“Oracle Apps” is a bit of a misnomer. In recent years, the term “app” has taken on a meaning that includes a smaller size, a clear focus, and either a standalone system or simple integration with existing software. Intuit’s QuickBooks Apps are a decent example of what we’ve come to expect – plus-and-play solutions that expand functionality.
Oracle Apps are bigger beasts. Imagine the app on your phone as a small pet cat. Maybe a QuickBooks app is a pony. Oracle app, then, are eighty-foot tall dragons with five heads and spiked tails that rip apart parks as they saunter through your town.
For Oracle users, an app is basically any part of the system that’s non-core. Apps are not databases, but they tap into the power of the Oracle platform. E-Business Suite is actually the term that Oracle uses to refer to these monsters.
Important note here – being hard to domesticate and being powerful go hand in hand. Oracle applications are terrifyingly powerful. Its Warehouse Management app, for instance, can handle picking, packing, container management, compliance, inventory, and quality control, among many other tasks.
Today, I’ll highlight some of the features of the most powerful Oracle Apps designed for logistics. We’ll kick off with Warehouse Management.
As you may have gathered, Warehouse Management is designed to help you manage warehouses. The system can be setup to manage a single location or multiple warehouses, and you’re going to get more out of it as your operation grows. As with many Oracle products, the focus is on enterprise-level management.
Warehouse Management falls into the production and distribution buckets within the manufacturing cycle. That means that means that, though it has some minor capabilities, you’re not getting this application to manage your team, your finances, or your projects. Those parts of the business are all going to require additional applications.
The software is also designed to be used with RFID tracking technology. While not a requirement, you’ll get the most benefit out of the tech if you’ve got RFID in place. That’s because the Warehouse Management application is ready to support your automation process, and RFID is one of the easiest ways to achieve that end.
You can also use the application to do advanced cost management, support your complex warehouse layout, and manage any crazy picking system you settle on. There are plenty of rules you can put in place to keep picking and shipping running smoothly, and Oracle’s flexibility should allow you to keep any existing workflow in place.
Honestly, though, if you’re implementing Warehouse Management, you’re looking for a change in the way things are done.
Once you’ve got the products packed, you’ll have to get them out to your buyers or to other storage locations. Oracle’s Transportation Management (OTM) is the answer to your prayers. The OTM system can help you on both local and global scales, though as we talked about above, you’ll see the most benefit at the enterprise end of the scale.
OTM can manage shipping with both dedicated fleets and with third-party shippers. With its procurement tools, you can source trucks or partial trucks to move your products and cut costs at the same time.
You also get multidimensional container packing resources, which allows you to allocate space with trucks and shipping containers optimally, cutting down on the number of shipments you should need to make to get everything to its destination. This is all managed in one OTM system, which helps you keep track of everything all in one place.
One of the benefits for medium-sized businesses is OTM’s cloud-based system. That keeps you free from a lot of the upfront costs that can go into traditional systems. Of course, you’re still going to need a lot of tech to manage the shipping process, but at least you won’t have to hire a whole new IT team to support your software.
OTM was, in classic Oracle fashion, acquired from another company back in 2005. Until then, it was called GC3 (Global Command and Control Center), having been developed by Global Logistics Technologies in the late 1990s.
As you can infer from the name, this last application was also an acquisition. EnterpriseOne is an ERP that sits on top of your Oracle installation, allowing you to manage every part of your business in one application.
EnterpriseOne includes many of the non-core logistics pieces that the other applications here are lacking. For instance, you’ll have access to financial management and reporting tools, project management systems, and fixed asset tracking capabilities.
EnterpriseOne offers everything you would expect from an ERP system, and you can either install or host in an Oracle cloud. That means that you won’t have to front all the hardware costs that go along with ERP installations, and you may find some additional time savings along the way.
If your business is already using some of Oracle’s financial or HR tools, there’s every reason to consider moving the rest of your operations into EnterpriseOne. I love the idea of consolidating platforms to get one view of the truth.
While these aren’t apps in the way we now think of them, they do go a long way toward extending the value of your IT and making the most out of your Oracle infrastructure. Let me know which apps you’ve used in Oracle in the comments below.
Looking for Logistics software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Logistics software solutions.