This is the third of our postings coming from the Kinaxis Kinexions conference being held these next two days in Phoenix.  My previous Internet connectivity issues seem resolved now that I have had the opportunity to move away from the keynote ballroom.

As noted in Dispatch Two, this morning’s presentations focused on the common challenges that are occurring in many supply chain environments, especially the high tech industry.  One common theme that resonated from the Cisco, RIM and Qualcomm presentations was the significant shift in business models that now rely more on direct B2C consumer factors in planning and synchronizing overall supply chain activities.  Just a few years past, many of these same companies were primarily being driven from B2B fulfillment needs, and today’s models are more hybrid in nature.  The supply chain implications were consistently identified as:

  • More dynamic rate of change in products and product planning cycles
  • Mixed product/service fulfillment models requiring increased planning complexity
  • More demanding channel partners all being influenced by the latest consumer buying patterns
  • Increased part levels needing to be planned
  • Increased emphasis on supply chain segmentation with an emphasis where supply chain needs to be more flexible/agile vs. more efficient.

The other common trait that I noted was a more dramatic shift toward supply chain frameworks that combine elements of push-pull for products involving customer fulfillment patterns that require quicker response beyond longer lead times.  There were other mentions of supporting combinations of configure-to-order, assemble-to-order, or other combinations of planning.

In high tech, a Kinaxis core vertical, and other industries as well, supply chain planning has become a lot more dynamic.  Speed, timely decision-making and deeper analytics are the ‘new normal’ to responsive planning processes.

Bob Ferrari