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From SCDigest's On-Target E-Magazine

- April 20, 2015 -


Supply Chain News: Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC) Upping Its Game for 2015 Conference

Four New Tracks Added to Focus on Specific Vertical Markets


SCDigest Editorial Staff


One of SCDigest's favorite supply chain-related events each year is the annual conference of the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC).

SCDigest Says:

With little over 1000 attendees in most years, WERC is bigger than a "boutique" event but still manages a more personal feel than shows with multi-thousand attendees.
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Why? The primary reason is the quality of the content, as usually every year we place two or three sessions from the conference as one of our top presentations for the year. Almost every year, there are some case study presentations that really go into a lot of depth and detail beyond that usually provided in most conference presentations.

In addition, many WERC members are very dedicated to the organization, which reflects itself in the event's quality. Specifically, there are a number of supply chain/logistics academics that are very involved in the WERC organization and at the conference.

WERC's conference is also an interesting size. With little over 1000 attendees in most years, WERC is bigger than a "boutique" event but still manages a more personal feel than shows with multi-thousand attendees.

Opportunities for local facility tours are also a big part of the WERC conference experience.

The 2015 conference will be May 3-6 in Orlando, at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Facility tours this year include DCs run by Walmart, Mondelez International, AmerisourceBergen, Walt Disney Company, and United Stationers, though several of these tours are already "sold out."

Just a few of the sessions that look interesting to SCDigest include:

Build a Better Manufacturing DC, by Jason Minghini of KENCO

How to Enable and Optimize Ship-from-Store Fulfillment, by Josh Maye of Belk stores and
Holden Bale of Kurt Salmon Associates

Urban Logistics: Excel at Serving Highly-Congested Metropolitan Areas, by William Rose of the University of Tennessee

Disability Hiring: How to Develop and Implement a Successful Initiative, from Stan Martz of Kroger

(Distribution/Materials Handling Story Continues Below )


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WERC is making a number of enhancements to the event this year. We got the chance last week to ask WERC CEO Michael Mikitka about some of the changes, and he responds below:

SCDigest: What will attendees find different about this year's WERC conference?

Mikitka: New for 2015 are four new education tracks that focus on Retail, Manufacturing, Health Care/Pharmaceutical and Reverse Logistics. Education focused specifically in these new areas is now being offered in addition to all of the programming traditionally offered at the WERC conference that crosses the vertical markets.

SCDigest: What's driving the changes?

Mikitka: WERC's conference has always provided general logistics and distribution programming that crosses the vertical markets. While attendees have appreciated learning this Ĺ“general information and found it applicable to their operations, they have asked to also see programming specific to their type of organization. A mission of this year conference chair, Ken Woodlin, VP, Logistics Compliance, Safety and Asset Protection, at Walmart Stores was to add content to the industry segments most represented at the WERC Conference.

SCDigest: There a lot of conferences out there - how do you position the WERC conference as different?

Mikitka: WERC focuses on the practical. You won't find kitschy themes associated with the WERC conference. We moved away from that a long time ago when we realized what the WERC conference is known for is having solutions and practical take-a-ways. When the conference committee develops the conference programming, and is selecting sessions, they are always asking, "What will the take-a-way from this be?" It is because of this focus that WERC also offers a guarantee, if we don't deliver a quality experience, we will return an attendee's registration fee.

SCDigest: Are you still facilitating private meetings between member companies at the event? How is that going?

Mikitka: Yes, WERC corporate membership program continues to grow. WERC designed the program with "teams" in mind. We know most companies bring together their logistics teams for annual meetings. By bringing them to WERC, all of the conference content is provided. Additionally, WERC supports the team meeting by providing meeting rooms for companies to use either pre, post or during the conference.

There is still plenty of time left to register for and attend the WERRC conference. You can find additional information here: 2015 WERC Conference.


SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore will be there will full coverage of this year's event.

Are you going to WERC 2015? What do you usually like about the event? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button (email) or section (web form) below.

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