The degree of a company's responsiveness is incredibly important, she says, but a constant order flow can stress any company's ability to keep up, especially last-minute drop-in orders. "Demand always changes, and it would be lovely if we could get a forecast to stay put, but it never does."
Moreover, “big deals” often depend on meeting customers’ demands for fast deliveries and quick turnaround time. That mandates a company like Keysight, which makes electronic test and measurement equipment, to have impeccable communication, especially if it has multiple factories.
“One of my favorite sayings is, behind every great database is an equally awful and terrible user interface,” Balderrama says. “Our interface with our MRP system is not great at all, but it’s such a powerful database.”
That disconnect was solved when Keysight Technologies partnered with Kinaxis and implemented its RapidResponse tool. “One of the things we appreciate about RapidResponse is that it sits right down on top of our database. We are able to use the power of the database, but the functionality of RapidResponse allows us to get at that data and arrange it in a meaningful and useful way. It allows us to make instant decisions instead of having to swim though the muck of all that data in our MRP.”
Spreadsheets are a limitation of material requirement planning systems, says Balderrama, who credits the Kinaxis tool with allowing Keysight to instantly manage the data without the spreadsheet hassle.
However, she says the biggest benefit the tool has provided is in the job release area. The cumbersome process required multiple entries into the MRP system, data filtration, quantity assignment and component tracking. The process took each planner the better part of two days a week, Balderrama says. Using the internal job release tool through RapidResponse has reduced that to less than one hour per planner.
“What could you do with two extra days in your work week?” she asks. “That’s a huge improvement.”
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