Kinaxis, which was first reviewed on SI by the Sourcing Maniacs in their classic
2008 Vendor Tour, is one of the most interesting companies in the entire Supply Management space. Billing themselves as a RapidResponse solution, which was initially designed to be a demand management platform (available on-demand) to assist supply chain professionals in managing their change-ready supply chains, it is actually a very extensive, but deftly integrated, platform that also does:
- Demand Order Analysis,
- S&OP (Sales and Operation Planning),
- Supply & Capacity (Constraint) Planning,
- Master Production Benchmarking & Scheduling,
- Inventory Management,
- New Product Introduction,
- Order Analysis & Planning,
- Supply Management,
- Profitability Management,
- Supplier Collaboration,
- Integrated Project Management,
- Process Orchestration,
- Change Management,
- Cross-Functional Supply Chain Management.
And it’s used by customers to do all of this, and more. It’s the next level of Supply Management. Once you’ve implemented e-Procurement and put your Spend Under Management, e-Sourcing and Strategic Sourcing Decision Optimization and established processes that keep your costs down and value up, e-Transportation and Trade Management to optimize your distribution and global trade (import/export processes), e-Visibility to manage your risk, and e-Supply Chain Network Optimization to manage your network design, it’s what you do next.
Why? Because each of these solutions only get you so far on their own. e-Procurement eliminates the time-consuming, value-less tactical buying functions that waste time and money, but doesn’t deliver much beyond manpower savings and doesn’t generate value on its own. That’s where e-Sourcing comes in. e-Sourcing takes the spend the organization has under management, analyzes it, and runs strategic sourcing events (such as auctions and optimization driven negotiations) to execute buys and delivery schedules that save the organization time and money, but doesn’t actually manage the distribution or global trade aspects, which can cost time and money if the right documents aren’t executed in the right way at the right time to streamline imports and exports. e-Transportation and Trade Management optimizes the logistics and distribution and ensures everything runs efficiently and smoothly in a non-loss generating manner, but doesn’t optimize the entire transportation and inventory/warehouse management network. When the organization has the opportunity to change its production locations, 3PLs (Third Party Logistics carriers), and/or warehouse and distribution locations, an e-Supply Chain Network Optimization solution will, given current demand and contracts, optimize the entire production, storage, and distribution network to the extent permissible, but will not be able to do anything about change, order analysis and demand generation, optimization of new product development and introduction processes, sales and operations planning around new and upcoming products, production benchmarking and scheduling, cross-functional supply-chain process orchestration, or change management when an unexpected event (such as a material shortage, natural disaster, or supplier bankruptcy) forces a rapid, real-time change to the plan.
This is where Kinaxis comes in. Starting from the premise that what product, risk, and change managers need are answers to common questions like the following in real-time:
- what is the impact of a supplier shutdown due to a fire in the plant?
- how can I launch a new product a quarter early?
- what if a user mistakenly changes an inventory parameter?
- what would happen to our ability to fulfill demand to our other customers if we accelerate fulfilment of an emergency order for a preferred customer?
- how can we effectively reengineer our planning processes?
Kinaxis has built a solution that supports very complex, but easily generated, what-if scenarios that will allow a user to ask these questions and get an answer in a few hours, as compared to the days, or weeks, it would have taken them in the past. How? Come back for Part II!