Circumstances changed faster than anyone could have imagined in 2020 and 2021. In 2022—with the frequency and pace of change now a given—the critical question for enterprises is: how will we respond?
The opening keynote speakers of aim10x global, o9 Solutions co-founders Sanjiv Sidhu and Chakri Gottemukkala sought to answer this question by discussing companies’ increasingly urgent need for better planning and decision-making processes and capabilities. Their shared assessment was that the maturity level of these processes and capabilities varies greatly across companies and industries.
They found that companies typically fall into three categories: those with established processes and technology capabilities, those with established processes and antiquated capabilities, and those with neither. Companies in the first category can detect issues and have a system automatically propose options. The second category must resort to “brute force,” using manual efforts to resolve issues in an ad-hoc manner. The third category is “caught napping” and struggles to solve issues caused by disruptions.
For Chakri, the key capability companies require is truly integrated business planning that can sense disruptions and match supply and demand in real-time. It’s a message the co-founders have been proclaiming for years. But as three prominent transformation trends converge, it appears the market is now following suit.
Supply chain, sustainability, and digital transformation
Global enterprises are now experiencing the convergence of three major topics: supply chain, sustainability, and digital transformation. Each session throughout day one of aim10x global 2022 demonstrated how these trends, in one form or another, are top of mind for executives across industries.
In his keynote titled, ‘The Case for Optimism on the Climate Crisis,’ former U.S. Vice President Al Gore spoke at length about the Sustainability Revolution and its implications on both a global and personal scale. Said Gore, “The Sustainability Revolution is now well underway–with the scale of the industrial revolution and the pace of the digital revolution—and it is already beginning to reshape the world, transforming our relationship to businesses, to the environment, and to each other.”
He also highlighted how improved planning and decision-making across the supply chain could help accelerate the Revolution. Explained Gore, “and because global supply chains are the major source of environmental impact, we believe matching demand and supply intelligently and driving greater alignment and collaboration across the integrated supply chain will be key not just for improving P&Ls, but also the health of the planet.”
The ensuing keynote sessions further echoed the importance of combined transformation initiatives as executives from AB InBev, Walmart Canada, and Starbucks spoke about the role that transformation is playing in reshaping how they serve their customers.
David Almeida, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at AB InBev, spoke about the importance of building a digital ecosystem for consumer products, saying, “It’s not about becoming digital for the sake of becoming digital. It’s all about upgrading our business.” He elaborated on how the company uses advanced analytics to learn more about its customers and how they interact with its products and services. With a deeper understanding of what its customers want, the company can tailor offerings to specific markets, whether Brazil, India, or elsewhere.
Lillo Puma, Vice President of Supply Chain and Central Services at Walmart Canada, spoke about the need to remain resilient amidst turbulent times while still driving cost reductions throughout the business. He explored how to remain “open to any and all ways to help a customer get what they want” while adding that “technology is key to ensuring your teams are equipped to make all the difference.” Each of the examples he gave during his presentation showed how digital and supply chain capabilities are intertwined, especially with a strategy of “competing with technology and winning with people.”
Starbucks brought the convergence of all three trends to the forefront as its Vice President of Engineering and Quality, Jayabindu Singh, highlighted its three core pillars: people, planet, and profit. Said Jayabindu, “Similar to any other decision, digital transformation and automation must be delivering value so that we are actually enhancing our customer and partner experience and supporting our mission to nurture our communities.” The scale of their investment is extensive as their planning platform now manages 16,000 orders daily across nearly 1 million line items. For each line item, Starbucks runs 1,500 simulations to get to the best order quantity, leading to over 1.5 billion calculations every four hours. Sage Nord, Vice President of Supply Chain at Starbucks, added that by implementing automated ordering, the company is “looking to build a foundational capability within our supply chain that allows us to continue to drive profit through reducing waste and leverage that as a key foundational capability across other supply chain initiatives.”
Also, on day one, leaders in the retail, discrete manufacturing, and consumer products industries took the virtual stage during the industry panel sessions. Panelists across industries were like-minded in describing data and analytics as foundational capabilities for serving customers.
- The discrete manufacturing session featured executives from ECI, Pirelli, Schaeffler, and Vestas discussing how advanced planning capabilities enhanced by AI/ML technology are helping them improve their B2B planning and decision-making.
- The consumer products panel, with leaders from GSK Consumer Healthcare, Nestlé, and PepsiCo, talked about how next-generation integrated business planning capabilities are helping executives align strategy with execution.
- The retail panel included leaders from Guitar Center, Lands End, and FGL Sports discussing how they use data and analytics to manage supply and demand across evolving channels with rapidly-changing assortments and delivery mechanisms.
New ways of measuring and managing success
With the convergence of these three transformation trends comes new ways of working and new definitions of success. Business leaders are now acutely aware that the success of a transformation initiative means changing how businesses run to positively impact both the P&L and the planet.
The revenue growth management panel discussed how the expectations for business success have been elevated. The lively discussion with leaders from Mars Petcare, Kraft Heinz, AB InBev, and Reckitt Benckiser explored how to best meet these expectations, with Aysylu Basirova of RB articulating the need to identify critical success factors. Said Aysylu, “It is critical for revenue managers to truly understand the business, and to try to understand the markets and the full scope of the manufacturing impact, and then communicate that externally.”
Sustainability was also part of the conversation as the panel examined how prioritizing sustainability agendas makes measuring supply chain success more complicated. The sustainability panel brought this complexity to light by focusing the conversation on how to leverage sustainability data in evaluating supply chain performance. In response to fellow panelist Mikel Gutierrez of Siemens Gamesa, Sheri Hinish of IBM said, “50% of CXOs are recalibrating how they measure and report performance. That gets back to that opening question. What is the future operating model of a sustainable supply chain? How do we measure impact? How do we look at things like plastic tax, carbon, border adjustment tax, extended producer responsibility, and how that shows up in an environment?”
The day closed with a thread that ran throughout the sessions. Gartner Research Vice President Christian Titze described what chief supply chain officers are looking for. “They look for driving revenue and profit growth,” said Christian. “They look to drive the digital supply chain transformation. Not only optimizing but also transforming through the utilization of advanced technologies, and driving business process improvements.” Ultimately, he said, “digitalization explores new technologies being bundled and augmented together to finally create a resilient foundation to deliver the transformational outcomes.”
That was just day one of aim10x global 2022!
With so many great insights from day one of aim10x global 2022, it’s hard to anticipate what day two will bring. We will find out soon enough, as we have another fantastic lineup of speakers sharing their insights from the forefront of innovation in planning and decision-making.
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