Oracle on Monday released the latest update of its Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) and Global Trade Management (GTM) systems.
The release is the 11th update of the two key supply chain modules in the last seven years since Oracle acquired transportation software provider G-Log.
On the transportation management side, the update to OTM includes enhancements to fleet management, transportation sourcing, and transportation business intelligence, including augmented capabilities to analyze rail transportation costs like demurrage and detention of equipment.
In addition, the update gives users greater ability to access their systems via a mobile device, including shipment tendering and visibility using a configurable mobile Web app.
“This is an entry point for us in mobile applications,” Derek Gittoes, Oracle vice president of logistics product strategy, said in an interview with American Shipper
. “We view it as an area for investment.”
He said the mobility features could be particularly beneficial in emerging market applications, where’s it’s more likely that a driver has a smartphone than it would be for someone in a back office to be logging that driver’s movements, or where EDI (electronic-data-interchange) information may not exist.
“There’s a practical use case for these practical devices,” he said. “It’s not just to manage, but to improve the accuracy of data.”
Gittoes said OTM ties into existing applications, like GPS or email systems, on any smartphone device, potentially speeding tendering processes when questions about a bid go back and forth.
The update also focuses on optimizing transportation planning by optimizing routes and networks that include cross-docking and consolidation.
“We can even get down to the optimizing of the packaging of products rather than just the mode or carrier,” he said. “It might be better to package product in 50-pound cartons than to palletize them. One leg might ship (in cartons) or loose, but then consolidate into pallets on another leg.”
The fleet management enhancements include giving dispatchers a interactive map view that didn’t exist within the OTM framework previously.
On the GTM side, the update features a new Customs management module that supports the customs filing process and determines what filings are required, whether a user is filing direct (such as with U.S. Census Bureau’s Automated Export System) or whether they’re filed on the user’s behalf by a broker.
Gittoes said in the past an Oracle GTM user would not have been able to do direct AES filings. Instead, the user would have had to use a broker or, if self-filing, use a third-party software application.
The module allows users to set thresholds, group multiple shipments into single filings, and convert foreign currencies and weights/measures to confirm with U.S. Customs' requirements.
“All those things were not there in the product before,” Gittoes said. “We expect this to be a large part of what we do with GTM. We’re focused on compliance functions.”
Aside from giving GTM users the ability to self-file, it also allows those that use brokers to do perform data validation, rather than relying on a third party alone to do that.
The update also has new features to support license management for aerospace and defense, high technology, life sciences and industrial manufacturing customers with complex license requirements such as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) controls.
GTM now also includes a restricted party workbench that more efficiently assigns workflows for companies whose compliance runs on the conservative side.
“The screening party process usually starts with a purchase order,” Gittoes said. “A transaction may have any number of parties involved and that transaction may get screened against 40 or so lists. Depending on how conservative you are from a corporate risk profile, you could flag if a last name is a potential risk and require a physical look at the list.
“If you’re a high-volume customer processing tens of thousands of orders a day and you’re conservative, you’d have a lot of lists to review. With this release, the customer has the ability to automatically create different queues of matches to screen for different people to work on. If it’s not being processed fast enough, it will automatically roll queues from one person to another. And from a user interface perspective, we tried to minimize the number of clicks to see if there’s a match,” he said.
The workbench also includes an escalation feature.
“If a person is looking at it, and is not entirely sure about a potential match, it can be put in an escalated queue and it would go to the designated work queue for a manager," Gittoes said. "It’s the same process as before, the update just ensures workflow is distributed so it’s handled more efficiently for high-volume users.” - Eric Johnson