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Insights From OTM User Conference 2018 Europe

Guest Author

Jim D'Addario, Sr. Director Product Marketing

On March 21-23, the Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) SIG Board hosted its sixth annual user conference for the EMEA Region in Amsterdam. It was the 5th OTM event in Europe, and the largest to date with over 140 attendees, in addition to key representatives from Oracle Product Strategy and Development and various partners in Oracle’s OTM ecosystem.  

The event brought together users and potential users of the OTM software to share knowledge, ideas, and experiences among attendees from several countries across the Eurozone and the Nordics. It featured several speakers who presented on a wide range of topics from product roadmaps, emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to insights on gaining greater visibility into transportation flows and practical advice on implementing Oracle Transportation Management Cloud. Among the customers who presented were Mazda, Volvo and Nokia.

Transportation management is increasingly influenced by unpredictable demand in today’s eCommerce-driven economy, and that impacts logistics planning, execution, and the broader supply chain. Accordingly, companies need systems that provide them with enhanced levels of flexibility into planning all modes of transportation, rate management, and shipment optimization. Not surprisingly, among the hottest topics were optimization across all modes of transportation, enhanced visibility, and real-time monitoring of logistics flows via IoT and AI. IoT plays a key role in tracking shipments and determining fleet performance, including real time location for shipments in transit, instant visibility into disruptions and the ability to respond rapidly. One partner showed how real-time visibility into transportation flows helped their customer improve on time delivery performance from 70% to 98%.

Volvo’s Anna-Karin Hjerpe highlighted their OTM journey which took the auto manufacturer from faxing transport orders to the company’s pre-selected third-party carriers and tracking shipments involving different transportation modes, including short and long-haul carriers within continental Europe and shipping companies for overseas transport manually using spreadsheets. That all changed when they implemented OTM to enable them to more effectively manage transport orders, plan and optimize shipments and monitor their progress. Since Volvo doesn’t own its own fleet, it relies on third-party carriers to transport its vehicles to market. Often that involves optimizing shipping options such as Full Truckload (FTL) and Less Than Truckload (LTL), comparing costs to execute and helping them bundle shipments based on destination and load type. Managing so many complex schedules, modes, routes, and shipments has become much easier and more efficient using the powerful capabilities of OTM, which resulted in savings of up to 10% and a significant reduction in declined shipments.

Oracle partner, the FLO Group, a global logistics consultancy, demonstrated the flexibility of the cloud deployment model at global chemical manufacturer Univar, utilizing OTM in the company’s European operations. Among the challenges Univar had was integrating OTM with the company’s six on premise SAP ERP systems, two of which were undergoing an upgrade to the latest version. Univar’s logistical challenges were many, including non-harmonized processes across 172 distribution facilities, complicated planning, and hazardous materials segregation challenges across a fleet of 192 tankers. Additional challenges included manual logistics planning, poor visibility across its transportation operations, having to manually enter transportation costs into their SAP systems, and a lack of harmonized billing processes across sites. While the phased project is still underway, they’ve already seen improvements in fleet management by automating cost allocations and billing to their SAP systems.

Oracle showcased its Oracle Transportation Management and Global Trade Management (GTM) Cloud product roadmap. Product Strategy Vice President Derek Gittoes described upcoming enhancements that improve process efficiency, reduce freight costs, and improve delivery of the perfect order. Of particular interest to the audience was the incorporation of modern technologies such as IoT, AI, and Chatbots into OTM and GTM Cloud which bring real-time monitoring, optimization, and improved user interaction capabilities to the products.

Also showcased at the event was Oracle’s IoT Fleet Monitoring, a dedicated SaaS application that provides real time shipment tracking, logistics planning, and instant visibility into disruptions for both shippers and 3rd party carriers. Oracle Product Strategy Sr. Director Srini Rajagopal presented a product overview including a scenario where, using a mobile app assigned to a driver, the product pushes rich data to existing Oracle OTM deployments to provide real time insights and a complete picture of diverse aspects such as vehicle location, engine health, driving behavior, fuel consumption, and cargo condition. IoT Fleet Monitoring uses artificial intelligence to identify anomalous patterns and predict exceptions before they occur. This information is delivered to other supply chain applications such as OTM to enabling users to take corrective actions to prevent problems before they occur.  

As the economy changes, so must businesses, to keep up with the needs of increasingly demanding customers. Whether its automating manual processes or utilizing digital technologies to improve flexibility, monitor fleets and shipments, and help companies reduce cycle times and costs, logistics software is playing an increasingly significant role in how companies respond to the new economy.

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