While outsourcing manufacturing operations is a growing trend that offers compelling cost and other advantages to brand owners, the trade-off is that it also increases complexity by creating virtual enterprises where data and operations reside with third parties, usually using disparate systems. Further challenging brand owners, customer demand has become increasingly volatile and the resulting need for supply chain agility and responsiveness has never been more critical to success. Brand owners remain accountable for their brand, quality and customer satisfaction and have mounting compliance requirements. To meet these objectives, brand owners must be able to coordinate the activities of their partners and respond to change with speed and confidence. In order to achieve this, they must have multi-enterprise visibility across their internal and external supply chains.
RapidResponse Glass Pipeline – A Secure Conduit for Multi-enterprise Visibility
RapidResponse Glass Pipeline, a standard feature of the on-demand RapidResponse service, provides a conduit to securely connect RapidResponse to supply chain data residing in disparate systems--whether internal or external to the organization–enabling an aggregated, multi-enterprise view of the brand owner’s business. Feeding and synchronizing multiple data sources into a single instance of RapidResponse supports the brand owner’s requirement for a multi-tier view of their extended supply chain, while removing the burden on contract manufacturers and suppliers to constantly produce and share requested data extractions, which can be both time-consuming and IT resource-intensive.
Two types of connections flow data through the RapidResponse Glass Pipeline:
• RapidResponse-to-RapidResponse—a new capability that offers unprecedented speed and ease of access to information between two RapidResponse systems. With 5 of the top 10 contract manufacturers in the world already using RapidResponse, those brand owners working with them now have capabilities to tap directly into these partner systems to access critical information about their outsourced products and/or sub-assemblies. This user-driven setup can be achieved within days without the need for IT resources.
• RapidResponse-to-ERP— RapidResponse is ERP-agnostic, having been integrated with nearly 40 ERP systems, including a certified integration with mySAP ERP. Multiple, disparate ERP systems can be simultaneously connected to a single instance of RapidResponse, including the brand owner’s own ERP system and that of multiple partners.
“The challenge of visibility and coordination has existed since outsourcing began and is intensifying as the outsourcing model further permeates the market,” stated David Haskins, CTO of Kinaxis. “Solutions to-date have focused on providing limited visibility to a subset of data. RapidResponse with the RapidResponse Glass Pipeline provides a holistic view of operations and provides key decision makers throughout the organization with a rich toolset to leverage this multi-enterprise visibility to rapidly respond to the frequent changes in supply, demand, capacity and product that wreak havoc on the business if not addressed quickly and accurately.”
Visibility Alone is Not Enough – RapidResponse Leverages Visibility to Drive Action
“While visibility is a pre-requisite for operational performance management, by itself it can not drive effective action or response,” says Colin Snow, VP & Research Director, Ventana Research. “The true power of visibility is realized when it is accompanied by analytical capabilities for decision support and a means by which people can connect and collaborate to reach resolution and take action.”
The on-demand RapidResponse service with RapidResponse Glass Pipeline extends beyond portals or exchanges that typically only offer separate, fixed views of information that the brand owner can not manipulate or integrate, and that can be subject to version control or cross-referencing problems.
The on-demand RapidResponse service provides brand owners with a common and always current view, among and across its internal manufacturing and all of its suppliers and contract manufacturers. More importantly, it empowers key staff with rich decision-making tools to conduct real-time “what-if” simulations and analysis, such as determining the impact of a forecast change or new product introduction. By proactively modeling and scoring different response alternatives, a well-understood and optimal action can be communicated to the supplier or contract manufacturer. This strengthens the partnership allowing each to focus on their respective and appropriate areas of responsibility, reducing risk and increasing confidence and coordination in the actions taken.
For contract manufacturers, RapidResponse Glass Pipeline enables unique customer service capabilities, while reducing the IT burden to produce and share necessary information with brand owner customers.
Ahead of the Curve
Recognizing the tremendous value of leveraging Response Management across the extended supply chain, Kinaxis RapidResponse brand owner customers such as Lucent Technologies and Teradyne, Inc. are already integrating data from multiple contract manufacturers into their RapidResponse system, and as a result are realizing compelling benefits.
Teradyne, in particular, has integrated the ERP data of its own plants and those of its contract manufacturers. “Our glass pipeline, enabled through RapidResponse, allows us to effectively work with our partners on a wide range of execution and improvement issues, allowing both sides to come collectively to solutions that achieve our individual and common goals,” says Jim Wood, Manager, Supply Chain Information Systems for Teradyne. “With such costly products and with so much outsourcing, visibility is critical to our ability to manage through up and down business cycles.”
Likewise, Lucent Technologies, who outsources upwards of 85 percent of its manufacturing, has enabled its RapidResponse system to integrate data from the MRP (manufacturing resource planning) systems of its contract manufacturers' 20-plus locations worldwide along with its own integration centers. "With this level of visibility, everyone can see what needs to happen and who needs to act," says Arvind Ballakur, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Networks at Lucent Technologies. "The only way we can effectively manage our supply chain is through global visibility and close coordination with our partners."
The value of RapidResponse Glass Pipeline is not exclusive to brand owners. Contract manufacturers can also gain great advantage in leveraging a better process to share data and increase coordination with their brand owner customers. Giving a brand owner direct access to data that was previously difficult for the contract manufacturer to produce and share allows staff to concentrate on more value-added activities, which in the end enables them to serve the customer better. And with brand owners empowered with better visibility and pro-active “what-if” modeling capabilities, contract manufacturers can benefit from better forecasts and less inherent business risk.
Kinaxis stands alone in delivering an on-demand Response Management service that drives operations performance management for brand owners and contract manufacturers. RapidResponse extends beyond supply chain planning systems to enable global leaders such as Casio, Coty, Honeywell, Jabil Circuit, Raytheon and Benchmark to access real-time information; quickly collaborate to reach optimal decisions that align with corporate objectives; and rapidly drive effective action when faced with constant changes. For more information, visit the Kinaxis web site at http://www.kinaxis.com or the company’s blog at http://blog.kinaxis.com.