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An Interview with Alex Wakefield, Longbow Advantage Inc CEO: ‘We Take Pride in Knowing that We Utilize the Right Data Set, Understand and Implement the Right Technologies, and Have the Right People to Help’

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“Rebus connects to supply chain execution systems, harmonizes data in a NoSQL database for speed and scalability, and unites all WMS, LMS, and TMS data into a single platform.”

Longbow Advantage Inc. evolved from the understanding that companies need specialized knowledge to meet or exceed their expectations from their supply chain software. To meet this need, Longbow developed expertise and a range of services to help the most sophisticated WMS users get the most from their system. The experts at Longbow understand the cost and productivity concerns of supply chain professionals because, they are industry insiders…they built Longbow based on the experience they have earned in the warehousing and transportation industries.

Longbow was incorporated in 2002 and is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

Alex Wakefield, Longbow Advantage Inc. CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

Longbow is known for providing high-quality supply chain software consulting, implementations, and developing the only data services software designed and developed by IT and Supply Chain experts, Rebus.

Longbow's high-quality supply chain consulting and implementation services are tailored to the specific needs and goals of their customers. While the employees consult businesses on their operating processes and supply chain technologies, their primary goal is to provide first-rate implementations while ensuring that operations are efficient. Longbow’s teams are equipped to handle Blue Yonder, SAP, Korber, BluJay, MercuryGate, and Rebus.

Rebus, built by Longbow, is a robust supply chain data management tool that provides customers with an unforgettable experience that changes the landscape of how supply chain operations are run. Rebus provides customers with a deep layer of insight into the real-time workings of the most complex distribution networks. Rebus connects to supply chain execution systems, harmonizes data in a NoSQL database for speed and scalability, and unites all WMS, LMS, and TMS data into a single platform.

Q. There is a talent war in logistics and supply chain management segment. Among the scarce pool of talent, how do you manage to source the best?

We can source the best talent, because we have the best reputation in the industry. The leaders of our various organizations have all done the jobs of the team who works for them, and they maintain their operational and technical acumen as they progress in their careers. Our Net Promoter Score of 83, while supporting some of the largest and most demanding global brands, speaks volumes about our approach to customers. This resonates with our employees, and they are proud to be part of Longbow. We also treat our employees like adults by giving them the latitude to support our customers, and we always treat each person as an individual and professional, not as a number.

Q. Volatility and complexity don’t just create problems at a specific point in the supply chain; instead, the impact can ripple throughout the entire infrastructure. How do you help your clients deal with these issues promptly before they create delays, backlogs, bottlenecks, and other issues?

This is one of the main reasons that we developed Rebus Data Services. It is the only full-stack data services solution in the supply chain that manages data to support a business process. With Rebus managing all aspects of data from extraction to visualization, we provide our customers real-time visibility and access to all data and operations in their supply chain. By managing data effectively, we enable our customers to be much more agile and responsive in their supply chain.

Q. There are other solution providers in this segment. How do you distinguish your services?

Longbow's company culture revolves around carefully cultivating a team that loves their work and has a passion for helping customers. Each employee shows support, dedication, commitment, and motivation required to overcome any complex supply chain challenge. We take pride in knowing that we utilize the right data set, understand and implement the right technologies, and have the right people to help. By having “walked in our customers’ shoes”, we can build the most effective ways for our customers to use their data. Many data and analytics solutions are cobbled together by internal teams using a number of different components, while Rebus provides end-to-end data management that provides insights in real-time that no other software can deliver.

Q. What are the security measures implemented by you to secure your clients’ data?

We take our customers’ data security as one of our top priorities. It is imperative to protect both personal and business-related information. From a corporate perspective, we follow all GDPR guidelines, and we make sure we stay ahead of any requirements internationally, or domestic, such as in the case of California.

With regards to Rebus, our software has been SOC 2 certified for four years in a row. We continue to proactively review our security protocols and invest in security measures to ensure our customers’ data security.

Q. What is the effect of ‘never-ending change’ in digital transformation on supply chain management?

It can be a challenge to define solutions and processes that are effective while an organization is working on ‘continuous improvement’ programs that can feel like ‘never-ending change’. The effect can be confusion and frustration in your workforce. The best approach is to adopt a mindset that is dynamic and both delivers on current requirements and adjusts to improved processes. Executives need to balance their investments in unproven technologies with technologies that deliver immediate value, and they need to support their teams throughout the process, so people have clear directives and goals.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

Yes. We are continually working on new services. We are working on new supply chain execution software to implement for our customers. Due to acquisition or strategy, many companies manage multiple solutions in the same functional area. Everything we do is designed to flexibly support our customers, so we will continue to look for better ways to support our customers’ business model.

In Rebus, we are rapidly launching new functionality. We have announced electronic BOL and signature capture to help minimize human contact. We continue to expand our industry benchmarking and quality management solution, and, next year, we will announce significant improvements for companies who want a much better way to use their data. When companies realize the power of using their data as a business process, then they can achieve more than they thought possible. We deliver the most effective way for customers to use their data, and they continue to impress us with how they have identified and solved problems that existed for years that they were not even aware of.

A Vibrant Leader

Alex Wakefield joined Longbow Advantage in 2016 as a Chief Commercial Officer with over 20 years of sales, operational leader, and executive experience in supply chain and technology roles. Within two years, Wakefield nearly doubled the size of the company and was promoted to CEO.

Wakefield's experiences managing global transportation, trade compliance, and leading sales organizations in supply chain and technology allowed him to focus on strengthening his customers' logistics networks and performance. As a CEO, Wakefield has focused on empowering and helping the executive's problem-solve and gain the most out of their supply chain technology solutions. His passion and drive have led him to identify talent and develop high-performance teams to support customers across all aspects of the supply chain.

“Having many data and analytics solutions cobbled together with different components, Rebus provides end-to-end data management that provides insights in real-time that no other software can deliver.”