Posts tagged as 'Supply chain management'

What if there were no limitations to your what-if analysis? What would you simulate?

LoriSmith
  • by Lori Smith
  • Published

What if there were little, to no, limitations to the what-if analysis you could do? What if you could change anything (data, working assumptions, business rules) to explore options and see the impact instantly? What if you could do scenario simulations for any function of your supply chain? What if you didn’t need to make it an IT project to create new scenario parameters? What if I go on and on with these questions… ?

Like many supply chain capabilities discussed in the industry, it is something touted by many, but not all what-if capabilities are created equal. Many advanced supply chain planning systems involve conditions where computing power must be rationed, scenario parameters are limited and collaboration is not built-in. Yet the value of what-if analysis is in the power to put the ability to do scenario simulations in the hands of many.

What-if analysis, in the most optimal condition, would be quick, flexible, extensive, and collaborative. And because it’s fast and easy, the capability would be leveraged fully and often, leading to decision-makers being able to test multiple scenarios projecting the impact of various “what-if” alternatives and evaluating their achievement against relevant operations performance metrics so a team is choosing objectively among a full range of options.

And we would argue that is exactly what happens in RapidResponse. It’s our secret sauce after all – well maybe not so secret given how much we advocate it. The point is that what-if analysis is absolutely foundational to our product and among the most critical capability in delivering on the “Know Sooner, Act Faster” value proposition.

This came through loud and clear in some recent customer interviews, whereby our customers talked about how scenario simulations are being used across business processes (strategic to tactical) to enable new ways to analyze situations and make decisions… fast!

There are several short clips available that I hope you’ll check out, but in the meantime, here is a taste of a few on the topic of what-if.

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From Grower to Garden: The Complexities of the Nursery Supply Chain

AlexaCheater

A woman holding a plant brought by the nursery supply chainToday is ‘Take Your Plant for a Walk Day’ (yes, apparently that is a real thing), and in honor of houseplants everywhere I thought I would look at the supply chain of an industry that has long fascinated me – the nursery industry. What exactly goes in to getting all those lovely shrubs, trees and flowers from the grower to the garden?

Let me start by saying that I personally do not have a garden. Why? Because while I love plants, they do not love me. No matter how enthusiastically the very knowledgeable staff tell me that this plant or that one can survive anything, the sad truth is none has survived my very, very black thumb, despite years of trying.

That of course does not stop me from visiting my local nursery to see what they have in stock. From seeds to shoots to seedlings and fully-grown shrubs, trees and flowers – the complexities of getting these plants to the end consumer are many.

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The Fashion Supply Chain: Unraveling the Reality

AlexaCheater

Racks of clothing represent one stop on the fashion supply chainWhether you’re a fashionista or overly fond of the frumpy look, chances are you’re buying into the multi-billion dollar clothing industry. And whether you realize it or not, the garment industry supply chain is changing – both for the better and for the worse.

Cambodia, China, Taiwan, India – look at the ‘made in’ labels on your clothing and you’re likely to find these popular clothing manufacturing countries. A recent Wall Street Journal article reveals African nations such as Ethiopia may soon be added to that list thanks to their lack of minimum wage regulations. Apparently, the $67 a month workers make in Bangladesh was getting to be too costly. This represents what many feel is wrong with the industry – large companies willing to sacrifice human dignity and safety to save on their bottom line.

There have been countless examples of big fashion brands finding themselves caught up in controversy thanks to their supply chain, and the use of factories that pollute, employ child labor, mistreat workers or worse. Sadly, it took a major tragedy to open the eyes of millions to see exactly what goes into making the clothes on their backs.

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Top 3 Supply Chain Visibility Necessities… As Best Explained by Our Customers

LoriSmith
  • by Lori Smith
  • Published

Supply chain visibility… ah, yes, possibly the most over used term in the industry. And as is typical with over used terms, there are as many interpretations as there are colors in a kaleidoscope. What it means, what it involves, and what the goal is can be very different depending on the person, the organization… and even (or especially!) the solution provider.

Below you will find video links to Kinaxis customers that speak to the visibility they have gained from RapidResponse, which so fittingly articulates the three key components we believe are critical to gaining the type of visibility that can produce real value for an organization.

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Sense and Respond – A Concept In Need of More Than Just Lip Service

LoriSmith
  • by Lori Smith
  • Published

“Sense and Respond”, or as we position it, “Know Sooner, Act Faster”, is a favorite topic on the Kinaxis blog. Many have had a lot to say on the topic (see here, here and here as examples). And now, so do our customers.

Before we get to that, let me ask you, do you know what the first step is that leads to being able to sense and respond? Acceptance – a recognition that you can’t plan perfectly. I suspect you are thinking to yourself, “everyone knows this and accepts this already”, right? Well, in theory and in their words they might, but in execution… not so much. For example, at a meeting with a prospect recently the team talked at length about their need to be more responsive and flexible. They said they needed to advance their processes and bring them together to be able to be more agile and effective in their planning, analysis and decision making. Awesome… music to our ears! And when the conversation turned to the capabilities they were seeking, guess what happened? They presented a series of feature checklists for each individual function, primarily focused on planning capabilities. Hmmm.

When an organization truly recognizes the difference between planning better and knowing sooner, acting faster, it means they are looking at the problem differently. And equally important, they start looking at the solution differently. The conversation changes from looking at ways to optimize the plan, to looking at ways to optimize decision-making processes when there are variances. They consider a set of capabilities that are fundamental to creating a competency in “sensing and responding” – from getting harmonized data, to being able to do quick simulations, to bringing teams together to make informed risk decisions and business tradeoffs.

We’ve posted a series of Kinaxis customer clips, among them are a few that speak to this theme. There are some pretty good insights that are definitely worthy of a listen.

TERADYNE

“…we haven’t been able to accurately forecast for a long time, and it was just fooling ourselves, and so years ago we really embraced this philosophy that, “No we can’t, so what can we do about it?”… and so what we began doing was… ”

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Step Five: Stage Five Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR)

CarolMcIntosh

Forward Thinkers

Car on a foggy roadAs you can probably guess, this is the last step in reaching Stage Five for your Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR).

Why can’t we predict everything?

Predictive analytics are one way to forward think. Quantitative analysis has really become popular and there is no lack of data. Data scientists are the new generation of supply chain planners. However, the assumptions and variables can be wrong… leaving you with a lot of data, but zero visibility. How do you manage the risk?

Supply chain is a risky business!

Risk management is being seen as a strategic imperative in supply chain. Events like natural disasters, world economic issues, regulatory changes, demand volatility all wreak havoc on your supply chain. With shorter lead-times and fierce competition, a missed delivery can result in losing customers and missing financial projections. A generic pharmaceutical company I worked with told us that when they miss a delivery to Walmart for a SKU they can loose the sales for the entire product line.

On the other hand, I have worked with a company that within a few hours after learning about the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, were able to determine the impact of supplier late deliveries and very quickly find alternate sources of supply. How was this done?

They already had a risk management strategy in place using what if scenarios. When they modeled the impact of the tsunami, they created multiple versions of the data with different variables and assumptions. The scenarios were compared and quickly the best course of action was agreed upon. A recent Forbes article said ‘the more paths travelled the greater the likelihood of coming up with the best answer’. That is really what risk management is about. In a study completed by Accenture, they found that more than 75% of the 1,000 plus executives they interviewed consider operations risk management to be very important in addressing supply chain risk issues. They also learned that various industries have their own approach. The levers that they value for trade off decisions were different.

How does risk management relate to a SCP SOR?

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Multi-Industry Supply Chain Challenges

AlexaCheater

Our own Trevor Miles, VP of Product Innovation and Thought Leadership, had the chance to sit down with Bob Ferrari of Supply Chain Matters to talk about multi-industry supply chain challenges. Their in-depth interview touched on the challenge multi-industry sales and operations planning (S&OP) teams have when it comes to various cross-functional information and decision-making silos.

Trevor relayed how he often sees businesses looking to gain “a more detailed understanding of the various tradeoffs of decision-making, especially related to various competing metrics.” Adding that for many the most significant technology focused supply chain challenge often relates to data – making sense of it and providing proper context. RapidResponse is aimed at harmonizing those needs, providing a single data model for planning and decision- making.

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Step Four: Stage Five Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR)

CarolMcIntosh

Collboration is step four in acheiving a stage five SCP SORCollaborative Management is Step Four to a Stage Five Supply Chain Planning System of Record (SCP SOR)

Supply chain collaboration. What is it and why is it so important?

Today there is a focus on supply chain analytics and the automation of decision making. However, this does not preclude the need for humans and collaboration.

A quote from a Forbes article read ‘humans evolved to survive and collaborate to ensure survival’.

In my first blog I wrote about talent management. The millennial generation thrives on working in a social collaborative manner. In supply chain they need to share plans, assumptions and recommendations with others.

The Cloud

The good news is that working in the cloud makes collaboration that much easier. It is estimated that the market for cloud-based supply chains is growing at a compound annual rate of 19%.

Why Collaborate?

Yesterday the emphasis was on vertical supply chains while today companies require horizontal supply chain excellence. Global companies require data and information to be shared and decisions made across the organization very quickly.

Those of us raised in the traditional supply chain era where functional expertise was the #1 priority may think of collaboration as a very nebulous term. Today it is a necessity for timely communication and decision making from the customer to manufacturer to supplier.

The emerging digital supply chain requires data and analytics AND social media functions.

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