That's the situation faced by TE Connectivity, which specializes in designing sensors for several industries. It's divided into Transportation Solutions, which focuses on cars, planes and trains; Aerospace, Defense & Marine; and Industrial, which specializes in consumer products, such as cell phones.
Kathmann works in the commercial transportation department, which is a relatively new spinoff of the Transportation Solutions business unit.
Her group is benefiting from its relationship with Kinaxis and its RapidResponse tool. “We try to have an integrated sales and operations planning process,” she says. “Sales gives us data on products that already exist, product management gives us information on new product launches and things they see in the pipeline in the future. That data and those forecasts are given to the demand team and they put it into RapidResponse and give it over to the supply team.
“We’re able to use that data to do PFEP [plan for every part] and EPEI [every part every interval], take that data and make sure from a product family level that we have enough capacity going forward.”
If there is insufficient capacity, the product management team is called in to determine what added equipment might be called for, Kathmann says.
The Kinaxis tool has brought a needed efficiency to TE, she says. “I’ve been in situations before RapidResponse [was implemented] where teams were doing things by hand, trying to pull data out of the legacy systems and putting it in Excel, and members of the materials team spent hours on something they could just pull straight out of RapidResponse. It’s more accurate and you get better data to all the teams, from forecasting to finance.”
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