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Have you invested in an Oracle transportation management (OTM) product?
“Yes, of course. I’m past the times of using Excel spreadsheets to manage my freight.”
When was the last time you audited the processes and functionality of your current system?
“Well, it’s been a while. Perhaps, it’s been several years since I last took a look under the hood.”
Why do we ask? Purchasing OTM software is a significant investment for organizations of all sizes. Conducting regular audits ensures your processes and functionality are up to par and helps meet your continuous improvement initiative’s requirements. Without a system health check, you could be operating on an outdated platform, which undoubtedly is costing you time, resources, and most importantly, money.
This article will cover the importance of an Oracle system health check, who qualifies for one, and the main components that make up a health check.
If you already know your system is in desperate need of hitting the refresh button, reach out to us to have an integration specialist get in touch.
Determining if you need a health check for your Oracle system is relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. While endless indicators can be included in the checklist, we’ve boiled it down to four main areas to help you evaluate if your organization needs a system audit.
Old dog, new tricks is the name of the game here. If your Oracle product is ten years old or more, it might be time to assess whether or not your system is still providing the most value for your business. The biggest challenge with any legacy system is staying current with the times. For many Oracle clients that purchased a product a decade or more ago, doing so put you ahead of the supply chain technology curve. But with the industry now flooded with new systems and many companies integrating more technology in their logistics network, having a modernized product is vital to prevent any hiccups for your shipping operators and network as a whole.
In the world of logistics, there’s no greater pet peeve than creating more work for yourself. Extra steps can drive logistic professionals mad, especially when completing everyday, simple tasks, not to mention cost your organization additional time and dollars. Rectifying out of date processes is one of the core issues a health check can address. By examining your procedures and checkpoints, you can identify bottlenecks and roadblocks preventing you from producing the same or greater output for a fraction of the cost.
The world has come a long way since the dial-up days of the internet, and your freight management system should follow suit. Speed of performance is always a concern with older systems. Suppose you’re discovering it is taking you longer to complete specific processes than you would prefer. In that case, it may be due to the fact you aren’t taking advantage of new functionality or are tolerating pain points that you know are limiting your scale and speed. An assessment of your system’s speed could substantially help you increase your delivery rate for your customers, freeing up additional capacity to support more business from them.
Set it and forget it; that’s the pipe dream supply chain professionals strive to attain when it comes to automating their operations. Moreover, capturing data sets to make informed decisions is no longer a want but a need if your logistics network is to support your organization’s growth and scale. To take full advantage of the analytic capabilities and enable you to have total visibility into your shipping processes, you must first understand your system’s current state. A health check will help you identify your visibility, automation, and data limitations and shed light on needed improvements to accomplish your future objectives.
The end goal with any Oracle OTM health check is to uncover inefficiencies and limitations that prevent you from improving your logistics capabilities. Customers’ demands have never been higher, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and your OTM platform, in tandem with your shipping operations, needs to meet those expectations.
By examining your OTM software’s current functional and technical makeup, you can peel back the curtain on the challenges and opportunities for your business. For example, a common roadblock for many OTM clients is outdated system architecture. What was built ten years ago, when you originally purchased the software, is no longer relevant and capable of supporting the supply chains of the 21st century. Without a health check to help shed light on these hard truths, you could be operating on a system that is continually trying to keep up with the complexities of modern logistics.
To measure your OTM system’s proficiencies, we use the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) model, an industry-standard process level improvement training and appraisal program developed by Carnegie Mellon University. Each level represents your OTM platform’s capability to drive maximum value for your organization and your customers. The concept behind the CMMI model is to improve performance and align operations to business goals that enable your company to advance levels.
Source: Carnegie Melon Institute, 2006
Each progression in level represents a maturity factor your organization achieves by satisfying the respective requirements for process and optimization. With each advancement, you mature and add more value to your network and deliverable(s) to your customers.
Most companies with legacy systems struggle to advance between levels two and three to reach basic operational gains based on integration experience.
In the end, a health audit of your current OTM platform provides a holistic view of your system’s health and ability to scale with your growing business. A properly executed health check is sure to bring your chokepoints and limitation center stage for you to address.
While Oracle OTM health checks are unique to each business, there are universal components required for any comprehensive analysis.
Let’s dive in.
Considered the discovery phase of the health check, the functional review examines both the current use state of the OTM platform and the business goals of the organization. A sound understanding of both enables clients to outline how the two can work in harmony to support future scale and growth. Standard areas covered in this phase include, but are not limited to:
By inspecting the root causes of technical hiccups for its users in parallel with its long-term vision and aspirations, clients can begin to identify with their integration partners how to improve the configuration and use of the OTM product.
Without a baseline analysis of these components, the technical review and deliverables are not possible.
No trickery here, the technical review aspect of the health check does deal with the technical infrastructure and makeup of the OTM system. As part of this phase, the capabilities of the actual hardware are put under a microscope. Without boring you with a laundry list of technical features and jargon, here are a few key areas typically included in the technical review:
Overall, the technical review’s underlying goal is to examine the system’s current functionality and identify underutilized software applications that could improve efficiency, lower costs, and increase output.
Pair the functional and technical findings, and you will get the deliverables of the health check.
The deliverables are in the name; it’s what you receive from a comprehensive OTM audit. Proposed upgrade evaluations and functionality reports help shed light on areas where you can improve your OTM system usability. In addition to usability, migration to the cloud undertakings also stem from system health checks. Due to Oracle no longer supporting on-prem, cloud migrations are another common deliverable from comprehensive audits.
With an all-inclusive assessment of your OTM, you can work with an integration specialist to design an implementation plan that will drastically improve your platform’s integrity and flexibility and, in turn, better serve your customers.
Need an Oracle OTM health check?
Redwood is an Oracle Gold Partner implementation specialist for the OTM platform and is regularly referred by Oracle to integrate the system into your logistics network.
If you are concerned, you’re not getting the highest ROI on your technology investment, or your system requires an update, drop us a line, and a member of our Oracle integration team will reach out.