#34: Inna Kuznetsova President & COO INTTRA

#34: Inna Kuznetsova President & COO INTTRA

Inna Kuznetsova President & COO INTTRA

Inna Kuznetsova is President and Chief Operating Officer of INTTRA, leading sales, service delivery, marketing, strategic alliances, product management, IT infrastructure and software development.
Before joining INTTRA in early 2015 Inna was the Chief Commercial Officer at CEVA Logistics and prior to that spent 19 years at IBM, where in her last role she was the Vice-President, Marketing & Sales Enablement for IBM Systems Software.
In addition to executive roles, she has experience of serving on both private and public company boards, including chairing remuneration (compensation) and nominations committees as well as serving on audit & risk committees.
Inna holds PhD. in Mathematics from Moscow State University, Russia, and MBA from Columbia Business School.
Inna has also written two books on career growth:  «Up! A practical approach to career growth» and «A month in the sky. Practical notes on the ways of professional growth» 

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Regional P&Ls politics versus the allocating resources for IT development  
  • Lack of standardization is directly linked with lack of visibility – issues that have a heavy impact on the cargo owners 
  • Blockchain – what is the potential in building a network? – not a solution to all pains – where it works and where it doesn’t 
  • Importance of having a firewall between the carriers and the clients in a blockchain environment 
  • 3 areas we are looking for when hiring:  professional skill, understanding of IT, understanding of the industry  
  • Importance of pairing people with complementary skills 
  • Shortage of truck drivers – not the most popular job with the young generation
  • Always be open to learn no matter how experienced or senior you are 
  • How to have a great career with a thick accent 
  • Inna shares how she manages her fear of small talk and the importance of networking the right way

Episode #34: Inna Kuznetsova President & COO INTTRA

Show notes:

  • [01:40] Where do you see the industry at the moment? What do you think of the impact of digitization trend? 
  • [07:30] Are there organisations that have an efficient process for allocating resources to their IT department? 
  • [12:40] What can you tell us about standardization? 91% of respondents in INTTRA Tech Summit survey called data sharing standards an “absolute necessity” or “very important”.
  • [17:50] Is there any example of blockchain implementation that shows most promise?
  • [25:40] Talking about the importance of having an independent and neutral body bringing together the players who will use blockchain.  
  • [29:30] What are the most important skills in Supply Chain that companies are looking for? What type of mindset are companies looking for?
  • [35:55] Talking about bringing a gaming executive from the gaming industry to the shipping industry – cross pollination of skills. 
  • [38:44] I know you have 2 published books around career development and you also are very active in social media. «Up! A practical approach to career growth» and «A month in the sky. Practical notes on the ways of professional growth» – what are the main topics that you cover and what motivated you to write them?
  • [48:55] What advice would give to a young graduate in finding their career path? 

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#33: IBM and BlockChain


IBM and BlockChain

Today I am happy to have with us Meeta Vouk, director of IBM Singapore Research Center and previously Chief Data officer Blockchain technologies.
And the topic of our discussion will be Blockchain and specifically we will discuss some of the practical case studies it is already used by clients across the region and the globe.

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Microloans based on peer identity in areas where people have  no official papers
  • How the blockchain story is different from the RFID story for logistics
  • In 5 years we will not use the word “blockchain” anymore
  • For any long supply chain with a big number of middlemen, blockchain can be a huge disruptor
  • Smart-contracts and enforcing the rule of – not to spending money you don’t have.
  • Teach kids art and philosophy and then show them technology as a tool to solve the problems we really need to focus on.

Episode #33: IBM and BlockChain

Show notes:

  • [00:50] What exactly is blockchain?
  • [03:08] What are the biggest truths and myths about blockchain?
  • [05:26] Millions of people suffer because they don’t have an official paper for their identity. How would blockchain solve that?
  • [09:16] RFID was very hyped a few years ago and din’t really deliver on the promise. What is the difference between RFID and blockchain now?
  • [12:16] Let’s go into some examples. Can you go case studies of projects in blockchain with your clients?
  • [15:50] How can a contaminated source of spinach be tracked down with blockchain in a matter of seconds compared the current reality where we have to throw the whole batch away to be safe?
  • [19:30] There is quite a lot of work when implementing a solution like blockchain – even the labeling of fresh produce – how do you solve this?
  • [24:08] Do you have some data from your clients that can showcase savings or efficiency increase in their operations after implementing blockchain?
  • [30:48] Where do you see the biggest adoption of blockchain in the next years?
  • [32:25] In Supply Chain – where do you see blockchain creating the biggest impact?
  • [34:15] How does one become a blockchain expert? What do you need to study?

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#30: Keith Carter Associate Professor | Author | TEDx Speaker

Keith Carter Associate Professor, NUS School of ComputingKeith Carter Associate Professor at the NUS School of Computing

Keith is an associate professor at the NUS School of Computing, where he has two mandates: teaching and consulting. He has a passion for engaging and inspiring students to achieve more. He teaches Supply Chain Visualization, and Purchasing and Materials Management and connects students with companies at all levels to bring the theory to life in the business world.

His book, Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!, provides expert guidance to establish a culture of fact-based decision making and appropriate high-speed governance.

From 1999 to 2012 Keith worked for the Estee Lauder Companies, Global Supply Chain Center of Excellence, tasked to lead the strategic changes to supply chain to improve the overall performance of the company. Keith established and led Global Supply Chain initiatives: Supply Chain Intelligence, Knowledge Management, Transformation Governance, and Data Management. All to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility.

As part of his service mandate with School of Computing, he consults companies on Innovation, Customer Centricity, and Actionable Intelligence. Selected examples are Retail & Supply Chain: GUCCI, P&G, Bollore, Panasonic & SAP and Financial Services: KPMG, Goldman Sachs, DBS and China Construction Bank.

He is invited to speak around the world including prestigious venues TEDx, Gartner, IBM, KPMG, SingHealth, Media & Infocomm Development Authority, Financial Times, The Economist and more.

Outside of work he is an avid sportsman, author, private pilot, fencer, and family man. Born in Long Island, he has spent most of his life in New York till moving to Singapore in 2012 where he currently resides.

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Why the hype with AI is connected with the “Emperor’s New Clothes” story?
  • Responding Instantly to a Customer’s request should be top priority for any executive in Supply Chain
  • Mistakes made by Supply Chain executives implementing digitization strategies? – You change the hardware but not the software
  • Importance of Post Governance for Intelligence (Data) – don’t waste time in bureaucracy – show the measurable deliverables
  • Don’t hire data scientists from outside – build them from the inside – they need to understand the company inside-out
  • Talking Blockchain: There’s hardly a Judge in the World that will look at a Smart Contract!
  • The best skill for anyone to have at this moment is: The ability to Google things!

Episode #30: Keith Carter Associate Professor | Author | TEDx Speaker

Show notes:

  • [01:45] What attracted you to Asia? New York seemed to have treated you well. Why choose to leave the US behind and head for Singapore?
  • [03:43] How did your consulting experience help you choose this path to become an expert in supply chain, procurement, big data and machine learning? I know you used to consult big banking clients in the past – Goldman Sachs and Solomon Brothers.
  • [05:24] What where the main challenges and learning points from your experience with Estee Lauder? You served a few supply chain related roles and your last role was Global Supply Chain Intelligence Lead. Almost 13 years of your professional life dedicated to this company. Any key lessons you can share with our audience?
  • [13:32] Let’s talk about your book for a moment -“Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results With Big Data Fast.” – How does this term – “Actionable Intelligence” come to life?
  • [17:05] What are some of biggest mistakes executives make when implementing big data and AI in their supply chain?
  • [19:50] Is AI used as buzz word too much? Can you share what is your opinion on the hype with AI?
  • [26:20] If a Chief Supply Chain needs  to implement next year to improve their operations – what should it be? AI, machine learning, big data, blockchain?
  • [30:59] Let’s go into some examples of where strategy and technology meet and create a greater impact on the customer delight process. Maybe you can share some case studies.
  • [37:43] What are the mistakes that you see executives in Supply Chain making when implementing digitization strategies?
  • [46:29] What should executives focus on when hiring in Supply Chain? What are some of the key skills you see as critical for any company’s success?
  • [55:37] What are some of the skills you are teaching your students to take on to be best prepared for the future?

Mentioned in the podcast:

  • – Our AI software eases the pain of scheduling across your entire company

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Blockchain – Revolution in Supply Chain?

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

Supply chains revolutionized how our society runs, now supply chains are being revolutionized.

The name of the NEW game: blockchain! Supply chains can lack transparency and traceability. Two things at which blockchain is great at.

Systems work based on transactions. They are built on a distributed blockchain ledger can record the transfer of goods as transactions. This transparency can ensure the cost of goods will more accurately reflect the actual cost of manufacturing them. Issues such as use of forced labor and illegal sourcing of materials can potentially disappear. But despite the hype and its potential, it could take a decade or more before the technology achieves its full potential.

We have a few interesting examples. Provenance, a UK-based startup, works with clients so they can use its blockchain-based technology to “share your product’s journey and your business impact on environment and society.” Mining giant BHP Billiton is using the technology to track mineral analysis done by outside vendors. The startup Everledger has uploaded unique identifying data on a million individual diamonds to a blockchain ledger system to build quality assurances and help jewelers comply with regulations barring “blood diamond” products.

Walmart is working with IBM and Tsinghua University, in Beijing. They want to follow the movement of pork in China with a blockchain.

Long term what we should have in mind:

Potential to disrupt many industries

There are parallels between this global-scale distributed technology and previous technology-driven transformative waves, such as the web and the internet. Early technology adoption of blockchain will progress over the next three to seven years, but mainstream adoption across the supply chain and at scale is likely 10 or more years away. Similar to RFID in its early days, business processes and standards must be resolved before blockchain can reach its potential.

It is not a replacement for database tech

Many believe, but they are wrong, that blockchain is a replacement for traditional database technologies — it lacks the ability to create, read, update and delete information. For the immediate future, traditional database management tools and platforms will continue to prevail in supply chain, where data is created, maintained and consumed largely internally. Database capabilities, however, will increasingly need to scale and integrate across a broader number of supply chain network partners and ultimately customers. There is where blockchain is best.

You can’t just buy a solution!

There is no blockchain solutions to buy for supply chain use at the moment. There continues to be a lot of hype, with few even partially deployed and very limited prototypes, for which firmer results or tangible uses cases are still be reported. Only organizations that are especially risk-tolerant and early adopters of technologies should consider supply chain management blockchain initiatives over the next two to five years.

Stormy waters ahead

There are more challenges than we can mention here. Blockchain technologies and associated supply chain best practices bring adoption challenges, including a lack of standards, robust platforms, scalable distributed consensus systems and interoperability mechanisms.Scalability across supply chains will need to be carefully planned.

Laws and regulations — which vary from country to country — also pose a challenge to global scaling of blockchain. Before governments can be convinced to support this effort, industry must agree on best practices and standards of technology.

Adoption too late or too early as part of an extended supply chain and supply chain maturity progression may do damage to the entire organisation.

Also there’s the need to overcome embedded corporate thinking. Business leaders and organizations need to open up to the sharing of information with mainly unseen network partners.

In conclusion

Blockchain is presently at the peak of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, which means the next stop is the Trough of Disillusionment. In supply chain circles the technology is suddenly drawing serious interest, in part because of IBM’s recent push to go public with pilots including one with Maersk and another with Walmart.

As RFID promised to do, blockchain could one day provide certainty on the exact source of every ingredient in every jar, in every case, on every shelf and at all times. Was your palm oil sustainably sourced? Are the cherries in your ice cream organic? Are the avocados in your salad imported from Mexico? Also reminiscent of RFID, however, is a decent amount of uncertainty about the timing of the business case.

Envisioning a digitally enabled supply chain strategy is a must-do activity for everyone. Fitting blockchain into that strategy now means listening more than talking. Listen to your colleagues in corporate IT who are likely ahead of you since they’ve often faced this topic already with financial transactions. Also, listen also to vendors like IBM who are invested in establishing a market for this technology and can afford to find and foster pioneering users like Walmart and Maersk.

Blockchain may still be down the road, but its potential demands your attention now.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Morgan Philips Executive Search is the headhunting firm – 21st century version. We have created an extremely innovative digital model enabling you to recruit your talent better, quicker and more effective.

6 Trends in Supply Chain in 2017

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

Supply chains have a reputation for being complicated and not the first choice for a career especially for the millennials. But as companies adapt their Supply Chain to the digital economy, and as businesses enable the extended supply chain as part of their digital transformation strategies, that is all about to change.

With all the new “cool” technologies, it is now more possible than before that our kids will come home from school one day and tell us they want to be supply chain executives when they grow up.

So what are some of the most interesting trends that will put the spotlight on supply chain and logistics in 2017? And stand a chance to make the industry cool!

Here are some ideas:

Blockchain Technology

There are many different benefits of blockchain technology that will transform supply chains, from asset tracking and transparency to real-time feedback from customers. Yet, the true scope of the benefits of blockchain technology is unlimited, and it could be one of the most remarkable breakthroughs in the supply chain in history. With a world that is becoming more connected on a daily basis, blockchain technology will inherently develop into a symbiotic relationship with the Internet of Things and today’s advanced logistics and supply chain management systems.

One-hour delivery

Same-day delivery is already taken as common in US. More and more the expectation is also for Asian markets. However even that will be blown away soon enough. We are living in an instant gratification culture and instant becomes faster and faster. Amazon will be entering Singapore and SE Asia next year. And their competition with Alibaba backed Lazada is going to be fierce. Who will be able to roll out one hour delivery first?

3D printing

Supply chains are focused on warehousing and making sure the products are shipped outwards from the point of manufacture to the client in the most efficient manner.

3D printing represents the other extreme of traditional manufacturing. It produces objects by adding, rather than subtracting, material and allows us to create objects customized on our personal desires. 3D printing is the key to customizing your product. And it is getting more affordable. The big Logistics companies across the board have been investing heavily in 3D printing hubs worldwide. Instant gratification will be even faster.

Driverless vehicles

There is a lot of excitement around self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles (AV). They open up a world of opportunities for supply chain and logistics.

As players employ automation to increase efficiency and flexibility, AVs, in combination with smart technologies, could reduce labor costs while boosting equipment and facility productivity. A fully automated and lean supply chain will make the load size and stock problems almost disappear. Smart technologies will connect in real time the decision makers with the distributions centers and AV fleet for maximum efficiency. This year has already witnessed several driveless truck rides. And it is only the beginning!

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has been a hot topic in the last months. It has exploded as companies grip the potential of this technology to improve business output. In their Trend Research, DHL looks at a few ways Augmented Reality will provide benefits to the supply chain as listed from the Elementum blog:

  • Picking Optimization: Each employee sees a ‘digital picking list’ on a heads-up display. The display calculates the most efficient path through the warehouse, guides that person to the package, scans it as ‘picked’ into the Warehouse Management System, and immediately directs the picker to the next closest package.
  • Dynamic Traffic Support: Most delivery trucks already come equipped with GPS navigation. AR systems are the natural next steps. Heads-up and windshield displays are only a few technologies that will allow players to efficiently re-route shipments in the shortest time. Less distractions to the driver. The display would show the driver critical information including cargo temperature (especially important when transporting medical devices or other fragile goods), gasoline efficiency and other data that can make the process more efficient.
  • Facility Planning: You’ll be able to visualize your next warehouse in full-scale before beginning construction. You can test workflows through the facility, even field test arrangements – all virtually. It will save you money and it’ll allow you to experience what you’re trying to do, before actually doing it.
  • Freight/Container Loading: Augmented reality could replace the need for a physical cargo list and load instructions. How? By allowing to see loading instructions on a heads-up display with step-by-step instructions on how to most efficiently load a container given the size, dimensions, and weight of the packages going into it.

Internet of Things

Sensors. As companies are focusing on real time data tracking and big data analysis, sensors are becoming more popular. Embedding sensors in products  and, as a result, becoming more technology-focused will be a standard procedure for all players. For example, John Deere tractors are now equipped with sensors to transmit moisture and temperature data from the fields. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 are changing traditional business models by connecting people, products, and assets.


It is a clear pattern that service chains will become more important than product chainsMost players and all customers consider a great product as a standard procedure. It is a given and nobody gets excited about great products (they do get upset when expectations are not met, but that is a different story). Consumers are demanding much more from pre- and post-sales service for the products they buy.

Companies that connect and focus on the pre- and post-sales service supply chain activities (including product knowledge, in-store service, warranties, responsive consumer services) will emerge as the winners. The solely product-centric player will stand no chance in the race of wowing the customers and winning their hearts.

And the implementation of the technologies mentioned above will create a big impact in 2017 and will determine who will win the race.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!