Podcast: Let’s Talk Supply Chain – Achieve Real Results And Innovate For The Future, with GAINS

In this episode of the #LetsTalkSupplyChain Podcast, we discuss:

• Challenges in investing in technology and finding the ‘why’
• Disconnect between supply chain tech and expected results, shared blame with vendors
• Complex testing environments for smaller businesses, importance of mindset change, focusing on ‘why’
• Debunking supply chain ‘truths’ and the need for world-class software
• Decision engineering and composability at GAINS
• Technology for effective inventory management and competitive advantage
• GAINS’ direction in leading the market, combining tribal knowledge with innovation
• Dave’s excitement for 2024, pursuing success and making a difference

➡ Want to connect with Dave Shrager?

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Speaker 1 (00:01):

Let’s talk supply chain. So welcome to the show, Dave.

Speaker 2 (00:06):

Hey, Sarah, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here today and looking forward to this conversation.

Speaker 1 (00:09):

Yeah, I’m excited. I mean, this is the third and final episode in our series with GAINS, and I’ve spoken to Bill and Jeff so far. We’ve talked about who GAINS are, what you do, and also about decision making and risk. That one was very interesting. We did that in studio in Atlanta, which was super cool. We also talked about making better decisions across your organization, what that should look like, and I’ve loved working with GAINS, finding out the story, what is the motivation behind the brand? Also talking to people within the organization and how they’re thinking about supply chain and how you’re making an impact in the industry. So I’m really excited for the conversation today and hear more of the insights into supply chain and some of the work that GAINS is doing. So let’s go out with a bang. Why don’t we start with a bit of a background. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at GAINS.

Dave Shrager (01:09):

Sure, Sarah, I appreciate it. So I’ve been in and around supply chain, an dgosh, you hate to date yourself since the nineties. And it’s funny that some of the what is new is actually old. So many of the same topics and problems and challenges and candidly even technology that we’ve been talking about and using isn’t all that different than what it was back in the nineties. So I’ve had the opportunity to work at a number of very interesting and intriguing companies over the years, all in and around software, and joined GAINS about three years ago, took on the role of Chief Revenue Officer. Recently, about a year back now, took on the role of Presidency and off we go. It’s been a great run. Candidly, without too much, too much focus, GAINS was the small under the radar company that just did great work. Serves customers well, had extraordinarily happy customers. And when I took a look at this personally before I joined, I just saw tremendous people, tremendous resources, tremendous technology, and not a lot of commercial focus. So we’ve done a little bit more. We’re going to focus on growing gradually, growing smart, growing with customers that want to expand with us. And we’re still a little bit off the radar screen, but we’re making a dent and it’s a lot of fun.

Sarah (02:22):

Well, and we’re helping you to do that, and I’m so grateful that GAINS and your team has decided to trust us with that because I think we’ve really been able to put out some good content and today is going to be absolutely no different. And I can hear the passion in your voice. You say that you’ve been in the industry since the nineties. I’ve kind been in the industry since the nineties too, because I can tell you I worked in the Vancouver branch when I was 16 in 1996. So it’s crazy to think that we’ve been in this world of supply chain and how much has changed. And we’re going to be talking about technology investments today, and I feel like we talk about technology a lot, but I think people are still grappling with investing in technology. People want to invest, they want to try things out, but then they also don’t want to be caught when it doesn’t work, right?

Dave (03:15):

Yeah. Sarah, one of the things I struggle with is candidly, the same conversations that we had in the nineties are still having. You know, what is my demand? What is my supply? How do I tie these things together? The labels have changed, the technology has changed, the PowerPoints haven’t changed all that much, the stories haven’t changed. But what has changed tremendously is the technology available to all of us. So at GAINS, we like to take a little bit of a different perspective. For example, we fall under the purview of the supply chain planning bucket in the world of the Gartner and the analysts out there. But really what do we help companies do? We help companies focus on decisions. And the decisions that move their business, that make an impact in their business. And often enough companies come to us with, I need a planning solution. I need to do the following 20 things.


I need to solve all of these problems. And when you ask ’em a simple question, why? What is the impact? What will that drive? They stare at you. They almost don’t know the answer to those questions. And that’s, as a vendor that’s been working in this market for many, many years, and as an individual who’s seen transformation, who’s seen massive projects, failures, successes, and everywhere in between, it’s a little bit disheartening to still hear that all these years later, people don’t necessarily know why they need to make these investments in technology. So at GAINS a big part of our role is to understand our clients, to really get to the DNA of what makes their business succeed and hopefully help them navigate to focusing on the appropriate decisions at the appropriate time to drive impact in their business.

Sarah (04:58):

Well, and we’re going to talk about that, but let’s talk about the disconnect that’s happening right now. So in the research leading up to this episode, we looked at a PWC study and that showed the 83% of executives say supply chain technology investments haven’t fully delivered the expected results. Now, this is a huge red flag I think when a lot of supply chain professionals, leaders, teams look at using new technology or look at technology partners in general. They’ve been through this, they’ve been there, they’ve done that. And so there’s a disconnect between the market and what technology firms are providing. Now, what’s happening with that? Is it just because supply chain leaders are overwhelmed or is it because they don’t really understand the technology that they need or maybe they’re choosing a technology that they think is going to help and then maybe it doesn’t. But I think right, a lot of supply chain leaders and teams are feeling very overwhelmed and kind of like it’s a lost leader. They just don’t know where to go and how to do it.

Speaker 2 (06:06):

Yeah, everybody talks about covid and pre covid and post covid and the impact that that’s had. And so what we saw during covid is all of a sudden supply chain became very important. Everyone’s talked about this at length and budgets presented themselves. And so all of these class of problems that people have been trying to solve for all of these years, all of a sudden became, here’s a budget. You need to go solve this. And companies, rather than getting back to the question I brought up a little bit earlier around what decision should we focus on? Where is the area in my business that if I effective performance here, it’ll improve the outcome of that business. What companies did is they just went out and said, I need a planning technology. I need visibility technology, I need this technology, I need that technology. And worst of all, they trusted and said to the marketplace, you know what?


I’m going to buy all these disparate things and you can tie them together for me and this will solve my problems. So part of this is the vendors we’re culpable in this exercise. We take these visions, we talk about transformation, but we really don’t talk about how that company is unique, how there’s an opportunity to move that needle. So when I look at that statistic and that PWC report, I think it was about a year ago, it really echoes with me when 83% of executives say that their investments are not delivering the outcomes that they deserve. The first thing we need to ask ourselves as participants in the ecosystem is how do we improve? How do we sit down and make sure that we focus on results, that we focus on outcomes, that we focus on meaningful impact to our client’s business, whether we’re a consulting company, a software company, a client themselves.


And to answer your simple question, yes, they’re all overwhelmed. By the way, we were overwhelmed before covid. That’s true. Everybody talks about covid, but this business has had its set of challenges. Complexity is the new norm. I really get a kick out of people sort of running away from the concept of complexity. And as a vendor, it’s our responsibility not just to discuss the path towards simplifying your business and narrowing your product line and being really, really good at what you’re good at. It’s talking about embracing complexibility, embracing all the variability out there. With today’s technology, there’s a lot of opportunity to expand the ecosystem of partners you can work with instead of contract, there’s the ability to share information, there’s the ability to make your supply chain partners healthier. And I’m not so sure that as vendors, we’ve done a great job of sitting down with our customers, understanding their business and trying to prescribe to their business as much as we’ve gone out and sold the vision and said, here, come make this investment. So we’re all a bit culpable here, and I think we’re trying to get better, but I do think that there’s a different way to do it.

Speaker 1 (08:58):

Well, and from what I’m hearing from you, there’s so much variables. There’s so many people involved. Some technology is good for some folks, some other technology is good for them as well. And what I have been talking to a few people over the last year or so that I don’t feel that we talk enough about, it’s almost like a testing environment. And I’ve heard about it in larger companies where they have the budget and they have the people and that they can have a testing environment and they can bring in all sorts of technology and they can test it and they can break it and they can figure out what is right for them. But I almost feel like we need to, and I always say collaboration is the future of business. We need to come together right as vendors and as buyers of the technology and the platform and really provide that testing environment. Would you agree with that?

Speaker 2 (09:49):

Either way? I think that small companies in particular, because we work with companies that are in the sub hundred million dollar range all the way to companies that are 15, 20 billion. And what you see with the smaller companies, they don’t have the time, the capacity, the people, the knowhow, fair point, even if they wanted to test of what to test. And this goes back, and I know I’ve been belaboring this point in our short conversation already, but we try to really sit down with customers and understand who they are, what motivates them, what are the opportunities within their respective supply chains to impact a small detail, improve a piece of the business, whether it’s product availability, whether it’s time to market, whether it’s inventory position, whether it’s demand prediction, what is the value of demand prediction? And okay, I understand my demand. Well, I’m really, people come to me all the time and say, I’d like to understand my need to have a better demand prediction.


And the first question I ask is, okay, why? What are you trying to accomplish? What would you like to do? And if we can get to the core of what the folks are trying to accomplish and we can help them attack one decision, and that one decision, that one improvement, that can be their testing ground back to the question you asked a moment ago, then all of a sudden we create value. And when you create value, the ability to create additional value and create more value, and by the way, identify value that even me as the vendor, if I don’t fit that gap quite potentially, I can direct the client towards the next opportunity they have. That opportunity does not have to be with me.

Speaker 1 (11:26):

I like to hear that.

Speaker 2 (11:27):

I think that’s a responsibility we have to the marketplace because if I create value and I create impact and customers achieve outcomes, and they do that in an incremental, incremental yet transformational approach, I think that’s a great recipe. One comment there that I’ll go off for a moment. Transformation has been portrayed as big projects, long periods of time, lots of money, massive initiatives. Generally speaking, big partner relationships, big deployments of big technology. It doesn’t have to be that way. No it doesn’t. Transformation can be bitten off. It’s the old analogy of bite off the elephant, one bite at a time. You can attack transformation by improving your business one bite at a time. And as a vendor, it’s our job and responsibility to help identify vendor if we’re the right fit for a client and what bites we would recommend. And then candidly, it’s also our responsibility to go to the client and maybe share with them what they don’t see in their own business. Because we learn quite a bit about our customers along the way. And I think often we learn more about their businesses than they may see on their own because their people aren’t always telling the truth

Speaker 1 (12:38):

Well and seeing the gaps. But not only that, but also putting it into perspective and priority. And I think that sparks the discussion that you can have with the client where they think maybe the priority is over here. And after having that discussion and doing more of a bit of a deep dive, you might go back to them and say, well, actually we think that your priority is over here and we because of this, this, this, and this.

Speaker 2 (13:04):

Sure. Well, if you think about that, to your point, they have a priority and that priority is critical. And that’s why we’re there. That’s why we’re having the conversation. And maybe I don’t change their priority, but maybe what I do as I’m looking into that, as I’m investigating that, I do a simple two by two matrix of easy to achieve, high value towards, difficult to achieve low value. And I look at, well, what capabilities could we do? What things could we impact along the way to achieving their vision? I don’t want to discount that vision. I don’t want to discount what’s important to them, but to achieving that vision, but getting some incremental value along the way. And what if I spent one month doing something instead of nine months? What if I immediately got to an ROI? And what if I use that ROI to help those people fund those projects and to keep going? And it’s just a different way of thinking. Incrementalism is an approach that’s been out there for a long time, but I think transformation and incrementalism can coexist

Speaker 1 (14:04):

Well. And I think there are some truths out there that supply chain professionals kind of hold dear. Right? So let’s debunk some of those. Okay. I think some of the professionals say desperately seeking certainty is a false idol. What would you say to

Speaker 2 (14:22):

That? Yeah. So certainty. What does certainty mean?

Speaker 1 (14:28):

Now we’re getting philosophical

Speaker 2 (14:30):

In the world of uncertainty that we live in. So we use a term, and it’s a pretty commonly understood term in the industry. It’s a vuca, it’s a volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. That’s the world that supply chain professionals live in today. So back to the demand discussion we were having a little bit earlier, you hear a tremendous amount of focus getting into exactly the right demand prediction. Well, the world doesn’t work that way. The world works in a range of variable outcomes. A lot of different things can happen to my demand, to my supply, to my network, to my customers, and understanding the portfolio of decisions that could happen and that need to occur and planning for that range of outcomes. And then when the outcomes occur, the big message point the market has been bringing from a technology perspective is listen to the signals.


Get the real time information. Use the real time information to readjust your plan. Well, what if you just plan for uncertainty? What if you plan for complexity? What if you already built that into your plan? And it goes back to your desperately seeking certainty? It is a first off, you’re never going to get there because you may be able to predict the most perfect things in the world. And by the way, then they change. And as we know, our world changes constantly. And I think the past of trying to get to certainty is a false idol. I firmly agree with that.

Speaker 1 (15:59):

Absolutely. Now, the second one that everybody says is, no company has one supply chain.

Speaker 2 (16:05):

Oh gosh. Yeah. From a GAINS perspective, we try to treat that. I think it ties into the decisioning discussion that we’ve been having so far, really spending time to understand the DNA of a company, what drives them, what are the unique differentiators by how they win, what they produce, how they distribute, how they serve, et cetera, and satisfying those through focused technology investments. And so while you’ll hear as a vendor, we focus on delivering the same technology to the smallest companies in the world and to the largest companies in the world, and having accessibility to those solutions, even with our smallest clients, we really have to understand what are the drivers in their business? And if I’m solving a certain class and type of problem, the combination of operations, research, knowledge, data science, knowledge, algorithms, everybody says machine learning. Well, sometimes machine learning is appropriate. It’s a tool, sometimes it’s not appropriate. So understanding the combination of tools, data, expertise, back to the core question, I think that really talks to the fact that everyone’s a little different. I can treat everyone different, but I still should operate within a common framework of technology along the way.

Speaker 1 (17:20):

Yeah, that’s so true. And everybody, I mean, everybody has different components to their supply chain. They have different nuances they might source from different places than somebody else, but at the end of the day, supply chain can be and is kind of the similar thing. There’s just different components to each side. And then the next one is there are no right answers.

Speaker 2 (17:43):

Yes, I think we’ve leaned on this a little bit already. This goes back to certainty and predictability and exacting software and systems can no longer provide perfect prediction. What you try to do is you try to get a range of outcomes in the business. You try to understand how the business will react to those range of outcomes. The old days of saying, last Thursday performed this way and next Thursday at three o’clock is going to perform that way, those days are gone. So how do I take all of these different range of outcomes? How do I take all of my hundreds of thousands of right answers and just create a framework and a capability leveraging technology to be able to, as you go through the operation of the business, as your customers consume your products, to adapt and to change and to edit and to maintain and to be able to take the information and planning that you have and to execute and really to execute with a plan in advance rather than try to always be perfect. This quest of perfection will lead to constant frustration.

Speaker 1 (18:55):

Yes, it’s a journey or it’s progress. It’s not perfection. I mean, I think too many times, even in our personal lives, we try to strive for that. And we got to remember it’s a journey. And this one kind of goes into the last one, one size doesn’t fit all. I mean, do we really believe that? And is that a truth?

Speaker 2 (19:15):

Yeah, I think in our business and having been in enterprise software since the early nineties, I think it’s very appropriate that vendors try to take an approach that here’s our vision, here’s our approach, here’s what we do and here’s how that fits your business. And of course, at GAINS, we do some of that, but we really look at all of the different capabilities, skills, knowledge, wherewithal. And if you look at current modern technology today and you say, I have access to more solvers, more solving technology than ever before, I have access to more data than ever before. So how do I take the decision that I’m trying to impact the tools and capabilities available to us, and how do I compose and deliver solutions in a very effective manner that fits that company at that time, at that size? And not only, it’s not just size related.


For example, just earlier this week, I was on the phone with a but a $15 billion consumer goods company that has a tremendous inventory challenge and an opportunity that’s born of that. And what came out of that discussion is that the team is struggling with adoption. The team is struggling not with technology adoption, with the fact that they’ve made these decisions a certain way, candidly, on the back of napkins in a little bit of Excel for the last 15 years. And so napkins, how did they take a technology that might very well work for a five man operation, deploy it to a 200 man operation and have it fit to what they want and need? And so the way we’ve done that and attack that problem a little bit is just look at the problem set, work our way backwards, look at all of the skills, knowledge, wherewithal and tools available to us and compose solutions that help customers drive those outcomes.


And this goes back to outcomes and focus and decisioning. Just really believe that focusing in on one decision that can really make an impact in your organization. And then using that positive energy to drive further transformation, not only from an economic perspective and a vendor perspective, but candidly from a change management perspective, we believe that that ties back to that 83% you talked about a little bit earlier, because that’s a model for success. That’s a model that I succeed, I get the team to buy into that success. I do it again, and all of a sudden I built upon that over time and I’m composing these solutions to solve these problems and now I have success, whatever the definition of that is.

Speaker 1 (21:55):

Well, and it also goes down to picking the right vendor and making sure that when you are working with that technology partner that they can evolve with you. So when it says one size can’t fit all, well, maybe not in the beginning because your priorities might be different than where they’re going to be in two to three years, maybe even five years. And so you want to work with somebody who can actually evolve with that growth. And even some of those changes, I mean, we all know there’s disruption in supply chain and that’s not going anywhere. So the last one is, every company deserves access to world-class software.

Speaker 2 (22:31):

Sure, yeah. We firmly believe, we firmly believe this. So if I look at our largest customers in our smallest customers, in every area in between, every company has the same set of challenges. For some it’s growth, for some it’s cost savings, for some it’s inefficiency, for some it’s scale. But people generally have the same classes or problems, whether I’m a two man shop, a five man shop, a 5,000 person shop, supply chain organizations we have, they’re trying to predict, they’re trying to deliver, they’re trying to plan, they’re trying to manage, and they’re trying to deal with all of the uncertainty each and every single day. So at GAINS, we’ve taken the approach that while we have accessibility to all of the cutting edge algorithms and capabilities and functions that any company might want to solve their class of problems, I want to make that same exact solution that can be delivered to the greatest and most complex companies in the world accessible to the smallest. And we’ve done a really good job of doing that in a singular platform, and it’s a big part of everything we do. When we make decisions about where we invest and we talk about solving complex problems, one of the first things we do is say, what would happen for our 70 million client versus our 70 billion client? How would they absorb this? Could they use this? And how of course do we prepackage these solutions to make them more accessible?

Speaker 1 (23:53):

Yeah, I love that because we all need to take a look at the different organizations that are going to use some of our software as a vendor partner or a technology partner, and what does that look like throughout the evolution? Because you want to be with them and you want to grow with them, you want to evolve, you want to help solve some of those disruptions that they’re going to see along the way as well. Now, GAINS is defined a new principle in supply chain, it’s called decision engineering. And you also, GAINS uses all these different words because I remember talking on the last episode and hearing some of those words that you’ve kind of made up internally, but that totally makes sense. So one of them is decision engineering and the other one is composability. So can you talk about both of those? What do they actually mean and how are they relevant to supply chains right now?

Speaker 2 (24:52):

Yeah, so the irony is that these are concepts that exist in the marketplace and have for a little bit of a while, but I think we’ve embraced them here at GAINS quite a bit. The idea of decision air engineering is really, really simple. We want to spend time with you, we want to understand your business. We want to peel the layers off the onion and get to the core of the problem. In all candor, you may have an RFI and RFP, we may participate in that. We may not. We’d really like to understand your business. We’d like to dig in and learn as much as possible. And through that learning, go back to that simple two by two matrix. Where can we drive decisions that drive the highest value outcome at the least amount of effort along the journey to whatever your effort might very well be?


And in order to do that, then what you need to do is look at all of the capabilities that a vendor may have, but compose a solution specifically towards that requirement. So what we deliver is an out of the box platform called the games performance platform that allows companies to have access to different algorithms, different capabilities, different answers, different solvers. They can come in pre composed applications that allow for things like demand supply, production, capacity, inventory, or particularly well known where companies that have challenges where inventory is impactful, but how do I look at the business problem that I’m trying to solve and the company that I am and the needs that I have and the team that I have and compose a very specific set of solutions in a commonly understood product set, and then later allows me to equally address other areas. I’ll give you an example.


We have a long-term customer that’s been with us almost 20 years. They’re actually at least 20 years now. They’re a distribution company. That’s great. They started off with us when things like machine learning and AI weren’t terms, algorithms were terms, but machine learning and ai. And so today, one of the things we’re doing with them is we’re trying to help them mature their range of demand predictions so that they can better plan for their appropriate amount of inventory. So the way we’re doing that is we’re continuing to use commonly understood tools in a composed application for demand planning, but we’re also leveraging in machine learning and looking at external variables and improving the demand output equally, we’re taking that exact same technology and composing a different application around things such as lead time indication, how do I more appropriately predict my lead time or my products to my facilities, which then therefore ties into my inventory positioning.


So how do we use all the skills and capabilities that are available to us today, impose those with the tools and the solutions and the approaches that have been done in the past and look at the company’s challenges and continually improve upon those challenges. Do I have to buy all at once? Can I consume it in a Lego brick type approach and compose and build my houses and add a room as I need to? That’s sort of the viewpoint we have. So when we talk about composability, we’re really talking about meeting the customers where they are, stretching them a little bit, constantly innovating, pushing them just a little bit more to tackle the next project. And again, back to this theme I’ve been using over and over again, transforming along the way. So luckily it’s been a tremendous run for us over the last few years.


The business is growing candidly. We’re growing in a very, I want to say predictable and methodical approach. We’re not going to take on too much business. We’re busy. We have the opportunity where we somewhat get to choose who we work with and what we look for is we look for companies that are a good fit. And candidly, we look for companies that have maybe failed deploying other technologies that fall into that 83% that if they were to just go get a win and another win and another win and another win, they might be really, really happy with that. And all of a sudden they wake up and they’re transformed and they didn’t even know what happened

Speaker 1 (28:55):

And build on that. Now, I want to build on that example that you gave because I feel like we are talking about different ways that we can work with technology partners. And I think about me as a consumer, and so recently I’ve gone out, I’ve done some shopping, and shelves are empty. And so if they have the right software that they’re working with that can give them the right information and the tools to be able to do that prediction, and they’re the only product on that shelf at that time that that shelf is empty, there’s your competitive advantage from a supply chain.

Speaker 2 (29:36):

Yeah, I took my daughter to the mall about a week ago. It was after the holidays. She’s 15 old and she’s shopping for jeans, and at that age, it’s nearly impossible to shop for jeans. And so I won’t mention the stores out of respect for certain brands, but we went into the favorite store and the favorite jean that she wanted and they didn’t have it, and she got on her phone and looked at it and saw it was online, but then she walked to the second favorite store and they had the jean. That wasn’t exactly what she wanted, but she wanted it right there and right then. So she bought it. She paid a little bit more at the second store for the product that she didn’t really want as much as the one that wasn’t in the store next door that she could have ordered and had at the house in two days.


So what you just described actually still really matters in this world. And regardless of industry, regardless of scope, I think that story is pretty applicable, the right product and the right price and the right quantity at the right time. But by the way, you can’t break your business. Not every company is a pharmaceutical with the kind of margins on those products that others see. You really have to consider, are you planning appropriately to ensure that you don’t miss as many stockouts as you possibly can, capitalize as much revenue as you can, but at the same time, don’t overload your company with excessive carrying costs.

Speaker 1 (30:52):

Yeah. So let’s also talk about how GAINS is equipped to lead the market in a new direction, right? I’ve spoken to a couple of people from the organizations over the last couple of episodes, and they bring so much experience right along with yourself, right? Decades in the industry, decades in supply chain technology, really seeing how things have evolved and how things have changed. But now we’re seeing some new AI providers. AI is like that shiny new object, but I want to focus on how you’re able to lead the market in a new direction with that deep domain experience that you bring to the table as GAINS. Now, I’m going to just veer off for just one second because from a cyber technology or cybersecurity standpoint, when we think about tribal knowledge, that’s super important right now because if anything were to happen from a cybersecurity perspective, you need the tribal knowledge on hand so that when you go manual, somebody knows what they’re doing, right? You know what to do. Right now, we’re so dependent on technology. So I wanted to just sort of plant that seed as we go into that next question about how you lead a new direction for the market aGAINSt some of these AI and how that deep tribal knowledge is sort of invaluable.

Speaker 2 (32:20):

Yeah, thanks for that question. I mean, we do believe it’s a tremendous differentiator for our business. When I go into a discussion with a customer, I can bring four or five people that have spent 20, 30 years in industry solving these classes of problems using different tools available to them at this time. And you brought up a very specific point a few moments ago. There’s all different types of vendors as there always have been these days. It’s all about AI and ml and it’s solving every single problem. And there really is a class of separate problems out there and different tools and capabilities that having the team that has seen this before that understands the combination of somewhat old, somewhat new, somewhat cutting edge, somewhat tried and true and understands the class of problems. So for example, without going through a specifics of a use case for a customer, it would be very normal for us to see a very traditional or driven approach combined with machine learning, combined with a bit of cutting edge AI combined with traditional collaboration to get to an outcome and an answer.


And too often and too much vendors are going out and saying, you need to do it this way. This is the best way. And as a vendor, it’s our job to embrace all of the methods and all of the approaches and sit down and really understand our client’s needs and drive to outcomes based on that goes back to the composability. You mentioned a little bit earlier, and we think that’s why we’re different. So you started this with a little bit around what does GAINS bring to the marketplace and how are we a little bit different? We really do take a very high degree of pride in our team’s experience expertise. For example, there’s a gentleman I believe you interviewed recently, Jeff Miky. Jeff is on his fifth wave of supply chain design technology, which is an area in which we help clients through what I would call network design.


There’s a whole bunch of vendors out there right now doing network design exactly the same way as it’s been done for the last 30 years. And don’t get me wrong, there’s some validity there, but there’s also opportunities to take that experience tied in with new technologies and get to the same questions we were trying to answer previously in new ways. So we actually very firmly believe that that experience, that know how that people that have been there and done that before yet understand new and modern and techniques and can merge these together is a differentiator. In all candor, it’s a differentiator in the selling cycle, but it’s most importantly in the implementation, and this goes back to why to 83% of companies view these as, I guess not achieving the value they expected. I think that often enough, we take technology, we throw it over the fence and say, go implement this. The people implementing it really don’t understand what they’re throwing in other than they’re putting in a piece of technology that does a certain thing. And we need to get back to the cores of what are the business problems we’re focused on? What are all of the available technologies and tools out there to solve these types of problems, and how do we go do it

Speaker 1 (35:35):

Well? And what you’re talking about is exactly your customer’s going through. Yes, it’s about the tribal knowledge. They’re looking at the technology, they’re trying to answer the questions within their teams, and some of them are actually taking it to another level where there’s reverse mentoring, where you’re actually taking those with the tribal knowledge and putting them with maybe the next generation that are part of their teams to talk about how do you think about things? How do you ask the questions? What is your why? How do you think about technology and why do you think this one would work for us? And vice versa. So you get the tribal knowledge being exchanged, but then you also get the new and innovative exchange conversation and exchanged as well, which I think is absolutely crucial. But the one really cool part of that is that the vendor and the technology partner are going through the exact same thing as a supply chain team and leaders and the people on that team as well, which is so cool because I think at the end of the day, we’re all trying to navigate this. We’re all trying to make it better. We know how good this industry is, we know how vital and lifesaving this industry is, and we’re all trying to achieve those outcomes, but in variety of different ways and empowering and supporting each other to do that. So I love

Speaker 2 (36:52):

That. Yeah. Sarah, I want to emphasize a point you just made because especially when you’ve been around supply chain for a while, it’s our job to look to the next generations and to ensure that the learnings we’ve passed on that have value. Some of them do many of them, but some of them

Speaker 1 (37:09):

Not that it’s always been done this way,

Speaker 2 (37:11):

Not that it’s always been done this way, but that we’re able to pass that on, that we’re able to look at new and modern technology, but also old and past, but not just technology, but look around and say, have we left this ecosystem in a better place than when we got here? And I look at people like Jeff and Bill Benton, who’s our co-founder and many other members of the team recently, we had Amber Sally join us, we’re ecstatic to have her join us. And I look at folks that really want to leave behind a legacy, not just of technology, but make a difference and make a difference by leaving behind the legacy of people and culture and focus and really caring about supply chain because we do supply chain for many, many years has delivered the food, the products, the support. I mean, the world saw what happens when supply chain breaks down during Covid and it’s shined a new light on our industry.


It’s now a boardroom conversation where for many years it was sort of a little bit of an afterthought in many businesses. And it’s our job to help bring the next generation along the way and to empower that generation through tools, technology, process, knowledge and wherewithal. But most importantly, just with mentoring and being there, love that. It’s great to be in this market these days. It’s great to see the focus. I’m a little bit worried about, a little bit too much vendor speak out there, but we’re all going to do our best and try to improve the outcomes for all of our clients. And yeah, off we go.

Speaker 1 (38:41):

Love that. So what’s one thing that you’re excited about for 2024, and we’ll end there.

Speaker 2 (38:47):

Is that a personal or professional conversation? The personal ones easy. I’ll leave it alone. But professionally, I think the one thing is, is that from a GAINS perspective, we’re seeing a tremendous validation of the work we put in. And people here hold a lot of pride in what we do. In particular, we have a number of clients that have other planning systems that have other ERP systems and our ability to work with those solutions and drive value and get to impact and take that impact and drive to the next and for the next and the next, that’s invigorating as a vendor when success. Success is contagious. It

Speaker 1 (39:28):


Speaker 2 (39:29):

It really is. And it’s fun and it’s exciting, and it empowers our team. It enlivens our clients and it drives momentum. So what I’m most excited about is just continuing to focus in and hone in on that success and to making a difference. And hopefully in the long run, we’ll all leave behind a little bit of a better legacy than what we got into.

Speaker 1 (39:49):

I think supply chain is contagious anyways. So the last decade has demonstrated that the strength and stability of our global economy hinges on the resilience of supply chains. And as supply chain complexity exploded, the need for a more flexible agile approach, one that delivers continuous incremental improvements has become clear GAINS, recognize the need for a new kind of technology. So they built it focused on delivering outcomes, not software GAINS, delivers rapid results everywhere inventory matters. If you want to find out more, you can check them [email protected]. And did you have a guess at today’s big question? Well, at the top of the show, I asked you, according to a 2021 study by McKinsey, what percentage of digital transformation projects fail? Well, it’s a huge 69%. Now, who is shocked by that? I think I am. And probably a lot of people out there. So perhaps it’s time for your organization to ditch the big transformations and focus on results driven continuous improvement just like GAINS. Well, Dave, thank you so much for joining me today, and thanks again to the team at GAINS for making this episode happen. Thanks, Dave.

Speaker 2 (41:04):

Thank you so much, Sarah.