Well, that’s a wrap. Kinexions ’15 is in the books. And what a whirlwind it’s been. The sessions were inspirational, informative, and insightful. With a strong focus on innovation, digital technology enablement, and collaboration, the future of supply chain looks to be a bright one.
With so many exceptional speakers, I left feeling motivated and encouraged. For those who were unable to attend, you missed something extraordinary, but here are my top seven quotes from the conference to give you at least a glimpse into what transpired. And for those who were able to attend, I hope you got as much out of the conference as I did.
- “Innovation is your only friend.” – Jeff DeGraff
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the conference was the rousing keynote presentation by Jeff DeGraff, known as the ‘Dean of Innovation.’ His session, Connecting the Dots of Innovation, focused on what companies need to do in order to innovate, and how to navigate the challenges that will inevitably appear along the way. From silos to egos to conflicting personalities. He explained how failure can lead to success, how diversity breeds ideas, and why apathy is the death of innovation.
- “As humans, it’s natural to work in silos. But it’s time to turn that on its head.” – Andy Walker
In his session on Concurrent Planning, Andy Walker, Head of Supply Chain Strategy, Design and Delivery EMEA for Merck, talked a lot about silos, and why it’s time to shift paradigms and tear them down. He shared his thoughts on how starting with integrated business planning first can bring an organization together and collapse those silos through conversation and collaboration
- “Think about things differently to get more out of less for your supply chain.” – Stan Aronow
Stan Aronow, a VP in Gartner’s Supply Chain Research group, gave a talk on Supply Chain Leadership Trends. He said it’s time to prepare for digital uncertainly, stating 86% of companies want to be digital within the next five years. Only 60% of them don’t know how to get there! He also shared his thoughts on supply chain innovation, citing three pillars required – purpose, process and people. His advice is to focus on a bimodal strategy in order to scale and innovate.
- “The linear supply chain is dead.” – Gary Hanifan
Is Your Supply Chain a Growth Engine? That’s the title of Gary Hanifan’s session and a question he asked of attendees. The Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, explained how the linear supply chain is dead, replaced with a new standard for supply chain management, which focuses on a digital supply network. Trendsetters in this space are concentrated on more than just mobility and the cloud, and Gary cautioned that many companies are really just using digital band aids instead of actually establishing a digital end-to-end strategy.
- “Everyone in supply chain says their supply chain is unique. And they’re right.” – Mike Hegedus
As the VP of Supply Chain Management for Trinity Rail, Mike Hegedus has an insider’s view on what it takes to enable a sense and respond supply chain. Joined on stage by colleague Mark Ramirez, Trinity Rail’s Chief Technology Officer, the pair explored how the key to any supply chain is the ability to deal with uncertainty and unpredictability – but it’s not as easy as just pushing a button. It requires cohesion among people, processes, and technology, with a heavy dose of data visibility thrown in. They explained how transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about establishing a framework for consistent results while increasing productivity and allowing people to adopt new business practices. People need to become focused on the business strategy in order for any shift to be successful.
- “This is not about optimizing the supply chain.” – Francois Martin-Festa
Schneider Electric’s VP of Global Supply Chain Planning, Francois Martin-Festa, spoke extensively about end-to-end supply chain strategy and how for his company, the journey wasn’t just about optimization. While that was certainly part of the result, what their journey enabled was a deeper collaborative planning process and enhanced cooperation with key customers and suppliers. They asked people to change the way they talk to customers – going beyond just supply chain to how to work together as partners to grow the business.
- “The world is always changing.” – Naomi Carter
NCR’s Director of Supply Chain Excellence, Naomi Carter said in her session, the world is always changing. Now we have to start thinking about how we’re going to keep up with it. Risk in supply chain is a certainly. It’s how we manage it that’s often uncertain. Naomi said the focus needs to be on flexibility and scenario planning in order to successfully navigate these ever-changing waters.