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NCR: An Old-Line Company Never Stops Changing

Gordon Pearson, global inventory director with NCR, talks about the challenges his company faces in gaining full visibility of supply and demand, and in dealing with increasing supply-chain volatility.

NCR has come a long way from it days in the cash-register business. Today, the company offers an extensive line of financial products for business, including automated teller machines, point-of-sale terminals and self-checkout devices. It has also branched into travel kiosks and self-check-in machines for airlines and the hospitality industry. Together those devices generate some 300 million transactions a day.

As the company expanded, it faced the mounting challenge of linking manufacturing with the extended supply chain, says Pearson. NCR's network includes six plants across the globe, two customer-fulfillment centers and a number of contract manufacturers.

The company had multiple material-requirements planning (MRP) systems deployed across those plants. It was looking for a platform that could serve as the single source of data for all locations.

Such a capability becomes even more important as NCR's market grows increasingly volatile. Customers' needs change on a daily basis, says Pearson. In particular, the company was struggling with accurate and agile supply planning. A sudden change in order level or delivery date, for example, could be tough to manage. "We need to respond fast," says Pearson. "The same day, if possible."

Working with Kinaxis, NCR now can conduct a series of "what-if" scenarios which allow it to anticipate unforeseen changes. "Knowing the outcome of a demand plan before you actually push the button is key," says Pearson.

NCR's next goal is to improve customer service. It's in the early stages of collaborating with upstream suppliers, says Pearson.

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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, high-tech supply chain, inventory management, inventory control, supply chain planning, sourcing solutions

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