Smart Operations and IT Help Prevent Tardy Deliveries

At School Specialty, staff are responsible for delivering all the supplies a school needs—more than 75, 000 products, from pencils and desks to lab equipment, sporting goods, and curriculato 90,000 schools before the next academic year begins. It’s a huge three-month push: typically teachers write orders before school lets out, and around July 1 (when the school budget year begins) districts begin submitting purchase orders (POs) to School Specialty’s sales team. The supplies need to be in classrooms by August or September.

“It’s like a tsunami, ” says Mike Killoren, vice president of purchasing at School Specialty, noting that filled order lines jump from 100,000 per week in December to more than 800,000 per week in July.

Employees at School Specialty use Oracle E-Business Suite to plan for and execute the company’s response to this extreme seasonal fluctuation, both in the back office and the warehouse. Oracle tools are also used after the rush to evaluate performance and refine models and processes. The resulting automated, nimble operation also helps people at the company react to the shrinking budgets affecting many school systems today.

Smart Operations Demand and Supply

School Specialty employees prepare all year for the summer rush. Planning begins with sales data from previous years, pulled weekly from the company’s Oracle Order Management system and passed to a demand-planning application from Logility.

The resulting demand plan estimates how many units of each product School Specialty will sell; this figure is adjusted to account for the 5, 000 or so products in School Specialty’s catalog that chum annually (about 20 percent), economic conditions, and other factors. School Specialty buyers also use the demand plan to begin discussions with the company’s 3,000 vendors about needs for the coming season.

“Logility does the math and then passes the information back into Oracle as a forecast, ” Killoren explains. “Then we use Oracle MRP [materials resource planning] functionality to calculate what we should buy based on the forecast. We refer to that as a supply plan. ” The supply plan incorporates not just hereby solving critical supply chain problems), already allows Lojas Renner staff to measure customer behavior and modify product offerings based on local tastes. Now managers can clear stock (avoiding markdowns) and accurately meet market demand (avoiding out-of-stock situations). In fact, managers have been able to reduce markdowns by as much as 20 percent through better demand planning. This, in turn, has lowered inventory costs and enabled inventory managers to focus on the right products for each store. As a result, Oracle Retail applications have helped Lojas Renner increase gross margins by 2 percent, a significant improvement.

On the supply side, the company needed to be flexible with its suppliers. “Supply chain excellence, ” Simone says, “goes directly to the bottom line. ” According to Simone, Lojas Renner’s suppliers are a key to the company’s continued success, because one challenge that comes along with Brazil’s growth is competition. “Suppliers have more options now for whom to work with, ” he says. “We need loyalty from our suppliers. ”

To help ensure that fidelity, Simone says, Lojas Renner is trying to give its suppliers more visibility into its demand forecasts so they can adjust their capacity in advance. Simone and his team built a portal with Oracle iSupplier Portal (part of Oracle E-Business Suite) to give suppliers visibility into the company’s demand system. “We have between 700 and 800 suppliers, both big and small, from LOréal to Chinese suppliers to suppliers with home-based businesses, ” Simone says. The portal enables Lojas Renner to give all of them “the big picture of their future with the company: volumes, order anticipation, a working partnership. We can say to our suppliers, ‘Let’s start booking production for next year. ’” That, in turn, enables the suppliers to perform with greater efficiency and keeps them doing business with Lojas Renner.

Smart Operations and Retail CloudBurst

Lojas Renner’s greatest technological leap forward was its decision to move into the cloud, taking advantage of Oracle’s SaaS offerings. According to Balbinot, the advantages of the SaaS model are multiple and substantial.

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Exalytics In-memory Machine

Exalytics in-memory analytics software and industry-changing hardware was engineered to work together to provide extremely fast solutions for BI, modeling, forecasting, and planning.

Your sales and marketing teams can identify new customers and new revenue opportunities, and you can lower your operational costs and reduce your overall risk with this preconfigured, pretested, preoptimized engineered system from Oracle. With Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine you get:

Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine
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How to Build Better Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

The processing capacity of the Oracle Exadata Database Machine means fewer physical structures and better Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence.

No, the Oracle Exadata Database Machine is not the infinite machine that will make integration, computation, and aggregation all on-demand functions. But the Oracle Exadata Database Machine helps us to start thinking about simplifying some of the processing and gyrations we have to do to build and deliver an efficient data warehouse solution. With Oracle Exadata, we can more quickly read the data we need to satisfy our queries. Without Oracle Exadata, we need to build separate structures—such as materialized views—in our data warehouses to boost performance. With Oracle Exadata, we don’t need to build as many physical structures, freeing up more time for using the data instead of processing it.

In general terms, there are two reasons for building additional data structures, or even databases, above an integrated data warehouse. The first is to make the data easier to consume by our end users and their reporting and analytic applications. To get better usability and to focus our analytic applications, we create a new subset of our data in snapshots or data marts to support a specific analytic or reporting application, and that subset is just another physical projection, or movement, of the same data. With Oracle Exadata, however, we create fewer physical projections and can create more logical projections of the data in our BI tool of choice in our integrated data warehouse for the same purpose.

Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

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Using MySQL for Business Intelligence (MySQL BI)

MySQL is particularly powerful when it comes to Web applications, but companies are putting the open source database to plenty of other uses as well. Take, for example, the Los Angeles, California-based global online ad sales firm Gorilla Nation Media.

Gorilla Nation relied on MySQL to power its advertising network business intelligence platform.

MySQL Business Intelligence

Gorilla Nation, part of Evolve Media, provides integrated media and promotional programs to Fortune 500 brand advertisers, including clients such as Fox Television, Best Buy, and more. Its customers demand advanced business intelligence (BI) and targeting methods to reach the perfect online audience for their advertising or brand campaigns. Reaching more than 66 million unique visitors per month— as Gorilla Nation does— requires Websites and an infrastructure that can scale effectively and efficiently.

That’s why Gorilla Nation chose MySQL as the foundation of its BI platform. The organization has more than 500 servers running MySQL, 20 of which are replicated. Its sites get approximately a quarter-billion page views per month, and MySQL manages more than 1TB of data for Gorilla Nation while providing near-real-time traffic and advertising campaign performance information to Gorilla Nation’s publishers and advertisers. In addition, Gorilla Nation uses MySQL to capture all the clickstream data and transactions required for back-office accounting and billing functions.

“One of the great beauties of MySQL BI is that it’s backed by an amazing company like Oracle, which has deep pockets and basically wrote the book on databases, ” says Veronika Burnett, manager of database engineering at Gorilla Nation. “Also, unlike other open source databases, MySQLis highly scalable. That allows us to do things in our business that are absolutely critical, such as having the same database running on multiple physical servers in multiple geographic regions and having near-real-time replication. ”
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Oracle BI 11g Webcast

This Oracle University Webcast takes you on a tour of the new Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (Oracle BI 11g) features.

Oracle’s latest version of its flagship business intelligence software – OBI EE 11g – introduces many new concepts and major enhancements. In this one-hour recorded seminar, we will take a tour of the most important viewpoints and learn about new features.

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