Archive for the ‘Miscellanea’ Category

Kinexions, a tale of growth and potential

Published December 9th, 2014 by Trevor Miles @milesahead 0 Comments

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.

And our customers are leading the charge in the transformation of supply chain, which is captured nicely in our tagline of ‘Know Sooner, Act Faster’. At the conference, that transformation was captured best by a pharmaceutical manufacturer and Schneider Electric. Their industries couldn’t be more different and their product portfolios and supply chain structures couldn’t be more different. But both were faced with deteriorating market positions a few years back that have necessitated huge transformations in their organizations, with supply chain being at the heart of the change. The pharmaceutical manufacturer was facing a massive patent cliff with many small molecule blockbuster drugs reaching patent expiry and have now made a radical shift into biotechnology. Schneider Electric has grown by acquisition and was faced with shrinking margins because of inefficient and poorly thought out supply chain operating models. Both companies needed to do something radically different. They both chose Kinaxis as the enabler of that change. Both realized that they could not transform their organizations by following the 1990’s supply chain mental model of functional optimization. You can’t cross the Grand Canyon in 10 min by walking. You need a helicopter for that.

Schneider said it best: The speed at which information flows across the supply chain is more important than what gets done with the information at each node in the chain. Now, to be honest, in my opinion they are expressing the area in which they had to make the largest mental leap, the greatest transformation. I would reword Schneider’s statement to state that the speed of information flow is just as important as what gets done in each functional box. In fact, I am not much of a fan of simple visibility solutions. What really matters is the speed of decision making, and that takes more than transmitting information quickly or being able to calculate quickly. You need both. This is the ‘Know Sooner’ part. And you need a third element too. You need to be able to bring people together as a team to make trade-off decisions quickly, as well as capture all the assumptions and provide a full audit trail of the decisions made. This is the ‘Act Faster’ part.

To be honest, our customers typically find it easier to describe the barriers to change and the inefficiencies of their previous operating models, than the new capabilities adopted. And this is true for most companies, and is where Avaya comes into the story, and to some extent Buffalo Technologies. Avaya have turned the value pyramid on its ear to focus on the real value generation of prediction/action/innovation. Dick Ling, the ‘father’ of S&OP said it best: It is far better to be approximately right than precisely wrong. Your data is never going to be 100% correct. You processes are always going to be in flux. Move on. Focus on how people will use the information you have to make a decision that will drive the company forward. At some point speed is quality. Plan. Monitor. Respond. In days, not months. By focusing on speed of decision, and quality of decision, Avaya has posted some truly amazing financial and operational gains. Obviously it is up to Avaya to share these gains publicly.

Avaya Kinaxis supply chain conference slides

Josh Greenbaum wrote a great summary of his impressions of the Kinexions conference in San Diego, specifically the unusually high number of women in attendance. Josh makes the point that it is perhaps our focus on supplier collaboration that draws more women to Kinaxis. If that is true, it is a most welcomed side benefit. To be honest I do think women are better at driving consensus and making compromises through trade-offs. Whether this is true because of nature or nurture is far beyond the scope of this discussion. What is important is the realization that the speed and manner in which people reach agreement across competing objectives is really important, and that it is a consensual process. If women are better at this, then all the more reason to bring them into senior leadership roles to drive change. We need the change. And we need more women in supply chain.

In wrapping up, let me give a quick shout-out to Watanabe-san of Abeam Consulting who presented the keynote in Japan. I ran a panel in San Diego discussing the technology innovations that will drive change in supply chain management. This was theme of Watanabe-san’s presentation, but he did a much better job of giving concrete examples of how these technology changes have already made changes to supply chains. My only (admittedly selfish) wish was that he has used English slides. I could only follow along on the simultaneous translation. For example, he used IKEA as an example of crowd sourcing in supply chain. After all, they are relying on the ‘crowd’ to do the final assembly, which has a radical impact on their cost to manufacture, distribute, and sell their products. What I found interesting was the manner in which he made new terms familiar and less alien, and therefore easier to accept and adopt.

So, all in all, a really positive set of conferences providing a great launch pad for 2015.

 

Posted in General News, Milesahead, Miscellanea, Pharma and life sciences supply chain management, Supply Chain Events


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

Published November 21st, 2014 by John Sicard 2 Comments

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.

Our success can be seen in the 20% increase in head count over the last year – And we are continuing to grow! If you’re interested in joining our team, find out more about Kinaxis career opportunities at the upcoming career fair on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 from 4:00–7:00pm at the Holiday Inn & Suites Kanata.

To view the other award recipients, please see bestottawabusiness.com.

Recognition in this category adds to the growing list of accolades Kinaxis has received: 2014 Canada’s Best Small & Medium Employers,  2014 National Capital Region Top Employer, 2013 Canada’s Best Employers for Young People, 2014 Supply Chain Pros to Know, 2014 100 Great Supply Chain Projects and 2013 Great Supply Chain Partner.

Posted in Awards, General News, Miscellanea


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

Published November 14th, 2014 by CJ Wehlage 0 Comments

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.

Understanding the New Generation of Business Planning
Folia Grace, VP Product Marketing – Anaplan
Paul Giardina, VP Marketing – Tagetik
Moderator: Robert Kugel, CFA, SVP & Research Director

Planning may be the task that most business executives dread. It’s hardly an engaging process and often seems not to be aligned with the goals and activities that seem to matter the most. Worse, the technology used to perform planning doesn’t work very well. But planning is important; organizations need to know across every line of business what is being planned and the associated costs, headcount needed and potential outcomes. Thankfully, planning is in the process of changing, with a new generation of technologies emerging that reside in the cloud and rely on collaboration and mobile technology to make planning processes easier and more engaging. While the fundamentals remain largely the same, the need for more flexible modeling and analytics has resulted in tools that are more sophisticated and easier to use. All of which allows for more time to plan and collaborate among management and managers on reaching their full potential. This new generation of business planning software makes it possible for organizations to plan effectively for what they need but most importantly make sure that they gain value from the process and technology used.

The presentations and panel will examine the changes in planning applications markets and the ways in which systems are becoming simpler and more aligned to the business processes that organizations depend on the most.

 

 

Posted in Miscellanea


Supply Chain Professionals Speak on Delivering Better Business Outcomes with Kinaxis

Published November 13th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 1 Comment

I wanted to share this video compilation of several supply chain professionals that we have interviewed over the years. In the following clip these supply chain practitioners share their opinions on:

  • What is the primary change we are seeing in today’s supply chain?
  • What are key supply chain challenges organizations are faced with today?
  • How does Kinaxis compliment and extend ERP investments?
  • How is Kinaxis helping improve supply chain processes and deliver better business outcomes?
  • How is Kinaxis unique in helping solve complex supply chain challenges?

Hear customers from Qualcomm, TriQuint, Flextronics and Jabil speak on how RapidResponse has transformed their supply chain.

Posted in Best practices, Control tower, Demand management, General News, Inventory management, Miscellanea, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Integrating Planning & Execution: Supply Chain’s Holy Grail with Mark Cosway

Published October 16th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

As we countdown the days until Kinexions (18 days!). I’m remembering our customer and partner videos. Today I’d like to share the interview on ‘Integrating Planning & Execution: Supply Chain’s Holy Grail’ from Kinexions.

In this video hear, Mark Cosway, GT Nexus, speak about how integrating supply chain planning and execution is vital to today’s businesses, but most companies have trouble overcoming a basic problem: 80 percent of the data they need to achieve this integration lies outside their four walls. Mark Cosway, vice president of industry sales at GT Nexus, explains a new approach to solving this problem.

To view the video in its entirety, watch it below or here.

 

Posted in Miscellanea


Purposeful Collaboration: What It Could Mean for Your S&OP Process

Published September 22nd, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Purposeful Collaboration What It Could Mean for Your S and OP Process

Just a quick post to let our readers know of an upcoming webcast “Purposeful Collaboration:  What It Could Mean for Your S&OP Process” on Wednesday, October 8th at 2:00pm ET.

Even with heavy investments in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), many organizations are not achieving material or sustainable breakthroughs. This is often because they are executing a sequential, disjointed process with contributors operating in their narrow functional box.

In this webcast, learn how purposeful collaboration can connect content, conversations, colleagues and communities to drive improved business outcomes.

Topics covered:

  • Harnessing and capitalizing on “working social” in a B2B environment
  • Using the key tenets of purposeful collaboration to enable effective decision-making, resolution and consensus building
  • Capabilities required to facilitate purposeful collaboration in S&OP
  • Changing the mindset away from the individual supply chain / S&OP functions to connecting functions and most importantly, people

register now

 

 

Speakers:

Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
With almost two decades of experience in the software industry, Alan helps organizations understand how to develop, purchase and implement collaboration solutions. Rather than evangelizing how social software can change the way people work, he instead focuses on how organizations can improve their existing business processes by providing access to the colleagues, content and communities that can help people get their work done more effectively.

Trevor Miles, VP Thought Leadership, Kinaxis
As vice president of Thought Leadership, Trevor serves as an expert source for Kinaxis customers, prospects, industry analysts and journalists. Known throughout the supply chain field, he has published many articles, presented at various industry events, and is a contributor to the Kinaxis 21st Century Supply Chain blog.

 

Posted in General News, Milesahead, Miscellanea, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain management


We Proudly Accept the ALS #IceBucketChallenge: 10 Things You Should Know About ALS

Published August 20th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Kinaxis ice bucket challenge

If you walked the halls of Kinaxis headquarters today at lunch you may have noticed plenty of folks that were dripping wet. Here’s why.

After being nominated for the ALS ice bucket challenge, we proudly accepted! We are happy to bring awareness to ALS and the fight against it. We are also going to make a $1000.00 donation to the ALS Association. Next, we would like to nominate our partner GT Nexus, our customers First Solar as well as Flexera Software to this challenge, which is to be completed in the next 24 hours. Check out our video!

The Ice Bucket Challenge is awesome because it is raising money for ALS. Here’s 10 things you should know about this diease:

  1. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is a rapidly progressive neuromuscular disease:
  • Motor nerve cells die
  • Voluntary muscles degenerate
  • The senses are unimpaired and the intellect may remain unaffected[1]
  1. Every 90 minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with ALS
  2. The incidence rate is nearly identical for ALS and MS (2 per 100,000)
  3. More than a dozen different familial genetic mutations have been linked to onset, however, the vast majority of ALS is considered sporadic with the exact cause(s) unknown
  4. ALS is also considered by most to be a heterogeneous disorder, with site of onset, progression rates and overall survival varying dramatically from patient to patient
  5. Because the process is one only of exclusion, it can take a year or more to get a confirmed diagnosis of ALS on average
  6. While the reason is unknown, military vets are twice as likely to develop ALS
  7. There are more than 150 potential treatments being looked at for ALS in the US today
  8. ALS is NOT just an old person’s disease, many people in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed
  9. The ALS clinical network is incredibly supportive for trial initiation, enrollment and retention[2]

 


[1]FACTS ABOUT ALS AND THE ALS SOCIETY OF CANADA”, ALS Canada, www.als.ca

[2] Steve Perrin, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and CSO, ALS Therapy Development Institute, “ALS Awareness Month: 10 Things You Should Know About ALS”, Biotechnology Industry Organization

Posted in General News, Miscellanea


Gaining full visibility of supply and demand: How Agilent Technologies Measures Up

Published August 14th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Gaining full visibility of supply and demand - How Agilent Technologies Measures Up

Here at Kinaxis, we are starting to gear up for this year’s Kinexions (our annual training & user conference). A few weeks ago I began to reminisce about our fun customer videos from past conferences and I decided to create a series of blog posts to share. So, on this ‘Throw Back Thursday’, I would like to share this video of Ethan Hunt, “Gaining full visibility of supply and demand: How Agilent Technologies Measures Up”.

Ethan Hunt, supply chain consultant with Agilent Technologies, talks about the challenges his company faces in gaining full visibility of supply and demand, and in dealing with increasing supply-chain volatility.

Agilent is a leading test and measurement equipment company for high-tech, life sciences and chemical analysis. On the supply-chain side, the company’s primary goals are on-time customer delivery and product quality, the latter of which is “a huge differentiator for us,” says Hunt. “Inside our supply chain, we’re looking for efficiency [and] continual improvement.”

Agilent runs an unconstrained supply plan, meaning that customers can unexpectedly order product at just about any time. “It’s a challenge that we’re willing to take in,” says Hunt. Bills of material can be complex, based on a configure-to-order process. Validating them requires something more sophisticated than traditional spreadsheets. In addition, the company needs to be able to forecast demand for parts well into the future — in some cases as long as 10 years.

Formerly a part of Hewlett-Packard Co., the now-independent Agilent has had to cope with a number of homegrown legacy systems. Over the last five years, it has refined the IT infrastructure to streamline the movement of key data from contract manufacturers to other parts of the supply chain. It is working with Kinaxis and can now run simulations before choosing the optimal scenario for satisfying demand.

The company’s biggest challenge lies in the handling of new-product introductions. “We are having to bring our products to market faster than ever before,” says Hunt.

If you don’t see the video below, view it here.

And if you’re interested in other Agilent stories, check out our two case studies:
Agilent Control Tower Case Study (by Supply Chain Quarterly)
Comprehensive Supply Chain Visibility Case Study

Posted in Miscellanea