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Trip Report – European Supply Chain Directors Forum

By Michelle Newton  March 9, 2016

I recently attended The European Supply Chain Directors Forum in Prague, an invitation-only event that connects senior-level supply chain professionals from throughout Europe to discuss emerging industry trends and issues. The event brings together a number of members from the manucoreCONNECT community for two days of debate, interaction, networking and thought leadership. The focus of this year’s conference was Transformation, Culture and Collaboration. Here are a few key takeaways from this year’s gathering.

The Importance of Customer Success

We started day 1 with a number of thought leadership presentations from supply chain leaders from Unilever, Tesla and Diageo. Ivanka Jannsen, Managing Director of Global Supply Chain for Diageo presented a session that really stood out and she established a key theme that continued to be discussed throughout both days: the importance of customer success.

“Diageo is on a journey to be coming truly customer driven,” said Jannsen. Her presentation centered on how supply chain is the most important factor in ensuring the success in the customer journey. A subject that is close to our heart at LLamasoft – it got me thinking about how our software is enabling that journey for our customers around the world.

The Importance of the Right Processes, Goals and Tools

After a networking coffee break, Corinne Federer, Vice President of Global Supply Planning for Adidas, educated the group on how the adidas RESPOND (Real-time, Supply, Planning, Optimized, Network, Deployment) program was creating a new competitive edge, by enabling adidas procurement to make better decisions through integrated planning and purchasing. She felt that the key to the program’s success was and still is wider company engagement, in order to facilitate that the supply chain team had to make the outcomes easily digestible and more accessible by removing some of the unnecessary complexity and jargon.

This lead nicely in to a presentation from LLamasoft’s Senior Director of Supply Chain Visibility Kevin Boake.  Boake’s presentation, “Revolutionising Supply Chain Management with Big Data” discussed how big data is changing the face of the supply chain industry, enabling professionals to gain greater insight into their network and make more strategic decisions. A few key themes came out of Boake’s presentation that resonated with the audience and provoked further discussion in the networking breaks:

  • It’s not the data in itself that brings the value; it is how to collect, store, analyse and translate it into actions for supply chain effectiveness.
  • How many KPI’s lead to no action? 90% of supply chain metrics do not lead to an actionable outcome! (It was like a light bulb had been flicked on – the amount of people that came up to us and reinforced that fact was staggering!)
Boake's session was well attended and led to many follow-up conversations.

Boake’s session was well attended and led to many follow-up conversations.

After lunch we heard from Per Ottosson, Director Global Logistics and S&OP, at Volvo Bus Corporation. He talked about how the S&OP function at Volvo Bus Corporation works together with operations and logistics in order to ensure delivery capability and customer satisfaction. A fine example of how collaboration between teams can lead to customer satisfaction.

The Importance of Employee Success

An evening networking dinner provided an excellent opportunity to highlight all the women in supply chain leadership roles at this year’s event. A large portion of delegates, this provided a nice opportunity to reflect on the changing culture of the industry and a look ahead to where it’s going.

Women in Supply Chain

A quick photo of the women in supply chain leadership gathered at the event.

Day 2 saw more case study presentations and round table discussions – it was a fantastic atmosphere and organizations were genuinely prepared to share their learnings with the group.

I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Courtenay McHugh, Director, Supply Chain Development and Commercialisation at Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and is not slowing any time soon. Courtenay presented on how the culture of an organization really does influence how well a business is doing. She described a journey that their leadership had been on, focusing on how to treat your employees and how this translates into how they treat your customers, a relatively simple approach but left everyone in the room inspired to take this approach home with them.

Overall a great event, we were able to engage with many supply chain professionals, share experiences and create new connections.

To learn when LLamasoft will be at an event near you, visit our supply chain events page.