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The Takeaways from aim10x Munich 2024

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Published: Reading time: 14 min
Alberto Fabregat Vice President Supply & Industrial Manufacturing, o9
Alberto FabregatVice President Supply & Industrial Manufacturing, o9
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Kraft Heinz

Garrett Motion

Canyon Bicycles

Marelli

McKinsey & Company

Panel: Accelerating Decision-Making in FMCG

TB International

Panel: The Impact of Women's Leadership in Supply Chain

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In Western Europe's industrial heartland, over 100 Supply Chain and IT senior leaders gathered in Munich at the iconic BMW Double Cone to challenge the status quo of enterprise planning and decision-making. The event, which was sponsored by McKinsey, aioneers, Microsoft, Genpact, and valantic featured speakers from Kraft Heinz, Garrett Motion, Canyon Bicycles, McKinsey, Adidas, Deutsche Telekom, Marks & Spencer, TB International, aioneers, Philip Morris International, Nestlé, Microsoft, Genpact, and o9. Each speaker detailed how their organization is leveraging new technology and ways of working to address the challenges facing their global supply chains.

1. How Kraft Heinz’s Demand Forecast Accuracy Has Reached an All-Time High

"We are getting over 70% forecast accuracy, reducing excess inventory by 25%, improving fill rate by 7%, and increasing planners' satisfaction while covering 20 sales organizations."

Marcelo luki
Marcelo Iuki, Head of Customer Excellence and Demand Planning, Kraft Heinz

To kick off the event, Marcelo Iuki, Kraft Heinz’s Head of Customer Excellence and Demand Planning, took the stage to share the story behind the food-and-beverage company's outsized success in demand forecasting—results it began achieving despite starting its transformation journey during COVID-19 amidst acute demand volatility.

“We achieved all-time high results in a very volatile environment,” Macelo announced. “We are getting over 70% forecast accuracy, reducing excess inventory by 25%, improving fill rate by 7%, and increasing planners' satisfaction while covering 20 sales organizations. Everybody sees the deliverables, and we are expanding to the rest of the globe, introducing new capabilities.”

Kraft Heinz's planning transformation journey began in North America and Canada—two markets that account for nearly 80% of its sales—and has since accelerated across EMEA and other regions, achieving go-live status in less than seven months. According to Marcelo, "touchless forecasting” has been central to improving its core supply chain KPI. He explained that touchless forecasting aims to generate more accurate demand forecasts with minimal human intervention by tracking when and why planners manually adjust forecasts. Integrating more data sources and automating common adjustment rules makes the system smarter and reduces the need for manual tweaks.

Apart from technology, Marcelo explained that its data science team’s healthy obsession with competing with consensus forecast accuracy, trust in the technology, and commitment to breaking down planning silos have all been fundamental to driving improvements.

“You don’t change a company just with the system,” he stated. “We created a dedicated data science team, are obsessed with adding value and trusting the technology, and we broke the silos through extensive collaboration on the platform.”

2. Garrett Motion's Digital Supply Chain Transformation

"We went live with Demand Planning globally in one go. The massive go-live was a success because of the o9 platform’s flexibility, which allowed us to change the UI within seven days and ensure a smooth transition."

Ettiene de vries copy compressed
Ettiene de Vries, Senior Director Global Supply Chain Operations Excellence, Strategy & IBP, Garrett Motion

Since COVID, the automotive industry has been anything but stable.

Such volatility has prompted automotive technology companies like Garrett Motion to invest in the digital planning and decision-making capabilities required to be more proactive and agile in anticipating and responding to risks and opportunities.

Garrett Motion’s Senior Director of Global Supply Chain Operations Excellence, Strategy, and IBP, Ettiene de Vries, spoke next, sharing insights on the leading automotive technology provider’s end-to-end planning transformation journey, which started with Demand Planning and includes plans for other next-gen capabilities, such as Integrated Business Planning, Supply Master Planning, Control Tower, Inventory Optimization, and Production Scheduling.

Ettiene began by stating the goal of the transformation, highlighting why they chose o9 as a strategic partner. "Our goal was to digitize, simplify, and automate the supply chain processes to become faster, more proactive, and agile,” he explained. “o9’s vision aligned with our problem statement, and we believe o9 is the best partner for our journey in terms of culture, tools, and future vision."

Three business releases have gone live so far, with two more coming soon. According to Ettiene, a key factor for implementation success was the flexibility to resolve and update the o9 platform post-go-live, as some user interfaces required revisions and data cleansing. He also attributed their success to treating the transformation blueprint as a “living document” rather than a rigid set of rules. As the initiative progressed and new information became available, the team could update the blueprint accordingly.

This flexibility allowed the company’s Demand Planning capability to go live simultaneously in each major market. "We went live with Demand Planning globally in one go. The massive go-live was a success because of the o9 platform’s flexibility, which allowed us to change the UI within seven days and ensure a smooth transition," he said.

Apart from the technology’s flexibility, he also shared several principles that Garrett Motion’s attributes its transformation success to:

  • Start with the Basics: One crucial lesson learned was the importance of building a solid foundation before diving into complex processes. Ensuring that fundamental elements like process standardization and KPI definitions are in place can prevent future complications and facilitate smoother implementation.
  • Involve Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Involving SMEs from the beginning can significantly enhance the quality and relevance of the transformation efforts. These experts bring in-depth knowledge and practical insights that can guide the project towards more realistic and achievable goals.
  • Prioritize Quick Value Realization: Focusing on achieving quick wins early in the transformation process can build momentum and stakeholder support. Demonstrating tangible benefits rapidly makes maintaining enthusiasm and commitment to the project easier. Ettiene emphasized, "Get to value as quickly as possible and make this a focus of your sequencing."
  • Manage Master Data Diligently: Accurate and well-maintained master data is the backbone of any successful digital transformation. Poor data quality can derail even the best-laid plans. Garrett Motion learned the importance of diligent data management to ensure the reliability and accuracy of their systems. This involves regular data cleansing and validation to keep the information up-to-date and error-free.

He concluded his presentation by detailing the tangible business value the company has realized since the transformation, sharing that total inventory, FTE productivity, premium freight reduction, IT landscape savings, and customer delivery levels have improved significantly.

3. Digitally Transforming Supply Chain Operations: Canyon Bicycles' Strategic Journey

"Our data is a competitive advantage—we need to use it"

Alison jones copy compressed
Alison Jones, Chief Operating Officer, Canyon Bicycles

Canyon Bicycles, the largest direct-to-consumer bike manufacturer and assembler globally, aims to double revenue by 2026 and expand into the US and China. However, with increased growth comes increased complexity, requiring a shift in mentality and investment in technology.

"Our mentality must change from being a €100m company to that of a €2bn company," said Alison Jones, Canyon Bicycles’ Chief Operating Officer. “Competition is picking up, and we need to step up.”

In response, Canyon Bicycles is transforming from a traditional operating model to an end-to-end integrated supply chain framework on the o9 platform. The COO explained that a major goal of the transformation is bridging the disconnect between consumer insights and upstream suppliers with long lead times. "We have great analytics to assess our sales,” she said. “However, this has not been reflected in the supply chain so far. Transferring the sales information to our partners is very important."

By leveraging these “deep consumer insights” as a “competitive advantage” and quickly funneling them upstream to suppliers, Canyon Bicycles will break down the silos of Sales and Supply and be able to respond much faster to changes in demand. Central to this strategy, she emphasized, will be aligning these functions on a common understanding of integrated planning processes.

Regarding Canyon Bicycles’ implementation approach, she explained that it follows a "Crawl, Walk, Bike" approach, focusing on building a solid demand and supply planning foundation while enhancing digital knowledge models.

4. Leveraging Digital Transformation and Collaboration for Business Growth

"The benefit of [SIOP] is having one single view of customer demand based on the best knowledge we have across all divisions."

Carlo chiarle
Carlo Chiarle, VP, Global Head of Manufacturing Operations & SIOP, Marelli

As the automotive market shifts toward electrification, Tier-1 automotive suppliers such as Marelli have invested in digital capabilities that allow them to balance the demand for electronics with long supply lead times.

Carlo Chiarle, Marelli’s Global Head of Manufacturing Operations & SIOP, shared that, historically, Marelli had a “siloed culture” where each division used its own legacy planning tools like Excel. But the auto supplier wanted to build a new culture, which required a unified and technology-enabled Sales, Inventory, and Operations Planning process (which Marelli calls SIOP+) that supports all cross-functional stakeholders and feeds them with demand insights. "The benefit is having one single view of customer demand based on the best knowledge we have across all divisions," said Carlo.

He explained that the company had already achieved a 5% inventory reduction and expects it to reach 10%. Achieving these results required the team to adhere to several key principles to manage the transformation’s complexity.

  • Break Down Complexity: It was essential to break down the transformation into digestible pieces to deliver value quickly. Said Carlo, "Instead of saying, 'If you do X, Y, and Z, you will get these benefits in two years,' say, 'If you do X, you can do this in three months.'
  • Hold Weekly Leadership Meetings: These meetings involved all division leaders, who shared the vision on demand, inventory, and excess inventory management. They also discussed strategies for reducing air freight and managing the end-of-production phases.
  • Secure Executive Engagement: Engaging the group CEO was critical. "The CEO was aware of the power of SIOP and knew the lessons learned and success factors, especially cultural change and full adoption," Carlo noted.
  • Launch Pilot Projects: Pilots generated excitement among business unit presidents and plant managers. "To create executive traction for this transformation, a pilot was critical to get the presidents of the different divisions excited about the future possibilities."

5. Decoding Success: Insider Strategies from Industry Leaders on Advanced Planning Systems

"Technology is key, but it’s not a silver bullet. Technology can only bring value when combined with change."

Julian fischer
Julian Fisher, Partner, McKinsey & Company

In a time marked by disruption and volatility, the push for digital transformation has never been more critical. This was the core message from Julian Fisher and Annouck Driesen, partner and junior partner at McKinsey & Company, whose presentation explored what differentiates the most successful digitization initiatives from the rest.

According to McKinsey’s research, if executed correctly, companies can achieve remarkable returns on their APS investments. The average return is double the investment, with top performers achieving returns exceeding eleven times their initial outlay. According to Julian, such outsized returns are contingent upon improving business-led KPI as a guide, including service levels, inventories, labor productivity, and logistic costs, and following a set of core principles.

Drawing on insights from over 100 companies that have undergone APS digital transformations, Julian and Annouck shared several key findings:

  • Process Maturity Pays Off: “Investments in process maturity yield significant benefits.”
  • Speed Enhances Success: “Best-in-class APS implementations are cloud-based, following agile implementations. The odds of adoption success increase with the speed in demonstrating tangible effects.”
  • Effective Change Management: “Technology is key, but it’s not a silver bullet. Technology can only bring value when combined with change.” 
  • Distinctive Capabilities Set Leaders Apart: “APS top performers excel in putting in place distinctive capabilities via the new APS platform. But to get it right, it cannot be only an IT transformation; the business has to be involved and in the driving seat. The sequence and the structure have to be right.”

6. Accelerating Decision-Making in the FMCG Sector: Insights and Strategies

"Imagine trying to drive a car with three people. One is steering. One is handing the brakes. And another is accelerating. It’s impossible to drive it correctly. That’s what’s happening with many companies’ decision-making."

Vineet khanna
Vineet Khanna, VP and former Global Head of Supply Chain, Nestlé

Four supply chain leaders spoke next to share their insights on the importance of better, faster decision-making in the FMCG industry. The panel featured Vineet Khanna, VP and former Global Head of Supply Chain at Nestlé, Rafael Herrera, Director of Supply Chain at Philip Morris International, and Antonio Lopez, VP of Supply Chain Planning at Genpact.

Vineet started the discussion by emphasizing the pervasive issue of fragmented organizational decision-making in the FMCG industry. “Imagine trying to drive a car with three people. One is steering. One is handing the brakes. And another is accelerating. It’s impossible to drive it correctly. That’s what’s happening with many companies’ decision-making.”

“We need an end-to-end view and process that connects these silos,” he advocated. The panelists agreed that an Integrated Business Planning capability (IBP) is critical to breaking down these silos and aligning cross-functional teams more quickly on the best decision for the business.

Rafael brought this concept to life, sharing details from Philip Morris International’s journey to shift from selling cigarettes to focusing on smoke-free products, comparing the transformation to “McDonald’s stopping selling hamburgers.” According to him, a change of this magnitude has required PMI to change its planning culture from siloed to collaborative, its supply chain function to learn the “language of business,” and shift from short- to long-term planning with IBP.

But in order to make better, faster decisions with IBP, he explained that simplicity is key to decision-making agility. “In IBP, simplicity is agility. I like GEMO: Good Enough, Move On. GEMO becomes especially clear in scenario planning.”

7. How TB International Leverages Technology to Achieve the Full Potential of Its Agile Fashion Supply Chain

"Following a 'crawl, walk, bike' approach is a key success driver for a technology-enabled business transformation."

Anne molitor
Anne Molitor, Head of Supply Chain Management, TB International

In the fast-paced world of fashion, where agility and responsiveness are paramount, traditional business models need to be transformed.

"The traditional business model of fashion working on pre-orders no longer works," said Anne Molitor, Head of Supply Chain Management at TB International—a German-based fashion retailer. Historically, fashion brands relied on customers placing orders six months in advance. This approach is increasingly impractical as today’s B2B clients lack the financial flexibility to commit so far ahead. TBI’s response is a shift towards a never-out-of-stock (NOS) strategy, akin to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), ensuring product availability while reducing inventory.

TBI’s transition from a purely B2B model to a balanced B2B and B2C approach required a robust technological foundation that enabled it to be “data-driven.” According to Anne, the company’s investment in the o9 planning platform has been crucial for its growth despite being a significant challenge for a smaller enterprise.

However, the transformation was more than just adopting new technology; it was about building a cohesive team. "TB International, aioneers, and o9 grew into one team with a common goal: to deliver value," Anne reflected. Despite the geographical distance, the integration process was meticulous, involving extensive data cleaning, regular video calls, and collaborative problem-solving.

Anne noted that the transformation strategy was phased and deliberate. "Following a 'crawl, walk, bike' approach is a key success driver for a technology-enabled business transformation," she explained. The initial focus was mastering the basics and training the staff, ensuring they were comfortable with the new system before moving to more advanced functionalities.

Over the next six months, TBI aims to stabilize its new processes, fully adapt to the o9 platform, and continually refine its operations. The ultimate goal is to improve its ability to respond to market dynamics by integrating additional features such as price sensitivity analysis.

8. Breaking Barriers: The Impact of Women's Leadership in Supply Chain Transformations

"You’re an amazing leader not because of your gender but because you inspire others."

Lisa sergeant copy compress
Lisa Sergeant, Clothing & Home Programme Lead, Marks and Spencer

Women remain underrepresented in supply chain leadership roles.

However, female leaders are making significant strides, particularly in digital planning transformations. To conclude aim10x Munich, several seasoned supply chain leaders shared what they had learned from leading transformations as women.

Norah Olah, the Former VP of Supply Chain at Deutsche Telekom, began the discussion by emphasizing the importance of human-centric decision-making in leadership. "People look for leaders who make decisions in a human way," she said. She also advised women to take risks and step into roles even if they feel only 70% to 80% qualified. "The key attitude is to take the risk," she encouraged.

Lisa Sergeant, the Clothing & Home Programme Lead at Marks and Spencer, highlighted that leadership transcends gender. "You’re an amazing leader not because of your gender but because you inspire others," she remarked. In her experience, finding inspirational female figures in a male-dominated environment was challenging.

Nina Lund, EMEA Consumer Goods Practice Lead at Microsoft, brought a different perspective, focusing on the innovation mindset required for successful transformations. "The only way to have innovation is by having diversity within the team," she said, pointing out that women have decision-making power in only 10% of companies.

Oliva Zake-maqwazima, Senior Director of Sales Services at Adidas, concluded the panel by reminding everyone not to forget to have fun. "Transformations can get heavy, but bringing creativity and fun diffuses the energy and helps you get through the project," she said.

“It’s important to dream of and create something that will outlast your tenure at the company.”

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About the author

Alberto Fabregat Vice President Supply & Industrial Manufacturing, o9

Alberto Fabregat

Vice President Supply & Industrial Manufacturing, o9

Alberto is a fervent advocate for the power of planning and decision-making technology to create ripples of positive impact on both society and our planet. Currently Vice President for the Supply & Industrial Manufacturing vertical, he brings over a decade of experience in Digital Strategy and Integrated Business Planning, helping companies optimize their supply chains and embrace innovative technologies.

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