Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Highlights from Llamasoft Conference on Supply Chain Design

Last week I attended Llamasoft’s first annual Summer Conference on Supply Chain Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with a couple of days training on their Supply Chain Guru applications.  I met some great people, gained a lot of insight about Llamasoft and their product roadmap, and enjoyed some spectacular early-summer weather in Ann Arbor.

Llamasoft is growing fast, and they are now the only major independent Supply Chain Design software vendor, since the acquisition of LogicTools/LogicNet by ILOG and then IBM, and Optiant's acquisition by Logility. 

Founder, President and CEO Don Hicks talked about (OK, I’ll say it…) changing the paradigm for Supply Chain software.  Instead of the traditional “Planning versus Execution” framework, Don talks about “Design versus Planning versus Execution”.  Planning applications will become increasingly automated and IT driven, cutting across the usual distinctions between strategic, tactical and operational planning.  Meanwhile, Llamasoft is squarely targeting the Design space, which will continue to require human input and creativity.  To that point, late this year they will add Transportation Optimization to their existing capabilities in Network Optimization & Simulation and Inventory Optimization.

The conference featured some interesting keynote speakers:
  • Dr. John Gattorna of Australia highlighted his Dynamic Alignment Model, emphasizing  the need to develop multiple Supply Chains – with distinct strategies -- that align with different customer behavior models.  His book Dynamic Supply Chains is available  on Amazon. 
  • Astronaut Buzz Aldrin shared some great stories, images and video from the Apollo program and the 1969 moon landing -- and his strong opinions on how we can and must regain the initiative in space exploration.
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Hood talked about how the decision-biases that are hard-wired into our brains can lead people to cling to incorrect beliefs and make decisions counter to all available evidence – something to keep in mind the next time someone questions the “obvious” recommendations from your analysis!

A question for my readers:  What are the pros & cons of building your Supply Chain Design capabilities around software, services and solutions from:
  • …a small but fast growing, independent software company focused exclusively on SC Design (Llamasoft)?
  • …an established Supply Chain Planning software company integrating an acquired SC Design solution (Logility/Optiant)?
  • …a huge global conglomerate integrating a SC Design Solution (itself part of a larger acquisition) with extensive software and consulting resources as part of an aggressive Supply Chain Analytics strategy (IBM / ILOG / LogicNet)? 
What do you think?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

OK, that’s all for now.  Please visit our web site at  Until next time…

Rob Ende is Founder and President of REanalyze Inc., a Supply Chain, Inventory Management and Analytics consultancy based on Long Island, New York.  Rob can be reached at 631-807-2339 or

© 2011 REanalyze.Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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