Oracle’s Jewell: ‘Not Your Father’s Supply Chain’

Clinging to the status quo can become a death march in today’s digital economy. Companies with heavily customized applications are locked into old-school ways of doing business, unable to respond to changing customer expectations and demands.

“Half of CEOs say their industries will drastically change in the next three years, but 76% of chief supply chain officers say their digital transformation projects are not aligned,” said Rick Jewell, Oracle senior vice president of applications development, during his keynote address at the company’s Modern Supply Chain Experience conference in San Jose, California, last week.

“Whether that’s due to the siloed nature of their existing systems, or the inability of those systems to take on new models and capabilities, or whether it’s a fundamental inability to change processes, it’s not working for many companies,” Jewell said.

The answer, he said, is for companies to adopt the modern processes and technical advances delivered by cloud applications. In the case of Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, those updates are delivered every quarter.

“We want our applications to be as easy to use as what you have on your phone right now,” Jewell said. “In fact, we will measure our user experience against iPhone and Android applications.”

With offerings that span product lifecycle management, supply chain planning, procurement, logistics, order management, manufacturing, and maintenance, Oracle SCM Cloud now has more than 1,800 customers worldwide. A growing list of cloud-based Internet of Things applications, pre-integrated with Oracle SCM Cloud modules, make it easy for companies of all sizes to get the benefits of IoT without having to hire a team of data scientists, Jewell said.

For example, Oracle IoT Cloud lets a supply chain manager view the status of a piece of an equipment on a factory floor hundreds or thousands of miles away through a digital twin—a virtual representation of the equipment through which the manager can simulate conditions, run what-if scenarios, and pinpoint problems. She can remotely view the status of each component of that machinery and apply advanced analytics to assess what repairs or updates need to be made to prevent a maintenance issue. Furthermore, that maintenance order can be submitted automatically to Oracle Maintenance Cloud.

“Looking forward, we’ll be adding more adaptive intelligence and machine learning capabilities as well as chatbots and blockchain—which has promise for, among other things, validating the location and authenticity of goods across the supply chain,” Jewell said. “This is definitely not your father’s supply chain.”

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