Kris Kosmala is Royal HaskoningDHV’s newly appointed Smart Ports Digital Services Director. Previously General Manager Asia Pacific at Quintiq, Kris is a recognized expert in transportation and logistics. His work focusses on business transformation alignment on a global scale for collaboration on land and sea.
Kris Kosmala brings many years of extensive global experience as a business operations executive in the services and technology industries. In his career, he worked on both sides of information technology – buying and implementing complex technology solutions, as well as, designing and selling solutions of software vendors addressing complex supply chain optimization problems. Kris regularly contributes to major publications catering to supply chain and logistics professionals and writes a regular column on Splash247.com in additional to his annual contributions to Forward with Toll, and Port Technology International.
In his words: “I enjoy the challenge of employing information technology as an accelerator of business growth. Of all business operations, I find supply chains provide the most fertile ground for creative re-thinking and transformative change. I find that frequently, new technology is not aligned with a company’s business strategy. I help companies address this critical issue, ensuring that the right technology is harnessed – and used correctly – to advance their organizational goals and turn it into a true competitive advantage.”
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Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- How RPA and Automation impact the industry and how humans need to be there to handle exceptions.
- How can companies get out of just running pilot after pilot and actually implement the changes?
- Alibaba working together with Tencent and using Wechat payment system for one goal – Eliminate suffering for the consumer!
- Which is better: top-down digital transformation strategies or local initiatives?
- Change management – how a CEO went through 3 CTOs in 6 years with no clear results
- “One of the big issues that we’re trying to resolve in shipping lines is essentially an imbalance in full containers and empty containers around the world. “
- Digital Freight Forwarder vs Traditional Freight Forwarder – the difference is in how they use data.
- [01:35] Tell us a little about your story
- [02:08] I kept bouncing between technology and supply chain which helped me understand how companies actually managed to implement and deploy a complex technology- helping them solve supply chain issues.
- [04:01] How does the OBOR (One Belt One Road) impact the South East Asia economies? How are countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam affected by this?
- [06:30] If you are working in the distributed manufacturing area and your responsibility is to fulfill demand globally, this is one of the great initiatives of the century.
- [08:31] Where do you see the role of humans versus machines or robots. What is the right proportion? And do you think they can work together?
- [10:41] Digitalization has slowly encroached on human tasks.
- [13:05] The biggest challenge of this century is figuring out how to retrain people with the onset of robotic process automation and artificial intelligence while considering complex decisions that the human tradition make in the product supply chain.
- [13:48] Employees now have to decide how are they going to coexist with RPA, because if they cannot stop it, they got to participate with it.
- [15:04] Supply chain is not simple. You have 40 days in the production cycle and 50 to 80 days for the shipping cycle before the final result is clear.
- [16:00] Supply chain professionals, when making a decision, they need to touch a lot of people, locations, and destinations. We have to accept that technology is moving in and impacting a lot of areas.
- [18:01] “What do you train people in to make better decisions?”
- [19:14] The companies when they are not so comfortable, they reduce the size of the implementation to a pilot or they call it proof of concept and they attempt to test the technology on a small subset of things.
- [20:04] The lack of imagination of how to set up a test of technology against the process is probably undoing a lot of projects.
- [22:04] We need to rethink how we are going to implement automation- not only approaching how the employees are going to be affected but also the organization itself.
- [23:46] What would be your advice for a CEO who wants to delve into digital transformation?
- [24:12] In supply chain it’s all about precision. It is all about detail when something is missing, you have to go back.
- [26:51] If you look at every shipping line in the business, they went in for the traditional ERP and send themselves a two-year target for implementation. And when you look at them, seven or eight years later, they are still implementing it.
- [29:29] Our cost of logistics as a percentage of sales still remain fixed and stable.
- [30:00] Can you give us an example of a project where you can say that they have implemented something and went beyond pilot?
- [30:36] I’m fascinated by what the Alibaba did with retail- when they deployed the grocery retail strategy in China.
- [33:38] It’s interesting how the concept of physical retail and digital retail got connected; how the physical logistics and digital logistics got connected; and how the physical payment and a logical or digital payment has been connected.
- [34:58] Alibaba is really attuned to how consumer shops, reacts, orders, and receives the delivery and they are also interested with what the consumer is doing with the product, and that drives the whole recommendation engine for their next visits – both in their physical and electronic stores.
- [36:28] One of the big issues that we’re trying to resolve in shipping lines is essentially an imbalance in large containers and empty containers around the world.
- [38:41] In terms of how an organization interacts with their clients, is there any pattern of success that you think could be duplicated by our listeners or some insightful piece you could share?
- [38:59] If there’s anything where I can point out success in my past it is holistic thinking, where people in the organization came together and they really made a joint commitment to actually implement and enforce change.
- [43:06] Do you see more success in top-down digital transformation, for example in global centralized led by HQ? Or did you see some local initiatives that worked really well in a region?
- [48:45] What type of mindset do you see the executives need to take on board to make sure that they navigate through this time of change? And second, are there certain hard skills that are more difficult to find in this age and time?
- [49:02] How important is the Chief Digital Officer role?
- [50:37] You cannot come in from a web development place and pretend that you know how to improve the precision and increase the efficiency of the supply chain.
- [53:40] “Inject some service sense of urgency, not trying to scare the living daylights out of them but actually explaining why the change needs to happen at a faster pace.”
- [54:12] Just getting yourself a better procurement professional is not enough to improve the supply chain- not without a holistic view of the industry.
- [56:36] For those who are new in the supply chain, are there certain skills or algorithms and programming they need to learn? What should they be finding more about so that they’re better prepared for the future?
- [57:18] As an example, when you’re the business manager and you come in a meeting with a data scientist, with algorithm experts and you’re listening to the conversation, you should not feel lost in that discussion. So I would say learning a little bit more about logic and mathematics.
- [59:41] It’s not about becoming an expert, but becoming savvy in terms of discussions with the people who are very intelligent and very skilled but in their narrow area.
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