The Q Files
Issue 03 / August 2017
A plan to master complexity – do you have one?
Many companies do not. To start, understand what bad complexity is, how your attempts to control it will likely not work, and why the solution is to first let go
Rob van Egmond
Chief Executive Officer

Complexity is not all bad. Some level of it is necessary to your business operations, advantageous even. Others erode profits and clog up your supply chain. The key is to know the kind you have, take advantage of the necessary and remove the unnecessary. Rob van Egmond knows this better than most, having shared the topic at the Gartner Conference in May and will again at the Quintiq World Tour next month.

“In my work with different companies over the years, I’ve found that they have two things in common,” says Rob. “One, they all face challenges of complexity in their operations. Two, they try to solve them in the same way – by adding more buffers, more rigid processes and more control.”

Companies introduce more buffers, rigidity and control to try to remove the natural ups and downs of a process, assuming that the underlying complexity will somehow disappear. This succeeds only in masking the problem – temporarily at best. Complexity reduces in one area of the supply chain but pops up in another. And even if some parts of the supply chain appear to operate more smoothly, costs continue to balloon and decision-making continues to drown in bureaucracy.

The cost of harmful complexity
Companies are well aware of the cost of harmful complexity. 70% of executives surveyed say that complexity has raised costs and hampered profits. F&B manufacturers, for example, are losing $50 billion in gross profit in the US market alone because of excess complexity in operations.

“Mastering complexity isn’t about trying to control it but being able to react to it with agility. Most companies believe they want to be agile, but it’s a scary decision to make. This isn’t surprising. Most technology, until recently, revolved around building static plans and communicating them maybe once a week or once a day,” says Rob.

“Today, new technologies offer full visibility on the shop floor, which makes complexity all the harder to ignore. At the same time, these technologies open up a new world of data and analytics, enabling us to build dynamic plans and react in real time. Companies need to let go of their rigidity and embrace agility in this new environment.

Agility is critical at a time when B2B businesses are feeling the trickle-down effects of rising end user demand. Companies are introducing more variations and customizations in their product lines to lure new customers in new markets. This added complexity inevitably creeps outward to infect every link in the supply chain. This is hardly good news for companies already struggling to slash costs and increase productivity

“Companies need to let go of their rigidity and embrace agility in this new environment”

Consider this in the context of building an aircraft comprising three million parts. Layers of great complexity come with it – costs, suppliers, lead times, disruptions, environmental pressures and so on – and the consequences of not managing them effectively are far-reaching. Consider too the protein processing industry, whose complexities go beyond customer requirements and internal operations to include the unpredictability of living products.

Making the shift
Rob believes that each of these cases requires a shift. It is a shift from Excel sheets and ERP systems that simply execute predefined and sometimes outdated instructions to a dynamic environment with technologies that combine processing power, advanced algorithms and massive data sets to learn from your supply chain, adapt to its complexities, predict possibilities and even act autonomously.

“With such technologies, we’ve seen our customers increase delivery performance levels from 40% to 80%, even 90%, and reduce work-in-progress stock by 60% on average,” says Rob. “Even then, many of them struggled to let go of the rigidity of their processes. We had to show them that with agility, we can create significant value for their business – which we did.”

Mastering complexity cannot be a sporadic activity. It is a sustained effort that requires changes in mindsets and behaviors. The technologies that connect your people, processes and machines will transform the way you manage your supply chain, moving it from being a cost center to being a high-value component in your operations.

The rising B2B4C future
Rob believes that the supply chain’s new role is all the more important as significant changes continue to take place in the next few years.

“As the lines between B2C and B2B blur, we see the emergence of the B2B4C model, which connects promise and value with people, products, services and experiences in a way that fundamentally changes the supply chain as we know it,” says Rob. “At the same time, you have new technologies like additive manufacturing (3D printing) and Industry 4.0 on the rise, introducing IoT to the shop floor and generating even more amounts of data,” says Rob. “A big part of answering the complexity question then becomes: how do we deal with them together?”

Rob van Egmond tackles this and more in his keynote at the Quintiq World Tour in Philadelphia (Sept 19), Amsterdam (Sept 28) and Singapore (Oct 10). Also, discover a smarter approach to complexity with Quintiq experts as well as lessons from companies in their journeys toward mastering complexity – thyssenkrupp Steel, Copenhagen Airport, Moy Park and more. Click here for more details.

Partnerships newly
forged and extended

Whether it’s optimizing flight simulators in Amsterdam or distributing petrochemical products throughout Poland, Quintiq delivers time and again.

Eight state-of-the-art flight simulators, each affording 15,000 training sessions a year. With the sheer number of pilots KLM needed to train, the airline had to optimize simulator capacity – fast. Here’s how Quintiq solved the problem.

Read more

PKN ORLEN’s primary distribution puzzle is dauntingly complex. Read how Quintiq solved it by providing visibility, full control and a single source of truth for planning – an advanced and increasingly critical standard for the O&G industry.

Read more

The Quintiq-Aurubis partnership began in 2004. This year, Aurubis returns with a planning puzzle of even greater proportions and complexity. Here’s how Quintiq delivered and by doing so, helped Aurubis move closer to achieving its ultimate goal.

Read more
Aviation customers
find common ground
in Copenhagen
Kyra Schuit
Product Manager Workforce Planner and Fleet & Crew Planner

Almost 20 aviation customers gathered at Copenhagen Airport on June 7 for Quintiq’s first Aviation Customer Seminar. Their fields of operations include air traffic control, airline catering and airport management.

Conversations at the pre-event dinner the day before indicated keen interest among the customers to learn more about each other’s planning puzzles. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ experience with Quintiq received particular attention because it is the first aviation customer to implement the Quintiq mobile application.

User experience
Virgin Atlantic Airways is using Workforce Planner to plan its check-in desks and roster 600 ground staff at London Heathrow Airport. Virgin staff are enthusiastic about the mobile app because of the freedom and ease of swapping shifts and changing schedules among themselves. The self-service employee portal also allows staff to indicate preferences such as working hours.

The Quintiq team shared updates on the latest product innovations for the aviation industry: annual leave plan redesign, time and attendance, ATC break rules in the optimizer, and translation of flight schedules into actual activities. Customers’ feedback from business owners and employees was especially valuable as it gave the Quintiq team insight into the aviation industry’s planning puzzles and ideas on how to further improve on our solutions....Read more +

Learning from the best
The event wrapped up with a tour of Copenhagen Airport – officially Scandinavia’s busiest and Europe’s most efficient airport, according to Air Transport Research Society (ATRS). Copenhagen Airport’s focus on optimizing and automizing is one of the reasons why it was chosen. This is the 12th time in 14 that it has won the award.

ATRS’s citation also emphasizes Copenhagen Airport’s ability to handle complexity. The fact that international traffic makes up 94% of all traffic at Copenhagen Airport means great demands are placed on areas such as security, baggage handling and transfers. It serves 60 airlines and over 80,000 passengers daily, with a flight departure every 28 seconds during peak hours.

Behind the scenes, it takes around 2,000 people to keep the airport running smoothly 24/7. This includes 1,000 staff who clear passengers and their carry-on luggage before they board, maintenance staff who ensure all doors, escalators and elevators are working at all times, and cleaning staff who keep the building immaculate. There is even a team of bird hunters whose job is to prevent birds from damaging planes. Copenhagen Airport has a comprehensive and strategic approach to workforce planning to ensure its facility runs like clockwork.

The next Aviation Customer Seminar will take place in early 2019. This new form of engagement, which started with metals customers and now includes aviation customers, will soon be rolled out for other industries. If you would like a seminar tailored for your industry, do express your interest to your Quintiq customer care manager.

Quintiq solution revs
into action at Gartner
Dena Ostrowski
Marketing Executive

The annual Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference is a staple event attended by executives in supply chain, procurement & manufacturing, and logistics & distribution. The main draws are the sharing of innovations that support the supply chain of the future and networking opportunities.

As one of the main exhibitors at this year’s event in Phoenix, Arizona in May, Quintiq went all out with its booth. It made a strong impression with four demo stations focusing on Quintiq solutions for oil & gas, meat processing, metals manufacturing and express logistics.

Seeing is believing
Four solutions architects were on hand to guide visitors in experiencing how the Quintiq software works firsthand. The product demos were a hit because they were tailored to give visitors an in-depth look at how Quintiq can be applied to their business with a 100%-fit. Attendees were invited to shared their planning challenges and explore solutions that will help them achieve their business objectives.

The Quintiq team went beyond the sales pitch to show exactly how the Quintiq solutions work in real time. Visitors could see the system processing input and making complex calculations to deliver a feasible plan in just seconds.

The response to the Quintiq demos was positive as many companies are still using spreadsheet planning.

Some of the hot topics discussed were scenario planning for the oil & gas industry, full operational visibility in meat processing, KPI-based planning for the metals industry, and real-time route optimization in express logistics. Many of the conversations continued well after the event. ...Read more +

Other engagements
A day before the conference kicked off, a select group of customers and prospects was invited to dinner and drinks for further discussions.

Quintiq CEO Rob van Egmond also spoke at the conference on mastering complexity. He touched on how complexity may be holding organizations back from achieving their business goals and steps they can start to take to make complexity work in their favor.

Quintiq will be participating in the conference for the sixth time next year. It is an event not to be missed because every leading supply chain company will be there. With all the resources available in one place, Gartner aligns decision-makers with solution providers. The Quintiq North America team hopes to see you there in May 2018. In the meantime, if you are in Europe, see you at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in London on September 20 – 21, 2017.

Adapt to every requirement,
rule and constraint

“Others shun complexity, but we love it for the challenges it brings. These stories showcase Quintiq software’s response to complexity: flexibility. The combination of industry best practices and flexibility in configuration makes it possible to adapt to every requirement, every rule, and every constraint. Planners can rely on the software for generating schedules and scenarios that take into account the reality of their operation. Discover how it’s working in the sourcing, transportation and storage of biofuel for a major UK energy producer; the streamlining of 2,000 workers for Scandinavia’s busiest airport; and the optimization of fleet and crew for Italy’s high-speed rail operator.”

Marcel Dreef
Quintiq Director Solutions
Streamlined workforce for Copenhagen Airport

Quintiq centralizes, integrates and streamlines workforce planning for Europe’s most efficient airport.

Sustainable energy, optimal supply chain for Drax

How Drax, one of UK’s leading energy producers, is solving the complex biofuel puzzle with Quintiq.

Optimized rail fleet and crew for Italy’s NTV

NTV optimizes fleet and crew planning with Quintiq to provide outstanding passenger experience.

Uncover the hidden costs of legacy solutions
Can your plan today foresee tomorrow?


Sept 13, Online Beat the competition – goes the battle cry of metals manufacturers. Now you can, by unleashing unleashing the value of capacity planning to unlock leads and opportunities. Marcel Haarman shares more in this thought-provoking webinar.

Sept 14, Online Logistics is dependent on other parts of the O&G supply chain – from capacity to transport. Take these inputs as a ‘given’ and you constrain the value of logistics. Here’s how to generate value despite the constraints.

Sept 14, Online The utilization of fixed resources influences the passenger experience and overall efficiency of the airport and airlines. In this webinar, Dirk Jekkers explains how you can optimize fixed resources to deliver great passenger experience.