Posts Tagged ‘Supply chain planning’

On the road again…upcoming events for Kinaxis

Published June 14th, 2012 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

‘Tis the season for events, and Kinaxis folks are raking in the frequent flyer miles as a result!  Here’s where we are at in the coming week.

kinaxisHappening right now, we’re exhibiting at the APICS Best of the Best S&OP Conference in Chicago.
If you are there, be sure to stop by table #12 – we’ll be doing live product demos throughout the day.


We are also proud to be a platinum sponsor of the SCM World Leaders Forum, which will be held June 17-19 at The Grove in London, England.

The SCM World Leaders Forum is an annual closed-door retreat for the world’s supply chain and procurement elite, bringing together the most influential C-level executives from the global business community.

Speaking during the Kinaxis sponsored session is Jim Rowan, former COO of RIM, on the topic of:

Value Chain Architecture as a Competitive Weapon: A Discussion on the Future Design of Value Chains

As the saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm;” however, “the second mouse gets the cheese.” Designing a supply chain that is fast and effective, yet protects against unforeseen risks is no longer a differentiator, it has become table stakes.

The value chains of the future will not only provide speed and risk mitigation, they will transform today’s cumbersome weekly management meetings into “real time” S&OP discussions centered around exception-driven dashboards delivered via wireless technology directly to the CEO. This is beyond the cloud — this is using value chain architecture as a competitive weapon.

And  also next week (June 19-21) is the European Supply Chain and Logistics Summit in Berlin, Germany, where Trevor Miles and  Roddy Martin will host an interactive workshop on:

“The Myth of the One Number Plan”

For some time, there has been a movement to drive the entire organization from a single operating number, usually the budget. In theory, that is a good thing, as long as you have the right number. The budget is what the company wants or wishes to happen; very seldom is it what is going to happen. For that matter, so is the sales forecast. Learn how range planning can reduce risks and breed a more profitable operation by working on the premise that being ‘roughly right’ is far better than being ‘precisely wrong’

If you are at any of these events, please be sure to drop by, or email us to set up an onsite meeting.

Posted in General News, Supply chain management

Multitier Supply Chain Visibility and Orchestration: Agilent Case Study

Published May 8th, 2012 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

We recently published a newsletter which includes complimentary access to a Gartner research report titled “Multitier Supply Chain Visibility Improves Supply Chain Relationships and Reduces Risk” (R. Barger, M. North Rizza, B. Kraus, 12 August 2011).Supply Chain Visibility

The loss of supply chain visibility as a result of outsourcing manufacturing operations is of real concern to brand owners. But it’s the subsequent loss of control over orchestrating activities across the multi-tier supply chain that is creating the most risk.

A tactical exchange of data node-by-node through the global supply chain is no longer sufficient to achieve effective collaboration between brand owners and suppliers in today’s volatile business environment. What is required is a holistic, end-to-end supply chain planning and response management system, where everyone can understand the consequences of decisions up and down the supply chain.

Case in point, Agilent.

Agilent undertook a supply chain improvement program which included the creation of a vertically integrated planning process that consolidates all of its different MRP and those of its contract manufacturers, to create a single plan (via BOM integration) with minimal data latency. RapidResponse is the foundational platform that merges all the information systems and provides the supporting capabilities to create and manage a single vertical supply chain.

In the newsletter:

  • Gartner’s analysis on how leading organizations are undertaking collaborative initiatives with their suppliers and technology providers to obtain near-real-time visibility for functional stakeholders
  • Kinaxis’ view on what’s required for brand owners to gain supply chain coordination by planning and collaborating across multiple tiers of the global supply chain
  • Agilent’s story on how they used RapidResponse to establish a virtual, vertical supply chain

Download the newsletter here (available for a limited time)

Posted in Best practices, Response Management, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management

The Control Tower: Breaking Down Enterprise Barriers!

Published March 9th, 2012 by Lauren Bossers 0 Comments

The fifth in our SupplyChainBrain video interview series features Kinaxis CEO Doug Colbeth. These videos are jam-packed with great content, and I highly recommend them. (Free registration is required to view them, but it’s well worth it!)

There are no more silos when everyone works with the same data and the same enterprise planning and simulation platform, says Colbeth.

Simply stated, loss of control over one’s data is one of the greatest supply chain challenges today. Companies often are excited about the benefits of outsourcing, but in many cases their data resides outside the four walls of their enterprise. When they need to base important decisions on that information, problems can result, Colbeth says. “Outsourcing was one of the big change points.”

Demand volatility can stem from fickleness of the consumer, new-product introductions or catastrophic events. Whatever the source, companies that don’t have command of their data are at a disadvantage. Colbeth says perhaps three of every four customers struggle with demand volatility.

Clearly, supply chain performance is critical to meeting customer expectations. “For a lot of our customers, if they lose their top customer, it would have a devastating impact on their business,” Colbeth says.

But “any large and disruptive event in the supply chain can have huge implications from a corporate risk standpoint.” That’s why managing the supply chain properly can help you differentiate your enterprise from the competition.

Colbeth feels many companies have made good headway in people and processes. It’s in tools that improvement is needed. For years, he says, he’s noticed that demand planners and supply chain planning people had not even met each other. Sales and operations planning might be talked about, but folks charged with it often had never spoken with anyone at the “factory level.”

“They were disconnected. That’s why Kinaxis set forth on a long and heavy investment in what I call a control tower, where all of these capabilities are essentially part of a single platform.”

Colbeth says chief operating officers, CEOs and CFOs he meets want to use their data and model impact on cash flow. “The idea of a control tower is to think beyond the supply chain and be able to simulate anything anywhere at any time. That’s what the the control tower enables a large enterprise to do.”

No more silos? Not if everyone is working off a single enterprise planing and simulation system, he says. “You can take those eight or 10 disparate planning solutions and basically stop using them.”

A company’s “heart and soul” may be in its supply chain, but that’s where the expensive problems are as well, Colbeth says. And those problems ripple into other areas. “That’s why you need a control tower instead of a bunch of different software products that are disparate.”

Posted in Best practices, Control tower, Supply chain management

Making “Kinexions” between influencers

Published October 25th, 2011 by Trevor Miles @milesahead 2 Comments

For the first time at our user conference, Kinexions, we invited in a number of analysts, bloggers, and consultants to give them a deep dive on Kinaxis and the roadmap for RapidResponse. We had an afternoon session devoted to the Influencers in which we brought in some customers to speak about their journey with RapidResponse.

But the highlight for me was the Influencer Panel I hosted as the last event of the conference.  We had great participation from:

While all the panelists added greatly to the discussion, two highlights for me were comments made by Andy and PJ.

Andy said that we have moved from thinking we need a single number forecast (and therefore single number plan) to understanding that we need a single perspective and a range of plans that cover range of possible business conditions under which we will operate over the next period. My take on Andy’s point is that “what-if” analysis is an absolutely core capability at every level of planning, be that strategic , tactical, or operational.  Being able to understand what levers are available to you and the impact that pulling these levers will have on financial and operational metrics is crucial to developing flexibility and agility in your supply chain and broader operations functions.

PJ used the dramatic failure of the Boston Red Sox in August to illustrate that planning is not enough.  As PJ told it, the Red Sox had done a tremendous amount of planning over the past few years which is what resulted in their great season up to August.  But what management failed to do is monitor the health of the star performers and only realized that some players had put on as much as 15 lbs.  Even worse their mechanisms for responding were not in place meaning that they had no way of getting relief pitchers or other key players at such short notice. PJ’s anecdote captured my view that planning is not enough very well.  It also ties in very well with Andy’s observation about a range of plans.

How Andy’s and PJ’s comments link together is that you need to monitor how your operations, particular customer demand, are matching up with what you anticipated (your operational plan), and respond very quickly when the two do not match.  Having pre-evaluated a range of possibilities means that you are able to respond with confidence, even though reality will never quite match any of the scenarios you had pre-analyzed

Planning is not enough, but we all have to do it. Not planning would be very stupid. But not building the capabilities to detect when reality does not match the plan very quickly and then respond profitably to reality is equally short-sighted. Plan-Monitor-Respond.

Posted in Best practices, Milesahead, Sales and operations planning (S&OP)

CPG companies recognize limitations of planning optimization

Published August 25th, 2011 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

Forgive the self-promotion but we are so proud to have formally announced the RapidResponse deployment at Unicharm today.

Unicharm is the largest manufacturer and distributor of diapers and other consumer sanitary products in Asia. They implemented RapidResponse (replacing existing supply chain planning solutions) so they could move away from the limitations of statistical-based planning systems. With RapidResponse, Unicharm can complete planning calculations in five minutes—a process that previously took 12 hours.

In a news release distributed today, Unicharm said:

“We chose RapidResponse for its unparalleled ability to allow us to effectively manage our supply chain in today’s environment given the urgent and explicit need for supply chain visibility, simulation, and collaboration capabilities.”

It’s so humbling hearing it directly from the customer! Check out what other customers are saying about us in the Executive Perspectives section on Kinaxis TV.

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Posted in General News, Supply chain management

Kinaxis life sciences newsletter: Featuring complimentary analyst case study report on Amgen

Published August 17th, 2011 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

We recently produced a newsletter which includes complimentary access to a 6-page Gartner report titled Case Study: How Amgen Reinvigorated Its Supply Planning Process (Barry Blake, Hussain Mooraj: May 18, 2011)

This Case Study provides insights on how Amgen transformed its supply planning processes and enabled rapid planning capabilities, with advanced planning capabilities and systems.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Rapid demand and supply planning processes are foundational capabilities required for a multitier sales and operations planning (S&OP) process that can propel companies beyond simple supply and demand matching to conscious, value-driven business decisions.
  • Life science manufacturers don’t often incorporate into their planning processes “what-if” scenario analysis to optimize supply. Additionally, many companies have disconnected their short-term planning from long-term capacity and supply commitment processes.
  • By centralizing elements of its planning process and deploying the appropriate advanced planning tool, Amgen can now quickly model the impacts of various “what-if” scenarios and extend these analyses to multiple planning levels across the entire supply network.
  • The company is now able to rapidly develop more-accurate supply plans that optimize capacity, inventory and product shelf life, decreasing the total planning cycle from 21 to 12 days. These consolidated, synchronized views of demand and supply across the entire product supply network are generated by the tool in minutes.

Download the newsletter here:

Posted in General News

Responsiveness – The other half of demand forecasting conversation.

Published May 5th, 2011 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

Short post today to let you know that our very own chief blogger, Trevor Miles, recently presented a session at the High-Tech Forecasting & Planning Summit last month. His session was called “Is Forecasting Fatally Flawed?” Does that title seem a little familiar? Well that’s because the session was based on a recent blog post he did by same name.

You can check out the PPT deck from the event here:

Or view the on-demand webcast here:

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Posted in General News

Master scheduling and constraint planning – How important is this?

Published April 20th, 2011 by Carol McIntosh 2 Comments

The role of the Master Scheduler has existed for years but organizations are still trying to determine the optimal way to manage supply. This has become more difficult over the years due to the volatility in demand, the increased pressure of balancing fulfillment, and the cost of capital.

Organizations are striving to be demand-driven, but they require some degree of stability in the supply plan for supply assurance and for managing their capacity constraints― both internal and external.

There are a number of factors that influence the master schedule. These may include:

a)  The implementation of a postponement strategy or ‘delayed differentiation.’ Organizations that implement postponement strategies design a generic configurable product with customization closer to customer demand. The master schedule is generated at the generic product level.

b) Organizations that outsource. If you outsource you may be providing your partner a production plan which represents the plan at a higher level in the hierarchy. For example, product family. The partner will then be responsible for translating this to the item level master schedule.

c) Sales profile. If your product sales accelerate significantly at the end of the quarter (typically driven by sales incentives), a master schedule decoupled from the sales plan may be more important to you than other organizations. This is particularly important if you have long lead times or capacity constraints. Level loading inside a firm horizon will reduce the risk of supply to support the end of quarter sales.

d) Asset Utilization. Your organization may have significant investments in capital equipment that influence the master schedule. You may be faced with tradeoffs between capacity utilization and lean JIT strategies.

Once the master schedule is created, a big challenge is the monitoring of the master schedule against your production plan and your sales plan. How do you ensure that you are building the right amount of product to meet your organizational objectives? This can be a fine balancing act.

You may want to ask yourself:

  • Can you easily reconcile the production plan and master schedule at multiple levels of the hierarchy in units and value?
  • Do you model your key bottleneck capacity constraints? Are they internal and external (ie. supplier) constraints?
  • Do you have a clear view of your capacity constraints and their impact on your master schedule?
  • Do you understand the impact your master schedule or changes to your schedule have on customer demand?
  • Are you able to compare multiple versions of your schedule and analyze the impact on your KPIs?
  • Do you use an alerting system to proactively identify when your master schedule is at risk of meeting your sales plan?
  • Are you responsive enough to act before it is too late? What is your response management strategy?

We all understand the concept of creating a plan, but what about monitoring and responding to the plan? I am interested in hearing your point of view. Has the traditional role of the master scheduler changed? How important is this role in supporting an organization’s Sales and Operations Plan?

Posted in Best practices