Having supply chain systems that support fast and accurate decision making is a key enabler of success for Agilent’s Electronics Measurement Business Group, says Lieu. “Our strategy is to enable profitable growth at Agilent’s Electronics Measurement Business Group through cost combativeness, technology innovation and the creation of lasting customer loyalty,” she says.
Lieu explains that the Electronics Measurement Business Group is a high-mix, low-volume business and its supply chain has multiple nodes, many of which reside outside of Agilent because of the company’s extensive outsourcing. “Through an initiative called the Supply Chain Optimization Program, we established a vertically integrated supply chain model with end-to-end supply chain visibility. This enables us to maximize business opportunities through more effective planning. It also enables risk mitigation through the capability to proactively alert each of the supply chain nodes as to any demand or supply changes, so they are able to quickly respond to the changes,” she says.
The company implemented RapidResponse from Kinaxis to support this initiative. “RapidResponse acts as a platform to bridge the multiple ERP systems that we have, providing end-to-end supply chain visibility for us,” she says.
Lieu also explains that the Electronics Measurement Business Group divides suppliers into strategic and non-strategic categories. For strategic suppliers, there are two levels of collaborative engagement. The first involves annual strategic planning meetings where Agilent shares its strategic plan and focus for the coming year. “Our strategic partners are required to also share their business plan in support of Agilent,” says Lieu. “In this meeting there also is a review of past performance and an agreement on next steps.”
The second level of engagement is around tactical planning. “We have a monthly meeting cycle where we share a 15-month demand plan with our partners,” she says. “There also is a weekly exception planning meeting with an escalation process in place for exceptions and for fulfillment management.”
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