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Hello – it’s great that the gates to ‘in-person’ networking have officially re-opened! I’ve really missed interacting face-to-face with colleagues, customers and other industry professionals during the past two years.

At IFS, we’re particularly excited at being able to host our next world conference as a physical event once again. We’ve chosen to call it ‘IFS Unleashed’ because our core objective is to help customers find new and innovative ways of releasing and maximizing the value from our technology within their organizations.  IFS Unleashed brings together our ecosystem of customers, partners, analysts and other industry stakeholders to network, discuss industry issues and trends. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to hear about our newest technology innovation and get a preview of the IFS Cloud roadmap.

We hear a lot about “getting back to normal”, but the business world just isn’t the same anymore. The pandemic has unleashed – no pun intended! – a true ripple effect. Manufacturers are still dealing with a turbulent environment marked by a mix of supply chain bottlenecks, including the container shipping crisis, aka ‘container-geddon’, material scarcity, rising material costs, inflation, an energy crisis, and talent challenges. This is the ‘next’ normal, a new reality where disruption could appear out of nowhere.

Despite the challenges, 2021 was an exciting and significant year for IFS. We rebranded the business and launched IFS Cloud. We released our industry-specific lobbies and a host of new features such as intraday planning, enhanced workbench, two-way shop floor reporting and AI-assisted weather forecasting. All of this means that ERP, asset management and service capabilities are available to our manufacturing customers in one single, composable solution. It also delivers an evergreen experience by pushing out new features and functions twice a year, giving customers full control over updates. It’s clear that our customers recognize the value of these changes – with a customer joining IFS Cloud every 48 hours.

All of us are emerging from the pandemic, equipped with some valuable lessons learned – including the ways in which technology investments can help not only to navigate through a crisis but also create new opportunities. I’m constantly amazed how IFS customers innovate – whether it’s expanding their product ranges, meeting changes in customer demand, or reaching their markets in new and different ways. For example, Farrow & Ball saw their customer demands change rapidly during the pandemic, with a spike in consumer sales. They were able to respond by producing smaller batches in a wider range of colours and moved to a new D2C sales model.

Sharing this type of experience is one of the reasons we were so keen to make IFS Unleashed an in-person event, where we can finally catch up, share experiences of doing business in the pandemic, and talk about how technology has supported us and will continue to help us grow.

IFS Unleashed incorporates everything I’ve talked about so far. But I just wanted to pull out what I think the key highlights will be, from a manufacturing perspective…

Firstly, the opportunity to see and hear how we’re working with customers on their journey to IFS Cloud, mapping out a path that fits with their specific plans, goals, aspirations and timelines.

Secondly, the Manufacturing Zone. An interactive space where you can experience our technology, see the latest product developments, talk to other customers and put your questions to the IFS experts. Without spoiling the surprise, what I can say is that it will contain advanced visualization and scheduling, forecasting, MES, and some exciting sustainability initiatives. And you’ll also be able to share your views with the IFS R&D/Product teams, to help shape the roadmap.

Finally, no event would be truly inspirational without hearing the stories that bring the technology to life. So we have a dedicated manufacturing presentation theatre and a packed agenda! Customers will speak about their cloud migration journeys and innovative business initiatives, ranging from the smart factory to sustainability, the circular economy and Servitization. Partners and IFS experts will also talk about the future of manufacturing and supply chain, along with the ambitious IFS Cloud roadmap. In particular, we’re recommending people don’t miss the “Top reasons for choosing IFS Cloud” which includes a look at what’s new for manufacturing and supply chain.

It would be great to see you in person at Unleashed this October. I hope you agree that it will be a unique opportunity to share your experiences and ideas with peers and the IFS team, see the latest innovation, and of course embrace the value that a face-to face event brings.

Discover more about IFS Unleashed here.

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