With FOCUS 2015 in the (not too distant!) past, we’re taking a moment to reflect on last week’s activities, conversations, and some of the key themes that resonated throughout the conference, including innovation, the power of partnership, warehousing of the future, and segmentation.
There was a distinct buzz about the great work JDA Labs has been doing. Jean-Francois Gagne talked about augmented reality and new UX paradigms for applications in stores and warehouses. The Labs booth in the Delivery Zone showcased Google glass implementation that was fun to try – this was something Razat Gaurav also took to wearing on stage wearing during his session! Suresh Acharya and Louis-Martin Rousseau made excellent presentations about results from recent data science research from the Labs. Judging from the audience questions, there is a growing interest in these areas.
Power of Partnership
There were two important examples of partnership at FOCUS this year. The first was Rich Beck, SVP of global operations at PepsiCo, who was a keynote speaker on day two of the general session. Rich presented how PepsiCo, who is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, is a 20 year veteran customer of JDA, and uses JDA solutions for supply chain and transportation planning, and warehouse and transportation execution, globally. Their story is truly a hallmark, showcasing the breadth and depth of our solutions, as well as the power of a successful partnership with a global food and beverage powerhouse that continues to evolve and grow with changing, and sometimes volatile, market dynamics.
The second example was in the very successful JDA Alliance dinner we hosted, where we awarded partners with the following awards:
- Consulting Excellence for Manufacturing
- Specialty Consulting Excellence for Manufacturing
- Consulting Excellence for Retail
- Specialty Consulting Excellence for Retail
- Top Technology Provider
- Top Mobility Provider
- Top Reseller Americas
- Global Alliance of the Year
Be sure to check out the winners on our Facebook photo album from FOCUS!
Warehousing of the Future
The Warehouse of the Future panel session included panelists from GENCO, PepsiCo, and Amway, moderated by JDA. Despite the hype some years ago, our panelists reported that RFID technology was not used much in their warehouses today. As for the future, there was optimism that new technologies, such as machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), will enable much more economical alternatives, such as image recognition via smartphones and wearable devices. The panelists also spoke about the increasing use of Android devices in their warehouses in place of rugged handheld devices. GENCO provided colorful examples of how they have deployed the robot “Baxter” side-by-side with human workers. There was general consensus amongst the panelists that the future will bring increased use of hybrid strategies (humans assisted or augmented with machines) rather than pure lights-out automation. Warehouses of the future will be more flexible, more agile, and more responsive.
Segmentation: One theme that was pervasive throughout the conference was segmentation. From customer and shopper segmentation in Retail.Me to segmented supply chain strategies, attendees saw and heard thought-provoking examples of how segmentation practices have delivered outstanding results. Kehat Shahar of SanDisk presented a very compelling case study to a packed audience with standing room only. Segmentation was also a popular topic in private meetings with customers who took advantage of the opportunity to speak with other customers and with JDA executives.
In addition to outlining the key themes of FOCUS 2015, I also wanted to highlight the following few thoughts and anecdotes from our JDA experts:
Adeel Najmi: We had engaging conversations with analysts about emerging trends. These included discussions with Tom Enright of Gartner on returns, and another one with analysts from IDC about implications of IoT on Supply Chain Management.
Razat Gaurav: This is the right time for disruptive innovation in the supply chain. The new consumer profile and latest technology capabilities are triggering this transition. The NEW JDA is listening to customers to deliver quality, innovation, and real results across the retail, manufacturing, and 3PL supply chains.
Prashant Bhatia: Many customers, partners, and analysts noted that FOCUS felt like a JDA event with ‘one voice’ versus a conference that featured multiple companies – JDA, i2, Manugistics, RedPrairie – which was exactly the right takeaway! We are one company, one mission!
Fab Brasca: The messaging for Intelligent Fulfillment was widely received and there was particular response to the “destination-driven demand” capability we are working on delivering with IBM. The response to Bal Dail’s keynote and promise to improve was also very positive.
Finally, there was a large and receptive press and analyst presence at FOCUS this year. As an example, take a look at the CEO of Chainlink Research, Ann Grackin’s FOCUS blog entitled, “JDA Gets in FOCUS,” and Dan Gilmore’s recap blog entitled, “Trip Report -JDA Focus 2015.”
Thanks to all who attended, and we look forward to seeing you at FOCUS 2016!