Technology alone isn’t the answer to your supply chain future

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Do you get the feeling you’re surrounded by conflict and uncertainty lately? You’re not alone if you do. If we had to label 2018, it would be the year of “us versus them.” Political parties, men and women, humans and robots, line of business and supply chain operations, Red Sox and Yankees. If the 2018 climate was about conflict, the supply chain equivalent would be about the uncertainty created from increasing complexity and volatility. And just like the overall trend, the supply chain trend is exhausting to live through and everyone is looking for a way to make it stop. We believe we have an answer. Kinaxis believes the future will be about “we”. More specifically, we believe that 2019 will be about building up our customer’s confidence in decision making by empowering people and working together.

Infusing our values into everything we do

Like most companies, we have a set of values that govern how we do business. Now is a good time to review and share these values with our customers, prospects, partners and even competitors. We think that embracing these values will benefit supply chain practitioners, even if in our current climate they might feel a little hokey or idealized. We believe that rediscovering the spirit of adventure and curiosity, learning from the past, and innovating for the future will be harbingers of success. To be real, acting with respect, integrity and putting people first. To embrace colleagues and friends, knowing that their success is your success. Ultimately, to be self-empowered and have the courage to take risks, make it happen and remember to laugh often. At Kinaxis, we live and breathe these values in order to support you — our customers.

Changing the world through supply chain

Laying out new paths and paving a way to a better future may seem like a tall order from a supply chain software company. But these values are bigger than us. We’re convinced that supply chain, and the people that work in it, have the potential to change the world if they are willing to move forward by changing their perspective and embracing the power of relationships. Relationships to each other and the business decisions they make. These relationships are further strengthened when people know that the information they are getting is accurate and up to date. Kinaxis RapidResponse®, powered by concurrent planning, gives people the right information in time for them to make a difference. How so? By gathering and syncing information, and the respective impact, from across the entire network in order to balance supply and demand instantly and continuously. With one look, individuals know where they stand and can react accordingly. This comprehensive view allows planners to devise a better plan, monitor results in real time, and respond to minor issues in the supply chain before they become big problems. Knowing you’re making good choices leads to greater confidence.

RapidResponse inspires confidence

But how does RapidResponse give you this kind of confidence? By solving complex planning problems in easy-to-understand ways that leverage the best of human and machine intelligence. We think that machine learning, advanced analytics or algorithms will raise people up, not replace them. The outcome will be supporting employees to reach new levels of performance, accuracy and results in the work they do. It’s this combination that delivers greater confidence. Now, we realize that our viewpoint contradicts what’s being said by other supply chain software providers. Just like you, we hear the hype around lights-out planning and total automation. We hear the chatter around the coolest technology, focus on data and promise of supply chain optimization. This is all important capability and areas in which Kinaxis continues to innovate, but we think a large number of companies are missing a critical piece in their vision. The people working with these technologies.

People and technology working together

While we may disagree with the concept of a fully automated supply chain planning that removes planners, or any other decision maker from the equation, we agree that the power and potential of these technologies shouldn’t be discounted. In fact, our technology is already helping our customers like Lockheed Martin, Ford, Asics, and Jabil make better decisions achieving results like a 20% reduction in manufacturing lead time, a 33% reduction in finished goods inventory, and a 15% increase in supply chain planning efficiency. However technology alone isn’t enough to get results like these. It is the merging of technology and people that is driving successful outcomes and companies. That is because even as we face an increase in complexity and volatility (think geo-political instability, regulation changes, tariffs, SKU proliferation, omnichannel, personalization, cost pressures, expanding ecosystems and so on), at the end of the day, while software can make a decision to act and set wheels in motion, it doesn’t completely understand and can’t manage all the ripple effect generated from that action. We still need a person at the wheel! RapidResponse boils down all this information and presents it in a clear, easy interface so that decision makers can look at the big picture, understand what is really happening and make the right choices based on the situation at hand. A choice infused with the confidence that your actions will lead to success. And isn’t knowing that the choices you make will lead to the best possible outcome the best way to move forward in 2019?

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