Learn from the Supply Chain Masters – Q&A with Ken Poe

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For our final interview in our 'Learn from the Masters' series, we sat down with business consultant Ken Poe. Coming up on his two year anniversary with Kinaxis, Ken provides some great insight into the supply chain management field. How did you come to find yourself in a supply chain software business consultant role – what was your path to here? I studied advanced planning and scheduling in University, back when it was a new and cutting edge concept. Eli Goldratt had published “The Goal” and constraint management was up and coming, and I worked for an ERP company and was promoted to manage the integration to the i2 planning engine. Unfortunately the small ERP company was squished by the SAP onslaught, so I went to work for Red Pepper Software as a BC, demoing advanced planning and scheduling. What’s the biggest lesson about supply chain management you’ve learned? If you don’t like the plan, just wait 5 minutes, it will change. What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in supply chain? Develop a thick skin, develop an immunity to stress, and take Yoga… you need to be really flexible. If you had to name three priorities for a company looking to evolve their supply chain processes, what would they be?

  1. Educate yourself on the art of what’s possible. Supply chain applications have evolved, but not all. There are so many silo’d applications out there, learn the difference.
  2. Get executive buy in… evolving the supply chain takes years, and it's not cheap. Executives need to know the effort and cost, but also the benefits that can be achieved.
  3. Begin the education process on the goal of the supply chain evolution… get employees educated and on board. Supply chain folks are way too busy for another project… you need consensus.
If you could change your job title to a comic or superhero name that would aptly describe what you do, what name would you give yourself?

Spiderman… flexible, quick, responsive and cares to make a difference. Plus he's my favorite anyway. What’s the one app on your phone that you can’t live without? Map… how many cities per week do we travel too?

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