explore 2018, automotive, consumer products, food and beverage, industrial, high tech, life sciences

This year’s Explore in Dallas was my first, and as a new addition to the QAD team, I found myself thoroughly impressed with the volume of thought-provoking conversations and collaboration at the event. After Explore came to a close and everyone went home, I caught up with QAD’s vertical market leads to learn more about some of these great conversations, favorite sessions and general sentiments around Explore 2018.


Terry Onica, Director of Automotive, QAD

At this year’s Explore, the hot topics that generated a lot of discussion and excitement in automotive were more rapid implementations and upgrades, new automotive supply chain functionality, Easy On Boarding automotive business process workbook and machine learning.  

There were two sessions presented by Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI), which featured presentations on their global rollout and new QAD automotive functionality. During both sessions, the presenters spoke about the benefits they are achieving from their upgrade and global rollout, and in particular, QAD Planning and Scheduling Workbenches (MSW/PSW), customer/supplier variance reports and customer/supplier retro-billing. YFAI was able to successfully use QAD’s automotive business process workbook for their global rollout with minimal changes.

Another session that generated a lot of interest was the results of our machine learning project with QAD customer, Adient. There was great enthusiasm and a lot of questions for the very promising results that this project achieved. The project involved predicting what the OEM customer would need on shipment day by leveraging machine learning using past EDI planning and shipping data.

I found the automotive customer case study sessions at this year’s Explore were all very well attended. The sessions had very exciting content from our customers discussing the value and benefits of QAD solutions in their recent upgrades. Not only did they create buzz during the conference, but I have been following up with people on quite a few of these sessions afterwards!

Consumer Products and Food & Beverage

Steve Dombroski, Sr. Marketing Manager, Consumer and Food & Beverage, QAD

There is an old phrase, when looking for a solution to a problem; two heads are better than one.  Well, how about 800+ heads? That was the scene in Dallas at QAD’s annual Explore event with hundreds of manufacturing and software professionals collaborating on the issues facing manufacturing companies in today’s complex world and marketplace.

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is experiencing a changing market and like many of these manufacturers, our customers are faced with plenty of issues. It is difficult to come up with new and innovative solutions while challenging the business problems and normal day to day tasks. Sometimes you need to take a step back and collaborate with people dealing with the same issues, but who might have a different outlook, perspective and approach.

Consumer products and food & beverage customers discussed a variety of issues from consumers changing demand patterns and managing expanding supply chains to the increase in transportation costs. Many sought the information necessary to help them continue to improve their business. What they received was a wealth of information on Industry 4.0, the ground breaking QAD User Experience, improved methods on food and product safety and ways their colleagues are dealing with today’s CPG market.  

I was able to engage with all of the CPG customers at the event and the message was the same: nothing beats collaboration and engaging with professionals facing the same challenges. They came to Dallas with big ideas and big plans and they left with even bigger ideas and plans.  Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

Industrial & High Tech

Glenn Graney, Director, Industrial and High Tech, QAD

The industrial and high tech session is always better when the presentation agenda is shared with a customer experience. This year, Mark Hull and Lisa Weides from Essex were enticed to share the podium with me and provided great insights to the roughly 120 attendees into a major project around demand and supply chain planning (DSCP).

It is certainly valuable for QAD, but more importantly for others to hear how DSCP is better positioning Essex to adapt to changes and become more effective planners. Based on the number of questions and the folks that wanted just a little more with Mark and Lisa after the presentation, it was clear that their story resonated with their peers. As important to me was the positive nature of the experience for Mark and Lisa. Neither would describe themselves as a professional presenter and there is almost always some trepidation when preparing for this kind of activity. When I asked Lisa how she thought it went, she responded without hesitation, “I had a blast!”  

I have been to hundreds of professional events in my career and the collaboration between QAD, users and partners at Explore is very real and reflects positively on all of us. I am already excited about finding a customer presentation partner for New Orleans in 2019. Please let me know if you are interested and I can provide a five-star review that says you will indeed have a blast!

Life Sciences

Dave Medina, Vice President, Solutions and Vertical Markets, QAD

One of the biggest trends I found in speaking with life sciences companies at Explore was the topic of cloud security. This seemingly ongoing trend garnered a bit of attention due to some of the high profile IT security lapses in the news. How the cloud could be much more secure than the typical on-premise deployment was a question that many companies were curious about. However, many came to the realization that with the cloud, QAD can (and does) invest in the latest technology and processes for internet security at levels that the typical on-premise provider cannot. The QAD Cloud allows us to make that investment and spread it across our customer base, and more importantly, the many vertical markets to which we serve.

The life sciences breakout sessions were very well attended by industry customers. The session that received the most notable and positive commentary was Bob Kalka’s (IBM) session, “Cybersecurity – The Cloud and Cognitive Advantage.” In his session, Bob discussed the information security challenges and threats manufacturers face today and some of the best practices available for providing more security to their operations. I also noticed that many of our customers thoroughly enjoyed Neil Jacobstein’s keynote, “The Future of Manufacturing, Robotics & AI.” Neil successfully hit on many of the trends and topics that are top of mind for manufacturers, and it was evident when receiving feedback from customers. This year’s conference truly was the best Explore ever and I can’t wait to see what is in store for next year!

Join Us Next Year in New Orleans!

If you weren’t able to make it to Explore this year, check out this recent article on what you missed. You can view and download the presentations, watch the customer showcase videos and browse through the conference photo album. As always, we encourage you to stay up-to-date on social media with the hashtag #QADExplore and join us next year as we continue these conversations at Explore 2019 in New Orleans!