The Tive team attended the CSCMP Edge event last week in Atlanta for the first time. It was a great chance for us to catch up with current and prospective customers, as well as an opportunity to get a sense of what people in supply chain are talking about.One thing that really struck me about this conference was the blend of future vision and "get it done today" practicality. Many events are focused solely on the future, painting grand visions of how the world will look once various technologies are adopted or processes changed. CSCMP Edge was a bit different, in that it embraced an ambitious vision for the future without losing sight of its main focus: educating supply chain professionals on how to do their job better right now.
For example, sessions dedicated to supporting hurricane aid efforts and hunger relief highlighted supply chain professionals’ commitment to solving real problems today. In addition, many tactical educational sessions focused on specific, immediate improvements supply chain managers can make in areas such as talent acquisition and optimization of procurement and distribution systems. At the same time, sessions covering the applications of new technologies such as blockchain, warehouse drones, and advanced artificial intelligence to the supply chain highlighted a culture of embracing new ideas and technologies to improve the industry.
One of the keynote speakers, Missy Cummings, captured this tension well. In her talk on "The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Logistics" she described the strengths and limitations of current AI tools, and pointed out what she views as a mis-prioritization of the technology based on its actual capabilities. Instead of trying to put a million automated cars on the road (a prospect she views with some concern), she feels we should be focused on enabling truck platooning, reducing the shortage of long-haul truck drivers by solving a much less difficult technical problem. This was a proposal that the supply chain audience found pretty interesting.
This duality of creating the future while being useful in the present is key to the Tive mindset. On the one hand, we are providing a groundbreaking technological improvement utilizing cloud computing infrastructure and an IoT framework. But we’re not just about technology for its own sake. Our team has a strong background in supply chain, is familiar with the complexities of the industry, and we are firmly committed not just to developing new technologies, but to ensuring these technologies are useful to solve the real problems faced by the industry today.
My interactions on the exhibition floor reinforced this mentality, as one person after another expressed excitement about how our technology could transform their supply chain, then circled back to ask practical questions about what they could do with it right now. As someone who has spent a career in tech startups, it reminded me why I love working in supply chain - practicality coupled with excitement about the future.
So congratulations to the folks at CSCMP for putting on a great event -- we look forward to seeing you next year in Nashville!