1 2 3 Previous Next

21st Century Supply Chain

851 posts
by CJ Wehlage

Amazon utilizes speed to become top supply chainIn part one of this blog series, I noted the changes, or lack thereof, to Gartner’s list of the Top 25 Supply Chains. After realizing little has changed, with the exception of creating a new “Masters” category, which doesn’t really fix anything in the rankings, I had two important thoughts and an epiphany.


Amazon’s #1 Position makes me think of two things:


Where in the world is Google?


Amazon is a software company that built expertise around services and distribution. That distribution model is fantastic for getting fast delivery. In the same light, I would advocate FedEx, UPS and DHL be in at least the Top 50 ranks.


Google is an internet company. Sure, they are known as a search engine, maps, communications, advertising, and services company. However, the key message from Gartner this year was the “digital” aspect of supply chains.


We tend to think of a traditional hardware company adding digital to its product and supply chain. However, let’s take direction from Guy Kawasaki (the Keynote speaker at the conference), and “Jump to the Next Curve”. What about a digital company that adds hardware? Google is adding cars, glasses, mobile, tablets, and even contact lens. And I believe Google should be added to the list.


Put Apple (and P&G) back in the Top 25


This isn’t because I used to work at Apple. I get it. People are tired of seeing Apple there every year. But, the problem isn’t fixed.


As I said in my May 2014 blog, where I predicted Amazon to be #1, Amazon has done everything great, except pull a profit. There’s been a lot spending on assets these past few years at Amazon. And soon that asset spending will be seen in their significant revenue growth. They’ve already finished in the top five, five years in a row, even with 0.0% ROA in 2015! My bet is that Amazon will be #1 for 2016 and 2017 (and then placed in the Masters category). Yet, the problem that left Apple at #1 for seven years, and potentially place Amazon at #1 for three years, will not have been fixed.


Which leads me to my epiphany!


What Apple did for eight years, and now Amazon has done for five years in supply chain is SPEED. They exhibit speed in three core areas: Agility in demand/supply, Adapting to change, and Aligning the interests of partners. All three with incredible speed.


People say Apple has been #1 for seven straight year because of the enticement of the products. I beg to differ. Apple is #1 because they figured out and mastered SPEED. They used China to enable speed that the U.S. could not deliver. This speed allowed them to change the iPhone screen from plastic to glass in the last six weeks before launch. The Chinese facility where Apple builds iPhones employs 230k people. Of the U.S. cities, only 83 have a population larger than that iPhone facility! Apple can get Foxconn to hire 3000 people overnight. Something that would take a U.S. company 9+ months to do. Foxconn hired 8700 Industrial Engineers in 15 days. That is SPEED, especially in agility, adaptability and alignment.


However, with global consumer demand, new products, and competition, Apple will be hard pressed to leverage this speed, and will need to innovate its supply chain yet again.


Amazon has figured out this SPEED. Same day delivery with drones! That’s speed. Kiva Systems to pick and pack orders. That’s speed.


Both Apple and Amazon can balance demand and supply with great agility. They also can quickly adapt their supply chain when the model changes. And, both are great at aligning (some would say leveraging) their partners to enable exponentially better SPEED.


Going forward, I, personally, would love to see how Apple, Amazon, Google, as well as the traditional product companies building digital supply chains, battle it out in the coming years. Do you agree that speed will play an important factor?



The post Top 25 Supply Chains Pt. 2: Epiphany About Speed appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by CJ Wehlage at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/top-25-supply-chains-pt-2-speed/

by Jennifer Bell

A supply chain hero!If your business is currently leveraging SAP APO as part of your enterprise architecture, now is the time to upgrade to Kinaxis RapidResponse.  You may be asking why now and how does this make me a supply chain hero?


As you know, SAP has announced their intention to discontinue support for their APO suite. This can be a scary time, especially if you have good adoption of APO within your user community. Why is it so scary for the user community? Because it means change.


But, as a soon to be supply chain hero, you appreciate the changing tides of technology. This potentially scary situation is really an opportunity in disguise. You can be a supply chain hero by:


  1. Being a Change Agent:  Kinaxis is offering a low risk upgrade program, specifically to Kinaxis qualified SAP APO customers. Kinaxis will work with you to develop an upgrade program that allows you to transition key business processes to RapidResponse without a big bang implementation. This agility gives you the opportunity to test drive an exciting solution without a financial commitment until the value of RapidResponse is proven.
  2. Minimizing Supply Chain Risk: You know that cyber risk leads to business risk. The RapidResponse solution is cloud-based and proven. With customers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, Kinaxis holds itself to the highest standard of security to support their government contracts. The same model is used for all Kinaxis customers, so you know your data is secure and cyber risk is mitigated.
  3. Setting a Business-Centric Vision: Set your vision and use RapidResponse as part of the strategy to get there. Your supply chain will thank you. Just imagine the following:
    1. Your users creating a scenario in mere seconds. This gives them the ability to evaluate business options at a whole new level, which means they spend more time on analysis.
    2. Users who are immediately comfortable with the user interface, one that displays data in a familiar, spreadsheet-like environment and easy to use reports such as dashboards and scorecards. If they are comfortable with spreadsheets, users naturally take to RapidResponse.
    3. Reporting and analytics, core features of the solution, enabling reporting of the past, present and future along with lightning quick calculations that give you a realistic view of the possibilities in your supply chain.
    4. A solution that enhances human judgment and helps the business collaborate on the best solution. RapidResponse encourages cross-functional problem solving and makes collaboration simple, helping people to come together to make decisions.
    5. Leaders of your organization have the capability to review real-time supply chain data in an airport on their phone, or on a tablet in the comfort of their home. RapidResponse has a built-in mobile component, so they are informed anytime, anywhere.

As per a recent post from my colleague, companies need to define a more comprehensive SCM IT strategy that will provide real ROI. You need to determine technology investments by the business outcome it can provide. This, by default, will lead you to invest in more innovative solutions then you may currently have in place. The SAP APO upgrade program may provide you with just that opportunity.


Are you going to be your company’s supply chain hero?

The post Your opportunity to be a supply chain hero is here! appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Jennifer Bell at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/your-opportunity-to-be-a-supply-chain-hero-is-here/

by Lori Smith

Home renovations mimic supply chain dilemmaI live in a 40 year old house and in some ways it is certainly showing its age. When there is something that isn’t working, not meeting my needs, or simply has gotten out of date, I find myself asking the question of do I try to fix up what I have or replace it? There is a lot of maintenance needed to keep things running around the house, but for some things there comes a time when you have to ask “how far is this repair/upgrade going to take me?” If I keep investing just to maintain what I have, and at best, see an incremental improvement, when I am ever going to have the resources for re-designing and making real renovations? It is indeed a balancing act… and not at all unlike the decisions being made in managing supply chains.


A theme that resonated for me at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive conference the other week was the notion of “managing” versus “transforming”. There was a panel discussion on the Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) Imperatives for Executing the Global Supply Chain Strategy where each of the panelists said that among their main priorities was balancing continuous improvement with transformative innovation. You have to do both. And of course technology investment is a key factor, given that most, if not all supply chain innovation will be supported by technology.


This point really hit home during Dwight Klappich and Chad Eschinger’s session where they discussed the results of their Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Study. A key takeaway from the study was that SCM IT investment and supply chain maturity/performance go hand in hand.


The study showed those companies that had a Level 1 maturity supply chain are incapable of making progress given that 70% of their SCM IT budgets are aimed at simply running the business as-is. Contrast that with the fact that 60% of Level 4 supply chains consistently outperform their peers. Why is that? According to the study, higher performing supply chains are twice as likely to have a strong SCM IT architecture strategy. They are also 500% more likely to exploit risk for competitive advantage – and that’s because they are equipped to do so, because they have invested in process innovation, better analysis and decision making, new business models etc. that can transform the way they manage the supply chain and ultimately drive added value to the organization.


Here is the hiccup. Level 4 maturity supply chains only represented 5% of survey respondents. So what was the directive coming out of this session? It is time to “invest in the new, not just polish the old.” Companies need to define a more comprehensive SCM IT strategy that will provide real ROI.


Organizations with lower level maturity tend to focus on IT delivery, and define success by if the project was delivered on time and on budget. But what about the business results it delivered? Organizations must change their mindset and determine technology investments by the business outcome it can provide. This, by default, will lead them to invest in more innovation.


Now if you can forgive a little promotion, if you want to understand the results of a technology investment that supports supply chain transformation, I would direct you to the recording of the Kinaxis Solution Provider Session, where Benji Green from Avaya shared his journey of transformation. He too spoke to the necessity to establish new structures and processes that allow the organization to streamline the time and resources spent on non-value activities (executing basic tasks), in order to redirect focus on those activities that have the most significant impact to business performance (advanced analysis). Ultimately, this is the commitment you need to make – innovate so that you can move up the value pyramid.


The point is that yes, while you need to “keep the lights on”, if that is your only focus, no matter how many lights you have, it will eventually stop being bright enough to illuminate any kind of path forward. Ironically, by trying to just keep the lights on, you will eventually be left in the dark. How are you dealing with this supply chain dilemma?

The post The Supply Chain Dilemma – Do I Make House Repairs or Do I Redesign the Home? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Lori Smith at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/supply-chain-dilemma-repair-or-renovate/

by CJ Wehlage

Top 25 supply chains all utilize global networksOn May 29, 2014, I posted a blog about the Top 25 Supply Chains predictions for 2015.


“All that being said, here’s my early 2015 “Not So” Bold Predictions: #5 P&G, #4 Unilever, #3 McDonald’s, #2 Amazon, #1 Apple.”


Almost a year later, that was 100% correct. Ok, here’s my reasoning. The 2015 Top Supply Chains were #1 Amazon, #2 McDonald’s, #3 Unilever. What about my Apple and P&G prediction, you say? They were surprisingly put into a “Masters” category. As it is explained in the Gartner report, a “Master” is a supply chain that “consistently had top five composite scores for at least seven out of the last 10 years”. It’s bizarre to me, since a “hall of fame” category is reserved for someone who has retired. Plus, there was no explanation as to why seven out of the last 10 years was chosen. To me it felt more like a common thread between Apple & P&G was found first, then the Masters category was created.


I do submit that business changes, and quite abruptly. As quickly as Apple rose up the ranks to #2 in 2007, there could be changes that force the rankings to adjust. I would have preferred adding and changing the metrics to rank the companies rather that a category to remove two. I’m sure all the competition, while tired of the same rankings, would have preferred to battle it out against the best. Like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair says, “In order to be the man, you have to beat the man.”


I mentioned another quote in my May 2014 blog, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”– Jon Bon Jovi, 2010, Greatest Hits. In 2015’s Top 25 Supply Chains, if Apple and P&G were part of the list, there’s really only one change from the 2014 to 2015 ranks. Caterpillar falls out and L’Oreal comes in.


So, I decided to check even more data on what’s changed over the years. I went back five years to the 2011 Top 25 Supply Chain rankings. Of the 25 in 2011, there are 18 (72%) that are the same. Seven from 2011 are not on the 2015 ranks.


  • Dell – took themselves out by going private
  • Kraft – got acquired by HY Heinz
  • Research in Motion (RIM) – came in at #9 in 2010, went to #4 in 2011, then out of the Top 25
  • Microsoft, IBM, and Tesco fell out of the Top 25

So, as you can see, not much has really changed in the rankings over the years. I do think it’s time to rethink the measures for the Top 25. I love the new Gartner Supply Chain Benchmarking model. While it requires a company to state key supply chain KPI’s, if enough companies join, and there can be sufficient privacy control on the numbers, this could lead to a much better ranking.


The one data set I do like to drill down on is the Peer vs. Analyst vote. Each year, it’s abnormal how this varies.


CompanyPeer Vote RankCompanyAnalyst Vote Rank
Coca Cola3Intel3
J&J7Colgate Palmolive7
Cisco9Coca Cola9



Only Unilever received a common ranking between both Peers and Analysts. I would have to assume both Apple and P&G would be another common vote, if they were not removed.


There are five (half of the list) that are not common. Peer’s voted Walmart, Starbucks, J&J, 3M and Nestle in the top 10, while those companies were not in the Analyst top 10. One has to ask, what do the Peers see in that the Analysts don’t? Or, conversely, what do the Analysts see in Intel, Samsung, PepsiCo, Colgate Palmolive and Inditex, that the Peers don’t?


Stay tuned for part two of this blog series that explores what I believe will be the deciding factor among top supply chains in the future.

The post Top 25 Supply Chains Pt. 1: Masters category appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by CJ Wehlage at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/top-25-supply-chains-pt-1-masters-category/

by Alexa Cheater

supply chain customer supply and demand crosswordMost of you have probably heard the old saying ‘the customer is always right.’ In terms of making sure you have a host of happy customers, that’s probably good advice, but how far are you willing to go to keep those satisfaction levels high? Would you offer a discount? Free shipping? A full refund? How about completely changing the way you operate your supply chain? That last one may sound a little drastic, but it’s the reality many major retailers are facing.


The rules around supply chain management are changing, and customers are sitting firmly in the driver’s seat. More and more companies are making big, public announcements on how they’re changing their supply chain practices to better align with what their customers care about.


Popular burger chain McDonald’s has committed to ending deforestation throughout its entire supply chain, while fellow restaurants Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera have solidified their commitments to move away from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Even retail giant Walmart is taking steps to change its supply chain practices, focusing more on increasing economic opportunity, strengthening local communities, and overall sustainability. They’ve committed to eliminating 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from their global supply chain by the end of the year.


Most of these decisions have likely been made with the consumer, not just the bottom line, in mind. In his recent Forbes article about Chipotle’s announcement, Darren Tristano credits customers’ “rising demand for food they classify as healthful, not just in the sense of calorie counts but also of “natural” foods with “clean” labels”, for the change. He says it could take years for the restaurant industry’s food supply chain to meet the needs of the expanding number of restaurants taking up the non-GMO cause. He also points out those making the change late in the game may have a much harder time getting their supply chain up to speed.


For McDonald’s, the deforestation measures are part of a larger corporate social responsibility and sustainability framework designed to paint the picture of a company committed to creating a healthier planet. Walmart’s Global Responsibility Report, which includes sustainable supply initiatives, has the same goal.


All of these companies want to be viewed as companies who care. Why? In my opinion it’s because it makes customers feel better about their purchasing decisions. I’m not suggesting that’s the only reason. I’m sure they really do care about the environment, and workers’ rights and social responsibility. But if genuine caring was the only reason, they wouldn’t really need to issue a national press release about it, they’d just go ahead and do it.


To what extent has consumers’ social responsibility and sustainability priorities influenced how you manage your supply chain? Have you had to make any changes? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Consumers Priorities Driving Major Supply Chain Changes appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/consumers-driving-supply-chain-changes/

by Alexa Cheater

Did you miss our recent live webcast on Avaya’s supply chain transformation? No problem. The complete webcast is now available on-demand.


In this webcast, Bryan Ball, Aberdeen Group, and Benji Green, Avaya, discuss the circumstances and challenges Avaya faced on their four-year journey, the catalysts for transformational change, and the dramatic results they were able to achieve.


For Avaya, the journey began with the realization they were spending too much time on low-value, reactionary activities, like translating and moving data. Their goal was to flip that reality, so more time was spent on high-value, proactive activities that would have a real impact on the business.


With an outlined five-phase approach, Green discusses how Avaya was able to shift focus within the company, combining people, process and technology to achieve far-reaching success. That success included exceeding customer and employee expectations on multiple levels. More specifically, Avaya saw their on-time ship rate jump from 86% to 94%, their past due revenue decrease from $42M to $10M and their employee engagement scores increase by 57%.


Along the way they addressed many common challenges like disparate processes, multiple ERP systems and lack of supply chain visibility. Through the use of technology as an enabler, Avaya was able to transform their supply chain into one centered on continuous improvement and innovation.


View now!





Bryan Ball
VP and Group Director, Supply Chain and Operations
Aberdeen Group


Bryan BallBryan Ball is responsible for developing Aberdeen’s research coverage within the Supply Chain and Supplier Management research practice. With over 30 years of supply chain, operations and materials management experience acquired across multiple product lines and serving several markets, including retail, wholesale, commercial, OEM and private brand customers, Bryan brings a high level of knowledge and insight on the challenges and opportunities facing supply chain practitioners worldwide. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, and is an APICS Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM).


Benji Green


Director, Global Operations, Sales, Supply and Inventory Planning


Benji GreenBenji Green has 14 years of supply chain and operations experience in high tech, multi-national companies. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina and Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. He has since worked for Accenture, IBM, Lenovo, and Avaya. CSCP certified in 2010, Benji has broad experience in demand, supply, inventory, and financial risk planning. He has implemented two demand planning IT platforms and designed the reorganization of planning teams through a divestiture from IBM, a merger with Nortel, and multiple outsourcing initiatives. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and two children.


Looking for even more information on supply chain transformation? Check out the new Aberdeen Group case study on Avaya’s transformation here.


The post On-Demand Webcast – Supply Chain Transformation: Avaya’s Journey appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/on-demand-webcast-supply-chain-transformation-avayas-journey/

by Doug Colbeth

Based on the conversations we’ve had with prospects, analysts and others in the field, we believe that most, if not all, are seeing SAP’s plans to discontinue standard support for their APO suite as the equivalent of an end-of-life plan without a directly replaceable product from SAP.  That kind of uncertainty can be unnerving to say the least and only builds on existing frustrations in the market as it relates to supply chain planning solutions. As a result, many are reevaluating their solution strategy.  We’ve witnessed that directly on a number of occasions, as enterprises have already replaced APO modules with RapidResponse.  Given our success in this regard, we’ve established a formal upgrade program, which not only provides a proven technology alternative, but offers it in a way that allows companies to confirm the value before paying any software subscription fees.


This offer demonstrates our confidence that RapidResponse can provide the technology capabilities, SaaS delivery, and innovation cycles that are consistent with the needs of today’s businesses and that are in question with APO’s unsupported future.


In fact, when speaking about SAP supply chain planning and APO in a Forbes article last year, Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights stated, “Innovation has slowed. As a result, frustration is mounting. With rising demand volatility and global market complexity, supply chain planning is more important. As a result, the gaps in the software are becoming more visible. This offers an opportunity for competitors to build something that can lay on top of the SAP architecture that can better meet the needs of the line-of-business user.” (Lora Cecere, Bumps, Cracks and Opportunities, Forbes.com, 5/20/2014)


Critical to delivering that is offering RapidResponse as a cloud service. As mentioned in today’s press release, Kinaxis was one of the first to bring the business advantages of cloud solutions to the supply chain management software market. Many large enterprises with the most complex supply chains in the world have chosen and subscribe to Kinaxis RapidResponse and have achieved improved customer satisfaction levels, productivity, and significant cost savings as a result.


This program is available immediately for SAP APO customers who are Kinaxis qualified prospects. For those of you interested in the upgrade path program, please contact us for more information.


The post Kinaxis Introduces SAP APO Customers an Upgrade Path appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Doug Colbeth at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/kinaxis-introduces-sap-apo-customers-an-upgrade-path/

by Alexa Cheater

Moms are supply chain super herosHappy Mother’s Day to all those hardworking moms out there! Have you ever marveled at how some women just seem to have it all together? They manage to turn a hectic household into a well-oiled machine, while I can barely manage to keep my household of two up and running! In honor of these Super Moms, I’ve pulled together the top five reasons why you should be asking your mom for more than just relationship advice.


  1. She’s the Best Master Scheduler You’ll Ever See – Between school, hockey practices, dance recitals and her own social life (yes, moms have those too!), she somehow manages to get everyone where they need to be on time and in the most effective way possible. Her schedule is coordinated down to the minute, and she always has contingency plans in case of potential delays, like having to pick up an extra passenger on the carpool run. She also knows where every member of her household is at any given moment. No missing or delayed shipments here!
  2.  Her Inventory Management is Second to None – Ever wonder how moms always seems to know what’s in the cupboard when kids ask for snacks? She can rattle off the entire contents of the pantry without missing a beat. That’s because she knows exactly how much inventory she has, how long it’s likely to last, and when the best time is to re-stock. She also has a strong grasp on demand planning, always buying exactly the right amount of what her family’s likely to want in any given time period, balanced with how much storage space she has available for excess inventory. Say goodbye to stock spoilage and shortages!
  3. She’s the Queen of Purchasing – Want to know the best price for ground beef, or where to go to get the freshest produce? Ask your mom! As chief buyer for her household, she’ll likely always know where the best deals are, and when. Why else do you think so many moms start their holiday shopping in July? Their knowledge of local suppliers is truly outstanding, and in many cases they’ve worked hard to build beneficial relationships with those suppliers, getting advanced knowledge of special savings. But not to fear, if a supplier can’t deliver the necessary goods at a competitive price, moms know just where to go to get what they need – reducing any disruptions to the rest of the supply chain.
  4. She Knows How to Minimize Waste – Waste not, want not. It’s a saying I’ve heard countless times from my own mother, and a saying wise women everywhere take to heart when it comes to managing their households. Moms have a way of finding efficiencies and savings everywhere, especially when it comes to minimizing waste. Old socks into dust rags, table scraps into compost, broken toys into funky art projects – there is virtually no waste when it comes to these supply chains.
  5. Collaboration is Part of Her Daily Life – No mom is an island, and most realize this very early on. They’re not afraid to put themselves out there and ask each other, their own moms, or experts, for advice. They work together to share certain key tasks like getting the kids to that weekend soccer tournament or deciding what to bring to the bake sale so it’s not just a table full of chocolate chip cookies. Moms are an elite group who work together to make life a little easier for everyone.

So the next time you’re stumped with how to make your supply chain more effective, why not ask your mom for a little advice. She may have a better understanding of the challenges you’re facing than you realize. After all, moms are the original, one woman supply chain super machines! So be kind to them and make sure you get them something extra special this Mother’s Day!

The post What Your Mom Can Teach You About Effective Supply Chain appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/what-your-mom-can-teach-you-about-effective-supply-chain/

by Alexa Cheater

People can be considered non-traditional supply chainIn part one of this series I talked about how businesses trading in data as a commodity could be classified as using non-traditional supply chain. It was the most obvious case to prove non-traditional supply chain is actually a valid concept. After giving it some careful consideration, I can come up with an additional area that falls into the non-traditional supply chain category – people.


Take my sister for example. Her job requires her to travel to multiple hospitals in the region to provide a service, and she often has to visit more than one location in a single day. As her employer it would be nice to know exactly where she is, how much she has left to do at each location, and what her ETA is for arriving at the next one. Short of installing a tracking device and camera to monitor her every move (I’m sure she’d love that!), the only option is to put in place a standardized procedure where she checks in with her supervisor at regularly scheduled intervals to give a status update. Great in theory, but full of potential pitfalls in practice.


What happens when the unexpected strikes? Say her car breaks down, or traffic is heavier than normal or she’s delayed at one of the locations for reasons beyond her control. How does that impact the rest of the hospitals she’s scheduled to visit? Will she still be able to get all of her work done at all locations within the promised time frame? What if one of the other hospitals has a last-minute request. Can that be accommodated without disrupting the rest of the timetable? It’s starting to sound like they’re facing traditional supply chain challenges.


So what are they doing? Right now they’re using the ‘best guess’ model, which often means overtime for my sister, and higher expenses for her employer. Too bad they don’t have the ability to quickly run what-if scenarios! Then they’d know if they needed to call in extra staff (change suppliers) or alter my sister’s work schedule to fit the changing demand (response management).


Can you image the implications if businesses were able to more quickly and accurately track and analyze the movements and work of their employees? Hospital wait times could go down for routine procedures (there will always be emergencies), cable installers could give you a more accurate time frame for when they might show up, instead of saying sometime in the next four hours. Companies would be able to better predict how a potential delay or unexpected occurrence would impact the schedule and adjust accordingly. The cost savings could really add up, right alongside the customer satisfaction levels.


Of course there are some huge hurdles that need to be overcome before that level of information would be available – most notably the fact the employees want to be treated as people and not data (rightly so!).


Do you agree there is such a thing as non-traditional supply chain? Can you think of any examples of companies using supply chain in non-traditional ways? Let me know in the comments section!

The post Non-Traditional Supply Chain Pt 2: People appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/non-traditional-supply-chain-pt-2-people/

by Lori Smith
Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation
This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available here.

Gartner recently published their Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation and we take great pride in the fact that Kinaxis has been placed in the Leaders quadrant and is situated highest on the Ability to Execute axis.


Gartner defines a sales and operations planning (S&OP) System of Differentiation (SOD) as a software solution that supports a Stage 4 or higher-maturity S&OP process. According to the report, Leaders demonstrate “Leaders have a strong vision for their S&OP SOD capabilities. They recognize the role they will need to play in enabling the move toward multienterprise horizontal planning allied with vertical integration that links strategy to operations and execution. They are focused on developing analytics to support end-to-end profitability trade-offs and configurable supply chain design and configuration capability.”1


In this regard, we believe we truly out-execute other vendors in the space. Our proficiency in consistently delivering a quality solution and service to our customers is foundational to our value.


Given the configurability of RapidResponse®, it is an ideal solution to take companies through the various stages of S&OP maturity. Our goal is to both enable quick initial success and help our customers advance their S&OP processes from early stages through to Stage 4 (and beyond) over time by leveraging the full capabilities of our solution.


Ultimately, with a sales and operations planning system of differentiation, companies should achieve:


  • multi-tier, multi-enterprise supply chain visibility, planning, analysis, and collaboration,
  • integrated demand and supply planning – at an aggregate and detailed level;
  • rapid what-if analysis and scenario comparison to model projected financial and operational consequences of possible planning scenarios; and
  • continuous orchestration of S&OP activities and coordinated course corrections that optimize overall corporate performance and profitability.

Managing S&OP from a single application enables companies to make better tradeoffs across competing metrics quickly and to make value-based decisions for the enterprise as a team – both at the time of plan development or when the S&OP guidance is violated due to unplanned events.


Find out more about our S&OP application, and the outcomes Kinaxis customers have realized with RapidResponse.



1(Payne, T., Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation, Gartner Inc., April 29, 2015)


Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.


The post Kinaxis Positioned in the Leaders Quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Kinaxis Positioned in the


Originally posted by Lori Smith at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/kinaxis-positioned-in-the-leaders-quadrant-of-gartners-magic-quadrant-for-sales-and-operations-planning-systems-of-differentiation/

by John Westerveld

What-if?We’ve all asked ourselves the question… what-if?  What if I bought that new car? What if I took that job?  What if I won a million dollars?  It’s fun to dream.  But sometimes the what-ifs are slightly more mundane yet still important…. especially when you say “what-if” with your supply chain.


  • What if I could decrease the lead time on this part? What impact would this have on safety stock?
  • What if I accepted this large order? Could I build it by the due date? What other orders are impacted?
  • What if my key supplier suddenly couldn’t deliver for three months? What would that do to my revenue? What customers are affected?
  • What if I shifted production to a new supplier that had much lower costs but higher lead times? What would that do to my margins? My inventory levels?

The list goes on… we’ve only barely scratched the surface of the types of what-if analysis that supply chain professionals try to do every day. The challenge supply chain planners and analysts face every day is that the tools they are provided really don’t support what-if analysis. ERP systems don’t support multiple simulation scenarios, they have fixed, part-by-part reporting that doesn’t support further investigation, and it takes hours to run the batch processes needed to evaluate a significant change.


Since they can’t effectively perform what-if analysis in the ERP system, supply chain analysts often need to model these key decisions using Excel. And while Excel is an excellent tool for doing basic models, it simply cannot effectively capture the complexity of a real supply chain. Layer on top of this, the errors that inevitably end up in any Excel model, and you are often making key strategic and tactical decisions based on a flawed model.


So, what is needed to support the supply chain professional when they ask the question, what-if?  It comes down to a number of key capabilities:


Ability to create multiple scenarios instantly – To unleash the power of supply chain what-if, you need to enable users to instantly create multiple scenarios that each represent the entire supply chain data.  Imagine this scenario being like your own private copy of your ERP system. You can do anything you want in that copy, see the impacts of your changes and if you don’t like them – simply delete the copy and start over.


In-memory analytics and data – It’s not feasible to try different things if it takes multiple hours to see the results of your changes. If you want to do what-if analysis, you need to be able to make a change and instantly see the result throughout your entire supply chain. Imagine you could see a picture of your supply chain where you see the total demand and supply at every site within your supply network. Now imagine that you make a demand change and you can instantly see that change across your entire network — that’s the power of in memory analytics and data.


Configurable resources – The supply chain is a large, complex structure. Understanding the impact of a change can be difficult and often can’t be done looking at static reports or single entity screens. Often evaluating very specific what-if scenarios can require unique ad-hoc reports. You can’t wait months / years for ERP IT contractors to produce your reports. You need to be able to quickly create ad-hoc reports to evaluate your what-if scenario.


End-to-end enterprise visibility – ERP systems often permit visibility only within the four or so set of sites that pertain to a specific instance of the ERP software. As such, the limit to the visibility of your changes stops within that set of sites. But often our changes impact the supply chain far beyond the limits of what is within a single ERP instance. To understand the true impacts of a change, you need to be able to see beyond these limits. You need a system that will allow you to bring together the data and planning rules of all ERP systems into a single instance. Only then can you understand the true impact of your change.


Resources to assess and compare impact – The purpose of a what-if analysis is to answer the question”what if?” If I make this change, how does it impact my key metrics? How does it compare to other options? With traditional ERP systems it can be difficult to impossible to make those comparisons and understand impact. What’s needed is a simple way to compare the what-if scenario to either annual plan numbers or baseline data against key metrics to see impact. When negative impacts exist, you need the ability to drill into that impact and determine root cause.


Collaboration – In supply chain, no one person has all the answers, so being able to collaborate with others is key. Collaboration can be as basic as an e-mail but could also be so much more. In large companies, you don’t always know exactly who is responsible for a given item or customer. Imagine if your supply chain software could suggest the team of people you need to collaborate with. Imagine if you were working on a what-if and you hit an issue you needed help with. Imagine if you could share that what-if scenario and resources that provide the context of the problem with those that could help you. Imagine if there solution could be shared back with you in either the shared scenario or a related scenario that they created. This level of collaboration is what can accelerate your supply chain.


So what if you had a tool that supported the level of what-if analysis described above? What would that do to your supply chain?  What would that do to your confidence in responding to the ever changing challenges of supply chain?  It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?


What kind of what-if analysis do you do?  How do you do them today?  Comment back and let us know!

The post What if… you really could “what-if” in your supply chain? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.



Originally posted by John Westerveld at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/05/what-if-you-really-could-what-if-in-your-supply-chain/

by Alexa Cheater

Data represents a non-traditional supply chainAn interesting topic came up the other day at the office, the idea of non-traditional supply chain. Not non-traditional in the sense of a company that thinks and acts a little outside of what’s considered to be ‘normal’ supply chain operating processes. Rather, supply chains that don’t deal with material goods at all. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Millennial, part of Generation Y, and came of age at the same time the internet did, but my very first thought was of course there’s such a thing as non-traditional supply chain – just look at the data!


Anyone who works in traditional supply chain knows data is king. It plays an integral role in managing not only your sales and operations planning (S&OP), but rules the roost so to speak when it comes to making sure your supply chain is operating effectively. Without accurate and timely data, that’s also easily visible, you’re likely not making the best decisions for your business.


But what I’m talking about isn’t using data to enhance your supply chain. I’m talking about data as a commodity – and it’s a booming business right now. There are countless companies whose sole purpose is to mine data about consumers and sell it back to businesses for research and marketing purposes. How else do you think those annoying telemarketers got your number? This non-traditional supply chain isn’t pulling in parts from multiple suppliers to build an end product. But it is pulling data from multiple sources to compile a comprehensive database about you (frightening, I know!). That data is then moved from server to server and from company to company, the same way traditional supply chain moves inventory.


For the number of companies who trade in data, there are thousands more who use it as a primary part of their business on a daily basis. They need to monitor where that data is coming from, where it’s headed to, and the consequences of any delays, just like with traditional supply chain. Financial institutions, health care operations, and even SaaS businesses are just a few examples of industries where data should be managed the same way as traditional supply chain. Perhaps in some cases it already is.


These non-traditional supply chains even have similar risks as their traditional cousins. Both need to be concerned with things like disruptions to the supply chain. Event occurrences like natural disasters don’t only effect the movement of goods. They can knock out servers and down phone and power lines, preventing data-based companies from delivering their virtual goods. And don’t forget, worker strikes and labor shortages aren’t just limited to the manufacturing sector. Plus, non-traditional supply chains dealing with data have the added risk of breaches caused by hackers, improper procedures, or corrupted files.


Stay tuned for part two, where I discuss another potential non-tradition supply chain – people.


The post Non-Traditional Supply Chain Pt 1: Data as a Commodity appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.



Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/04/non-traditional-supply-chain-pt-1-data-as-a-commodity/

by CJ Wehlage

a vehicle break-in was part of the ugly at the High Tech Supply & Demand SummitThe first words foretold the upcoming days. When I checked into the hotel at the High Tech Supply & Demand Summit in San Francisco, the front desk person, as she was handing me the room card, pointed to the right, and said, “if you go for a walk, don’t go that way, that’s the Tenderloin district. It’s a very dangerous place.”


Those initial words rang true to what happened the next two days. Having spent two years at AMR Research, I’ve seen the type of analyst that will be so direct, the message comes across harsh. I’ve leaned towards the concept of writing the positives, with some humor, and based on practical, business-based supply chain knowledge. Today, for this blog post, that changes.


The Good


As always with the IE Group conferences, the speakers, presentations and content were fantastic. They were based in core business challenges, with practical take home learnings. I’ve seen other conferences that focus too much on the “2020” and “Future Supply Chain” stuff. Hard to take sustainable 3D printing advice to the CFO, when they are asking for inventory and cost savings.


The best quote of the conference came from Jawbone.


“Is your supply chain Reaction Worthy?”


There are many supply chains that pride themselves on “getting it over the goal line”, and “chasing down that shortage”. When you think about it, those concepts are costing the company cash flow, either in lower margin or lost productivity. The biggest issue with Excel isn’t the potential errors, the multiple sets of numbers, or the disconnected plans. It’s the strong willed planner who uses Excel to get their supply chain disruption fixed. Yes, they may have fixed the issue. But, at what cost? Were there other higher priority issues? What carnage did fixing this issue create? All this gets back to “Reaction Worthy”. As Jawbone presented, the better supply chains need to be notified of a true, priority exception, not have all planners running around trying to find exceptions. Only when this happens, will planners be able to drop the “reactionary” model and move towards a “proactive” model.


Jawbone left with some great questions each supply chain leader should take back home:


  • What If your competition puts a similar product out, do you know what supply chain model they are using to beat your margin and profit?
  • What is your ideal reaction?
  • What is the cost impact? Revenue impact?
  • What other reactions should you consider? Have you simulated them?
  • Who needs to collaborate and who needs to agree on the response?
  • Have you prepared probability scenarios to address the risk?
  • When you “Hit Start”, are you certain ALL nodes of your network are executing the change?

Later that day, these questions were brought to life when a brand presented their supply chain story. As they talked about customer collaboration and such, an actual customer of the brand was in the audience. It was dynamic and entertaining, along with some awkward back and forth. That’s the fun of the IE Group content. Watching a brand and customer challenge their supply chain model was insightful.


The Bad


The comments from the registration desk put the venue at the top of this list. This wasn’t a great location for a conference. The accommodations, along with some service and a tight fit, were below average. As well, the multiple company presentations need be limited. Three separate companies presented twice in the two days. That’s six presentations from three companies. While the content was interesting, I would have wanted to see a mix of companies, rather than one company presenting multiple times during the conference.


As a vendor, I did take back a huge lesson. When having a customer present on behalf of a vendor, make sure the content shows the customer challenge, the customer response, and the customer benefits only. The audience will engage with the customer much more. Hearing about the software and getting a sales pitch disengages the room. There were 34 questions for Jawbone, who presented on behalf of Kinaxis. Another vendor added software and marketing insights to their customer presentation. While interesting, that presentation only received three questions.


The Ugly


I thought this section would contain itself to just our account executive. When driving back home to the south bay from San Francisco, another car hit him. Thankfully he’s fine and it was just the car damaged. I understand this happens, but, you see, he was days away from moving his family back to Chicago, and this had a huge impact on his schedule.


However, the Ugly story doesn’t end there. It was school vacation week, so my family decided to join me in San Francisco, since San Diego is not too far of a drive. We went over to the Exploratorium, parked in a paid lot, in the handicap spot. When we returned a few hours later, we found our car windows were smashed, and some luggage taken. We had to drive the eight hours back to San Diego with kids and a service dog sitting next to smashed windows. The police were very helpful with the report, but said “this happens a lot.” I did some “googling” and found he was right. Crime, especially against tourists, is up dramatically in San Francisco.


I guess the “Hope and Change” isn’t quite what we expected in the City by the Bay!


The post The Good, the Bad and the Ugly at the High Tech Supply & Demand Summit appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.



Originally posted by CJ Wehlage at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/04/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-at-the-high-tech-supply-demand-summit/

by Andrew Dunbar

A common supply chain challenge is resource planningGoogle “Top 10 supply chain challenges” and you’ll find 44 million different opinions on the biggest issues our industry faces today. Many are filled with our favourite industry buzzwords: Visibility, Risk Management, Cost Pressure, The Internet of Things, Security Threats… and the list goes on. These are all interesting and catchy concepts but they don’t necessarily address the fundamental challenges faced by your supply chain organization. A common mistake when developing a supply chain strategy is to select some key initiatives or technology platforms and a list of best practices, and work backwards to highlight the business problems you’ll solve with your plan. If this is your approach then the Boston Bruins aren’t the only one’s putting the cart before the horse (Go Sens!).


I like the approach recommended by Peter Bolstorff, a Supply Chain Council Executive Director with APICS. He recommends a fundamentals-first approach to strategic planning and suggests focusing on three basic challenges:


  1. Rate of supply chain planning
  2. Resource management in a global organization
  3. Real time transformation of data into competitive insight.

The engineer in me loves the idea of designing a strategy beginning with first-principles and the business analyst in me is glad to see the challenges worded as business problems, instead of technology platforms. In the end, you may come up with the same plan you had when working from the solution backwards, but if you start with your business’s key challenges you can make sure nothing gets lost in translation.


Here’s my take on Peter’s three supply chain challenges:


  1. Rate of planning – This is a big one if you’re going to survive in today’s environment. If you’re still using MRP to make your supply chain planning decisions you’re in serious danger of getting edged out by your competition. Think your MRP system is working just fine? Check out this video from the Demand Driven Institute and ask yourself if this case sounds familiar: The Conventional Planning Puzzle – Just How Crazy Does MRP Make Your Life?
  2. Resource Management –Do the people you employ have the training to make the right decisions and to understand the impact of their decisions on the rest of your organization? It can get pretty ugly if your supply chain personnel doesn’t have the training to even identify the deficiencies in your organization. Supply chain planning systems are incredibly complex and if you’re not ensuring your team are experts with the tools you give them, then you can’t possibly get the most out of your investments.
  3. Competitive Insight – Do you have the ability to perform real-time simulations and clearly define the impact your planning decisions have throughout your organization? Taking that one step further, do you have the ability to ACT on that insight? Dashboards, metrics, scorecards, alerts, and collaboration tools are a must-have if your supply chain is going to give you a competitive advantage.

Do you have fundamental supply chain challenges that aren’t mentioned here? How are you going about fixing them? Comment back and let us know!

The post How Do You Define Your Supply Chain Challenges? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.



Originally posted by Andrew Dunbar at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/04/how-do-you-define-your-supply-chain-challenges/

by Alexa Cheater

A green supply chainIn honor of Earth Day I thought I’d take the opportunity to outline in my humble opinion why having a green supply chain is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s a necessity. Gone are the days when consumers would look the other way while companies rode roughshod over the environment in pursuit of a more profitable supply chain. Nowadays even governments (the good ones at least), are actively involved in making sure Mother Nature is protected, at least to some extent. Are you doing your part?


There is a growing need for sustainability integration into supply chain management and if you haven’t already started down the path to greener pastures you’re falling dangerously behind the trend, and it could be costing you more than you know.


According to a recent World Economic Forum report written in collaboration with Accenture, companies like UPS, SABMiller, DHL, Unilever and Nestle are among 25 multinational companies that have increased their revenue by up to 20% while cutting supply chain costs as much as 16% thanks to a focus on sustainability. Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Value Chains outlines 31 best practices for businesses to follow in order to see similar results, in what they’ve termed “the triple supply chain advantage.” Basically, companies work to achieve profitability through measures that benefit society and the environment at the same time.


A few of the more interesting practices include collaborating with the competition and using innovative technologies to drive savings. Why would anyone want to collaborate with the competition? And how exactly does that lead to a green supply chain? Nestle is referenced as one company who has taken this approach and seen the gamble pay off. They’re collaborating with rival PepsiCo, combining parts of their supply chain for fresh and chilled products in the Belgian market. The report says the two have “bundled warehousing, packaging and outbound distribution and synchronized deliveries to retailers to get full truck loads.” As a result, transportation costs dropped 44%, carbon emissions were reduced by 55%, and retailer and customer satisfaction levels increased. Talk about a win-win scenario.


DHL has also made efforts toward a green supply chain with the implementation of an aerodynamic trailer, first deployed way back in 2006. The Teardrop™, developed jointly with Don-Bur, is more aerodynamic than traditional models, and delivers fuel and CO2 savings of up to 12%.


What I also found particularly surprising was the report’s reference to the fact that profitability went up at almost the same rate a company’s carbon footprint went down. Carbon gas reduction was between 13-22%, while revenue was uplifted 5-20%. Add to that the fact that brand value increased an average of 15-30% and I’m seriously starting to question why any business isn’t taking a good hard look at implementing a green supply chain.


Of course, I’m fully aware that’s a lot easier said than done. There are some pretty big hurdles that need to be overcome before a green supply chain become a reality, most notably the associated costs needed for implementation, ensuring compliance in global, non-transparent supply chains, and the difficulty in identifying and utilizing options that will actually drive value for the business, society and the environment. I won’t go into great detail here about how you can get your business on the path to a green supply chain, but check out a previous blog, Start small, stay focused and keep going, by my colleague John Westerveld for some great information.


Green supply chains help promote lean operations, earn the admiration and loyalty of customers and employees, and improve profitability. So get at it! It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worthwhile.


What steps has your company made in moving toward a green supply chain? Comment below and let us know!

The post Why Having a Green Supply Chain Has Become a Necessity appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.



Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at http://blog.kinaxis.com/2015/04/why-having-a-green-supply-chain-has-become-a-necessity/

Filter Blog

By date:
By tag: