Kinaxis was the presenting sponsor of last night’s AMR Supply Chain Top 25 awards dinner. It was a great event. Kudos to the AMR/Gartner team and congratulations to the 25 stand-out leaders. We are proud to say that two of the top 5, and all 3 companies that participated in the evening’s panel discussion, were Kinaxis customers. The panel discussion was quite interesting. It consisted of 2 companies from the list – RIM, a newcomer and Cisco, a veteran, and it included NCR, who, given its size is not eligible for the list. The discussion centered on trends in supply chain and their impressions of the Top 25 listing: what does it mean to them, what do they like about it , what would they change about it. A few interesting themes emerged:
- Supply chain excellence is defined in large part by a company’s agility. Their ability to be responsive to volatility and be flexible amid complexity were keys to success.
- The Supply Chain is no longer the errand boy for Manufacturing. Innovation in supply chain is what has raised its profile and increased its relevance to the organization.
- In terms of where there is room for improvement for the Top 25 list, there were good suggestions made: more global representation, include mid-market companies (or provide a separate list), and find a way to capture “customer experience” as part of the evaluation of a company’s supply chain leadership.
- Lastly, when asked who should be on the list that isn’t, the point was raised that there are a number of contract manufacturers that may not have the brand recognition (which feeds into the voting portion of the Top 25 methodology) but are clearly leaders in the supply chain discipline. I couldn't agree more.
As a sponsor of the event, I had the good fortune to take to the stage for 5 minutes. My speech was a fitting opportunity to share our recent announcement of the Kinaxis No Risk Deployment offering (there is a quick video clip of me talking about it here too). I’ve copied my speech here below…now, I must admit, I didn’t stick to it word for word but the main points were the same.
It is our honor to host this year’s AMR Supply Chain Top 25 dinner. Our ability to host this event is largely due to many of the companies in this room who we are fortunate to call customers. It is your leading edge practices that are fueling the advancement of the industry. Thank you for entrusting us to join you on your journey of supply chain excellence. And thank you for being a driver behind our success. I believe this is a consequential time for supply chain leaders. Rightfully, supply chain is now a boardroom discussion and is being recognized as a vital part of corporate strategy and competitive differentiation. This is the moment for supply chain management to shine. And tonight is a fitting way to honor the discipline, as well as highlight its leaders. From a technology provider perspective, it is also a prime opportunity to shine. Kinaxis has been fortunate to experience excellent growth during what has been extremely challenging years for software vendors. I believe that, in and of itself, says something about our unique vision for supply chain management and our forward-looking product development efforts that we’ve been pursuing for the past 10 years. Kinaxis has taken the approach of developing a single offering which solves multiple supply chain problems. Suites of software modules no longer make sense in today’s environment. This approach fails because supply chain problems themselves are not “modularized.” Today’s businesses and processes are multifaceted and interconnected. Likewise, the supply chain challenges are many, complex, and inter-dependant. What we are consistently hearing from the market is that companies are no longer silo in their thinking and thus, a silo’d technology approach is incongruent with the way businesses need to be run. I believe this has given way to a rebirth of S&OP. By its very nature, S&OP crosses operational boundaries. When you have a supply chain that includes contract manufacturers and distributors, S&OP needs to be executed and maintained across sites, systems and partners. We are seeing a growing adoption and modernization of S&OP processes among our customers and prospects. Our sales funnel is proof of that, with a large majority of our new opportunities coming from S&OP budgets. Companies are looking to take advantage of more modern technology concepts and capabilities that enable the multi-enterprise supply chain visibility, collaboration and speed that’s required to make a plan and keep it on track. This requires a different technology approach. Now, I am not a supply chain expert, but with my years of experience, I would like to think I am a software expert. And I believe that future success for technology providers will be dictated by their ability to be leading edge, not only in their solutions, but also in how they are delivered. We decided four years ago to develop RapidResponse as an on-demand offering. Many said you could not make a SaaS offering for supply chain problems – but that is simply not true. In fact, it has proved to be a much more efficient model. Only recently are we seeing the non-believers start changing their tune. The big guys are doing their best, but they are late to the game and have many obstacles yet to hurdle. Today, we took yet another step in setting ourselves apart from the stereotype of traditional supply chain software with our announcement of our No Risk Deployment, whereby companies can use our deployed service for 30 days. If they don’t see value, they can simply walk away. No catch. You heard it right – Kinaxis will deploy its standard service, companies can then use it live in production for 30 days before deciding to start a subscription service with us. We are telling customers “let us prove it first.” Billions of dollars and millions of man years have been exhausted over the past decade on SCM and S&OP projects that haven’t delivered the value expected. CIOs and supply chain executives deserve to have more confidence in the success of the solution, more accountability on the part of their vendor, and certainly better ROI. What better way for our prospects to confirm the merits of our service then to see it for themselves before they invest. We are taking the “try before you buy” concept to the enterprise space because we are just that confident in what our service can do. And we are challenging other enterprise software vendors to hold themselves to the same standard. Enough about us… My main goal tonight is to say thank you. What we are most proud of as a company are our customers – which no doubt, will include some from the Top 25 list and many others in this room. We are honored to be associated with your brands and help in achieving your vision. We are delighted to be able to learn from the best of the best, and our company and product is better off because of our close partnerships. We hope in the coming months and years many others in this room will join our growing community of satisfied customers.
All in all, it was a great night. And the Kinaxis team is looking forward to a full day of sessions today. Stay tuned for more insight and commentary.