The following posting can also be viewed and commented upon on the Kinaxis Supply Chain Expert Community web site.

The holiday season is fast approaching and many supply chain professionals are doing their ‘magic’ to make holiday dreams come true, not to mention quarterly performance metrics.

I thought of a great idea to start a conversation thread for our community; let’s start a holiday wish list to be sent to all supply chain technology vendors, including Kinaxis.  This list should include some cool applications that would make everyone’s work lives a lot easier.

The staff here at Supply Chain Matters would like to get the ball rolling with a top five listing of the coolest applications that vendors could deliver as holiday gifts: the SOPI, STUPIDIMSCREWED, MUTANT, and  AHH Apps.

The S&OP Intelligence App (SOPI)

Anyone who has had participation in a sales and operations planning (S&OP) knows that participants sometimes get carried away with assuring that their individual or functional agenda gets played out in the process.  How many times has marketing and sales been overly optimistic concerning customer demand?  Conversely, finance’s view of inventory hedging and safety stock balances.

This SOPI App monitors all previous phases of the S&OP review process and calculates a behavior indicator of process based on likely probability and/or artificial intelligence algorithms.  An example of such outcome probability values could be the following:

a)  Straight Shooter: Consistently exhibits good judgment and reliable commitments; the go-to participant for action planning or crisis. Participant feedback: “Good call!

b)  Opportunist: Some history of gaming or one-sided bias and /or exaggeration. Participant feedback: “Are you for real? Let’s really think about that!

c)  Player: This participant is always grandstanding, plays to the crowd. Participant feedback: “The community theatre group rehearsal is every Tuesday night!

d)  Illusionist: This participant dwells in fantasyland. Participant feedback:  “Give me a break, will ya!

The Supercharged, Turbo Universal Probability Inventory Deployment App. (STUPID)

In this uncertain period of post-recessionary recovery, managing inventories has become a constant and difficult challenge.  CFO’s and financial teams continue to want to preserve cash and improve working capital while customers practice sophisticated and distinct buying behaviors. Many companies are looking to expand sales in emerging economies and inventory balancing is a continual challenge. If you reside in consumer or high tech electronics settings, you definitely feel the pain. Sophisticated inventory optimization technologies are not well understood and we have just about given-up on trying to get any timely analysis from our ERP related inventory planning applications.

The STUPID App will optimize customer demand patterns with available and planned inventory by outputting a series of supercharged, Venn-like diagrams. These diagrams will be the equivalent of a ‘large glob of goo’ that provides a near real-time analysis of the various forces impacting inventory and their likely plan outcomes.  The STUPID App is not so much an analytical tool, but a means to mesmerize the CFO and his team for a few days while inventory is re-positioned.  “Whoops- how did that happen?”

Intelligence for Materials, Specialized Commodities, Resources, Engineering Requirements , Workforce and other Enterprise Distribution App (IMSCREWED)

The current explosion in inbound commodity and materials prices are causing significant challenges for strategic sourcing and procurement professionals in overcoming these price increases by seeking new sources of supply, or working with existing suppliers and product management to find alternative materials.  This is a real problem, where previous cost savings are being obliterated by current price explosions in food, metals, electronics and other commodities.

The IMSCREWED App is a highly sophisticated tool that analyzes all current and future market factors, and outputs a series of probable procurement related scenarios or options.  IT development resources need not be intimidated or taken-back by this rather complex application description. This application must be able to take advantage of today’s most sophisticated of gaming, hedging or probability outcome technologies, and be able to deliver practical action plans.  The application also needs to be very user-friendly, since it must appeal to a wide-ranging collection of users.

Mobile Universal Trumpet Alert and Notification Technology (MUTANT)

The unsung superheroes of this rather difficult era of non-stop supply chain challenges have been the teams of logistics and transportation professionals who have been constantly called upon to be the masterminds of  ‘can-do’ or ‘make-it-happen’  when forecasts were inaccurate, supply was late, or customers placed last-minute orders.

MUTANT is a universally deployed, mobile based application that runs on any smartphone platform.  Whenever logistics and transportation has solved a significant problem, made carriers perform extraordinary tasks, or performed beyond the call of responsibility, a universal alert is automatically sent that triggers all mobile devices to play a trumpet flourish.  This would be similar to what one would hear in a cavalry charge on the field of battle, engineered with a high frequency and unmistakable tone. This mobile-based technology needs to have sophisticated programming that targets specific mobile devices held by certain senior management, or other specific targeted teams.

The Aura-Halo-Hug App (AHH)

We all need a cool gift for those countless, good,  unrecognized supply chain related individuals on our holiday list that we just want to recognize for their good works.

AHH is a unique application that emits a constant warm glow, a soothing tone, a sense that all is well and we all need to get along with one another in harmony and tranquility.  I’m personally dedicating myself toward working on development of this App, and then selling the rights to Apple.  At that point, I’m going to retire from supply chain activity and find a beach somewhere and let the rest of you space out on your AHH App.

There you have it- our Supply Chain Matters top five holiday wish list for supply chain technology.

Chime-in everybody, what’s on your holiday wish list?

Bob Ferrari