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Boeing Announces Q1 Delivery Performance for Commercial Aircraft: The Good and Not So Good News


Boeing has announced the results of new commercial aircraft delivered in the first quarter, declaring the deliveries rose 18 percent from year earlier results. That headline seems to be somewhat of a misnomer.

First quarter 2014 deliveries included 161 commercial aircraft compared with 137 in Q1 of 2013.  The misnomer is that all operational and in production 787 aircraft were in a grounded condition a year ago pending FAA investigation of suspected lithium ion battery fires, thus a comparison to last year’s Q1 has little meaning. Boeing re-started 787 deliveries in early May of last year. 

Boeing delivered 18 new 787’s in Q1, a shortfall of the company’s planned 10 aircraft per month goal. That compares to 25 new 787’s delivered in Q4 and a continued sign of production and other supply-chain problems associated with the Dreamliner. On the positive side, Boeing delivered an incredible 115 new Next Generation 737 aircraft in Q1.

Supply chain glitches or issues involving the 787 have been ongoing. In early March, there were reports that inspections were being conducted for suspected hairline cracks on 43 yet to be delivered Dreamliner’s because of potential flaws in a manufacturing process concerning supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In late March, the FAA issued its fourth airworthiness directive involving the 787-8 model, ordering an immediate fix to aircraft containing certain General Electric power plants where a suspected software glitch could cause the engine to lose thrust when close to landing. There have been other reports indicating that Boeing has experienced some difficulties in ramping-up overall production volumes at its Charleston South Carolina final assembly facility, prompting a hiring surge to augment the existing workforce there.

Currently operational 787’s with GE engines are cautioned not to fly through severe thunderstorms after reports of some ice build-up incidents. In early February there was a report that Boeing was continuing to pressure suppliers for cost concessions and one major supplier, Sprit Aero Systems reported significant pretax charges for the final three months of 2013, including $385 million directly related to work performed on the 787.

Boeing’s stated goal for 2014 is to deliver 110 long overdue Dreamliner’s to airline and leasing companies, roughly 27-28 per quarter. Q1 was obviously not what the 787 supply chain ecosystem wanted in performance and bar has risen for Q2 and the remainder of the year.

In an era of high customer expectations and pay for operational performance, Boeing needs to quickly shift its 787 supply chain objectives from cost control to achieving and maintaining reliable delivery and operational performance for airline customers.

Why the Blame on Factory and Supply Chain Weakness?

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This week, U.S. and select global equity markets experienced a significant selloff in stocks. The principle headline for the Wall Street Journal and other business media was that markets are spooked from a round of weak manufacturing activity reports, primarily concerning the United States.  It is amazing that Wall Street now pays so much attention to supply chain and manufacturing indices, a rather clear sign of how procurement, manufacturing and supply chain activity across the globe has become so indicative of the state of the global economy.  That is why we now include a trending summary report of key PMI activity across the globe in our Supply Chain Matters Quarterly Newsletter.

Candidly, we do not view the latest January PMI activity as overly concerning, rather an indication of the dynamic planning of today’s industry supply chains responding to supply and demand needs in their particular markets.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) PMI reflecting manufacturing activity across the United States posted a 51.3 reading in January, which was a decrease of 5.2 percentage points from the December level of 56.5.  While the headline may be concerning, that level of 51 was the same as reported in December 2012 and again in March 2013. It remains an indicator of expanding activity. A look into detailed indices reflects that the contraction probably had more to do with lousy winter weather, coupled with supply and inventory adjustments.  Of the 18 total manufacturing industries that make-up the index, 11 reported growth in January.  Many were in the lower tier of industry supply chains such as metals, plastics, rubber and electrical components. While the new orders index indeed decreased by 13.2 percentage points, customer and other inventories also decreased reflecting a work down of current inventory.

If there is a concern, if should be directed at increasing input prices where the index rose 7 percentage points.  It was our prediction that commodity prices would hold level in 2014 given the trends going into the start of the year.  Procurement teams need to be especially vigilant regarding this trending.

Business media has further reported that the current sell-off across global equity markets has been motivated by concerns regarding ongoing turbulence among former growing emerging market economies and the effect that will have on corporate profits. Supply chain leaders should share that concern.  However, we advise a continued monitoring of overall global supply chain activity, which up to January, indicates continued positive trending.  Including January, the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing & Services PMI which is an indication of the combined output of the world’s manufacturing and service sectors has risen for 16 successive months. In January, the Markit Eurozone Composite PMI reflecting manufacturing activity across the Eurozone, a huge global market, posted its highest reading since June 2011 indicating momentum across Europe is finally on the upswing.

The one concerning manufacturing indicator is that of China, which dropped below the 50 mark in January, to a reading of 49.5, which is an indicator of contraction. That indeed should remain the concern of industry supply chains and investors.

It is unfortunate that Wall Street continues to take such a narrow, in the quarter perspective concerning corporate growth and profitability.  While industry supply chains are becoming much more adept at responding and synchronizing product demand and supply imbalances  on a quarterly, monthly and even daily basis, Wall Street continues to view manufacturing activity in a rather short term, in-the-quarter mentality.

That does not help companies and supply chain teams in their efforts to continue to invest in capabilities for managing complex, dynamic and ever changing global supply chains.

Bob Ferrari

© 2014, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC and the Supply Chain matters Blog. All Rights Reserved.

Report Card on Supply Chain Matters 2013 Predictions- Part One

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On the eve of the beginning of the chronological New Year, it is our time to reflect, look back and scorecard our Supply Chain Matters 2013 Predictions for Global Supply Chains which we published nearly a year ago.     Supply Chain Matters Blog

Readers are welcomed to review our predictions series for 2014 which we outlined previously in a series of detailed commentaries. But now is the time to look back and reflect on what we predicted and what actually occurred in 2013.

As has been our custom, our scoring process will be based on a four point scale.  Four will be the highest score, an indicator that we totally nailed the prediction.  One is the lowest score, an indicator of, what on earth were we thinking? Ratings in the 2-3 range reflect that we probably had the right intent but events turned out different.

So here we go with each of the predictions we had concerning 2013:

2013 Prediction One: Yet Another Year of Global Challenges to Support Required Revenue and Profit Growth.

Rating: 3.5

Many of our readers and clients residing in multiple industry supply chains can well attest to the constant challenges that were incurred throughout 2013.

Regarding the overall global economy, the IMF had originally projected 2013 global growth to be 3.6 percent overall, but that number was constantly adjusted downward throughout this year. The current 2013 estimate is for growth to be 2.9 percent, a considerable difference from the start of the year and a reflection of the many economic uncertainties across global markets.

Optimistic revenue and profit growth that was focused squarely on emerging market economies such as China turned out to be more challenging, since the growth in many of these sectors was more subdued. According to China’s own forecasters, that economy is expected to complete this year with overall growth of 7.6 percent, a far cry from the double-digit growth rates of past years. When we developed our predictions a year ago, both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the OECD predicted China’s growth rate in 2013 to be in the range of 8.2 to 8.5 percent. Growth among the Eurozone region remained rather challenging throughout the year, but finally bottomed towards the second-half.  Growth in the U.S. struggled in the first half, and rebounded considerably in this current quarter.

Fortunately, there were no widespread supplier failures during the year, and we are pleased that we missed on that part of our prediction.

This has indeed been a year of uncertainties and industry supply chains had to respond to product demand or contraction requirements at the most discrete levels.


2013 Prediction Two: Stabilized and Potentially Reduced Inbound Commodity Prices with Certain Exceptions.

Score: 3.5

Commodity costs did indeed moderate throughout 2013 as reflected in the Standard and Poor’s GSCI Commodity Index being down 5 percent as of mid-November. Prices in certain sectors were down considerably but there were some upside pressures in energy related costs.  However, commodity costs among emerging market regions such as India and China remained challenging during the year because of currency and local economic conditions.

Costs in the food related sector were not as high as we predicted a year ago, although severe weather did indeed impact various global regions. Global supply and demand forces seemed to compensate for shortfalls.

Procurement teams drove deeper into indirect material costs to foster additional overall cost reductions.  That included areas such as utilities, transportation, travel, temporary labor and other services. The market for spend analysis tools continued robust, which was reflection of continued cost savings initiatives in this sector.

The year 2013 was a good year for procurement teams, better than past years.


2013 Prediction Three: The Renaissance of U.S. Based Manufacturing to Continue Throughout 2013

Rating: 3.8

This prediction was a relative no-brainer. Throughout 2013, we tracked PMI growth among the major manufacturing regions.  By Q3 it was rather clear that the production activity in the United States was clearly gaining more momentum over other regions.  The strategic advantages of cheaper energy and a stable currency, coupled with continued concerns for double-digit cost increases of direct labor and global transportation continued to motivate more manufacturers to elect either expansion or initiation of a U.S. based manufacturing initiative.

Among the business headlines in 2013 were names such as Caterpillar, Motorola, General Electric and Wal-Mart, all making considerable announcements. Regarding Wal-Mart, that global retailer committed $50 billion over the next ten years to assist certain suppliers in expanding their U.S. manufacturing presence. Even the world’s top contract manufacturer Flextronics, which has three-quarters of its manufacturing capacity located in low-cost manufacturing regions, is now investing millions to upgrade its four million square feet of manufacturing capacity across the United States. A landmark study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Task Force on Production and Innovation was released in the latter half of this year which provided additional recommendations for public-private partnerships and industry innovation zones. We predicted continued momentum for U.S. based manufacturing to continue in 2014.


2013 Prediction Four: Supply Chain Talent Retention, Management and Development to Remain a Significant Challenge.

Rating: 4.0

Talent retention and management has been a significant challenge since 2012.  We predicted this would continue in 2013, and that has indeed been reinforced in many executive surveys and reports throughout this year.  So much so that we elected to carryover this prediction into 2014 as well and readers can review our 2014 Prediction Four commentary for the detailed perspectives on the current problem and what strategy needs are required to overcome the challenges of maintaining a skilled supply chain management workforce that provides ample opportunities for career growth.


2013 Prediction Five: Two Industry Supply Chains, B2C and Aerospace to Undergo More Significant Challenges.

B2C Supply Chains

Rating: 3.8

As we pen our 2013 Predictions scorecard, the aspects of the massive transformation for how consumers shop for goods has reached the top quadrant of business media headlines. The good and not so good news for 2013 was that it was a banner year for online fulfillment. As we close 2013 and the holiday buying surge, online retailers and shipping companies as pointing fingers at one another as to what went wrong in the final days as capacity came to a grinding halt. Brick and mortar retailers learned a lot from 2012 and deployed more effective strategies to overcoming consumer showrooming or price shopping. They invested in online fulfillment and broader multi-channel and multi-tier inventory management capabilities. The not so good news is that retail sales forecasts turned out to be too optimistic as economically stressed consumers were very diligent with their shopping habits, seeking out best possible price coupled with best strategic timing of purchases. In the Eurozone countries, consumers are especially distressed and that was reflected in shopping patterns throughout this year.

The 2013 holiday buying season appears to be headed toward disappointment for certain retailers, despite unprecedented promotional and price competitive activities. A shorter 26 day period between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday period did not help, and frequent winter storms impacted shopping trends.  Since the Christmas holiday, by far the most prominent headline has been the security breach across Target Stores retail locations compromising an estimated 40 million credit card accounts. The other prominent headline was UPS’s failure to guarantee delivery of holiday related packages, which by our view, was a scapegoat for retailers over aggressiveness in pushing the envelope in instant delivery. There are reports that Amazon signed up over one million free shipping Prime accounts the week before Christmas. The online retailer than guaranteed delivery as late as Sunday, two days prior to the holiday.  UPS has now indicated that 132 million packages entered its network the week before Christmas, and we now know the results.

Our prediction called for at least one, possibly two failure announcements concerning high visibility retailers.  We can now disclose the names that we had in-mind, namely JC Penny and Sears.  Both of these retailers continue to struggle with the overall effects of the online, Omni-commerce economy and as the Wall Street Journal recently opined, the availability and abundance of cheap financing provided another few months of added life. We predicted that Amazon would have another banner year in 2013 and all indications are that this will be the case. We therefore believe that while were fairly close on consequence, timing and events produced a bit of a delay as to our prediction. Candidly, we were of the belief that retailers had addressed systems security needs but the Target incident will have significant retailer implications in the coming months.

Aerospace Supply Chains

Rating: 3.8

Once again, Aerospace industry supply chains dis indeed encounter extraordinary challenges throughout this year. These challenges were twofold.  The continued after- effects of severe global recession and high debt spending among national governments caused cutbacks in military and defense spending.  This was especially evident in Europe and the United States.  For the U.S., the so-termed automatic sequester cutbacks were directed squarely on military and defense spending and effects quickly spilled over to defense divisions of aerospace companies. Both Airbus and Boeing have since announced layoffs and cutbacks centered on each of their defense sectors.

At the same time, the boom for airline demand for new technologically advanced and more fuel-efficient commercial aircraft continued unabated. The literal duopoly of Airbus and Boeing continued to dominate industry news in 2013 as both global OEM’s continued to balance unprecedented increases in new orders for aircraft while challenged to dramatically increase the production volumes for finished aircraft. The current backlog of sold new aircraft remains incredibly healthy and both Airbus and Boeing may yet again announce new records in order volumes for 2013. At the recent Dubai Air Show held in November, new aircraft orders amounting to excess of $150 billion were booked with delivery slots beginning in 2020.  Meanwhile, program delays continue to make business headlines along with Boeing’s tense relationship and conflicts with its organized labor unions.

Other smaller industry OEM’s such as Bombardier, Embraer and COMAC compete for niche aircraft segment needs, and each of these players faced critical milestones in 2013.

Aircraft engine suppliers General Electric, Safran and Rolls Royce were beneficiaries of unprecedented new aircraft orders. GE Aviation has a backlog of orders for 15,000 new generation aircraft engines between now and 2020 and must fulfill a delivery rate of more than 4,000 engines per year for the next two years amid increasing customer orders for its new GE90, GEnx and CFM56 engine models.

Thus, 2013 was an incredible contrast for aerospace supply chains in overcoming the challenges of relentless product demand and capacity barriers in the commercial sector with cutbacks and re-structuring in military and defense sectors.  And this is just the beginning of other challenges to come in 2014.


This concludes Part One of our 2013 Predictions scorecard. In Part Two we will review our other five predictions for this year and how they fared. Readers are certainly encouraged to add their observations regarding either our predictions for this year and our self-rating.


© 2013 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC and the Supply Chain Matters Blog. All rights reserved.

Kellogg Embarks on Multi-Year Supply Chain Efficiency and Effectiveness Initiative

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The Kellogg Company, a consumer goods icon with brands such as Kellogg cereals, Cheez-Itc rackers, Keebler cookies and Eggo waffles, earlier this week announced a billion dollar cost cutting plan that would extend over the next four years.  

This effort is reported by business media to be motivated by increased competition in the breakfast and snack food industry segments along with softer demand from economically distressed consumers. Business media reports that these cutbacks would result in the estimated loss of 2000 jobs, however, with the four year window, Kellogg management aims to achieve headcount reductions through normal attrition. From our Supply Chain Matters lens, the new Project K efficiency program looks more like an effort to drive global supply chain wide efficiencies and create more integrated supply chain business processes and services across global product lines.

In its most recent fiscal third-quarter financial results, Kellogg reported essentially flat revenues and decreased operating profits. While global net sales are increasing, North America based sales declined by 1.3 percent. The company has been forecasting sales growth of between 4-5 percent for the current fiscal year.

According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, the new Project K initiative involves a complete re-tooling of the company’s supply chains that includes spending $1.4 billion by the end of 2017 to relocate production lines and globally integrate business process services.  Kellogg is targeting upwards of $475 million in annual cost savings as of 2018, as an outcome from this latest announced initiative.

Supply Chain Matters calls reader attention to our June 2012 commentary regarding the acquisition by Kellogg of the Pringles snacks business from Procter and Gamble.  In 2012, Kellogg was handed a fortunate opportunity to acquire the Pringles business after the deal to sell that line to Diamond Foods was undone because of certain revelations.  Kellogg quickly agreed to a $2.7 billion all-cash deal to acquire a global, well-run brand and become a top player in the global savory snacks industry segment. However, Kellogg had to bring on a high debt load in order to pull off the financing of this deal, reported to be upwards of $2 billion. In the latest fiscal quarter that ended in September, the Kellogg balance sheet reported $6.3 billion in long-term debt.

At the time of our 2012 commentary, the combined synergies of the existing Kellogg and Pringles snack businesses were reported to be $10 million in 2012 and a range of $50-$75 million after 2013.  In 2012, Kellogg has been in the process of re-implementing SAP within its U.S. operations, and the addition of the Pringles business presented an added opportunity to integrate within the SAP environment. P&G itself has committed ongoing service arrangements to transition Pringles and was a very sophisticated user of SAP applications. We speculated that Kellogg teams would gain valuable learning and insights particularly regarding deployment and use of SAP advanced supply chain related applications.

Prior to  2012, Kellogg had some previous supply chain related quality setbacks related to past product recalls involving its Eggo product line prompting its CEO to declare that the company had to restore investor confidence in Kellogg supply chain capabilities. The Pringles integration again offered opportunities to revisit needs in this area.

Of late, CPG companies continue to feel the Wall Street based reverberations of the previously announced $23 billion acquisition of HJ Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Heinz, a stalwart of global brand identity was acquired to harvest the cost savings synergies of its global operations, and that tremor seems to haunt existing CPG manufacturers since activist investors continue to want to play-out the next cash generating opportunity. We have opined that In the light of challenging revenue headwinds, company senior executives have launched aggressive stock buy-back programs with available cash to ward off hostile takeovers. Alternatively, Wall Street analysts conclude that previous efforts at cost cutting and headcount reductions have run their course and the new path to growth lies in more industry consolidation and financial engineering. Thus another era of mega acquisition activity seems at the ready, and the psychology of CPG senior executives’ shifts. These pressures naturally flow to supply chain leaders who must deliver more cost savings to fund other business investment needs.  Some supply chain analysts chastise supply chain teams for not delivering industry leading metrics of performance.  We believe that the realities of current or future business outcomes have more to do with performance goal setting.

The new Project K multi-year cost saving effort presents opportunities to rationalize global production capacity, consolidate category product management to a regional focus and provide common supply chain related business processes across multiple regions.  It is probably another response to ward-off mega acquisition industry pressures. This effort probably should have pre-ceded efforts to adopt a standardized systems platform.  None the less, Kellogg is now a global CPG branded company and must demonstrate market and supply chain response capabilities that exhibit responsiveness to changing consumer needs across global markets.

The Kellogg corporate mission statement includes the following: “We are a company of promise and possibilities.”

From this author’s perspective, the success of Project K needs to be firmly grounded in the above principle.

Bob Ferrari

Supply Chain Matters Coverage of 2013 Kinexions Conference- Part Two

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We pen this commentary from Scottsdale Arizona and our attendance at Kinexions 13, the annual customer event sponsored by Kinaxis, Inc.  This is our second live commentary and readers can review our initial commentary by clicking on this link.

In our summary commentary from last year’s Kinexions, we noted one of the consistent and somewhat unique themes that we have consistently and objectively observed at past Kinexions, namely customer’s open articulation of their enthusiasm concerning the value that Kinaxis RapidResponse software has provided in their business and decision-making processes, coupled with the ongoing existence of a positive partnership with a software vendor, one that consistently demonstrates responsiveness to their needs.  Trust me in the statement that while many software and services vendors consistently attempt to achieve this state in a customer focused event, it is something that cannot be consistently scripted or orchestrated.  It has to be organic and living.

This year, as in previous year’s that presence of customer’s articulation of value continues.  Both in the invited session for analysts and industry influencers, and on the conference main stage, customer’s describe how Kinaxis technology has delivered on its purpose and how the vendor itself remains responsive to their individual needs.

In the on-stage keynote session from First Solar, Shellie Molina, Vice President Global Supply Chain, Shannon Rawlins, Director, Sales and Operations Planning, and Mark Zeni, AE Fulfillment, each articulated both the unique industry and supply chain business challenges that were encountered. In the specific case of First Solar, it was the radically changing business environment in alternative energy that required the company to be highly responsive to a rapidly changing dynamic of market and customer demand.  In 2006, the company’s solar panels were on a steep growth projector, but the magic carpet ride changed rather quickly thereafter. The history of involvement with Kinaxis RapidResponse began in the termed glory days of huge industry demand that later culminated in industry-wide consolidation and a highly re-focused First Solar. Shellie Molina described the prior state as no one really concerned with state of inventory, but highly concerned and focused in the latter stage.  She knew in her gut that the supply chain team had to be ready and responsive to that need, and needed the right tools to be able to navigate lots of change. Shannon Rawlins described how S&OP planners had developed great Excel spreadsheet models and skills, while struggling with the need to keep up with changing data requirements for these spreadsheets. She described the challenge as: “Moving on to the business of planning vs. honing Excel skills.”  Mark Zinney who manages First Solar’s new Solar Systems business described how the revised business model led to the need to link the First Solar supply chain to multiple solar field installation projects, and how the new RapidResponse project management turned out to be the best option. Each of the presenter’s described bedhow Kinaxis remained responsive to their individual needs and work with the team through these various iterations.  As Molina described, even though it has been a challenging journey of business change, they knew that RapidResponse was the right technology to help support their supply chain decision support needs.

Jim White, Vice President Operations, Applied Materials described the case study of RapidResponse utilization at the Varian Semiconductor business unit.  Applied Materials and its associated business units support capital and production equipment needs for today’s highly dynamic and changing semiconductor industry. The industry landscape was described as narrowing margins, changing industry dynamics and constant need for product innovation. “Speed is what matters and you differentiate on time-to-market and customer service.  Growth is mandatory.” In case of many of Applied’s products, customer requested lead times were shorter than actual design and production lead times, requiring the need for accurate and responsive planning processes. This business also tends to be highly cyclical in nature, driven by either customer production innovation or investment budgeting cycles. The Varian Semiconductor case study involved a concentrated make-to-order planning process involving complex bills of material. The challenge was described as constantly syncing with the “technology nodes” of customers and not getting locked out of a technology investment cycle.  Kinaxis RapidResponse is utilized to plan engineering phase in and phase out cycling, to focus on specific needs for supplier collaboration and prioritization modeling for constrained parts. White admitted that he was initially a skeptic to the described benefits, it sounded too good.  He and his CFO were won over . Now every Wednesday, Jim and the Varian senior management team conducts a weekly operations review to target key customer delivery objectives. Scenarios developed in Kinaxis RapidResponse are reviewed and evaluated and decisions are made based on identified options.

In the invited influencer session, three other Kinaxis customers articulated their individual experiences. The themes were similar:

  • Constantly changing business and supply chain environments requiring more responsive and more predictive planning
  • A realization that the majority of today’s supply chain information exists outside of an organization’s backbone or legacy systems.
  • Either frustration with attempting to implement an existing ERP based planning application, or current gaps in required planning capabilities needed.
  • Seeking a trusted partnership with a technology vendor and insuring that the vendor is responsive to ongoing needs.
  • The critical need to insure user acceptance and adoption of any tool selected, and that the system actually does what it is supposed to do.

To be fair, advanced technology and vendor relationships, even those related to Kinaxis do tend to have challenges, and behind the scenes, there are such challenges.  From our view, it’s the relationship that matters and those relationships continue to be communicated in positive tones.

For its part, Kinaxis must continue to adapt to a rapidly changing and consolidating technology market.  In our next commentary, we will share some observations in that area.

Bob Ferrari

Full Disclosure: Kinaxis is one of other designated sponsors of Supply Chain Matters

Supply Chain Matters Coverage of 2013 Kinexions Conference- Part One

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Each October since the founding of Supply Chain Matters in 2008, we have had the opportunity to attend Kinexions, the annual customer conference of our lead sponsor, Kinaxis, Inc. We are penning this initial commentary from Scottsdale Arizona where the weather has been stunning and beautiful.

Readers will recall from our coverage of last year’s Kinexions, and for that matter, other previous occurrences, there has always been a consistent theme of customers articulating their experiences with both Kinaxis, and the Kinaxis RapidResponse technology, and that theme has definitely continued. Throughout these years, there has also been an added element of education, learning something you did not know previously. Industry analysts, market influences and invited prospective customers are provided unrestricted access to all of the conference sessions and allowed to mingle with all attendees, something that unfortunately, all software or services vendors do not practice.  Our one restriction as an independent industry analyst and supply chain social media mechanism is to respect the stated confidentiality needs of specific customers or Kinaxis, which is appropriate.

The theme of last year’s conference was stated as The Power of One.  This year’s Kinexions featured the theme of Know Faster – Act Sooner, and it seemed, at least to this author, to be rather appropriate.  The overall scheduling of the event was rather different this year, in that it was pretty much a weekend event.  Pre-conference training sessions for customers began on Thursday, and main conference activities have been scheduled for Friday and the Saturday morning.  Attendance does seem to be slightly down this year although we have not had the opportunity to view the actual numbers.  With today’s rather hectic work schedules across multiple industry supply chain environments, software vendor events scheduled during a weekend present challenges. None the less, the enthusiasm of customers that are attending and presenting content has been enthusiastic.

This author was invited to attend the dedicated session for industry analysts and market influencers that was scheduled Thursday afternoon where Kinaxis executives shared direction and a select group of customers articulated their experiences with Kinaxis RapidResponse. We will feature some observations from this session in a later commentary, but there where restrictions as to how much we can comment related to certain shared information.

For the remainder of this commentary, this author wanted to highlight on the welcome and opening remarks from Kinaxis President and CEO, Doug Colbeth. In his remarks, Colbeth re-iterated what he believes to be the unique business model of the company, one totally focused on the needs of supply chain management.  It shared that his leadership principle for Kinaxis remains and has always been building something that does not exist in today’s market,. He described the Kinaxis corporate culture as: “extremely innovative and extremely focused.” Further shared with the audience was that at Kinaxis board meetings, the discussions are always focused on ways to add value for customers vs. existing customer’s in the market:  “Why would we want to emulate the competition?”  By our view, those comments indeed provide the true descriptor of the unique fabric that makes up Kinaxis and its approach with customers.

Stay tuned for further commentaries.

Bob Ferrari

Full Disclosure: Kinaxis is one of other designated sponsors of Supply Chain Matters

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