#146: Reinventing Supply Chain Through Data and Automation

#146: Reinventing Supply Chain Through Data and Automation Featured Image

David Simchi-Levi is a well-known figure in the world of supply chain and engineering. He is a Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT. He founded a few companies over the course of his career in the realm of supply chain data analytics. He is an expert in the fields of supply chain management, operations, and business analytics. And he has published several books on the topic that are being read worldwide. There are a lot of people that have found inspiration in the work that Professor David has done.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

David Simchi-Levi: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Leading MIT’s data science lab and building a company that later on became part of IBM’s technology infrastructure.
  • Being ahead of the curve – prioritizing supply chain resiliency and business analytics
  • Importance of data analytics to supply chain and the business as a whole
  • Interesting projects David is currently working on
  • Reinventing supply chain and looking end-to-end

Show notes:

  • [00:56] How did you end up in supply chain in the first place?
  • [01:34] “I started the company in ‘97 and the company became part of IBM technology infrastructure in 2008. At that time, we had about 350 clients using our technology.” 
  • [05:30] “A lot of the things that happened to me just happened without a long-term plan. It was because there were opportunities and I was fortunate enough to be at the right time, with the right set of skills.” 
  • [07:19] “I decided to stop doing just traditional supply chain research and focus on two areas. One area was supply chain resiliency and the second area was focusing on business analytics, the ability to use machine learning and AI to improve supply chain and operation. “
  • [09:21] “So between the publication of the paper in 2014 or 2015 and the beginning of the pandemic, I was knocking on many doors trying to convince companies that in addition to their focus on efficiency, they should also focus on supply chain resiliency.”
  • [11:06] “In April of 2020, I published a follow-up paper in Harvard Business Review, where I said, “Executive companies need to apply stress tests for the critical supply chains.”
  • [12:06] How did this new model work in particular? Did they stick to the model? Because that’s also the problem with corporates, they sometimes take the right model, but then they forget to apply it.
  • [13:54] How can executives anticipate and prepare for upcoming challenges and changes in the corporate world, especially those that may not be immediately obvious or are not being focused on by others?
  • [17:10] “The only way to address these challenges is by bringing together data, models, analytics, and automation. But this is not just science. This is also about our ability to complement data analytics and automation with the experience, intuition, and knowledge that supply chain executives have.”
  • [19:47] Tell us a little bit about what you’re focused on. What are some of the most interesting projects that you’re working with yourself?
  • [21:45] We basically implemented and developed a system that allow us to find the right balance and the appropriate trade-off to increase revenue while managing and decreasing supply chain costs. 
  • [28:10] “Digital transformation involves supply chain segmentation, a unified view of demand replacing consensus forecasts, and integrating a unified view of demand with an effective S&OP process.”
  • [30:25] What do you see in the future, that will be the key topic that executives should pay attention to?
  • [32:55] What do you see as the key skills that people need to have to be a really good, well-rounded supply chain professional?
  • [34:57] With the capabilities of today’s technology, we will see more and more companies reinventing their supply chain. This is not about improving functional areas and processes but looking into end-to-end and reinventing the entire supply chain. That to me is the new mantra around supply chain and operation innovation.
  • [35:32] What are the challenges faced by big companies when trying to reinvent themselves?
  • [38:07] “We are not going to focus on individual processes, we are going to focus on end-to-end and try to find the right balance between responsiveness and efficiency in the supply chain.”

Quotes from the Episode:

About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in ForbesBloombergWEFBangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

#143: A Journey From the Factory Floor to the Boardroom

#144: Building a Culture of Coaching and Driving Growth

#145: Schneider Electric and STRIVE for SCM Excellence




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