Kinaxis' 2022 supply chain innovation conference to explore supply chain resilience

3 min read

Ahead of this year's Kinaxis Kinexions supply chain innovations conference, being held in San Diego and online from 9-11 May, Manufacturing Management sat down with Andrew Bell, VP of product management at Kinaxis to learn more about what delegates to the event can learn, and some of the wider supply chain challenges facing the global manufacturing sector.

Can you introduce us to Kinaxis and your offering to manufacturers?

Kinaxis develops supply chain planning software so our customers can make fast, confident decisions. Our RapidResponse platform supports supply chain planners using concurrent planning and a suite of applications. We’ve had manufacturing customers achieve full company in-production in as little as 12 weeks, making them better equipped to handle the disruptions we’re continuing to see in the supply chain due to world events, ongoing pandemic fall-out and even things far more local such as shipping lanes or weather-related incidents. Having that complete, end-to-end view of the supply chain allows for manufacturing supply chain leads to handle issues of capacity, material availability and changing schedules much sooner and much more easily.

 

What are some of the key supply chain challenges facing manufacturers currently?

Disruption is something that everyone is seeing all over the world. Be it, due to the ongoing pandemic, production and labour shortages, climate change, or geopolitical conflict, there is always going to be disruption. The best thing for supply chain manufacturers is to have all the tools at their ready so they can adapt to change quickly and confidently.

For manufacturers specifically, some key challenges that we’re seeing are demand fluctuations and on the flip side of that, the impact on suppliers. We saw buying behaviours change during the pandemic, previous forecasting data is no longer accurate making it unreliable for planning. A manufacturer without insight into those ongoing changes is going to find themselves either with not enough product to meet the demand, or too much – which then becomes a whole other challenge of waste. When it comes to suppliers, previously, manufactures focused on lean supply chains, which rely on lead times and transits times, all of which is unstable now. I’d say those are the two we’re seeing currently.  

 

How can technology such as Kinaxis’ mitigate these challenges?

Part of the beauty with our RapidResponse platform is that it offers many solutions that can be configured to best fit the customer’s needs.

When we think about mitigating these challenges, it comes down to more then just our planning solutions but also the unique concurrent planning technique that is embedded into our technology. Our focus is providing solutions based on speed and agility. It’s these two capabilities that are key to helping manufactures navigate the current landscape. Specifically, the ability to run unlimited simulations, quickly and simultaneously is allowing planners to model both react to what is currently happening and plan for what may be coming. This is giving them everything they need to make fast confident decisions, positively impacting their operations.

Beyond that, we have also a really vibrate partner ecosystem, and some of those partners have worked with us in expanding the solutions we offer. So there’s a lot that we can do, and our team is always working to improve and innovate what supply chains, and concurrent planning looks like, and how we can continue to make our solutions faster and more accurate.  

 

What are some of the key themes of this year’s Kinexions event?           

This year’s theme is Ready.Together., supply chains have needed to become more resilient over the last couple years and so the events focus is really about how we can share and collaborate with each other and learn from each other’s successes. We’re working towards inspiring the future of supply chain planning, and it’s that forward thinking that is what makes this event so exciting each year for me – and hopefully for everyone who attends.

 

Tell us about some of the ways your customers have used Kinaxis to transform their business?

We have so many great customers, and customers that have achieved incredible transformations through use of our platform and our solutions.
Examples that came to mind, specifically in the manufacturing sector that you may find more interesting would be: MorphoSys and Trinity Rail. MorphoSys was a RapidStart customer that achieved the fastest go live in just eight weeks. RapidStart is a deployment methodology we launched, it’s basically an accelerated go-live process – they were able to leverage our platform so quickly that they saw the benefits in a matter of weeks. Most companies don’t have the time for long changes to their supply chain operations, they’re in the problems as we speak, so the ability for us to deploy this solution so quickly was game changing.
Trinity Rail is another one, they have hundreds of suppliers so for them to gain a faster insight into their entire supply chain, and create accurate, long-range forecasts was a huge benefit for them.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about the Kinexions event and why people should attend?

Kinexions is the premier global supply chain conference for industry thought leaders and innovators. It’s a really great opportunity to learn, share and network with the supply chain community. This year we’re hosting it as both an in-person event and virtual, with the in-person portion being in San Diego, California. There’s going to be a great balance of work and fun with our customer appreciation party and concert onboard the USS Midway Museum. Our customers tell us they love this event – it’s almost fanatical, in fact.  


I’m most looking forward to the innovation session that I will be speaking to – the content of that session I think will pique the interest of a lot of your readers, so I would encourage checking that out, as well as all the other amazing sessions we are streaming virtually. You can sign up at kinexions.com