The Road Ahead: Two Years After LLamasoft’s Acquisition

Dr. Madhav Durbha
Dr. Madhav Durbha
VP of Supply Chain Strategy, Coupa Software

Dr. Madhav Durbha is the Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy Coupa Software, where his team helps customers and prospects solve various supply chain challenges. Prior to Coupa, Dr. Durbha held positions at LLamasoft, Kinaxis, JDA Software and i2 Technologies, Inc. With more than 20 years in the supply chain industry, Dr. Durbha has broad experience in strategy & process consulting, supply chain software, program management, software application development & deployment, machine learning and data science. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Florida and his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras.

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The Road Ahead: Two Years After LLamasoft’s Acquisition

Just over two years ago, we announced that Coupa had acquired LLamasoft: a day I remember like it happened yesterday. Throughout my career, I had been on both sides of several acquisitions. For someone coming into a new company through an acquisition, there is a sense of melancholy that marks the end of an era, along with the excitement of a new beginning. I remember coming on board with a cautious stance.

Now, I can’t be prouder of the team that stayed the course and the several new Coupa villagers who have brought fresh energy and ideas into the community. It is also exciting to share this journey with our customers and partners while welcoming many new customers to our growing community of practitioners!

How LLamasoft’s supply chain design enhances Coupa’s BSM platform

Coupa’s approach is to help organizations have visibility of and the ability to control business spend and optimize it for best outcomes. With over 70% of spend locked up in supply chain — including raw materials, labor, logistics, warehousing, inventory, and capital expenses — it takes an inclusive approach to incorporate all forms of spend, including direct, indirect, and MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations).

The addition of LLamasoft’s supply chain design capability, formerly known as Supply Chain Guru and since updated with new capabilities, amplifies Coupa’s ability to optimize business spend. It opens up the possibility to reimagine the supply chain by answering a range of questions such as:

  • Where should I open a new distribution center? What advantages does the location provide?
  • Make vs buy decisions: should I buy a finished product or should I make it in house?
  • Do we have the right levels of inventory at the right locations to meet my service levels?
  •  Are there opportunities to consolidate shipments to send in more full truckloads?

These are just a handful of questions that supply chain design helps address through powerful ‘what-if’ scenarios customers can run using the digital twin model. It allows them to challenge the assumptions that guide supply chain planning and execution. As these questions are answered and decisions are made, the broader Coupa BSM platform helps turn this design into a reality by helping source the necessary products and services and ensure these are procured and paid for. This allows supply chains to operate in an uninterrupted manner, bringing essential goods and services to all of us.

Coupa supply chain customers continue to tackle disruptions and thrive

At Coupa, one of our top values and measures of success relates to our customers’ successes. When our customers can navigate disruption successfully, ensure business continuity, reduce costs, improve the value they bring to their customers, and create a more streamlined business overall, we take great pride in those outcomes.

Since the acquisition, our customers have not only stuck with Coupa, but have also become advocates. For example:

  • Nestlé has embraced Coupa to build a more resilient supply chain. They’ve reduced replenishment lead times, optimized safety stock, and created significant savings.

"Coupa helps us change the way we do supply chain planning. With Coupa we have successfully expanded our solution space and our user base." — Robert Wang, Principal Supply Chain Optimization at Nestlé USA

  • Odyssey Logistics uses Coupa to optimize transportation and inventory in the midst of capacity shortages and rising prices, while ensuring customers are a top priority. In the process, they’ve saved US$90 million and reduced their emissions by more than 459 million kgs of CO2 — that’s like taking 98,900 gas-powered cars off the road each year.
  • Microsoft was able to digitize its supply chain for hardware products to make it more efficient, improve delivery channels, and meet seasonal demand changes. Coupa Supply Chain Design and Planning has helped the organization make fact-based decisions so they can reduce their carbon footprint while ensuring profitability and the ability to pivot quickly when a disruption occurs.

This is just a sampling of the highly inspiring customer stories through the transition highlighting the great results. In 2022, Coupa was also recognized with the Customers’ Choice distinction in the Gartner® Peer Insights™ Voice of the Customer 2022 report.

Continuously improving the experience for our supply chain customers

Over the last two years, we have continued to invest in our research and development, pushing the envelope on the supply chain design discipline.

Some of the enhancements and innovations we have driven have included progressing on our Cloud journey, adding spend as a constraint, increasing the speed and scale of our solvers, solving production planning problems with complex changeovers, and adding dynamic sourcing decisions in transportation. We have also released two pivotal integrations with the broader Coupa BSM platform and with our Sourcing Optimization and Risk & Performance Management offerings. One critical input into our roadmap is our ongoing engagement with customer advisory boards, giving our customers a strong voice in shaping our product.

I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in these last two years, but I also recognize where we can do better. In this vein, two key areas stand out:

  • Further ramping up user engagement and community experiences: The pandemic and the associated travel restrictions limited us in terms of hosting events that bring our supply chain customers together. With the restrictions now mostly behind us, we are looking forward to bringing more in-person user-focused events. A recent example is the user group we hosted in São Paulo, Brazil. More than 80 of our supply chain customers attended, coming together to learn from each other and get updated on our recent product innovations! We acknowledge that community experiences like these were a core part of LLamasoft’s success and we look forward to many more such events.
  • Turning supply chain design into reality: If the best design in the world isn’t implemented well, supply chain issues won’t actually be sorted out. Looking ahead, we aim to help our customers bridge this gap through our technology as well as best practices implemented in collaboration with our robust partner network. We have work to do on this front to ensure the best practices we accumulated and lessons we learned over the years help educate the market on building centers of excellence and we will strive towards that.

The future of Coupa Supply Chain

With all the aforementioned exciting developments, we continue to solidify Coupa BSM as a means for managing ALL forms of spend. In the context of supply chain design, we look forward to bringing more exciting capabilities with AI-powered prescriptions, blending in community and partner-powered data, and democratizing the results to the broader user base through rich visualizations and interactive experiences.

At Coupa, we believe that none of us is as smart as all of us and that everyone can learn from each other. We learn and cross-pollinate, and strive to bring procurement, finance, and supply chain closer together to build resilience and sustainability. We have the intellectual humility and curiosity to learn from our mistakes and seek greater understanding. And I believe this is one thing that sets Coupa apart.

Supply chains have seen a fundamental shift. We know that they work better, when we break down silos and bridge the digital divides between supply chain, finance, and procurement, that businesses work better. And it’s by embracing the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that Coupa brings, including from the former LLamas who are now part of the Coupa village, that we’ll achieve this ultimate goal.

I am proud of what we have achieved in the last two years, and I am excited for what the future holds. We thank our customers and partners who have been part of the journey!

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