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“How Cricket and GenAI for SCM are Similar” and 9 Other Key Learnings from aim10x Bangalore

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Published: Reading time: 11 min
o9 Solutions The Digital Brain Platform
o9 SolutionsThe Digital Brain Platform
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#1: Embracing Digital Transformation

#2: GenAI for Supply Chains

#3: The Importance of Master Data

#4: GenAI on the o9 Platform

#5: Supplier Collaboration

#6: Supply Chains and the Board

#7: Setting a Data Strategy

#8: Enhancing Decision-Making with AI

#9: Quicker Transformation Time to Value

#10: o9 Demand Planning Updates


aim10x live Bangalore 2023 has successfully wrapped up, offering a day filled with insightful exchanges and discussions among leading supply chain and commercial professionals. This invite-only event, attended by 100+ Global Planning Managers, Directors, and VPs from global enterprises such as Berger Paints, Godrej Consumer Products, Aditya Birla Chemicals, Mankind Pharma, Asian Paints, and TVS Motor Group, served as a key platform for exploring the impact of advanced planning software on Supply Chain and Commercial decision-making. The focus was on leveraging these technologies for improved financial performance and positive environmental outcomes.

The sessions, led by industry experts, covered a range of topics from the integration of AI and digital transformation strategies to the importance of collaboration in modern supply chains. The insights shared were not just theoretical but also practical, providing attendees with a clearer understanding of how to apply these concepts in real-world scenarios for better efficiency and strategic growth.

#1 Embracing digital transformation is essential for better, faster decision-making

In an era where technology and innovation drive the competitive edge in supply chains, the insights shared by Abhishek Dhal and Balaji Veerasikamani from o9 Solutions in their recent keynote offer a crucial perspective. As supply chain and commercial professionals, the imperative to adapt and excel lies in embracing digital transformation. The integration of advanced technologies like Generative AI and large language models stands out as not just a trend, but a necessity.

This approach is about more than just keeping pace; it's about redefining how we understand efficiency and decision-making in the supply chain. As Dhal put it, "There is only one moment of truth in business, i.e., when the customer chooses your product over the other, that is when you say your strategy and product is working." This mindset, focusing on technologies that directly influence customer choice, is pivotal in today's dynamic commercial environment.

#2: Generative AI is making Supply Chain Management more predictive, less reactive

Siddhartha Niyogi, CEO of o9 Solutions India, drew a compelling parallel between the predictive tactics of premium cricketers at the World Cup and the future of supply chain planning enhanced by Generative AI. "It’s like we’re at the Cricket World Cup: premium cricketers must analyze where the ball will go before taking action. That’s your forecast. Planning runs on data, and Generative AI can help you transform that data into decisions,” he explained. This analogy captures the essence of how Generative AI is revolutionizing supply chain management—transforming it from a game of reaction to one of proactive strategy.

Niyogi's insights during the keynote delve into how this technology, akin to the sophistication behind tools like ChatGPT, is now being adapted to redefine forecasting, planning, and decision-making in business. His discussion highlighted o9 Solutions' forefront role in integrating Generative AI with advanced Natural Language Processing to enhance supply chain operations. This technological integration is part of o9's mission to "generate value through supply chain planning," evident in their achievements with major corporations like T-Mobile, PepsiCo, and HP.

#3: Master data is key to optimizing supply chain operations and driving growth in the digital age

Anish Basu's keynote on Berger Paints’ supply chain transformation was a deep dive into the role of digital technology in fostering company growth and optimizing supply chain operations. Basu, a seasoned supply chain professional with an MBA from FMS, emphasized the critical importance of master data in this transformation. He articulated this concept vividly, referring to master data as the “fuel for the engine you are building to provide growth and optimize the supply chain”. This approach, as Basu outlined, became an integral part of both current and future rollouts at Berger Paints, facilitating daily operations and enhancing cross-departmental collaboration and decision-making.

His insights offered a comprehensive view of the challenges faced by Berger Paints as it scaled from approximately 73 million to 1 billion USD. Basu highlighted how technology was not just a facilitator for delivering final goods but a critical tool for addressing various supply chain issues, especially as they encountered rapid volume increases with products like Pattis. He also reflected on the importance of stakeholder involvement and change management, saying, “The more important thing is interaction with different stakeholders across the hierarchies and departments,” which was crucial in clearly presenting the value of digital transformation, not just in problem-solving but in enhancing business operations, reducing stress, and improving yield in machinery and manpower.

#4: GenAI plays a pivotal role in advancing the o9 platform by enhancing SCM capabilities

Narasimha Kamath, Senior Vice President of R&D at o9 Solutions, unveiled the future trajectory of the company's platform, highlighting the critical role of Generative AI. Kamath revealed that over 90% of their R&D happens in Bangalore, underscoring the region's significance in their innovation process. The presentation included a demonstration of the o9 Digital Assistant, showcasing its ability to handle various complex queries within the context of supply chain management, from forecasting to scenario planning.

Kamath discussed the assistant's functional nuances, such as staying within the question context, accessing o9's Large Language Model (LLM) library, and integrating external LLMs, including an API call with ChatGPT 3.5. The demonstration extended to the IBP (Integrated Business Planning) screen, providing a tangible view of the platform's capabilities. He also outlined significant future updates, like the ability for the system to suggest resolutions for short orders by Q1 2024 and advancing towards self-service capabilities by Q2 2024. Additionally, Kamath shed light on the transition from their current configuration system to an enhanced 'Config 2.0', emphasizing the shift to a big data platform with advanced features like containerization and Delta Lake, and the ability for customers to create their own applications within the system.

#5: Collaboration across all nodes is crucial for efficient modern supply chains

Industry leaders Vishal Gupta, Prashant Katiyar, and Jeevan Pawar, moderated by Raghav Attinuru, delved into the critical role of collaboration in today’s global supply chains. The panelists emphasized that collaboration extends beyond internal operations to include partners, suppliers, and manufacturers, as highlighted by Vishal Gupta. He stressed the importance of visibility at all nodes to build efficiency, especially in light of challenges like the pandemic.

Prashant Katiyar discussed the need to reinvent and remodel supply chains in fast-growing environments, advocating for quantified shared responsibility among suppliers. Jeevan Pawar highlighted the criticality of supplier collaboration in navigating challenges, such as those posed by the Ukraine war, using his experience of overcoming raw material shortages.

#6: Supply chains have evolved into strategic elements in boardroom discussions

"The supply chain is no longer a backstage player but a pivotal strategic partner in the boardroom," declared Harish Lade from Asian Paints during the insightful fireside chat alongside Siddhartha Niyogi from o9 Solutions. This powerful opening statement set the tone for a conversation that redefined the role of supply chains in corporate strategy. Lade emphasized a critical shift in perspective with his assertion, “India is going to be at the center of manufacturing and growth, the supply chain must remain the centerpiece [and] become a strategic co-partner with the board and not a backend player.” This perspective spotlights the evolving role of supply chains from operational backends to strategic, central elements in boardroom discussions.

In this engaging session, Lade underscored Asian Paints’ focus on synergizing people, leadership, and cross-functional collaboration, illustrating how the supply chain is intricately woven into the fabric of overall business strategy and execution. The discussion also delved into how Asian Paints navigated recent challenges, using the supply chain as a strategic lever to unlock new business possibilities and innovations, particularly in the dynamic home painting sector.

#7: The right data strategy is key to unlocking value from a digital planning transformation

Aditya Birla Chemicals CDO and CTO Namrita Mahindro shared a transformative narrative of integrating an Integrated Margin Management program within their Domestic Chlor Alkali business. Facing the tumultuous demand fluctuations during COVID and inherent challenges in their low agility model, the company embarked on a journey beyond mere technological adoption, veering towards a holistic business transformation. Mahindro emphasized the profound impact of these changes: significant reduction in MIS efforts, enhanced planning at the SKU level, better KPI tracking, and advanced AI-based sales forecasting.

Central to this transformation journey, encompassing five chemical-oriented businesses, was the strategic utilization of data. The company's journey involved a deep dive into understanding the specific data requirements and gaps, laying a robust foundation for the successful implementation of the o9 platform. This focus on data was critical in driving the Integrated Margin Management program within their Domestic Chlor Alkali business, encompassing five chemical-oriented sectors. The initiative aimed at long-term scalability, addressing the need for standardization in process re-engineering and platform features.

#8: AI enhances decision-making, production, and operational efficiency at TVS Motor Group

As companies grapple with the challenge of effectively applying AI in their business operations, Mahesh Calavai, Chief Digital & AI Officer at TVS Motor Group, provided enlightening insights in his keynote "Decision-making using AI." He portrayed the vehicle world as a complex interplay of digital and physical realms, emphasizing TVS's strategic focus on fostering innovation and achieving operational excellence through a robust digital and AI-powered ecosystem. This endeavor goes beyond merely adopting new technologies; it's about redefining decision-making processes at a fundamental level across the organization.

In outlining TVS's digital AI transformation, Calavai highlighted key principles such as becoming digitally native, adopting composable machine architecture, developing scalable platforms, and scaling AI effectively. The implementation of AI at TVS spans various domains, from enhancing lead conversion effectiveness to optimizing paint workshop operations and production line efficiency. This approach showcases AI not just as a technological novelty but as a practical tool for enhancing production, safety, and overall operational efficiency.

#9: Investment in AI and digital technologies is yielding more tangible value over time

Industry experts Akash Srivastava, Tanguy Caillet, Deepak Narasimhamurthy, and Akash Kedia offered insightful perspectives on leveraging AI and digital platforms to revolutionize business processes. Srivastava underscored a significant trend in India, where enterprises are not just open to but actively investing in AI and digital technologies for crucial functions like procurement, planning, and manufacturing. He noted, "These platforms are also getting revamped as we learn with the increase in investments. Realization of benefits is much higher post 6 months of go-live is much higher compared to older times,” highlighting the tangible advantages that accrue over time with sustained investment in these technologies.

Deepak Narasimhamurthy emphasized the need to delve deeper into the intricacies of AI algorithms for effective digital transformation, moving beyond surface-level applications. Akash Kedia discussed the foundational pillars necessary for digital transformation in sectors such as pharma and consumer goods: strategy, process, organization, and governance. Adding to this, Rohit from PWC illustrated the shift in the Indian market's approach to digital technologies, citing the successful implementation of the o9 platform at Berger Paints as a transition from simple technology adoption to comprehensive digital strategies.

#10: The o9 platform revolutionizes SCM with continuous improvement and better, faster decision-making

Swati Pathade, Sampath Raghav, and Girish Pastula from o9 Solutions provided an overview of the latest Demand Planning advancements in the 2023 platform release. This session was more than just a showcase of new features; it was a demonstration of how strategic innovation can reshape supply chain management. Swati Pathade introduced the concept of 'Building Blocks'—atomic units in the o9 system with distinct value propositions, leading to marked improvements in customer accuracy.

The 'Analysis Cockpit' for risk and opportunity assessment was another highlight, enhanced with a practical video demonstration. The 'Forecasting Flywheel,' outlined in four steps – Run, Analyze, Improve, Migrate – captured the essence of dynamic and continuous improvement in business processes. Sampath Raghav delved into the evolving characteristics and capabilities of the supply chain model within o9, emphasizing attribute-based data management for flexible system modeling, continuous planning for nuanced changes, and seamless planning decision handoffs.

Closing Remarks

The momentum of aim10x live's journey, which achieved notable success in Bangalore 2023, is soaring as it heads towards its next global idea-exchange event in Sao Paulo on November 28th, 2023. This event, the climax of the year's activities, paves the way for an even more vibrant 2024, with expansions to Munich and Chicago. These new locations are set to further catalyze collaborations and growth in the industry.

In 2023, o9 Solutions experienced remarkable growth, welcoming 40 new clients, making significant strides in India with new client acquisitions, and achieving a stellar 50% rise in annual recurring revenue in the first half of the year. o9 is charting an impressive upward path and is poised to enhance its executive council by integrating new members from India and Latin America. The company remains committed to expanding its partner network, elevating client experiences, and driving continuous innovation.
The o9 community has been pivotal in reaching these significant milestones. Its support has been essential in bringing ambitious projects to life and advancing the evolution of planning and decision-making platforms. The excitement for the upcoming Sao Paulo event is tangible, symbolizing not just another conference but a leap towards the future of aim10x live and the transformation of the planning and decision-making landscape.

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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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