My first foray into Gartner’s Supply Chain Symposium….

30 Jun 2023


As someone who has spent a very large part of my career operating in the commercial world, I was both excited and slightly daunted to be invited to attend the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium representing Oliver Wight earlier this month.

Expecting some complex sessions on the mechanics of running a supply chain I was pleasantly surprised by entering into an environment where unlocking the collective potential of people and technology was front and centre. In this blog, I would like to share my experience.

The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium offered a diverse range of sessions and presentations conducted by industry experts. The breadth and depth of topics covered were remarkable, and ranged from futurologist Magnus Lindkvist telling us why we should follow aliens, to Dr Steve Robbins (Chief Curiosity Cultivator) opening our eyes on inclusion and diversity (and yes in that order!) through communication science! This focused on the importance of being part of a tribe and valuing the tribe and our brains evolutionary history and hard wiring! Indeed both speakers managed to feature the Bee Gee’s in their presentations, with not a mention on capacity planning or end-to-end supply chain management in sight.



The captivating storytelling and visionary outlook of these keynote speakers left a lasting impression and cemented the thought that our focus on people and behaviours is so important when transforming organisations with Integrated Business Planning. Our very own Monte Maritz built brilliantly on this in his session talking about the importance of culture and executive behaviour in decision making. You can read his excellent white paper on the subject here.


gartner 2023


One of the other valuable aspects of attending the symposium was the opportunity to connect and network with industry peers and experts. From structured networking sessions to informal conversations during breaks, the event fostered a collaborative environment where professionals from diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, discuss best practices, and learn from each other's experiences. The theme of the conversations I had centered on how we collectively react to a new normal, in a world that is changing at a rate never seen before, with people suffering from change fatigue! I’m a firm believer that both our change management approach here at Oliver Wight - what we call our Proven Path - and our methodology is arguably now even more relevant to help organisations of all shapes and sizes deal with the challenges ahead.

As a Gartner event, the symposium offered access to the latest research, market trends, and industry insights. The analysts and thought leaders present at the event shared their expertise, helping us all understand the evolving landscape of business and supply chain management. The symposium also provided a sneak peek into upcoming trends, allowing attendees to gain a competitive edge by leveraging future-focused strategies. I took particular note of the following Gartner research into supply chain decision making:

The average person makes 35,000 decisions a day, a large global company 400,000 decisions a day, and wastes 500,000 days each year! So, lots of decisions and lots of wasted time because:

  • In more than two thirds of all companies surveyed:
    • Factors considered in the decision are no longer valid at execution
    • Escalation slows down timely execution
    • Decisions revisited or revised after execution
  • Less than 60% of companies analyse if a decision helped achieve the strategy, so the opportunity to build a better process to link execution/performance to strategy deployment and evolution is obvious.

Businesses are turning to technology to enhance their decision making but are missing some fundamental elements before they can enable technology to drive efficiency.

One of the areas we spend time on with companies is getting clarity on decision-making rights and trying to drive decision making down an organisation to boost autonomy and empowerment and allow senior leaders the time to focus on the big decisions and the strategic outlook. From the data I saw above it looks like there are loads of opportunities out there to both ease the burden on organisations and drive performance.

The symposium also featured an exhibition area where we showcased our unique business approach.

This year we unveiled a new way to visualise integrating the enterprise. We received great feedback from delegates at our stand and the model provided plenty of stimulus for conversations about best practice.




Navigating through the other exhibits provided a glimpse into the future of supply chain management especially in the technology sector, enabling attendees to identify potential partnerships or solutions that could address their organization's specific challenges. Our strategic alliance partners, Board were in attendance and together we demonstrated how people process and technology can solve the complex challenges of running a business in today’s world.

So I left my first Gartner Supply Chain Symposium with some great new insights, a fresh perspective in a number of areas I didn’t think would be covered, and better connections with a new network of passionate professionals. I was exposed to the latest trends and solutions shaping the industry and I left the event feeling inspired, and buoyed by the fact we can drive great value for organisations meeting the challenges of today.

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