LLamasoft Supply Chain Blog

← Back to Blog

Day 3 of LLamaCon: Recap

By LLamasoft Editorial Team  June 18, 2020

AI-Driven Supply Chain, New Demand Outlook

Day 3 of LLamaCon NOW continued with another full agenda of engaging track sessions, including presentations on AI-Driven Supply Chain and New Demand Outlook.


Leveraging Artificial Intelligence algorithms and new types of data to make better decisions is an increasingly powerful capability that can be the an enabler to help you break down functional silos, improve agility, and improve business outcomes. This track session provided practical examples of how AI capabilities can accelerate the digital journey.

An Ashley Furniture case study got the track started with a presentation featuring Mike Ward, Ashley Furniture’s Director of Supply Chain Analytics, where he discussed how Ashley Furniture’s open-minded approach to AI provided value to customers and became a source for constant innovation.

He noted the importance of understanding your current and past supply chain before attempting to take the next step “In order to get to your ‘supply chain of the future’, you really have to understand your past. In order to really take that next step, you have to be leveraging advanced analytics, data science and machine learning and AI”

He also stressed the need for collaboration in an organization “In today’s world, it’s all about speed and availability of data and doing more complex modeling. So, our data engineering team is really great partners with our analytics team and our business to really understand where we [as an organization] are trying to go and how do we get there.”

Another case study presented as part of the AI track was The Gift of Sight – Applied AI for Eye Tissue Transplant Decision-Making presented by Eversight’s Director of Clinical Services, Ryan C Simmons. This session featured the true story of how data science and AI algorithms assists the non-profit make better decisions about which potential donor tissues are suitable for eye transplant.

“A model can actually get smarter over time. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of changes and long symptom lists with COVID-19, which are things we’ll have to take into consideration while making determinations.”

LLamasoft’s partnership with Eversight was established approximately six months ago and is already yielding exciting results.

“If we’re able to refresh this data, even more than what we’re predicting – or even hold steady while things around it are changing – that would be a huge advantage to us. It’s really awesome stuff that we’ve worked on with the LLamasoft team, and I’m excited about how we can potentially move forward with implementation.” – Ryan C Simmons, Eversight

The American Eagle session featured Guru Pundoor, American Eagle’s VP of SC Strategy, Planning and Execution, describing his experience in building the “supply chain of the future.” Attendees learned how digitalization and analytics have enabled American Eagle to deliver value now, while also accelerating towards their goal of advancing their supply chain organization.

“You are never going to be at a state where your data is perfect. And you cannot wait until you have all the data set up in a way you want to begin building your analytical capabilities.” – Guru Pundoor

Another LLamasoft Solution Session, this one lead by LLamasoft’s VP of Solution Design, Derek Nelson, focused on how AI can actually and practically help supply chain decision making.

“AI used to be pretty narrowly defined, but now it’s used as an umbrella term. For us, the key element’s we’re focused on are algorithms, data and computing power.” – Derek Nelson

Nick Banich, Head of Supply Chain Transformation at Miebach, presented a compelling session titled From Concept to Concrete: Where Do We Go From Here?, which focused on introducing AI into the supply chain and how to understand the risks, key steps towards implementation and the need to introduce change management to realize success.

This discussion focused on moving from using “AI” as a buzzword and its various use cases, to its concrete implementation.

“There is a bias towards not wanting to report to somebody that we’re ignoring AI” but realistically, most organizations do not have enough internal alignment about what AI and machine learning is, or how it should be used, said Banich.

The AI-Driven Supply Chain track panel discussion brought together the session speakers and LLamasoft Group Vice President, Kristen Daihes. The conversation focused on closing the AI adoption gap and accelerating the AI journey.

“Not every AI initiative is going to succeed. There are going to be some big wins, but you’ll also have some failures. Let the goal be improvement, not perfection. And don’t be afraid to experiment” – Derek Nelson


An increasing number of forward-looking organizations are realizing that they can reinvent how they plan for customer demand by using the latest in AI technologies and external data. This track focused on how using LLamasoft technology can help users better adapt to market shifts with short and long-term demand insights.

PECO Pallet, a leading provider of closed-loop pooled pallets in North America, got the New Demand track started with a case study involving their transformational journey.

In this session, John Solomon, PECO Pallet’s Director of Transformation & Analytics, and Rahul Jose, PECO Pallet Data Analyst, described the company’s recent leap from Excel-based trend analysis to AI and Machine Learning to dramatically improve strategic forecasting.

“Before we introduced LLamasoft to this business problem, we were using a spreadsheet that looked at month over month and year over year trend analysis there was actually no forecasting in place.” said John Solomon. He also added “One of the things we wanted to do was get away from trading Excel spreadsheets back and forth, and establish a single source of truth one consistent process that can be run each month.”

CGN’s High Availability Demand Driven Networks session, led by Dr. Kiran Khadke, CGN Associate Partner, explored how the post-COVID world is a different place than what we’ve experienced before. Khadke discussed how to not only react, but proactively take advantage of the unprecedented shifts in customers, demand and channels to achieve and maintain market leadership.

“Beyond COVID, the ability to attach and detach individual elements of your network at hyper-speed enables an organization not to be trampled under change, but rather, seize the advantage of evolving markets, technologies and people to emerge as a leader” – Kiran Khadke

The LLamasoft Solution Session for the New Demand track featured VP of Product Management, Vikram Srinivasan, who walked attendees through the newest methodology for reinventing how to analyze, learn and adapt forecast demand.

Attendees left the session with fresh approaches to deliver greater value back to their organizations for better decision-making during the near term COVID-19 crisis, and across longer term strategic horizons.

The New Demand Outlook track panel discussion brought together the session speakers and LLamasoft Senior Product Manager, Amir Kalantari. The conversation focused on how relying on outdated methods of internal and historical data are no longer a viable option for predicting demand, going forward.

“We need a different and new approach as we look ahead. Key decisions need to be made much more frequently” said Kiran Khadke from CGN Global. He added “When your body touches a hot surface, your body automatically reacts. What we’re attempting to create is something that assists in creating this organic response to immediate changes in demand.”

LLamaCon On-Demand

The best part about LLamaCon NOW being entirely digital and free to attend, is that you can register at any point and have access to the content! Did you miss Day 3? Register now and gain access to the content on-demand, regardless!