SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference, and while there, they completed a number of video interviews with customers, analysts, and Kinaxis executives. And, we’d like to share them!
We know that companies are desperate for new talent to help them achieve supply-chain excellence, as they grapple with ever-larger volumes of data and increasing unpredictability in consumer markets. Companies have been investing in supply-chain technology for 20 years or more – yet many are still far from the goal of creating global, demand-driven networks. “Getting there takes more than a great tool,” says Green.
Check out this recorded roundtable discussion with Benji Green, director of global supply chain operations with Avaya; Trevor Miles, executive vice president of thought leadership with Kinaxis, and Roddy Martin, managing director of Accenture Supply Chain Strategies.
When things happen in supply chain, knowing sooner and acting faster can mean the difference between a major catastrophe and a minor hiccup in your supply chain performance. It can mean the difference between late orders and angry customers and the ability to win additional market share. It can mean the difference between getting fired and getting a promotion.
Imagine this scenario; you are a supply chain executive for a major U.S.-based electronics manufacturer. It’s a Sunday morning in May 2008. You’ve woken up and are reading the Sunday news. Suddenly you read something that makes you spill your coffee. There has been a major earthquake in Chengdu, China… where several of your key items are manufactured. This is bad…. very bad, but you know you have the tools to respond. By end of day Monday, you have identified the key items that are manufactured in that region, identified the customers and revenue impacted by the loss of those items, identified alternative sources, and were able to shift to new suppliers and reschedule orders. All with minimal impact to your customers.
Is this kind of performance too good to believe? Can you imagine your supply chain planning team being able to pull this off? Supply chain performance like this is not out of your grasp. It takes two things:
End-to-end visibility is key to the success of any supply chain today, and especially to Schneider Electric. Huillet says the company needs to be able to monitor product and data from the customer all the way back to the supplier.
Rejano asks ‘So why does technology even matter when supply chain principles haven’t really changed in decades?” We explore the answer.
You can start the show… whenever you’re ready
Using an interesting analogy centered on the rapidly changing television industry, Rejano suggests push strategies are akin to old analog rabbit ears – you can watch the programs you’re interested in, but only when the network decides to air them. Pull strategies are more like today’s on-demand options. Think digital video recording (DVR) and online streaming. They allow you to choose what you want to watch, and when you want to watch it.
Change, even under the most ideal circumstances, is difficult. Think about how hard it is (or was!) to stick to that New Year’s resolution you made to eat better, get to the gym more often or find a better work/life balance. It seems like the daily grind always gets in the way, distracting us from our best intentions. (That’s always been my experience any way. So much so, that I gave up on even making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago!)
Now imagine you’re a $4B a year revenue company with 13,000 employees and over 15 corporate acquisitions since 2001. This was Avaya’s reality around 2010. Change in that scenario could seem almost impossible. But they managed to not just change, but actually transform their supply chain organization in just four years. How they managed to do that is what resonated with me the most when I read this new case study released by Aberdeen Group.
Now, I will admit, change and I don’t have the best track record. I’d say that at least 2-3 times per week, I have a ‘change-the-world’ (or at least ‘change-my-world’) idea. But I never seem to be able to turn that into reality. The idea always seems too large, too overwhelming to achieve. But after hearing Avaya’s story, I realized I’ve been going about it all wrong.
SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference, and while there, they completed a number of customer video interviews.
In this interview, hear how fundamental shifts in supply chain management have significantly altered the planning paradigm. JP Swanson, global supply chain analyst with Dow AgroSciences, talks about how his company has adapted to the change, and improved planning across multiple levels of its supply network.
The need for agility was the driving force behind a change in the supply chain planning paradigm at Dow AgroSciences. “It’s a big challenge being able to react,” says Swanson, “having enough inventory close to the customer and getting it to him within 48 hours.”
One of the company’s major concerns is dealing with the silos of information that exist within its complex supply chain. Dow AgroSciences has transitioned from multiple instances of an SAP enterprise resource planning system to an integrated application and one dataset.
In implementing the RapidResponse application from Kinaxis, Dow AgroSciences sought to get all of its data into one place. As a result, it’s able to identify capacity gaps over the next five years. “It gave us time to react – to weigh cost against potential lost revenue,” Swanson says.
Quick, tell me everything you know about supply chain! Okay, maybe not everything you know. I’m pretty sure that would take years with the experience some of you have. Maybe more like the CliffsNotes version. Why? Well, I’m new to the supply chain industry and need to get up to speed in a hurry. I’ve just joined the Kinaxis team as the social media and public relations manager, filling in for the next 14 months, and while I’ve got a great handle on the functions of my role, doing it in the supply chain context is something entirely new for me.
I have to admit that up until recently (pretty much the day before my first interview) I hadn’t really given much thought to supply chains. Sure, I had a basic idea of what they were. Oxford Dictionaries defines a supply chain as “the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity,” but as I’ve quickly come to realize, that short little sentence doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the vast and oftentimes perplexing concepts that encompass supply chain management.
Our partner Celestica recently published the following article, ‘Is your company being held hostage by poor inventory performance?’ The authors, Anandhi Narayanan, Senior Manager, Advanced Customer Solutions, Charles Thomas, Director, IT Customer Solutions, Stacey Greene, Director of Inventory Optimization and Robert Rejano, Processes and Applications Advisor, all with Celestica, describe the critical steps needed to drive inventory performance improvements.
Poor inventory performance can create a significant obstacle to growth and profitability. But adopting a strategic methodology designed specifically for inventory transformation can help eliminate the obstacles caused by poor supply chain visibility and open up new opportunities. If you’re looking to increase your inventory performance, we’ve outlined Celestica’s key suggestions and how they helped one company see substantial results.
Establish an executive focus and a transformation team to support it
Like any ‘transformational’ initiative, the process of improving inventory performance begins with understanding the compelling reasons for change. Once urgency is established, building the guiding team, establishing a vision and outlining goals are critical to winning over key stakeholders.
Make it Visible – You can’t improve it if you can’t measure it
Successfully increasing your inventory performance requires integration of data from all sources that make up your supply chain network. It’s critical to create a framework for the data that translates it into one clear body of information. Once this happens, data can then be analyzed in detail. To move from ‘basic analytics’, which gives insight into how the supply chain has operated in the past and what is required for the present and future, to ‘advanced analytics’, requires data to be contextualized in a way that makes it useful at the time when operators need to make a decision.
Flexible data models and methods to extract and load data are essential. The key to achieving meaningful results is a centralized data hub where normalization, standardization and storing of data can be performed. This allows the team to quickly develop and modify data models, without relying on multiple outside parties.