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aim10x, Best Practices, Knowledge

Day 2 Recap: aim10x digital 2024

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Published: Reading time: 15 mino9 Solutions The Digital Brain Platform
o9 SolutionsThe Digital Brain Platform

Samsung SDS

Chow Sang Sang

o9 Product Roadmap Update

Ali Tabrizi, 'Seaspiracy'

Ian Cronin, World Economic Forum

WestRock Company

Iveco Group

Marelli

Vestas

RHI Magnesita

Acuity Brands

Automotive Panel

o9 Product Session: Sustainability

Accenture

McKinsey

Published:

—In a recent article by Gartner, the technological research and consulting firm stated that generative AI is poised to have “an impact similar to that of the steam engine, electricity, and the internet.” But how much of the excitement is based on reality?

Samsung SDS

Hae-Goo Song, EVP at Samsung SDS, started day two of aim10x digital by expanding on the generative AI discussion started by Asian Paints’ Aashish Khsetry and o9’s CEO Chakri Gottemukkala the previous day. He focused on a practical use case: capturing business-critical knowledge that tends to pass through spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls and leveraging it for better decision-making.

"Planners have many experiences, but this knowledge is poorly systemized and lives in my brain only. In the past, we have exchanged this intelligence through phone calls or emails. But with GenAI, we can leverage these past experiences for future decisions."

Hae goo
song highlighted speaker
Hae-Goo SongExecutive Vice President, Samsung SDS

He continued his presentation by sharing details from Samsung SDS's exciting new partnership with emro—a leading Korean procurement software provider—to build next-generation direct procurement capabilities on the o9 platform.

"The most important part of supply chain management for the electronics industry is on the supplier side: sixty percent of the cost is in parts, and forty percent is production or promotion cost," he explained. "That's why we took these partnerships [with emro and o9]...to build a next-generation procurement solution on top of the o9 platform."

Chow Sang Sang

Chow Sang Sang, a prestigious jewelry brand in Greater China, is renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship and exquisite designs. But facing increasing demand for a wider variety of jewelry, the company embarked on a digital planning transformation journey with o9.

Peggy Lau, the jeweler's Director of AI, outlined the scope of the transformation, saying, "To meet these needs, we're investing in a new supply chain management platform, encompassing inventory distribution planning, sales forecasting, and automation, aiming for transparency and efficiency in our operations."

The partnership with o9 is a key component of Chow Sang Sang's strategy to leverage technology and data to adapt to customer preferences better and faster. "Our goal is to leverage technology and data to optimize our services and better meet customer needs. This includes adapting to their preferences for diverse jewelry styles and ensuring the right products are available at the right locations."

o9 Product Roadmap Update

Umesh Arasu, the Chief Product Officer at o9, took the stage to do a deep dive into the o9 Digital Brain platform, describing it as "an enabler of making intelligent decisions across the enterprise."

He explained that the technological backbone of the o9 Digital Brain is the Enterprise Knowledge Graph or EKG. It’s "constantly converting data about your markets and data within your enterprise into knowledge."

He expanded the discussion to include "high-value adjacent areas"—capabilities beyond o9's core planning solutions. This included Revenue Growth Management, which enables companies to track and optimize the ROI of their investment decisions. He also explored Supplier Relationship Management, which allows companies to understand capacity constraints across multiple tiers of suppliers, and o9's Sustainability feature, which enables companies to measure the progress toward their carbon-reduction goals.

Ali Tabrizi, 'Seaspiracy'

Ali Tabrizi, the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed 'Seaspiracy' documentary on Netflix, shared alarming figures at the virtual event: each year, up to 2.7 trillion fish are taken from our oceans, equivalent to about five million fish every minute.

His documentary, which took four and a half years and visits to a dozen countries to produce, has brought significant attention to the dire state of marine ecosystems.

Ali's main message was clear: the scale of fishing today is unsustainable. He suggested a radical solution to combat overfishing—enact a moratorium. “If we had lost ninety percent of all the trees on our planet…we would put a moratorium on the cutting down of trees at least until the trees come back,” he stated. “This is exactly what I believe we should be doing when it comes to the large-scale industrial fishing of our seas.”

To conclude his presentation, he recommended adopting a plant-based diet to reduce overfishing. "One of the core calls to action that I have is that we should be going toward more plant-based alternatives to seafood as a key way to save the ocean," he explained.

"We should be going toward more plant-based alternatives to seafood as a way to save the ocean."

Ali
Ali TabriziNetflix Documentary Director, 'Seaspiracy'

Ian Cronin, World Economic Forum

Ian Cronin, serving as the community curator for the World Economic Forum's Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains, joined the event next to share his insights from the recent gathering at Davos 2024, which centered around three critical questions for business leaders: "How do I become more resilient, sustainable, and profitable?"

"The big topic when we talked about [at Davos] was technology…and how we're seeing large companies…thinking about how they can leverage it to make them more sustainable and resilient," he explained.

Regarding sustainability, he addressed "the elephant in the room" for many organizations: Scope 3 emissions. These emissions, emanating from activities not directly controlled by the company, account for a staggering seventy to ninety-five percent of total carbon footprints in most industries. Ian said the path forward lies in forging partnerships with suppliers to tackle these indirect emissions effectively.

Reflecting on the progress made in integrating AI into manufacturing, Ian shared a statistic from the World Economic Forum's Lighthouse factories program. "In the latest cohort of twenty-one new Lighthouses that we just announced in December, every single one of them had a generative AI pilot already running in their Lighthouse facility," he shared.

WestRock Company

Few supply chains are truly circular. However, in the case of WestRock, a global leader in fiber-based packaging, the flow of its corrugated packaging products forms one continuous loop, starting and ending at the recycling plant. But like many companies, WestRock's legacy planning capabilities needed to be overhauled for a digital-first reality.

Peter Anderson, the company’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, shared that the choice of o9 as its partner for this transformation was based on WestRock's motivation to improve its demand and supply planning and inventory optimization capabilities—from the raw materials sourced from forests and recycled materials from customers through to the manufacturing processes and out to their 240 sites—all while balancing inventory across these nodes.

He concluded by sharing the significant business value WestRock has realized from its supply chain transformation during its first year. "We delivered nearly three hundred million in benefits from the supply chain initiatives. So we're proving what we set out to do."

"We delivered nearly three hundred million in benefits from our supply chain initiative. So we're proving what we set out to do."

Peter
anderson highlighted speaker
Peter AndersonChief Supply Chain Officer, WestRock

Iveco Group

Iveco Group, one of the world's leading OEMs, has been making significant digitization strides under Angela Qu, its Chief Supply Chain Officer. Since assuming her role last year, Angela has become a driving force behind the company's integrated business planning journey with o9 to address the volatility and complexity of the automotive supply chain landscape.

She began her presentation by detailing Iveco's digital planning transformation with clarity and vision. "We are looking at integrated business planning to ensure that our demand is properly managed from the beginning—from the end customers to the suppliers." She explained that she sees the transformation as "a new way of doing business" and vital for the OEM's continued success.

According to Angela, a critical factor in driving this transformation is ensuring that the team recognizes the tangible benefits of change. She recounted how her team was inspired by seeing examples of successful implementations. "It opened up when people could see, feel, and touch it and know what success looks like," she shared.

Marelli

If the supply chain is the circulatory system of the business, S&OP—or SIOP+—in automotive supplier Marelli's case, is its digital heartbeat.

Marelli CEO David Slump joined to share how the automotive supplier continues to provide best-in-class service to its clients amid the electrification wave. He began by depicting the "shift of powertrains" as a "regional battlefield." Said David, "We have to equip ourselves for the new reality of EVs in Europe, but it's going to be slow in the U.S. and South America," he explained.

He went on to detail the impact of electrification, explaining how the shift has increased the demand for electronics content per vehicle for both EVs and traditional combustion powertrains. "The content per vehicle of electronics is skyrocketing," he noted. He explained that increased demand for electronics also comes with longer lead times for semiconductors. 

"[SIOP] is like the heartbeat of an organization…or the drummer of a band. If the drummer is off-beat, the whole band is off-beat."

David slump
David SlumpCEO, Marelli

Planning in legacy tools such as Excel, David explained, couldn't effectively balance the demand for electronics with long supply lead times. This realization led Marelli to digitize its SIOP (Sales, Inventory, and Operations Planning) process, branding it SIOP+. David champions this process as both the "heartbeat of the business" and "the cross-functional drummer of a band," critical for maintaining the rhythm of supply and demand.

When asked why the automotive supplier partnered with o9, he said, "We needed a partner to digitize this and make us world-class."

Vestas

Fewer companies are doing more to advance sustainable energy than Vestas. Indeed, even fewer companies have longer lead times for parts and pieces.

Damien Lhors, Group SVP, Global Supply Chain & Transport, joined the virtual event to share insights from the global wind turbine manufacturer's planning transformation with o9.

He highlighted a fundamental challenge for Vestas: the lengthy lead times inherent in manufacturing its wind energy products. "So when considering long-term planning, onshore lead times would probably be three to four years. Offshore lead times are five to six years," he explained.

He explained that a critical aspect of this transformation has been integrating strategic planning with sales and marketing activities, ensuring the company is always prepared for growth and ready to execute its plans efficiently.

"Getting strategic planning connected with sales and marketing to ensure we understand when it’s time for growth and what it means to be ready is the ultimate priority."

Damien lhors
Damien LhorsGroup SVP, Global Supply Chain & Transport, Vestas

One of the keys to the success of this transformation has been Vestas' partnership with o9. Rather than "starting from scratch," o9 has adapted to the manufacturer's new operating model, providing a foundation for change that respects the company's existing structures and expertise. "I like that because we have this excellent relationship; we can adjust what we are putting in place with o9 with the new organization model. That was very important for me," he said. "Starting from scratch is never fun."

He also noted the broader impact of its partnership with o9, stating, "o9 is at the forefront of what we are trying to do regarding management planning. You're helping make the organization understand that how we have done things in the past will not help us deliver what we want in the future."

RHI Magnesita

Azim Syed, the head of IBP and Supply Chain at RHI Magnesita, a global leader in refractories, joined to share insights from his company's journey to bring its "planning into the twenty-first century."

He highlighted a unique challenge stemming from RHIM's vertically integrated supply chain. Despite offering competitive advantages, this structure also presented significant planning and material distribution challenges, especially when juxtaposed with the operations of more localized competitors.

Integrated Business Planning emerged as a linchpin in RHIM's strategy to refine supply allocation and decision-making processes. "We take IBP very seriously…because we need to be able to make tactical planning decisions that determine how and where we supply," he noted.

The collaboration with o9 marked a significant step in RHIM's transformation journey. "The first reason we liked o9 was the Digital Brain," he explained. "The second reason was that the platform created the skill set the supply chain professional would need. It was very easy for them to access that technology and use it." He also shared that he valued o9's partnership model, saying, "We liked the partnership model because…o9 took an interest in understanding our business, and coming up with a solution actually led us to follow o9's industry standard," he shared.

Azim concluded his presentation with a recommendation for companies embarking on a planning transformation: adopt an agile, incremental approach. He cited an example of when his team encountered challenges during the blueprinting process. They narrowed their focus to six customers, allowing a deeper dive into data quality. This targeted strategy enabled them to move faster and gave them a detailed understanding of transaction-level interactions and master data specific to the customers.

"Even if you make the best blueprint, you will have a change request. Start small. Go big. You have to be agile because nothing is permanent. You learn a lot, and you're course-correcting for the future."

Azim syed
Azim SyedSVP, Supply Chain, IBP & End-to-End Value Chain, RHIM

Acuity Brands

Bruce Mathews, the Chief Information Officer at Acuity Brands, shared IT-specific insights into the lighting and controls manufacturer's digital-first approach to managing the increasing complexity of its supply chain.

"With all that lighting and optionality for our customers comes complexity. We want to provide our customers with choices and options. But we need to manage that complexity," he explained.

At the heart of Acuity's digital strategy, Bruce explained, is building a "unified, coherent data layer across our value chain" to "be able to connect all the data across our value chain and make smarter decisions at the speed of business."

He shared that the decision to choose o9 as a partner was influenced by several critical features, with "hyper-scaler choice" chiefly among them. He explained that the cloud-native nature of o9's platform endows it with high levels of scalability, performance, and flexibility, making it an ideal choice for Acuity.

Another feature of the o9 platform that appealed to Acuity is its underlying technology—the Enterprise Knowledge Graph (EKG). "The o9 graph database is very fit for purpose for data analysis and emphasizing the relationships between different data...it was something that was a pivotal part of the decision," Bruce shared.

"The o9 platform was bringing data analysis to us—looking at high and low volatility and high and low volume, as well as product segmentation—which was one thing that popped out immediately to us."

Bruce mathews
Bruce MathewsCIO, Acuity Brands

He concluded his presentation by sharing Acuity's strategy regarding "future-proofing." "We want to strike a balance between future-proofing—not boxing ourselves in a corner—and taking advantage of upgrades that come with the platform in the future," he noted. "The platform provides the ability to customize through configuration and also use o9's templates."

Automotive Panel

Three automotive leaders joined the virtual event next to discuss the evolving landscape of industrial supply chains: Flavio Colombini, Pirelli's Head of Integrated Business Planning; Carlo Chiarle, VP, Marelli's Global Head of Manufacturing Operations & SIOP; and Federico Baiocco, Iveco's VP of Supply Chain and Head of Global Logistics and S&OP.

Federico began the presentation by summarizing the key challenges the automotive industry faces. "Strong yet volatile demand, combined with limited capacity from suppliers, is challenging the status quo in the automotive industry," he noted. "The lean approach, a fundamental part of our industry, now must be re-evaluated. We must find better ways to fulfill customer requests on time, cost-effectively, and flexibly."

Carlo shared his perspective on how companies must address these challenges through increased proactiveness, saying, "Adapting to change requires a capacity to react quickly and then to become proactive. Being proactive means being prepared to address changes, whether they originate from carmakers or our suppliers."

The participants agreed that supply chain digitization was imperative to addressing the current challenges. "Digitalization enables us to determine where to allocate inventory efficiently and when to produce a unit, where to place an order, and how to process it," Federico explained. "Accessing real-time data with minimal effort allows us to manage and utilize this information to support decision-making effectively."

Flavio agreed with the participants on the criticality of digitization but wanted to note that such transformation is more than implementing new software; it is a fundamental re-wiring of the organization's DNA. "It's crucial to recognize that this process is not just about adopting new tools…[our planning transformation] was not merely digitizing old processes. Instead, it was a complete reevaluation and redesign of our daily operations," he said.

o9 Product Session: Sustainability

The discussion shifted again to the urgent topic of sustainability. Stanton Thomas, Head of Sustainability Solutions at o9, began his presentation by developing a compelling case for integrating sustainability metrics into core business planning processes.

He shared that Europe's new regulatory frameworks will "require companies to deeply examine the impact of their supply chains according to several sustainability criteria." According to Stanton, such an examination will require tracking sustainability KPI "not only within the organization but across the value chain."

The crux of his message was the need to "actively balance sustainability with business objectives," which entails embedding sustainability into the heart of business planning processes.

Regarding Scope 3 emissions, Stanton pointed out the need for more visibility than most companies currently have—beyond their immediate suppliers. He explained that o9 is presently developing advanced capabilities to provide companies with visibility into the environmental impact of their multi-tier supply chains.

Stanton concluded with a powerful reminder of the growing forces pushing for the decarbonization of global supply chains. "The forces are only going to continue to intensify. Companies are now compelled to take decisive action because of how the environment is involved."

Accenture

For the penultimate session of aim10x digital 2024, Kris Timmermans, Accenture's Senior Managing Director, and Global Lead for Supply Chain Operations, shared why he believes global enterprises must digitize their supply chains for increased agility, resilience, and sustainability.

He began his presentation by comparing the disruption response times of digitally mature companies to laggards.

"If you're digitally mature as an organization, the time needed to respond [to disruptions] is thirty-five days on average. If you're not mature, it's one hundred forty-five days."

Kris timmermans
Kris TimmermansSenior Managing Director and Global Lead for Supply Chain Operations, Accenture

Kris offered practical advice for organizations looking to digitally transform their supply chains. Central to his recommendations was prioritizing human adoption from the outset. "One of the elements is to get the buy-in upfront," he explained. "Secondly, put human adoption at the heart of everything from the start."

Looking towards the future, Kris sees the potential of generative AI to transform supply chain planning, saying that it offers "a range of new possibilities." However, he cautioned that leveraging generative AI hinges on a solid data foundation.

McKinsey

CEOs walked away from Davos 2024 with historically long lists of concerns, from labor shortages and inflation to geopolitical concerns and high interest rates.

For the final session of aim10x digital, Sven Smit, a senior partner at McKinsey and the chair of its Global Institute, joined to shed light on the most prominent concerns executives face this year and beyond.

"Economic growth in 2024 and 2025 is mired in uncertainty," Sven observed. "The tight labor market, government, defense, and energy spending are all inflationary, set against a context of supply disruptions." In response to this uncertainty, he advised CEOs to leverage automation for increased productivity. "Productivity makes you resilient no matter what," he stated.

"50% of tasks can be automated with available technology between 2025 and 2030…[Through this automation], I believe 3% per annum [growth] is possible. But this will not be achieved through pilots. We have to focus on end-to-end use cases."

Sven smit
Sven SmitSenior Partner, Global Institute Chair, McKinsey
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About the author

o9 Solutions The Digital Brain Platform

o9 Solutions

The Digital Brain Platform

o9 Solutions is a leading AI-powered platform for integrated business planning and decision-making for the enterprise. Whether it is driving demand, aligning demand and supply, or optimizing commercial initiatives, any planning process can be made faster and smarter with o9’s AI-powered digital solutions. o9 brings together technology innovations—such as graph-based enterprise modeling, big data analytics, advanced algorithms for scenario planning, collaborative portals, easy-to-use interfaces and cloud-based delivery—into one platform.

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