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by Bill DuBois

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management.


supply chainIt’s our perpetual hobby horse here at Argentus that Supply Chain needs to be doing more as a field to attract young people. And the industry has started to pick up the slack. Whether it’s organizations partnering with universities to provide information and educational opportunities, or industry associations holding informative events aimed at the wider public, many Supply Chain leaders are using creative strategies to develop the next generation of talent in the field.


But is there something about Supply Chain’s image that’s holding it back from being seen as the crucial, strategic function with tremendous career potential it is today?


This is an issue that popped up in our discussion of why there aren’t more Women in Supply Chain Leadership roles: it’s the question of Supply Chain’s popular image and whether it’s preventing women and others from viewing it as a lucrative and vibrant career option.


On company websites, magazines, promotional videos, and industry association pages, the Supply Chain industry has always employed imagery of the nuts-and-bolts of how products get to market. We’re all used to images of hard hats, warehouses, trucks, trains, shipping containers, boxes, and palettes as a sort of visual shorthand for Supply Chain as a function. We use plenty of these images here at Argentus in our blog posts, service pages, etc.


We get it: there needs to be some kind of imagery to associate with an industry or function. But it’s worth considering: does imagery of trucks and boxes adequately convey the strategic edge that Supply Chain offers to companies? Does it offer a realistic vision of what Supply Chain Directors, Planners, Strategic Sourcing professionals and others do every day to uncover efficiencies and integrate global processes across a business? Or does it send a message to young people that a career in Supply Chain is, let’s face it, boring?


We all know that’s not the case. We recruit for jobs in Supply Chain every day, and we hear this from candidates all the time: A progressive career in Supply Chain is fast-paced, with tons of variety. It’s very closely tied to both technology and globalization, so it’s rapidly evolving. And it’s rewarding, both intellectually and financially. But many people outside the field have a persistent perception that is rooted in Supply Chain’s origins: that it’s a blue-collar, transactional function. And the imagery that we often employ hasn’t caught up with how the field has evolved.


Let it be said: we fully support and admire all the front-line individuals who make Supply Chains run effectively. Distribution centre staff, drivers, and transactional buyers are all crucial components of Supply Chain success. But it can’t be denied that images of trucks and warehouses end up reinforcing an image of Supply Chain as a purely “blue collar” function. Beyond that, they often don’t show the people themselves who really provide the value. Maybe part of the difficulty is that Supply Chain offers value as a connector. It connects suppliers with businesses, manufacturers with distributors with customers. And it’s harder to depict the connections between things than it is to depict the things themselves.


We’ve written before about how Supply Chain isn’t the flashiest business function, and it rarely gets recognition in the news. In fact, many in the wider public aren’t even familiar with what Supply Chain is. But at all levels of business all the way up to the C-suite, more and more people are noticing that Supply Chain offers a strategic edge that allows companies to succeed in a global context. It brings business functions together, streamlines operations, and ensures positive customer experiences.


Isn’t it time that Supply Chain’s image caught up to the times?


The post Does supply chain’s image need to catch up with the times? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Originally posted by Bill DuBois at

by Alexa Cheater

7 barriers to aerospace and defense supply chain success

Aerospace & DefenseAs air travel demand soars, aircraft equipment manufacturers continue to innovate in areas like jet engine fuel efficiency, navigation technology and materials science. These improvements, especially around fuel efficiency, are driving demand for newer aircraft models, and speeding up the replacement of previous generations as a result.


For supply chains in the aerospace and defense industry, keeping pace with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who are dramatically increasing production rates for components, systems and services, is a major challenge. As the flying public continues to demand lower airfares, a ripple effect is running through the entire supply chain, from OEMs to tier one suppliers and lower, as everyone struggles with the ongoing challenge of competitive pricing.


The global defense industry is also facing new challenges, including how to grow profitably in the face of a potential market decline and how to cut costs to maintain acceptable financial performance. These organizations are cutting costs to maintain their margins in this declining revenue environment. Successful defense companies have anticipated defense budget cuts, already reducing staff, cutting overhead costs and getting leaner. They’re accelerating process automation instead of hiring more staff, resulting in higher operating earnings per employee.


Digital product development and computer-aided design have changed the game further by creating significant efficiencies in the product development process. Lean manufacturing and six sigma initiatives have significantly cut waste and inefficiency in the production process. It’s expected these initiatives and programs will take off further as companies continue to work on managing margins and profitability.


Aerospace and defense supply chain pain points


Multiple ERPs

Various point-based solutions, multiple enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) and legacy systems located around the globe mean disparate, disconnected data. That results in poor end-to-end supply chain visibility, latency in critical decision-making and overall inefficiency in supply chain operations.


Solution: Incorporate all supply and demand data through a closed-loop process that writes back to execution systems based on decisions made throughout the planning cycle. Integrating data into a single system of record builds confidence in the accuracy of data and the global capacity management system. One data set means one version of the truth and one location where anyone involved can see updates to those numbers.


Large-scale data requirements

The computing power required to model global, multi-tier supply chains and explode demand and supply across integrated supply chains is enormous. But the ability to scale is a critical capability to supply chain success.


Solution: Make sure you’re using the best technologies available to support scalability and performance requirements for this data-intensive industry.


Supply chain complexity

Limited visibility due to increased supply chain complexity makes it difficult to see the true reality of the extended value network when it comes to capacity, material availability and the likelihood of supporting schedule shifts.


Solution: Connect your end-to-end supply chain by harmonizing data in a single source, which will drive improved visibility and offer insight into planned and current demand, inventory, capacity, constraints and supply at any desired level of the product hierarchy.


Product complexity

Products typically have a large number of models, options and configurations available, and engineering change orders are usually ongoing as products are customized to meet each consumer’s individual demands. This results in deep and varied bills of material (BOMs) that need to account for a large number of planning attributes including model/unit BOM effectivity, prioritization, inventory pooling, interchangeable parts and BOM substitution.


Solution: Complex analytic support. A solution that supports all aerospace and defense specific planning parameters into demand, supply, inventory and capacity balancing. BOMs should hold the product structure for manufactured products and include draw quantities (quantity per assembly), start and stop effectivity dates, production yields and mix factors, etc. that drive the explosion of top level demand through to the lowest level of the product structure requirements. Separate models or units of common parts and net them independently of one another. This ensures supply for a given unit is allocated to demand for that same unit. Effectively manage different pools of inventory for a part and ensure proper segregation during netting by preventing intermingling of inventories for a given part associated with different customers, contracts or projects. Group together parts considered equivalent in form, fit and function to satisfy demand for any part in the interchangeable group. Be sure to set different levels of priority and assign them to specific demands. This ensures higher priority orders receive supply first.


Inadequate tools for rate simulations

Existing tools to support schedule change simulations require extensive expertise to run, and fail to fully represent limitations within the extended supply chain. Adjusting rates can be extremely time consuming, spanning weeks in some cases.


Solution: Deploy a tool that allows you to test rate changes in seconds. You’ll be immediately able to see impact across the supply chain and project delivery dates, identify the impact on gating material and capacities, and quickly invite users to participate in resolving any issues. What-if analysis and scenario creation capabilities also allow for faster facilitation and broad collaboration to ensure schedule alignment and feasibility. You also need support for the definition of rate-based constraints for virtually any unit of measure. View constraints for load-only comparisons, constraint availability or limit the timing and availability of supply and demand. This allows for a simple way of producing a constrained demand and supply plan that respects key limitations and identifies the impact on demand and supply commitments. Don’t forget to evaluate material availability before identifying when work will be loaded.


Line of balance analysis

With a high degree of individual unit configurability, there’s a strong need for visibility into supply chain alignment and the delivery of each unit to ensure delivery and revenue attainment predictability. Unfortunately, that visibility isn’t always available.


Solution: Connect your data, processes and people into a single, harmonious environment so you can easily see the entire set of items, including the source of the supply (on-hand, on-order or planned) of an aircraft in production. That allows you to determine whether any items needed are missing, and whether the timing will support the customer delivery window.  


Engineering changes

Engineering changes are commonplace, and since these changes are often managed in multiple systems, it’s difficult to assess the impact on the supply chain.


Solution: Test and identify the operational impact of selecting particular dates for selected engineering changes. This lets you determine effectivity timing that maximizes alignment with performance objectives and avoid excess or shortage conditions.


These are just a few of the specific aerospace and defense supply chain pain points. Are there other challenges you’re facing in your supply chain? Let us know in the comments section below.


Don’t forget to check out the other industries featured in this blog series:


The post Supply chain pain points in the Aerospace and Defense industry appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


 Inventory management: 5 building blocks for success


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Dr. Madhav Durbha

Supply chain professional advancementThere is a standalone vehicle emission check shop that I visit to get my car checked prior to the annual tag renewal. For those who are not familiar with the emission check process, you drive your car into the shop. As you wait in your car, a technician hooks your car up to his computer, measures emissions and prints a certificate. The whole process takes about 5 minutes. Just about 4 or 5 years ago the service had cost $25. The aforementioned shop was one of the very few shops providing the service in the vicinity. However, over the next few years, nearly every auto mechanic shop in the area started offering an emission check service. For them, it was simply a loss leader to get the cars in. Then they took advantage of the opportunity to sell higher margin services they offer. Soon, the prices for the service started dropping. The cost of an emission check went down to $20, then $15, and now stands at $10. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out where the trend will continue to go!


The moral of the story is simple. When a service gets commoditized, the differentiation disappears, and the price that one is willing to pay drops. It doesn’t have to be a service. It can be a product, or even a professional like you and I. We get commoditized, too! Jack Welch said it – “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”. While he said it in the context of organizations, this could very well be true for individuals, as well.


Let’s talk about the implications of this for supply chain professionals. Supply chain management is quickly evolving to be quite an interdisciplinary field. Just recently, I was talking to a youngster studying industrial engineering with specialization in SCM. The curriculum he is going through is quite well rounded with coursework and internships that included industrial engineering, operations research, big data analytics, systems engineering, and programming. Besides majoring in industrial engineering, he is also getting a minor in computer science.


Now, think about this. This young man and many like him will be entering the workforce with skills that several of us did not have an opportunity to acquire while in school or thereafter. In a few years, he will be a supply chain professional with wide ranging skills, and could very well be sitting in the cubicle or in the office next to you and I.


Contrast that with several professionals I run into whose job descriptions have not changed in the last ten years and have not had any major skills refresh. How can one keep pace? There are plenty of cost effective ways to keep your skills fresh and up to date through online learning platforms, such as Coursera or Udemy. If watching video lectures and taking quizzes and exams are not your thing, there is a wealth of knowledge in the form of free online materials and digital content (including the site on which you are reading this post). For your reference, towards the end of this post I am including links to a variety of blogs and newsletters you may find useful. There is no substitute for ongoing learnings when it comes to maintaining your edge. Certain fields of study mandate continuing education. For example, physicians have CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits they need to earn and report to the regulatory agencies as an ongoing requirement to practice their profession. Supply chain professionals in most organizations don’t have any such mandates, exposing them to the risk of irrelevancy. The motivation to learn in case of most supply chain professionals has to come from within!


If you have not watched the highly inspiring and provocative movie Hidden Figures, I encourage you to do so. In this real life story, Dorothy Vaughan, a human computer at NASA in the 1960’s comes to learn about an upcoming installation of IBM 7090 computer that could take her job and that of her coworkers. Instead of resisting change, she takes matters into her own hands by training herself in FORTRAN and helping her co-workers get ramped up, too. In essence, she saw the risk and turned it into an opportunity so that her team became the operators of the new technology!


Enough is being written and said about robots, drones, artificial intelligence, and automation and how these technologies are threatening human jobs in supply chain. Faced with the changes happening in the field of SCM in light of these technologies, what would you like to be? Would you like to be the auto mechanic shop that offers a portfolio of services and thrive, or be single threaded like the standalone emission check shop? Would you like to be like Dorothy Vaughan and control your own destiny, or sit, complain, and fade away into irrelevance? The choice is yours… and the time to act is NOW!


Some useful links for supply chain professionals

This by no means is an exhaustive list. Please add any other sites you recommend in the comments section of this post.


  1. Supply Chain Quarterly by CSCMP: The magazine has some very interesting, emerging trends, and practitioner points of view.
  2. Supply Chain Shaman by Lora Cecere: Lora puts out some great, provocative content. She also touches upon some emerging areas in supply chain such as cognitive computing, blockchain, machine learning and such. Follow her on Linkedin as well.
  3. SCM World’s blogs and newsletters: Subscribe to Kevin O’Marah’s weekly newsletter as well. He brings up quite a few macrolevel factors such as economy, GDP, and such and ties them back to what matters for supply chain.
  4. Wall Street Journal’s daily supply chain and logistics news: Introduced a couple of years ago, it provides a daily digest of key news items relevant to supply chain professionals.
  5. Join the ”supply chain management group(SCM)” on LinkedIn: With close to 200,000 members, individuals post interesting articles they came across or questions, concerns they have around career choices and such to get advice from the broader community.
  6. Supply Chain Brain: A high quality online magazine with articles collated from external sources as well as original content. A good site to bookmark and visit.
  7. SupplyChainDigest: With daily news roundup, weekly newsletters, video interviews, and the fun supply chain caption content, the site contains research and points of views from vendors and practitioners. The editor Dan Gilmore also attends a number of major industry and vendor events and does a good job with trip summaries and such.
  8. Martha Heller’s report: While not exclusively focused on supply chain, Martha’s newsletter keeps you abreast of the IT trends in light of the rise of Cloud platforms and such, interviews with leading CIO’s and such.

The post Career advice: Keeping your edge as a supply chain professional in the face of change! appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


 Inventory management: 5 building blocks for success


Originally posted by Dr. Madhav Durbha at

by Alexa Cheater

inventory management practicesDon’t get caught having your company’s inventory management conversation alone!


Making the most of one of your company’s largest assets means bringing together everyone involved from the manufacturing floor to the corner office, and focusing on more than just what’s in your warehouse.


Re-evaluating your inventory management practices can help you overcome rising supply chain costs, increasing customer demand and the growing complexity of global operations. It can also help raise profits and reduce risk. Successful inventory management all boils down to a delicate balancing act. You need to have enough of a product to satisfy customer demands, but not so much that it risks becoming obsolete or sinks your business with high carrying costs. As David Thomas, Director of Global Capacity Planning at Ford Motor Company says, inventory is “… dead money.”


Your job as an inventory manager is to strike a compromise between conflicting priorities – and almost as importantly, those of your colleagues. Inventory management is a continuous value-driven activity that needs to include all key stakeholders to collaboratively plan, monitor and respond to changes to inventory plans as they happen.


The inventory manager acts like an air traffic controller, effectively collaborating with and directing peers in a way that leads to optimized inventory results. And just like an air traffic controller, you don’t always have the required control over key functions – like weather conditions, air speed or even how many flights airlines schedule to arrive and depart.


When it comes to inventory management, critical functions like setting safety stock levels, determining order policies and finding ways to reduce lead times and cycles won’t always be in your complete control. So before you set your company’s inventory policies and targets, it’s best to make sure you’ve talked with everyone involved.


Here’s a handy checklist of whom you should reach out to in order to get the inventory conversation started.


  • Inventory planner: defines ordering policies and minimizes the costs associated with inventory
  • Material planner: manages the detailed plan for all materials
  • Master scheduler: plans the correct amount of each finished good item at the best time
  • Demand planner: represents customer expectations internally that impact network complexity
  • Capacity planner: determines the production requirements needed to meet demand
  • Distribution planner: ensures the availability of stock for the distribution network
  • Customer service representative: communicates commit dates and order information to the customer

Interested in learning more about successful inventory management? Check out our latest eBook, Inventory management: 5 building blocks to success, to find out how to simplify your processes and get the right people involved from the start.


The post Why inventory management should be a company-wide conversation appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


 Inventory management: 5 building blocks for success


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Melissa Clow

Automotive PlantThis guest post comes to us from Jim Fulcher, Blogger on the Supply Chain Expert Community.


Last week, Toyota and Mazda signed an agreement to enter a business and capital alliance to further strength their partnership. The outcome is expected to either significantly impact an existing automotive supplier network or prompt manufacturers and suppliers to move or begin operations.


Specifically, the companies agreed to establish a joint-venture plant which produces vehicles in the U.S., jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles, jointly develop connected-car technology, collaborate on advanced safety technologies, and expand complementary products. As might be expected, it’s news of the joint-venture plant that is attracting attention, especially since the companies announced the plant would have an estimated annual production capacity of approximately 300,000 units, will require a total investment of approximately 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, and will create up to 4,000 jobs.


At the new plant, Mazda expects to produce cross-over models which Mazda will introduce to the North American market, and Toyota plans to produce the Corolla for the North American market. By producing vehicles in the U.S., Mazda aims to build a production structure to further grow in North America, allowing the company to more quickly respond to its customers’ needs depending on the region and model. By further increasing its production capacity in the U.S., Toyota will be better positioned to respond to the growing North American market.


The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 11 states are in talks to land the manufacturing plant. Besides Texas—Toyota’s new North American headquarters—other states on the companies’ shortlist are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina, WSJ reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the potential investment. Those sources also said the manufacturing facility would require at least 1,000 acres of land.


Some auto industry analysts believe Mississippi may have an edge because it’s already home to a Toyota Corolla factory which has been producing the compact car for almost six years. Locating the plant near Toyota’s existing manufacturing site would enable the two companies to source parts from companies nearby that supply components for Corolla production. What’s more, a head-start on a supplier network would be particularly attractive for Mazda, which doesn’t have a U.S. plant.


“We do have supply lines in the U.S. that are pretty extensive, particularly for the Corolla,” Scott Vazin, a Toyota spokesman, says in an article on Bloomberg. “We hope these supply lines can be used for this new entity, because there are clearly some efficiencies in it.”


Needless to say, other states’ governments are very interested in the possibility of gaining the plant. For instance, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin told a group of automotive suppliers and industry officials gathered in Lexington on Monday that the state will pursue the proposed factory and mentioned a 1,550-acre site in Glendale, Ky., as a prime location, a USA Today article reports.


The [South Carolina] Post and Courier reports that the Toyota-Mazda partnership may very well make its plant-location decision based on labor force and government incentives, which were key factors in recent decisions by Mercedes-Benz Vans and Volvo Cars to build manufacturing plants in the Charleston region. In addition to Volvo and Mercedes-Benz Vans, each of which are building $500 million manufacturing campuses, South Carolina is home to the world’s largest BMW manufacturing site, the article continues. The state’s automotive industry includes more than 400 suppliers and other companies which employ about 66,000 people.


One would think that locating a new plant near an existing facility may be the most appropriate decision, especially if there is an opportunity to leverage a pre-existing supplier network, along with a labor force and government incentives. Then again, there is always risk in location-sourcing decisions, such as whether the skilled labor pool is large enough to support continued growth and whether suppliers can accommodate a demand for increased capacity.


What are your thoughts on location decisions, and in particular, the potential impact on existing supplier networks? What supply chain risks do you see?


The post Plant-location decisions and potential supply chain risk appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Top 4 capacity planning obstacles


Originally posted by Melissa Clow at

by Alexa Cheater

Integrated supply chainFaced with growing global complexity and increasing demand volatility, Kennametal set out to improve its supply chain maturity, increase data integration and improve its bottom line. But doing so meant developing an integrated supply chain connecting data, process and people.


Driving the decision to change was the impact of market demands on Kennametal’s revenue. Inventory levels were bloated, customer satisfaction levels were low and a very high SKU count and complex supply base across all continents meant it was a challenge to keep data connected and processes optimized. Complexity overlaid nearly every aspect of the global manufacturer’s operations.


So how could the company overcome it?


Identifying gaps

The answer lay in connecting the data dots and fueling systematic collaboration. Standing in the way was an excessive use of spreadsheets, heavy reliance on non-integrated middleware and a swarm of disconnected processes. Achieving success meant identifying existing process gaps, recognizing ineffective tools and focusing on two key areas: sales and operations planning (S&OP) and cross-functional visibility.


From an S&OP perspective, Kennametal struggled with integration between supply chain planning and stakeholder processes (i.e. sales, finance, etc.). In terms of visibility, without a single platform to provide end-to-end planning, the ability to see the complete picture was spotty at best.


Planning for success

Knowing change doesn’t happen overnight, Kennametal devised a phased approach to improve its supply chain integration and maturity. Step one was breaking down the S&OP processes and rebuilding it over the course of nearly seven months to improve collaboration between sales, marketing and operations, and to align to the financial forecast.


Next came the implementation of subsequent planning processes – which took another year to get in place. Kennametal expanded its processes to include:


  • Rough cut capacity planning
  • Plant loading
  • Supplier collaboration
  • Rebalancing of inventory
  • Safety stock calculations
  • ABC stratification

The final step, which is currently in progress, addresses the integration of demand planning, including statistical forecasting and life cycle planning. It also includes component planning, deployment and constrained capacity planning.


Integrating data, process and people

Integrating its data and connecting people in the end-to-end process has pushed participating functions toward a collaborative approach. But to generate sustainable process outcomes, Kennametal sought continuous training and education for its team to ensure success.


The company has standardized its processes with an emphasis on the overall business objectives, created a more demand-driven supply chain, refined tradeoff decision-making and adopted a customer-centric mindset.
It’s now moving toward implementing longer-term planning horizons and is well on its way to achieving a higher level of supply chain maturity.


Recognizing results

Kennametal has improved forecast accuracy in the 3-to-6-month timeframe by 30-50%, which has contributed to significant reductions to inventory. Scenario simulation and improved collaboration helped drive alignment between groups like supply and demand planning, and marketing and sales. This has enabled Kennametal to mature its S&OP processes even further, delivering value in transparency, data integration and end-to-end supply chain visibility.


It’s also resulted in minimized forecast bias, removing a culture of uncertainty and shifting it from reactive to proactive.


Ultimately, Kennametal’s supply chain maturity success boiled down to trust in its data and technology.


Interested in learning more about Kennametal’s quest for supply chain integration? Check out our recent case study.


The post How Kennametal developed an integrated supply chain by connecting its data dots appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Top 4 capacity planning obstacles


Originally posted by Alexa Cheater at

by Bill DuBois

Tight ropeBalancing capacity can be as challenging as walking a tight rope. It’s a fine line between staying balanced or plunging to your death. Not enough capacity and you lose balance when it comes to delivery and customer satisfaction. Too much capacity and you lose your balance when it comes to costs and margins. All companies are walking this fine line with capacity planning, but some are continuously waving their arms trying to stay upright, while others have secured their footing.


At one end, you have what you might call the “order toss” approach. Let’s throw the orders over the wall and try not to listen to operations scream bloody murder. Planning decisions are made with the best of intentions but for reasons that aren’t always clear, those decisions are made without much consideration for capacity.


At the other end, you have organizations with finely tuned collaborative processes that consider capacity at all levels of the planning horizon. From business planning, sales and operations planning (S&OP) down to detailed material planning, capacity planning is part of the conversation at all levels. Utilization is a key metric for high capital equipment. Capacity and inventory planning work closely together to manage prebuild plans against inventory targets. In overloaded conditions – and let’s face it, regardless of how good your processes are it will happen – demand, supply, inventory and capacity planners are all in sync to balance revenue, margin and delivery targets against utilization, inventory and cost reduction goals.


Others are somewhat in between. Managing capacity, but in a way that makes it tedious and time consuming. So what’s the difference between the two paths?


Those down the successful path were able to recognize some fundamental barriers to best-in-class capacity planning and do something about it. The phrase “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it” is appropriate for capacity planning. It can be a monumental task but those who have figured it out have reaped the rewards.


Here’s what the seasoned planners do to ease the capacity balancing act:


  1. Manage data requirements to support timely and accurate capacity planning
  2. Maintain capacity data quality on an ongoing basis
  3. Centralize all capacity planning analytics in one place
  4. Collaborate with other planning organizations (i.e. demand, supply, inventory, executives)

The rewards are plentiful for companies clearing the path on their capacity planning journey. Visibility into the full capacity planning landscape provides much improved insights into your ability to make customer commitments. Acting on new opportunities is less painful and operations becomes your best friend rather than someone to avoid after you input a new demand plan.


Interested in finding out more about ensuring a successful capacity planning journey? Check out our latest eBook, Top 4 capacity planning obstacles and how to remove them and give us your thoughts below in the comments.


The post Where are you on your capacity planning journey? appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Top 4 capacity planning obstacles


Originally posted by Bill DuBois at

by Teresa Chiykowski

“Focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination.”
Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth


Kinexions '17It’s all systems go for Kinexions ’17, which will take place Oct. 9 – 13, 2017, in Florida at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. With a theme of Where are you on your supply chain planning journey?, this year’s Kinexions promises to be bigger and better than ever.


If you don’t know what Kinexions is, let me fill you in.


Kinexions is the premier annual event for our RapidResponse® user community, including our customers and partners. Offering two full days of networking, inspiring keynotes, informative general sessions and a variety of breakouts delivered by customers, product experts and partners, Kinexions ’17 will offer something for everyone – regardless of where they are on their supply chain journey.


Now, for the top 5 reasons to attend Kinexions ’17…


1. Supply chain stories that inspire


There’s nothing like hearing RapidResponse success stories – live. This year, we have an impressive lineup of customer speakers, with twice as many customer breakout sessions as 2016! The mainstage will come alive with presentations from leading innovators, including Honeywell, Schneider Electric, DJO and Lippert Components. You can check out the full agenda here.


2. Out-of-this-world keynote speakers


We’re delighted to welcome astronaut Chris Hadfield as one of our keynote speakers. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters.


Our second keynote speaker is Matthew Spooner, research director at Gartner. With more than 20 years of experience working in global supply chain management roles, covering a wide range of supply chain functions in many different business sectors, Matthew will fill us in on the latest in advanced sales and operations planning.


3. Network. Network.


Every year Kinexions offers an excellent opportunity for RapidResponse users to network with their supply chain peers. Kinexions ‘17 will be no exception. Attendees will have the chance to connect with and learn from others at the many sessions, social events and breaks. The Discovery Zone Expo Hall will be the ideal place to chat.


4. Fun, exercise and a touch of Supertramp


Learning and networking are great, but you’ve got to make some time for some fun and kicking up your heels. Kinexions ’17 offers up a healthy helping of entertainment and activities, including a 5K fun run, early morning yoga, welcome reception and our Customer Appreciation Evening at the House of Blues.


The iconic band Supertramp gave us classic hits, such as “Give A Little Bit,” “Dreamer,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “The Logical Song,” and more. Roger Hodgson, singer-songwriter and co-founder of Supertramp will take the stage at the Customer Appreciation event, treating everyone to an entertaining evening of live music.


5. More opportunities for RapidResponse learning


If you do take the trip to Kinexions, you might want to hang around for some RapidResponse post-conference training. Attendees can take advantage of two full days of hands-on, in-person training at 50% off the regular price. We’ll also offer Kinaxis Certification testing all available exams at no charge.


There are many other reasons customers return year after year to Kinexions. Learn more at the Kinexions ’17 website.


The post Top 5 reasons to attend Kinexions ’17 appeared first on The 21st Century Supply Chain.


Top 4 capacity planning obstacles


Originally posted by Teresa Chiykowski at

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