Elevate • Innovate • Integrate

A Journey through the Next Frontier of Supply Chain Technology

CSCMP Chicago Roundtable
39th Annual Seminar
April 18, 2024
Oakbrook Reserve | 2815 Jorie Boulevard | Oak Brook, IL

Elevate, Innovate, Integrate: A Journey through the Next Frontier of Supply Chain Technology” hosted by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

Delve into the transformative impact of technology on supply chain planning and execution, discovering practical ways to integrate end-to-end processes with digitization.

Learn the key to successfully deploying supply chain systems from leading practitioners as well as how to leverage common technologies like PowerBi for organizational impact.

Gain valuable perspectives from leaders at Plexus, Northwestern University, Kinaxis, Ace Hardware, and Trinity Industries, sharing insights on driving value through technology.

Don’t miss networking opportunities with executives and tech firms to accelerate career growth, elevate understanding, innovate approach, and integrate advancements into organizational strategies at this enriching seminar—a catalyst for supply chain management career growth.


7:30 AMRegistration
7:45Breakfast and Networking
8:15WelcomeDan Vanden Brink, Decision Spot
8:30Key Note: Key Note: The Future Is Bright – Supply Chain Stories From Thriving PractitionersChanna North-Hoffstaed, Kinaxis
9:30Track 1 - Automating Your Supply Chain Management Processes With RPA and AIRyan Goodwin, Trinity Industries
Track 2 -Unlocking Value Across the Supply Chain with AI, ML and Advanced AnalyticsAnand Mehta, Bridgestone
10:30Track 1 - Leveraging Machine Learning to Reduce Inventory through Lead Time PredictionsRyan Veleke, Plexus
Dan Vanden Brink, Decision Spot
Track 2 - Ensuring Supply Chain Transformation Success – Driving Alignment with a Strategy Driven Supply ChainDan Kogan, Strategy-Driven Supply Chain Institute
11:30Lunch and Networking
12:30Track 1 - Panel Discussion: Digitization and Decision Intellegence - How to Drive Value with New TechnologiesMark Baxa, CSCMP - Moderator
Track 2 - GAINS
1:30Track 1 - A Shippers Journey to a Modernized Global Supply ChainMelanie Hertel, Ace Hardware
Track 2 - From Data to Decisions: Creating Actionable Insights through VisualizationKyle Jurczak, Decision Spot
2:30Track 1 - 'The Tortured Planners Department’ - How To Drive Value Arom A Digital Planning TransformationAndrew Byer, Procter & Gamble
Track 2 - Data-Driven Resilience: Unlocking Freight Efficiency with FreightWaves SONARRyan Grote, FreightWaves
3:30Keynote: What Supply Chain Leaders Need to Know About AIMike Watson, Northwestern University
4:30Networking Reception

Session Summaries

Keynote: The Future Is Bright – Supply Chain Stories From Thriving Practitioners

Supply chains have been transforming and changing business since the advent of MRP in the 1970’s. Nearly every decade a new tool or technique revolutionizes how organizations approach running a supply chain.

If disruptions remain the norm, and technology continues to rapidly advance, it’s the ideal time for supply chain professionals to influence positive change in their organization.

Channa takes us through the transformation that is happening right here, right now, at some of the world’s leading organizations, and describes why processes that have served us well for the past 30 years will not survive the next 3.

She will share real-world examples of how Kinaxis customers are using new techniques such as AI to create supply chains that transcend traditional boundaries.


  • Channa North-Hoffstaed, Senior Leader & VP of Professional Services for North America, Kinaxis

Automating your supply chain management processes with RPA and AI

Cutting through the hype regarding process automation using RPA and AI, Ryan will walk you through how his team is taking practical steps to deploy these cutting edge technologies in a modern corporate environment. 

Collaborating with users, suppliers, and corporate IT can present many challenges beyond the bits and bytes of process automation and AI. Ryan will share his team’s challenges and successes and where he thinks they are heading.


  • Ryan Goodwin, Senior Director of Advance Supply Chain Management, Trinity Industries

Unlocking Value Across the Supply Chain with AI, ML and Advanced Analytics

The purpose of the Bridgestone Americas Data Science CoE is to offer innovative Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions to improve business value.

In this session, the speaker will highlight several AI/ML custom built solutions that have led to benefits across Bridgestone’s vertically integrated supply chain.


  • Anand Mehta, Director of Data Science – leading the Center of Expertise, Bridgestone Americas

Leveraging Machine Learning to Reduce Inventory through Lead Time Predictions

Plexus has experienced a significant increase in inventory, with a 123% rise since 2019. While some of this surge can be attributed to increased sales, a substantial portion stems from supply chain disruptions induced by COVID-19 and other unforeseen events. Unreliable lead-times from vendors exacerbated the issue, causing misalignment within Plexus’s Planning Platform, Kinaxis, and inflating inventory levels.

To address this challenge, Plexus implemented a dynamic lead time prediction process empowered by advanced machine learning (ML) algorithms. These models anticipate lead time variations and accurately predict lead times for previously unseen components.

Preliminary results showcase a remarkable 33% improvement in lead time prediction accuracy compared to vendor-supplied data, with an estimated inventory reduction of 25%.

This presentation explores the development and implementation of these advanced prediction models, highlighting their pivotal role in optimizing inventory management and enhancing supply chain resilience.


  • Ryan Veleke, VP Supply Chain AMER, Plexus Corp.
  • Dan Vanden Brink, Decision Spot

Ensuring Supply Chain Transformation Success – Driving Alignment with a Strategy Driven Supply Chain

So many digital and transformational initiatives start with a ‘cool technology’ approach rather than thinking through how these capabilities will align and drive differentiation in your supply chain strategy.  

You’ve heard the adage there are three kinds of service – good, cheap, and fast – but you can only pick two.  Good and cheap won’t be fast. Fast and good won’t be cheap. And cheap and fast won’t be good.

Which combination is your company? Is it obvious to you? Would your colleagues in other departments agree? Is it clear to your customers?

Lack of alignment can lead to conflicting objectives, diluted financial outcomes, poor branding, and outperformance by competitors. Lack of alignment can inhibit any kind of transformation effort. It is critical that strategic alignment is achieved before beginning any kind of transformative initiative.

Prepare to step above the fray and focus on the big picture where we’ll explore frameworks which serve as a gut-check to ensure your supply chain provides your company with a true strategic advantage.


  • Dan Kogan, Co-founder & Managing Director, The Strategy-Driven Supply Chain Institute

Panel Discussion: Digitization and Decision Intellegence - How to Drive Value with New Technologies


  • Mark Baxa, CEO, CSCMP – Moderator



A Shippers Journey to a Modernized Global Supply Chain

In this interview with Melanie Hertel, we will explore how Ace Hardware embarked on a transformative journey from manual to semi-automated supply chain processes.

This session will delve into the challenges and strategies behind Ace Hardware’s transition, showcasing significant improvements in cycle times, error reduction, and productivity. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the deployment of technology in supply chain modernization, drawing from Ace Hardware’s experience and Melanie’s leadership.

This presentation and interview encapsulates key lessons of how to leverage innovation for operational success in today’s dynamic global supply chain environment.


  • Melanie Hertel, Director of International Logistics and Trade Complianc, Ace Hardware

From Data to Decisions: Creating Actionable Insights through Visualization

One of the best ways to turn your data into meaningful insights is through visualization. However, many can find the amount of data that is now available overwhelming and struggle with how to best represent the relevant information for the end user.

In this session we will review data visualization best practices and storytelling to help create actionable insights to drive better adoption and value from BI initiatives


  • Kyle Jurczak, Senior Data Scientist, Decision Spot

The Tortured Planners Department’ - How to Drive Value from a Digital Planning Transformation

Industry research shows only 30-40% of digital planning transformations succeed. Given these odds, wouldn’t it be wise to start by learning what it takes be successful? 

This presentation focuses on the confluence of people, process and tools required to succeed in a digital planning transformation.


  • Andrew Byer, Senior Director, Supply Network Operations, Procter & Gamble

Data-Driven Resilience: Unlocking Freight Efficiency with FreightWaves SONAR

In this insightful session, Ryan Grote from FreightWaves SONAR will provide a state of the market address, leveraging the power of data via the FreightWaves SONAR platform. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the market dynamics, facilitated by the robust data analytics provided by FreightWaves SONAR.

The discussion will then pivot to the challenges shippers face with yearly Request for Proposals (RFPs). Ryan will introduce the concept of index-linked contracting, a strategic approach that offers a potential solution to these challenges. We will dive into why shippers and logistics service providers should consider this method, highlighting its benefits in fostering more dynamic, responsive, and resilient supply chains.

Join us for this engaging presentation to stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving landscape.


  • Ryan Grote, Supply Chain Solutions Analyst, FreightWaves

Keynote: What Supply Chain Leaders Need to Know About AI

Mike will cover the different meanings and what it means to the supply chain and business community.

The presentation will cover Artificial General Intelligence, Robotics and Deep Learning, Generative AI (ChatGPT), and what I call the big tent of Practical AI (where there is a lot of value for the supply chain). In addition, we’ll talk about building a team and scaling. This talk is meant to cut through the hype, provide practical advice, and give you additional sources to explore.

Finally, the talk will wrap up with the critical question, “Should you be worried?”


  • Mike Watson, Northwestern University

Speaker Bios

Channa North-Hoffstaed
Channa North-Hoffstaed
Keynote Speaker

Senior Leader & VP of Professional Services for North America at Kinaxis
Channa North-Hoffstaed is a senior leader and VP of Professional Services for North America at Kinaxis.

As a global leader in end-to-end supply chain management, Channa, through her team of 150+ experienced professionals, enables a large portfolio of customers to achieve supply chain excellence. She joined Kinaxis in 2019 as part of the sales team and has been VP of her region since 2021.

Channa takes a people-centric approach in guiding her internal and external organizations to make life easier for the people behind supply chains and the people they serve.

Prior to Kinaxis, Channa was a Senior Manager at EY with accountability for cross-functional supply chain transformations. Channa holds a Bachelor's degree in Music from University of Colorado, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Denver and serves as Board Chair on the non-profit Surge for Water.
Mike Watson

Mike Watson
Keynote Speaker

Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University
Mike was the co-founder and CEO of Opex Analytics, an innovative, high growth AI firm that was founded in 2013 and acquired by LLamasoft/Coupa in 2019. Opex helped their clients including several Fortune 500 companies generate value through the application of AI on operational problems and helped their clients rapidly ramp up their own internal Data Science capabilities. In 2019, Opex was acquired by LLamasoft then Coupa in 2020 where Mike led the AI Center of Excellence until Dec 2021.

As of 2023, Mike is a full-time faculty member at Northwestern University, where he has taught as an adjunct professor since 1999. He teaches Master’s-level courses in Operations Excellence, Managerial Analytics, and Optimization and is always looking for companies to partner students with for case studies, school projects, and employment.

Mike continues to be recognized as a thought leader in the application of AI towards Supply Chain problems and ,as a result, is a highly sought out with recent talks at IIT Bombay, the US Air Force Academy’s Leadership Conference in addition to several professional organizations and corporate leadership functions
Mike has a Ph.D. from Northwestern, is the lead author of the books “Supply Chain Network Design” and “Managerial Analytics,” and writes at https://MikeTalksAI.substack.com/.
Mark Baxa
President & Ceo, Cscmp
Mark has a 38 year career to date with the majority of that time in supply chain. Specific experiences include sales, customer service, logistics, distribution, global trade, procurement, sustainability, supplier diversity, training, and supply chain strategy leadership.

Additional experience includes 21 years with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), www.cscmp.org, and a member of the executive Board of Directors serving as Chairman of the Board - Elect.

He also serves as co-lead for the St Louis University Center of Supply Chain Excellence Global Supply Chain Certificate Programs and am an adjunct professional instructor and facilitated supply chain policy development at the US Federal level, teach executive courses at the university level and speak at select conferences.

Mark is responsible for CSCMP’s vision and strategic plan.
Andrew Byer
Andrew Byer
Supply Network Operations, Procter & Gamble
Andrew leads Supply Network Operations capability globally, with responsibility to develop mastery, drive adoption, ensure governance and lead innovation for work process and tools/systems across planning, logistics, innovation and customer / supplier collaboration. He also leads supply chain know how licensing for P&G’s Alliance with EY, which provides EY clients with access to P&G’s supply chain expertise and work standards.

Andrew has 39 years experience working across multiple business units and regions, including 12 years based in Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore.) Andrew’s expertise includes new product introduction, planning, shelf-to-cash, transportation and warehousing, contract manufacturing, major acquisition integration, supply network design and program management in leading large-scale business process transformation and IT projects.

Andrew is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, is married, and has four children.
Ryan Goodwin
Ryan Goodwin
Senior Director of Advance Supply Chain Management, Trinity Industries
As Senior Director of Advance Supply Chain Management at Trinity Industries, Ryan is responsible for enabling new capabilities and improving existing supply chain processes to support Trinity Industries supply chain strategy.

This includes aligning the supply chain strategy roadmap to the corporate vision and operating plan, working with supply chain functional area teams (sourcing, procurement, supplier quality, logistics, and supply chain finance) to automate processes, provide custom analytics & decision support, and implement new supply chain execution systems.

Ryan has been at Trinity Industries for 10 years and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago.

Prior to working at Trinity Industries, Ryan was a supply chain consultant for 20 years at PwC, CSC, and IBM. Ryan is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Texas Christian University in supply chain management.
Ryan Grote
Supply Chain Solutions Analyst
Ryan Grote is the Supply Chain Solutions Analyst at FreightWaves where he works with enterprise shippers to leverage freight market data to improve supply chain planning and execution. He has spent the last decade working in supply chain and logistics for various Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, H-E-B Grocery, Nissan Motors, and Uber. He has held roles in product development, transportation, warehousing/distribution, and data analytics.

Prior to FreightWaves he was Director of Logistics for a privately owned Nissan Dealership group. Ryan holds a BBA in Supply Chain Management and Logistics from Texas A&M University.

He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife.
Melanie Hertel
Melanie Hertel
Director of International Logistics and Trade Complianc, Ace Hardware
Melanie Hertel currently serves as the Director of International Logistics and Trade Compliance at Ace Hardware. She providers leadership in global transportation and vendor management from purchase order issuance through vendor payment, import/export trade compliance, as well as procurement.

Melanie and her team focus on developing and delivering both the long-term strategy and strong day-to-day operational results, serve Ace Hardware Retailers.

Melanie has a background as a senior leader in all modes of transportation and compliance with adaptive leadership in driving growth-oriented strategies. Melanie operates using the backbone of accountability, dependability, and integrity to deliver cohesive communication solutions across an organization. Her proven track record reinforces functional excellence in logistics, finance, project and program management, and policy development while moving the needle on organizational success.

Melanie previously held the position of Director Inbound Logistics for Uline, where she provided informative guidance and outstanding leadership to the team, while overseeing all aspects of Uline’s inbound logistics, domestics, and international transportation, and import brokerage. Previously, Melanie spent over 15 years with W.W. Grainger and Sears Holdings Corporation in roles ranging from Global Sourcing to various Transportation leadership positions.
Kyle Jurczak
Kyle Jurczak
Senior Data Scientist, Decision Spot
Kyle is a Senior Data Scientist at Decision Spot with experience in the supply chain and transportation fields at companies on the Fortune 500 and CNBC Disruptor Top 50 lists. He has supported projects for demand forecasting, root cause analysis, a-b testing/experimental design and more.

Prior to Decision Spot, Kyle worked at Convoy and Coupa Software (via LLamasoft and Opex Analytics). He holds a Master’s in Analytics from Georgia Tech and Bachelor’s in Statistics from Michigan State.

In his free time he plays tennis and puts his Data Science background to use by creating sports models.
Dan Kogan
Dan Kogan
Co-founder & Managing Director, The Strategy-Driven Supply Chain Institute
Dan Kogan is a consultant and an educator with a passion at the intersection of supply chain, strategy, and finance.

Dan is co-founder and managing director of The Strategy-Driven Supply Chain Institute where he works with companies to facilitate alignment across those very domains.

He is also currently an Adjunct Instructor at Washington University in St. Louis where he enjoys cultivating business acumen in the next generation of leadership.
Anand Mehta
Director of Data Science, Bridgestone
Anand Mehta is the Director of Data Science at Bridgestone Americas, leading the Center of Expertise and driving the data science strategy to enhance business performance. With over two decades of global experience in business transformation and innovation, Anand is instrumental in realizing Bridgestone's North Star Vision through digital transformation and the development of new AI and ML use cases.

Anand holds a Master of Engineering in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from MIT, and a Bachelor of Economics from The Wharton School. His expertise spans supply chain management, logistics, process optimization, strategic network design, simulation and optimization, sales and operations planning, demand management, and corporate finance and modeling.

Throughout his career, Anand has led teams and initiatives at renowned organizations including Cummins Inc., BWGS, and Metro Cash & Carry International GmbH, consistently driving supply chain transformation and operational excellence. He is passionate about challenging and motivating others to thrive in dynamic and competitive environments.

Anand's contributions extend beyond his roles, as evidenced by his involvement in the Enterprise Data Strategy Board and his membership in The Data Board, where he collaborates with industry leaders to shape data strategy globally. Anand is dedicated to continuous learning and development, exemplified by his active participation in academic and professional communities.
Dan Vanden Brink
Partner, Decision Spot
Dan Vanden Brink is a highly experienced Supply Chain and Technology Executive with a distinguished career spanning over 25 years. With a solid foundation in technology, supply chain, strategy and leadership, Dan has cultivated expertise in strategy formulation, organizational scaling, and effective leadership. Notably, he has consistently demonstrated his ability to drive significant financial outcomes, generating over $200 million in savings to his employers and clients through the application of Optimization and Data Science.

Throughout his career, Dan has held key leadership roles in prominent companies such as Decision Spot, LLamasoft, IBM, and Schneider National. His leadership style emphasizes team empowerment and development, resulting in sustained success across various organizations. Dan's professional journey showcases his proficiency in navigating complex challenges within the supply chain and technology domains. He has spearheaded initiatives in customer success, product management, analytics, and advanced decision sciences, consistently driving growth and innovation.

Beyond his corporate endeavors, Dan is actively engaged in academia and industry associations, contributing to professional societies, board memberships and public speaking engagements.

With a strong academic background complementing his extensive practical experience, including a Master’s in Operations and a BS in Industrial Engineering, Dan Vanden Brink is a versatile leader driving impactful change in the supply chain and technology landscape.
Ryan Veleke
Ryan Veleke
VP Supply Chain AMER, Plexus Corp
Ryan Veleke is a seasoned supply chain leader with nearly a decade of experience at Plexus Corp., currently serving as VP Supply Chain AMER. With a strong foundation in analytics, business modeling, and data science, he drives innovative solutions to meet complex supply chain challenges.

Ryan's expertise spans from directing supply chain systems development to leading teams in engineering and solution design, evident in his tenure at Schneider National and Intel Corporation. His educational background includes an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from Arizona State University, with an emphasis on leadership.

Committed to continuous learning, Ryan exemplifies a blend of technical acumen and strategic vision, consistently delivering value to Plexus and its stakeholders while nurturing talent to achieve their full potential.

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