The Tive team attended the Gartner supply chain executive summit for the second time, once again held in sunny Phoenix, AZ. The theme this year was “Moving to Mastery”, which was sort of funny, because I felt like one of the big informal themes was “boy, we have not mastered this”.
A Learning Mindset
One of the great things about the Gartner event is that it is so future-oriented. This is not the place to go if you are looking to make marginal improvements to your old approach. This is a “what is coming down the path next?” group, swapping stories about new processes and technologies they are trying out. Some work, some don’t, and everybody learns something. This is an event where presenters are talking about the blockchain pilot they actually ran, the drones they actually deployed, the visibility tools they actually use - these people are doing things.
But as a result, they are also aware they are on the cutting edge, so there’s much stronger sense of “learner” than “master”. The topics they have mastered tend not to get a lot of discussion - they aren’t here to brag, they're hear to learn about how Amazon is changing reverse logistics, or how Nokia has put a functioning factory in a shipping container, and then to talk about how that is going to impact their business.
Working on Problems I'm Not Sure We Solve
This attitude affects the exhibitors, too. Sure, we’re hoping to sell things to people (that booth isn’t going to pay for itself!) but the spirit of “let’s figure this out” is infectious. That’s probably why I spent twenty minutes with one gentleman trying to figure out a way to use Tive’s real-time trackers as a vehicle safety tool - apparently drivers who visit their enormous site tend to speed and not stop at railroad crossings. This isn’t even remotely what Tive is designed to do, but we had a great conversation brainstorming ways he could use us or another system to solve the problem. We didn’t come up with a great solution, but I’m still thinking about it.
Next Year's Slogan
“Moving to Mastery” - I think the team at Gartner missed the mark on that one. Next year, I’d suggest “Still a Student”, and let the learning continue.