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Building a Mobile App for Inventory Management Using Oracle Visual Builder Cloud Service

Oracle Visual Builder Cloud Service (VBCS) has proven to be a truly enterprise grade solution for building mobile applications. We use it frequently for our JD EnterpriseOne customers who are looking for ways to expand the utility of their platform across a range of handheld devices. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples and our takeaways from the build process.

Going Mobile with Warehouse Inventory Operations

A large dairy product manufacturer needed a warehouse solution to scan barcodes and streamline/automate inventory processes. They had purchased an expensive solution for mobile scanning, but it didn’t fulfill their requirements. Implementing it off the shelf failed to provide the promised capabilities, and customization was not cost effective.

Fortunately, the manufacturing company had a technology advisor on hand who knew how to leverage the Orchestrator to build a backend solution. The tech consultant just needed an experienced mobile app partner to extend the Orchestrator into a mobile app with an intuitive interface for end users. They turned to ACBM for a mobile solution built in VBCS.

Key Features and Requirements for Mobile Inventory Management

Multiple Functions: The app needed 16 different inventory functions such as transfers, adjustments, sales orders, label printing, and product information. This meant the single app hosted many “mini apps” inside it (and users needed to be easily able to find the specific function for each of their tasks).

Scalability Across Locations: The dairy coop planned to roll out the app for one warehouse as a POC and then expand across multiple warehouses. While other solutions require specialized infrastructure at each location to enable mobile scanning, using a VBCS mobile app on their internet-connected scanners let them roll out the mobile app across additional locations with a simple, repeatable process and no added expense.

Error Reduction: Building the app to use barcodes as a default for tracking inventory transfers allowed the manufacturer to reduce typos from data entry. An invalid bar code will produce an error message, allowing for manual correction. However, making typed information the exception rather than the rule saves time and limits user mistakes.

Device Compatibility: The app needed to be compatible with existing scanners to avoid the cost of buying new equipment. With VBCS, this was simple because the application framework is designed to be interoperable with multiple device types. One app will render correctly on iPad, iPhone, Android, and even specialized handheld equipment used in warehouses and distribution centers.

Additional Note: The manufacturer had two different types of scanners, one with a high-res landscape oriented screen and the other featuring low-res portrait mode. With traditional mobile app frameworks, building a flexible presentation to accommodate both views would have been difficult. With VBCS, the landscape layout automatically adjusts to show four icons in a row and portrait displays them two by two.

Orchestrator Studio and Oracle Visual Builder Pair Strength with Affordability

For apps like this that need access to complex inventory data, having Orchestrator on the back end to do the heavy lifting is ideal. A user can scan a location for a specific item to know where to stock it. The logic layer to identify this information is done 95% in the Orchestrator layer and inherits all the built-in user roles, data access, and operations controlled within that highly secure platform.

The app interface is only responsible for passing data to/from a user out on the warehouse floor. Not surprisingly, these VBCS mobile apps are fast and cost-effective to build. For this client, the result was getting a fully custom, fully functional inventory management system for a fraction of the cost of off-the-shelf software that couldn’t get the job done.

At ACBM, we’re at the forefront of developing mobile apps in VBCS to deliver full-featured and responsive apps for our clients. Contact us today to talk about mobile applications for your business.

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