It’s 8am, the morning of June 12th, a few days after one of the most devastating storms hit the greater Düsseldorf and Rhine region. But the Quintiq team is upbeat, anticipating a storm of another kind.
Shortly, a wave of thought leaders and industry experts will be rolling in for the Quintiq World Tour at the Hyatt hotel in Düsseldorf. Registrants pick up their name tags and Rubik’s cubes. Soon, Robert Kümmerlen welcomes the crowd of about 100 planning professionals.
Today’s key message resonates well with our guests – smart planning leads to smart business, and we’re here to discuss how.
Big data, big calculations, big value
What are the critical factors we need to consider to start planning smarter? What is this “big data” that analysts have been talking about for the past couple of years?
Quintiq COO Arjen Heeres presents “Big calculations: the key to solving the efficiency puzzle”, prompting He guests to think about various industries and how big data, if processed with big calculations, can lead to big value.
Dr. Hans-Jörg Bullinger of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, one of Europe’s leading research and development institutes, introduces the idea of “IT as innovation driver of business excellence”.
He uses big data, 3D printing, cloud computing and industry 4.0 as examples of the surge in technological innovation over the past few decades; and to give the audience a glimpse of what the next few years has in store.
A networking break provides a much needed pause to the day’s events so far, and guests enjoy the chance to get to know one another better or catch up with familiar faces.
Some wander to the Quintiq demo booth. They investigate how some of the theory they just learned about can be put into practice, and get a look at and feel for Quintiq’s supply chain planning and optimization software.
Not long after, the breakout sessions begin.
In room one, the group split into teams and they are going head-to-head in an interactive production planning challenge. The representatives from KME talk about increasing efficiency and delivery performance through smarter production planning, especially for the copper industry.
In the next room, the team from Copenhagen Airports share their insights into the optimization processes that helped their organization to improve customer satisfaction. The Brussels Airport case study follows, demonstrating how to take into account various factors in airport operations when planning for optimal customer satisfaction.
— Janine Olariu (@JanineOlariu) June 12, 2014
Finally, in room three, the logistics optimization experts meet to hear from Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s Dr. van Bonn on the topic of smart planning through smart (not to mention big) data. Marcel Wouterse describes how Van den Bosch Transporten took on a supply chain challenge in the bulk logistics sector. He demonstrates how he used internal training and company culture, combined with optimal processes and technology to stay ahead of the game.
A Mercedes on the Autobahn of presentations
Our final keynote presenter of the day is Formula 1 expert Mark Gallagher.
Many of our experts today, whether they are from the aviation industry or even from the steel manufacturing sector, already have Mark Gallagher and his career highlights on their radar. Kümmerlen invites the Formula 1 pro and former management of executive of Jordan Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing and Cosworth, to the stage.
Gallagher relates optimized planning in motorsport to optimized planning in business – often, even performance improvements of just a few seconds can seem like a lifetime, and only by striving for the next level of optimization can we stay ahead in the race for success.
I enjoy some of the anecdotes from Gallagher’s career, and the many technological breakthroughs he has seen. These include moving from paper and pen planning, to spreadsheet planning, to ERP, and now optimization software such as Quintiq.
He also discusses how elements like the race car steering wheel have gone from regular wheel (how archaic!) to what looks like a “video game controller on drugs”.
The crowd has a good laugh, engages in some excellent question-and-answer rounds related to Gallagher’s time as a planning professional as well as a team leader. The session comes to an end to overwhelming applause.
But Gallagher assures us the day is not over just yet, and invites everyone to drinks and (a few more chuckles) at the bar.
Looking back, looking ahead
I sip on a cool beverage while looking over a now much calmer Rhine river, still thinking about the day’s many insights and lessons.
As Mark Gallagher said, “By putting the right technology in the hands of the best team of people, we create the opportunity to win as a business.”
Wise words, and much in tune with the way the Quintiq team sees technology’s place among our customers and collaboration partners.
It’s all about smart planning, smart business.