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"Competitive necessities are driving manufacturers to become more customer-focused,
and Lean manufacturing
techniques are a powerful tool to support these supply chain management transformations."
Source : Kinaxis
Lean Manufacturing: Reaping the Rewards of Leanh Through Response Management
Lean Manufacturing is also known as :
lean response management ,
lean management system,
lean IT management approach,
lean manufacturing solutions,
lean manufacturing training,
lean manufacturing solutions,
lean manufacturing supply chain management,
response management lean manufacturing,
lean manufacturing systems ,
lean management concepts,
lean supply chain management SCM,
supply chain management,
lean manufacturing SCM.
For years manufacturers have created products in anticipation of having a market for them.
Operations have been driven by sales forecasts and maximizing production efficiency
at each level of the operation. Firms had to buffer inventories in order to be ready for
fluctuations in demand.
By contrast, lean manufacturing is based on the concept that production can, and should, be
driven by real customer demand. Instead of producing what you hope to sell, or as much as
you can make, lean manufacturing produces what your customer wants with much shorter
lead times. Instead of pushing product through the factory and on to market, it's pulled through
a system set up to respond quickly to actual customer demand.
Lean organizations are capable of producing high-quality products economically, in lower
volumes, and bringing them to market faster than mass producers. A lean organization can
make twice as much product with twice the quality, at half the cost, with half the labor and
space, and with a fraction of the normal work-in-process inventory. Lean management is
about operating the most efficient and effective organization possible, with the least cost and
zero waste, while meeting customer demand.
Successful lean manufacturers know that "lean" is a corporate vision that touches everyone
from design, to product management, to marketing, and beyond the four walls, to engage
external suppliers and trading partners. Lean techniques are more easily applied to some
manufacturing styles than others. In particular, lean has been more successful in high-volume,
low-mix operations. However, new software tools are now delivering the benefits of lean to
high-mix, low-volume operations as well.
Today, Kinaxis is making lean manufacturing easier and faster to implement by providing
organizations the tools to respond effectively to changing business conditions. By integrating
customers, manufacturers and suppliers in a enterprise-wide response management system,
Kinaxis solutions create an infrastructure that enables lean manufacturing to operate smoothly.
With the right methodologies in place and the right software tools, lean organizations can
access the live, up-to-date data that their decision-makers need to achieve corporate goals,
including minimizing inventory and waste, shortening lead times, and producing to demand.
By using software to eliminate the information gaps that limit flexibility, they can unleash the
real potential of their lean enterprise.
Where it all Began: The Origin of Lean
Over a century ago the world witnessed a revolution as mass production replaced the craft
production that had been prevalent for so long. Since then, different ideas and practices of
mass production have proliferated throughout the manufacturing industry.
Henry Ford, manufacturing‘s original "lean" thinker, is credited with leading the push toward
mass production using his moving assembly line for the Model T car ' this was an approach
that led to both lower costs and higher productivity.
Ford's continuous flow method worked well in the production of a single, repetitive item,
however the general population gradually began to demand product variation'something
that Ford's system was incapable of delivering.
To meet growing demands for greater product efficiency, companies began to
departmentalize functions. For example, they would group welders together in one area,
painters in another, and harness assemblies in yet another. This allowed each department
to specialize in its particular function. Unfortunately, it also segregated each department into
"silos". Each department was interested purely in its own efficiency, often with a negative
impact on other departments and overall corporate performance.
To support this new system and economies of scale, companies began using increasingly
more expensive capital equipment, which led to longer setup times and ever-increasing
batch sizes. Larger batch sizes demanded larger machines that could produce at
increasingly higher volumes. And so the cycle continued, resulting in production
characterized by large batch sizes and long queues between operations. This method of
ordering and producing resulted in large inventories of work in process (WIP), raw material
(RM), and finished goods (FG).
While North American production was moving toward increasingly larger machines
processing larger batches of product, Japanese producer Toyota was developing a
completely different manufacturing paradigm. The Toyota Production System (TPS) was
based on smaller batch sizes and just-in-time delivery (i.e., producing only necessary units
in necessary quantities at precisely the right time). This resulted in reducing inventory,
increasing productivity and significantly reducing costs.
In the 1990s the world began to take notice of this highly efficient production system and
the term, "lean manufacturing," was born.
Why Go Lean
What does lean manufacturing mean and why should companies pursue it?
Lean manufacturing involves identifying and eliminating non-value-adding activities in
design, production, supply chain management, and order processing by developing a
Future State Implementation Plan. The idea of lean is founded on the following principles:
- Specify value in the eyes of the customer
- Identify the value stream and eliminate waste
- Make value flow at the pull of the customer
- Involve and empower employees
- Continuously improve in pursuit of perfection
A Lean Primer
The following terms are often used when describing lean manufacturing processes:
Available-to-Promise (ATP): A process
for determining dates that delivery can
be promised to customers. ATP uses a
production plan for each part. Any supply in
that plan that is not currently allocated to a
customer is "available to promise".
Clear-to-Build (CTB): A process to
determine parts (usually thought of as work
orders, but does not need to have work
order paperwork in a lean environment)
that have all necessary components
available so that actual production can
proceed without risking material shortages.
Capable-to-Promise (CTP): A process
for determining dates that delivery can be
promised that considers both materials
and capacity throughout the supply chain,
including planning new supply, at any level
of the structure, if required.
Lead Time: The time required for one
component to move all the way through the
entire process or value stream, from start to
finish. Envision timing a marked item as it
moves from beginning to end.
Processing Time: The time a product is
actually being worked on in a machine or
Pull System: An alternative to scheduling
individual processes, where the customer
process withdraws the items it needs from
the previous process or a supermarket, and
the supplying process produces to replenish
what was withdrawn. Used to avoid push.
Push System: Refers to production
schedules that determine the start of
production batches of products or services,
and then follow the consequences through
the production process. Because the start of
subsequent activities is determined by the
preceding activity, it is "pushing" the product
through the system.
Supermarket: A controlled inventory of
irregularly used items. The Supermarket is
used when usage is sporadic, making pointof-
use storage and Kanban replenishment
Value: A product or service's capability
provided to a customer at the right time, at
an appropriate price, as defined in each case
by the customer.
Value Added Time: Time for those work
elements that transform the product in a way
the customer is willing to pay for.
Value Stream: All the activities, both
value-added and nonvalue-added, required
for a product to go from raw material into
the hands of the customer, a customer
requirement from order to delivery, and a
design from concept to launch. Value stream
improvement usually begins at the door-todoor
level within a facility, and then expands
outward to eventually encompass the full
Value Stream Mapping: A pencil-andpaper
tool used in two stages: a) Follow a
product's production path from beginning to
end and draw a visual representation of every
process in the material and information
flows. b) Then draw a future state map of
how value should flow. The more important
map is the future state map.
Waste: Any activity that consumes
resources but creates no value for the
WIP: Stands for "work in process."
Any inventory between raw material and
Wait to Work Ratio: The ratio of the time
when value is not being added to a product
(Wait time which includes queue times,
move times, storage time, etc.) to the time
when value is being added.
Failing to consider and apply these lean principles will result in less than optimal results.
Applying the tools without an end-to-end plan will lead to point improvements that impact
only parts of the process. The resulting improvements can cause problems upstream or
downstream and lead companies to make wrong decisions.
Consider the example of a rower who finds a way to row faster than everyone else in the
same boat. What would be the impact? Do the actions of this one individual help the boat
to travel more smoothly, or reach the finish line faster? Clearly, the answer is no. One rower
increasing their speed won‘t improve the team‘s overall performance and, in fact, would
probably have an adverse effect by throwing off the crew‘s synchronization.
The rower example is analogous to the manufacturing process. When one part of the process
finds a way to work at a faster rate than other parts, the question you must ask is whether the
extra speed is required, and if it will add value. As in the case of the rower, speeding up in one
area to produce more inventory than can be by the next processing step is not beneficial to
the company or the customer ' especially if demand is already being satisfied.
Applying the Lean Philosophy
Applying the philosophy of lean requires a fundamental shift in the way you think about
business processes. Lean philosophy is all about eliminating waste. Any action or process
that does not add value in the eyes of the customer is waste and should be prevented or
eliminated. For example, lean means you should:
- View the activities in your processes from the perspective of your customer. Which
activities in the process add value for the customer?
- Think from the perspective of the part, product or service, as it goes through the
process. Walk the path that a part travels. Look for ways to reduce the distance
- View the process as end-to-end, not just as individual steps. Don't optimize individual
areas while sub-optimizing the whole.
- Look for ways to standardize processes across products.
When your operations are lean, each remaining activity adds value from the customer‘s
perspective. Remember, activities that don‘t add value represent waste. Table 1 lists the
types of waste commonly found in manufacturing. Each type of waste adds cost and
delay to the product or service but doesn't add value for the customer. To stay ahead in
today‘s highly competitive global economy, waste in the enterprise must be identified and
Some argue that overproduction is the worst form of waste because it leads to many other
types of waste. With overproduction there is a greater risk of damage to your product and
also the requirement for additional investment in space, raw material, and people. Frequent
product or engineering changes can also lead to rework or scrap.
Table 1: Types of Waste
Supplying the customer process with more than is
needed, sooner than it is needed or faster than it is
needed, causes almost all other types of waste.
Raw materials, work-in-process, finished goods.
Watching machines run or cycle, waiting for parts,
tools, instructions, information, approvals or decisions,
waiting for the next operation.
Double or triple handling, moving in and out of staging
areas, storage areas and warehouses, ill-planned
layouts, long distances, poor housekeeping.
Walking without working, searching for tools, materials
or information, reaching, regrasping, bending,
excess motion due to poor housekeeping, moving work
from one fixture or position to another.
Unnecessary Processing and Setup
Repair or rework steps, extra setup steps, over-specification
of the process engineers, converting information
in one form to another. This is especially wasteful
when done manually and when measuring the wrong
things. Examples of waste include manual processes to
convert planning system output to a schedule that can
be used by the lean factory.
Defective or scrap materials, out-of-statistical control
processes, low yield, incorrect schedules, engineering
Treating employees as a source of labor only and not
recognizing them as true process experts.
Wasting space and energy.
A Roadmap to Lean Success
The journey to successfully implementing a lean program requires you to take the following steps:
- Determine the value of your product or service from your
customer's point of view. This is not limited only to the features
they want, but also includes what they would knowingly be
willing to pay for. Once you have this information, you have a
roadmap for creating a lean enterprise.
- Map out the end-to-end process that takes your product from raw
material to the customer. This includes value-adding steps and
- Review your map and look for areas where you can flow work
from one processing step to the next, without the need for any
inventory between. This is also referred to as single piece flow.
- If you can‘t flow from one process to the next then you need to
set up a pull system. We refer to these areas as supermarkets.
Supermarkets, which hold the inventory, must be kept to a
minimum quantity until the workflow problem is resolved.
Typically you will set minimum and maximum inventory values
and use a Kanban system to control the flow of material.
- Review your map to eliminate any process that does not add
customer-perceived value. If a process does not add value for
your customer, why are you wasting resources doing it?
- Relentlessly and continuously eliminate waste, including over
production, wherever you can find it.
The preceding six steps can reduce inventory as well as lead-time. Other potential benefits of lean include:
- Reduced labor costs
- Reduced storage costs
- Higher quality goods
- Improved cash flow
Realizing these benefits requires using the appropriate tools, at
the appropriate time. The most important tool is value stream mapping.
The Value Stream Map
The value stream map is a pictorial representation of the activities required to produce a
product or service from raw material to the customer. What differentiates a value stream map
from other mapping processes such as process mapping and flow charts? A value stream
map differs in that it:
- Includes the amount of inventory that exists between activities
- Includes the information flows for the product as it travels from end to end
- Provides a timeline showing the processing time and total lead-time
The Value Stream Map: An Example
This value map represents the steps a part would take as it traveled from raw material to
customer. At each processing step key information was recorded.
The top portion of the map shows the information flow. The middle section shows the actual
steps required to make the part. The timeline at the bottom indicates how long it would take
for a single part to go from raw material stage to finished good.
The example shows that there are 610 seconds of actual processing work on the component,
but that it takes a total of 25 days for the component to travel through the entire process from
end to end.
Is this unusual? Not really. In most enterprises the processing time rarely makes up more than
5 percent of the total lead-time.
Taking a Closer Look at the Value Stream Map
The value stream map can be further explained by examining a specific step, "Sew".
Information for the Sew step is obtained by asking employees working in the area questions
- Where did you get your build information from, and in what form? In this case the
information comes from production control in a weekly build schedule.
- Is there a lot size imposed by the process?
- How long does it take to process that minimum quantity? (or actual processing time)
- Is the process available all the time or how often is it unavailable?
- How long does it take you to change production from one part to another?
The diagram contains a data box, which shows in order to
complete this data we would look at how much inventory is
waiting to be processed, and how many finished units are ready
for the next step.
- Processing time
(PT = 270 seconds)
- Cycle time
(CT = 270 seconds)
(UT = 98%)
- Changeover time
(CO = 10 minutes)
In order to complete this data we would
look at how much inventory is waiting to be
processed, and how many finished units are
ready for the next step.
We show the quantity waiting to be
processed under an inventory triangle
before the processing step. We show the
amount already finished processing under an inventory triangle
after the step.
The last step is to transfer the processing time to the timeline and
then calculate how much time it would take to use up the inventory
before, and after, the processing step.
To perform this calculation we use the customer demand rate
and divide it into the amount of product in inventory. In this case
the customer demand rate is 50 items per day. We repeat this
mapping activity for all the processing steps required to complete
How many times have you asked how long a job will take? When
you are told there are only a few minutes of
work left to complete the job you‘re pleased.
Then you find out that no one can get to
your job for days or sometimes weeks. It‘s
not the processing time that becomes the
issue but rather the inventory ahead of you.
Time and money is often spent trying to
reduce the few minutes of processing (10
minutes in the diagram), while little, or no
effort is spent trying to reduce the many
days of waiting (25 days in this case).
Traditional manufacturing improvement
processes focus on the production activities
(processing time). Measurement systems
separate material control from processing of
the material and different departments are
responsible for each activity. What happens at the work centers and
what happens between the work centers are weakly tied together.
Engineers focus on reducing the processing time to make a
product. Elsewhere in the company, departments focus on counting
and storing the inventory rather than eliminating it to reduce the
product‘s lead-time. The question that companies must ask is,
"How long does work sit idle in the plant without any value being
added?" This presents a compelling argument for the next step,
namely the future state map.
The Future State Map
After the value stream map is drawn it‘s time to create a future state map. The future state
represents your value stream after eliminating the waste in your current state. This requires
that you first identify the root cause of waste and then eliminate it. If you can identify the
problems that prevent you from reaching your future state you can then apply the appropriate
lean technique or tool to remove those problems. For example, simply removing excess
inventory won‘t solve your problem. It will reappear almost immediately. So you need to
change your process.
Identifying why the inventory exists in the first place, then designing a process to eliminate
that cause, will result in a sustainable improvement. Some of the more frequently used tools
that can help you work toward a future state are described in Table 2. Note that the tools must
be used in conjunction with your value stream maps. The resulting future state implementation
plan identifies what to do, when to do it, and who is responsible for completing the task. All
tasks are part of finalizing the future state within the next 6 to 12 months.
The implementation plan gives the entire organization a direction and common goal and
keeps everyone focused on the customer and not their individual departmental benefits.
Software and Lean
The focus of lean manufacturing is execution'the actual transformation of materials into a
product that is valued by customers.
Lean thinking is now spreading into other areas of the enterprise. Order taking, product
lifecycle management, production planning, payment, and other business processes are also
candidates for re-design using the lean methodology.
Companies can dramatically reduce non value-added administrative processes
to achieve benefits similar to those achieved from the shop floor. At one level,
all administrative processes could be considered as waste since they don't add
value for which the customer is willing to pay. On the other hand, a minimal level
of administrative operations is required, if only to know what the customer has
ordered and to ensure that the right product is delivered to the customer.
Analogous to manufacturing, there are some common sources of waste in administrative
- Capturing information that is not needed to add value elsewhere in the process
- Capturing (entering) the same information more than once
- More than one person or system processing the same information
- Information waiting to be acted on
The secret of lean administration is the smooth flow of information. While lean manufacturing
focuses on pulling product through production in a smooth flow, lean administration focuses
on facilitating the flow of cash and product by flowing information to production and supply
chain processes (e.g. planning). As soon as the product achieves any level of complexity,
software is the only practical approach to managing this information flow.
Users want access to current information when they need it (i.e. pull) rather than the result
of scheduled batch runs (i.e. push). They also need to see projections and analysis based
on current, real-time information and potential "what-if" scenarios. This is truly on-demand
Lean software satisfies two requirements:
- Ensures the right product and quantity is delivered to the right customer at the right time
- Facilitates the flow of that product to the customer
There are four primary functions in lean planning:
- Providing the tools to design and manage the production resources (i.e. design for flow)
- Determining the date when customer orders can be satisfied (i.e. order promising)
- Communicating requirements (e.g. part, date, quantity, etc.) throughout the value chain
- Ensuring orders can only be started once all the components are available (Clear-to-
Build). This also links ERP transactions with lean execution.
Design for Flow
Planning is an important aspect of the 5S and Kanban tools mentioned in the previous
section. Setting up production processes using 5S and Kanban requires extensive design
activity. Many questions must be answered.
- Which materials are used most frequently on a particular product line? This is helpful
for organizing component locations within work areas.
- What is the ideal Kanban bin quantity (or number of fixed-size bins) required for the
projected production use of a component at a work area?
On a regular basis, as demand quantities and mix change, the answers to these questions
change and work area organization needs to be changed accordingly.
Software is needed to help with initial design of work areas and to help reorganize the lines to
reflect changed demand patterns.
Order promising'validating an order promise or due date to material and capacity availability
'becomes key to on-time delivery in environments with significant product mix. An
overloaded production plan (master schedule) is a recipe for disaster. No amount of tuning
will provide unavailable components or radically increase capacity to meet unrealistic delivery
goals. Once the production plan is validated, lean execution systems can, and will, deliver
product on time to a feasible production plan.
There is a requirement for software that can rapidly determine promise dates as orders
are being created so that the production plan remains viable. In some cases, delivery can
be promised against planned production (this is traditionally available to promise operation
against a planned-master schedule). However, particularly with configured products, there
is insufficient production planned for a particular configuration and order promising must
consider materials and capacity through several levels of production or assembly processes.
Ideally, the software should be able to determine promise dates for alternative configurations,
dates and/or quantities so the customer can select which combination of delivery date,
product, cost, and quantity best meets their needs.
To make lean work, information must be available when users need it. Many manufacturers
that attempt to implement lean practices discover that their ERP/MRP system actually makes
it more difficult to get lean. The long batch processing times associated with these systems
means it can take days to assess different courses of action, to get the data required to make
production decisions, and to communicate changes throughout the value chain.
In environments where requirements fluctuate, particularly where changes due to new
orders, last-minute configuration changes, or frequent engineering changes impact material
requirements, the changed requirements must be communicated throughout the value chain.
Given that it takes time for the value chain to react to changed requirements, every hour (or
day) that it takes to communicate a change to the lowest level supplier translates into an
hour (or day) delay in satisfying the customer. Supply chains buffer against potential changes
by carrying extra inventory to cover each hour (or day) of uncertainty. Therefore, every hour
saved in communicating changed requirements translates into one hour less buffer inventory.
There is a requirement for software to calculate revised requirements at all levels of the value
chain immediately following any change, and to communicate resulting changes throughout
the value chain so that it can immediately adjust to supplying the correct components.
Advanced supply chains need to communicate potential changes to determine the supply
chain's ability to react before selecting amongst alternative options.
Lean-inspired pull-based systems work well for repetitive production because they can rely on
the availability of necessary components. However, pull systems are not well suited to high mix,
low-volume operations because unique components are used infrequently. These components
need to be managed based on the actual customer orders, not on some average usage figure.
The problem is exacerbated when unique components are themselves sub-assemblies.
Pull triggers in lean manufacturing assume that production to satisfy a demand can be
completed within a fixed time of the trigger event. That is, they assume that all necessary
component materials are available and that production can be started as soon as the process
has an available slot. Clearly, production will grind to a halt if any materials are not available.
For simple products (e.g., short bill of material), operators can visually check that necessary
materials are available. However, for complex structures, a visual check is not possible, or
can only be done after physically allocating (pulling) all the components for an order. Such
a process is often counter to a smooth flow (production line) and risks potential production
because materials are allocated to one order that is blocked by other components when those
allocated components could be used to complete other orders.
There is a requirement for software to test for component availability before orders are
released for production. Ideally, the component test should reserve components based on
order priority and due date so the most important orders can be satisfied in preference to lower
Kinaxis and Lean
Lean manufacturing depends on visibility and flow, not inventory. Kinaxis provides tools that
help facilitate flow by replacing inventory with information. Kinaxis provides a flexible and
powerful platform for lean manufacturing that allows all participants in the supply chain to
access information and to simulate the effect of potential changes.
Kinaxis RapidResponse software also eliminates the time wasted waiting for answers
from ERP systems, enabling users to respond very quickly to actual or potential change.
RapidResponse‘s Internet solutions combine easy browser-based access with memoryresident
data and analytics to support collaboration, "what-if‘ simulations and real-time
decision-making. Through powerful scenario-building capabilities RapidResponse can identify
opportunities for continuous improvement with respect to lead-time reduction, enabling faster,
better decision-making for maximum gains.
RapidResponse's single data model consolidates information, eliminating the need for reentering
and cross-referencing data from different systems. Web-based interaction greatly
reduces the need for e-mail, fax and telephone communication. Planners and buyers no
longer need to focus on expediting orders, processing transactions and doing paperwork.
Instead, suppliers have direct access to the information they need, when they need it.
Planners and buyers now have the information they need to reduce inventory levels, shorten
cycle times, reduce costs and meet customer delivery dates. Furthermore, standardized
processes can be defined on a role-by-role basis within RapidResponse, letting users see
only the data they need.
RapidResponse conforms to the users‘ unique business requirements. RapidResponse
accelerates the transition to lean manufacturing because it supports common decision
processes that occur across a manufacturing enterprise. It enables you to leverage the
knowledge and experience of individual employees by capturing knowledge and "decision
rules," making best practices available across the organization. This means the newly
empowered users can make decisions quickly and consistently, which is an essential element
of standardizing work.
The power and flexibility of RapidResponse also allows for ad-hoc analysis of almost any
question. The powerful uses of RapidResponse to support lean, described in this white paper,
all originated from Kinaxis end users deploying it to solve specific challenges.
A division of Honeywell reports using RapidResponse to convert a production area to lean
and continues to use RapidResponse to recalculate Kanban sizes and to optimize work area
material storage. The results, associated with making 30 products on the same line, have
- Lead-time reduced from more than 17 days to less than one (A reduction of 94 percent)
- On-schedule product completion of less than 70 percent, improved to 100 percent
since conversion (more than 18 months)
- Significant improvements in quality
Design for Flow
RapidResponse has features that provide significant benefit in answering the key questions
faced when designing lean production processes:
- RapidResponse's pegging capability provides complete visibility into which
components are used for each order. Linking component usage to orders provides
the point-of-use information for each component, which can be used to organize
- Kanban sizes are calculated as simple expressions based on projected component
- Exception monitoring. RapidResponse's flexibility and event-based triggers makes
it an ideal platform to calculate and monitor key operational and strategic measures.
Use it to issue alert messages if key measures fall outside target ranges. For
example, managers can be notified if customer orders will be satisfied late or if
inventory for any part is projected to be above or below acceptable limits
- Analysis and simulation. RapidResponse allows your standard metrics to be applied
to the actual production plan and to any number of simulations. Ad-hoc analysis can
be performed easily by end-users whenever they have a need to see information
organized in different ways
In most environments, it is extremely difficult and time consuming to project when customer
orders can be satisfied (i.e., order promising). However, RapidResponse calculates available
dates for all supplies and demands, reducing order promising to a simple process of checking
a field on any supply or demand record.
The calculation automatically checks availability as deep into the supply chain structure as it
needs to find supply. With the addition of RapidResponse Constraint Manager the calculation
simultaneously checks materials and capacity availability, including automatically making
sourcing decisions where more than one supply source can be used. RapidResponse
Constraint Manager allows capacity to be defined easily, as time-phased rates for production
and supplier constraints.
RapidResponse's order promising functionality also supports the concept of priority so
that a high priority demand can be satisfied on time by consuming the resources previously
allocated to a lower priority demand.
RapidResponse supports visibility across the supply chain, allowing manufacturers and
their trading partners to manage the entire value chain and to eliminate waste. Because
suppliers have instant visibility into changing demand information and current manufacturing
data, they can work proactively to ensure that parts and components are available on the
shop floor as needed.
In addition to supply chain visibility offered by other systems, RapidResponse allows all
stakeholders to interactively model the value chain to determine the optimal delivery dates
and quantities necessary to fulfill customer demand before making commitments. This
integration of supply chain partners into production process decisions enables the tight
relationships needed to maintain a high level of customer responsiveness.
RapidResponse is noted for its power and flexibility, ensuring the right information is provided
to the right people at the right time.
Automation: The Next Step in Lean
With RapidResponse Connection Services, manufacturers and suppliers can automate
common transactions to greatly reduce the hours and expense associated with manual
processes. Manufacturers, their suppliers and customers can exchange orders, schedules,
inventory information, and other reports directly between systems. Automating these everyday
transactions free up resources to deal with exceptions, reduces the number of errors
generated from manual systems and greatly improves efficiency.
Connection Services supports break-throughs in efficiency without putting a high cost burden
on trading partners. Suppliers, customers and manufacturers can use disparate backend
systems and applications to automate data exchange. Unlike expensive proprietary
technologies such as EDI, Connection Services uses XML, a leading open standard for e-
Business, to exchange information between systems.
In a typical transaction, a trading partner‘s XML request moves across the Internet to the
manufacturer‘ s web server, where it is passed on to Connection Services. After validation,
the requested information is retrieved from the RapidResponse Server and an XML response
is sent over the Internet to the trading partner‘s server. However, if a supplier has already
invested in EDI, Connection Services can work with EDI transmissions, converting them into
XML, and back to EDI in a way that is transparent to users.
Clear to Build
Using RapidResponse's Clear-to-Build (CTB) functionality, you can define the particular
definition of "clear" that you want to use. Common cases are:
- Components available in stock
- Components on order with a scheduled delivery
- Components being made with a scheduled completion
- Components can be ordered in time to meet requirements CTB information is
calculated on-demand and respects order priorities.
Users have found that checking CTB is one of the best processes for reducing work in progress
'don‘t start work on an order until you know you have everything you need to finish it! By
applying sorting and grouping to the CTB list within RapidResponse a production-ready dispatch
list is available to pass to the production floor to be executed by the lean processes there.
Lean is a philosophy not a tool. In order to be successful, a company must adopt this
philosophy and then use the tools available to apply the philosophy. If you follow this path, the
benefits can be significant and can start within a few months. Whether you are transitioning
your existing operation to lean or building a new lean-based facility, Kinaxis can help you.
Kinaxis provides adaptable enabling technology that accelerates the adoption of lean
processes and that facilitates ongoing future improvements. Our Response Management
software is in use by over 50,000 users worldwide.
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
700 Silver Seven Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2V 1C3
- Executive Summary
- Where It All Began: The Origin of Lean
- Why Go Lean?
- A Lean Primer
- Applying the Lean Philosophy
- A Roadmap to Lean Success
- The Value Stream Map
- The Future State Map
- Software and Lean
- Kinaxis and Lean
- About Kinaxis