Interview for Supply Chain Conference media
Summer interview of Andrey Kazachkov, the head of WMS expertise First Line Software.
- Aside from the pandemic, what is the single largest challenge facing how you successfully operate your businesses – and how are overcoming these challenges?
Our business historically is very competitive. There are a lot of different solutions in many different functionalities from simple ones to sophisticated solutions focused on a specific industry. Our primary task is to educate the customer on how our solution is the most ideal based on their needs. However, we never insist on our solution in every instance - relying on our experience, and a core understanding of the industry to educate the customer. It is not an uncommon practice that on occasion we’ll suggest another path for our potential customers if we realize their business needs another solution that might be simpler, or perhaps more specialized.
- New technologies, growth in e-commerce, and sustainability are mega-trends that will continue for some time. What new megatrends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?
This is an extensive question for a longer discussion, so I’d like to focus primarily on e-commerce. In today’s world thanks to the Internet, consumers have access to a huge number of products around the world and can order anything in any amount from one unit to millions of units. The challenge that today’s logistics face is how to achieve the most optimal delivery of goods to the consumer through the organization of pre-orders, etc. Efficient deliveries can be achieved if the required products are in the right places in the right quantity. This can happen only with a developed, predictive mechanism that analyzes trends, and correctly anticipates the needs of consumers.
- And of course… the pandemic…. It’s been one of the most significant disruptions to global supply chains ever. What opportunities are there now to redesign supply chains to be smarter and more resilient? What important things have we learned as a result of how we dealt with the pandemic in terms of resilience?
Our WMS projects have traditionally been implemented by physically being on-site, and by having multiple face-to-face interactions with customers. The pandemic forced us to re-develop our WMS implementation methodology. The primary change is that now we give our customers more training in the theoretical and practical… all of this is done online. This gives them a possibility to test various solutions in detail with us; all experienced from different sides of a screen, but together we figure it out. Our primary goal is to impart to our customers enough of our implementation experience before their warehouse, “Goes-Live” to make their WMS implementation a success.
- Could you possibly give us some fun facts about yourself?
There were some funny cases in my career in dealing with the WMS industry. I remember a story 10 years ago when I was on a business trip to a small town by the sea. We visited a warehouse of one of the biggest regional food retail companies in Europe. After the on-site visit, we held a presentation with the staff and it was very successful. Finally, we met the CEO and he told us they are ready to sign an agreement on WMS implementation the next morning. We were happy and we celebrated the event in the evening at a local restaurant. When we arrived at the company office the next morning, it turned out that the warehouse had burned down during the night. Ultimately, the story finished well for us as we finally signed an agreement, but only a year later when the warehouse was rebuilt.
Here is another one about my hobby.
My wife and I love traveling the world, not only in Europe but in Asia as well. We’ve been to India, Cambodia, Nepal, China, and Tibet. While in Nepal we hiked to the Annapurna sanctuary in Himalayas, on a remarkable glacier about 4000 meters above sea level. This is a unique place where you can observe seven great snowy peaks higher than 7,000 meters simultaneously from one point. It wasn’t easy to get there, and there were a lot of obstacles while trekking – I was bitten by a leech, it rained every day, the range of temperatures was from +35C below to -10C, there was always the threat of mountain sickness, and finally, on the last day there was a thunderstorm followed by an avalanche. However, the result was worth the hardships, and we returned home absolutely elated.
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