The Supply Chain Matters blog provides added highlights of supply chain planning and execution orchestration provider Kinaxis’s annual customer conference held last week, both physically in Nashville, Tennessee, and virtually livestreamed.

Kinexions23 turned out to be the most well attended event in this tech provider’s history, with upwards of 730 attendees in Nashville, and hundreds more streaming online.

In our prior initial commentary, we provided overall highlights of the conference including major announcements.


Highlights of Interview with Kinaxis CEO John Sicard

Prior to the conference start, this supply chain technology industry analyst had the opportunity to sit down with Kinaxis CEO, John Sicard, to discuss some key topics.

One of the areas discussed by Sicard was his overall observations, takeaways and insights garnered after conducting numerous ongoing discussions with multi-industry Chief Supply Chain or Senior Operations Managers.

An area that he really focused on were the narratives that are occurring among senior supply chain executives with C-Suite executives, boards of directors or both bodies.

One was a belief that the supply chain disruptions that have occurred during these three plus years of multi-industry business disruption were not so much a failure of technology, but rather of process and dated techniques.

At the board level, the narrative is one of what must our company do differently across the supply chain to either avoid or better mitigate future disruptions. It further includes the significance and contribution of the firm’s extended supply chain in addressing ESG timetables and actions.

At C-level, the discussion further centers on what added supply chain resilience implies and what that needs to entail. Sicard is rather passionate and consistent in his belief that business resiliency is not so much a practice or an enabling technology. He states that it is rather a competence and an outcome of various other business and supply chain actions. That is, practices undertaken to instill added business intelligence, more timely and informed decision-making and in various aspects of enhanced supply chain agility. It further implies breaking down supply chain siloes and lack of trust among various groups that make-up supply chain management.

One other topic that Sicard mentions regarding the expressed agenda of chief supply chain officers is legacy, namely, how will I leave this organization when it is time to move on. The notion here is an increasing emphasis on building and fostering needed supply chain competencies for the next decade vs incremental improvements. He flatly states, incremental is out and game changing actions are the new agenda demanded by C-Suite executives.

Regarding technology itself, Sicard indicated that senior supply chain leaders are not interested in the latest and greatest technology buzz. Instead, that are now laser focused on process, information, talent and enhanced decision-making needs. Technology is a part of the conversation only after understanding how existing or future business challenges and needs are going to be addressed and when.


What The Supply Chain Tech Market Expect from Kinaxis

Regarding what the supply chain technology market can expect from Kinaxis, Sicard pointed to continued market momentum and continuous innovation.

Going forward, Kinaxis will expand the notions of response management beyond solely supply chain planning and into combined planning and physical execution support capabilities. The company’s various industry specific capabilities will further be expanded including a deeper focus within retail industry channels and segments. As we noted in our prior blog, there have been significant retail customer wins added including HAVI.

Specifically noted was an enhanced emphasis on machine learning and artificial intelligence enabled decision-making. Analysis and testing is already underway in the areas of generative and conversational AI technology customer use cases. The announced new strategic partnership with Google Cloud is a part of this effort. Indicated was that this specific area will have a profound impact on enhancing needs for added resiliency and agility of supply chains going forward. He however stressed that there will always be the need for human creativity and context for planning exceptions or unplanned events, but there are now opportunities to automate everyday planning and transactional flows.

During the pandemic, Kinaxis added over 1,000 staff because of increased customer interest and RapidResponse® technology demand. The company has further demonstrated nine record-breaking quarters of added customer adoption.


Bob Ferrari

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Added Note: Kinaxis is a Named Sponsor of the Supply Chain Matters blog and a client of The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group.