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LLamacon EMEA Day 2 Takeaways: Faster, Smarter, More Frequent Decision Making and More

By Dr. Madhav Durbha  November 16, 2018

Day 2 of LLamacon yet again was packed with some great content and several thought-provoking and highly inspiring presentations, just like day 1. Here are some key takeaways from day 2 by Madhav Durbha, LLamasoft’s Group VP.

  1. Get comfortable with complexity: Allistair Balderson of IGD kicked the day off with some very interesting insights into 3 key supply chain features for growth – Self-disruptive and technologically adept, Transparency and Trust, and Flexible Omnichannel fulfillment. In the area of being self-disruptive, he cited the example of the robots Walmart deploys to detect shelf anomalies such as missing tags. While these robots can alert the store managers of such anomalies, the digital streams of data that is emitted by such robots can be mined for trend analysis and continuous improvement purposes. In the area of transparency and trust, he specifically honed in on sustainability efforts through vertical farming techniques such as those developed by Verti Veggies which is helping minimize the footprint needed to grow vegetables, especially in dense urban areas. He also gave the example of the Canadian retailer Loblaws helping local growers and farmers gain access to newer technologies to grow vegetables and fruits for a longer duration, beyond the typically short growing seasons the country experiences. As for flexible omnichannel fulfillment, he gave P&G’s just launched Tide eco-box as yet another example of sustainable packaging that is also e-commerce friendly for shipping in units. Eco-box is packaging reimagined with Tide getting delivered in ultra-concentrated form, making it great for omni-channel fulfillment while reducing the environmental footprint. He also gave the example of Unilever’s collaboration with JD.com in China for fulfillment and Target’s presence within 10 miles of every US household as models of flexible fulfillment. His advice to the audience is to get comfortable with embracing the complexity.
  2. Tame the complexity: I presented on the topic of ‘rising economic nationalism’. The fact that I couldn’t step past any TV in the hotel without hearing about Brexit and couldn’t pick up a newspaper without seeing it on the headlines made this a rather easy and difficult topic at the same time! I shared my view that out of every challenge arises an opportunity. Whether it is the Trump tariffs or Brexit, they are serving as catalysts to localization that is set in motion by trends such as environmentalism, cyber-physical convergence, increased shipping costs, and consumers’ expectation for hyper-personalized products, offers, and deliveries forcing companies to significantly shrink the lead times. I will be sharing more on the details of the point of view I shared today in the form of a future blog.
  3. Faster, smarter, more frequent decision making: David Rice of Britvic, a 1.3billion GBP soft drinks company spoke about how his organization is getting the best of design and planning through the coexistence of SAP along with LLamasoft. With the all the new innovations they are launching into the market, Britvic is leveraging LLamasoft’s SupplyChainGuru to drive decisions around capacity planning and line expansions. This, in turn, works hand in hand with SAP to drive tactical planning and execution wherein SAP handles MRP and detailed production planning and scheduling. This is helping Britvic enjoy the best of both worlds. This is also helping them assess the impact of net new innovations on capacity and plan for materials in a rather fast and more frequent manner, highlighting that design competency is not about running design as an annual exercise, but to practice it as a recurring competence.
  4. M&A rationalization and Greenfield analysis: Martin Valuch of Tesco shared their journey with LLamasoft to-date. He shared the story of how his organization took a disciplined approach to harmonize the data that is siloed between different functional domains such as buying, transportation, warehousing, store operations, etc. – and brought it all together to draw the appropriate connections. Laying this foundation and the rigor Martin’s team applied proved to be extremely valuable when Tesco acquired Booker wherein they had to look at the network holistically and make design recommendations. He also spoke of ‘Greenfield analysis’ wherein they had to take a blue sky approach to how the network needed to be designed and do such analysis iteratively, gaining tremendous insights. All in all, a great success story where the implemented design recommendations are starting to deliver great results.
  5. The journey to smarter decision making: Carlos Valderrama of LLamasoft had the tough task of holding the audiences’ attention as the final keynote before the conference concluded. With his witty and spontaneous style, he kept the audience glued in what at the surface might seem like the kind of topic you would avoid for the last hour of the conference. It was all about a framework, or I should say a set of frameworks, for enabling the people, process, technology, and strategy transformation to achieve supply chain excellence. Through live interactive polling of the audiences, he made the session quite interactive by sharing audience responses to a variety of questions in real time related to developing supply chain design competency. Here are some metrics that may interest you from the audience that were polled. Time from strategic decision to execution – 66% of the attendees said it is quarters to years. 63% of the audience said they execute only 2 to 4 strategic decisioning projects per year. Most attendees said that about 75 to 90% of the design projects they undertook actually got implemented. This to me a reasonably high number indicating that supply chain design exercises are not mere modeling exercises, but actually translate into actions. But to me, the survey also indicates a huge untapped potential both in terms of the number of strategic decisioning projects in light of all the complexity at the moment and also in terms of compressing the decision cycle time. Carlos and his team built a Design Competency Development (DECODE) methodology to help organizations measure their progress in terms of supply chain competency. Several organizations are already benefiting from following the DECODE methodology, that is helping them establish and prioritize their supply chain initiatives.

Will Lovatt of LLamasoft kept the keynotes sessions going in a timely manner, concluding each session with his remarks and summarizing the key takeaways. For me personally, the event proved to be a great platform for meeting with our customers, partners, and fellow LLamas. By the end of the conference, I ran out of my business cards, which is a good sign. Though I should have better forecasted how many cards I needed to bring. Perhaps DemandGuru could have helped me there.

On behalf of all the LLamas, big thanks to our partner Miebach for sponsoring the event. We thank all our customers, partners, and our fellow associates for making the event a memorable one!