Supply Chain science and tech


Apr 24, 2024

Quality-Cost Dilemma in Supply Chain - Ep 160

In a dialogue with Lokad's Head of Communication, Conor Doherty, Lokad CEO Joannes Vermorel discusses the quality-cost ratio in supply chain management. Vermorel emphasizes that quality refers to decision-making, not product attributes, and that client-perceived quality may not align with optimal supply decisions due to cost. He criticizes traditional KPIs, arguing they don't reflect genuine quality. Vermorel also discusses the role of Large Language Models (LLMs) in supply chain management, noting they can lead to smarter decisions but can inflate IT budgets. He suggests the quality-cost dilemma is a meta game, requiring software engineering to solve supply chain problems and assess trade-offs.

Apr 10, 2024

AI Pilots in Supply Chain - Ep 159

In a dialogue between Lokad's CEO Joannes Vermorel and Head of Communication Conor Doherty, they discuss the impact of AI on supply chain management. Vermorel highlights the advancements in AI and large language models, which have revolutionized task automation. He introduces AI Pilots, a Lokad offering that automates decision-making and clerical tasks, facilitated by Lokad's proprietary programming language, Envision. Vermorel also discusses the potential of AI to automate tasks related to Master data and contrasts Lokad's approach with competitors. He predicts that AI Pilots will become the norm in supply chain management, leading to significant productivity improvements. The conversation concludes with a Q&A session.

Mar 13, 2024

Rethinking S&OP (The Future of Supply Chain) - Ep 158

Lokad CEO Joannes Vermorel critiques the Sales and Operation Planning (S&OP) process as outdated and inefficient for modern businesses. He argues that S&OP, designed for simpler times, struggles to keep pace with today's complex, fast-moving business environment. Vermorel criticizes the process' slow refresh rate, its reliance on meetings and spreadsheets, and its focus on unified forecasts. He suggests that large companies should eliminate their S&OP divisions, likening them to obsolete fax machines. Instead, he proposes a shift towards improving access to information, transforming S&OP teams into data lake teams.

Mar 6, 2024

Stocks are not in your control - Ep 157

In this LokadTV eposide, Conor Doherty interviewed Joannes Vermorel on inventory planning misconceptions. Vermorel dismantled the fallacy that stock levels are a direct lever for client satisfaction and profitability. He argued that companies should focus on serving clients profitably, not on the illusion of stock control. Vermorel criticized simplistic inventory policies like min-max, stressing that stock levels are influenced by myriad factors beyond direct control. He advocated for prioritizing quality supply chain decisions over stock level targets, which often fail to account for dynamic business realities. The conversation highlighted the need for a nuanced approach to supply chain management, emphasizing decision control over uncontrollable outcomes.

Feb 21, 2024

Stochastic Optimization of Supply Chain Decisions - Ep 156

In a discussion between Lokad's CEO, Joannes Vermorel, and Head of Communication, Conor Doherty, the importance of stochastic optimization and probabilistic forecasting in supply chain management is emphasized. Vermorel explains the concept of stochasticity, where the loss function is uncertain, a common occurrence in supply chain scenarios. He outlines the three ingredients of mathematical optimization':' variables, constraints, and the loss function, and explains that in stochastic optimization, the loss function is not deterministic but randomized. Vermorel also discusses the scalability issues of mathematical optimization techniques for supply chain, which have been a roadblock for four decades. He concludes by emphasizing that stochastic optimization is a crucial aspect often overlooked in supply chain textbooks.

Feb 8, 2024

Traditional Jobs vs AI in Supply Chain - Ep 155

Join us for a special live episode of LokadTV (with audience Q&A) where Joannes Vermorel (Lokad CEO) will discuss the honest impact of AI on supply chain jobs. You can submit your questions at any point during the discussion! Just like sabermetrics signaled the demise of traditional baseball management, AI will automate an enormous amount of the tasks currently performed by humans in inventory management. As an early adopter of AI in supply chain, Lokad is in a unique position to comment on this important transition (and how to prepare for it).

Jan 31, 2024

RFP Madness - Ep 154

Joannes Vermorel challenges the conventional wisdom of procurement processes, questioning the necessity of RFIs, RFPs, and RFQs. He argues these documents are more habitual than essential, suggesting that procurement involves both indispensable and arbitrary steps.

Dec 6, 2023

The Role of Scarcity in Supply Chain

In a dialogue with Conor Doherty, Joannes Vermorel, founder of Lokad, criticizes mainstream supply chain theory for overlooking resource scarcity and alternative uses. Joannes Vermorel argues that traditional theory assumes a known future, eliminating the need for resource allocation decisions. He emphasizes the importance of time in supply chain management, stating that no resource is truly scarce given enough time. Joannes Vermorel also criticizes the mainstream view for ignoring the complexities of allocation decisions and the importance of financial assessments. He suggests that supply chain optimization should involve probabilistic forecasting and stochastic optimization, assessing all possible futures and making decisions based on expected returns.

Nov 8, 2023

Risks in Supply Chain Management

Conor Doherty, LokadTV host, and Joannes Vermorel, founder of Lokad, discuss the inherent risks in supply chain management. Vermorel emphasizes that the primary risk is the uncertainty of the future, which is irreducible and beyond control. He notes that every decision involves a trade-off between risk and reward, and that zero risk is unattainable. Vermorel also highlights the opportunities that can arise from these risks, such as capitalizing on market shortages. He advocates an agile and opportunistic mindset, and the use of probabilistic forecasting to mitigate risk. Vermorel and Doherty conclude by agreeing that even small companies can benefit from risk management, leading to increased margins and cash flow.

Sep 27, 2023

Does forecast accuracy even matter?

Joannes Vermorel, CEO of Lokad, criticizes the traditional understanding of forecast accuracy in supply chain management, arguing that it doesn't reflect the core DNA of a business. He suggests that time series forecasts, which are commonly used, are overly simplistic and do not accurately represent the future for supply chain purposes. Vermorel proposes a different approach, focusing on being quantitatively faithful to the essence of a company. He criticizes the focus on incremental improvements and suggests that companies should look for simpler, better solutions. Vermorel emphasizes the importance of understanding the essence of the problem and producing quantifiable statements that make sense for the business.

Aug 2, 2023

Spilling to Disk in .NET

In order to process more data than can fit in memory, programs can spill some of that data to a slower but larger storage, such as NVMe drives. Through a combination of two rather obscure .NET features (memory-mapped files and memory managers), this can be done from C# with little to no performance overhead. This talk given at Warsaw IT Days 2023 dives into the deep details how this works, and discusses how the open source NuGet package Lokad.ScratchSpace hides most of those details from developers.

Jun 21, 2023

Virtue Signaling in Supply Chain - Ep 145

In a comprehensive discussion spanning philosophy, law, ethics, and economics, Conor Doherty and Joannes Vermorel, Lokad founder, dissect the role of virtue within corporations and supply chains. Vermorel articulates the necessity for corporate values that benefit not only the company but also its employees and society at large, for long-term profitability. He highlights the importance of legal frameworks to balance profit-seeking and societal good. Vermorel explores challenges in long-term growth strategies, talent retention, and the intersection of internal and external values, especially for multinational corporations. He critiques virtue signaling as often disingenuous and unnecessary. Ultimately, Doherty is somewhat skeptical about the space for virtue in business, yet Vermorel is more sanguine and posits that corporations can't merely pretend to uphold virtues but must genuinely live up to them.