Is your organization equipped to handle challenges when planning, controlling, and executing product flow, while meeting the rising expectations of your customers? If you’re a supply chain or procurement manager charged with meeting those demands, you should attend the 2018 ASUG Experience for Supply Chain and Procurement, on Oct. 29–31 in Chicago.
Cathy Kenlin, manager of business applications at Zausner, as well as an ASUG volunteer for 20 years, recently had a conversation with ASUG News about why you should attend and what you can expect.
A Chain Reaction of Experiences
ASUG has done research and gathered key insights from the community, which ASUG Chief Executive Officer Geoff Scott will share during the conference. Among the most interesting insight we discovered was that most companies (76 percent) feel that their inventory processes need improvement. In fact, the single biggest goal for supply chain and procurement professionals in 2019 is to make process improvements.
The ASUG Experience for Supply Chain and Procurement is a place for you to find new ideas from peers who have similar goals—whether they’re related to process improvements or another, equally important topic. You’ll have the opportunity to hear some of the challenges they’ve faced and ways they’ve been able to meet them head-on. The conference is designed to bring together business users and IT professionals in a casual, collaborative environment to discuss lessons learned, best practices, and real-world experiences.
“These events are small enough and focused enough that you can have the opportunity to spend that one-on-one time with someone to learn what they‘re doing and how they've solved what could be the same problem that you‘re facing,” Cathy said.
Supplying the Context for Success
ASUG‘s research also revealed that only 34 percent of companies are aware of the emerging technologies that can help with supply chain and procurement. And more than half of our study respondents feel that their supply chain technology is too manual and difficult to use.
If your company is among those looking for ways to bring the benefits of more-advanced technologies into your supply chain and procurement processes, you’re in luck. Your peers have helped curate more than 30 topics for discussion, including SAP S/4HANA, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things, SAP Leonardo, SAP Ariba solutions, SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP), digital transformation, and cloud culture.
Translating Buzzwords into Actions
“There are so many buzzwords,” Cathy noted. “There are also a lot of different technologies coming onto the scene, and companies are being unsettled by new competitors coming in and disrupting the space.”
You’ll have two full days to talk to peers about which technologies are worth pursuing now and which are mostly hype. You can also immerse yourself in practical discussions like how to automate approval flows and facilitate collaboration with suppliers as the speed of business increases. Other topics will include supply chain planning, procurement, inventory and warehouse management, distribution and transportation, global trade services, and SAP licensing.
“Part of what I like about this experience,” Cathy added, “is that the people who attend are the people who make stuff happen. They’re the ones doing the implementation. They’re the ones who are taking that support call. They’re the ones who take a hot topic and actually turn it into reality.”
Procuring Knowledge and Making Connections
In addition to the keynotes and sessions, everyone is invited to participate in topic-based, roundtable discussions. “You can join a group of people who share an interest in the same topic,” Cathy said. “It’s kind of like having a large coffee shop discussion where you have the topic, but you don‘t have a formal presentation going on. You decide the direction of the conversation and how you interact, not only with the subject matter expert who’s facilitating the conversation, but also with other people from different industries and companies interested in that topic.”
Cathy sees it as a great way to make long-lasting connections with like-minded people. “I have stayed involved for so many years because I've seen the benefit in making those connections and having that network of people” Cathy said. “When you get back to your office and you’re ready to investigate a new SAP software solution, you’ll likely have made a contact at this event. You can reach out and say, 'Hey, you were talking about implementing SAP Integrated Business Planning, did you do it? How did it work out for you? What other vendors did you compare against? What problems did you have when you implemented?’”
Step Away from Your Co-Workers
She recommends that attendees take the time to review the sessions, jot down questions you’d like answered, and be ready to engage with others. “If you’re attending with other people from your company, you should pretend not to know them,” Cathy suggested. “You already know what your company does, but you‘re there to learn what other companies are doing. So, don‘t hang out with your co-workers because it limits you from meeting other people.”
If you’re undecided about attending, consider the benefits. You’ll leave with insights and solutions you can act on to help you achieve professional success, and make sure your organization is equipped to meet the rising expectations of your customers.