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