With a full house for the event in London last month, it was clear that there was a hunger to meet, talk, and find pragmatic Supply Chain solutions as a way forward. There is mass recognition that businesses, particularly Supply Chains, cannot continue at the level of freneticism and change that have been in place for the last 20+ months.
Strong indicators are there for planning teams wanting to get away from the spreadsheet madness they have found themselves in and to take better, more reliable planned approaches in the months ahead.
With these initial impressions in mind, here are some of our key takeaways from the focus areas on the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo™:
Many conversations started on the issue of disparate and isolated decisions being made, typically in spreadsheets, to ensure responsiveness and underwrite local objectives. The ability to plan profitably with a feasible plan has become more complex, with inventory levels rising because of uncertainty and variability. The need to plan at speed more holistically is a key desire for many Supply Chain executives as they look to remain competitive in a challenging environment.
The desire to have a unified capability that facilities better, faster, and more considered planning scenarios is key to bringing commercial Supply Chain planning decisions front and center.
At the core of several discussions is the alignment of IT priorities to sense and shape planning capabilities. These enable responsive customer-centric decisions and facilitate adaptive planning in approach and design.
For those looking to transform Supply Chains and, consequently, go-to-market propositions, adaptive alternatives are being explored. These consider risk and visibility into future planning to build greater confidence in a more resilient future.
There is an acceptance that the drive to shorter-term objectives is masking longer-term benefits and opportunities. Future planning must consider data at speed to ensure a more rounded and considered plan. Hence, speed to data, speed to decision, and the ability to identify exceptions and highlight resolution at speed are necessary for the future planner’s portfolio.
Improving the planner’s peripheral vision to enable faster, more considered alternatives is shifting to a new norm as data grows richer and granularity increases. Placing power in the planner’s portfolio to consider new and fresh dimensions by drilling down and through develops greater confidence and more stable planning environments.
The cost of constant churn and a lack of proactive management of Supply Chain talent was acknowledged (often alongside personal development plans to embrace new technology, new thinking, and fresh approaches). The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence is seen more as a development and training opportunity rather than a threat to roles and responsibilities.
Supply Chain planners who are both data architects and Supply Chain practitioners are hot assets to develop and equip.
Everyone is looking to embrace environmental dimensions. The juggernaut of global warming is driving executives to consider sustainable dimensions in all they do.
The ability to intelligently align plans, monitor potential points of failure and measure success to ensure corporations are on track to achieve bold goals that achieve zero waste or zero emissions by 2035. Fresh approaches with broader measures and smarter, more unified decisions are fueled by this time-sensitive objective.
The future is bright, and people are adopting bold approaches that connect these significant new challenges to achieve bolder goals. At the helm, Supply Chain executives are looking to plan smarter and with a wider perspective across all they do.
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