Kinaxis: One-Stop-Shop for Efficient Supply Chain Management

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John Sicard, CEO, KinaxisJohn Sicard, CEO
“Do I look like a guy with a plan?" One of the most iconic dialogs by the Joker in Dark Knight. As seen in the movie, it is understood that the result of improper planning is chaos. Since Joker planned to unleash chaos, it might have worked out for him. However, irrespective of the industry vertical that they ply their trade in, chaos in the supply chain is the last thing that any organization wants. The management of supply chains has never been more complicated due to many factors such as increasing cost pressures, growing customer expectations and expanding ecosystems. Siloed data and processes and cumbersome, disconnected systems also make planning a tough job. Ottawa-based Kinaxis [TSE: KXS] simplifies supply chain management by solving complex planning problems in simpler ways to make confident decisions that maximize business performance through a combination of human and machine intelligence. The results achieved by the customers include increased revenues, diminished costs, and reduced risks.

Concurrent Planning to Keep Pace with Volatility

Traditionally, supply chain planning has been cascaded. It is almost as if one is in the middle of the telephone game. The information is filtered through different people one by one. It is as if a person has to generate a plan based on the results obtained by the one before him. Since everyone is misaligned, this leads to a lot of confusion which ultimately results in an inefficient plan. To combat this and bring more efficiency into supply chain planning, Kinaxis leverages the concurrent planning technique. This technique is similar to making a conference call, where everyone shares the information at the same time so that any issues can be resolved on the spot. Here all are on the same page, the entire supply chain is in sync, and supply and demand balancing happen instantly and continuously.

"Kinaxis is a socially-driven company that is committed to contributing to sustainable development"

The concurrent planning technique encompasses three processes—plan, monitor, and respond. Kinaxis first connects all the data, processes, and people together so that everyone can work together in sync from the updated continuously global data. This is followed by the monitoring stage where the users can check and understand the immediate impacts caused by any change across the entirety of the supply chain. This ensures that the users can respond quickly by making real-time decisions and the teams are aligned around a common goal.

Unified Supply Chain Planning, Visibility, and Response

Kinaxis provides a single platform—RapidResponse— that streamlines processes and breaks down silos to help customers plan concurrently for various parts of their supply chain right from sales and operations planning down to demand, inventory, supply, capacity, and more.
The platform helps users leverage concurrent planning to make faster collaborative decisions and also get more out of their ERP investments. The end-to-end visibility feature allows users to track performance while also reducing the possibility of encountering unexpected risks. The planning automation feature cuts necessary costs and improves overall productivity. The users need to focus only on those areas where it matters the most thanks to the streamlined workflows and responsibilities. The platform also provides the users with the possibility of adding on new capabilities as per their needs to give them the ability to mature and scale their supply chains at their own pace without having to implement custom codes.

The RapidResponse platform is cloud-based and comes with an augmented intelligence feature that allows users to automate tasks through predictive algorithms. These algorithms continue to learn and stay synchronized so that machines can do all of the heavy liftings while humans can focus on other more critical areas. Moreover, the platform also enables users to predict the future by running multiple scenarios to create complete supply chain replicas and capture the historical context in the matter of seconds for KPI- and accountability-based decision making.

Enhanced Data Security

Kinaxis RapidResponse platform comes with the most advanced internet security technology to ensure that supply chain data is safe and secure. The platform is SOC2 Type II certified, and access is secured with SSL/TLS to ensure that every web session is encrypted with unique keys. The company also conducts routine internal and external audits and has a formal process, inclusive of management oversight, for controlled access to user’s data.

Kinaxis works round the clock to protect user data through routine performance monitoring coupled with 24/7 customer support and emergency response. RapidResponse's secure data architecture also ensures that users can have global access to their supply chain data from anywhere at any time through a web browser. Its ISP also guarantees 100 percent operational uptime and low latency connectivity for maximum performance.

The security landscape is further augmented by a comprehensive network monitoring system that includes in-depth vulnerability scanning. Users can enjoy on-request access to historical traffic performance analysis and triple-stage verification when there is a failure through end-to-end service monitoring. This helps them determine both local and general service outages. They can also leverage the Customer Log Collector to review real-time availability and performance of their RapidResponse service.

Real World Implementations

Time and again, Kinaxis has proven its value to industry-leading companies across multiple industry verticals including aerospace and defense, automotive, high-tech and electronics, industrial, and life sciences. This has helped them gain a legion of devoted clients who continue to work with the company. Their esteemed clientele accounts for many billion-dollar companies have been able to transform their supply chains to achieve breakthroughs. These global leaders found themselves in a new era of surprise and compromise with growing volatility and needed a better way to their entire supply chain planning.
With the Kinaxis RapidResponse platform, they were able to get clarity into their S&OP and supply chain planning areas all at once from a single platform, data model, and interface.

In an instance, the leading consumer electronics giant, Casio Computers Co. Ltd., requires manufacturing operations efficiency and visibility of information across multiple departments and operations to deliver top-notch products that meet the ever-increasing customer demands continually. Casio deployed a supply chain planning system to achieve this efficiency and visibility. However, this system was unable to meet the standards set by Casio.

Casio chose the RapidResponse platform to collaborate and respond rapidly to supply and demand changes. This has helped them shorten lead times while significantly reducing their inventory levels. The platform also provided visibility across the entire supply chain and helped the client to consider and score various alternatives in a matter of seconds to make the best decisions that would align with their corporate objectives. "With RapidResponse, material, logistics and manufacturing operations efficiency is increased, and information sharing is dramatically improved. Casio is planning broad use of RapidResponse which can effectively align demand and supply in spite of continuous changes,” adds Atsushi Yazawa, general manager, Information Technology Department, Casio Computer Co., Ltd.

The Self-Healing Supply Chain

Since supply chains are complex and have many inter-dependencies, a problem in one area can resonate in other areas of it as well. However, by leveraging these technologies, Kinaxis has developed its Self-Healing Supply Chain. Built using advanced machine learning algorithms, this supply chain automatically bridges the gap between planning and execution. It provides the visibility needed to spot potential issues to take corrective action before they impact planning performance. Using the solution, users can see the high-impact exceptions between designed and actual performance. It automatically measures the impact of incorrect design assumptions on critical business metrics and corrects these inconsistencies based on customizable tolerances. The users can further monitor and adjust design inputs over time to increase value.

The Kinaxis Self-Healing Supply Chain ensures improved business outcomes in numerous ways. It swiftly stops performance degradation by automatically correcting inaccurate supply chain design assumptions. This allows the user to focus on matters with alerts on high-impact exceptions between designed and actual performance. They are also able to understand the impact of incorrect design assumptions faster. All these factors together contribute to increased business growth with automatic, continuous improvements to design assumption accuracy.

A Socially-Driven Company Devoted to Stakeholders

Although formally founded in 1995, the origins of Kinaxis can be traced back to 1984. The product that has evolved to today’s RapidResponse platform was introduced in 1995. The platform now stands for one of the fastest growing and most innovative supply chain planning systems available today in the marketplace. This has directly resulted in Kinaxis establishing itself as one of the market giants. Moreover, the company continues to create value for its stakeholders by making necessary changes to prepare for acceleration in growth. Simultaneously, the company also ensures that it drives breakthrough results for their customers. Besides, Kinaxis is a socially-driven company that is committed to contributing to sustainable development. It has modeled its CSR initiative on the seven social responsibility core subjects of ISO 26000 while also aligning it with the company’s corporate values.

"Kinaxis provides a single platform— RapidResponse— that streamlines processes and breaks down silos to help customers plan concurrently for various parts of their supply chain"

- John Sicard, CEO