Global supply chain guru for SA conference

13 November 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201917129

Commerce & Trade
Transport, Distribution & Logistics
Global supply chain guru for SA conference
Dr John Gattorna

ONE of the world’s leading supply chain thought leaders, Dr John Gattorna, will be a keynote speaker at the 2020 SAPICS Conference, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management has announced.

“We are thrilled to give SAPICS delegates the opportunity to learn from a supply chain guru of John’s calibre,” said SAPICS president Kea Mpane. “Over more than four decades in this vital, ever evolving profession, his writing, teaching, mentoring, presentations and consulting have helped to increase the profile of the supply chain as a key strategic driver of organisational success and profitability.

“A key focus of his has been on bringing the human element to the forefront of the supply chain. His ‘outside in’ view advocates that supply chains need to be proactively designed from the perspective of customers and the market,” she said.

Sydney, Australia-based Gattorna said, “We can no longer design our supply chains from the ‘inside out’, where we just hazard a guess or two at what we think customers are saying and thinking, and then develop a particular configuration around that.

“Instead, you've got to get outside yourself and look at the world and yourself through the eyes of the customer and try to understand what their expectations are.

“Even in the so-called best companies, the focus is often on technology, infrastructure, hard assets, processes, and the like; but they fail to recognise the critical importance of human behaviour and decision making throughout the supply chain,” he said, adding that at least 50 percent of the activity in enterprise supply chains is driven by humans making choices and decisions.

“On the outside, it is customers and suppliers, and on the inside, it is employees, management, and boards of directors. Yet where have we allowed for this major influence in the design and operation of contemporary supply chains?”

Mpane said Gattorna’s commitment to getting inside the customer’s head has earned him the moniker “supply chain anthropologist”.

She added that SAPICS Conference delegates can also expect to gain a powerful understanding of how they can use the “flywheel” effect to achieve “sustained ultrahigh supply chain performance”.

For the last two decades, Gattorna has been working with major blue-chip companies, applying his framework and adopting a multi-disciplinary, whole-of-business approach to the design and management of enterprise supply chains. His work has influenced the strategic direction of organisations like Schneider Electric, Ralph Lauren, DHL, Dell and Unilever.

He is currently the Executive Chairman of Gattorna Alignment, a Sydney-based specialist supply chain advisory firm.

“John’s SAPICS keynote will give African supply chain professionals all the knowledge and motivation they need to kick start their thinking about a transformation path for their own supply chains. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn from one of the global supply chain profession’s most influential thinkers,” Mpane said.

Now in its 42nd year, the conference takes place in Cape Town from 21 to 24 June 2020. For further information or to register, call 011 023 6701 or email

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