Companies will be able to ‘collaborate’ with their partners, whoever they might be, within just 20 days, according to Internet software and applications colossus Oracle – through its ‘’, collaborative supply chain initiative, delivered as an on-line service and available right now according to the company. is built upon its existing collaborative manufacturing web exchange software, Oracle Supply Chain Exchange, which covers collaborative demand planning, supply planning, vendor managed inventory and event management – the real time fulfilment communication side. Several companies, including AeroChain, owned by aircraft manufacturers Embraer and ATR, and FEMSA Logistica have adopted Oracle Supply Chain Exchange to enable collaborative planning among their trading partners. And Oracle quotes Bob Ferrari of analyst AMR Research, who in an April 2001 report said: “Early adopters of hosted supply chain applications are reporting 30% levels of inventory reduction, 10 to 20% reduced administrative costs and increased production utilisation and fulfilment service levels.” Be that as it may, with, Oracle is offering what looks like an attractive, affordable alternative for companies to get their supply chains moving faster, better and more profitably. The firm says the benefits of the automation it provides for will include reduced inventory, better forecast accuracy, better demand and supply matching and improved delivery performance. And it says these derive from the ability “to see, control and collaborate on demand and supply across an extended, multi-enterprise supply chain.” Says Don Klaiss, senior vice president, manufacturing and supply chain application development, at Oracle: “Companies can no longer afford expensive, open ended implementation projects. Rapid ROI (return on investment) is what the market demands and meets that need head on.” He makes the point that since is delivered as an on-line service, companies are not required to make additional investments in IT infrastructure or support, allowing them to focus on their core business rather than on implementation projects. The new system will be delivered by Oracle Consulting Services, or Oracle’s supply chain partners, KPMG and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.