This blog is part of a video interview series. Check out the video below as well as links to other supply chain practitioner and Kinaxis executive interviews.
Company processes are disconnected because their supply chain planning has grown up in a siloed manner, says John Sicard, president and CEO of Kinaxis. Consequently, it's futile to follow that model and think you can optimize the supply chain one link at a time. Sicard explains how Kinaxis is revolutionizing supply chain planning because it is interconnecting all of the links simultaneously. He analogizes to the human brain what the Kinaxis RapidResponse tool can do. "You have the ability to understand language and math simultaneously. It's two different parts of your brain, yet you can’t bifurcate those. If I ask you a math question in English, you immediately respond, with no idea how those parts of the brain connected." “In our world, if you make a change in capacity, you instantaneously feel the impact that has on demand. Therein lies the key — it’s what we call concurrent planning.”
At the moment, Kinaxis focuses on six verticals: high-tech, industrial, aerospace and defense, life sciences, automotive and consumer packaged goods. Each one has unique problems and supply chain needs. But each faces one thing in common: how to quickly and accurately create necessary what-if scenarios? With the right tool, Sicard says, “You can simulate anything, at any time, with unparalleled speed.” He says the quote is actually from a Kinaxis customer, and it pertains to the benefits of using RapidResponse. Drilling down into that statement, Sicard notes that supply chain data is historical, and the amount of data can be enormous.
Actively running a simulation, what Sicard calls “carving out a sandbox,” is a computer science problem. It means finding the appropriate data contained in staggering amounts of information, and the exercise is complicated when other players want to run simulations at the same time. “You can see the complex supply chain challenge in that,” he says. “Everybody saying ‘I need a sandbox’ at the same time. In the legacy world, it precludes you from doing anything. So you say, ‘I will guess because I can’t run a simulation when I want to.’”
Kinaxis RapidResponse can establish the desired data environment in 0.003 of a second, he says. “That means anyone on your staff can create a sandbox at a moment’s notice and run a what-if scenario. That’s part of the revolution, because it’s putting people back in the equation. You put the power in their hands without having to call IT and ask for permission.” Given that business is awash in data, accessing only the right information is paramount. The tool allows simulations with a highly specific focus. “If I’m the demand manager, for example, my simulation is not about inventory but demand. So when I’m creating my sandbox, demand is the only thing I’m dealing with. It’s the same for someone working only with inventory. “You have an environment to play with in the blink of an eye, learn, and then throw it away or share with others.”
Check out the other video interviews in this series:
- [Video] Xilinx: Fight the urge to be precise – How supply chain technology is helping Xilinx
- [Video] Keysight Technologies: Improving production planning efficiency
- [Video] Ford Motor Company: Creating global data standards with SCM software
- [Video] Long-term supply chain planning system vision and strategy
- [Video] Sanofi Genzyme trends in pharmaceutical supply chains
- [Video] Adapting supply chains to the digital phase of business
- [Video] Supply chain centers of excellence and customer success
- [Video] Roland DG: Transforming its sales and operations planning process
- [Video] Digital Technology and Strategies for Effective Knowledge Sharing
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