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Adrian Wood

5 Minutes With… Dassault Systèmes’ Adrian Wood

For the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series we spoke to Adrian Wood Director, Strategy & Marketing at Dassault Systèmes, about the company, the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the industry, the rise of the remote workforce, automation and the importance of listening…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

On our website you will see that Dassault Systèmes provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Practically, that means you can use our technology to design, simulate, engineer and make whatever your customers need in the most efficient and sustainable way, even in the midst of disruption and changing markets.

What have been the biggest challenges the Supply Chain industry has faced over the past 12 months?

The disruption clearly tested the resiliency and agility of our global, interconnected supply chains. Those companies that did not have true visibility to the real-time status of what was happening across their own facilities and their outsourced partners suffered the most: they didn’t know how to react and respond to the changes with any confidence.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

Some industry segments saw growth based on specific needs. The need to enable remote workforces drove increases in technology, data and communication providers. Government aerospace companies remained strong and while commercial aerospace is slowly climbing back, many companies saw the slack time as an opportunity to update some of their technology infrastructure.

What is the biggest priority for the Supply Chain industry in 2021?

Most companies are now trying to determine how to gain (or regain) that visibility across their end to end network which was sorely lacking. In some cases, companies are looking to near-shore or actually regain ownership of previously outsourced supply chain operations to ensure they have more control and visibility in the future.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?

As consumers, we will continue to demand highly customized products and items with short lead times. This pace and complexity will increase and put pressure on manufacturers to become more agile as demand accelerates for products and services (including travel). I think it will start to separate out the true leaders from the laggards in industry.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

I think it’s all about visibility and optimization. The concept of the “control tower” is top of mind for many companies, but it’s more than just seeing what’s happening; it’s about being able to take (almost) infinitely complex scenarios and develop feasible plans that allow companies to have confidence in executing sustainably.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

Fully optimized and automated fulfilment. We’re all getting used to the “Amazon” effect where whatever you want is just a few hours away from arriving at your door. We’re going to want this for more complex products also and the industry leaders will be figuring out how to make it happen.

Which person in, or associated with, the Supply Chain industry would you most like to meet?

If I think of iconic supply chain “shifts” then people like Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell come to mind but really pulling off effective supply chain execution is a collaborative effort inside an organization, so I think you would have to think differently. I’d love to meet the team at Cisco as they seem to consistently be ranked top in supply chain capabilities.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Supply Chain sector?

Two things. The first (like everyone else) is how fragile supply chains actually are. The pandemic was obviously unprecedented but one stuck cargo ship is all it takes. The second thing is the lack of resiliency of supply chains. The pandemic has been with us now for almost 20 months and we’re still talking about stocking up on essentials and preparing for a lack of Christmas gifts. I would have hoped more innovation would have been put into effect by now.

You go to the bar at the Total Supply Chain Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

I’m still missing my beach vacations, so I’ll take a Mai Tai or anything with an umbrella so that I can imagine I’m sitting in the tropics.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Being on the cutting edge of virtual technology and seeing how it interacts and impacts real life. We do so many cool things that continually amaze me.

And what’s the most challenging?

Connecting with customers and our audiences, although that is starting to get better. We’ve found some really creative ways to engage with people but you can’t beat standing in front of them face to face.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Listen before talking. In almost any situation (personal and professional) this is something that has served me well.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

That’s tough. Stranger Things satisfies my inner sci-fi nerd but having grown up in England around the area where Peaky Blinders is set (and even having a “brummie” accent for a bit) I’d have to go with the Shelby family.