By Pierre Mitchell from Spend Matters
I’m packing up my bags again this year for Supply Chain Insights’ (SCI) annual supply conference. This year, Imagine is an appropriate name for the conference as attendees will help contribute to a vision of supply chain in 2030. Back in 2007, I led a similar effort for “Procurement 2020” when I was back at Hackett and it’s been fun looking back at those predictions. Some things barely have changed (cost modeling) while others like AI (e.g., machine learning in particular) have made big strides. And who could have predicted Blockchain (even though it’s still in its infancy)?
But imagination and vision still require execution which in turn requires new capabilities. So, I’m looking forward to hearing some of the case studies and learnings about the transformations and capabilities at firms like Intel, Clorox, Walgreens, BASF, and others. SCI actually includes improvement % in its annual “Supply Chains to Admire” awards which also uses industry indexed performance on profitable growth, asset efficiency (e.g., inventory turns), and market cap (via book-to-market). Now, you can argue about using improvement %’s, or just using financials, but there’s been numerous academic studies showing the link between supply chain performance and business performance, and every supply chain professional knows this. Besides whether its causation or just correlation, what’s important is the HOW to make this linkage in an increasingly complex and risk supply chain environment. This is where new capabilities built through new strategies, techniques, tools, assets (e.g., robotics) and analytics-driven intelligence are critical. Remember, digital assets basically have zero holding costs and can deliver huge customer service (and help the supply side too).
Luckily, these topics will be covered at the event. I’ll report back some learnings from the event later, but for now, I’m looking forward to heading to meet with clients, old friends, and hopefully future colleagues at the Phonecian where I used to prowl the old AMR supply chain conference (before the giant sucking sound of Gartner came to bear). Luckily, this conference will be a bit of anti-Gartner event: intimate, open, non-commercial (but also welcoming to providers who are helping to shape the digital revolution), and interactive with the audience rather than just spouting new buzzwords and awards that seek to make money rather than educate.
If you’ll be there, please come find me, and let’s enjoy the event together!