About First Solar
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive PV solar energy solutions. Based in Tempe, Arizona, the business manages over 3,500 suppliers and globally has over 33,000 people in its supply chain network.
The Challenge and Benefit
At one time, First Solar was capacity constrained, and as a result, the company did not emphasize demand planning in its operations. As its constraint moved from supply to demand, First Solar found it extremely difficult to slow down or speed up production. The team had implemented tools to support their supply chain, but they were unable to streamline the data to provide intelligent information to manage inventory levels. They could not answer simple questions about their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, such as “what do we have to sell?” and “when is it available?” The team manually worked from spreadsheets to capture sales orders and to forecast demand and match it with projected supply from their three manufacturing locations. This tedious process could take upwards of a week to get the desired information.
First Solar made the decision to deploy Kinaxis RapidResponse and move to a more demand-driven supply chain rather than relying on its historical approach of building to capacity. Within eight weeks of signing the purchase order, First Solar was able to implement RapidResponse, and the team immediately began seeing results.