Posts Tagged ‘Supply chain’

What the Analysts Are Saying About…A&D Supply Chains

Published July 18th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 0 Comments

What the Supply Chain Analysts Are Saying About A and D

Are you looking for some reading material to pass the time on your next flight? Even if you’re not you should check out Supply Chain Insights, Supply Chain Metrics That Matter. For the past several years, Supply Chain Insights has been delivering this research series.  What caught my eye is that for each report, they do a deep dive on a specific industry and use a mix of financial data, survey research results and interactions with their clients to help get a better understanding of various industries’ supply chains.

I spread my Supply Chain wings at an Aerospace company and since Aerospace and Defense is a key vertical market for Kinaxis, the recent Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace & Defense report was downloaded on my laptop to read on my next flight. The research benchmarks A&D companies against other industries and looks at the top five A&D companies over the last decade. Although it didn’t give any suggestions on what to do when you find yourself in row 32, you know the one next to the washroom, it did discuss the challenges the industry is facing as well as offering up solid recommendations for areas of improvement.

From a challenges perspective, here are the highlights covered in this report.

The obvious challenge is the complexity in the A&D industry. The report uses the Boeing 747-8 International as an example. It has about 6 million components which are manufactured in 30 countries by 550 unique suppliers. Think about those design, sourcing and delivery challenges. I always thought getting through security these days was complex.

With such a heavy reliance on first, second, third, fourth and fifth tier suppliers and in some cases having only one or two suppliers for specific components, it’s easy to see how delays and budget overages can happen. A supply chain based so heavily on external sources is susceptible to more risk than catching a flight on time out of Newark. As Supply Chain Insights mentions, this is having a significant impact on the company’s bottom line.

Interestingly, to help address the issue of ensuring materials are available when needed; the research indicates that A&D companies have “developed some of the most advanced sourcing techniques and practices.” Companies like Lockheed Martin, are looking at new strategies for materials (raw or otherwise) that are harder to source, especially in the cases where increased Supply Chain volatility have thrown a wrench in their “Just In Time” approach. The challenge is balancing reduced material delays with rising inventory levels and longer Days of Inventory.

To help address these challenges, Supply Chain Insights makes a few recommendations that I think are spot on. Suppliers, in particular of materials that are sole sourced, play such a large and important role in the A&D supply chain, it’s vital that there be a focus on supplier collaboration and communication at every level.  A big part of this is increasing visibility into the supply chains to ensure they can anticipate and plan for potential disruptions. Focusing in these areas will help reduce supply chain risk, and make A&D companies better prepared to deal with inevitable disruptions when they do occur.

Thanks to Metrics That Matter, not only did I get some valuable A&D insights but it took my mind off of sitting in row 32 on a delayed flight out of Newark. The report covers a lot more ground than what I’ve discussed here, so feel free to download a full copy of Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace & Defense report here. (No registration required.)

Posted in Best practices, Demand management, General News, Supply chain collaboration, Supply chain management


Thow Back Thursday: First Solar case study ‘First Solar & Kinaxis Killed the Excel Star’. A video worth remembering

Published July 17th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

first solar case study kinaxis killed the excel star at kinexions

Here at Kinaxis, we are starting to gear up for this year’s Kinexions (our annual training & user conference). I quickly began to reminisce about our fun yet educational customer videos from past conferences. So, on this ‘Throw Back Thursday’, I would like to share Shellie Molina’s First Solar case study ‘First Solar & Kinaxis Killed the Excel Star”.

In this presentation, you will learn how First Solar‘s global supply chain has leveraged change management and rapid problem solving to reduce their dependency on multiple spreadsheets by building a single integrated system for manufacturing Sales and Operations Planning and construction project management. In addition to analyzing the impact of changes through what-if analysis, scenario building, dashboards and alerts, Integrated Project Management has allowed First Solar to implement a closed-loop MRP with their ERP system effectively driving activities, such as creating and rescheduling POs, from one ‘source’ schedule.

First Solar & Kinaxis killed the Excel star: they can’t rewind, they’ve come too far!

 

Presenter: Shellie Molina, vice president, global supply chain, First Solar
Over 25 years of supply chain, customer service and warranty management experience, Shellie has a diverse industry background in contract manufacturing, aerospace including avionics, mechanical, repair and overhaul, global distribution, global contact centers and warranty management. She currently leads First Solar’s Global Supply Chain which includes sales operations and planning, customer service/order management, sourcing, fulfillment, logistics, and warranty support.

Mark Zeni, director, AE fulfillment, First Solar
Shannon Rawlins, director, sales and operations planning, First Solar

Posted in Miscellanea


Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace and Defense

Published July 14th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

metrics that matterJust a quick post to share some research courtesy of Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights LLC.

Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace and Defense

Increased complexity, slowed growth and shrinking margins are challenging the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) sector. According to recent research from Supply Chain Insights, A&D companies need a renewed focus on collaboration, visibility and core supply chain capabilities to remain competitive and win new business.

In Supply Chain Metrics That Matter: A Focus on Aerospace and Defense, Supply Chain Insights benchmarks A&D companies against other industries and dives into data from five top A&D companies over the last decade. The research highlights the supply chain challenges for this industry, as well as the critical importance of getting it right.

Complimentary report courtesy of Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights LLC.

Get the supply chain research >>

Posted in General News, Sales and operations planning (S&OP)


Did You Miss the Late Late Supply Chain Show at the Gartner Supply Chain Conference?

Published July 11th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 0 Comments

Achieving “3D” Vision: Defining, Designing, Delivering End-to-End Supply Chain ProcessesDid You Miss the Late Late Supply Chain Show at the Gartner Conference? Not to worry, the live show was taped!

We know not everyone was able to attend the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, or our session in particular, so we made sure we could bring the supply chain show to you!

Kinaxis senior business consultant (and pseudo talk show host!), Bill Dubois, moderated a lively panel discussion entitled: ‘Achieving “3D” Vision: Defining, Designing, Delivering End-to-End Supply Chain Processes‘.

Click here to watch the recording.

Session Abstract

In the latest episode of the ‘Late Late Supply Chain Show’, host Bill Dubois and guest panelists take an entertaining and informed look at the three Ds (definition, design, delivery) of a supply chain process and technology vision. Trevor Miles provides the Kinaxis definition of a planning system of record, and guests discuss key tenets to designing and delivering it.  Hear examples of what it takes to execute, as companies share experiences on their steps towards realizing the end-to-end vision in this high-energy, interactive session.

Stacey Cornelius, VP, Operations, Nimble Storage
Tony Savoca
, Director, IT, Supply Chain and Logistics, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Trevor Miles
, VP, Thought Leadership, Kinaxis

Posted in General News, Supply Chain Events


4 Parallels between Planning a Wedding and Supply Chain Planning

Published July 9th, 2014 by Melissa Clow 3 Comments

wedding-planning-supply chain planningI got married on June 28th. After 7 years together, we decided to make it official. To be honest, I never had much interest in planning a wedding so I had lots to learn. As exciting as it was, at times the task was daunting: venue, guest list, colors, theme, bridal party, transportation, music, photography and of course the dress.

Throughout the nine months we took to plan, I realized there are a lot of similarities between wedding planning and supply chain management. Here’s my top 4 list on the parallels between the two:

4. Disruptions

To no one’s surprise, I learned that wedding planning does not always go smoothly.

Just like supply chain management, there will always be disruptions –it could be a small disruption like your parents invite people that weren’t on your original invite list or a larger one, like what a Saskatchewan couple experienced last week on their wedding day… a tornado! Despite this, their photographer was able to think quickly and capture some breathtaking photos.

Lesson learned: There will be bumps in the road but you can’t dwell on them; they need to be dealt with rapidly and maybe even a little creatively.

supply chain disruptions wedding

For business, competition continues to grow. Responding rapidly to changes is critical, whether it is ordinary daily order changes to large and unexpected supply chain disruptions such as strikes, blockades and regional tragedies. We can no longer predict the future with acceptable levels of accuracy, and so the success or failure of supply chains is dependent on how quickly and effectively stakeholders can understand and respond to evolving situations. Once you know the impact, you need to act quickly to simulate the various scenario alternatives and find the best solution. The timeliness of resolution is a key factor in mitigating any potential damage to your operations.

Risk management

wedding supply chain risk managementWe contemplated who we would ask to give a speech. For example, do you ask your husband’s friend to make a toast even though you know there’s a very good chance he will say something offensive? We decided to decrease the risk of any bad behavior by our friends and kept speeches to a minimum by only asking the best man and maid of honour to speak.

In supply chain, it is not just about avoiding risky situations, supply chain risk management has a component that many companies fail to consider; the ability to respond:

  • Even the best thought out mitigation strategy may fail when the time comes to implement;
  • events that you couldn’t have imagined (or considered too low a probability to worry about) during your risk assessment may in fact come to pass; and very importantly,
  • small events, which may be considered insignificant on their own, but that taken in sum become a large risk consideration if not managed effectively.

It is important to be proactively alerted to urgent issues before they turn into major problems.

Collaboration

Because there are so many aspects that go into successfully pulling off a wedding, it’s really important to have a good working relationship with all your vendors. One challenge that we ran into with our venue, is that every time we spoke about our wedding plans we were passed along to a different wedding coordinator to help us… and more often than not, it wasn’t the person that would be there to help us the day of. This was a little unnerving because without telling our coordinator firsthand, it felt like we were playing telephone. Getting on the same page is key since these are the people that are going to help you execute your big day.

Just like collaborating with all your vendors, guests, bridal party, those in supply chain now need to coordinate with a number of tiers in the value chain network. Because of that, supply chain visibility and supply chain coordination has been reduced and often made the brand owners dependent on suppliers for their business and operations performance results.  To be truly effective, supplier collaboration needs to go far beyond the tactical exchange of data. Key suppliers must actively review information and directly contribute to the decision-making process so that companies can exchange early warnings and collaboratively resolve supply chain risk issues. Better supplier collaboration improves the flexibility of a supply chain and the profitability of the enterprise. 

Talent

We hear a lot about supply chain talent and how important it is to build up less experienced supply chain professionals to operate an effective and efficient supply chain. The same could be said for those getting married. We certainly needed and appreciated our friends and family that supported us throughout the wedding planning process. Without their support and advice, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off, or at least not as well.

Just like we received a lot of sage wedding and marriage advice from married friends, colleagues and acquaintances, many organizations are creating formal supply chain talent-management programs to help transfer knowledge to cultivate growth. Often, these programs aim to engage both the mentors and the mentees by providing opportunities for a connection and growth. And now, more and more colleges and universities are offering undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs in supply chain management to better prepare younger supply chain professionals to enter into the field.

 

All that said, I can officially say we did it! And I can’t wait to give advice to future engaged couple thinking about planning a wedding.

Happy Wednesday!

Posted in Demand management, General News, Response Management, Sales and operations planning (S&OP), Supply chain management


And the most important personality trait for someone in supply chain professional services is…

Published July 2nd, 2014 by Lori Smith 0 Comments

Today we announced the appointment of our new vice president of professional services, David Kelly.  Welcome aboard David!

With the formalities of the press release out of the way, we thought we would introduce David in a more fun and casual way.  So enjoy our Q&A post as we put David on the hot seat and get to know better the newest addition to the Kinaxis management team.

 

A QUICK TAKE ON PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Name your top 3 implementation success factors?

  • Leadership, strong team and an effective and reasonable plan. All successful projects require strong leadership to lead and mentor the team through the difficult and challenging issues that will come up. That team needs to be made up of members that take ownership and responsibility for their role and actions during the project. And most importantly, a sound plan that is based on reality and reasonable time frames is key to allowing the team to be successful and the leader to lead.

In the goal of driving high user adoption, what are the essential  “must-dos”?

  • Organizations need to drive effective user adoption, which is almost always tied to change management. When new processes are put in place that are wrapped around the use of new technology, we need to work with our clients to define an effective program that will allow users to seamlessly adopt the new process. As a team, we need to bring prescriptive approaches that our clients can tailor for their specific situation. This effectively leads to happy users, which makes happy customers.

In your experience, what element of a deployment tends to be the hardest to manage?

  • Very few projects don’t have changes in requirements along the way. These requirement changes come up for various reasons and many times can be very valid. But, the project team needs to be able to address these changes while still keeping to the original plan, and many times we need to push the new requirements out to a future phase. These can be difficult conversations to have and requires effective project management from the outset. At the end of the day, customers almost always appreciate a project team that holds them accountable and manages towards an originally agreed upon time line.

What is the most important personality trait or competency for someone in professional services (and applicable to supply chain professional services in particular)?

  • I feel that individuals need to be effective listeners who can clearly and articulately document what they have heard. This process makes the foundation for defining the project requirements and drives the clarity necessary to lock down the business and technical requirements. All too often, we end up in conversations with clients about “what was said” and that leads to issues down the road. If we can effectively listen to our clients and document what was said, we greatly eliminate any confusion.

 

COMING INTO KINAXIS

What is one lesson learned or take-away from your previous roles that you will bring to Kinaxis?

  • Problem solving is the responsibility of every individual, and every individual should feel empowered to solve problems. Every day we will encounter challenges and the most efficient way for the team to progress forward is if individuals can clearly define the problem ahead of them and define the best path forward. Empowered team members lead to greater efficiency and happier employees.

Has anything surprised you about Kinaxis so far?

  • The culture and talent of the individuals that work here. Everybody I have met is very excited about Kinaxis and the future, and this has created a fantastic culture as a result.

Supply chain is being called everything from “the leader of the next decade” to “sexy”. As someone coming into the field, are you buying it?

  • Supply chain clearly is a backbone to many industries and can drive greater sales and profits. As our customers rely greatly upon their supply chain and suppliers, having that visibility into supply chain challenges and the right tools to manage is key to success. So, yes, I do believe that supply chain is “sexy”!

 

A PERSONAL GLIMPSE

Where did you grow up?

  • I lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. until I was 16 when my family moved to the suburbs of Detroit. I finished high school and went to college in Detroit and really consider myself a mid-westerner.

Favorite book?

  • Unbroken is one of my favorite books, it teaches us to never give up and always look for the positives in life.

Favorite motivational quote?

  • I love quotes and years ago bought the “Forbes Business Book of Quotations”. One of my favorites is “In this country, every man is the architect of his own ambitions” — Horton Bain.

Best advice you ever received?

  • Set 5-year goals that are manageable and attainable.

Posted in Best practices, Miscellanea, Supply chain management


What Angry Birds taught me about supply chain improvement

Published June 23rd, 2014 by Jonathan Lofton 4 Comments

A while back I was watching my youngest son play Angry Birds.  It was interesting to watch because he would start a level and not really spend too much time looking at how things were set up.  He might look at what kind of birds he had to work with, but for the most part he’d just start playing.  Once or twice he got lucky and freed all the birds on the first try.  Mostly he’d play several times and finally figure out how to beat the level.  When he beat it, he went on to the next level.  He didn’t try to get the highest score; he was more interested in completing all the levels in each of the different themes.

I would go back and play the levels he completed.  My goal was to get the highest score and to get all three stars completed for the level.  So I would study the layout, see what kind of birds I had to use and devise my strategy.  Of course it almost always took me a few tries to pass the level (and sometimes lots of tries)!

What I realized was that it’s a lot harder to improve a score than it is to just pass the level, especially if you do a lot of collateral damage the first time you win – that first winning score is high.  It can also be frustrating (sometimes I had to put it down and come back to it later).  The other thing I realized was that I probably could have approached it just like my son … just start playing.  No matter how much I studied the level before starting, I rarely got the highest score on the first try.  Although I didn’t often have to change my strategy, I did have to make some adjustments to what the birds were doing …  and yes, there were a couple of cases where I had to adopt a totally different strategy.  But truth be told, I got the high scores and totally completed the level the same way he got the original win: by seeing how things worked out and making adjustments – trial and error.

So what does this have to do with Control Towers and Supply Chain Optimization?  Before I get to that, there are a couple of other pieces of the puzzle for this particular “what I learned” lesson.  One came from watching a TED video, “Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex”.

What Harford set out to show is that the common link among successful complex systems is that they all evolved through trial and error.  The other came from participating in a “Human Centered Design” course that emphasized being willing to experiment; being okay with not having the “right” answer, trusting that you’ll find one.  And what was the method of finding that “right” answer?  You guessed it, brainstorming/collaborating and prototyping … iteratively!

The dots that were connected and what I learned from this as I thought about Control Towers and Supply Chain Optimization was:

  • You need maximum visibility when you’re planning your next move – you can have what you think is a great strategy, but if you can’t see how all the pieces fit, you’re going to churn for a while.
  • You may not have to totally change your strategy, but you do have to be flexible enough to make adjustments to how you configure and execute your supply chain.
  • It’s hard to improve your supply chain performance if you are starting off with a decent score but the faster and more agile you can be at adapting your supply chain, the better chance you have of maintaining and improving its performance, even when there are disruptions.
  • Supply chains are continuing to get more complex with more players that need to collaborate, and if the success of complex systems inevitably comes down to trial and error, then you need a way to speed up the trial and error process to become a lot more successful a lot sooner (“Knowing Sooner, Acting Faster”).

No matter how well you’ve blueprinted your processes (“studied the level”), you’re probably not going to totally hit the mark (“get the highest score with all three stars”) on the first try.  So it’s important to stay flexible and ready to adjust, remembering that when you’re trying to be optimal (get the ‘high’ score), it will probably be less frustrating if you follow the example of a child:  Just try a bunch of stuff and see what happens, knowing that’s how most successful complex systems come about anyway.

Undoubtedly I’m biased, but this all confirmed for me that RapidResponse is ideal in terms of giving you the ability to see your supply chain end-to-end, collaborate with the various players and perform a slew of what-if scenarios to determine in real-time what the impact of adjustments would be.

Oh, the other thing I learned … Angry Birds, like supply chain improvement can be addictive!

 

Posted in Control tower, Demand management, Supply chain management


Top 5 Reasons Why Soccer Players Make Good Supply Chain Managers

Published June 20th, 2014 by Bill DuBois 3 Comments

fifa world cupHave you been watching the World Cup? I have.

It’s made me think about some of the similarities between this game and supply chain. And because of that, I came up with the Top 5 reasons why soccer (football) players make good supply chain managers.

Comment below to let me know if you agree, disagree or have your own ideas about why soccer players make good supply chain managers!

 

5. They usually need extra time to get the job done.

Supply Chain Managers need extra time

 

4. When something goes wrong they’ll let you know about it.

Supply Chain Managers joke when something goes wrong

 

3. They constantly deal with disruptions.

Supply Chain Managers joke distractions

 

2. They’re always willing to take one for the team.

Supply Chain Managers joke team players

 

1.They can deal with issues on a Global scale.

Supply Chain Managers joke global

 

 

Posted in Jokes, Supply chain management