SaaS “Rapid Response” to quickly respond to supply chain issues – Interview with Kinaxis Japan Toshiya Kaneko | IoT NEWS

In recent years, changes in the environment surrounding the manufacturing industry, such as the novel coronavirus, shortage of semiconductors, and exchange rate fluctuations, are occurring rapidly. Manufacturing now needs agile decision making for these changes.

Therefore, we will support the manufacturing industry supply chain by establishing a production plan in response to changes in business conditions, visualizing the status of parts and inventory counts, and using SaaS “Rapid Response” which uses high-speed computing Interview with Mr. Toshiya Kaneko, President of Kinaxis Japan Co., Ltd. (Interviewer: Shunsuke Obata, IoTNEWS)

Essential supply chain for DX

Until now, ERP systems and various solutions have provided systems that balance supply and demand. However, although the brand names of the solutions are unified in most of them, there is a history of adding functions through acquisitions etc., and the functional modules are made up of separate systems, and many of them work in conjunction with each other. .

As a result, when the arithmetic processing is heavy or the versions are not unified, the data link between the modules is often blocked in the Excel export and import flow.

Also, when collecting a large amount of data and trying to perform prediction processing in various commercial scenes, there were many products where the processing time took several hours or more depending on the amount of data.

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Scheduling mechanism and classic problems: Excel exchanges between modules

On the other hand, replacing the central system does not mean that sales will increase. Many business owners realize the importance of making great products, how cheap they are, how ok they are, and how they deliver them to customers, and they are excited about the supply chain. ‘supply. , said Kaneko.

As the supply chain gains attention, the flow from sourcing to manufacturing and sales becomes global, and external environmental risks such as natural disasters, declining birth rates and aging populations , and exchange rates rise. Moreover, the business environment surrounding the manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly complex and deep, with product life cycles becoming shorter and the number of products increasing due to the diversification of needs.

In these situations, “visibility”, “agility” and “retrievability” are important.

First, if we can visualize the entire supply chain, we can reduce unpredictable risks and react quickly. Of course, since it is possible to make predictions, the answer will be quick.

And by automating planning, you can reduce costs, increase productivity, and increase resilience.

“RapidResponse”, a digital supply chain solution from Kinaxis, is a SaaS-like solution that was previously created as separate modules such as S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning), Demand Planning, Planning procurement and inventory planning. as a single system, simultaneous parallel scheduling (concurrent scheduling) can be realized.

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By stopping the compartment relay and performing simultaneous parallel processing, it becomes possible to react quickly to changes.

Also, because it uses cloud resources, the prediction process, which used to take about 10 hours with a modular system, can be completed in about 15 minutes, and more detailed scenario changes only take seconds. make predictions in units.

For those struggling to form a picture, for example, suppose there are three types of predictions when disaster strikes one day.

First, the first prediction is “the disaster-free supply and demand situation”, and the second is “when transferring production from one factory in the place where a disaster occurred to another plant”. The eyes are to set up a number of scenarios, like “when the product is delivered to the customer in installments”, and perform a simulation.

In these simulations, it took several hours to make the first prediction. Of course, the second one is also extremely time-consuming, so there were many managers who used the data after the first prediction to pull the necessary information into Excel and manually calculate the predicted value.

With this, there is no need to introduce a prediction system.

However, in “Rapid Response” where simultaneous parallel planning is performed, each prediction is completed within seconds, so the person in charge is freed from the waiting time of Excel’s manual calculation and simulation.

In Casio’s case

For example, in the case of Casio Computer, we used to use a batch-like SCM solution, so if we made a plan for an overnight batch, we got results the next morning. Planners have no choice but to rely on this outcome, so if a salesperson requests a change or replacement of a part in the morning, they have to rush and correct it manually.

So when I changed it to “Rapid Response”, the planner was able to formulate a high-quality production plan by exploring various scenarios even after going to work in the morning.

Currently it is also used for G-Shock EC commands.

In the case of Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta faced a major problem at the start of the Corona disaster as some factories were forced to suspend production.

Therefore, it was necessary to simulate “what kind of impact would occur in bases around the world if a factory shut down”.

Therefore, following the introduction of “quick response”, it has been found that delays in delivery can be avoided by switching from surface mail to air mail. Additionally, while such changes usually accompany cost increases, RapidResponse can also contain sales forecasts based on customer orders and profit status based on cost drivers as data, so it is possible to judge whether the cost increase is acceptable or not. the result of the simulation has been published.

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Image of scenario planning: It is possible to simulate several scenarios at the same time after weighting the KPIs required for the business.

Now it is possible to optimize security inventory standards and immediately reflect the latest sales status in weekly production plans, and it expands its introduction not only in the field of multi-function devices but also in the field of health.

Process when introducing rapid response

Since “Rapid Response” is SaaS, it is important that users first clarify what the supply chain should be before using the system.

Policies should be clear on the topics of S&OP, supply and demand, and inventory optimization.

Next, review existing data such as the number and depth of BOM items. According to Kaneko, “If you don’t have the data for what you want to do, you can start with a partial answer.”

In this case, the necessary data will be prepared while carrying out measures that can be implemented in the short term.

When it comes to data, even though it is necessary to have rules such as supplying raw materials from the oldest when there is an expiration date like a pharmaceutical company, RapidResponse has such a “way of thinking industry-specific, so it can be customized. It has the feature that it is not necessary,” says Kaneko.

It can be said that this area is an important merit when adopting the solution provided by the SaaS type.

“It’s also important to match knowledge of the work in progress with the key person in the field at the time of introduction,” he said.

It is not easy to take time with a key person who is busy with normal work, but since it is possible to introduce an agile type who creates a model at an early stage and makes the customer look at the movement, a huge amount of consideration is It can be effective even over a short period of time without swinging the key person in the period.

And when introducing overseas affiliate SaaS, domestic companies may be concerned about data location, but in the case of RapidResponse, since domestic data centers may be used, such concerns do not occur.

Other Challenges to Supply Chain Challenges

I think I might get an image that the company’s problems could be solved by the content so far. However, when trying to find the optimal solution for the supply chain, issues such as linking data with external companies and how to incorporate changes in the external environment into the simulation arise.

For example, what can RapidResponse do for the shortage of semiconductors that has become a problem these days?

Due to the shortage of semiconductors, supply and demand will not match, but in such cases, it is possible to focus not only on the number of orders, but also on the profits that will be generated.

For example, if parts are not supplied but are manufactured in the order in which they are manufactured, there is a loss in cases such as “it is actually more profitable to manufacture in a different order”. So if you’re using RapidResponse, which product is likely to make a profit when a certain part is out of stock? Such a simulation can be easily performed.

With regard to the theme of reducing CO2 emissions from car manufacturers, it is possible to predict the amount of CO2 emissions to be produced for which model of car. So the question is, “What is the state of manufacturing that meets the CO2 emissions the company is aiming for?” It’s easy to fake.

Likewise, it is possible to understand what kind of profits will be made against fluctuations in exchange rates.

Additionally, RapidResponse can offer alternatives, Kaneko said.

It even tells you, “There are alternatives like this,” if something goes wrong. From the conventional method in which the planner assumes a case and performs a simulation to test hypotheses, it seems that the lack of experience of the planner can be compensated.

Being able to simulate these different uncertainties will be a necessary solution to respond to an increasingly uncertain business environment.

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