“Hi, my name is Mike. I’m the new Influencer Relations Manager here at Kinaxis.” That’s the line I delivered dozens of times over the span of two and a half days to customers, analysts, and co-workers alike at Kinexions ‘17 in Orlando, to which one reply came, “What exactly does an Influencer Manager do?” I was about to find out. To provide a bit of context, I started at Kinaxis just one week prior to Kinexions. Just. One. Week. Though that may sound somewhat ominous, the expectations on my attendance and participation were reasonable, and quelled any concern over having to understand the industry right out of the gate. The mandate was simple: to meet as many people as possible, analysts, customers, and co-workers included. And listen. Listen to the language of the industry and absorb as much as I could in a short amount of time. The opportunity to dive in to all things Kinaxis right out of the gate proved invaluable. I quickly discovered that in many ways supply chain management was something to which I could easily relate. Something that was both immediately accessible yet infinitely complex. With so much information to consume over a short amount of time, I came away from Kinexions with two distinct takeaways. First, the importance of concurrent planning and how it brings a company’s internal resources together with external resources regardless of where they are in the world, all based on a single data source. When you think about it, that’s pretty astonishing when one considers the scope of the logistics involved. And second, Kinexions showed me that Kinaxis goes beyond the power of RapidResponse, beyond the process and beyond the planning. Kinexions showed me that Kinaxis is about the relationships the company has built with its customers and with the industry as a whole, and how together we can find better ways to plan, and better ways to deliver. To that end, I drew inspiration from Chris Hadfield, renowned Canadian astronaut and, wait for it, obsessive planner. As Hadfield related during his closing Kinexions keynote, planning is every astronaut’s most valuable asset. Every scenario must be taken into consideration and prepared for as if it were inevitable. No surprises. No sweat. And as Hadfield pointed out, the same applies to our everyday lives, our personal goals, and yes, even to digital supply chain management – a notion Duncan Klett explores in more depth in his post-Kinexions blog. So what’s next for a Kinaxis newbie? Perhaps not surprisingly, the first thing on my list is to make a plan. Go figure!