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SummerCon 2017 Trip Report

By Manda Schweitzer-Miller  June 28, 2017

LLamasoft was thrilled to welcome nearly 500 customers and partners (not to mention 150+ LLamas!) to Detroit for our seventh annual SummerCon user conference June 12-16. There was a wealth of great content and learnings over the week-long event. Here are just a few highlights.


In his kick-off address LLamasoft CEO and President Don Hicks encouraged attendees to “think hard” – outside the parameters of the status quo today. He also emphasized the need for a global approach for success. As more and more of our customers take a global approach to managing their supply chain operations, LLamasoft also becomes increasingly global and relies upon that global talent pool to offer the best possible products and services to our customers.

Hicks delivers his keynote address.

Continuing on the global theme, Senior Vice President of Global Logistics for General Motors, Edgard Pezzo discussed organizational realignment for General Motor’s operations globally. More commonly efficient processes, metrics that incorporate a global view and worldwide best practices are enabling the General Motors team to be much more collaborative and thinking across the organization instead of within their own operational silos.

Pezzo shares insight on GM’s global network.

Keynotes from the former president of Mexico Vincente Fox and from professor and author Phillip Tetlock provoked thought and discussion. And addresses from former world champion of card magic Helder Guimarães and Grammy and Emmy-winning musician Arturo Sandoval inspired and entertained.

Fox addresses the SummerCon crowd.

Great Customer Content


The team from retailer Cabela’s offered a session on network and backhaul transportation optimization to a standing-room only crowd. While in the past Cabela’s relied upon an extensive 3PL network to manage their logistics, there has been a steadily growing internal practice to manage this aspect of the business. As the number of retail locations continues to climb across the country, the desire to better manage their transportation network and backhaul strategy became necessary. By leveraging transportation optimization technology with LLamasoft, Cabela’s was able to address these backhaul challenges to save upwards of 25 percent on their domestic inbound shipping costs.

Cabela’s presents to a full house.

Transportation Optimization Panel

Supply chain leaders from Publix, Ryder and Peak 5 Solutions participated in a transportation optimization panel moderated by Adrian Gonzalez of Adelante SCM. The group discussed emerging trends in transportation including the need to rapidly respond to changes in the transportation environment, the need to create repeatable processes and the impacts on transportation strategies in the world of free shipping. They also discussed the benefits of investing the time to set automated and repeated workflows up-front to cut down on lead-time. The industry is moving so quickly that relying on project-based work that can take a few months is not agile enough to remain competitive.

The transportation optimization panelists get ready for their session.

Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson offered a session on the impact of leveraging supply chain modeling on their end-to-end supply chain and the power of advanced analytics. Striving for an end-to-end view and management of the network, brings with it cross-functional teams and the marriage of both teams needs and goals. To do so most effectively, Johnson and Johnson introduced a process they referred to as “Rhythm Wheel Optimization” to both simultaneous and iteratively review these tradeoffs and operate toward the best possible outcome for the organization at-large. With the use of advanced analytics, workflows and automations with Data Guru and a group of data scientists, the Johnson and Johnson team has reviewed 4 million+ variables and plans to use this process for the foreseeable future.

Johnson and Johnson discusses their end-to-end network strategy.

A Look Ahead at LLamasoft

SummerCon is the perfect time to take a look ahead at the LLamasoft product roadmap and show a first-look at the emerging technology with our customer base. Customers had numerous opportunities to interact with the new Supply Chain Guru, version X, including in a lab setting lead by LLamasoft experts. Our new Friday workshops gave attendees the opportunity to dive deeper into a topic with a hands-on half-day session on topics from UAVs in supply chain, maturity assessment, better troubleshooting and more. There were also sneak peeks at the forthcoming Planning by Design and Demand Guru technologies set for launch later this year. Want to stay up-to-date on the latest developments on these emerging solutions?

  • Click here to receive the latest information on Planning by Design
  • Click here to receive the latest information on Demand Guru

A crowd gathers at the Planning by Design Discovery Station.

Networking and Lots of Fun!

SummerCon has become a wonderful opportunity to bring together our community of supply chain leaders to not only learn, but to network and get to know one another.  We kicked it off with our second annual LLama Run, this time along the beautiful Detroit waterfront. Our expo hall mixer was another great success thanks in part to our generous sponsors Miebach, CHAINalytics, Spinnaker, SMC3, Veraction and FLEXE.

Pounding the pavement on the second annual LLama Run.

And no SummerCon is complete without a big party as a sign of appreciation to our amazing customers! The night kicked off with a performance from Grammy and Emmy-winning musician Arturo Sandoval and Don Hicks also jumped in on the fun for a jam session that got everyone out of their seats.

Sandoval and Hicks take the stage at the Fillmore Theater.

And no trip to Motown would be complete without some of the sounds the city is famous for. Local favorite Serieux played the classics to close out the night.

Serieux got the crowd dancing.

Thank you again to all who attended for making this SummerCon the best yet. We cannot wait to welcome you all to Atlanta June 11-15, 2018! Stay tuned for the opening of registration this fall!