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Application Software for Supply Chain Managements

The concept of supply chain

The term "supply chain" is often used in the creation of information systems’ companies. But the concept of an enterprise as a representation of the supply chain is designed in a modern organization theory.

By the specialists of the companies all over the world, including the specialists in information systems, it is often considered as a concept of a property information system. In the other opinion, some of them believe that this concept can be incorporated by a developer of the software package developed by or in the network computing system.

RQ 1. What are the solutions among applications regarding the "supply chain" which can be used?

What decisions regarding the "supply chain" can or should be taken by the leadership of the company?

In answering the question, it is important to remember that any supply chain has two main functions:

-  A Physical function is a supply chain, i.e. materials are converted into the details, and those - in the finished product, and all of this in some way move in space.

-  An intermediary function of the supply chain provides the arrival on the market of what to consumers.

The functions are performed with some costs. The implementation of the physical function leads to the costs of production, transportation and storage.


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Brokering leads to the costs of a different kind:

-  The excess of supply over demand makes it necessary to reduce the price and sell at a loss;

- The excess of demand over supply leads to the lost revenue and damage to a reputation (image) of the organization due to the appearance of  not satisfied customers.

RQ 2. What are the main features of the Oracle E-Business Suite R12 for Supply Chain Management, in particular?


The issues related to the supply chain management were studied by numerous researchers in this field, such as Bowman (1993), Ding (1997), Frohlich (2000), Lamport (1986), and Sanella (1994). In particular, in his book Oracle E-Business Suit Supply Chain Management (2010), Muneed Siddiqui describes the main features of this software, revealing the main issues and principles of its work for various types of businesses and the companies of different sizes. No matter if the company is large or small; the software works very well to any kind of business. It enables the possibility to organize the supply chain management properly due to various features the software contains. 


There is a great number of applications, which are widely used for the supply chain management, such as JDA, SAP, Accalos, Geneva Business Management Systems (GBMS), Epicor Supply Chain Management, Savant WMS, 3Plink, Cadence WMS, PremierWwarehouse Investory Control, IntellTrack WMS RK, Oracle, and etc. Let’s try to have a look at some of them.

3.1 JDA

With the development of the supply chain, companies can better control the situation and better balance between the working capital and productivity at the level of service. Large companies are now looking to expand their capacity to control the current one through the integration of financial planning and production functions’ business goals. The experience in planning operations and the vast experience in the field of the supply chain management has enabled the JDA to become a leader and a pioneer in the market of integrated solutions for a business planning. The JDA solutions have enabled senior management to lead the tactical and operational plans in line with the financial objectives of the company, as well as to choose the best solutions to the problems of operations, should they arise.

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3.2. SAP

The SAP is composed of a set of application modules that support different business processes and are integrated with each other in the real time.

The purpose: The software is designed for accounting and planning of materials and financial resources of the company in the real time.

The SAP is focused mainly on large and medium-sized enterprises.

3.3. Accelos

Accellos is the centralized solutions for the supply chain. In the today's competitive business environment, you need to have a solution that is not only centralized, but adapted to the needs of a specific chain of supplies.Accellos One is such a solution.

Accellos covers a wide range of solutions for the implementation of the supply chain and combines the best of technology that can offer such providers as, for example, Microsoft and Oracle. The main feature of secreting Accellos among other representatives of the industry is the ability to provide some cost-effective solutions, which are the source of innovation with a small investment.

3.4. WMS Logistics Vision Suits

The Logistics Vision Suite (LVS) is a modern family of the advanced software-class Supply Chain Execution, which can not only effectively to manage the warehouse business processes, but also the entire supply chain starting from sales forecasting and the needs to management of the performance in all areas of logistics chain: production, warehouse and transport. The Logistics Vision Suite is a powerful advanced IT solution designed primarily for the automation of logistics business processes of large enterprises and that is focused on the business development of companies operating in different segments. The core of the system is a warehouse management system (WMS), i.e. the Warehouse Vision.

The main difference of the warehouse management system WMS Logistics Vision Suite from other WMS-systems is an object-oriented architecture. The WMS Logistics Vision Suite operates on objects such as a warehouse, the cell product, warehouse resources, purchase orders, receiving, shipping order, the owner of the goods, suppliers, customers, and etc. The relationship of these elements in each transaction occurs at the level of their properties or attributes, the number of which is not limited. Attributes, that is important, are not just the background information and characteristics of objects that affect certain business processes.

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The set of such applications as Oracle E-Business Suite is based on a market-leading database and some application server products Oracle in a single process stack. The integration with the tools for Infrastructure management (Oracle Enterprise Manager 11, GridControl) offers a performance and reliability of some typical enterprise solutions, class, while reducing the total cost of an ownership decision (TCO) for customers in all the industries. The architecture of the Oracle E-Business Suite R12 is a framework for some multi-tiered and distributed calculations.

Various services are distributed by logical levels. Service is a process or a group of processes, which provide the functionality. The logical level is an association of services, potentially for different physical servers.

The Oracle E-Business Suite R12 is composed of three levels of calculations:

 -  The level of the database (DB);

 -  The level of applications, by which Oracle E-Business Suite is being led;

 -  The level of a client:

1) As a Java plug-in for your web browser;

2) Mobile devices;

3) Web browser.

Each level can contain several physical servers. Each server can locate more than one level. This centralized model eliminates the installation and management of the software in the workplace, and increase a scaling duro system load to reduce the network traffic. The result is the reduced cost of ownership.

Communication between the application and the client level can be provided via Internet (or Intranet). In a way of the exchange information between the levels of the changed data in forming fields of applications are transmitted only. Taling the global nature of business nowadays, it means fewertelecommunications, costs and a better performance.

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1.1. The Client Level

In the new release of the Oracle Complex E-Business Suite R12 most of applications interface is based on HTML. It is also remained the API is based on Oracle Forms (where the use of Oracle Forms is based on the circumstances: for example, the requirements for the possibility of work without a mouse and the rate of supply, etc.). When working with applications based on the Oracle

Forms, Java applet files are stored on the local user's disk for their future use, thereby reducing the network traffic.

Users log in to the home page via a web browser. The Oracle system E-Business Suite R12 provides a single point entry into all the applications using HTML, based on Oracle Forms and applications for the intellectual Intelligence BI. After logging in, the user does not need to enter a user name and a password again for accessing the specific modules. Oracle Applications also store some parameters of the interface configuration for a user. For example, if a user is logged in with the language configuration "English", this setup can be saved for this session and works for the applications based on HTML, as well as for Oracle Forms’ applications.

4.1. Forms Clients’ Applets

The Forms client applet is a set of JAR files. JAR files contain all the necessary Java classes for running the applications based on Oracle Forms. The Forms client applet and commonly used JAR files that are downloaded on the web server when running Oracle Forms applications. Other less used files are loaded when needed. All the updates of applications occur only at the level of applications and are automatically downloaded to the client level through a web browser with the Java plugin SunJ2SE.

4.1.1. Plagin SunJ2SE

Sun J2SE is embedded as a standard plugin for a browser. In traditional applications, Oracle Forms JVM-applications (which in the previous releases were presented by the component Oracle JInitiator) run as a part of the login process for the applications in Oracle. Now, in the new release R12, with the transition to a predominantly HTML interface, JVM (presented plugin J2SE) is used only when a user refers to the function that calls it, for example, the running form. After downloading and installing the plugin, a user can run some applications based on Oracle Forms.

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Forms listener servlet is a Java servlet which allows you to run Oracle Forms via HTTP or HTTPS connections. Servlet contains the Oracle Application forms and the corresponding mechanisms to run being a conciliator between a client and a database server.

4.1.2. The Server of Running the Parallel Processes (Concurrent Processing)

In addition to HTML applications and applications based on Oracle Forms, there are also some background processes that run periodically. Such processes that form reports or processes perform the data updates. Such processes can do the intensive calculations. For that, these processes do not interfere with the work of custom applications, they run Concurrent Processing on a special server. The Concurrent Processing server connection to the database server is provided via Oracle Net. Reports server turned out of use in the R12 release of Oracle applications. All the new reports are now being developed via BI Publisher.

4.2. Database Level

The level of the database (DB) is a database server Oracle, which stores all the information, related to Oracle Applications. The level of database contains some files of the Data Server and Oracle database applications that physically store the tables, indexes and other objects of the

OBD system. The relationship with the level of a customer is provided through the services of the application layer.

Many unique features of the set of applications Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 are provided with such technological advantages of the DB Oracle:

 -  Monitoring the functions;

 -  Functions of the Performance Management;

 -  A zoom function;

4.2.1. Oracle Applications Technology Layer

Oracle Applications Technology Layer is located between the technology-stack applications and the specialized modules. This layer provides the functions that are common to all the products of Oracle. This technological layer includes:

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 -  Oracle Applications DBA;

 -  Oracle Applications ObjectLibrary;

 -  Oracle Applications Utilities;

 -  Oracle Common Modules;

 -  Oracle Workflow;

 -  Oracle Alert;

 -  Oracle Applications Framework;

 - Oracle BI Publisher;

 -  Oracle Alert;

 -  Oracle Applications Framework;

 -  Oracle BI Publisher.

4.3. Architecture Features

1) A unified model of data

The common definition for customers, partners, suppliers and employees, a single model of data eliminates the duplication of information within the enterprise.

2) Availability

The use of the three-tier architecture at the dedicated server provides the client access to the system via the Internet, using a web browser.

3) Globality

The data across the enterprise are stored in a single database. The system supports the accounting in many currencies, the interface of many languages and legal requirements being specific for different countries.

4) Configurability

Oracle E-Business Suite R12 has a large number of configuration options and settings that allow you to set the applications’ customs, according to the business requirements of customers without changing the application code.

4.4. Development and Personalization

To extend and complement the standard of the functionality of Oracle E-Business Suite, there are some universal and specific means of development.

The universal tools include:

 -  Oracle JDeveloper;

 -  Oracle Developer Suite:

1. Oracle Forms Developer.

2. Oracle Reports Developer

 - Oracle Discoverer.

 -  OracleBI Publisher

 -  Workflow Builder.

The special design tools of Oracle E-Business Suite include:

 -  Form Personalization.

 -  FrameWork Personalization.

The mentioned above development tools can be characterized in the following way. Oracle JDeveloper is an integrated area IDE (Integrated Development Environment - IDE), aimed at creating the service oriented (Service-Oriented Architecture, SOA) applications, according to the latest standards for Java, XML, Web-Services and SQL.

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Oracle JDeveloper supports a complete cycle of developing the processing software by supporting some tools for modeling, coding, debugging, testing, tuning and deployment. And all these tools are integrated into a single graphical shell. Despite the fact that the Oracle JDeveloper is focused primarily on the development of the Java-based applications, it supports the XML-development, such as XML Schema Modeller and XSLT debugger and the development tools for relational methods of data storage. The purpose of JDeveloper is to make it easier to build J2EE-applications. For this purpose, Jdeveloper enables a visual and declarative approach to building the applications.

Oracle JDeveloper enables programmers to different levels of training as well as various preferences to use different models of development. J2EE applications, which are written using Oracle JDeveloper, fully comply with the J2EE standards and can be deployed on any J2EE-compliant application server.

4.5. Oracle Developer Suite

Oracle Developer Suite (ODS) is a complete and integrated development environment and the application deployment, in the way of connecting different development tools into a single set, based on the latest industry standards of information technology. Oracle Developer Suite allows developers to create the high-transaction applications.

OracleForms Developer

The Oracle Forms Developer presents the means of quick development of applications. The Forms Developer allows tocreate the applications that consist of shield forms, reports, and business graphics, based on the data stored in databases. The Forms Developer is equipped with a large number of "masters", the context tips and plenty of examples. The user does not need to write a lot of  codes, since all the operations on the database are automatic.

The close integration with the Oracle database allows developers to use the internal mechanisms of the server to increase the performance applications. The use of a single language program logically makes it possible to distribute the applications, which provide a better balancing operated load and reduces the network traffic.Enterprise Business Objects and Enterprise Business Services provide independent applications of the key business components, such as "customer", "product", and "order". The primary entity is business operations. The Enterprise Business Services are specific actions that you can do on a given object, such as "add customer", "remove buyer ", and "modify  buyer".

The Enterprise Business Objects and Enterprise Business Services are a basis for the pre-integration package and contain all of the attributes required for any action on them, allowing to create common processes between different applications.

The Enterprise Business Objects create a common semantically basis for the communication between different applications. Semantics is the vocabulary for each service; the use of the same semantic framework allows the different systems to understand each other.


5.1. Supply Control

Many companies are trying to increase the final cost savings through the use of functions of sourcing and procurement. Separating supply operations as profit centers, forward-thinking companies strengthen relationships with suppliers and divert to supply a large role in the strategic development of the organization.

 Oracle E-Business Suite R12 provides a strategic value, expressed as a significant cost savings, performance contracts and a rapid payback. The company has at its disposal the tools to achieve the high performance through the integrated business processes. Operations, such as the cost analysis, sourcing, contract management and applications, invoicing, and supplier management are included in the integrated offering.

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Being a part of a set of business applications, Oracle E-Business Suite R12 is the solution integrated the offerings for automated "from purchase to pay for" goods and services.

Supply problems traditionally lie in the area of the interest of the special interest from management of companies. In recent years, the growing influence of the efficiency of supply chain management to the problem of maintaining its own competitiveness has occured. It is no secret that one of the best and proven ways to improve profitability is to maintain a high quality of products and encourage the innovation to reduce the costs of purchased materials and services. To achieve this, a holistic approach is applied to the management of supplier relationships, which would link the supply strategy with execution, and increased the participation of suppliers in the company. How is it possible to to achieve this? The Oracle E-Business Suite R12 is the answer to this and many other issues that arise in the process of optimizing the supply chain.

The Oracle E-Business Suite R12 is a solution focused on the optimization of business processes and reducing the overall costs associated with logistics and procurement services to the businesses of all sizes. Combining the opportunities for an analysis, evaluation and ranking of suppliers, consolidation of the procurement of goods and services, building a strategy and a forecast of interaction with suppliers through some traditional and electronic channels, the software helps to identify the best partners that best fit the requirements of business.

In order to ensure a profit on an ongoing basis, companies need to have a balanced system of supply management costs. If the company is able to reduce the costs of goods and services, the result will be to increase the profitability, without compromising quality and even without an increase in sales volumes. Oracle E-Business Suite R12 automates all processes combining the selection of sources of supply and the actual provisioning activities. At the same time, the decision "Supply Chain Management" increases the transparency of the logistics network and provides the guidance interactive overview of all costs associated with the supply.

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The software allows you to control the entire cycle of services: from a strategic planning to implementation. It allows you to optimize the selection of suppliers and shorten procurement cycles. It is based on the possibility to build the stable and effective relationships with suppliers on a long term basis.

5.2. The Features of the Application

Oracle E-Business Suite R12 allows controlling the process of payment and the interaction with suppliers of the company (to purchase requisition, purchase order, receiveing goods and services) and providing the advanced supply chain planning. The software has a good menu toolbar, shortcut keys and forms, which make working with the software much easier. Furthermore, the software is designed for various business environments. It is able to integrate this application with the Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning, Oracle Process Manufacturing and Oracle Demand Management. The advanced features of the application are based on different levels. For example, with the help of the application it is possible to organize the work with suppliers, manage ship forms, custom declarations, price lists, sorting the data depending on the type of transaction. Many more features are included to the new release of Oracle application for supply chain management, to name a few. More information can be read in Muneeb A. Siddiqui’s book Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Supply Chain Management (Siddiqui 2010). 


In the process of developing the issue of supply chain management, it has been found out that:

1) In the predictable demand for functional products, the intermediation costs are relatively low. So the companies that produce these products can focus on the reduction of physical costs, which is especially important in the high elasticity of the demand for functional foods. It is these companies that usually use information systems that make the planning of production resources (i.e the systems, made in the standard MRP - Manufacturing Resource Planning). The software in this case acts as a tool that supports the order management, production and supply. Its use will reduce the inventory throughout the supply chain and increase production efficiency. It is important in such cases; the information  is the information about events within the supply chain. Such information enables suppliers, manufacturers and sellers to coordinate their actions in order to meet the foreseeable demand at the lowest possible costs.

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2) For an organization engaged in the production of innovative products, such an approach is not suitable, as are the dominant costs of mediation. They, not the physical costs, become a focus of managers. The critical information in such cases is out of the supply chain  in the market. The most important decisions that must be made by management, in this case does not relate to reduce costs and inventory, and the one where in the supply chain should put resources needed to best meet the poorly the predictable and transient demand.

Relatively to the research questions:

1. There are a lot of software applications that can be easily applied for business. We have found out that every of them has his or her own specifics and is applicable for some type of business.

2. Oracle E-Business Suite R12 for Supply Management is one of the best our of the software applications, which can be used nowadays.



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