Concurrent Planning – Know what’s going on

Concurrent planning and execution can be achieved with the right supply chain software. David Priestman spoke to Tom Rhoads, Global VP of Sales for Kinaxis.

“Focus on quality in order management,” Rhoads declares. “Higher level customer orders require multi-tier inventory management and multimodal TMS. We provide one solution, highly secure with a single code base.” Logistics departments are very lean these days. They need many ways to communicate, in real time. Kinaxis has about 300 customers, many of them third party logistics (3PL/LSP) operators like DSV, Ceva and Geodis, as well as household names like Unilever, P&G and Ford. “We’re number 1 in planning,” Rhoads states.

“Now that memory is cheap we can do a lot more computing than before, so we can be fast and powerful. The speed of connections is key for customers,” he tells me. Kinaxis’ software platform can manage six modes of freight transport, including barge and parcels. The company’s proprietary concurrent supply chain techniques give users end-to-end orchestration capability across time horizons, business processes and organizational boundaries.

Trust in sharing data

“We help customers optimise orders in real time and maximise supply chains by decomposing an order into multiple shipments, from sourcing inventory, using different modes of transport,” Rhoads explains. “They can then take on their own micro supply chains and manage them holistically. We monitor visibility.” Companies should embrace sharing supply chain data, he advises.

Tom Rhoads, Kinaxis

But, as we all know, logistics is a movable beast and things do not always go to plan. There are black swans. What then? “Once a plan is published it’s outdated,” Rhoads accepts. “How can we adapt is the question. The product is already en route, perhaps on a ship. Our execution system can adapt via rapid response planning. Customers can automatically make a new plan, including changes, re-routing, new locations and then synchronising that.”

Create accuracy

“With labour disputes, cyber-attacks and the escalation of conflicts in global hotspots like Eastern Europe and the Middle East all threatening the movement of goods globally, businesses have never had a greater need for supply chain solutions that enable them to prepare for and respond to unexpected disruptions,” Conrad Mandala, senior vice president of global partner organization at Kinaxis, said. “The investments we are making in our PartnerLink program will strengthen our position to capitalize on this demand and deliver on our global growth objectives by ensuring our partner ecosystem has the tools they need to help customers achieve supply chain resiliency no matter what risks appear on the horizon.”

Supply chains need to reduce waste, eliminate buffers and keep costs down. “Just-in-time is the perfect world,” Rhoads informs me. “Consumers want instant gratification, so we must know where inventory is, in real time, optimise sourcing and fulfilment. It’s not about knowing or predicting with regards to inventory. It’s about scenario planning in advance, with pre-defined highways of alternative routes. 80% of our customers automate everything. It’s glass box, not black box – know what’s going on!”

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