Oracle Mobilizes Inventory Management

Oracle has introduced a Windows-based mobile client that will allow workers to access its supply chain management software directly from the retail floor or warehouse.

The app, called PeopleSoft Mobile Inventory Management, has been folded into Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Supply Chain Management suite. It requires a copy of the PeopleSoft Inventory and Fulfillment Management application to operate.

The app is aimed mainly at industrial devices, which are still primarily using versions of Windows Mobile, the precursor to Windows Phone 7. It can run on portable wireless mobile devices running Windows Mobile 5 and 6, which are still offered by companies such as Intermec and Motorola. It will also work on a desktop version of Windows.

The software does not run on the more recently released Windows Phone 7, but Oracle is working on a version for that operating system as well, an Oracle spokesperson confirmed. The company does not, however, have a potential release date for that version.

With the software, users can check the inventory for the availability of items without having to walk to the actual storage location. It can also be used on the warehouse floor to reconcile the physical inventory against what is recorded in the database.

With the appropriate hardware attached, the software can scan barcodes and reconcile them directly with the back-end inventory systems, potentially reducing the errors that may occur when inventory numbers are entered by hand.

The software runs in the Windows Mobile browser and communicates with the Java-based application logic located on an application server. The user interface has the same look and feel across multiple devices. User log-ins are authenticated directly against the back-end PeopleSoft system.

This is the first mobile Oracle application that uses the company's Application Development Framework (ADF) Mobile, middleware that manages the information exchange between the handheld clients and back-end Oracle systems.

The client was developed for health care customers as a way to get better control over inventory and receipt of medical supplies, though the software can be used across all industries with physical inventory, the company claims.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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