Keynote Speakers


Practical Examples of ML Deployment in Customer, Materials, and Asset Management
Saturday, November 17    11 AM – 12 noon

Christian Thisgaard

Vice President, Global responsible for SAP’s customer co-innovation team


In his presentation Christian Thisgaard will present 3 customer cases on how advanced ML has been helped them radically improve and simplify critical parts of their business

Case 1: Digital Twin. What is the problem space needed to be addressed in order to successfully have the required variables for achieving a statistical model with sufficient accuracy and confidence to be able to fit a highly automated production line, where false positives would easily become detrimental to success.

Case 2: Predictive Maintenance. How to rethink maintenance by using ML on streaming data that allows for uncovering unfavorable events early enough to pre-empt unplanned down-time and secondly to eliminate fixed time-based preventive maintenance in favor of actual wear and tear based maintenance

Case 3: Customer Segmentation / Churn.  How to successfully determine the 1000’s of customer segments that make up a company’s customer base and then actively utilize the knowledge to provide personalized and consent based (GPDR compliance) related offers pending their profile and their attractiveness to the company.

Each of the cases will outline the business urgency, the critical paths to achieve operationalization (data, people and process) and the resulting new paradigms the companies have been able to realize.

The last 3 years, Christian has specifically overseen a team of data scientists and platform architects that helps customers understand how SAP market leading technology platform (HANA) are capable of solving decade long challenges due to it’s revolutionary in-memory and multi-engine platform. In doing so, he has helped global brands deploy digital twin concepts at scale, real-time customer sentiment and personalized offers and many other innovative solutions that leap-frogs past old paradigms and processes

Before this, he lead a strategic consulting unit in SAP focusing on value driven roadmaps across a broad range of processes and industries. Through this tenue he has analyzed and advised customers in almost any industry.

His career started in 1996 with i2 Technologies in Europe (now part of JDA). i2 Technologies was a pioneer in utilizing advanced optimizers and constraint based planning and scheduling in the late 1990’s. Christian lead the deployment of their advanced optimization software across multiple global companies in high-tech, pulp and paper, telco and retail. After i2 Technologies, Christian worked at Maximo (now part of IBM), where he lead a cross-functional team focusing on predictive maintenance mostly within the energy and transportation sectors.

Christian Thisgaard holds an MBA from University of Phoenix


Online Resource Allocation with Application to Revenue Management
Sunday, November 18    11 AM – 12 noon

Prof. David Simchi-Levi

Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT

Chairman of Opalytics

Online resource allocation is a fundamental problem in OR and CS with applications such as offering products to customers, distributing jobs to candidates, assigning advertisers to ad slots, and matching drivers to passengers. These problems can be abstracted as follows: there are fixed resources, each of which can be sold at multiple known prices. These resources must be allocated on-the-fly, without assuming anything about future demand.  In this talk we cover the CS and OR literature on the problem and in particular focus on two techniques: exploration and exploitation methods, as well as competitive analysis.

In the latter case, we review new algorithms that achieve tight competitive ratios under the integral or asymptotic settings. Our algorithms are simple, intuitive and robust and our competitive ratios are provably optimal, for every possible set of prices.

In the former case, we discuss an efficient and effective dynamic pricing algorithm, which builds upon the Thompson sampling algorithm used for multi-armed bandit problems by incorporating inventory constraints into the pricing decisions. The algorithm proves to have both strong theoretical performance guarantees as well as promising numerical performance results when compared to other algorithms developed for the same setting.

Finally, we compare the performance of both techniques, exploration and exploitation methods and competitive analysis, with real-world and synthetic data from various retail applications.

Prof. David Simchi-Levi is considered one of the premier thought leaders in supply chain management and business analytics. His research focuses on developing and implementing robust and efficient techniques for operations management. He has published widely in professional journals on both practical and theoretical aspects of supply chain and revenue management.


Procurement Excellence
Monday, November 19    11 AM – 12 noon

Guy Schweppe

Senior Vice President, Global Operations

Dell Inc.

Procurement excellence requires influence and collaboration at all stages of the product lifecycle. In this session, Guy Schweppe, senior vice president, Global Operations at Dell, will talk about the journey Dell has been on to advance its procurement practices over the last decade, outlining Dell’s approach to procurement excellence and a deep dive into the critical elements of its strategy, including:

  1. Tailored talent management to unleash growth potentials of procurement professionals
  2. Established processes and tools to increase procurement influence early in product lifecycle
  3. Using advanced market analytics to predict industry dynamics and strategize sourcing
  4. Leveraging sourcing tools to drive value and cost efficiency for the company
  5. Establishing trustful and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers

Guy Schweppe is a senior vice president within Dell’s Global Operations organization with responsibility for Dell’s Production Procurement and Global Materials organizations. He serves on the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Board of Directors and is a member of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) Purchasing Council and Texas A&M University Supply Chain Consortium.

Since joining Dell in 1997, Guy has held various positions within the Global Operations organization.  Before joining Dell, he held a senior management position at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) for more than eight years, where he was responsible for the management of state and local government software application development and deployment specializing in retirement and benefits solutions.

Guy received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University.


Making Good Decisions in Difficult Moments
Monday, November 19    12 noon – 1:30 PM – as part of the Fellows Luncheon

Mystery Guest Speaker

Due to the nature of the presentation, our speaker will need to remain anonymous until the program at the Annual Conference Luncheon hosted by the Fellows on Monday, November 19. Our mystery guest speaker has presented more than 2,500 times over the last 30 years to audiences that have included such dignitaries as Bill Gates, President Clinton, the Prime Minister of Canada and to hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. The speaker will address how to succeed in challenging circumstances and achieve best outcomes while navigating difficult decisions. A national speaker and author, our mystery presenter will share veteran secrets for engaging an audience and captivating the attention of a group whether communicating with students, colleagues or employees. So be sure your departure plans allow you to participate all day Monday!