In the Hot Seat with Matías Gilly

Q&A with Matías Gilly, Sage X3 Consultant at Percipient, specialising in distribution and manufacturing.

So, you are Percipient’s distribution and manufacturing industry expert – a sector which has experienced a turbulent year. What is your perspective on how the sector has responded to such extreme, unprecedented volatility?

It certainly has been a year of extreme volatility. But actually, we live in times where volatility has become the norm to some degree. COVID-19 is of course an extreme example, but there are many other political and social-economic changes in play which threaten disruption in so many ways. Manufacturers and distribution businesses have been faced with a need to manage disruption for some time now.

In light of this, many of our customers have invested in modern, robust, scalable platforms to support their finance and manufacturing operations. Greater automation, visibility and collaboration as a result of modernisation in these areas has undoubtedly helped them to navigate their way through the volatility experienced this year, and assume greater control over the decisions they make in responding to it.

In my experience, it’s actually the supply chain which often harbours an organisation’s biggest vulnerabilities, and clearly the events of this year will have exposed some of these.

Supply chains are subject to so many complexities and variables. Distribution is a tricky business as it typically comes with difficult problems to solve. Adjusting processes effectively without disrupting interdependencies and impeding performance is not easy and is the reason many have put off digital transformation across their supply chain. Without a doubt, the right strategy, combined with systems which have the necessary algorithms to manage complex processes and requirements, and scale inordinately, represent the future for supply chain resilience.

Of course, those companies which have implemented such tools to de-risk, streamline and create visibility across their supply chains will have been in the best shape to manage the increased complexity brought about by demand fluctuations and rapidly changing buying behaviour.

For those who have put off plans to digitalise their supply chains, they now have a great opportunity to standardise processes, bridge gaps and put in place foundations for a future where uncertainty is the only real certainty.

What have been the key lessons learned and what has impressed you most about the way in which your industry has adjusted?

One of the amazing things about people is the way in which they behave in a crisis. Everyone has, in different ways, had to adapt exponentially.

Adversity often generates creativity and it’s been hugely encouraging to see the way in which our customers have re-evaluated and responded to change, showing huge amounts of resilience at a time where uncertainty and fear have been high.

As with every industry, we’ve seen manufacturers, distributors and wholesale businesses launch virtual models for sales, support and service in order to replace the face to face channels we are used to. In doing so, they have, in many cases, actually gained greater respect from consumers who have become more understanding and as long as expectations are managed well, have been accepting of say longer delivery windows and stock delays. For those who have got it right, it’s actually represented a means of developing stronger customer relationships.

Adversity often generates creativity and it’s been hugely encouraging to see the way in which our customers have re-evaluated and responded to change, showing huge amounts of resilience at a time where uncertainty and fear have been high.

Matías Gilly
Sage X3 Consultant, Percipient

How have you adjusted, personally, to the new challenges?

My background is in industrial engineering so I always take a pragmatic and creative approach to new challenges, and this one has been no exception. I tend to take things in my stride and always look for solutions, whatever problems are in play.

For me, the hardest thing has been the lack of face to face contact with customers. We’ve run deployments, workshops and training sessions over Teams which has worked well, achieving everyone’s goals and deliverables, but equally, it has taught me to appreciate the value of face to face interaction.

What does 2021 look like for you?

As a company we are very fortunate in that we had significant experience in managing remote deployments so the pandemic hasn’t impacted our ability to deliver projects, meet customer expectations and provide value.

Where we’ve seen changes is in customers looking to merge warehouses, switch from production of say, perfumes to hand sanitisers, or adjust B2B/B2C models to meet demand and fulfil orders. I anticipate that we’ll continue to see demand in this area moving into 2021.

Again, we’re fortunate to have Sage X3 as one of our core products, a great platform to facilitate the kind of agility which has become paramount, and allow sufficient flexibility to be able to adjust processes and business models.

Perhaps one of the most important, overall lessons learned, is that while we have adapted to virtual models of communication across all areas of our lives – work, education and social, and confirmed that this works very effectively in the short term, in parallel we are realising that there is no substitute for face to face interaction and the new normal must encompass both to be successful.

In light of lessons learned, and the challenges in play, 2021 will be about flexibility, agility and faith in people to continually embrace change and adapt.

Contact Percipient

If you would like to discuss the benefits of Sage X3 for manufacturing and distribution businesses, get in touch or call us on 01606 871332.

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