Oracle Corp. and LogFire have teamed up to provide more businesses with technology—typically available only to the largest companies—for smoothing out the difficulties in managing the flow of suppliers’ shipments into their warehouses.

Oracle, whose database and business operating software applications are widely deployed among mid-size to large companies, has been without a competitive cloud-based warehouse management system to complement its transportation management software—a void that left it without a way to help many companies better manage the flow of goods into their warehouses, says Dwight Klappich, a vice president and supply chain analyst at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

By integrating the cloud-based LogFire warehouse management system with Oracle’s transportation software, LogFire and Oracle enable users to access via a web browser a coordinated system hosted by vendors and designed to better manage the flow of products into a warehouse, Klappich says.

That’s important, he adds, because it enables supply chain and inventory managers to view information on inbound shipments along with the readiness of warehouse operations to accept those shipments—and take steps to fix unexpected problems. For example, the integrated system could let a manager see that an expected shipment of consumer electronics products from a supplier will arrive at 4 p.m., several hours later than expected, and at a time when the warehouse will not have the required number of dock workers. The warehouse manager could either reschedule the delivery or take steps to ensure there are workers on hand at 4 p.m.

In addition, the managers might get an updated report that several dozen of the incoming items need to be bundled in special packaging with complementary products according to an amended customer order—at a time when such packaging and bundled products weren’t readily available. Again, the manager would have advance warning of the potential problem.

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Under a more conventional system, such information on shipments and warehouse operations would get logged separately in the warehouse and transportation software, and managers might not have the time required to adjust warehouse operations to handle a late shipment. The integrated LogFire and Oracle software is designed to automatically share such information across the warehouse and transportation systems, enabling managers in each department to plan staffing and other resources accordingly, Klappich says.

“LogFire offers a great option for Oracle customers that don’t have a strong WMS,” Klappich says, referring to the warehouse management system. He adds that the integrated systems should appeal to mid-size as well as large companies, providing an alternative to Manhattan Associates, which caters mostly to large companies with integrated warehouse and transportation management systems. Oracle didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

LogFire and Oracle didn’t release pricing figures for the integrated system, but Klappich says a midsize company could probably start out at a “reasonable” software-as-a-service price of under $100,000 per year. A team of Oracle sales reps will offer the integrated system to customers, with assistance from LogFire personnel, a spokeswoman for LogFire says. The companies will share the sales revenue, she adds.

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