Top 10 Takeaways from Momentum 2024

With the Momentum 2024 conference behind us and a new month ahead of us, it’s a good time think about what we saw, heard and learned in San Antonio. There was so much to take in – from inspiring keynote speeches to intriguing sessions about the capabilities and possibilities being unleashed. Siloed supply chains? A thing of the past. Generative AI? We’re just at the beginning.

As the 1,100+ attendees get back into their day-to-day grooves, many will be looking to channel some of that San Antonio energy into a strategy for their own supply chains of the future. To help, I’ve come up with the Top 10 Takeaways from Momentum 2024.

Supply Chain ❤️ Commerce 
Today’s blue dot consumers demand instant gratification that requires real-time synchronization between supply and demand signals. Shop and fulfill anytime, anyplace, anywhere – frictionlessly and sustainably. Our vision of supply chain commerce, where supply chain and commerce are harmoniously connected and balanced from planning to execution, is rapidly becoming the industry’s new norm. With the announcement of Manhattan Active® Supply Chain Planning, supply chain commerce has taken a giant step forward.  

Unification: Siloed supply chains are a thing of the past
Warehouse and transportation management systems can no longer afford to be disconnected. A unified supply chain means enhanced efficiency, visibility, cost-effectiveness, customer service, scalability, inventory management, and decision-making, leading to overall improved business performance. As Schneider Electric’s Thiago Rodrigues aptly noted during his keynote, transforming and unifying Schneider’s complex global supply chain with cloud and sustainability at its core has allowed the company to turn its supply chain into a competitive differentiator, not to mention the #1 spot in Gartner’s Global Supply Chain Top 25.


Modern shoppers demand modern stores
Traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts are making a resurgence as the hubs of unified commerce that allows for seamless and frictionless personalized client services, endless aisles, promotions, inventory management, fulfillment (including returns), customer service, and community engagement. With a retail workforce shortage of 5.5 million in the U.S. alone, modern store technologies can play an important role in recruiting, retaining, and enhancing sales associates’ productivity to mitigate that shortage. The keynote from Groupe Dynamite provides a glimpse into the power of modern unified commerce technologies.  

RFID ready for prime time
Gone are the days of time-consuming and error-prone manual store inventorying. RFID provides high accurate, real-time, and location-specific inventory at all levels – from the warehouse and transportation network to the shop floor. Fixed or mobile, RFID combined with modern store technology such as the unified Point-of-Service application empowers the modern workforce to deliver a truly unified commerce experience smarter and more productively. Today, this technology can scale retail operations by tracking every unit from entry to exit, performing store counts in a fraction of the time historically taken, assisting associates in locating product and much more. Read how Reebok transformed its store operations and customer experience using RFID technology. Since deploying RFID across its stores, Reebok has been able to perform a weekly, full store inventory count in about 30-40 minutes. This is in stark contrast to the more traditional physical Inventory counts, which usually take place annually.

Pragmatic GenAI is our friend
There is no doubt that GenAI is fast driving a major change to the world of supply chain commerce. McKinsey & Company’s insights on recent GenAI trends noted that the technology “could achieve human-level performance in some capabilities sooner than previously thought.” Always one to offer the latest technology, Manhattan has developed its large language models (LLMs) over time to deliver two new offerings – Manhattan Active® Maven, a specialized GenAI solution built for customer service, and Manhattan Assist, which adds cutting-edge GenAI capabilities to all Manhattan Active solutions to break down configurations on any aspect of the platform in easy-to-digest ways. The company is applying this technology to revolutionize consumer interactions, as well as enhance how Manhattan's customers engage with their solutions. Continued learning and evolution of the platform will further increase the ability of the user to be better informed and make better decisions. These solutions represent an exciting application of this technology in supply chain and commerce, delivering new levels of personalization, productivity, and cost-savings.  

People: The secret ingredient
Artificial intelligence may be a breakthrough technology capable of making any operation more efficient and effective – but it’s still the people working behind the technology who are the key to success. PacSun and L'Oréal joined me in an enlightening panel discussion about unleashing team potential and highlighted how they have empowered employees with modern hardware and software to reduce manual tasks, enhance visibility, streamline fulfillment operations in the warehouse and in the store, while also elevating both employee and customer experiences.  

Cloud native is the prerequisite to success
True innovation and business agility require cloud-native applications, not just cloud infrastructures. Cloud computing focuses on the availability and delivery of IT resources over the internet while cloud-native applications allow organizations to take full advantage of the cloud computing model through microservices and APIs. The benefits of cloud-native applications are multiple – they are API based, headless, easily customizable and integrate with legacy infrastructure, making it the perfect companion for plug-and-play opportunities with third party players. With no need to upgrade, users have the license to innovate and can always stay ahead of trends and competitors.

Community is key
The Manhattan community has the best and brightest minds in supply chain commerce. From Product Council meetings, Executive Experience and Supply Chain Leaders Program to our Women in Tech networking reception and luncheon, it was gratifying to see our community come alive at #Momentum2024, one of the biggest gatherings of the best minds from the supply chain and retail worlds. I was thrilled to introduce the new Manhattan Community Hub – a dynamic go-to resource for staying informed and getting involved. Whether you want to join one of our Product Councils, gain access to exclusive educational content, or check out the calendar of events, it’s now all in one place.

Innovate or Perish
The “innovate or perish” maxim underscores a critical truth in today’s business environment: continuous innovation is not just a strategy for growth, but a necessity for survival. In a world where market conditions, consumer preferences, and technology landscapes are perpetually evolving, companies that fail to innovate risk becoming irrelevant. Committed to helping retailers globally stay ahead of their peers, Manhattan rolls out new upgrades and capabilities every 90 days to help our customers get the secret sauce for success! A great example of innovation is the Fulfillment Experience Insights dashboard, which gives retailers a real-time assessment of how their omnichannel fulfillment performance stacks up against the industry. And don’t forget the integration between Manhattan Active Omni and Google’s Merchant Center, which provides shoppers with more accurate location- and product-specific delivery times across Google surfaces, including Search, YouTube, Maps, Discover, and more.

I think Kevin Helmeid, Vice President of Logistics at Duluth Trading, said it best. “With Manhattan Associates’ expertise and industry-leading innovation, we are now better equipped to handle the ever-changing demands of our customers.” He captured the essence of cloud-native innovation.

Change management is key to success
Change doesn’t happen overnight – and in most cases, it probably shouldn’t. Revamping a distribution system or enhancing inventory management, among other projects, should be managed through a methodical, strategic process that’s designed to minimize disruptions and maintain operations. Change management also requires a careful look at people, not just processes and technologies, in order to be successful. Did you know there are five generations in today’s workforce and that each comes with unique beliefs and characteristics? Emotional intelligence is an integral part of change management and must be taken into account. From visions to executions to results, we heard from brands such as Schneider Electric, L’Oreal and Groupe Dynamite about their stepwise approaches to digital transformation success.

Overall, the path forward seems clear. The industry and entire ecosystem – including retailer and customer experiences – are changing rapidly. The good news is that Manhattan is committed to providing innovative technologies and partnering with customers to ensure that they have the capabilities – and the knowledge – they need to succeed every day. Through innovative solutions, we aren’t just keeping pace. We’re staying ahead of the curve. That’s what our customers and partners depend on and what we’re committed to.

Next year’s Momentum will be held May 19-22, 2025 at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas.