Archive for the ‘Supply chain comedy’ Category

The Scariest Supply Chain Stories: Happy Halloween!

Published October 31st, 2013 by Melissa Clow 1 Comment

We are hot off the heels of Kinexions, our annual training and user conference where we had the opportunity to ask supply chain professionals to describe their scariest supply chain situation.

In collaboration with SupplyChainBrain, we put together the following video. Here’s what customers from Celestica, First Solar and Kennametal told us…

Happy Halloween 21st Century Supply Chain readers!

Viewer discretion: Watching this video may keep you up at night.

What’s your scariest supply chain story? Tell us what keeps you up at night!

 

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Posted in General News, Supply chain comedy


Just When You Thought School Was Out, Here’s Another Supply Chain Lesson

Published July 22nd, 2013 by Bill DuBois 2 Comments

supply chain lessons graduating studentsAs a supply chain professional attending a recent graduation ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of the state of our industry as I listened to the commencement speaker challenge the graduating seniors to pursue lifelong learning, challenge the status quo, and never stop searching for the “paradigm shift”.

Working in a supply chain environment creates opportunities to help our organizations grow and adapt to massive changes in the global economy. To really have a continuing positive impact, we need to acknowledge the increased complexity and velocity of today’s business climate.

Despite the fact that  globalization and other market trends have redefined the way businesses operate, the conventional structure of the supply chain has not strayed far from its origins. To many in the field, it still means:

  • we plan and then execute;
  • organizations and their respective processes operate as silos of people, data and applications;
  • collaboration and coordination is limited in scope and speed as a result of the disconnected nature of operations;
  • And, planning processes, like S&OP, are largely sequential and therefore can take weeks or months to complete.

The status quo might have been good enough if the world around us had not changed since those early days of supply chain, with its vertically integrated, build-to-stock model. The biggest change is most likely the amount of volatility and complexity one must deal with, as a result of such things as shortened product life cycles, outsourcing, and unexpected supply chain disruptions, such as natural disasters. This list could go on. I would recommend a number of my colleague, Trevor Miles’ posts on the 21st century supply chain blog including “Embrace Complexity – Revisited” and  “Visibility, Agility and Alignment“.  Trevor touches on the organizational and technology “status quo” and the results of managing the supply chain with an eye toward change.

I called out the latter post from Trevor because it deals with the loss of visibility and coordination across global operations. That brings us to our esteemed commencement speaker’s suggestion to look for the paradigm shift. I think the paradigm shift for the supply chain is that the ‘plan and then execute’ model is killing business, and has given rise to a different approach.

Let’s face it, while we’re in the midst of planning (or executing), stuff happens. Like the football coach who throws his game plan out after the first whistle blows, we tend to start dealing with a variance to the plan as soon as that plan is approved. Instead of “plan and execute” the paradigm has shifted to “plan, monitor and respond”, with the expectation that all three have equal importance and occur concurrently through a collective, integrated effort.

Planning, monitoring, and responding can’t happen in isolation or in succession. People, data and applications that make up an organizational team can no longer be segregated, even when they are spread across the globe. One group can no longer wait for another to finish their activities before they start theirs. Today, companies are competing against time.  So the paradigm shift is concurrent planning, where decision makers are able to see impact and risk across the organization instantly and work as a team to maintain the demand supply balance over both the short and long term. Importantly, this means understanding who is impacted by a change (or  the subsequent course correction) is just as important as the products, parts, resources and KPIs impacted. The new paradigm of parallel planning, monitoring, and responding must include the human collaboration element.

ERP systems are not designed or implemented in a way that provides immediate visibility to key data and the projected impact of events across roles. With a rigid ERP system, an organization can experience inferior and sluggish decision making.  The traditional options of ERP and its bolt-on modules; or standalone software applications that solve point agendas; or, alternatively, a proliferating collection of Excel spreadsheets that offer flexibility but suffer from serious limitations in reliability, scalability, and collaboration, are no longer sufficient.  The information flow latency-and therefore decision latency-in these environments is enormous. In today’s dynamic market, you must be able to evaluate situations in seconds, not hours or days. When analysis is too difficult to perform and takes too long, it simply doesn’t happen. The end result is that you struggle to get alignment of demand and supply, because agility and adaptability are nearly impossible to achieve.

Business success depends on how quickly companies adjust plans to maintain the demand and supply balance. When issues arise, as they always will, there is no time to dig for data, wait for reports to run, or perform ad hoc, informal analysis using spreadsheets. What is required is fast, accurate and comprehensive analysis. And that is what Kinaxis RapidResponse provides.

Most manufacturers we work with have standardized on an ERP system as their execution-backbone. Yet, they all face growing volatility, increasing supply chain complexity, and the realization that they have entered a new era of surprise and compromise. As a result, forward thinking organizations are now placing a high priority on enterprise-wide planning, monitoring and response coordination. Their core needs typically include increasing agility and analytical capabilities, improving operational flexibility, and investing in long term scalability of their execution platform.

Leveraging their investments in ERP, companies that adopt RapidResponse do so to:

  • gain new and agile supply chain planning and analytical capabilities not possible otherwise
  • increase flexibility to better support varying corporate, functional, and user specific needs
  • establish a platform that can scale with the organization over the long term
  • drive tangible business outcomes by both improving and accelerating planning and execution within and across supply chain functions

Hopefully the next commencement address you hear provides a bit of inspiration, no matter when you last put on a cap and gown. For both the new graduate and the veteran supply chain professional, some lessons shouldn’t go out of style: never stop learning; challenge the status quo; and look for the paradigm shift. As our supply chains continue to get more complex, this advice won’t just be a passing remark, but a key factor for long term success.

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Posted in Miscellanea, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


This Year’s ‘Top Five Things’ about Kinaxis at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference

Published May 15th, 2013 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

If you haven’t already heard, the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference  ̶  ‘The World’s Most Important Gathering of Supply Chain Leaders’  ̶   is taking place May 21-23 in Phoenix, AZ.

The theme of the conference is ‘Re-Imagine Supply Chain: Fast, Forward, Focus’ and features a fantastic line up of presenters. You can find lots of information on the conference site, but here’s what we think are the top 5 things you should know for this event!

#5 We are attending: Kinaxis will have a staffed booth at the event. Please come by booth #101 and say hi to the team!

#4 We are tweeting: We’ll be tweeting live commentary! Follow #GartnerSCC, @kinaxis or @milesahead.

#3 We are sponsoring: Kinaxis is the Premier Sponsor of the conference, and once again we are also proud to sponsor the Supply Chain Top 25 Dinner celebrating world-class supply chain achievements.

#2 We are presenting: We are hosting a Solution Provider Session in the Grand Canyon, Room 6, on Wednesday May 22nd at 3:15pm.

Gartner Supply Chain Executive ConferenceBut most of all…

#1 We are having fun: We are turning our session into a live taping of the LATE LATE SUPPLY CHAIN SHOW.  Laugh and learn with Kinaxis business consultant, Bill Dubois, as he interviews senior supply chain executives to get to the heart of their control tower initiatives in “Supply Chain Control Towers-Defining an Approach and Driving Results”.

Special guests include:

Laura Dionne, Senior Director, Worldwide Operations Planning at TriQuint

Don Gaspari, Director, Global Inventory Management at NCR

Roddy Martin, Managing Director at Accenture

C.J. Wehlage, Vice President, High Tech Solutions at Kinaxis

 

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Posted in Demand management, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


SupplyChainBrain Video Series Part 6 Power of One – Collaborative Planning and Execution across the End-to-End Supply Chain

Published March 2nd, 2013 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

In October, SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference. At our event they completed a number of video interviews with some customers, analysts, and Kinaxis executives. These videos are loaded with great information and we would like to share it with our readers.

Each week for the coming weeks, we will be highlighting a clip from SupplyChainBrain. Next up, a discussion with Procter & Gamble (now retired), Supply Chain Insights; NCR Corp. and Kinaxis.

Power of One: Collaborative Planning and Execution across the End-to-End Supply Chain

Breaking down functional silos to create transparent and responsive end-to-end supply chains has long been an intractable problem, but many companies are finding success using a Control Tower concept that gets everyone working off the same plan and focused on the same outcome. Discussing this approach, and the Kinaxis solutions that pioneered it, are: Paul Bittinger, former supply chain transformation manager, Procter & Gamble (now retired); Lora Cecere, founder and CEO, Supply Chain Insights; Don Gaspari, director, global materials and inventory, NCR Corp.; and Kirk Munroe, vice president of marketing, Kinaxis.
[Run Time (Min.): 18:21]

 

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Posted in Control tower, Demand management, Inventory management, On-demand (SaaS), Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management, Supply chain risk management


Things are getting hairy at Kinaxis!

Published November 14th, 2012 by John Westerveld 2 Comments

If you were to walk the halls of Kinaxis headquarters in Ottawa these days, you’d notice something a bit different.

It might take you a few moments, but it’s there. There seems to be a lot of guys sporting hair on their upper lip. No, we’re not living in the 70’s (we leave that to the ERP vendors). No, it’s not a weird Canadian approach to dealing with the cold. Nope, it’s Movember!

Movember is a movement that was started in Australia with a group of friends – you can watch a TED talk with one of the founders here.

The idea behind Movmeber is best described on the Movember website, but here’s a good quote:

“Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine mustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.”

Since its inception in 2003, Movember has raised $301 Million CAD and has driven many men (myself included) to take their health more seriously.

This is the second year that Kinaxis has had a Movember team. In our first year, we were able to raise over $2000 and had a lot of fun with various events throughout the month, not to mention growing some really cool ‘staches.

Things are getting hairy at Kinaxis!

This year promises to be even better. We’ve already had a couple of events and we are well on our way to exceeding last year’s donations. My personal favorite event was the bagel breakfast kick-off, which included the “Shave the Scott” event, where some lucky person got to shave the famous beard from our documentation writer, Scott. And no, we didn’t really use the straight razor.

movember8

Movember has been a lot of fun so far, but we shouldn’t forget the underlying reason for Movember.  According to the Movember page, men die 5 – 6 years younger than women, have 4 times higher suicide rates. Further, more than 5 men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses. Movember is about changing these stats, one mustache at a time.  If you are interested in helping raise money for men’s health awareness and research, feel free to donate to team Kinaxis!

movember7

Posted in Control tower, Demand management, Lean manufacturing, Response Management, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain comedy


Yes Virginia, there is a Supply Chain

Published October 16th, 2012 by Andy Zeitz 4 Comments

My children are getting to the age now where the question that inspired the title of this blog is creeping into our dinner conversations. Luckily for me, the suggested twist in this classic exchange is not nearly as contentious or potentially upsetting as its original…

Or is it?

Unlike our belief in Santa Claus which starts out with us as toddlers “knowing” that he exists and progressing through a cycle of hoping, questioning, doubting, to ultimately, and somewhat tragically realizing that he…

Our adoption of the notion of Supply Chain Management as business strategy is often the opposite ̶ from disbelief/disinterest, to fervent conviction that it is so.

As children we knew everything there was to know about Santa Claus, we had no trouble putting a face to the name and he knew exactly what we wanted before we even asked, we understood his order management system, received order confirmations, we knew how his products were made, his method of delivery, his key suppliers, his delivery route, landed cost (naughty/nice, sleeping/awake), due date/promise date, we were able to reduce the bullwhip effect by (subconsciously) sharing our anticipated demands with his suppliers, many of us could even receive advanced shipping notices and track our packages through NORAD. Yes it’s true, Santa has one of the most sophisticated supply chain networks in the world.

Yes Virginia, there is a Supply Chain

And yet, with this fact so deeply woven into our fabric of early life, why do some of us have trouble acknowledging that EVERY organization needs a sophisticated and competitive Supply Chain?

I don’t mean to imply that this is the rule, surely we have seen the successes of many large, multinational corporations rise to astronomical heights based on the strength of their Supply Chains. Something that seems to be getting more and more attention in the mainstream media. Take this excerpt from an article in the Huffington Post written by Peter Henderson and Poornima Gupta where they state (of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple)

“…Rather, it was the speed of the global launch that astounded, validating the new CEO’s much-touted wizardry at the essential but unglamorous task of managing a supply chain.”

Read more about this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/22/apple-supply-chain-tim-cook_n_1905674.html

My disbelief refers to the laggards, the late adopters of the advancing principals of Supply Chain Management. We see it too often, companies closing their doors because they were unable to compete with the giants of their industry, or even some of these giants closing their doors due to ballooning inventories often directly related to a loss of control of their Supply Chains. Yet, these companies faced the same problems that the successful ones did; their key competitive advantage (I would argue) was how they managed their supply chains.

One passage of the classic newspaper column stands out to me in this…

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s not proof that they are not there.

So, to all the doubters out there who feel inclined to ask “Is it real?” I will borrow the words of Francis Pharcellus Church…

Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Supply Chain strategy! It lives, and it lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the hearts of all.

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Posted in General News, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain comedy


Top 10 Reasons Why My Spouse Is Better Than My Supply Chain

Published April 27th, 2012 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

My wife and I were discussing some of the recent blog posts on the 21st Century Supply Chain, and although she agreed with Andy’s blog, “Supply Chain Isn’t Sexy,” she completely disagreed with the Top Ten Reasons Why Supply Chains Are Better than Sex. As a result, I came up with the…supply chain

Top 10 Reasons Why My Spouse Is Better Than My Supply Chain:

10. If a supply chain is having a problem, it won’t call another supply chain to help solve it.

9. Your supply chain doesn’t know where you put the remote.

8. Supply chains don’t pretend to be happy.

7. No matter how good your supply chain is, it will never have breakfast and a paper ready for you on Sunday morning.

6. Supply chain software is still more expensive than diamonds.

5. A forecast is usually wrong, my wife is usually right.

4. My supply chain doesn’t know what kind of beer I drink.

3. When I’m late, my supply chain doesn’t forgive me.

2. My supply chain doesn’t rub my shoulders when my hockey team loses a Stanley Cup playoff game.

1. My supply chain won’t call my mom when I’m sick.

Do you have any reasons to add to the list? Share them in the comments! And be sure to check out some more supply chain comedy on the “Just for Laughs” section of the Supply Chain Expert Community!

Posted in Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management


Top 10 Reasons Why Supply Chains Are Better Than Sex

Published April 13th, 2012 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

We’re pushing the boundaries a little today in the interest of some Friday fun (we hope that you read it with the same approach to levity with which it was written). Our resident funnyman Bill DuBois is back with another one of his buzz-worthy top-10 lists:

I read Andy Zeitz’s Supply Chain Isn’t Sexy blog, and although it was an interesting post, I didn’t fully agree with it. Here is why…supply chain

Top 10 Reasons Why Supply Chains Are Better Than Sex:

10. Supply chains don’t care if you’re 60 or 20.

9. Supply chains don’t keep your neighbors awake. (Unless your neighbor is a supply planner…)

8. Your boss wants to hear about your supply chain performance.

7. You can ask a stranger for supply chain software without getting your face slapped.

6. The word “commitment” doesn’t scare off supply chain.

5. You can tell everyone how good your supply chain is.

4. You don’t have to cuddle after your product is delivered.

3.  Asking people what’s wrong with your supply chain is not as embarrassing.

2. Nobody cares if you dump your old supply chain software for a newer solution.

1. With supply chains, faster is better.

Check out some more supply chain comedy on the “Just for Laughs” section of the Supply Chain Expert Community!

Posted in Supply chain comedy, Supply chain management