Innovations that drive business decisions forward

wt2016

At Quintiq World Tour Philadelphia 2016, attendees were encouraged to think about the past, present and future of their businesses from a fresh perspective as they gained insights into the latest analytics and optimization technology.

The event’s morning sessions took attendees on a journey towards rethinking what optimal performance meant for their organizations. Main stage speakers, Dr. Victor Allis of Quintiq and Noha Tohamy of Gartner discussed the revolution in big data, elaborating on how companies can begin to leverage the enormous amount of business intelligence now available in order to make critical decisions for their operations and supply chain. Ms. Tohamy further echoed this sentiment when she discussed how algorithms could improve business decisions and operations.

Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple, talked about the ways in which companies could think about new methods of driving innovation. He shared stories that illustrated how organizations are able to jump to the next curve in their thinking to create products and services that drive continuous growth.

Covering wide ground on manufacturing

The event featured breakout sessions with three different tracks that catered to specific industries and operations challenges. At the manufacturing track, the speakers covered various topics on production optimization, from constraint-based planning to analytic adoption to an insightful firsthand account of Quintiq’s business operations-supporting capability.

Nigel Batchem, Senior Director of Planning at Amy’s Kitchen, a family-owned company that aims to serve food with the best quality ingredients, detailed the company’s supply chain planning puzzle and how its journey with Quintiq became a success. He explained how Quintiq has brought clarity in managing their supply chain, supporting their key values on business operations in planning for labor scheduling, sales forecasts, inventory targets and production planning.

Noha Tohamy, a supply chain analyst and guest speaker from Gartner, touched on the four pillars for successful analytic adoption: data, use cases, talent & organization and types & technology, providing an in-depth scope of the analytic process through each pillar. She also advised companies to invest in a solid data foundation, acquire analytic skillsets that correspond with analytic maturity and master basic analytics as a prerequisite for further adoption.

Hank Ackerman of Venetia Partners, focused on the concept of how real outcomes matter, and how they create the “new optimum.” Venetia specializes in integrating business operations, strengthening and operationalizing supply chains as well as unlocking value from the global value chain. Stemming from this background, Hank suggested that optimizing a company’s system through constraints involves understanding the margins of those constraints and analyzing what set of products yield the most return given available constraint times.

Making logistics operations more versatile

Versatility, particularly in regards to optimization of multimodal routes and last mile deliveries, was a recurring theme at the logistics track. A pair of Quintiq customers was even on hand to describe in detail how using Quintiq had granted them this versatility and how it could do the same for other businesses.

John Hurst and Ajay Bhesaniya, representing Quintiq customer Fairmount Santrol, described the successes and challenges during their implementation of Macro Planner and Scheduler, and how they learned to leverage their system to ensure the maximum return on their investment. John and Ajay provided an in-depth look at how Quintiq works for them and how other customers may use the software to benefit their needs in the long run.

Robert Oliver, from Quintiq’s Logistics group in North America, discussed the versatility of Logistics Planner, and how it provided advanced optimization for cost savings in multimodal, multi-leg and multi-hub trip generation of routes. Robert explained how Logistics Planner assigns multiple resources to routes to support trailer swapping or multi-manning, for example, for efficient resource usage. He excited the audience with a demonstration of Quintiq’s versatility for a wide range of logistics puzzles.

Marcus Anderson from Quintiq then thoroughly detailed the Quintiq solution for last mile and same day delivery. He shared how a retailer could offer better pricing or other incentives to help shape the delivery demand into an efficient route. In turn, it also provides the customer with better options as well as tighter delivery windows for their deliveries. With day of execution planning right from a driver’s mobile application, retailers can optimize routes to be as cost efficient as possible in real time.

Better workforce utilization through improved scheduling

How can optimization technology help organizations better utilize their employees, from improving long-term scheduling processes to resolving issues on the day of operations? This was the topic explored by the speakers in the workforce track.

Glen Buchanan, from Quintiq customer FAA, elaborated on the lessons learned from the implementation of their air traffic controller scheduling system, and how these are being put to use in the development of a new system designed to schedule the maintenance crews responsible for inspecting and repairing technical equipment such as radars.

Dr. Edwin Lohmann, Business Unit Director for Quintiq’s Workforce group in North America, detailed the challenges businesses face when it comes to managing their employees on the day of operations. He explained that pitfalls can be avoided by keeping long-term planners on the same page as their day of operations teams, better estimating task durations and communicating on a “need to know” basis when it comes to assigning new tasks to employees.

Sara Gifford, Quintiq’s Chief Solutions Officer, explained the growth that Quintiq’s Products team has recently undergone, including a move towards using more real-world customer implementation knowledge in the development of industry solutions. She explained how improvements in Quintiq’s core product, such as an increase in new capabilities like predictive analytics and task assignment optimization are moving into products like Public Transport Planner (PTP) and Workforce Planner (WP). Sara also detailed how these products are becoming more integrated, with improvements in WP making their way into crew management functions for PTP.

Quintiq World Tour Philadelphia has grown to become a flagship event for supply chain professionals in North America. Planning is already underway for World Tour 2017, which promises to offer the same great presentations, case studies and networking as before.

Pay attention to the Quintiq website over the next few months for more details.

Did you attend Quintiq World Tour Philadelphia? Let me know what you thought!

This was previously published on LinkedIn.