Spotlight on Tom Luff

Tom Luff – Consultant

This month we put a spotlight on Tom Luff, recently promoted, who talks about life as an ex ” Graduate Consultant” and why he would trade places with Tom Brady!

What did you enjoy about being on the FourPL Graduate Program?

The Challenge:

The graduate program has forced me to step out of my comfort zone every day. No two days over the last 12 months has been the same, meaning that I experienced something new which always challenges my skills and knowledge.

The People:

I have been very lucky to come into a graduate program where I am surrounded almost entirely by an extremely experienced team at FourPL, meaning whenever I was entering a new challenge I always had someone willing to show me the ropes and support me.

The Travel: Being a consultant for FourPL has meant I have had the opportunity to travel to different cities and countries. I love that there is that opportunity and whilst it can be difficult being away from home, it is great having an office that can always be in different places. In the last year I have been to Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Manila.

What were your 3 key learnings as a graduate?

Warehouse Management:Warehousing was a reasonably foreign concept to me before I joined FourPL, I started my program with a two-week JDA WMS boot camp which I really enjoyed and have since been involved in the implementation of a WMS and also on the sales side which I have really enjoyed.

Transportation Management: Prior to joining FourPL my idea of what “transport” consisted of was very narrow. Since then I have been able to get a perspective from a number of different transport companies to see their different business and service models which has significantly improved my knowledge and perspective.

Consulting: Learning to be a consultant has been arguably the biggest learning curve for me over the last 12 months. It is very different than simply “working for the customer” and it is easy to fall into that pattern when on a customer site for an extended period, but you must always think objectively and or differently to provide perspective and value and that is not always an easy thing to do as it takes a good level of confidence, understanding and communication.

What are you going to do differently as a Consultant?

Not necessarily what I want to do differently but more so what I want to do that is new.

Learn: Expand my learning, it is very easy to get too focused on what you are working on with your current client, so I’d like to make sure I am getting out and learning new things that will help me down. FourPL provides great support and opportunities on this which I’d like to take advantage of.

Seek Advice: As mentioned the FourPL team is fantastic and experienced, Going forward, I am hoping to lean on more of the team more regularly to seek out help and advice.

What were you challenges, being a graduate?

Being inexperienced has been difficult, as a consultant the client is always looking for you to provide value in some way, so having to learn new concepts and provide that value at the same time can be challenging. The transition from student life to work life. They are two very different worlds, I was always a very laid back student and ensured my timetables allowed me to sleep in and have long weekends, Brett doesn’t quite give me that level of freedom! Travel, whilst I enjoyed being away for an extended period for a project, it was also difficult being away from friends and family, missing out on the occasional social event, but most importantly I missed the comfort of my own bed!

What traits and skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in the role you do?

Patience: Not something I possess in spades, but I think if you have the temperament to learn complex systems, processes and requirements you will go a long way.
Communication: It is really important to communicate with the business and other consultants about your ideas, concerns and opinions, it is central to providing value as a consultant. People Skills: I found when I was on client’s site over the last year life became a lot easier when I was able to build a relationship with their teams and end users

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, can seriously pull of a suit, married to a supermodel and filthy rich. Perfect. Who was your favourite Spice Girl? Who are the Spice Girls? A bit before my time perhaps.

JDA Luminate Platform launched at this year’s JDA Focus

FourPL’s Chris Hill attended this year’s JDA Focus where there were over 1,800 attendees and more than 100 customers sharing their success stories. The theme of the conference was “Expectations. Fulfilled.” which fitted well with the company’s move to more innovative supply chain offerings.

The big news from the conference was the launch of the JDA Luminate Platform, a connected platform that combines next generation digital technologies with product enhancements to JDA’s core solutions. The Platform moves the company away from product nodes and into a real-time connected network and will bring in edge technologies and real-time data sets to every node within the supply chain. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, and social media, news, events, and weather (SNEW) data. The goal is to have real-time, actionable data available to make better decisions across the entire network. This will eliminate the need for batch updates which only give a snapshot in time rather than a real-time look at inventory, transportation, etc.

Read Chris’s take on JDA Focus, Orlando 2018

I attended JDA Focus for the first time this year in Orlando, FL. It was a very interesting experience, my main objectives and what I’d hoped to take away was an understanding of where JDA was going with its supply chain solutions products over the next few years. I was particularly curious around using latest technology like AI, Machine Learning, Drones, Virtual Reality and the uses in the warehouse.

I attended mainly the WMS sessions, and one JDA Labs one. The WMS ones were mainly companies in the US using JDA WMS talking about their experiences. These were quite informative, and it was interesting to see the scale of some of them on it, one customer had 150+ warehouses on one instance of JDA, another is already using smart glasses for picking and drones for cycle counting and having good results.

The JDA labs session was showing the path they are going through to develop an ‘augmented reality’ pallet building solution – this involves users wearing smart glasses which dynamically show the user where to place the next box by projecting an image of the box on the current pallet, which could also be used for truck load building. The other solution was to use a 3d projector to visually show where to place the box. This really showed how much warehousing is going to change over the next 3-5 years as the technology becomes commonplace, and it’s good to see JDA leading this.

It was also worth noting how highly Open Sky Group were thought of and how involved they are – quite a few people I met not only work with them but also talk highly of how good a job they do! Open Sky Group had its clients Clemens Food Group, Matson Logistics and Toyota Tsusho America present and share their success stories on their JDA Warehouse Management software upgrades. 

The only real negative for me was the timing of the talks and demos – there were at least 10 I wanted to go to but due to timing could only do about 5, I wasn’t sure why they didn’t stretch it out a bit further to break out time

Australian Logistics Council (ALC) inaugural Supply Chain Technology Summit

On 10 May the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) held its inaugural Supply Chain Technology Summit in Melbourne.

FourPL attended the day-long event which was split up onto a number of featured presentations by leading Australian and international technology researchers, regulatory and policy-making bodies, designers and providers of technology systems and industry participants representing all parts of the supply chain.

Sessions included:

  • Blockchain Big Data Data & visibility
  • Better data for freight
  • Connected Vehicles Telemetry
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Tech in Rail
  • Tech at Ports

The Australian Logistics Council identified a number of key industry priorities to more effectively use technology in supply chains at their inaugural Supply Chain Technology Summit last week.