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Oracle Delivers New Oracle Retail Allocation Release

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: August 12 2013

Retail is indisputably one of Oracle’s major industries of focus where the giant has made significant investments, both in terms of acquisitions and in-house development. Oracle’s strategy is to provide retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of business applications, server, and storage solutions that are engineered to work together to optimize every aspect of their business. All of the top 20 retailers worldwide—including fashion, hardlines, grocery, and specialty retailers—use at least some of Oracle solutions to gain critical insights and grow across traditional, mobile, and commerce channels.

Oracle has long led the market with its core merchandising solution (merchandise is the “heart and lungs” of every retail business), with numerous Tier One retail customers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Belk, Best Buy, Dubai Duty Free, Kohls, Saks, and Tesco.  The vendor continues to build on its merchandising capabilities, most  recently by delivering a  new release of Oracle Retail Allocation. Guided by sales and planning information and using real-time inventory facts, the Oracle Retail Allocation solution enables retailers to deliver the right product, in the best assortment, for each location. 



Retailers need to juggle a multiplicity of variables in terms of assortments. They must be finely tuned to local demographics and store and distribution center clusters, which influence merchandise allocation and pricing, which in turn affects and is affected by workforce levels and space planning. These are critical factors for retailers to best align their business strategies with today’s informed, empowered, and fickle consumer.

By overlaying science with the art of merchandizing, Oracle Retail Allocation 13.3 meets this challenge. It uses embedded business intelligence (BI) to analyze input from multiple data sources and provide allocators with better insight and recommendations. The resulting dashboard reports and recommendations consider the entire lifecycle of a product and optimize allocations to speed inventory turn and protect margins.

New User Experience

The Allocation module was built with a focus on the user experience (UX), leveraging the latest user interface (UI) technology from Oracle WebCenter and Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF). The Oracle Retail team has a great advantage in being able to dip into Oracle’s arsenal of Oracle Fusion Middleware technologies. In early feedback from retailers, reportedly, it’s the new UX that is most exciting about the application. Users should experience greater personalization, easier navigation, and more in-context information at their fingertips, while the BI-driven workflow, visual elements, and templates result in speedy and effective distributions and allocations aligned to consumer demand.

As shown in Figure 1, the modern Java UI of Oracle Retail Allocation 13.3 employs product images rather than just the stock-keeping unit (SKU) number or product name, which helps accelerate the allocation process while encouraging better visibility and control over inventory allocation to stores. The role-based dashboards allow users to start the day with the information that is most important to them and take immediate action. For example, the allocator can view a report on the dashboard, click on it to see more details, and launch an allocation that is pre-filled with information from the report. This approach should increase productivity, decrease training, and foster better decisions that ultimately result in fewer stock-outs.

oracle-retail-allocation.png
Figure 1

Integration Matters

The allocation process sits at the center of the planning, merchandising operations, and supply chain management (SCM) functions. By integrating with the broader suite of Oracle Retail solutions, including Oracle Retail Merchandizing SystemOracle Retail Assortment Planning, and Oracle Size Profile Optimization, the allocation solution promotes shared visibility across key retail business teams and creates more fluid and efficient merchandising, supply chain, marketing, and inventory management decisions.

Oracle’s footprint covers all of the aforementioned areas, and has an enhanced application that brings them together. Integration to plans and forecasts, real-time access to inventory, purchase orders and advance ship notices (ASNs), and a modern BI dashboard allow the allocator to proactively get the right product to the right store in a fast-moving omnichannel world.
 
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