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By Jeremy Hudson, May 12, 2020

Building a Supportable Supply Chain Software Stack – Video Interview with SupplyChainBrain

Right now it’s probably pretty apparent whether or not you’ve got a supportable supply chain software stack. If you don’t have one, you might have plans to purchase or upgrade some time in the future. It’s a big investment and you want to ensure your purchase meets your current and future goals. Jeremy Hudson, Director, Client Services at Open Sky Group, sat down with Russell Goodman from SupplyChainBrain recently and explained what supportable software is, what kind of skill sets you might need and how SaaS fits into the picture.

Watch the video interview

Prefer to read it? Here’s the Q&A from Russell and Jeremy:

Who is Open Sky Group and what space do you operate in?

Open Sky Group is a global supply chain software implementer. We work primarily with Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software) solutions, implementing Warehouse Management, Labor Management, Transportation Management and Workforce Management solutions throughout the supply chain.

What does it mean to build supportable software?

15 years ago, software was a build-to-suit operation. It was software partners coming in and saying, “I’m going to build you software and that’s your software for the next 15 years.” That process is no longer applicable when you look at the innovation of the supply chain network. You’re seeing significantly more technology and software that has to be upgradable over time. In order to build a supportable software, you need to have software that is not heavily customized. You need to have software that can be supported by a software support team. You need to have something that when someone says, “this isn’t working,” your software provider or support team knows exactly what you’re talking about because you took a standardized approach. To have that, you must be adaptable as a supply chain. You must understand that your processes need to mesh with the software as it is. You need to be very responsible about how you implement that software and how you change that software over time.

If I’m looking for a provider, any number of people are going to tell me “Yes, we can do that.” So, what do I need to know to be able to analyze or determine which provider I should choose?

A large part of this is looking for a responsible partner. Looking for someone that’s not interested in building something that is outlandish. You don’t want to be proud of your customizations. You want to be proud of your lack of customizations. You want to be proud of the fact that you worked closely with the software and the vendor and have a good track record with it. You want a partner that’s going to be cautious for you. The last thing you want is a software implementer or provider that’s going to come in and say, “we’ll build you whatever you want.” That’s not what you are looking for. You want to have something that’s supportable long-term, something you can maintain and support over time.

What kind of critical elements, or skill sets do I need on my in-house support team?

You need smart, operational minds that work well with your IT departments and vice versa. You want an IT department that works closely with your operations. Those silos are very, very detrimental to your project and very detrimental to your solution. You want a solution that both IT and operations can share and support simultaneously.

How does building a supportable software stack mesh with SaaS?

That is something that is absolutely fundamental to SaaS. For SaaS to work properly, you must have a software that’s standardized and supportable. The whole purpose of SaaS is to have a software solution that doesn’t require a lot of hands-on support or customized support. You want a team to be able to come in and support you in a SaaS model. SaaS will only work with a standardized, supportable solution that’s not heavily customized. Something that you can really build your operations to suit versus building the software to suit your operations.

Building an Argument, here. You want to bring in a partner because you think they will benefit your company, but you don’t have the authority to authorize the investment. You take the idea to the members in the C-Suite. What is your argument? What are the benefits?

I think it’s important to evaluate your current level of headaches. If you talk to your operations team and say, “How often is this system getting in your way?” If you talk to your IT team and say, “How often are you plugging holes in that boat? How often are you having to keep this software afloat?” Understanding the impact of your current software solution and how difficult it is support will really justify the cost savings. You want to implement something that can be placed in a SaaS model and be supportable over time by someone outside of your organization.

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It’s time to elevate.

Discover how Open Sky Group
can help you reach new heights
of supply chain efficiency.

Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Brett Findlay


Brett, Chairman of Open Sky Group’s Australian operations, provides leadership to Open Sky Group’s Australian Board of Directors. With over 22 years of experience in the ICT industry, he has successfully managed local, regional, and country P&L’s for both domestic and international consulting companies and delivered some of the largest ERP projects for customers in Australia and Asia Pacific Regions.

Brett’s key expertise is in maximizing the business benefits of large-scale, complex transformation programs. He has successfully delivered ICT and supply chain transformation projects for clients including Toll, Linfox, Dulux Group, Orica, ALH, API, and Toyota Australia. He is an excellent facilitator and is regularly engaged to facilitate large-scale, complex groups striving to achieve a common outcome.

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Curt Sardeson


As a member of the Australian Board of Directors for Open Sky Group, Curt will serve as business advisor to the company.  Formerly CEO for Open Sky Group’s U.S. operations, Curt’s focus and responsibility will now be on inorganic growth. This additional focus on mergers and acquisitions will help to bring more capabilities and a different type of growth to the company to help Open Sky Group stay competitive and flexible in the ever-changing, disruptive business environment that is the world of supply chain. He will still be a very active part of the company, continuing to work closely with the CEO and the leadership team to help shape the future of Open Sky Group.

Chris Poulton


As a member of the Australian Board of Directors for Open Sky Group, Chris will serve as a business advisor to the company. Chris has over 20 years senior management experience in the IT industry. He has provided supply chain transformation, solution architecture, and project management to large, multinational FMCG/CPG, manufacturing, and public sector organisations both as a consultant and on the customer side. Chris’ experience includes managing multiple large ERPs, M&A, and shared service engagements to deliver integrated solutions. These projects have involved the application of technology across processes in finance, supply chain, procurement, and customer service.

Chris’ clients include Linfox, Dulux Group, ORICA, CSR, GWF, Mondelez, ANSTO, Qld Health, Cemex, Hitachi, Pirelli, Pioneer Foods, Northern Foods, UK and Australian Government organisations.

Ian Drummond

Chief Executive Officer

Ian is an accomplished business leader and technology consultant with deep experience managing large business transformation and technology programs. Ian has extensive experience leading and growing technology businesses, most recently as a Partner in Ernst & Young’s technology practice.

Chad Kramlich


As a member of the Australian Board of Directors for Open Sky Group, Chad will serve as business advisor to the company.  As Chief Executive Officer of Open Sky Group U.S., Chad is focused on continuing Open Sky Group’s incredible growth, strengthening client relationships and expanding the company’s influence in the supply chain. Chad joined Open Sky Group in 2015 and served as Chief Revenue Officer for the three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022, where he successfully led the marketing, sales and client services teams. With over twenty-five years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.