ICON 2022 is less than a month away! Blue Yonder’s Wayland Fox, Senior Marketing Director, sat down with Rachael Kennedy, Senior Process Manager, at L.L.Bean recently to discuss her role on Blue Yonder’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs), what she enjoys most about being part of a SIG, and why customers should attend a SIG meeting at ICON 2022. Rachael shared that she has been to nearly every ICON (formerly called JDA Focus) since 2012.

What is your favorite part of being a SIG member?

I have been a SIG member for over 10 years and am currently the SIG Chair for Blue Yonder Demand, a statistical forecasting tool.  The SIG Community is one of my favorite benefits of being a Blue Yonder customer. What I love about it is that it really gives you a chance to network with other customers who are using the same tools. These tools are highly configurable, and each customer has tailored their configuration to align with their respective business needs. In other words, we all use the software solutions a bit differently depending on our unique businesses.  That said, there is so much we can learn from each other.  As we face new business challenges, we have a whole network of peers that we can tap into.

The SIG Community leverages an online platform. SIG members can post questions to the forum to ask about how other customers are handling a specific business problem or to ask advice on how to configure a specific functionality within the tool. It’s a great way to continue learning and ensure we’re making the most of all the software has to offer.

Networking and sharing ideas sound like the biggest benefit!

They really are! And the sharing of information is not just limited to the software – we also talk about the supporting business processes and organization structure. As an example, before we launched the Blue Yonder demand forecasting solution, we had the forecasting and buying functions as one role. Once we started using Demand, we saw an opportunity to separate these two functions. We knew there were advantages and disadvantages to doing this. It was very helpful to have the SIG Community as a resource to talk with other customers about how their organizations were structured. We eventually did split the role, so now we have dedicated forecasters who uses Blue Yonder demand and dedicated buyers that use Blue Yonder fulfillment. Splitting the role made a big difference to us; we have been able to develop the expertise in that specific skillset in that specific tool. At the same time, we kept the teams structured by product area, not function, to keep the line of communication fluid between buyer and forecaster. This is just one example of the type of questions that come up in the community. There’s a lot of benefit that comes just from sharing and learning from each other’s experiences.

What should a customer expect from a SIG meeting at ICON? What will they see and be exposed to that can benefit them?

While we likely won’t have the same numbers in-person that we’ve had in the past, we are trying to use the smaller, tighter group to our benefit. We are reaching out to those who will be there in-person and polling them to see if they have specific topics they want to discuss. We typically start with a review of the solution Roadmap, including upcoming enhancements, given by the Blue Yonder Product Directors. Then, we typically break out into roundtable discussions. It’s a great chance to meet each other, share what’s working well, and what challenges we are facing. The SIG meeting may only be 90 minutes, but I typically make connections there that I leverage throughout the year.  

I’ve missed the face-to-face interaction the last two years, and am really looking forward to joining Blue Yonder in Orlando this year.

We are excited to see you too, Rachael – and everyone else joining us in-person! To watch Rachael and Wayland’s Blue Yonder Live session click here.