OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Oracle Applications Magazines

This post contains details of the various Oracle Applications Magazines that are in production.

Having consulted in Oracle Applications for the past 3 years I am always keen to read any articles and papers I can get my hands on relating to Oracle Apps. I also write quite a few articles myself so obviously I was keen to find magazines to write for. In this post I’ve tried to mention only those mags that have a functional or non-technical orientation.

Oracle Scene

Scene is the Official Magazine of the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG). It is produced quarterly and has a circulation of about 1,600. They accept articles from any region or continent in the categories of Business and Management, Applications and Technical (DBA and Developer). If you would like to share an interesting implementation experience or impart some knowledge that may benefit other users, then please visit the links below. Should your article be accepted for publication you will be sent a complimentary issue of the magazine. The Magazine is produced on a quarterly basis and is free if you are a member of the UKOUG. The User Group offers an annual subscription for additional copies of Oracle Scene to all members and nominated contacts for £20.00 each, and to Non Members for £40.00.

OAUG Insight

This is the official magazine of the Oracle Applications User Group. It is produced on a quarterly basis and in order to receive it you will need to be a member of the OAUG. As far as I know the magazine accepts unsolicited articles - you just need to contact the editor.

Profit

This is a quarterly publication which always makes a good read, especially if you need to keep up with what’s happening in the Oracle World. The content is more high level and tends to contain a lot of marketing material since it is an official publication of Oracle. Unfortunately they do not accept unsolicited articles, however, it is free! You can read it online, access magazine archives or subscribe to Profit here

If any readers know of any other Oracle

Applications

Magazines that are in production, drop me a mail or add the details as a comment to this post.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

HR professionals within the line manager appraisal cycle

The line management appraisal functionality through self service focuses nicely on the interaction between the employee and line manager. But, in case of discussions between the employee and the line over those appraisals, targets and objectives, it would be nice that HR professionals can intermediate, and for that, at least have insight in the published material.

This can be accomplished through a sequence of standard setup: -

  1. Create a security profile that enables access to all employees, but excludes the HR professionals. This overcomes a situation where HR staff can see the appraisals of their direct peers.
  2. Create a new responsibility, based on the Line Manager Self Service responsibility, that includes the manager appraisal function.
  3. Set the profile option HR_DISPLAY_PERSON_SEARCH to Yes for the responsibility above, and link it to the security profile.

All users that have access to this new responsibility are now able to search for all employees, except the HR professionals, and to view the published appraisals.

 

Monday, July 05, 2004

Upcoming Oracle Conferences and Events July 2004 - December 2004

This post contains details of various Oracle Applications Conferences and Events taking place in the next 6 months.

Oracle OpenWorld

I spoke at Appsworld both this year and last year and have to say that as a speaker it’s one of the best conferences to attend - they treat you really well (you have your own speaker lounge) and the numbers attending the presentations are high (+/-150, depending on the topic). Oracle has decided to merge AppsWorld (which has more of a functional focus) and OracleWorld (which has previously had a rather technical orientation) in to an event called Oracle OpenWorld. This means that Oracle OpenWorld should be the ideal IT conference to attend for any prospective or existing Oracle users, be they technical or functional. If you don’t manage to attend the events in person you can always visit OpenWorld Online to take a look at keynotes, sessions, photo galleries and online demos. Details of the individual events are as follows: -

Melbourne 7th - 9th July 2004, Melbourne Convention Centre

According to Oracle: -

“Oracle OpenWorld, Melbourne 2004, is Australasia’s premier conference and exhibition for business decision-makers, IT management, line of business managers and Oracle users. Designed for Oracle customers and partners, and for all leading organisations in Australia and New Zealand with enterprise information management needs”.

Shanghai 19th - 22nd July 2004, Shanghai International Convention Centre

According to Oracle: -

“Oracle OpenWorld is the premier Oracle conference and exhibition for business decision-makers, IT management, and line of business managers and users. OpenWorld is a unique program that allows you to gain insights from Oracle management, product development, Oracle customers, and industry experts all during one week this July in Shanghai, China”.

Seoul 1st - 2nd September 2004, Coex Convention Centre

London 6th - 8th September 2004, Excel Conference Centre

The site states: -

“Join us this September as Oracle launches the Oracle OpenWorld European conference series in London, England. The Oracle OpenWorld conference and exhibitions are designed for both business and IT professionals and will provide you with key information and strategies to help you improve processes and manage your most critical information assets”.

Amsterdam 22nd - 24th September 2004, Amsterdam RAI

Milan 28th - 30th September 2004, Fiera Milano Congressi

Munich 5th - 7th October 2004, ICM - Internationales Congress Centre Munchen

Sao Paolo 26th - 28th October 2004, Transamerica Expo Centre

Mumbai 1st - 3rd November 2004, The Hilton Towers

San Fransisco 5th - 9th December 2004, Moscone Centre

According to the site: -

“OracleWorld, the world’s largest conference and exhibition dedicated to Oracle technology and Oracle AppsWorld, the world’s largest conference dedicated to Oracle E-Business Suite applications are joining together in San Francisco this December to create a new conference called Oracle OpenWorld.

By joining the two conferences Oracle will be able to present the complete Oracle story - Oracle’s Information Architecture. Oracle Information Architecture provides secure access to your most critical information assets and allows for you to know more about your customers so you can make the right business decisions at the right time”.

Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG)

Connection Point 2004 - The point of contact September 12 - 15, 2004 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Orlando, Florida, USA

According to the site: -

“OAUG Connection Point 2004 — The Point of Contact will provide you with an unparalleled educational and networking environment and will be attended by users of Oracle applications who are seeking to maximize their knowledge, experience and understanding of the applications that they use to run their businesses.

OAUG Connection Point 2004 will feature multiple tracks and more than 200 sessions that will provide the latest information on how to:

  • Increase your quality of service.
  • Strengthen your architecture for maximum performance.
  • Minimize IT cost”.

You can also “Optimize your Oracle Applications with OAUG eLearning - efficient, effective education in an onsite environment.”

I spoke at Connection Point 2003 and have to say that this was certainly one of the best Oracle Conferences I’ve been to. From a user perspective there are a vast number of presentations and training sessions to attend. From a speaker perspective it’s nice to have a large audience to speak to - had 250 people at my training session.

United Kingdom Oracle User Group (UKOUG)

Birmingham 1st - 3rd November 2004, International Convention Centre (ICC)

The theme of the conference this year is this year is “Striking the right note with Oracle”. According to their site: -

“This year UKOUG 2004 will be having a musical theme. A harmonious group is really only the sum of its constituent parts. The ability of the players and the instruments they use, along with the coordination of a conductor combine to make a product that others desire. A company cannot survive without the knowledge and skills of it’s staff, who come together to create a greater understanding Oracle”.

I spoke at this conference in 2002. It’s a really good conference to attend but the orientation of the conference is more technical than functional - they have 1 day functional and 2 day technical. Hopefully as E-Business Suite gains momentum there will be more functional content.

South African Oracle User Group (SAOUG)

Sun City 17th - 19th October 2004

The theme of the conference this year is “Delivering to the CIO’s agenda”.

I spoke at this conference in 2003, like the UKOUG it is very technically orientated. Living right next door to South Africa I’ve come to know the market there a bit and have to say that the conferences technical orientation is related to the market being that way. There’s not very much going on with Oracle Apps in South Africa - that is when compared to the database/technical side. Decided to give the conference a miss this year as I’m intending to move to the UK in September.

In Closing…..

As far as I know the call for papers is closed for all of these conferences. I submitted papers for Oracle Openworld London, Amsterdam and Milan as well as for Connection Point 2004 and the UKOUG in Birmingham. All my papers were rejected for Connection Point 2004 so I guess it wasn’t meant to be :-(

I would be interested in getting conference “evaluations” from any attendess or speakers so please make any useful comments or assessments on this post. In addition to this, if you happen to be attending any one of these conferences and would like to blog about your daily experiences at a conference then let me know.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Better Corporate Governance with Oracle Internal Controls Manager

This post discusses the Oracle Internal Controls Manager, a new product by Oracle that is intended to help organisations meet the requirements of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 and International Accounting Standards (IAS).

Product Features and Capabilities

Oracle Internal Controls Manager is a comprehensive tool for executives, controllers, internal audit departments, and public accounting firms to use to document and test internal controls and monitor ongoing compliance.

The benefits of utilising the Oracle Internal Controls Manager are listed as 3 fold: -

  1. More efficient internal control testing
    • Audit Program office/project management
    • Risk assessment questionnaires
    • Confidential feedback mechanism
    • Reviewing reconciliation status of all subsystems
    • Reviewing policy compliance
  2. Higher Certainty in your Risk Assessment
    • Internal audit system is part of your operational system – this ensures accurate, real time business information.
    • Risk library and associated controls developed by Oracle working with world leaders in Audit and Risk Assurance.
  3. Lower external audit verification costs
  4. Internal control manager ensures internal & external auditors understand your business systems risks and associated controls, hence reducing time taken to understand the system and saving you money.

Installation

At this point in time the Internal Controls Manager does not even come with release 11.5.9 of Oracle E-Business Suite. After first hearing and reading about this product I e-mailed Nigel King, Senior Development Director at Oracle Corporation to find out how I could install it. He informed me that ICM is currently on control hold so that they can understand where it is being sold. I subsequently discovered that there are two minipacks available on Metalink, but you will need to have a password to access them. Because I work for an Oracle Partner I raised a TAR and explained that I would like to download the patches so that we could test this product as there were some interested clients - after doing this Oracle gave me the passwords. The patches no.‘s for product code AMW (the Oracle Internal Controls Manager Product Code) are as follows: -

  • Minipack A - 2972149
  • Minipack B - 3232451

I tried installing Mini Pack A on an 11.5.9 instance, however, the list of pre-requisites was so long and these pre-requisites also have pre-requisites! Eventually I got bored and started working on the many other things I have on my list of things to do. I’m sure I will continue this activity at some stage so I can at least be able to write a realistic assessment of the products capabilities. In the mean time I’m hoping this information will be useful to someone and would be interested to here from other parties who have actually used the product.

Additional Information

The Oracle Corporate Governance Page has a variety of presentations, white papers and videos that you can take a look at. It also mentions the high level Oracle Corporate Governance solution "slogan". According to the page "Only Oracle offers complete, integrated business intelligence and analytics that provide your management team with continuous, current, customized information about every aspect of your business-from finance and human resources to supply chain and marketing. Find out how Oracle can help you improve your business operations in the areas critical to good Corporate Governance: 

  • Visibility - Access timely, relevant, accurate information across your organization 
  • Control - Centralize and secure policies, processes, and procedures 
  • Efficiency - Roll up and reconcile data quickly and accurately while eliminating administrative overhead".

Presentations and White Papers

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Outside Processing Setup Checklist

Outside processing in Oracle Work in Process allows users to substitute vendor labor for in-house labor on a routing. The setup is long and complex. This paper provides a checklist of how to define OSP resources in Oracle to help users avoid some of the more common problems.

Overview

The Outside Processing process comes into play in Oracle Work in Process whenever all or part of the labor on a routing is performed by a third party vendor. More than one step on a routing can be performed by third parties. In Oracle, a link has been defined between Oracle Work in Process and Oracle Purchasing to automate the process of creating a purchase order to the vendor who will perform the OSP labor. Because what is being purchased is LABOR,  one requirement to using this process is to define a resource for each type of labor to be purchased. An item in the Item Master must also be defined for each type of labor to be purchased, and linked to the resource when it is defined. The item must be classified as an outside processing item. Although this “resource” item is purchasable and transactable, it will never be received into or issued from a subinventory. Instead, receiving this item from the purchase order will cause a move transaction to occur on the WIP routing so that the outside operation step is completed when the items are received back from the vendor. It is important to note that the item must not only be received, but must also be delivered before the outside operation is deemed complete by the system. When a routing operation uses an outside processing resource, movement into that operation step causes a purchase requisition to be generated for the “labor” resource to be purchased from the vendor.  Note that you are not purchasing the item (as you would a “buy” item),  but instead you are purchasing the vendor’s labor as a substitute for using your own in-house resources to perform the labor. This is a subtle distinction, but it is necessary to understand this distinction in order to understand the Oracle process. This purchase requisition is then imported from WIP into Purchasing.  At this point,  the requisition is available (if approved, but that is another issue) to be autocreated into a purchase order. Or, if the buyer so chooses, the buyer may set up sourcing rules such that importing an approved requisition automatically creates a release against a blanket purchase order. When the vendor returns the item,  a receipt must be entered against the PO or release. The “item” is delivered not to a subinventory, but back to the shop floor for continued processing on the routing. If the outside processing step is the only step or the last step on the routing, the finished assembly will be available to be received into inventory using a WIP completion transaction.

Setup Steps

Inventory

  1. REQUIRED. Define an item representing the outside processing vendor labor for Purchasing to place on the vendor PO.  In the Item Master Purchasing Attributes region,  make sure the following attributes are set correctly:
    • Purchased = Yes (required).
    • Purchasable = Yes (required).
    • Outside Processing Item = Yes (required)
    • Outside Processing Unit Type = Assembly or Resource (Assembly is recommended if a tangible item) If the item has an Outside Processing Unit Type of Assembly and the outside resource has a basis of Item, you receive one outside processing item for each assembly you receive.  If the outside resource has a basis of Lot, you receive one outside processing item for each job or repetitive schedule.  If the outside processing item has an Outside Processing Unit Type of Resource and the outside resource has a basis of Item, you receive the extended quantity (using the outside resource usage rate or amount) of the outside processing item for each assembly you receive.  For example, if you purchase 3 hours of plating service for each assembly, (usage rate or amount is 3), then you receive a quantity of 3 hours for each assembly you receive from the supplier. If the outside resource has a basis of Lot, you receive 1 outside processing item extended by the outside resource usage rate or amount for each job or repetitive schedule.
    • Optionally enter a list price greater than zero – this will be used as a default in the PO (you could also set up a blanket PO with prices.)

    Note: the item with the above attributes must be defined in the org which is the Purchasing item validation organization as well as the actual production organization. Check Purchasing > Setup > Organization > Purchasing Options to determine which org has been defined as the validation organization.

     

  2. OPTIONAL. In the Item Master Lead Times attributes region, enter appropriate lead times. These will be used to automatically calculate the need by date for the requisition generated for the OSP item. (This step is not required, but is nice to have.) The need-by date will be automatically entered into the requisition generated by this process, and hence into the PO.

Bill of Material Module

  1. REQUIRED. Define an Outside Processing Department.  Enter the location where the outside processed item is to be delivered (example:  “Shop Floor” or “Assembly”) as you define the Outside Processing Department.  Note:  the location must have been previously defined under Purchasing > Setup > Organizations > Locations.
  2. REQUIRED. Define a separate outside processing resource for EACH labor “item”.
    • Enter the item number defined above in the Item Master for the labor “item”.
    • Make sure the variance account defined for the labor resource is the same as the Purchase price variance account defined in Parameters under Inventory setup. If you check the Costed box and the Standard Costing box,  you can enter a standard value for this resource by clicking on the Rates button. Any difference between this standard value and the actual purchase price (in a standard cost organization)  will be recorded in the Purchase Price Variance Account.
    • Make sure that the autocharge attribute is set to PO MOVE,  not PO Receipt.  If you set this attribute to PO MOVE,  then the PO receipt automatically generates the WIP Move transaction from the outside processing operation to the next operation on the routing.  If you use PO RECEIPT,  you must manually perform the WIP Move transaction. The quantity of outside processing items you receive can relate to the assembly quantity on the job or repetitive schedule in several ways depending on the outside processing item’s Outside Processing Unit Type and the outside resource’s basis. In all cases, Purchasing charges the job or repetitive schedule using the extended quantity of the associated outside resource.
  3. REQUIRED. Add the outside processing resource to a step on the routing. If it is added to the last step, then the item can be received into inventory as soon as the PO receipt is entered and the transaction managers run.

Purchasing

  1. OPTIONAL. Create a blanket, and be certain to enter the line as an outside processing line type. If your item is not set up correctly, the system will not allow you to complete entry of the PO. Optionally, in the terms region of the PO, check the Supply Agreement box. In Purchasing-Supply Base-AutoSource Rules, link the item with the blanket PO document.  Or if you are using enhanced sourcing rules in Release 10.7, use the menu path “Supplier Scheduling-Supply Base-Approved Supplier List” to link the approved supplier for the item with the blanket PO in the Attributes region. (Note: Enhanced Sourcing Rules in 10.7 is controlled production and your client may not have been approved for using it).
  2. OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In the PO line, set the over receipt tolerance for the item to zero so that no one can receive a quantity greater than on the PO. If a quantity greater than that in the work order is received, it will cause problems with the WIP move transaction to the next operation. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. There will be problems if more is received than is on the work order outside processing operation step. This is another reason to use a blanket PO.
  3. If you are using Supply Chain Planning, there is another little gotcha. Your item could have been set up with a ‘make’ sourcing rule or bill of distribution in the default assignment set.  You can create another assignment set with a ‘buy’ sourcing rule for the outside processing items and link it to the responsibility of the person who will do the requisition import.
  4. REQUIRED. The person who initiates the move transaction in WIP must be defined as an employee (in Purchasing or HR, depending on whether or not the HR Module is fully installed) and linked to the person’s user logon in the System Administration module. WIP includes an employee name on the requisition it creates through this process, and the employee name is linked to the move transactions that initiated the requisition. Hence the name of the person who initiated the move transaction will become the name of the “requestor”  for the purchased vendor service.

Process

  1. REQUIRED. Create a discrete job for the assembly. If the outside processing step is on the first step on the routing, releasing the job will trigger creation of the requisition. If the outside processing step is NOT the first step,  then a move transaction must be performed using the Move Transaction window.  Move the quantity to be processed by the outside vendor into the Queue step of the outside processing operation step. This triggers creation of the requisition.
  2. REQUIRED. Run the Requisition Import process (Purchasing > Reports > Run > Requisition Import).
  3.  
  4. REQUIRED. Create a purchase order from the routing.  Or,  if using blanket POs,  run the Create Release process (Purchasing > Reports > Run > Create Releases).
  5. REQUIRED. Receive the purchase order (note:  it must be DELIVERED as well as received. Until the item has been delivered the next step will not happen.)  You might want to consider setting the receipt routing to “Direct Delivery” for such items in the Purchasing section of the Item Master unless you require inspection of the item from the vendor first.
  6.    
  7. Once the PO has been received and delivered, and the Move transaction manager has run, you can see that the discrete job has been updated and the item is now in the “To Move” intraoperation step of the outside processing operation step. Go to WIP > Job/Schedule Details > Operations and select the Quantity alternative region. You should see the received quantity in the To Move intraoperation step of the outside processing operation step. If the Move transaction has failed or has not yet run, you will see it in WIP > Move Transactions > Pending Transactions.
  8.  
  9. If the step is the last step on the routing,  do a WIP completion transaction into inventory. Otherwise, continue with the routing steps until complete.

MRP Process

MRP will generate a planned order for the “make” assembly. MRP does not directly generate a requisition for the vendor labor to make the assembly. When the planned order is released as a WIP job, normal processing of the WIP job will result in generation of the purchase requisition for the vendor labor as per the process described above.

One Time WIP Setup for OSP

There is a setup step which should be performed in WIP to prevent users from entering a manual move transaction to the next step on the routing prior to entry of a PO receipt for the OSP item. This need be done only one time and should be part of your WIP setup.

  1. WIP > Move Transactions > Shop Floor Status > Shop Floor Status
  2. Define a status called ‘OSP’ - description ‘Outside Processing’ and UNCHECK the Allow Moves box.
  3. WIP > Setup > Parameters > Move Transactions Tab
  4. Enter the status created in Step 1 in the Shop Floor Status for PO Moves box.

After this setup has been done, no one will be able to do a move transaction to the next step after the OSP operation until the PO receipt has been entered. This is important, because it will prevent jobs from being closed prior to the PO receipt.

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