Confessions of a 50-Year-Old Hacker

JohnWesterveld

Hackathon judgesLast week was the Kinaxis solutions development hackathon. In a hackathon, people form up into groups and within a one-week time frame, identify a market need, develop an approach to addressing that need – in many cases prototype solutions – then present those ideas to a leadership team. This year was extra fun because we used a “Shark Tank” (or “Dragons Den” for us Canadians) approach (without the snarkiness that makes the TV version so popular).

As I sat and watched the presentations, I was blown away by the depth of supply chain knowledge and the amount of creativity on display. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the ideas eventually becomes another of the features that make RapidResponse great.

Our team put together some ideas around supply chain risk management. We addressed supply chain risk in two ways; the leading indicators that show when you are at risk, and a simulation to see how well your supply chain can respond to a major event. The leading indicators range from single sourcing risk to global supply risk, with a number of other factors included as well. Each of these metrics help you identify where you could potentially be at risk.

The other part of our project was based on a concept I wrote about a year ago or so; the Chaos Monkey. The concept here is to go beyond the typical metrics and indexes and to prove how resilient your supply chain is to an actual disruption.

Our team didn’t win in the hackathon and despite my bias, I’m not even upset – the ideas that did win truly deserved it. I had a pile of fun, I taught myself (finally) how to create forms and scripts, and worked with a great team. What more could you ask for?

If you had the option to work on any supply chain project, what would it be? Comment back and let us know!

JohnWesterveld

John Westerveld is a demo architect for Kinaxis. Previously, John was a product manager responsible for supply management , supply chain risk management, application interface and framework, integration management and server. He joined Kinaxis over 7 years ago bringing with him 16 years of manufacturing experience, including 10 years in the information technology field. John is a qualified APICS instructor and is certified APICS CPIM.

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