do what they are supposed to, plus incorporate the security we as customers and end users deserve. There’s no such thing as a “benign” environment, so we must all think every step of the way about how what we are using or doing opens the door to criminals that want to infiltrate, compromise and break things. While IT can design things with these criminals in mind, it’s also up to all of us to remember that the answer to technology-induced risk is not always “more technology,” but rather the basics of knowing the risks and vulnerabilities we potentially introduce when connecting in the IoT-driven world. Our basic responsibilities aren’t so basic anymore. Be sure to read our other security-related blogs here and also learn about 5G next-gen core security.  

In this period of social distancing, our “smart” connected IoT devices are helping us in ways we never imagined. For example, voice assistants now help people navigate guidelines from vetted sources...

Manufacturing

Webcast: Building a Resilient Semiconductor Supply Chain

Due to rising costs, the speed of technology turnover, global supply chain disruptions and a more demanding and diverse customer base, traditional organic growth in the semiconductor industry is lagging. Semiconductor companies must look at ways to improve operational efficiencies and shorten design cycles as well as innovatively expand their product portfolios. Oracle has been a leader in enterprise software solutions supporting the semiconductor industry for over 20 years.  We provide a comprehensive portfolio of solutions, helping drive operational excellence in almost all areas of business, including engineering, finance, supply chain, marketing, sales and talent management. Our solutions utilize a modern cloud platform that combine robust SaaS applications with embedded technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) to streamline business operations and drive innovation. Please join us for our upcoming live webcast on June 30 to hear about Oracle’s Semiconductor Supply Chain solution as well as learn how SiTime moved to a modern supply chain solution in the cloud and the benefits they realized by getting end-to-end visibility into their extended supply chain. Register now for this webcast and we look forward to you joining us on June 30!

Due to rising costs, the speed of technology turnover, global supply chain disruptions and a more demanding and diverse customer base, traditional organic growth in the semiconductor industry...

Events

May 26 Webcast on Integrated Business Planning and Execution

Optimizing sales and operations planning (S&OP) is an important business process for manufacturing companies. It allows organizations to more quickly adapt to unexpected supply and demand events, and thanks to advanced technologies like AI-assisted analytics and IoT sensor data, manufacturing companies now have all the components needed to better integrate their end-to-end planning with operations execution. Oracle is a leader in enterprise performance management and supply chain management and has been investing heavily in Integrated Business Planning (IBP).  Our comprehensive solution, Oracle Integrated Business Planning and Execution (IBPX), provides advanced, end-to-end planning and analytics capabilities so manufacturing companies can better define, plan and achieve their business performance objectives. Oracle has helped many manufacturing companies to:  Integrate planning and execution to eliminate business latency and allow for smarter decision making Consolidate sales, operations, financial and supply chain planning into a single, centralized hub Improve visibility across your organization to quickly gain real-time business insights and conduct more accurate planning and forecasting Please join us for our upcoming live webcast on IBPX on May 26. You'll hear about real-world IBPX case studies where companies have been able to quickly react to manufacturing disruptions and adapt their business planning to optimize results. Register for this webcast and learn how Oracle IBPX can help you transform your business.  

Optimizing sales and operations planning (S&OP) is an important business process for manufacturing companies. It allows organizations to more quickly adapt to unexpected supply and demand events, and...

Oracle Supply Chain Management

The Oracle PLM to Cloud Strategy

The Need for Continuous Innovation New technologies, products, services and business models evolve, so Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and product development must evolve, too. So, what is PLM and how is PLM different today? The industry has talked about PLM managing the enterprise product record for years. The reality is that traditional PLM systems only created a consolidated product development record, but data was still fragmented in many siloed applications and throughout product development, manufacturing, maintenance, quality management, and IoT…. Older PLM solutions weren’t designed to deliver the speed required to achieve Digital Transformation. Driving faster innovation means you have to think about how you can tightly link cross-functional engineering, development and quality teams with IT. This requires a new way of collaboration and data integration.  Companies looking to pursue their own Digital Transformation should first consider investing in a connected applications platform that manages the complexities of the enterprise product record.  Having access to reliable product data creates a new business architecture—one with a true enterprise product record for the digital thread delivering a complete 360-degree view of a product. This simplification provides you with visibility into the product changes, quality and business process flows that were once hard to keep track of. What is the Digital Thread? Find out in this blog and learn how PLM and IoT tie the Digital Thread to make Digital Transformations possible   Digitally Thread PLM across ERP, SCM, and CX PLM must become a Smart Connected Application (Platform) that can deliver the digital thread to support new business models. What companies find is that by integrating PLM with the insights found from analytics, IoT, and social data is the foundation of the connected enterprise—allowing for faster and more informed decisions. Oracle is the only Tier1 PLM provider making significant investments to deliver this holistic and connected, next-generation, Product Lifecycle Management system. This is what Oracle does differently. It delivers a unique value proposition because PLM, SCM, CX and ERP are all on a single platform with a unified data model and they all scale with the pace of your business. It is not centered purely around the capabilities of the product itself anymore, but around the supply chain and customer. This new evolution of PLM that manages the digital thread can be called PLM 4.0. Your Foundation for On-Premises to Cloud  Oracle has established the foundation for organizations looking to go from on-premise to the cloud. With our customer first approach, we have built best-in-class Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) applications so you no longer need to staff an entire IT department for new product introductions (NPI) and product launches. With a true SaaS deployment, the cost is stable and the value of the investment always increases as we continue to add more innovation and capabilities into the Application Services. True to our approach, we will always continue to deliver the next generation of PLM software as it evolves. This smarter connectivity will only make it easier for you to adopt new business models like Product-as-a-Service and transition to Industry 4.0 (you can watch the video of how that is done here). Because of the unified data model, Oracle PLM Cloud technology comes with built in analytics enhanced by technologies such as adaptive intelligent (AI) apps to plug machine learning into your decisions and digital assistants that can speed up product development. Ultimately, this means you can streamline the development of connected products and services. Agile PLM Customers, You are Safe Oracle has a longstanding commitment to making each individual customer successful. Critical to this initiative is our continued support of our Agile PLM customers–not just for today, but for a lifetime, as part of our Oracle Lifetime Support Policy. Our customers enjoy the benefits of the industry’s most comprehensive support coverage, which provides major product and technology releases, 24x7 assistance with service requests, access to My Oracle Support including Knowledge Base, and much more. The Oracle Applications Unlimited program is Oracle's promise to continuously innovate it’s current applications while also delivering the next generation of Cloud applications. You also have access to Oracle’s product roadmap to plan upgrades, allocate resources, and secure budgets so you can tailor your business and IT strategy, enjoy reduced downtime, shorter upgrade cycles, and proven upgrade paths and methodologies. What we previously announced at Modern Business Experience was the continuation of our customer commitment with a new release model. In the past, we have delivered a new release of Agile PLM in a 9-12 month cadence. But we have switched from a waterfall development process with yearly releases to an agile sprint/scrum model for both Agile PLM and Oracle PLM Cloud. Agile PLM is now on a 2 month sprint cycle and we will release enhancements and bug fixes every 2 months in what we are calling “release roll ups” − this is very similar to what we called service packs in the past. Oracle PLM Cloud will now be on a 3-4 month sprint cycle with 3 or 4 code drops or releases per year. This change enables simplified development, quality assurance and faster innovation cycles. The end results − better code quality and support by enabling development and QA to focus “where it matters” in order to benefit our customers. But it is Not Simply an “Either” – “Or” Oracle provides a flexible path to the cloud. We make it easy to augment existing Agile PLM installs with added value from PLM Cloud: Adding Innovation Management capabilities in PLM Cloud to Agile PLM provides ideation, requirements management and traceability, and portfolio management. Adding Product Hub Cloud to Agile PLM provides as single unified item master to your existing PLM/ERP solution forming the digital foundation for a migration to your next generation PLM. Product Hub Cloud simplifies your product master data management (PMDM) practices and also bridges the gap between product development and the downstream processes while adding layers of governance. These appropriate out-of-the-box integrations are available. Yet, if you’re a net new Oracle PLM Customer, we suggest you onboard PLM Cloud directly for quick return on innovation. Together with our partners, we are well equipped to support our customers in any stage of their Digital Transformation. We have the migration tools to move from Agile PLM to PLM Cloud, and we have the integrations if you want to co-exist. Our partners have built extensions on the same platform and use our PaaS to handle advanced use cases: Inspirage has built a solution for Governance and Compliance, Kalypso has built an extension to manage recipe formulations, and XPLM has built integrations from PLM Cloud to MS Office and CAD such as SolidWorks, Creo, SolidEdge, AutoCAD, Inventor, CATIA, or NX – just to name a few. The guiding principles of Oracle’s adaptive PLM are openness and choice, added value for our customers, simplicity and ease-of-use. With our open architecture, you can perform easy integrations to cloud, legacy or third-party systems. We will, as always, continue to put you, the customer, first.   If you’re interested in learning what the analysts say about Oracle PLM Cloud, read this ebook written by top PLM analyst firm CIMdata or watch the video. For more information about Oracle PLM, check the Oracle PLM Website.  

The Need for Continuous Innovation New technologies, products, services and business models evolve, so Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and product development must evolve, too. So, what is PLM and...