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Day 2 of LLamaCon: Industry Challenges and the Future of Technology

By LLamasoft Editorial Team  June 20, 2019

“The changing expectations of consumers have accelerated the pace of supply chain change.” – LLamasoft CEO Razat Guarav

The second day of LLamaCon 2019 came to a close with more than 200 companies in attendance from around the world who represent $4.5 trillion in revenue. The day’s events included panel conversations with industry leaders, breakout sessions with customer use cases and a roundtable discussion where executives addressed industry trends and challenges.

Supply chain leaders from companies such as IKEA, AB-In Bev, Natura, and the US Army highlighted common challenges and opportunities across these differentiating supply chains. Data initiatives was a main topic of discussion.

“A top topic of conversation is the data challenges that everyone is facing – getting accurate data and a single source of truth and clean data working it into a model in a quick way. I’ve met a lot of folks that are new with bringing it in their organizations for the first time – so facing a lot of challenges with the onboarding process.” said Ulta Beauty’s Senior Manager of Network Strategy Tiffany Grear.

“Data doesn’t just have to come from the past. Data can come from a simulated environment. This is a view to the future as opposed to a lens from the past,” said Guarav.

LLamasoft’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Sandra Moran said, “Despite enormous investments in technology, many companies are realizing they have more work to do to achieve data-driven decision making.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, LLamaCon’s keynote speaker and NYT best-selling author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Impossible, underscores the importance of creating an antifragile enterprise.

 “If you are fragile, then a random shock will harm you more than the negative side of the shock will help you. There is acceleration in everything that is fragile,” Taleb said.

LLamasoft’s Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Toby Brzoznowski shared the future product roadmap for LLamasoft with an evolution to a SAAS-based platform that enables the distribution of decision-making to the broader enterprise.

“Digital transformation underscores the importance of data security. First, identify the threats. Next, determine the vulnerabilities. And finally, assess the risks,” said Larry Wyche, CEO of Wyche Consulting and former deputy commanding general for the US Army. 

The customer roundtable event was another opportunity for executives to share their experiences and challenges. “Customers definitely learn from each other. Connecting them to share war stories, scars, best practices and success stories is really cool to see,” said LLamasoft’s Senior Manager of Customer Experience Serena Riley.

The roundtable focused on questions such as: Do you have a center of excellence and what is the role of center of excellence? How do you define design and what are the key components to network design? How do you find and prioritize the talent you need to be a supply chain excellent company and how do you retain talent? The latter question shined a light on a common challenge.

“We had a lot of interest in learning how to attain and retain talent. These are matters people struggle with – it’s not just in the supply chain world. I think we can find some interesting ways to talk about leadership subjects, tell the right story to the audience and expand into something bigger,” said Riley.

Moran said, “The other takeaway is the talent shortage – people who are technically competent to model business, to use advanced analytics and who understand the business aspects of a supply chain.  Finding someone who is technical, knows the business and is a strong communicator is extremely difficult even if there wasn’t a big competition for talent.”

Though attaining necessary talent is an underlying challenge, the advancements in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning continue to move the industry forward.

Moran observed, “A portion of the roundtable focused on how AI will change the way that people are making decisions to implement best practices and considering what type of questions are answered by AI-enabled applications.”

“[The roundtable discussion] was right in the alley of looking and focusing at merging technology. We’ve been very focused on that work optimization and in the next phase we want start to incorporate other technologies to be able to answer many more questions across the organizations,” said Grear.

“Technology is a disrupter. It is changing the game,” said Gaurav.

Though the event was an information-packed one, the day concluded with dinner and games at SPiN.

For more information on LLamaCon 2019, follow live #LLamaCon updates on Twitter and LinkedIn.