This time, we’re joined by Antony Francis, Consultant and SME for Supply Chain and Logistics based in Dallas, Texas, USA. While the pandemic put a hold on Antony’s impressive list of travel destinations, he still uses the time wisely being our go-to person for all questions around moving goods as well as enjoying a cultured evening with opera and a glass of wine.
Welcome, Antony. What brought you into the tech industry and got you interested in the logistics and supply chain sector?
I was working in the oil and gas industry and reviewing processes for the issuing and delivery of parts to offshore drilling rigs. There was so much paperwork that I thought there had to be a better way. Later, I joined FedEx, and we were able to track and trace not only customer packages but also the delivery of aircraft parts to maintenance. This showed me that technology would provide the solution to visibility and connectivity of systems across the entire supply chain.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
The cloud and advanced automation systems, like robotics and RFID (radio-frequency identification). They have allowed huge process improvements and accelerated the production process for all logistics operations, driving down cost and improving margins for businesses.
And what is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
End-to-end visibility in the supply chain from quote to cash has been a challenge for years. Today’s systems and applications allow us to manage the flow of information in ways we only dreamed of 30 years ago. So, those organisations who think they need to improve their supply chain visibility – that’s probably most of them – should look into the different technology solutions available since they will lose out on some quick wins and good growth opportunities otherwise.
What is the part of your work with Endava you are most proud of and why?
Most of my time to date has been spent supporting the sales and marketing group in training the lead generation and sales team about all areas of supply chain as well as writing blogs and articles that support our logistics vertical. I have increasingly been joining pitches to prospects to add supply chain knowledge where I can be of value. I really enjoy bringing the intricacies, possibilities, and complex processes of the logistics and supply chain area closer to the team, so that we can develop great solutions for our clients.
On the flip side, what is the project or technology that challenged you the most and where you had some setbacks? What did you learn from this?
There are so many areas in supply chain, from manufacturing, ocean shipping, port operations, to freight forwarding, intralogistics, and last mile delivery. It is hard to be an expert in every area. Container shipping and ocean freight are areas that I have had to research to improve my knowledge base. In general, the whole supply chain area has changed so much in the last years, as technology has enabled huge efficiencies in the operations. This showed me that we really can and do need to continuously learn, no matter how much we already know about an industry.
Thank you, Antony. Now we’d like to learn a bit more about you personally. If you were not working as an industry consultant, what would you be doing instead?
Reading books on the beach!
What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
Wagner operas – especially The Ring – but how to summarise 4 operas and 17 hours of bliss in 20 minutes!!??
What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Who would be your 5 famous dinner party guests – real or fictional?
Winston Churchill, Joseph Kessel, Jean-Paul Sartre, Lord Mountbatten, and Richard Strauss
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
The 16th and 17th centuries
Would you be brave enough to share one of your guilty pleasures with us?
Red wine and dark chocolate
And finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
The most wasted of days is one without laughter. (E. E. Cummings)
Thank you, Antony, for participating and letting us into your world. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next part of our Meet the SME series!