Although all of Oracle’s focus is on Fusion – for most manufacturing companies this is still a long way off, and Oracle are in no way neglecting the traditional Oracle E-Business Suite product. In fact there are developments and product releases coming out that give the tired old warhorse a major lift, and a reinvention that really make an interesting opportunity for existing customers. In fact, the current release 12.2, is not due to reach sustaining support till 2021, and there are plans for a 12.3 to be released at some point that will extend that, with an 8 year life, to nearly 2030.
So what new features are coming out, and what do they mean to existing customers. Is it just a case of a facelift, or can efficiency gains be made in your business that justify the costs of upgrades, new modules or whatever else is required. In my view, there are some significant gains to be had for companies that use manufacturing or maintenance modules who are on a release 12+ base, as some of the new features are available to 12.1 as well as 12.2. As we go through the next few weeks I will examine some of these in more detail. Here I hope to give you a brief flavour of each of these areas and how they may be applicable to your business.
1) Mobile applications – These are transaction screens that can be accessed through your mobile or tablet and, here is the killer, are available now, for EBS 12.1 upwards and completely free. So what sort of screens do we have.
a. Mobile iProcurement
b. Mobile Sales Orders
c. Mobile Inventory
d. Mobile Procurement
e. Mobile Discrete or Process Supervisor
f. Mobile Maintenance
g. Mobile field service
And more are being developed all of the time – including screens for Quality, Operators etc.
2) In Memory cost management – Imagine a situation where, based on the change in price of a key component or raw material, you can, within minutes, identify the impact on profitability of all effected SKU’s, and even determine the impact on performance of the business. Taking advantage of the functionality of Oracle 12c database for in-memory applications, this is exactly what this can do for you – allowing you to model very quickly the changes, identify the impact on product profitability, and if you link to a financial forecasting tool like Hyperion, can use it to predict company performance.
3) Within manufacturing itself there are also a number of improvements coming through that could add value, these may be in 12.2.4 or 12.2.5 (to be released) but they start to remove existing shortcomings in the system, I’ll go through these in more detail in a later postings, but here are a few key ones;
a. Outside manufacturing for OPM – unlike discrete, we have never had a fully automated outside manufacturing solution, linking purchasing and production. The initial phases of this are due in 12.2.4
b. Contract Manufacturing – Not content, improvements to outside manufacturing for both discrete and process are in development allowing the modelling of different approaches to contract manufacturing to be handled.
4) Oracle Application Testing Suite – Oracle have for a while had an application in which you can record and replay tests, allowing you to simplify regression or load testing of your application. This has now been improved, so you can build test “flows” to which you can apply data sets and you can model in advance rather than recording a test. In addition, predefined flows and test elements are provided “out of the box” as a starter for EBS. For those who have complex testing requirements, this is a useful tool.
5) Endeca Information Discovery – This is not another BI tool, or an alternative to OBIEE, it’s got a different purpose for data mining of your data for searching of data, and getting real insight – rather than seeing performance results and KPI’s. Applications for Quality, costing and Execution for Process and discrete can give real overviews to make your management proactive rather than reactive.
There is lots more, and I’ll do more updates with the details in the coming weeks.
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