Kinaxis Launches On-demand Supply Chain Response Management Service

Solution provider aims to reduce implementation risk, ownership costs for RapidResponse offering with hosted service

Solution provider aims to reduce implementation risk, ownership costs for RapidResponse offering with hosted service

Ottawa — April 19, 2006 — Software provider Kinaxis has taken its RapidResponse offering to the Web with an on-demand offering designed to reduce implementation risk, ownership costs and required IT resources for its flagship supply chain visibility solution.

Kinaxis is rolling out the new Web-based version of RapidResponse in conjunction with IBM Global Services, which will provide the on-demand environment and application-hosting infrastructure.

RapidResponse is designed to help global companies gain visibility into, and control over, their extended supply chains. The solution attacks the problem identified in a recent survey of 121 leading brand owners by analyst firm Industry Directions and the Electronics Supply Chain Association, which reported that "69 percent of brand owners say they now have less control over at least five key supply chain processes, including: order promising, analyzing and managing risk, inventory liability and forecast sharing."

Controlling the Supply Network

A solution like RapidResponse is necessary in this day and age, as Kinaxis sees it, because supply chains have been replaced by supply networks. Brand owners, contract manufacturers and suppliers manage a "virtual enterprise" of interconnected players working in a dynamic environment. Winning in this environment requires supply chain visibility and collaboration throughout the enterprise and extended supply network, and Kinaxis now believes that this function can best be met through an easily and widely accessible on-demand service such as its new offering.

"In order to respond to change across the multi-enterprise supply chain that most organizations have these days, a prerequisite is to gain multi-enterprise visibility — it's not sufficient to solve the problems, but it is certainly a prerequisite," said David Haskins, chief technology officer at Kinaxis, speaking in an interview.

Formerly known as Webplan, Kinaxis said that RapidResponse currently is used by more than 50,000 users at over 400 manufacturing sites around the globe, including some of the largest brand owners and manufacturers in the world.

By offering the solution through a Web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, Kinaxis said that it can lower the cost of implementation significantly, as no software need be installed behind a company's firewalls. This also accelerates implementation times and alleviates the need for extensive IT support for a software deployment.

Accelerating Time-to-value

"Supply chain problems are more acute than ever and to solve them requires a different set of capabilities and a different delivery model," said Douglas Colbeth, CEO of Kinaxis in announcing the new offering. "In offering RapidResponse as an on-demand service, we are changing the paradigm in which customers acquire, deploy and use the unique capabilities we deliver. By easing cost and IT resources, customers can achieve unprecedented time-to-value, and gain the extended supply chain visibility, coordination and response management methods necessary to drive operations performance in today's complex manufacturing world."

The on-demand RapidResponse service will be accessible from a Web browser, making it instantly available to unlimited employees and partners around the globe, according to Kinaxis. Deployments can typically be done in a matter of weeks with limited IT resources, the solution provider said. And the on-demand model allows companies to add sites, users and/or other application modules at any time.

Through the Glass Pipeline

By partnering with IBM, Kinaxis is looking to assure its on-demand clients of the reliability of the Web-based solution. "IBM has the system architecture and monitoring procedures to ensure utmost security and optimal performance, supporting a service level agreement (SLA) of 99 percent uptime," said Kinaxis, which nevertheless will remain the single point of contact to the customer.

In addition, the solution provider is offering what it calls its "RapidResponse Glass Pipeline" capability, which provides a conduit to securely connect RapidResponse to data residing in disparate ERP or other RapidResponse systems — whether internal or external to the organization — enabling an aggregated, multi-enterprise view of the entire business. This will allow a supply network to work simultaneously from a "single version of the truth" to solve problems as they arise, Kinaxis said.

The on-demand RapidResponse service with RapidResponse Glass Pipeline will be available next month.

Additional Articles of Interest

— OEMs are ready to embrace Lean Manufacturing after the 2001 recession, but traditional approaches were designed for vertically integrated enterprises. The answer to their problem? Extended Lean and Statistical Kanban. Read more in "Extended Lean Can Make Your Supply Chain Hum," only on

— Ready to go beyond traditional financial metrics to measure your company's supply chain? Read the exclusive, "A Non-traditional View of Operational Costs."