SupplyChainBrain attended our annual Kinexions user conference, and while there, they completed a number of video interviews with customers, analysts, and Kinaxis executives. And now, we’d like to share them!
Next up is Jim White, Vice President Central Operations (CPO), Applied Materials. Check out this video with Kinaxis customer, 'Applied Materials: Invisible, But Everywhere'. Previously, we featured interviews with:
- Ethan Hunt, supply chain consultant at Agilent: ‘How Agilent Technologies Measures Up'
- Mark Zeni, director of fulfillment at First Solar: ‘First Solar: Balancing Cost and Customer Service‘.
- Arpad Hevizi, vice president of supply chain solutions with Celestica: How Contract Manufacturers Are Expanding Their Service
- Trevor Miles, vice president of thought leadership, Kinaxis: How Can Companies Respond Rapidly to Demand?
Jim White, vice president of central operations and CPO with Applied Materials, talks about the challenges his company faces in gaining full visibility of supply and demand, and in dealing with increasing supply-chain volatility.
In recent years, the industry has undergone a wave of consolidation, shifting more power to the customer. “We’ve had to be a lot more responsive than five years ago,” says White. Now, with the help of new planning technology, it can conduct demand modeling in real time. Previously, Applied Materials couldn’t respond to customers on a timely basis when they reported a drop in demand. The company needs to match such requests with the capabilities and constraints of its own supply chain. “Speed matters for us,” says White. The semiconductor market is highly volatile, yet cyclical as well, in step with larger economic trends. Complicating matters is the highly configurable nature of nearly everything that Applied Materials makes. It’s a low-volume, high-mix world – making accurate demand planning extremely difficult. Plan deviations can be extreme, sometimes calling for the doubling or tripling of production with a quarter. The company needs to make tough decisions about whether it can meet customer demands for changes to the plan. It must prioritize requests, based on the service expectations of each account. “We want to make the best decisions about hitting new-product sales and the supporting market afterwards,” White says. Despite its leading market position, Applied Materials isn’t complacent. It's working with Kinaxis to ensure continued progress. “We do not take any of our competitors for granted,” says White. If the company misses a narrow window of opportunity for serving a customer, “it can be two or three years before you can get back in and regain that market share.”