Liberty Global is the world’s largest international TV and broadband company with operations in more than 30 countries. The company started working with AIMMS and our implementation partner Districon in October 2015 to develop a Demand Aggregation tool. Today, they are looking to expand their use of AIMMS for other planning capabilities. We had the pleasure to speak with Willem Vesters, Liberty Global’s VP Global Supply Chain Planning, to learn more about their optimization journey.
Hi Willem, can you please tell us more about your background?
I am originally from Breda, a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. I have a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology but I’ve spend most of my career in operations. I worked at ING for a short period, then moved to Philips and subsequently I became the Supply Chain Planning Director for Office Depot in Europe. These days, I head up the Supply Chain Planning division at Liberty Global.
Sales & Operations planning has been around for 30 years. It was created initially by Oliver Wight and has become the standard procedure to improve business performance and predictability. Throughout the years, we’ve witnessed waves of interest in S&OP and its evolution IBP, which incorporates financial planning. In the past 2 years, we’ve seen the appeal of S&OP increase a lot more. But companies tend to struggle when it comes to finding the right technology to enable the process. In this blog post, I will delve into 5 issues companies typically experience with their S&OP software.
The whole purpose of S&OP is to discuss important questions today to prevent them from causing urgent issues 12 months from now. The business impact of this is profound. As Lora Cecere (Supply Chain Insights) explains, an effective S&OP process can result in a more controlled, aligned, agile, proactive and strategic supply chain. But to implement it effectively, companies first need to understand why S&OP is important for their business. Every company has different business drivers and different requirements. This makes S&OP implementation a difficult process, especially when it comes to finding the right tools.
Internet of Things (IOT), Cost-to-Serve, Segmentation and Supply Chain CoEs are unable to deliver promised business value without Prescriptive Analytics
Gartner’s Hype Cycle for CSCOs is a valuable read for current and potential Supply Chain leaders. It brings together a long list of trends, enabling technologies, business frameworks and competencies that should be in your consideration set. The big theme of course, is the digitization of the supply chain and the implications it will have on business performance. What seems very clear is that if you’re not planning to jump aboard this train very quickly, you’re going to have what will appear to be a stone-age supply chain within 5-10 years.
As a Gartner recognized Prescriptive Analytics software company, we’re most interested in all things digital that have analytical flavor by nature. We see our clients deliver strong value from digital innovation, but only when organizations have the knowledge and technology to do things differently. This requires Prescriptive Analytics, a type of advanced analytics that results in a recommended ACTION.
In other words, for digital transformation to succeed, organizations need to be able to “take action” based on their data. Let’s take a look at some of the competencies mentioned in Gartner’s report so I can provide evidence to back up this outrageous statement.
This month, we hosted a Data Visualization webinar with bestselling author Cole Nussbaumer Knafflic. Cole wrote the popular book “Storytelling with Data” and is also known for her blog. She’s worked at and with some of the most data-driven companies on the planet, including Google, Adobe, Genentech, JPMC, Target, and the World Bank. She also works with organizations and individuals to help them become more effective data storytellers through workshops. We had a chance to talk to her about some best practices for effective data visualization leading up to the webinar. In this short interview, she shares some of her trade secrets and a sneak preview of what you can find in her book.
- How do you define storytelling with data?
For me, storytelling with data is the communication step of the analytical process. Let’s consider the analytical process. Perhaps you start off with a question or hypothesis. Then you have to gather the data and clean the data. Next, you analyze the data. At that point, it’s easy to throw it into a graph and be done. But that graph is the only part of the whole process that your audience sees. So it deserves at least as much—perhaps more—attention compared to the other parts of the process, and yet is so often overlooked or given the least amount of time. To take that a step further, my view is that you should never simply show data. Rather, you should make data a pivotal point in an overarching story or narrative. This helps it make sense to your audience, makes it resonate and can help make it stick. This is storytelling with data.
In a time when the term ‘disruptive’ is being over-used I find myself increasingly using the term when describing the impact of our product to clients and prospects.
It’s uncomfortable because prior to starting with AIMMS two years ago, I spent 20 years in consulting and IT services and experienced many terms being over-used (such as ‘optimized’ or ‘disruptive’). I promised myself that I’d endeavor to never use a meaningful term in a superficial way.
The Brexit is a reality and with it, companies in Europe are facing even more uncertainty than before. There is serious concern that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will bring further destabilization and economic risks. How will it impact your supply chain and your bottom line? This article discusses 5 key things supply chain leaders should consider post-Brexit. It also explains how analytics can help you determine the best way forward. Specifically, I will explore how Prescriptive Analytics can help you improve decision-making and make data actionable in an increasingly volatile economic landscape, instead of only providing insight into your data’s behavior.
Last week, part of our EMEA team (Christophe, Marcel and Kim) attended the Supply Chain & Logistics Summit as a sponsor for the fifth consecutive time. The conference took place in Barcelona. The overall theme of the Summit was the Value Chain and How to Build the Competitive Supply Chain of the Future. This main topic was covered throughout the whole program. Sessions addressed subjects like:
- Enhancing Competitiveness Through Technology
- Supply Planning & Optimization
- Harnessing Logistics to Satisfy Customers
- Leveraging the Global Economy
My takeaways from Gartner’s Supply Chain Executive Conference 2016
Apps have come to define the way we work and live in many ways. We have cars with Apps, watches running Apps, TVs that operate with Apps…as the phrase goes “There’s an App for That.” There are Apps out there for just about anything, it’s hard to imagine a world without them. Why do we love Apps so much? We get the information we need upfront, they can be used anytime, anywhere, they help us connect, and they serve a specific purpose.
When it comes to Supply Chain Analytics, an “Apps approach” can have just as many benefits. Gartner’s Noha Tohamy offered a great presentation about this at their recent Supply Chain Executive Conference. But what exactly is a Supply Chain Analytics app? Noha defines it as “a solution developed in-house or by a service provider, targeted at a specific use case.” By taking an Apps approach, companies can build an app library with solutions. Think for instance of a Source Optimization app for your retail company – a custom solution that helps you understand how and when to source your supplies, foresee possible supplier issues and adapt your plans accordingly. Another example, this time in the oil industry, would be an oil blending app. Oil blending is not easy. Blending rules are always in development and are considered to be extremely proprietary. A custom Optimization or Prescriptive Analytics app can be adapted quickly as the rules change, it can empower people in your organization, be readily accessible for end users and help you create better blends.
It comes as no surprise that business and supply chain leaders are seeking new approaches to get ahead in the analytics age. Implementing an analytics strategy, and in particular implementing prescriptive analytics, can significantly improve revenues and drive down costs. How can you ensure that your team is prepared to embrace these new technologies and approaches? Experience shows us that technology is the easy part. Getting buy-in agreement and changing your company culture to embrace analytics is often more difficult. A Center of Excellence (COE) can help you start off with the right team structure, engage the right stakeholders and put you on the right path to implementation.
It’s no mystery that some of the world’s largest retail chains are struggling to survive. Walmart is closing a record number of stores (269) in the U.S. and abroad this year. Trusted names like Sears, J.C. Penney, and Gap have also lost their momentum. In Europe, V&D, a major Dutch department store, and Brantano, a large footwear retailer operating in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, have officially declared bankruptcy. Demand is sluggish and many have failed to adapt and streamline shopping experiences for today’s connected consumer. Still, even in the midst of this turmoil, retailers like Kroger and Zalando are thriving. What are these companies doing differently and what trends should retailers look out for? Let’s take a closer look.