#29: Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Razat Gaurav, CEO of Llamasoft

Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Today I am excited to have with us Razat Gaurav, CEO of LLamasoft. LLamasoft is a supply chain design software which helps organizations worldwide across a wide range of industries to model, optimize and simulate their supply chain network, leading to major improvements in cost, service, sustainability and risk mitigation. 50% of Fortune 100 companies have designed their supply chains with LLamasoft.

A few words on Razat Gaurav:
Razat has more than two decades of supply chain planning and execution experience, he has played a critical role in the digital transformations of some of the world’s biggest brands and his work has influenced the flow of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. With proven leadership in scaling and growing enterprise software businesses on a global basis, Razat most recently served as JDA Software’s Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer and previously held leadership roles at i2 Technologies and Ernst & Young (EY). A trusted expert on supply chain trends, he has been quoted in The New York Times, Forbes and The Hill, among other top media. Razat has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • How they helped Schneider Electric to save 8 mil USD in cost
  • How to optimize a fresh produce supply chain – like avocados and bananas
  • Outsmarting uncertainty – Challenges that most clients face before implementing LLamasoft software
  • Creating a platform for clients to develop their own Supply Chain APP

Episode #29: Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Show notes:

  • [01:32] For the few of our listeners that maybe are not yet familiar with LLamaSoft, What is a simple way to explain what LLamaSoft is?
  • [02:26] Can you give us some case studies of how LLamasoft has helped some of your clients achieve great improvements in their supply chains? I think it was a Schneider Electric study case where you saved 8 mil USD in cost.
  • [07:40] Talking about fresh produce like avocados and bananas – how did LLamasoft play a role in optimizing the supply chain for clients that deal with this kind of goods.
  • [13:20] What are the challenges that most of your clients face before implementing LLamasoft software?
  • [21:10] How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? What are the key elements you focus on?
  • [32:38] I understand that you doubled your headcount in the last three years, now reaching around 500. How do you make sure that the recruitment process is on point – effective? What are the things you look for when hiring?
  • [37:55] What are some of the key attributes you look for in the leadership team?
  • [41:00] What are your expansion plans?  Where do you plan to expand next and what are the next milestones?
  • [45:42] If you were to think about the industry in next 5-10 years. What are some of the trends you see coming?

Listen to all our past episodes:

Leave Your Job if…

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

It’s never easy to say stop. It’s never easy to get out into the unknown, and go for different professional challenge. Especially when you have a comfortable situation, when you know most of the variables at work. But sometimes, you need to take a leap of faith.

There may not be anything seriously wrong in your day-to-day work life. And yet, you still have  the feeling that something is off. The question now becomes: Do you take the risk? Do you try to find something new? Or continue at a comfortable job because it’s what you’re used to?

I have seen many smart and talented friends and colleagues who have stayed in just-OK jobs. If they decide to take the next step, they’ve been out of the job market for so long that they can’t even start to update their resume.Applying for jobs is even more difficult. Fear  eats away their edge and  the thought of re-entering a different job market make them uneasy.

If you find yourself in a tough spot, and ask question about your career and finding a new job, the following telltale signs may indicate that it’s time to take the leap.

1. You’re Living the Status Quo

You’ve been at the same company and position without any advancement for the past three years. It’s time to consider looking elsewhere. Even big corporations, where it take a bit of time to get an advancement, don’t need so much time to offer something better. If it didn’t happen, start thinking about your next steps outside of the company.

2. You’re miserable every morning. You dread going into work.

When you feel great on Friday afternoon and start to stress out on Sunday afternoon. Because you think about the work week ahead – that is the sign that  you need to change something asap! Get a new job and  let it excite you. Wake up and dive into a new week with high energy – not easy to achieve, but entirely possible with enough self awareness and hard work. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.

3. You don’t get along with the people you work.

Of course, the first step is try to fix the issues with an open mind and heart. Open communication and feedback can solve most of the work related problems. Sometimes, it is not enough. When your personal values and the values of your boss or colleagues are divergent, there is no training that will make things better. Start looking for options.

4. Work stress is affecting your health.

Working in a company with an unhealthy culture will have a negative impact on you physically and mentally. If the stress level is constant. If stress is present both inside and outside work. You need to act quick. You’re burnt out. Work can be taxing for everyone, and we all occasionally feel weary after a long day at the office, but if your life is a chronic state of stress and exhaustion thanks to work, you’re probably suffering from job burnout.

Exhaustion from work can manifest themselves in a number of ways, from significant weight gain or loss and inconsistent sleep patterns to getting upset by every little thing that’s happening at work. When work starts affecting your health – it’s time to get out.

5. Your skills are not being tapped.

If you get yourself in a spot where management doesn’t acknowledge that you have more to offer. If you’ve been passed over for promotion, or attempts to take on more challenging assignments and failed. And didn’t get clear feedback from management on why, however, you are no longer getting the plum assignments, you are no longer asked to attend key meetings, or your proposals are met with silence or denial. These are signs that you should be looking for a new opportunity.

6. You’re not Learning

If your learning curve has flattened out or you’re really not feeling challenged, this may signal a need to move on. You may not be learning something new every day on the job, but you should be improving upon your core skills and picking up new ones. Of course, your responsibility is to do your best and be proactive. Ask to be involved in new projects. Sign up for challenging side projects or for interesting trainings and seminars. If these possibilities don’t exist at your current job, it’s a sign that the company is not serious about investing career development.

If you are bored and stagnating at your job and not learning anything new, it might be time to leave.

7. There is constant Restructuring

If your company is regularly announcing a restructuring or shuffling management around. It indicates leadership issues or a shaky strategic direction. We had a candidate that told us he had 3 different bosses in the last 16 months – a clear sign of trouble. Restructuring can bring good news. It can provide opportunities to step up. But more often than not, they signal strategic trouble for the company. Your personal career development needs will not be the company’s first priority. Your progress will inevitably be impacted.

8. You do not want your boss’s job.

Do you ever imagine being in your boss’s shoes?  If the answer is no, you need to think hard about what’s next. Not aiming for your boss’s role is a sign that you might not be in the right place for long term happiness. I know a few people who come to us and say that they love their job but they are afraid of getting a promotion because they would hate to be in their director’s shoes. It’s too much stress. If you can’t look up to your boss, who else are you aspiring to be?

Next steps.

Once you realize it might be time to leave your job, you’ll first want to set goals for yourself detailing what you are looking for in terms of responsibilities, company culture, compensation, and benefits. Create a clear plan with a timeline for yourself of finding another opportunity and making your exit. Make sure you quit with grace. You will need to have a successful transition and knowledge transfer. You owe it to yourself to be professional. Your brand is your most important asset. Remember the golden rule of never burning bridges. In today’s world, the business community is well connected and people talk with each other, seeking recommendations before hiring people. Make a point to always take the high road.

And finally, don’t let emotions get in the way. Always be rational. Look at it from a business perspective. Is there good reason to leave? Do I have the financial, career-building or emotional return on investment for such a move? If you feel happy with the answer, go for it with all you energy.

Many of us spend over 40 hours per week at our jobs. It is more than important to regularly evaluate your career situation. Even if you’re perfectly happy at your current job. It doesn’t matter. Make it a habit to check in with yourself at least twice a year. It is a good opportunity to review your accomplishments and update your resume. You will also have a better grasp on the market conditions in your industry. Always be open to opportunities.

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

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

5 Steps on How to Get Promoted

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

May it be executive level, or people in the middle management level, we sometimes do have discussions with our candidates around this topic. As sometimes, even if a bit counter-intuitive to our role as search partners, the best advice for the candidate is to stay with the current company and try to grow within.

That being said, promotions usually don’t come overnight. It’s a process which involves more than just being good at your job. Of course, being good still matters. But if no one sees you being good at your job, you’re not going to get that promotion. If people see you, but they have trouble remembering your name, you’re not going to get it either.

Getting a promotion requires you to hone your social skills as well as professional skills. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires you to have the right attitude. And mostly, you can sum up everything you can sum it up in five steps.

1. Do a Great Job!

No way getting around this one – you need to be good at your job. Companies which let people who are not good at their jobs advance are not companies where you want to work. So you better be good. And you better have a high tolerance for clichés, because the next one will be something you should be repeating to yourself every day on your way to work. Ready? Here it goes:

“I have to give 110% today.”

The point is that you have to over-perform. You have to find a way to do your job either faster or better. Or both. But you need to give more than you’re expected, and you need to be doing it consistently.

2. Be Visible

You know that old Zen koan which asks you if a tree falls in the wood, and no one’s there to hear it, has the three indeed fallen? Right, so, don’t let yourself be like that tree. All the good work you’re doing is worth next to nothing to you if people don’t know who you are.

You’ll read a lot of advice telling you that you need to make your own brand in order to advance in your company. It’s sound advice, at least some of the time. Even though it sounds like one of those business-speak phrases people should never use. But it boils down to developing a good reputation within a company, and that’s not a phrase. That’s important, and it starts with people knowing who you are.

3. Build Lots of Relationships Within the Organization

This one goes hand in hand with increasing your visibility. It helps tremendously to have friends in high places, right? Especially when you know you’re good at what you do, and there’s a new spot open you’d be perfect for. So, being friendly with your boss, your boss’s boss, and your boss’s boss’s boss would be great.

But it doesn’t always work that way. People will get promotions while you’re building towards yours. People who you think have no influence over your path through the company’s hierarchy might be able to help. You never know how having a good relationship with someone can benefit your position in the company. So, if being at the very least nice to people around you isn’t already on your list of promotion-related priorities, get it in there. Close to the top.

4. Always Be Ready to Learn

If there’s one thing that makes a winning attitude, it has to be an openness to learning new things. This is true in all spheres of your life, not only the professional sphere. You should never be afraid of trying new things, and you should never miss a chance to learn something new.

When confronted with things that are currently beyond the breadth of your knowledge, don’t say “I don’t know that.” Ask how much time do you have to learn it. It’s a very simple idea that will not only help you get the new position you want – it will actually help you thrive when you get there. So above anything else, be open to new things and excited by learning. And don’t be afraid to show your excitement.

5. Be Honest and Accountable

If you do something go, take credit for it. It’s as simple as that. Don’t say it’s a team effort it wasn’t. On the other hand, if something was a team effort, make sure you pass the credit along to all the people involved. Never let people take credit for your work, and never take credit for anyone else’s work. Be honest, and play fair.

This also counts when things go bad. Don’t shift the blame around for something you did wrong, and don’t let anyone blame you for their own mistakes. Be accountable, and don’t get overwhelmed by your mistakes. Acknowledge them, and immediately start looking for a way to fix them. People make mistakes. If you want to be promotable, you need to know what to do when you make yours. And what you need to do is start working on a fix as soon as possible.

But in the meantime, do let us know your thoughts – is there something else that should be included on the list above?

Some of my past articles on  Linkedin:

Executives, Shut Up more during the Interview!

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

It feels nice to be on the top of a headhunter’s list of an executive position, doesn’t it?

It’s what you deserve, after all – you’ve been doing your work diligently. You’ve met expectations and exceeded them. You’ve made things happen. You had results. You feel like you belong in the 2% of applicants who get to the interview phase.

And naturally, when you get to a meeting with a hiring manager, you have stories to tell. You want them to be smitten by your experience. You want them to see that you’re the best person for the job, the ONLY person they should consider to fill the position.

So you talk. You make sure that nothing you think should be mentioned slips your mind. You give the hiring manager a hundred and one reasons to remember you when the time comes to make the choice.

But they don’t. You don’t get the call saying that you’re the new COO at Company Ltd. And you’re left wondering why.

Here’s the most common reason why: You probably TALKED too much! And did not ASK them enough questions!

Being a person who is in the position to be approached by a hiring manager for an executive position, there are some things you should be aware of. The most significant one is that businesses, at least the good ones, do not use the services of hiring managers to find people for whom they will tailor-make a position. When businesses are looking for new executives, they have a clear agenda. They have a need, and you’re the person they think might fulfill it. That’s what hiring managers are looking for, and that’s what you need to be.

A solution!

The single most important thing you need to do during the interview is to make sure you come off as a solution for the hiring company’s problems. And for that:

  1. You need to find out what are the hiring company’s problems are
  2. Demonstrate your experience, personality and skills are the answer to their problems

Revisit the Basics of Interviewing

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily have to know why the company is looking for a new executive. Maybe the old one retired. Maybe he was fired. Maybe he got promoted to another position. Maybe the company is branching. In some cases, the hiring manager might volunteer that information. In other cases, you might get a vague explanation such as “the company is thinking about taking a new direction.” Or even worse, you might get some meaningless phrases in business-speak thrown at you.

That’s why it’s important that you do your homework before the interview. The interview 101 you knew by heart when you were looking for your first job mentioned it. It’s still relevant – you need to find out as much as you can about the company and why they are looking for a new executive as you can before facing a hiring manager. You can look into the specifics, but you can also become familiar with the recruitment trends in your industry. That will greatly increase your chances to becoming an answer to the question they will never ask directly.

If You Haven’t Done Your Homework, Pay Close Attention!

But if you’re not able to do all of that digging, listening and asking questions at the interview could do the trick. So, when the hiring manager asks you something, don’t see that as an opportunity to boast with all of your accomplishments. They know them. They’ve done their homework. Give them an answer to the question they asked, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t understand something about their questions, or you think they could provide you with information which could help you give them a better answer, ask them. And listen to their answer.


It’s paramount that you and the hiring manager stay on the same page during the whole interview. Some positions, for example, can be held in different kinds of industries. You might have experience working in different industries. You might even be targeted because of your cross-industry experience, as this is one of the tactics advised to employ to get quality talent and facilitate much needed change.

But when a hiring manager comes knocking, make sure you use the same language they are using. Don’t speak about your accomplishments in a tech company if they’re looking to hire someone who worked in the financial sector. Speak about your experiences in the financial sector, even if your most recent employment was in a tech company.

Keep in mind – an interview is not the place for you to display your magnificent ego. It’s not a place where you will have your praises sung. It’s a place where you go to become a solution for a problem. You don’t have to be the best in your field. You have to be what the person in front of you is looking for.

Some of my other articles on Linkedin:

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Future of Recruitment in the Logistics Industry in 2016

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

What is the future of Logistics in Asia? Is the industry slowing down or is there still room to grow? What type of skillsets are in high demand? And what new focus areas does HR need to address to attract the right talent?
With a network of 5 offices covering Asia Pacific, our team at Morgan Philips asked some of the industry experts and leaders for their feedback. These interactions combined with in-depth market research have allowed us to draw 5 trends that will shape recruitment in the industry in 2016.

#1. Consolidation impacts the job market

In the 3PL world, the last 12 months have brought about significant acquisitions. FedEx bought over TNT, Japan Post purchased Toll, DSV took over UTI, XPO acquired Con-way logistics. And the list is expected to continue over the next months and years. In the process, a number of top executives from the acquired company have left or are expected to leave, having sometimes a ripple effect in the management pool.

Moreover, some of the bigger supply chain regional organizations are increasingly looking into adding more contractual staff instead of full time employees. And moving some of the resources from regional HQs like Singapore or Hong Kong closer to the manufacturing hubs, mostly in countries like Thailand, China or increasingly Vietnam. Especially for consumer, electronics, hi-tech and even healthcare sectors.

As a result of these movements, the job market will see a pool of highly qualified and competent candidates become available. And facing the to find a suitable role that can fit their credentials in the same geographical area.

#2. Localization of the workforce

Localization will continue to be a focus throughout 2016 and organizations are trying as much as possible to find local residents to fill key positions. More and more expat contracts have been reduced in an attempt by companies to cut their costs and balance internal equity.

In Singapore for example, as the Ministry of Manpower has taken steps to restrict foreigners, employers find it harder to take on new staff from overseas and an increasing number of visa renewals are being turned down.

Even in emerging economies like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines or Indonesia the first priority is to find local talent that can drive the business growth. Even if that means looking for them outside of the Asian continent.

In this context, Morgan Philips has been approached by 3 companies in the last 6 months to scout for local talents working in US and Europe to return home. And fill the skills gap in the job market.

#3. New technologies, specific skill sets and talent gap

Disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, advanced robotics, big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IOT) and supply chain operating networks are revolutionizing the way organizations run their supply chain. Deloitte forecasted that by 2020, 70% of companies will use advances such as predictive analytics and wearable technology in their supply chains. This shift will have a profound impact on the roles and skill sets required in the future. Companies will need candidates who bring a holistic understanding of business, IT systems and analytics to effectively integrate the emerging technologies and add value to their supply chain.

Moreover, economic developments across Asia have seen a lot of development in contract logistics and consolidated distribution centers. Let’s just look at Singapore where modern warehouses have mushroomed in the last years. DB Schenker, DHL, Kuehne Nagel, SDV, Toll, YCH, are only a few of the companies who have already built or are building mega hubs. All these facilities come with a higher and higher degree of automation. Which means highly critical skills demanded in the market are automation and industrial talent, as well as solution design experts.

Healthcare logistics skills are also quickly getting in high demand too. Especially in cold chain development, the lack of talent is wide. And this spreads across the region, in countries with a history of healthcare, like Korea, Japan, Singapore, but also emerging countries like Thailand or China.

#4. Focus on employer branding

The supply chain and logistics profession is confronted with an image that’s sometimes less than ideal. Work in warehouses, on ships or in trucks and trains tends to be associated with unpleasant working conditions and a less than attractive career path.

In 2016 and years to come, HR leaders will have to look at implementing new initiatives to make their organizations’ brand known in the market. And find attractive ways to capture the interest of the industry’s most talented individuals. Whilst usually the correlation to the business is hard to count in dollars and cents, more and more, a powerful employer brand will be crucial to attracting the best people to develop the business.

#5. Build a talent pipeline

In China, where the sector is developing fast, today there are 284 universities offering logistics management. 58 of them launched logistics labs where students get to know the advancing state of technology in logistics, such as: forklifts, high-rack stackers, high-bay racks, pick by light or pick by voice or RFID.

A couple of year ago, DHL and The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific of the National University of Singapore (NUS) established the S$3 million Sustainable Supply Chain Centre of Asia Pacific (SSCCAP). It is the region’s first best-practice hub and intellectual property engine to drive sustainable supply chain development in the Asia Pacific region.

Companies like Apple, Heineken and Infineon have very strong internship programs designed to engage the young talent early and identify the next supply chain leaders.

This is key to building a healthy talent pipeline needed to sustain the growth most companies are experiencing in Asia.


We expect 2016 to bring about interesting market dynamics.
Companies have to learn to adapt faster to market changes, embrace technology to stay relevant and invest long term in their brand to stand out to ever more demanding candidates.

Candidates need to be prepared to face the reality that the supply chain world is in a phase of consolidation, be flexible to embrace new technologies and ready to shift gears. And if necessary countries.

The world is spinning faster than ten years ago. He, who adjusts his future competences to this reality, will also have most to gain.

What are thoughts be on the topic? Would welcome your feedback and opinions in the comments below.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!