Posts categorized as 'Supply chain management'

Supply chain planning system revolution: Are you yanking my chain?


Supply chain isolationWords get thrown around like rice at a wedding these days to describe what makes a world class supply chain planning system: “End to end visibility”, “collaborative planning”, and “what if simulation” are only a few of the many terms you hear when discussing the keys to supply chain success. Don’t get me wrong, these are all valuable attributes, but are often addressed in isolation and problems are usually tackled one functional silo at a time.

Kinaxis CEO John Sicard talked about the traditional, siloed view of supply chain during his interview with SupplyChainBrain’s Russell Goodwin. The title of the interview, Revolutionizing Your Supply Chain Planning, immediately made me wonder, “Are you yanking my chain?” The word “revolutionizing” was one I hadn’t heard in any supply chain narrative before, and with a word that strong, doubt is a natural reaction. When you hear “revolution,” you think the American Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, Batman vs. Superman. Ok, maybe not that last one, but epic supply chain battles definitely aren’t top of mind. However, Sicard got me thinking of a revolution like a rotation, a turnaround, a 180 – a way of doing things differently.

Goodwin does a great job of extracting the definition of the supply chain planning system revolution from Sicard. In this case, yanking my (supply) chain is actually a good thing. Let me explain. Mr. Sicard started by looking back with a brief supply chain technology history lesson: “Processes are disconnected because supply chain planning has grown up in a siloed manner,” he said.

Because of these functional barriers, “it’s futile to follow that model and think you can optimize the supply chain one link at a time.” Since functional processes are disconnected, it takes a significant amount of time for the impact of a change to get from one end to the other of the supply chain. In most organizations today, the supply chain is managed by looking at the individual links in the chain. That makes it difficult for individuals managing one supply chain planning process to know what the others are doing or what impact their decisions have on others.

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[Video] Kinaxis – Revolutionizing supply chain planning


This blog is part of a video interview series. Check out the video below as well as links to other supply chain practitioner and Kinaxis executive interviews.

Company processes are disconnected because their supply chain planning has grown up in a siloed manner, says John Sicard, president and CEO of Kinaxis. Consequently, it’s futile to follow that model and think you can optimize the supply chain one link at a time.

Sicard explains how Kinaxis is revolutionizing supply chain planning because it is interconnecting all of the links simultaneously. He analogizes to the human brain what the Kinaxis RapidResponse tool can do. “You have the ability to understand language and math simultaneously. It’s two different parts of your brain, yet you can’t bifurcate those. If I ask you a math question in English, you immediately respond, with no idea how those parts of the brain connected.”

“In our world, if you make a change in capacity, you instantaneously feel the impact that has on demand. Therein lies the key — it’s what we call concurrent planning.”

Revolutionizing Your Supply Chain Planning


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Supply chain inventory optimization – Beyond the analytics


Supply chain inventory managementFrom designing, sourcing and manufacturing, to distribution and consumption, your supply chain is at the heart of your customer satisfaction levels. It has become a competitive weapon that could help you win the consumerism war. But the sheer complexity of supply chain networks, and the impact design decisions have on operational performance, makes supply chain inventory management aligning inventory investments with on-time customer delivery and margins a major challenge.

The equivalent of 7% of America’s GDP is tied up in inventory, and accounts receivable and payable. That’s $1.1 trillion in cash according to a 2013 US Working Capital Survey. It’s no wonder that number is so high with a lot of companies still struggling with inventory optimization, trying desperately to find that sweet spot between supply volume and customer demand.

Implementing inventory optimization

The challenges of inventory optimization can be immense. The focus with Inventory optimization is often on analytics, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll need to overcome distributed data and inventory, navigate a complex network of locations and bills of materials (BOMs), and manage the configuration of thousands of parts. And if you’re still using dated technologies that don’t support robust and adaptive collaboration, you may even need to make critical decisions without the context of knowing their impact on corporate-wide metrics and objectives. It’s certainly no walk in the park.

The first step in navigating these obstacles is integrating inventory management into the rest of your supply chain planning processes, and the technology solution(s) powering them. Why? Because inventory management will be the backbone of your inventory optimization processes, and has strong interdependencies with sales and operations planning (S&OP), master production schedule (MPS) and supply action management (SAM).

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Supply and demand production challenges with new products


Supply and demand productionSupply chain performance depends on the matching of product features with supply chain features. When a new product hits the market, the existing supply chain that is optimal for a given set of product lines will not stay optimal. Thus, a new product introduction will require a supply chain logistic network redesign.

A new product introduction leads to a potential risk of reduced service performance due to ‘discontinuity’. In supply chain, a discontinuity is the introduction of a change in the product range of a firm, such as a new product or a new product line. This reduction could be measured against difficulties in reaching service level targets and master production schedule accuracy. The master production schedule suffers from very intense and short term production schedule variations and purchased materials unavailability.

So when a new product is introduced, how can supply chains re-align supply and demand?

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[Video] Keysight Technologies: Improving production planning efficiency


This blog is part of a video interview series. Check out the video below as well as links to other supply chain practitioner and Kinaxis executive interviews.

Speed and accuracy are everything to a company, says Jenny Balderrama, production planner at Keysight Technologies. All too often, however, speed is associated with orders arriving rather the ability to meet them. And accurate forecasting? Forget that.

The degree of a company’s responsiveness is incredibly important, she says, but a constant order flow can stress any company’s ability to keep up, especially last-minute drop-in orders. “Demand always changes, and it would be lovely if we could get a forecast to stay put, but it never does.”

Moreover, “big deals” often depend on meeting customers’ demands for fast deliveries and quick turnaround time. That mandates a company like Keysight, which makes electronic test and measurement equipment, to have impeccable communication, especially if it has multiple factories.

That disconnect was solved when Keysight Technologies employed Kinaxis RapidResponse.

“One of the things we appreciate about RapidResponse is that it sits on top of our database. We are able to use the power of the ERP, but the functionality of RapidResponse allows us to get at that data and arrange it in a meaningful and useful way. It allows us to make instant decisions instead of having to swim though the muck of data in our MRP.”

Keysight Technologies: Improving production planning efficiency

Keysight: Improving Production Planning Efficiency


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It’s time to shake up supply chain scenario simulation


Scenario simulation Scenario simulation is nothing new in supply chain. Practitioners have long heralded it as a sign of a mature sales and operations planning (S&OP) process. And it is. Having the ability to model and simulate the impacts of a change in your supply chain — whether it’s a sudden increase in demand, the loss of a key supplier or an unexpected capacity constraint — is a critical success factor. Asking ‘what-if?’ is commonplace.

But while a supply chain planning (SCP) revolution is beginning to take hold thanks to Industry 4.0 and SCP 4.0, some companies are still using scenarios the same old way. In a world as fast paced as ours, is it really still acceptable to wait on results and not leverage scenario simulation software?

Speed equals success

The creation of what-if scenarios should happen in the blink of an eye. Anyone on your team should be able to simulate anything at any time with unparalleled speed. It’s what lets you make better supply chain decisions, faster. Imagine having to wait hours or even days to understand the full impact of a change. Think of all the ramifications each extra minute could potentially have on your bottom line.

A recent paper by SCM World, Concurrency: Embracing the Death of S&OP, outlines how what-if simulation is a foundational capability of concurrency, which is ushering in a new era of supply chain planning where you can simultaneously and continuously plan, monitor and respond in a single environment across all business functions.

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Women in supply chain: Where did this topic go?


International Women's DayToday, Wednesday March 8th is international women’s day. To recognize this global celebration I decided to write on women in supply chain. Over the years we have discussed this topic at length on our blog. But to be honest, I haven’t heard much lately and I wonder what has changed. I used to see plenty of industry news articles, webcasts, conference sessions dedicated to the importance of diversity in supply chain, but today’s hot topics are IoT, machine learning, augmented reality and the like. Perhaps progress been made already and it’s no longer the pressing issue it once was? I’m not so sure.

In today’s current environment I believe that it is important to continue to keep women, and diversity, top of mind. Despite it being 2017, we know the gender split is not even in this field. We know the importance and focus of the supply chain function is intensifying in business so you would think that reexamining the current organizational make-up of today’s supply chain would be an important consideration. In the words of my former colleague Lori Smith, “Ironically, for an industry that is all about balancing supply and demand, there doesn’t appear to be much balance when it comes to its own human resources. It’s time for supply chain organizations to do a reality check and apply some basic planning and course correction initiatives within their own internal organizations.”

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Concurrency: Embracing the death of S&OP, SCOR and Other Supply Chain Paradigms.


Recently Matt Davis of Gartner (formerly SCM World) published Concurrency: Embracing the death of S&OP, SCOR and Other Supply Chain Paradigms as a result of three years of Future of Supply Chain research. In this new research paper, SCM World describes the death of S&OP as we know it.

Proving to be both a disruption and a massive opportunity, digitisation, value chain collaboration and a greater need for real-time decision-making are coming together as a disruptive catalyst to end a roughly five-year stagnation in supply chain planning. Innovative approaches to solving today’s supply chain challenges that embrace these new realities are showing that the future of planning is concurrency.

What is concurrency?









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