Archive for the ‘Miscellanea’ Category

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


Throw back Thursday: Applied Materials case study, ‘Agility enables Customer Satisfaction and Growth’ at Kinexions

Published August 7th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Applied Materials case study, 'Agility enables Customer Satisfaction and Growth' at Kinexions

Here at Kinaxis, we are starting to gear up for this year’s Kinexions (our annual training & user conference). As we get closer, I’m remembering all the great interviews we were able to do with customers and analysts. So, on this ‘Throw Back Thursday’, I would like to share Applied Materials case study, ‘Agility enables Customer Satisfaction and Growth’ at Kinexions.

In this main stage presentation, Kinaxis customer Jim White, vice president of central operations with Applied Materials presents their story.

The semiconductor market is highly volatile, yet cyclical as well, in step with larger economic trends. Complicating matters is the highly configurable nature of nearly everything that Applied Materials makes. It’s a low-volume, high-mix world – making accurate demand planning extremely difficult. Watch to learn how ‘Agility enables Customer Satisfaction and Growth‘ at Applied Materials.

 

Posted in Miscellanea


Throw back Thursday: Should we forget about the supply chain forecast?

Published July 31st, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments
CJ Wehlage forget about the forcast

Here at Kinaxis, we are starting to gear up for this year’s Kinexions (our annual training & user conference). As we get closer, I’m remembering all the great interviews we were able to do with customers and analysts. So, on this ‘Throw Back Thursday’, I would like to share ‘Should We Forget About the Supply Chain Forecast?’

In this round table discussion, Kinaxis customer Jim White, vice president of central operations with Applied Materials; Jake Barr, chief executive officer of Blue World Supply Chain Consulting; and CJ. Wehlage, vice president of high tech solutions with Kinaxis discuss: Is the forecast really dead? Should companies instead shift their focus to acquiring the ability to respond quickly to whatever happens in markets? Listen to what they have to say!

Posted in Miscellanea


How do the Best-in-Class Respond to Supply Chain Disruptions?

Published July 22nd, 2014 by Melissa Clow 2 Comments

“Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCO) know that there is no such thing as a perfect plan and disruptions will always occur.”

This is the reality that every member of a supply chain team lives with every day. And while sometimes, a disruption might be small and easily offset, some disruptions are more significant and have a greater impact on the supply chain before they can be resolved. Aberdeen Group’s recent research report – The Chief Supply Chain Officer’s View of Supply Chain Disruptions: How the Best-in-Class Respond – takes a look at this reality and what leading companies are doing to prepare for these unexpected events.

So how does Aberdeen define Best-in-Class? Based on a survey of 151 end-user organizations, Aberdeen used the following metrics to identify the top 20%:

  • 97% average customer service level (84% for All Others)
  • 30 day average cash conversion cycle (59 days for All Others)
  • 12% total logistics cost as a percentage of revenue (25% for All Others)
  • 85% average forecast accuracy at the product family level

Regardless of where an organization falls on Aberdeen’s scale of maturity, none are immune to the disruptive forces impacting supply chains around the world. How an organization prepares for and addresses disruptions when they do occur is what sets the Best-in-Class apart. Figure 1 shows not only the top disruptions for the 12 months preceding Aberdeen’s research, but also shows how concerned leading organizations are for each type of disruptive event.

supply chain disruptions research

So what are Best-in-Class organizations doing to mitigate or plan for these disruptions? Aberdeen’s research highlights an “attitude of continuous improvement to constantly advance” as a distinguishing characteristic of those organizations identified as Best-in-Class. Two of the primary areas these organizations have targeted for improvement focus are supply chain visibility and supply chain collaboration. In fact, these Best-in-Class orgs are 50% more likely to focus on supply chain visibility and 37% more likely to focus on supplier collaboration than other organizations.

supply chain disruptions research aberdeen

If you’re interested in digging into this research further, a full copy of the research report is available for download here.

 

Posted in Miscellanea


Thow Back Thursday: First Solar case study ‘First Solar & Kinaxis Killed the Excel Star’. A video worth remembering

Published July 17th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

first solar case study kinaxis killed the excel star at kinexions

Here at Kinaxis, we are starting to gear up for this year’s Kinexions (our annual training & user conference). I quickly began to reminisce about our fun yet educational customer videos from past conferences. So, on this ‘Throw Back Thursday’, I would like to share Shellie Molina’s First Solar case study ‘First Solar & Kinaxis Killed the Excel Star”.

In this presentation, you will learn how First Solar‘s global supply chain has leveraged change management and rapid problem solving to reduce their dependency on multiple spreadsheets by building a single integrated system for manufacturing Sales and Operations Planning and construction project management. In addition to analyzing the impact of changes through what-if analysis, scenario building, dashboards and alerts, Integrated Project Management has allowed First Solar to implement a closed-loop MRP with their ERP system effectively driving activities, such as creating and rescheduling POs, from one ‘source’ schedule.

First Solar & Kinaxis killed the Excel star: they can’t rewind, they’ve come too far!

 

Presenter: Shellie Molina, vice president, global supply chain, First Solar
Over 25 years of supply chain, customer service and warranty management experience, Shellie has a diverse industry background in contract manufacturing, aerospace including avionics, mechanical, repair and overhaul, global distribution, global contact centers and warranty management. She currently leads First Solar’s Global Supply Chain which includes sales operations and planning, customer service/order management, sourcing, fulfillment, logistics, and warranty support.

Mark Zeni, director, AE fulfillment, First Solar
Shannon Rawlins, director, sales and operations planning, First Solar

Posted in Miscellanea


Throwback Thursday: Competing against time. A concept worth re-exploring.

Published July 3rd, 2014 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

As the idea of “Throwback Thursday” grows in popularity, we couldn’t help ourselves but to jump on board!  Despite the temptation, we’ll refrain from posting pictures of women with teased hair and big shoulder pads; men with their bell bottoms; or adorable baby pictures from a time in our lives when we were all cute.  Instead, on this quiet holiday week, we’ll keep it professional and look back on a past blog post that covers a classic concept that remains as relevant as ever. This post certainly does not have to compete against time. Enjoy!

Originally published January 12, 2012 by Trevor Miles (@milesahead)

Every now and then a concept comes along that resonates very strongly with what I perceive to be key issues in operations in general, and supply chain in particular.  One of these is the seminal work by George Stalk of Boston Consulting Group titled Time—The Next Source of Competitive Advantage published in July 1988 in which he states that:

Today, time is on the cutting edge. The ways leading companies manage time – in production, in new product development and introduction, in sales and distribution – represent the most powerful new sources of competitive advantage.

Unfortunately Stalk decided to name the book he co-wrote on the topic as “Competing Against Time” which isn’t the point, although the subheading “How time-based competition is reshaping global markets” rescues the concept, which is really about competing against the competition with time.  It is all about being more agile, more responsive, to real conditions. Stalk sets out some Rules of Response very clearly:

  • The .05 to 5 Rule
    Across a spectrum of businesses, the amount of time required to execute a service or to order, manufacture, and deliver a product is far less than the actual time the service or product spends in the value-delivery system
  • The 3/3 Rule
    During the 95 to 99.95 percent of the time a product or service is not receiving value while in the value-delivery system, the product or service is waiting. (Stalk breaks this out into 3 components of waiting, hence the 3/3.) The amount of time lost is affected very little by working harder. But working smarter has tremendous impact.
  • The 1/4-2-20 Rule
    For every quartering of the time interval required to provide a service or product, the productivity of labor and of working capital can often double. These productivity gains result in as much as a 20 percent reduction in costs.
  • The 3 x 2 Rule
    Companies that cut the time consumption of their value-delivery systems turn the basis of competitive advantage to their favor. Growth rates of three times the industry average with two times the industry profit margins are exciting – and achievable – targets.

All too often though people get the impression that these rules are only applicable in the short term.  They are not.  The issue of responsiveness in operations is driven by the latency of the information and the time it takes to respond. In other words, the time to detect that something of significance has happened and the time to respond to the change, or correct the discrepancy. Reducing either of these will have a dramatic effect on a company’s competitiveness, whether this is a short term detection of demand change that requires rescheduling manufacturing or a longer term change in technology that requires the purchase of new manufacturing capacity.

Terms such as VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity – or PDCA – Plan, Do, Check, Act – don’t excite me because they are focused on removing volatility and complexity, usually promoting ‘stability’ at the cost of responsiveness, whereas Stalk’s concepts are all about being responsive, being agile. To me this is the correct emphasis. While of course there is an overlap in that a decision or manufacturing process that is overly complex will result in longer lead times, it is the overall sentiment of complexity and volatility being ‘bad’ expressed in VUCA and PDCA with which I disagree.  As I wrote in a previous blog from the 2011 Gartner Supply Chain Conference:

I say embrace VUCA. Accept that it is the new norm. Resistance is futile.

Similarly, Deming’s idea of PDCA is all about process improvement, it is about ‘managing’ complexity and ensuring ‘consistent’ processes. Again, I am not saying that these are bad approaches in and of themselves, only that they are insufficient.  Knowing that you are performing a process consistently doesn’t mean that you are performing it well.  It is like assuming that if you throw everyone in jail who has committed a crime that we will live in a crime-free environment.

Far more interesting to me is the OODA – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act – idea from the US military strategist Colonel John Boyd.

The steps of the OODA loop are:

  • Observation: the collection of data by means of the senses
  • Orientation: the analysis and synthesis of data to form one’s current mental perspective
  • Decision: the determination of a course of action based on one’s current mental perspective
  • Action: the physical playing-out of decisions

While at first this may seem to be very similar to VUCA and PDCA, the key point to the OODA loop is that:

 

Time is the dominant parameter. The pilot who goes through the OODA cycle in the shortest time prevails because his opponent is caught responding to situations that have already changed.

 

In other words reduce the time to detect and the time to respond.  To put this into supply chain speak, it is all about:

  • Visibility – having access to the state of the supply chain across a wide span of operations, especially in outsourced environments, in order to detect misalignments
  • Alerting – knowing or calculating the impact of misalignments on key financial and operational metrics in order to understand the severity of the issue
  • “What-If” – working with others in the supply chain to come up with alternatives and evaluating these quickly
  • Collaboration – to reach a consensus on the best course of action that reduces risk while increasing performance

Another absolutely key concept expressed by Boyd is the need for ‘human judgment’, for the system to act as an organic whole to adapt to situations as they unfold at the location at which they unfold.  Having long chains of command that force front line people to get approval from HQ is antithical to this idea:

… large organizations such as corporations, governments, or militaries possessed a hierarchy of OODA loops at tactical, grand-tactical (operational art), and strategic levels. In addition, he stated that most effective organizations have a highly decentralized chain of command that utilizes objective-driven orders, or directive control, rather than method-driven orders in order to harness the mental capacity and creative abilities of individual commanders at each level. In 2003, this power to the edge concept took the form of a DOD publication “Power to the Edge: Command…Control…in the Information Age” by Dr. David S. Alberts and Richard E. Hayes. Boyd argued that such a structure creates a flexible “organic whole” that is quicker to adapt to rapidly changing situations. He noted, however, that any such highly decentralized organization would necessitate a high degree of mutual trust and a common outlook that came from prior shared experiences. Headquarters needs to know that the troops are perfectly capable of forming a good plan for taking a specific objective, and the troops need to know that Headquarters does not direct them to achieve certain objectives without good reason.

These are key concepts we at Kinaxis have been promoting for a long time.  Every second that we waste in making a decision is a minute less that we have available to actually respond to situation.  In sports, reaction time is a well recognized competitive advantage.  Reaction time is coupled with the ability to ‘read the game’ and, for example, to call audibles at the line of scrimmage in American football. (I have always felt more comfortable with ‘European’ sports, such as soccer, that are a lot less structured and orchestrated precisely because the players have a lot more decision making power.) So in the end perhaps Stalk’s title “Competing Against Time” was correct, but this is a process efficiency perspective.  I still prefer the OODA concept of competing with time because this is about process effectiveness.

Posted in Best practices, Miscellanea, Supply chain management, Supply chain risk management