Kinaxis will be conducting its annual training and user conference, Kinexions, October 25-27 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Details and agenda for the conference can be found on the Kinaxis web site.
I thought it would be a great idea to speak with some in the community who have plans on attending or speaking at the conference to get a sense of what may be on their minds. My goal was to provide a snapshot of relevant industry/technology issues and trends on people’s minds. A huge shout-out goes to Lori Smith of Kinaxis in providing me with introductions.
This posting summarizes my discussion with Karen Martin, Business Process Expert, Master Scheduling, Raytheon Missile Systems. Karen has been with Raytheon for six years and describes her role as rather unique, one of a systems troubleshooter for applications supporting planning and manufacturing scheduling. At Raytheon Missile Systems, planning and scheduling encompasses bill-of-material and lead-time maintenance, material masters and other data and information needs for multiple manufacturing plants.
Karen’s involvement comes from the very unique and complex nature of the missile defense business, where the supply chain and manufacturing environment is primarily engineer or manufacture-to-order, and where there are distinct parameters in certain component lead times or manufacturing capacity. Orders in the defense industry are characterized as ‘event-driven’, where activity does not happen without contracts, with many requirements for custom designs and parts.
When evaluating the need for advanced technology, Raytheon’s teams focused on depth of functionality, real-time updating and ease-of-use as important considerations for the selection team. One of the more important considerations centered on needs for data mining, specifically providing more of a going-forward vs. historic perspective to planning needs. Previous to the investment in technology, a lot of time had to be invested by many to either gather or interpret information requirements. The ability to be able to move analysis needs from weeks to hours was an important benefit. The ability to perform simulations with high speed data gathering was also a big plus, and Karen describes this capability as the coolest of all for teams to utilize. Current systems are configured for forward scheduling, but Karen and her associated scheduling teams are discovering and deploying more requirements for backward as well as forward scheduling analysis.
Karen is looking forward to attending her first Kinexions conference. Since she resides in Arizona, her travel will be a short car ride. Her primary goal is to meet attendees from other industries who face similar challenges in planning and scheduling complex, make-to-order products, and would like to hear and exchange learning and best practices with as many attendees as she can. Karen is also taking advantage of the various training opportunities, especially in the use of constraints management.
If you happen to run into Karen Martin at Kinexions, do introduce yourself. And by the way, she is a great hockey fan. Ask her about her favorite team.