Posts categorized as 'Miscellanea'

Do your supply chain challenges have you feeling a little snowed under?

AndrewDunbar

A snowed in car represents challenges weather can create for supply chainsThe first day of spring is less than a week away but the Canadian winter is still wreaking havoc on local supply chains.

A friend of mine wrote off his beloved Mazda 3 last month after being rear-ended on a snowy country road outside of Ottawa. This unfortunate event kick-started an urgent need for a replacement vehicle that would fit his growing family and replace the car he’d loved for longer than he’d even known his three children. His wife, demonstrating both her love and a generous dose of pity for her grief-stricken husband, agreed to let him upgrade to a brand new Audi Q3. “Don’t worry my friend, the car of your dreams will be here soon. It’s already on a ship to Halifax!” assured the sales rep.

Now five weeks late, my friend’s wife is still driving him to work and her pity has all but evaporated. What went wrong you ask? It’s hard to believe, but the ‘car of his dreams’ is currently frozen to the ground at CN Rail’s Eastern Passage Autoport.

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How to Turn Your Supply Chain into an Innovation Engine | Guest Post from Erwin Hermans

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

erwin hermans celestica  Is There a Third Option for Supply Chain Management Executives Looking to Revamp their SCM Operations? Our partner Celestica recently published the following article, ‘How to Turn Your Supply Chain into an Innovation Engine’. The author, Erwin Hermans, vice president of supply chain services, describes the areas to consider when turning your supply chain into an innovation engine:

  • An Enabler for New Business Models
  • Finding the Real Cost of the Supply Chain and Optimizing
  • Tune the Supply Chain to the Demand
  • Analytics is the Answer
  • How to Take an Idea into Practice

So, how do you turn your supply chain into an innovation engine? Let’s find out.

Highest quality. Lowest cost. On-time delivery. That’s how companies typically view an effective supply chain.

But what if that thinking was replaced with a new vision of supply chain? What if business leaders start to view it as an engine for growth and innovation, a differentiator, and an enabler of product realization and marketing strategies?

Today’s modern supply chains are more than just a back-end conduit to deliver products on time. An organization’s supply chain can deliver value that goes well beyond cost, quality and efficiency.

Let’s look at how the old way of thinking can change.

An Enabler for New Business Models

To look at how the supply chain can be an enabler, business leaders need to shift away from looking at it as a back-end operations function and instead, as a front-end enabler.

Companies like Apple and Amazon have built their businesses by thinking differently. Apple has cornered the market in its supply chain to gain an edge in volume and scale, while Amazon has made supply chain its core business. Apple leverages its scale to lock up supply of key components, thereby shutting out its competitors and shaping demand by constraining supply.

Let’s look at another example, one from the painting industry, where constraints in the supply chain forced different thinking.

In the past, stores had to supply a wide variety of paint colors and finishes based on consumer demand estimates, building inventory and tying up working capital. Today, stores are able to mix and create paint colors on the spot, allowing them to easily respond to changing consumer demands.

The innovation which allows this instant paint mixing to occur is enabled by a supply chain working together with the product management and marketing teams toward a unified goal, reducing the theoretical lead time of paint from weeks to minutes.

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Will that be automatic or semi-automatic to manage your supply chain?

ChristopherHatcher

semi automatic software blog chris hatcherYears ago when I was in the army, one of the most memorable days of my mostly forgettable BASIC training experience was flipping the switch to automatic. Yes, we’re talking about the M16 rifle standard issue weapon for soldiers. We were trained on this weapon out at the firing range where we learned to hold the weapon steady, breath calmly, and ignore the clamor of dozens of shots ringing out through the earplugs nestled in our ears.

It was cold out in Missouri in the middle of winter, but it was a bit of a thrill to do what I’d done as a kid with toy guns. This was the real thing. Well, sort of the real thing in the sense that the weapon and bullets were real, everyone was dressed in camouflage fatigues with serious looks on their faces, but the targets that popped up anywhere from 50 to 300 meters away were just some special fabric that fell over if a bullet whistled through it.

What we learned was that the cowboys shooting from their hips and hitting their targets was a fantasy of Hollywood. Hitting the targets required patience, focus, and a bit of luck. Like most training in the Army, the thought was that if you do it long enough it would become ingrained in your psyche and muscle response. As it turned out, after months of training out at the firing range I qualified as a Marksman, but that was not the big thrill. The big day was actually at night when we were allowed for the first time in months to flip the little switch on the M16 to automatic. Up until that night, each shot was aimed, the trigger squeezed and the result was immediately apparent.

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

CJWehlage
  • by CJ Wehlage
  • Published

2015 New Years Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry2015 will be my 25th year in the supply chain industry, mostly as a practitioner. I’ve had the benefit of stepping away from the grind for 2 years, spending time at AMR Research, where I visited with many companies and learned about their supply chain practices. As well, these past 2 years at Kinaxis have brought great insight on the operational challenges of supply chain leaders.

Which brings me to today… I was planning out my 2015 supply chain conference schedule, and noticed the conference themes: Digital, Green, Internet of Things and Social. These are what I call “Cool Theme” topics. But after my 25 industry years, I find that the fundamentals of revenue, profitability and service are the still most important themes. It feels like we’ve drifted away from the fundamental supply chain strategies. So, I decided that 2015 needs to be a re-focus on the hard core fundamentals of supply chain success. And change in the New Year begins with resolutions…

 

My 2015 Resolutions for the Supply Chain Industry

Resolution #1 – Stop using the term VISIBILITY

People say that information is power. I beg to differ. I say, an informed decision is power. The visibility term has been over used. I’ve even heard some say that getting visibility to your supply chain is 80% of the challenge. They must not have run a supply chain. I see many supply chain leaders that have visibility, some in excel and some in automated tools. The ones that don’t have visibility can easily call the supplier and get it. Getting visibility isn’t the challenge. The real 80% challenge is “what are you doing with the visibility?”

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Best of the Best Supply Chain Blog Posts of 2014

MelissaClow
  • by Melissa Clow
  • Published

best of the best supply chain blog-posts

As you take time over the holidays to sit back and reflect, here are the top ten excerpts from the best of the best posts on the Kinaxis supply chain blog. They touch on hot topics and industry trends discussed over the past year, so grab a coffee (or a spiked eggnog) and enjoy! We look forward to continuing the conversation in the New Year.

#1 “And much as we have had to rethink the first applications that were simply a digitization of a paper-based paradigm, we need to rethink how we structure our organizations and get work done to get maximum utility out of the digital world.”
FROM SMAC in the Middle of Supply Chain Change

#2 “Visibility is losing its clarity.”
FROM Visibility is Losing Its Clarity

#3 “The ‘ah-ha’ moments are the catalyst to innovation.”
FROM “Storage Wars” Rescues Supply Chain Ignominy

#4 “Many companies have several instances of ERP, each deployed differently. Despite many moving to a single instance of ERP there are still many ‘shadow IT’ required to do what the core ERP solution cannot. And then there is the planning layer, which is even less harmonized or standardized. Most business people consider this an IT problem. Guess what? It isn’t going away until the business makes solving the data issue their issue.”
FROM Gartner Supply Chain Leaders Conference – What Will Be Hot?

#5 “Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. Your company has implemented an S&OP process. At first it showed some promise, but now it has turned into a blamefest, attended – if at all – by lower level representatives that aren’t empowered to make decisions.”
FROM Poorly Executed or Non-Existent S&OP Is Costing Your Supply Chain Money

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Kinexions, a tale of growth and potential

TrevorMiles
  • by Trevor Miles
  • Published

building-kinexions-trevor-milesI’m on my way back from Tokyo where I attended our user conference, Kinexions Tokyo, in Japan, just 5 weeks after our Kinexions North America user conference in San Diego. As a side note, I had a stunning view of Mount Fuji from my hotel room on two of the three days I was in Tokyo. I have become so lazy about carrying a camera with me that I could only capture this photo with my smart phone.

If attendance at both conferences is anything to go by, 2015 is going to be even busier than 2014. In both cases we had about 50% increase in attendance over last year. In both cases we had the largest contingent of prospects ever and the largest contingent of partners ever. We also had the most customer presentations with 11 case studies in total including:

• ASICS
• Avaya
• Buffalo Technologies
• Dow AgroSciences
• Keysights
• Schneider Electric
• TE Connectivity
• Qualcomm

Kinexions `14 graphic recording

Kinexions graphic recording

The diagram above captures the essential elements of the San Diego conference in which you can see how important the customer case stories were to the overall conference. What struck me most is the diversity of the industries and the breadth of supply chain maturity represented. Before I comment further on specific stories, let me state that while the destination reached is important, it is the distance traveled that most impresses me. In other words, while I love the stories of the customers that are doing amazing stuff, it is the one that changed the most that really impresses me. For example, you only have to look at the Gartner Top 25 to see that Apple has been number one for the past 5 or so years. Yawn. I’m always looking for the companies that have started low in the ranking and are making rapid progress up the ranking. Change is hard, but change is necessary. It is easy to follow, and a lot more difficult to lead. Or, as Angel Mendez of Cisco likes to say, yesterday’s stretch goal is today’s benchmark.

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Kinaxis Receives Two Awards at the Best Ottawa Business Awards Gala: Deal of the Year and Outstanding Company

JohnSicard
  • by John Sicard
  • Published

Kinaxis Best Ottawa Business Awards Company of the YearLast night I had the pleasure of attending the Best Ottawa Business Awards in Ottawa, Canada where Kinaxis was recognized for Deal of the Year and as an Outstanding Company.

As an Ottawa headquartered company and a business that has been very successful over the past few years, we are delighted to be a part of the business growth and success of Ottawa.

I believe our success over the years can be contributed to our strong value proposition to our customers, as supply chain becomes increasingly important to large companies.

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Recap of Ventana Research’s Technology Innovation Awards: Understanding the New Generation of Business Planning

CJWehlage
  • by CJ Wehlage
  • Published

Ventana-Research-AwardI recently attended the Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards that were held in October. The the awards distinguish pioneers that have developed clear visionary and transformative technology.

On behalf of Kinaxis, I was proud to accept the Technology Innovation award in the category of Operational Leadership. In our recent news release on the win, Trevor Miles said the following:

“The operational core of a business is its supply chain. With Kinaxis, our customers are achieving true performance breakthroughs by being able to more effectively and efficiently orchestrate efforts across supply chain functions, departments and company lines,” said Trevor Miles, Vice President of Thought Leadership, Kinaxis. “We are very proud to receive the award from Ventana given their acute focus on the business value provided by technology systems. Winning the Operational Leadership award is a respected validation of our product and technology approach.”

Did you miss the summit? Good news… I’d like to share my presentation slides from the panel discussion as well as the link for your complimentary access to Ventana Research’s recorded sessions and presentations.

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