The supply chain of the future was on full display at the Oracle Cloud SCM Virtual Summit this year, where thought leaders painted a broad vision of how businesses are adapting to recent disruptions and laying the foundation for continuous innovation.
“The pandemic has not just uncovered new supply chain issues, but it’s exacerbated problems that already existed before,” says Richard Jewell, SVP. “And we’re still seeing the effects across regions, with disruptions that occurred nine months to a year ago taking shape just now, with resulting shortages.”
Among the many responses to the pandemic, people are now rethinking ways they can better serve their customers with the products they have, expand their offerings to enlarge their customer base, and wrap new services around their products.
To increase business agility, more companies are setting up manufacturing facilities and distribution centers in the countries at the point of demand, and at the point of sales. And they’re not just picking up their old way of a manufacturing something and putting it down in a new facility. But they’re reimagining the method and means by which they manufacture the product.
In many cases that means using emerging technologies, including IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, preventive maintenance -- and increasingly robotics. “Companies are looking to build things in a much more automated way,” Richard says.
One of the significant benefits of cloud applications is configurability. Indeed, it’s one of the keys to continuous innovation. Built from the ground up on a single platform, Oracle apps can be configured to do whatever you need to do right now and then keep pace as markets change and new opportunities present themselves in different industries.
That means you can take advantage of not only of your own ability to innovate, but Oracle’s ability to imagine new possibilities as the company continues to build out and improve upon its portfolio of more than 1,100 ERP and supply chain management (SCM) applications. Every quarter, Oracle sends out some 200 features, functions, and new technologies, giving you new ways to innovate.
About half of those new capabilities are the result of listening to Oracle’s customers. “Oracle has changed to being a service provider that embraces our customers,” Richard says. “And one of the tools we use to engage them is Cloud Customer Connect.” The idea behind the program is simple: Customers contribute ideas and offer enhancements they’d like to see in Oracle’s products, “and that is what we build,” Jewell says. Not surprisingly, every development group at Oracle has a customer outreach function.
Over the last weeks and months, Oracle has seen a tremendous increase in inquiries around sustainability across all parts of business and product areas, from manufacturing and logistics to planning. “Our goal has been to make sustainability an intrinsic part of all those conversations with customers and in how we build new products,” says Jon Chorley, SCO and GVP, SCM product strategy, Oracle.
When you think about sustainability, Jon says “you really need to go back into your supply chain and understand where your materials are coming from, what it’s made of, the packaging you’re using, and how you’re transporting things around.” Then you need to look at the end of your product lifecycle and see how you can reduce waste and bring materials back into your supply chain in an end-to-end circular process.
Oracle is committed to embedding sustainability into its own operations. It has consistently driven down water usage and energy consumption, and last year collected roughly 2.5 million pounds of retired hardware assets. “Sustainability is everyone’s business,” Chorley says, noting that Oracle expects 100% of its key suppliers to have an environmental program in place by 2025.
Oracle customer Tetra Pak is a great example of sustainability in action. The Sweden-based food and beverage company that specializes in paper packaging products is committed to renewing the environment. “The package should save more than it costs,” says Ewonne Lennartsson, global integrated logistics director at Tetra Pak. “Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2020.”
Oracle Transportation Management gave them the tools to keep paper costs down and CO2 emission low. “We can now see what is ahead of us. In the future we might create a package that doesn’t leave anything behind,” she says. “That’s super exciting.”
Oracle Cloud opens the flood gates for innovation by letting data and insights flow continuously between departments, devices, and locations, especially in manufacturing. Cloud technology is the foundation of a smart manufacturing facility – or put another way, it’s where man meets machines.
Powered by Industry 4.0 innovations like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics automation, Oracle’s smart manufacturing solution is made up of four main building blocks: Oracle Cloud Manufacturing solution, Oracle Cloud maintenance solution, IOT production monitoring, and IOT asset monitoring solutions, part of Oracle’s IoT Intelligent Applications Cloud. With Oracle smart manufacturing, you’ll be able to predict machine failures to get ahead of maintenance, adjust production schedules, and avoid costly downtimes.
Alcar Ruote, a Swiss-based auto parts manufacturer and an Oracle customer, is leading the way in smart manufacturing, helping the company address a rising tide of competitive pressures. “The problem is we have to deliver with Swiss quality but with worldwide competition costs,” says Alcar IT manager Stefano Mariani. “We survive because of technology like Oracle Cloud SCM.” Oracle Cloud solutions helped reduce Alcar’s cost of ownership by 35%, while 80% of sales order were generated automatically.
Above all, what this year’s Virtual Summit taught us how the Oracle Cloud can put everyone – in design, planning, manufacturing, the entire supply chain – on the same platform, so you can quickly test any new idea and move decisively to design it, plan it, make it, deliver it, maintain it, and provide services around it. With Oracle Cloud, innovation becomes a continuous state across you enterprise.
Terri Hiskey is the vice president of SCM and manufacturing product marketing for Oracle, leading the strategic development and execution of supply chain and manufacturing-focused content, programs, and assets. She came to Oracle from Epicor, a global provider of ERP solutions for small and midsize manufacturers and distributors, where she led the manufacturing product marketing team. Previous to that, Terri spent nearly a decade leading various SCM product marketing efforts to promote Oracle’s product lifecycle management, manufacturing, maintenance, and order management solutions. Terri has more than twenty years of technology marketing experience focused primarily on helping customers efficiently design, build, and service innovative products for the right markets at the right time. Based in Austin, Texas, she holds a BA from The George Washington University and an MA from Suffolk University.