Supply Chain Matters provides part two of highlights from supply chain concurrent planning technology provider Kinaxis’s annual Kinexions 2022 customer conference held in May.


In a previously published part one commentary, we shared summary highlights of the Kinexions 2022 conference. Our commentary focused om major announcements including a reported new breakthrough in advanced supply chain analytics which is being termed Kinaxis Planning.AI, along with other announcements. Further highlighted were customer presentations, particularly from customers Honeywell and Qualcomm.

In this commentary we want to call Supply Chain Matters reader attention to the event’s final presentation which was titled: Thriving Through Supply Chain’s Most Difficult Hour- A Conversion with Experts.

The session featured a panel of distinguished academics which included:

Jan Godsell, Dean, School of Business, Loughborough University

Nada Sanders, Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management, School of Business, Northeastern University

Morgan Swink, West Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management, Texas Christian University

Pascal Van Hentenryck, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology

The moderator of the session was Anne Robinson, Chief Strategy Officer, Kinaxis

This Editor found this session to be extremely informative and insightful, and it was unfortunate that it was scheduled as a closing session. Many attendees either utilizing the live streaming of the conference, or constrained by travel plans, may not have had the opportunity to view the session live, and I especially recommend that you view the on-demand session.

The panelist discussion addressed a number of important topics which this commentary will touch upon.

A discussion of the overall big picture included observations that supply chains must shift their emphasis in becoming more ‘risk aware’ as contrasted too highly efficient. Risk aware was described as more dynamically flexible supply networks, the optimization of specific buffers such as capacity as well as inventory, or flexibility in supply chain network design. Risk awareness was expressed as knowledge not only of internal business and associated supply chain risk areas, but global, geo-political or industry risk dimensions.

A further insight was viewing the end-to-end supply chain as a holistic system in terms of process, people and technology enablement. Panelists expressed some frustration that supply chain as well as other functions are still demonstrating functional stovepipe thinking in goal setting and decision-making. Stated was that the biggest challenge is in thinking differently. Two panelists voiced their observations that some supply chain leaders still believe that the pre-pandemic business conditions of 2018-2019 will eventually return. Professor Nada Sanders emphatically stated that such thinking in not realistic.

Many of the panelists discussed the ongoing talent management or brain drain challenges of supply chain management. This especially pertains to the effects of the pandemic motivating many experienced professionals to elect to retire early. Panelists noted that they are blown away with the skills being brought by up-and-coming talent, but that knowledge transfer is essential. The need here was expressed as “cultivating talent and wisdom.”

A rather insightful discussion was focused on the topic of supply chain leaders ability to communicate in the language of the CFO and the respective C-Suite.

Professor Swank observed that supply chain leaders have to provide value propositions that might compete with other perceived business needs. CFO’s often deal with options to expend capital and resources and communicating in the language of equates to articulate needs for added business options, such as being better able to manage overall market or business risk, augmenting the supply network with added resiliency and so forth. Technology can assist in such efforts in providing the ability to generate different planning scenarios weighted for different levels of service or cost risk, as well as impact to business financial metrics.

In the panelist wrap-up and closing thoughts, it was noted that this is indeed an exciting time to be associated with supply chain management capabilities. Professor Van Hentenryck observed that now is the right time to invest in more advanced technology, especially that related to data management, because the new business world is driven by data and insights.

This Editor garnered added insights from viewing this academic expert session. We extend our tip-of-the hat to Anne Robinson of Kinaxis for outstanding moderation of discussion areas.

Our efforts have and continue to be focused on Supply Chain Matters as providing a meaningful resource for our multi-industry and global supply chain readership. Our content has included blogs and podcast conversation related to communicating in the language of C-Suite, in defining supply chain capabilities in broader process dimensions and in educating our readers on areas of business, supply chain and global risk. We will strive to increase our efforts on these topics as well as others that were touched upon by this and other panels.


Bob Ferrari

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Note: Kinaxis is both a sponsor of the Supply Chain blog and a client of The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group.