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It’s a busy time of year for us at Kinaxis as I am sure many of our readers can identify with. Many folks here are flying the skies to attend various conferences and wrapping up end of year projects. Here’s where we are at in the coming week. Kinexions Tokyo 2013
November 28, 2013
Canadian Embassy
Tokyo 107-8503, Japan


The presentations at the conference will include case studies from major domestic manufacturers and speak to the RapidResponse technology capabilities for knowing sooner and acting faster, which include multi-tier supply chain visibility, what-if analysis and collaboration. The agenda includes the following presentations:


  • Konica Minolta’s initiative for next generation SCM: Shifting from demand and supply chain management (SCM) to business alignment, Noboru Ohta, group leader, SCM planning group, Konica Minolta, Inc.
  • Supply chain resilience – Enabling supply chain management to be adaptive and resilient to market change, Toru Kanazawa, operation officer, Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting Co.
  • RapidResponse Roadmap: Trailblazing! Andrew Bell, product manager, Kinaxis
  • Continuous S&OP, Trevor Miles, vice president, thought leadership, Kinaxis

Learn more about Kinexions Tokyo.
 Chain and Logistics Summit North America
December 2 – 4, 2013
Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas


At the conference, join C.J. Wehlage, vice-president, high tech solutions at Kinaxis as he presents “Speed as the Innovator in the Supply Chain” on Tuesday December 3, 2013 from 4:20p.m. – 4:55p.m.  During the presentation, C.J.  will discuss the following themes:


  • Understanding how the new dynamic of direct customer communication with suppliers is changing the time frames for business processes
  • Transforming metrics gathered in real-time into informed decision-making at the right time
  • Empowering supply chain executives to drive positive outcomes through improved visibility and communication
  • Offering examples from the practitioner’s perspective of accelerating delivery on the fundamentals Technology as a Priority Means for Achieving Supply Chain Performance Getting Short Changed?


Friday, December 6, 2013
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST


This free session based on recent Supply Chain Insights Research that discusses the increasingly acute issue of establishing consensus and unity between Supply Chain and IT priorities.


Reserve your spot for this complimentary webcast.




Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

I love to get my hands on new devices and applications that can be used in the workplace. With so much access to technology today that allows workers to be in constant contact with colleagues, you would think that collaboration would be easier than ever. But, recently, I read an article arguing that there is increasing demand for more face-to-face communication in organizations. Of course, face time with colleagues is not always possible for businesses for multiple reasons, including time constraints and the high cost of travel.


According to a survey of over 1,000 U.S. employees, conducted by Kelton Global, people were asked how they prefer to collaborate and surprisingly 72% of respondents answered in person, 23% answered online and 5% answered via phone or video conference. In addition, nearly two in five employed Americans feel there is not enough collaboration in their workplace. There definitely seems to be a gap here. So while reading these articles, I said to myself – wait a minute, I know that we can help facilitate better collaboration in the workplace, as least for supply chain professionals!


This research takes me to our annual user conference, Kinexions, which was held a few weeks ago in Scottsdale, Arizona where our customers, partners and prospects got together to hear about recent developments in RapidResponse and our customers shared their stories of successful RapidResponse deployments. We also had something unique at this conference: we were able to show ‘supplier collaboration’ in RapidResponse. This feature enables an efficient and effective process between buyers and suppliers. Using RapidResponse, enterprises have direct supplier interaction with automated B2B data exchanges for a number of different situations.


At our conference, we were eager to present the power of supplier collaboration by adding another element to it.  We showed an integrated demonstration between RapidResponse and the GT Nexus portal. We received positive interest and valuable feedback from industry analysts, customers and prospects telling us how powerful and intuitive this approach is.


The demonstration pointed out a combined solution using the RapidResponse client and GT Nexus portal where suppliers and buyers sense, evaluate, decide and act upon a supply disruption. This integrated solution displays unique capabilities including multi-enterprise visibility, immediate simulations to enact on changes, and coordinated multi-party responses.


The ability to connect with the GT Nexus portal enables the supplier to sense the real-time data across a multi-enterprise level, feed this update to RapidResponse, and let RapidResponse do its magic in re-planning and scenario analysis. The scenario comparison uses a number of business metrics and enables the decision maker to analyze the comparison on financial impacts. Then, it’s time for GT Nexus to be fed back with the analyzed data for action.


This initiative serves a broad interaction between suppliers, buyers and even a possible additional tier of suppliers involved in the supply chain. We know that  letting a supplier have access to RapidResponse to commit to requested dates and quantities is beneficial to improve the flexibility of your supply chain and the profitability of your enterprise. We’re now adding some cream on top of it.


So, what’s next? The big thing is that we are not only collaborating with the supplier, but also letting suppliers to sense changes and the opportunity to make respective changes. With this in mind, we can also say what’s next could be preventing disruptions in your supply chain before they happen. Imagine a world where you can sense the disruption coming by identifying limits through your confidence intervals, looking at important metrics that perform a negative trend, and be able to respond to that as a preventive action. That definitely sounds like the next chapter.


It seems safe to say this integration would definitely bring more than enough collaboration in supply chain platforms to answer the need for more collaboration across different teams, thus enabling companies to do a better job of providing applications that encourage collaboration.


Collaboration is important and we definitely take it seriously.


Originally posted by Nazli Erdogus at

Reflecting on our user conference at the end of October and the comments from several analysts, which I covered in a previous blog, I failed to mention the excellent 3-part coverage by Bob Ferrari of Supply Chain Matters.






Bob starts his coverage by noting something about which we are very proud, with my emphasis:


Industry analysts, market influences and invited prospective customers are provided unrestricted access to all of the conference sessions and allowed to mingle with all attendees, something that unfortunately, all software or services vendors do not practice.  Our one restriction as an independent industry analyst and supply chain social media mechanism is to respect the stated confidentiality needs of specific customers or Kinaxis, which is appropriate.


In commenting on the opening remarks by our CEO, Doug Colbeth, Bob comments that:


…at Kinaxis board meetings, the discussions are always focused on ways to add value for customers vs. existing customer’s in the market: 
Why would we want to emulate the competition?
By our view, those comments indeed provide the true descriptor of the unique fabric that makes up Kinaxis and its approach with customers.


Bob is correct. We are forging a new path for supply chain planning that is not stuck in concepts first formulated in the 1980s and realized in solutions dating from the 1990s. We are not your father’s supply chain solutions. We are young, we are hip, and we are different. And, in case you missed it, we are proud of it.


Nothing captures what this means to our customers more than Bob’s observation, again with my emphasis, that:


…one of the consistent and somewhat unique themes that we have consistently and objectively observed at past Kinexions, namely customer’s open articulation of their enthusiasm concerning the value that Kinaxis RapidResponse software has provided in their business and decision-making processes, coupled with the ongoing existence of a positive partnership with a software vendor, one that consistently demonstrates responsiveness to their needs.  Trust me in the statement that while many software and services vendors consistently attempt to achieve this state in a customer focused event, it is something that cannot be consistently scripted or orchestrated.  It has to be organic and living.


Commenting on the many customer presentations at the event, Bob captures the key reasons customers turn to Kinaxis very well:


Constantly changing business and supply chain environments requiring more responsive and more predictive planning.
A realization that the majority of today’s supply chain information exists outside of an organization’s backbone or legacy systems.
Either frustration with attempting to implement an existing ERP based planning application, or current gaps in required planning capabilities needed.
Seeking a trusted partnership with a technology vendor and insuring that the vendor is responsive to ongoing needs.
The critical need to insure user acceptance and adoption of any tool selected, and that the system actually does what it is supposed to do.


Wow. If we had stated this in a brochure no-one would believe us. They would think it was just more Marketing blah-blah. But these are the reasons Bob heard our customers articulate. I love it. All I can say is thank you to our customers that presented – Applied Materials, Cisco, First Solar, Amgen, Flextronics, and NCR – and to all the other customers who chatted to Bob and the other Influencers during the conference.


In closing, when commenting on Kinaxis’ product direction and opportunities, Bob quotes from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. The part that I believe captures both the Kinaxis spirit and why RapidResponse is so relevant to our customers and prospects is:


Two roads diverged in a wood and I—


I took the one less traveled by,


And that has made all the difference.


Yes Bob, we will continue to take the road less traveled. It has made all the difference to our customers, and it is what makes us able to not only respond to traditional supply chain approaches differently, but also to address different supply chain problems, allowing our customers to Know Sooner and Act Faster by not only Planning, but also Monitoring and Responding quickly and profitably. It is the combination of these 3 complementary capabilities that makes us different.


As Doug, our CEO, said: “Why would we want to emulate the competition?” Vive la différence.




Originally posted by Trevor Miles at I just recently saw Bill DuBois’ blog post ‘Is Your Supply Chain Glass Half Full?’  It tickled my fancy and a few additional one-liners came to mind:


  • Project manager – I know you want to add cranberry juice to your martini glass, but I’ll need to write a change request for that.
  • Potential customer – I’ll order that drink if I can talk to 3 other customers who’ll tell me how good it is.
  • Supply chain consultant– Tell me about your requirements for filling that glass, and I’ll transform your glass-filling process!
  • Research analysts/Thought leaders – You’re at stage 4 of the maturity curve when you can segment all the glasses by fullness (or emptiness), sense how full each glass is with your eyes closed, and collaborate with the bartender to get a refill in real-time.

Hope you enjoyed that!


Do you have any other supply chain, “is the glass half full” one liners?


Originally posted by Janice Kakazu at

Since I’ve joined Kinaxis, I’ve become so intrigued by the parallels I see between Apple and Kinaxis customers.


When I was at Apple, the joy that customers showed when using our products was so inspiring. They were always quick to say how cool something was.  Strangely enough, despite being in the enterprise software business, I’ve witnessed similar reactions from Kinaxis customers. In my 11 months here, customers are ecstatic when they talk about having RapidResponse. While I see the strategic benefits of using RapidResponse, it’s certainly not a consumer must-have gadget, like an iPad.  Yet, watch some of the Kinaxis videos, and see the passionate ways clients are using to explain what RapidResponse means to them.












During my time here, I’ve been pretty curious about this enthusiasm and have been investigating the why, and now, after our recent Kinexions conference it has become clearer to me. Here’s what I learned when I asked a handful of clients “What do you love about Kinaxis?” The two most common replies were:


  1. “Once RapidResponse went in, it spread like wild-fire.”
  2. “I wish I would have done this years ago.”

So, let’s analyze each statement:
“Once RapidResponse went in, it spread like wild-fire”, to me, means Influence.


Consider first what RapidResponse is: An end-to-end analytics solution, with incredible speed. Speed from in-memory and ONE code.  Now, I’ve been around the supply chain block these past 25 years, and the only “ONE” code I’ve seen is Excel (and we know, using excel has its drawbacks – see past blogs Hey Software Bullies Stop Picking On Excel and  Yet Another Excel Blooper When Will We Learn).


Everything else is functional modules that take time to stitch together.  Oh by the way, the complexity of supply chain nodes (from the companies I led) has increased from ~ 5-10 to ~ 20-25.  So, imagine gathering relevant data from EVERY node of your supply chain, into ONE code, and having incredible speed to perform analysis and collaboration.  To know what’s happening at every node, and respond before others are aware, brings a huge level of influence in the supply chain network.  People see it, and want it… badly! And, I can see why it spread like wild-fire.


“I wish I would have done this years ago”, to me, means Power


In this statement, customers are referring to using RapidResponse today.  And because of that, they are able to know sooner and act faster. For many companies, this has resulted in inventory and costs savings, margin and profit growth and utilization improvements.  The simulation capability has enabled them to use the supply chain operations to create a supply chain strategy and then align the supply chain strategy with the business strategy. So, when their competitors are fire-fighting disruptions (i.e. giving away profit to make revenues), they are simulating trade-offs in advance of competition, customer demand, industry and business plan changes and supply disruptions. The final result is a level of power in their company that they wish they had years ago.


This influence and power remind me of a great quote I once heard…


Information isn’t power…Informative decisions is power!


When Kinaxis clients are using words like ‘every node in the network’ and ‘total cost’, they are speaking about how they use the information to improve end-to-end decisions.  Functional wins are replaced with value driven wins.  This is what Gartner calls Stage 4 – Value Driven Supply Chain. Gartner’s Christian Titze attended Kinexions and wrote the following article entitled, ‘Kinexions 2013 Shows the Value of Adaptable Planning Systems of Record’. In it, he says that: “Some are now decommissioning their other SCP solutions and even moving material requirements planning (MRP) out of their ERP systems. This indicates Stage 3+ IT maturity for planning, whereby a planning SOR is in place and ERP systems are seen solely as transactional SORs. ” – Titze, C., Payne, T.; Kinexions 2013 Shows the Value of Adaptable Planning Systems of Record; Gartner, Inc.; 31 October 2013 .


A value driven, or market driven, or even a demand driven supply chain is Stage 4 in the supply chain journey.  However, many companies are stuck in Stage 3.  Why?  I think it’s because they grew up functionally, are organized functionally, and make functional decisions.  It’s easy to spot.  I like asking the first question… “tell me about your supply chain strategy”.


The typical response is, “we are working to reduce our costs”, “we have a goal of 98.5% on time delivery”, or “we want to improve our inventory turns by 20%”.  Great operational goals, but not a supply chain strategy.  Lora Cecere from Supply Chain Insight’s has stated, “…over 85% of companies are not clear on supply chain strategy,” in her blog Three Lies and a Truth. The answer starts with the business strategy – what is the company’s goal, what is being offered, when and where?  Then, how does the supply chain iterate and evaluate the cost benefit tradeoffs over time?


Most supply chains do the cost benefit tradeoff at the end of the quarter, or after the disruption has occurred.  Masked with the benefit of “made the revenue plan” is the failure of lost profitability.   It’s even worse when supply chain leaders reward the fire-fighters, enabling an organization that sees expediting more positive than preparation.


Call it Stage 4, call it value driven, call it supply chain strategy, the core is to know and respond across the complete supply chain network, and simulate the tradeoffs that enable the business plan.  You can see what the most important step in getting to stage 4 according to the Kinaxis clients…




Using that data with incredible speed, affords you a level of influence and power across your company and supply chain network, and enables a value driven strategy.




Originally posted by CJ Wehlage at

We recently held our user conference, Kinexions, in Scottsdale Arizona. Attendees from around the world gathered to learn, laugh, share and connect. The event was kicked off by an address from Kinaxis CEO, Doug Colbeth. This was followed by an inspiring talk by Sir Ken Robinson discussing finding your passion: how you need to find what you love to do and then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. That was followed by several customer presentations describing how they’ve used RapidResponse to know sooner and act faster. And actually, that was the theme of the show…“Know sooner, act faster”.


If you are a Kinaxis customer, you know what this tagline means. For those who aren’t, this is what we are talking about:


Know sooner: Imagine that you have a supply chain disruption. Your supplier’s line has gone down and they’ve decommitted the next few weeks of orders while they make repairs and get caught up.   Imagine you found this out first thing Monday morning.  With your current ERP system, how long would it take you to understand what that delay would do to your production schedule?  What customer orders would be impacted?  What does this do to your weekly, monthly, quarterly revenue targets?  Maybe the supply delay really only impacts safety stock and minimally impacts actual customer orders. Perhaps the supply delay impacts millions of dollars of revenue.


Not knowing means either lost time working on minor problems (while more significant issues are ignored) or potentially not working a problem that could impact your company financially. Now, what if you had a system that would notify you when something like a supplier line down occurred.  Imagine if you could configure the system to only notify you if this change impacted customer revenue? Further, what if this system could lay out for you what the revenue impact was and the items causing these orders to be late. That is how you know sooner.


Act Faster:  Now imagine that the line down situation described above actually does drive millions of dollars of lost revenue? What would you need to do to recover? Do you find another supplier?  Can you substitute the late component with another equivalent component?  Can you offer customers a higher end product in place of the ones that are short? Or is it better to just accept that the late/lost revenue? Each of the possible resolutions have cost, revenue and customer service implications.


If you are using a traditional ERP system, you will need to pick one approach and go with it because you cannot effectively simulate different options, and even if you could, with the limited reporting capability inherent in today’s ERP systems, you can’t easily see the impact of those options on revenue, margin and customer service.  To act faster, you need to be able to identify those people affected by a change, collaborate with them to simulate the possible resolution options and then compare those resolution options  to see the revenue, margin and customer service impact.


When plans and events create risk/opportunity for you, the speed at which you bring together the right people to collaborate will make or break your operations performance.


It’s not difficult to see that knowing sooner and acting faster is a competitive advantage. Other factors being equal, reacting to changes in your supply chain faster than the competitions means that you will win more business, hold less inventory and earn more profits.












Originally posted by John Westerveld at had our annual user conference, Kinexions (pronounced ‘connections’ – isn’t English a strange and fabulous language?) in late October with record attendance and great feedback. The theme of the conference was our tag line ‘Know Sooner. Act Faster.’ Indulge me while I parse out our strap line.


Know Sooner – The ability to detect market changes quickly and determine whether the changes represent risk or opportunity, as well as identifying and alerting the people impacted by the risks or opportunities.


Act Faster – The ability to determine the best course of action quickly through scenario analysis within a team of people, across functions and even organizations, in a structured manner.


In other words our strap line is all about reducing decision latency through purposeful collaboration driven by responsibilities.


As usual it was the great customer testimonials that drive home the benefits of this theme through:


  • Rapid time to value in the initial deployment
  • Rapid innovation on the part of Kinaxis
  • Consistent value delivery over time as they expand into new BUs, geographies, and business processes
  • Mature into a Planning Control Tower – End-to-end supply chain planning process enablement

Of course that is easy for me to say, so I want to focus on external validation of these points.


We had Christian Titze attend our conference for the first time from Austria. In a short summary of the conference Christian states that:


Client companies at the conference demonstrated several ways in which they are adapting and improving their supply chains. These included speeding up time to value from deploying new software, and using embedded analytics and master data management (MDM). In doing so they showed how they were redefining their supply chain planning (SCP) application portfolios to support an adaptable and capable planning system of record (SOR).


Several client companies showed how they were using RapidResponse as a planning SOR. Some are now decommissioning their other SCP solutions and even moving material requirements planning (MRP) out of their ERP systems. This indicates Stage 3+ IT maturity for planning, whereby a planning SOR is in place and ERP systems are seen solely as transactional SORs.


Titze, C., Payne, T.; Kinexions 2013 Shows the Value of Adaptable Planning Systems of Record; Gartner, Inc.; 31 October 2013 .


Unfortunately Ray Wang had some travel issues meaning he could not attend our analyst/influencer session in which we have open kimono discussions with several customers, but Ray has attended our user conference in the past and knows several of our customers. However we were fortunate to have Holger Mueller on a panel which I moderated. Holger has tons of experience in large ERP vendors so it was great to see him endorse the benefits of our technical architecture in a Twitter stream with Ray, which is of course behind all the value delivery.


Lora Cecere has been a consistent voice of the customer in the analyst community for well over 10 years now, often putting the software vendors feet to the fire, including ours. She calls this ‘tough love’. As a consequence any positive statements about a vendor need to be cherished, so it is with great joy that I can report that while at our conference, Lora wrote a blog entitled ‘Applause’ in which she states:


In leaving the Kinaxis user meeting this week, I am struck by three things.


First, their recent work on mobility and defining the user experience on a mobile application is very cool.


Second, the flexibility of the Kinaxis solution makes the product hard to message, but the clients that have figured it out, are very happy.  (Some of the happiest….)


Third, the solution is most often deployed in material-intensive supply chains for what-if simulation and visibility. It is a cloud-based solution that scales easily for hundreds of users. It has helped many clients that were too constrained by the inflexibility of the traditional APS platform.


At the conference, Kinexions, I heard many clients speaking freely about the deployment of Kinaxis and the turning off of Oracle and SAP APS solutions.  Many were almost giddy. The ease-of-use of the Kinaxis system was freeing for their teams.


Our Customers
While I wish I could share details of the customer stories shared with the influencers and as keynotes, these days companies are very reluctant to provide public statements of benefit.  What I can say is that during the influencer session we had three customers speak:


•    Flextronics – Customer since Oct 2001
•    Amgen – Customer since Mar 2009
•    NCR – Customer since Jan 2010


The consistent story across all 3 is how they paid for the initial investment in less than a year and how they have expanded their deployment of Kinaxis ever since, often to adjacent functions such as Finance, R&D, and Regulatory/Control. These stories were repeated in the main stage presentations by Cisco, Applied Materials, and First Solar.


What I love about these customer stories is that they give us purpose. Without tangible business benefits software is nothing but a few bits and bytes.




Originally posted by Trevor Miles at

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