Ottawa-based digital supply chain management provider Kinaxis enhances partner program

Kinaxis has seen a significant rise in demand for supply chain management solutions because of COVID, and has added significant new funds into a revamped partner program to help partners take advantage of that demand.

Conrad Mandala, Kinaxis’ Vice President Global Alliances

Kinaxis, an Ottawa based supply chain management optimizer in business since 1984, has announced Kinaxis PartnerLink, a revamp of their existing partner program. Kinaxis PartnerLink will launch in Q1 2021.

“Our CEO says that we are the oldest startup he has ever been around,” said Conrad Mandala, Kinaxis’ Vice President Global Alliances, a veteran of SAP and OpenText who joined Kinaxis in January 2018. “We are supply chain to the core. It’s what we have always done. We have had a SaaS offered service into our second decade now – long before it was cool.”

Kinaxis’ technology emphasizes concurrent supply chain planning, in which changes are seen immediately by everyone throughout the supply chain.

“It reflects the fact that supply and demand are inextricably linked, and is a huge differentiation for us,” Mandala said. “Concurrency planning and scenario planning are native to our being.”

About a third of Kinaxis’ business is traditional SME space – companies with revenues of between $500 million and $1.5 billion. The rest is enterprise.

“We serve a broad range of verticals,” Mandala said. “The more complicated supply chain environments is where we do the best.”

The supply chain market has seen huge growth as the direct result of COVID.

“We have seen huge growth in the market,” Mandala noted. “COVID has taken supply chain to the top of the business priorities and put it at the board level.”

Strengthening the channel is key to capitalizing on these new opportunities.

“We have two separate sales motions,” Mandala said. “We continue to do direct selling, and we go to market with our partners as well. The channel has been part of our DNA for over a decade.”

That channel is small and select by design.

“We have fewer than 50 partners,” Mandala indicted. “We have designed the intent to be on quality. When I was at SAP, we had thousands of partners, but a small number delivered most of results. Our top partners are GSIs like Accenture, CapGemini, and EY, plus a whos-who of supply chain experts.”

The existing partner program to manage these partners had been showing its age, Mandala indicated.

“We developed the original program about 10 years ago, around getting a bunch of people stood up and trained and enabled,” he said. “We needed something that was broader as far integrating into professional services and  partner marketing organizations. That is why I was brought here. It wasn’t to keep things as they were.”

The remade PartnerLink program has five different types of partner tracks: Global Systems Integrator; Regional Systems Integrator; Solution Extension Partner; Referral Partner; and Value Added Reseller.

“The tracks have been clarified and cleaned out and we now use industry-standard text,” Mandala said.

Two of the tracks are also new.

“The Referral Partner track is an important change, which we didn’t have before, which brings in a bunch of leads,” Mandala noted.

The Solution Extension Partners are another new category. These partners extend the Kinaxis RapidResponse platform, by delivering digital inputs and developing domain-specific applications. That sounds like ISVs, but it’s broader than that.

“The Solution Extension track represents a tectonic shift for us,” Mandala said. “It is people who can write in and on top of our code. It is different from ISVs traditionally building on our platform, and involves partners using their unique expertise in the software they have created.

The diversity is clear in the five Solution Extension partners announced as charter members.

Michigan-based supply chain optimization provider 4flow services has developed the Kinaxis Truckload Optimizer by, which provides customers an accurate view of their transportation costs, leveraging optimization algorithms based on real-world constraints including freight rates and actual transportation capacities.

OCYO Consulting, based in Paris France, is a consulting firm focused on the entire operational supply chain. They have made Kinaxis Recycling End-to-End Planning by OCYO. It improves sustainability, efficiency and compliance of their supply chains by planning and monitoring recycling flows of incoming and outgoing products, both internally and across partners.

PlanetTogether, from southern California, is a provider of supply chain planning and scheduling software. They developed Kinaxis Production Scheduling by PlanetTogether, which combines their production scheduling capabilities with the power of the RapidResponse concurrent planning platform.

Chicago-based project44, which makes supply chain visibility solutions for shippers and logistics service providers, will provide a data signal to RapidResponse to identify disruptions in the transportation network and will build an application on the RapidResponse platform to enable an automated response to these disruptions.

Finally, German-headquartered Resilience360 provides predictive analytics and risk management solutions to enhance supply chain agility and resilience. Their real-time supply chain risk data signals, combined with the power of RapidResponse, to help joint customers quickly react to the impact of these risks to their supply chain.

“The program simplifies their integration into Kinaxis, as well as better collaborating and accentuating time to value,” Mandala said.

Training within the program has also been beefed up.

“Before we had an excellent online tool,” Mandala noted. “Now we do face to face through Zoom, sessions, instead of self-serve. This makes sense because the number of people inside the partner organizations who work with us has grown.”

Mandala also emphasized the significance of the new resources made available through the program for marketing integration with partners.

“Leveraging a company like Accenture with their global reach allows us to better leverage our marketing dollars jointly,” he said. “We have a really strong marketing team.”

Mandala emphasized that the partner program redo involved a significant amount of net-new resources, not just moving the same pot of funds around.

“Our company has invested a huge amount of money to build this program out,” he said. “It’s a testament to the market. Supply chain is hot and we need our partners to build this out. We are committed to a strong robust partner ecosystem and are ready to leverage that moving forward.”