Posts categorized as 'General News'

Big changes coming to the supply line, just not where you thought they’d be

JonathanMatthews

Self-Driving TruckWhen talking about exciting new advancements that are coming to the supply chain, the discussion will always usually end up focused around 3D printing. Rightly so, as the 3D printer has opened up new opportunities never before possible in the supply chain. Rather than having to wait for a specialized part, companies can now print the part they need right on site. This can be a huge time and cost saver for companies involved in projects, but when looking at the overall supply chain worldwide, 3D printing is a pretty niche example. Even with 3D printers popping up everywhere, changing the way companies rely on the supply chain, there will always be limitations.

Sure, 3D printers might be able to print space habitats on Mars, but they can’t print everything and there will always be a need to transport an item(s) from one destination to another. 3D printing is revolutionary, but there is another absolute game changer about to deploy in the supply side that is an evolution; self-driving trucks. When looking at the amount of freight moved just in America alone, there was 9.2 billion tons (primary shipment only) moved by truck representing 67% of the total tonnage moved in 2011.

We’ve all heard about Google (to be correct, Alphabet since Google Inc re-organized itself into its new hierarchy structure) and Tesla in their efforts to create self-driving cars for the mass car buying public, but other companies, especially trucking companies, have not been standing idly by in this field either. As reported by The Guardian a number of European truck manufactures recently collaborated on creating a convoy of more than six semi-autonomous (semi-autonomous because there was still a back-up human driver) trucks that drove from Sweden and south Germany to a port in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Although not ready for complete autonomous driving yet, we can certainly see in the very near future (2018?) a convoy of trucks, completely unmanned driving across the highways of the world.

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Tesla’s Big Gamble

AndrewDunbar

TeslaIf you’re a supply chain nerd like me, you’ve probably noticed that Tesla’s been making some pretty big waves in the auto industry. It seems Tesla is poised to be the first company to truly take advantage of a new market segment. People are looking for vehicles that are environmentally responsible, technologically advanced, safe, sexy, and affordable to the average Joe. Their new Model 3 meets all of this criteria, and has a range about double that of comparable vehicles. They’ve nailed the customer requirements so well that they’ve received over 320,000 pre-orders in the first week, even though deliveries aren’t slated to begin until the end of 2017.

To meet this demand, Tesla hopes to reach a production rate of 500,000 vehicles per year by 2020. Wait… what? 500K per year, but not until 2020? Even if they managed to accelerate their production schedule to achieve 500K per year at the end of 2017, they still have at least an 8 month backlog before they even deliver their first car. On the surface, this seems like an unprecedented supply chain challenge. Their level of success at building this new supply chain will make or break their business. To make it even harder, due to the incredible amount of money involved and the sex-appeal of the product, they’ll be undergoing their supply chain revolution with a level of public scrutiny normally limited to the latest iPhones!

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Video: What’s Driving Change in Supply Chain Management?

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

How are companies meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management? How does the big trends affect supply chain management?

In this video, hear a wide-ranging roundtable discussion with industry leaders about how companies are meeting the challenge of big data, the Internet of Things and the need for change management — all with the goal of improving the planning function and achieving end-to-end supply-chain visibility. This discussion features Mark Ramirez, chief technology officer with Trinity Rail; Josh Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, Trevor Miles, vice president of product innovation with Kinaxis; and Bob Bowman, managing editor of SupplyChainBrain.

Watch now: What’s Driving Change in Supply-Chain Planning?

What's Driving Change in Supply Chain Planning?

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Video: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

Does your organization struggle to make sure all the nodes within the supply chain are connected? Do you have an approach to collaborative planning?

In this interview, Andy Walker, head of supply chain strategy with Merck, details how they are making sure all the nodes within the supply chain are connected so they do not work in isolation. Because the supply chain is connected from an end-to-end perspective, they can take true customer demand and drive that through the supply chain down to manufacturing sites and suppliers, which allows the company to respond faster to customer needs.

Andy also speaks about the company’s new approach to collaborative planning. From an execution perspective, the company ensures there’s a consistent set of information being delivered to the manufacturing facility, or contract manufacturer, to enable them to do what they’re really good at, which is scheduling and manufacturing the product. The net result is less inventory sitting around, better balance between supply and demand, knowing the revenue risk, working out the profitability and having a true understanding of the margin.

Watch now: Merck’s End-to-End Supply Chain Vision

Merck's End-to-End Supply Chain Vision

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Amazon’s Supply Chain Innovation Delivers Results

AlexaCheater

There’s no denying Amazon is a Goliath in the online marketplace. Selling more than 480 million products, a mix of its own items and products drop-shipped by others; its supply chain is a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve written before about how the company is revolutionizing omni-channel strategies, but a recent post and infographic by MBA@Syracuse, the university’s online MBA program, shines a spotlight on just how customer-centric Amazon’s supply chain really is.

According to the article, “Amazon continues to reinvest all of its free cash flow into growth initiatives rather than shareholder dividends and to pioneer innovative approaches, such as delivery drones.” That plan appears to be working as many customers see Amazon as the golden standard when it comes to fast, reliable, online retailers.

By beginning with the customer and working backwards, Amazon’s supply chain management team has had to up its game, keeping pace with the company’s constantly evolving definition of rapid delivery, which now includes Prime Now, promising two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items to Amazon Prime members.

So how does the supply chain handle it all? Through the use of innovative technology like 1-Click ordering, patented in 1997, and ‘anticipatory shipping’, a predictive algorithm patented in 2013 that starts boxing and moving products before the shopper clicks buy.

MBA@Syracuse notes that after an order is placed, “delivery takes one of several paths, depending on the order’s dollar amount, size and weight, geography, and customer inputs.”

Take a look at a simplified view of its supply chain.

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Proud to be Recognized as One of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers for 2016

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

As a leading supply chain management cloud provider, we are proud to be named one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers.

Kinaxis Awarded Canada's Top Small & Medium Employer

First created in 2014 by the editorial team at Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Kinaxis has won the national honor every year since its inception. Designed to recognize outstanding private-sector commercial organizations with fewer than 500 employees, the award helps Canadians learn what the most innovative small and medium employers have to offer.

“Given our recent rapid growth, we’re thrilled to again be recognized as one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers,” says Megan Paterson, Vice President of Human Resources at Kinaxis. “We believe no matter the size of the business, employee satisfaction should always be a priority. We aim to provide our team ample opportunity to be adventurous and self-empowered in their roles, encourage them to be real in their interactions with each other and our customers, and to laugh often—after all, it is a key ingredient to a happy, healthy life!”

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Can you win with a broken chain?

CarmenHumplik

close-up of bicycle chain and gears

If you’re not familiar with the sport of downhill mountain biking, it basically involves racing down a mountain on a steep, narrow, and gnarly track to reach the finish line as fast as possible. Currently, one of the most dominant riders on the downhill racing scene is an American by the name of Aaron Gwin. Gwin, who until very recently rode for the Specialized bike company, is the 2015 overall UCI Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup title holder. He also provided spectators with one of the most riveting moments of the 2015 race season by winning a race… without a chain. During his race run in Leogang, Austria, Gwin’s chain broke a few pedal strokes out of the starting gate. In downhill racing, where every second counts, a broken chain usually spells disaster. Astoundingly, by using his incredible riding skills (and, I suspect, minimal braking), Gwin managed to build enough momentum and speed to win the race.

According to recent news from Specialized, it appears that Gwin’s isn’t the only chain problem that they are dealing with. They announced they are laying off three percent of their global workforce. A company spokesperson stated they need to realign the organization to focus “on three key areas: innovation, marketing, and supply chain.” Mike Sinyard, Specialized founder and CEO, said: “We are investing in our supply chain to ensure we are delivering the best product at the best price to riders and our retailers. All of this is an investment in our future.”

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Show Them They Can Fly: Changing Mindsets About Supply Chain Management

AlexaCheater
  • by Alexa Cheater
  • Published

Biplane flying in the skyI recently had the opportunity to hear our CEO John Sicard talk about the challenges supply chain software providers such as Kinaxis face when demonstrating to businesses the value in updating their supply chain management practices. It likely doesn’t come as any big shock to most of you that a lot of times, organizations are resistant to change. Very resistant. It seems like it’s just a basic part of human nature.

Unfortunately, in the case of supply chains, desperately trying to hold on to antiquated practices like relying solely on spreadsheets and spending countless hours attempting to build the perfect plan are doing more harm than good. In fact, they could be contributing factors in why a supply chain isn’t yielding positive results when it comes to key performance indicators (KPIs).

Innovation and evolution are part of growth. That’s a concept we firmly believe in here at Kinaxis and has been one of the driving factors behind our RapidResponse® solution. Since this isn’t a sales pitch, I won’t go into details about how we’re challenging the norm when it comes to traditional supply chain management practices. Suffice to say, it’s pretty mind blowing how game changing it has been for our customers (you can learn more here).

But since it’s human nature to resist change, how then do you convince the decision makers at a company it’s time to try something new? Simple. You show them they can fly!

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