Perfect deliveries require shippers to think beyond their next move

UPS Truck on highway

The supply chain is no stranger to disruptions ⁠— snowstorms, hurricanes, port strikes and trade wars. But proactive businesses know that the best supply chain ⁠— and its bottlenecks ⁠— is invisible to its customers, who continue to get what they want and when they want it. 

The pandemic-fueled surge of e-commerce left both businesses and consumers frustrated with delayed orders and unforeseen fees, a problem only exacerbated when FedEx and UPS began distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

According to an August 2020 PwC press release, 58% of CEOs want supply chain safety to remain a permanent post-COVID focus. Additionally, 61% of the CEOs reported a desire to increase the digitization of their business model. 

Consumers expect quick, seamless and cheap deliveries. But the perfect delivery doesn’t fall from the sky and most consumers are unaware of the supply chain disruptions that can arise ⁠— order-entry errors, stock-outs or volatile supply and demand. Cloud-based solutions are available to help business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies weather those traditional disruptions and give their customers a seamless buying experience, as well as unify their logistics and global trade operations. 

“With disruptions such as trade wars and natural disasters that can disrupt and shut down a port or a shipping lane, companies require agile systems that allow companies to adapt,” said Jim D’Addario, Senior Director of SCM product marketing at Oracle. “Cloud-based solutions are flexible so when faced with a disruption, you can quickly adapt aspects such as fulfillment strategies, inventory locations and transportation routing with the goal of delivering the order as promised to the customer ⁠— whether it’s a package that’s delivered to the customer’s porch or a big piece of industrial machinery that was built to order and promised for a specific date.”

Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Management (SCM) offers a full suite of cloud-based logistics solutions that leverage advanced technologies such as blockchain, IoT sensory data and artificial intelligence to help businesses ensure the perfect delivery. With this kind of visibility into the entire order-to-fulfill cycle, B2B and B2C companies can deliver the right products to the right place at the right time and in the perfect condition ⁠— no matter the disruption.

Oracle Cloud SCM has simplified the Perfect Delivery solution for shippers by narrowing three key focus areas.

1. Boosting customer experience with frictionless order orchestration 

In our new omnichannel commerce environment, both B2B and B2C companies have to meet customers wherever they are — online, in store or through direct sellers. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, 70-80% of B2B buyers say they prefer digital self-service, similar to what they get from B2C shopping, not only for the seamless user experience but because of the reduction of human error. However, 50% of large companies will not sufficiently unify their engagement channels by 2022, according to a recent Gartner webinar. 

If you’re a company that uses multiple applications to manage order fulfillment across various channels, has an outdated system that can’t process large volumes or struggles to provide accurate shipment dates due to lack of visibility ⁠— competing in today’s omnichannel commerce environment might be difficult. 

“Before we had Oracle, everything was very manual, and we didn’t have a single view of inventory. Today, we are no longer overexposed on a day-to-day basis when dealing with exceptions, peaks and troughs,” said Roger Connett, the IT director at Wolseley. 

In order to create a better user experience (UX) on both websites and mobile apps, companies can integrate Oracle’s solution to simplify processes for order capturing, order configuration, inventory visibility, scheduled fulfillment, shipping and returns. By placing customer experience at the center, identifying bottlenecks and outdated processes and surveying existing technology, you can begin to position your business for competition and growth.

2. Preparing your logistics network to adapt to disruptions

Transportation and warehouse operations often operate in silos, and when disruptions occur that affect supply, demand, labor and capacity, there’s not enough real-time visibility into in-transit shipments or available inventory to be proactive. These outdated systems can’t model hypothetical disruptions to put contingency plans in place. Also, companies that are accustomed to a fragmented logistics network often see a high volume of expedited shipments, which results in an increase in logistics cost. 

After COVID-19, shippers are more motivated to make technology investments that ensure end-to-end tracking capabilities and minimize shipment delays. Complete visibility is critical for transportation companies to make fully informed decisions, but it requires collaborative orchestration. These companies will struggle to stay competitive without an adaptive logistics network that easily integrates with their freight and distribution partners.  

Oracle Transportation Management’s automated transport planning algorithms yield insight into our transport and logistics planning and decision-making,” said Wendy Herrick, vice president of digital supply chain at Unilever. “It is a globally recognized solution that has the flexible functionality needed to support a global enterprise.”

An investment in Oracle will help shippers unify transportation, trade and warehouse capabilities, while also supporting omnichannel fulfillment. To aim for a more adaptable logistics network, shippers must first identify vulnerable areas to disruptions, review current transportation planning strategies and locate areas of high transportation cost.

3. Simplified global trade operations for better agility

According to the World Trade Organization, global trade in medical supplies increased 38.7% in the first two quarters of 2020. While trade policy has loosened tremendously over the past 30 years, the complexity of trade regulations still accounts for at least 10% of all trade costs ⁠— costs that could be prevented with a centralized visibility platform. 

The reality is most organizations still rely on manual processes to manage imports and exports, without any reliable way to adapt to changes in tariffs or trade regulations. Because those companies lack a centralized platform where they can see up-to-date trade rules and agreements, they often suffer shipment delays and fines due to having incorrect documentation. 

“Through the use of Oracle’s Global Trade Management (GTM) solution, we have achieved new heights of product classification accuracy, consistency and compliance efficiency in all Cummins locations globally,” said Dante Monroy, director of global trade operations at Cummins Inc. 

Ensuring the accuracy of customs paperwork while also orchestrating the network of suppliers, partners and customers is no easy task, but doing it manually is no way to scale your global trade operations. 

A global trade management system easily integrates with your existing network and processes to avoid costly delays, achieve best trade practices, reduce the risk of noncompliance and provide accurate lead times. Whether shipping by land, sea or air, Oracle’s GTM solution helps fulfill orders perfectly.

Oracle’s GTM solution will inform the company before they ship of the customs fees and other costs for the particular route, as well as produce the required customs documentation so they don’t run into problems at the ports,” said D’Addario.