A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Supply Chain

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oracle buys G-log, a logistics and transportation management software company

I thought Oracle had bought enough companies this year, evidently not. They’ve just announced the purchase of G-log which will provide a Comprehensive Logistics Management Platform to Complement Oracle’s Supply Chain Applications. According to the press statement:

Redwood Shores, Calif   20-SEP-2005   Oracle announced today that it agreed to buy G-Log, a privately held provider of logistics and transportation management software. The parties anticipate closing the transaction by the end of 2005, subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. Financial details were not disclosed.

Globalization, increasing fuel costs, outsourcing, increased security and regulation, and transportation capacity shortages are driving the need for sophisticated logistics and transportation applications. G-Log delivers a single platform to plan, optimize, execute, analyze, and react to every aspect of supply chain flow. By bringing together logistics processes, data, knowledge and analysis in a single business engine, G-Log’s products allow companies to lower the total cost of ownership while giving them the ability to drive an integrated, information driven enterprise.

“The acquisition of G-Log will allow Oracle to offer a comprehensive supply chain and logistics management solution through which companies can better manage their global supply chains,” said Oracle Senior Vice President of Applications Development Rick Jewell. “With G-Log’s proven transportation management platform and Oracle’s leading technology infrastructure, ERP and supply chain applications, customers will now have an integrated offering for the lean enterprise.”

Over 50 percent of G-Log’s customers have Oracle applications and after completion of the acquisition, it is expected customers will recognize immediate benefits from the combination. G-Log’s customer base includes industry-leading shippers and logistics service providers such as Big Lots, Brown Shoe, DuPont, Exel, Family Dollar Stores, Giant Eagle, Halliburton, Kuehne & Nagel, Rohm and Haas, Tesco, Toll Solutions, UPM and Volvo.

“By combining the talents and products of both organizations, Oracle will be better able to address evolving customer needs and effectively respond to industry trends that are driving the demand for complex logistics solutions,” said G-Log Chief Executive Officer David Cairns.

This is an interesting deal, according to an AMR Research article, entitled Oracle Buys G-Log, Potential Top Slot in SCM:

If Oracle can execute and all other market assumptions stay the same, the acquisition has the potential to propel Oracle past SAP to the No. 1 slot in 2005 Supply Chain Management (SCM) market share.

Looks like Oracle is definitely turning up the heat on SAP! I read with great amusement this ITtoolbox article entitled SAP executive knocks Oracle-Siebel deal, says Oracle will fail which outlines how Bill McDermott, chief executive of SAP’s North American unit, told participants at a recent mergers-and-acquisition conference,  Oracle “continues to fail, will continue to fail, and we’re going to help them in every way we can.” Looks like things are getting nasty!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Oracle’s Holistic Planning (One Integrated Plan Coordinates the Entire Supply Chain)

A sophisticated planning model Oracle calls Holistic Planning is now available (in the Advanced Supply Chain Planning product) to coordinate an enterprise’s entire supply chain with a single plan. A properly set up and maintained plan can lead to an enterprise drastically reducing the time spent on analyzing and reacting to multiple plans.

With the creation and release of Oracle’s Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) product the ability to plan across the extended and entire supply chain with a single plan while incorporating customer preferences and supplier capacity is now possible. Holistic planning is a term created and ‘coined’ by Oracle to explain the processes and capabilities of a single plan that can accommodate all the planning needs of the multiple and time consuming plans required by the more traditional MRP planning technique.

Utilizing a single plan holistic planning can plan the entire supply chain (both material and capacity requirements) encompass all manufacturing methods and all time periods for one or all Oracle inventory organizations. Obviously, with a well set up and coordinated holistic plan an organization can save time and money on planning analysis and maintenance and potentially increase manufacturing flexibility, velocity and competitiveness.

Oracle’s holistic planning offers resolutions to three dimensions of the planning problem that confronts all manufacturing

  • Multiple Manufacturing Methods: A single plan can coordinate all manufacturing methods (Project [Contract], Flow, Process, Repetitive or Discrete.)
  • Include the entire supply chain: A single plan can coordinate an enterprise’s end-to-end supply chain from the customers through the manufacturing and distribution organizations within the enterprise, and include the suppliers as well.
  • Comprise the entire planning horizon: A single plan can coordinate the appropriate level of detail at each point in the horizon. A planning set up for the immediate future could be planned in days, the near future could be planned in weeks, and the long-term could be planned in monthly periods.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Troubleshooting Oracle Average Costing: The Actual Cost Manager’s Failure to Start

When troubleshooting the Actual Cost Manager's failure to start you will discover that it is not fully documented in one source document. There are pieces of the troubleshoot process scattered throughout Metalink's notes and FAQ's that take a considerable amount of time to locate. This article will help expedite the Actual Cost Manager's troubleshooting process.

When Average Cost Updates are not being calculated the cause can be related to the Cost Manager and the Actual Cost Worker not running.

There are several reasons why this is happening:

The first thing to check is the Inventory > Set Up > Organizations > Parameters > Costing Information [TAB] > Cost Cutoff Date.

  • If the cost cutoff date is set to the current date or the date is in the past the Average Cost calculations will not work. The Fix: It will need to be re-set to a valid date or cleared.

Other problems are associated with the Actual Cost Worker - if it does not start or if it completes with a warning or an error the Average Costs will not get updated.

  • If there are any errors in the MTL_MATERIAL_TRANSACTIONS table the Cost Manager usually will not spawn an Actual Cost Worker in an Average Costing environment UNTIL ALL ERRORS ARE CORRECTED in the table.

Problems can also be associated with the transaction rows that have a ‘null’ Distribution_Account_id which can cause the Costed_flag = ‘E’ which the Cost Manager identifies as an Error and then the Average Cost Update will not work since the Actual Cost Worker does not get started.

The Fix:

Add the correct Distribution_Acct_id and re-run the Average Cost update.

Errors relating to the MTL_MATERIAL_TRANSACTIONS can be viewed in the forms:  Cost Management > View Transactions > Material Transactions > select a date range when costs are not posting or an item that has not had its unit cost updated after an Average Cost Update has been posted. Look in the Transaction ID [TAB] Error Code column and the Error Explanation column. (Example: Error Code = CST_NO_TXN_INVALID_ACCOUNT and the Error Explanation = An invalid account is associated with the item being transacted.)

If an invalid account is associated with the item being transacted it could be because a Cost Variance account is missing from the Cost Group - verify this by: Cost Management > Set Up > Cost Groups > Account field (Cost Variance.)

The Fix:

Add a new Cost Variance account in the GL module and apply it to the Cost Group’s Cost Variance account.

Friday, September 10, 2004

New Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Supply Chain and Demand Planning Author

This post contains details of a new author that has joined OracleAppsBlog who will be contributing in the areas of Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Supply Chain and Demand Planning

Randy Jaye, an Independant Consultant, has just become an author for OracleAppsBlog. Randy has over 20 years of experience working in the Manufacturing and Distribution sectors for numerous corporations throughout the United States of America. He holds the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification from The Educational Society for Resource Management (APICS), and holds a Masters and Bachelors degree from The California State University. He has spent the last 7 years working with Oracle Applications as a functional consultant (one year working directly for Oracle Corporation as a consultant assigned to several implementation projects and testing new functionality in the Development Department at Oracle’s Headquarters.) He specializes in all Oracle Application’s core Manufacturing modules and the Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Suite. Presently, he is busy researching and writing several articles relating to Advanced Planning and Scheduling, and Global Supply Chain and Demand Planning. He is an experienced practitioner in the field of ERP systems implementations and looks forward to sharing articles, documentation and lessons learned with all the OracleAppsBlog members.

I wanted to welcome Randy to the Blog and introduce him to all the other members, he is highly experienced and I’m sure his contributions will be very useful to readers. You can read Randy’s membership profile here or if you’re a member you can e-mail Randy via the profile e-mail console.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Tips on Loading On-Hand Inventory at Go-Live

Tips on Loading On-Hand Balances into Oracle Inventory

The generally accepted method for transferring on-hand inventory from a legacy system to Oracle Inventory at ‘go-live’ is to enter a miscellaneous receipt transaction into the desired subinventory.  This can be done manually using the form, by means of the Transaction Interface (simulating a ‘miscellaneous receipt’ transaction),  or via a Dataloader. 

When loading initial on-hand balances into Inventory, the material valuation account of the receiving subinventory will be debited.  The credit must be entered by the user (since this is a ‘miscellaneous receipt’ transaction).  If general ledger balances are going to be brought over from a legacy system, then generally the credit account is the same as the debit account, giving a zero net value for the transaction, thus not changing the total GL value of on-hand inventory brought over from the legacy system. 

Oracle’s Cost Manager uses the item cost to establish the value of the various debits and credits that it creates when costing a transaction.  The method in which the item’s cost is established depends on the costing method selected for the inventory organization.  If the organization is using standard cost, then the item’s cost must either be entered when the record is first created, or updated using a pending cost and the Standard Cost Update.  When the item master record is saved, a zero cost is automatically entered for the item unless the standard cost is entered during the item creation process.  If items are being created via the Item Open Interface, then a value for the frozen standard cost can be entered when using the ‘Create’ option.  Note that the interface does not allow entry of a standard cost when using the ‘Update’ option.  If items are loaded without a frozen cost and not updated, then they will be valued at zero and any GL charges resulting from a transaction will also be valued at zero. 

In an average cost organization, the cost of an item is not static.  It changes continuously with every receipt into inventory via a weighted average cost recalculation.  It is not necessary to predefine a frozen standard cost prior to loading inventory. 

So the on-hand load process will vary depending on the organization’s costing method.  If using standard cost, create the items in the Item Master and then verify that they have a frozen standard cost other than zero.  If using average cost, establish the current average cost by entering the average cost from the legacy system into the cost field in the Miscellaneous Receipt transaction line.  (In a standard cost system, this field is grayed out.)  Note that if no cost is entered into the transaction line, the resulting cost in Inventory will be zero and this will cause the current average cost in future transactions to be too low.