|CSCMP 2006 Review and Comment | Takeaways from SCM Leaders | LaHowchick to Retire |

 Parts Supplier Stops Shipping to Ford | Supply Chain Videocasts | Feedback | Trivia |

  Oct. 20 , 2006 - Supply Chain Digest Newsletter
SupplyChainDigest - Your first stop for supply chain information

Become a Sponsor Click here for information on how to become a Sponsor
Send to a Friend Send this newsletter to a friend. Click here!
Not already subscribed? It's free! Click here.

Archives | Events | Featured Report | Featured Offer | Upcoming VideoCasts | Feedback
Featured Report

New Report: Dirty Little Secrets of the WMS Industry


Secrets. They’re everywhere. Even in the warehouse management system (WMS) industry.

From service-oriented architectures to upgrade capabilities there’s a lot of spin surrounding these applications. It’s up to you to separate fact from fiction.

Download your complimentary copy today at:

First Thoughts by Dan Gilmore, Editor

CSCMP 2006 Review and Comment

I’m fresh back from San Antonio and the 2006 CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) annual conference.

This was the first conference under the tenure of new CEO and president Rick Blasgen (formerly a ConAgra and Kraft supply chain exec), and as far out as many of the details are planned, he probably had only a modest amount of room to make changes, but we saw a few.

San Antonia is an outstanding venue for a show this size (somewhat over 3000, about the same as the past couple of years). The convention center itself felt scaled just right for the crowd, and most everyone could stay close by and near the famous River Walk.

Dealing with some important minutia, the conference guide was the best organized it has been in several years. There was also some modestly increased commercialism this year, including for I believe the first time a group of conference vendor “sponsors,” along with a much better exposed (though still fairly low key) vendor exhibit area. I think it was just fine, and understand the economic realities, but hope Blasgen will resist the financial temptation to go too much further in that regard and take the previously strictly non-commercial event down the “trade show” path.

In the past few years, I really enjoyed the Tuesday morning “executive sessions,” but they were gone in San Antonio. However, I also liked the idea of the two new “hot topic” sessions that allowed organizers to select some issues much closer to conference time than the regular presentations, which are nailed down months in advance. This year, one hot topic included a “simulation” with a panel of supply chain experts on an outbreak of bird flu and how to contend with it. I missed the session, but heard from several people that it was very good. Afterwards, The Limited Brands’ Mark Crone, a member of the expert panel, told me it showed just how important having even a basic plan in advance to deal with a potential crisis is. Without such a plan, the panel really had to scramble to respond effectively.

There were a huge number of sessions, and it would be hard not to find several things of interest. That said, despite a wide range of tracks, it felt to me and a few others with whom I spoke, a bit like the “Transportation and Global Sourcing” conference. There was in fact a “Global Sourcing and Procurement” conference within a conference, but for all practical purposes it was just another set of tracks. While transportation and global supply chains are perhaps the hot issues of the day, I heard from a few that there tended to be too much repetition session to session in these two areas. I think we should all take a pledge – me included! – that there is no real need for literally every speaker to reference rising fuel surcharges, tight capacity, driver shortages, etc. This has now fallen into “blah, blah, blah” land – we should just all reference the “well known challenges” or something and move on to value-added material.

Conversely, the number of sessions devoted to core distribution/warehousing issues seems to continue to shrink. Is this a good thing? Though I understand how this blocking and tackling can seem less interesting to conference planners than global supply chains, I hope we don’t lose too much focus on getting boxes efficiently out the door. There was a Warehousing and Material Handling Track, which included one session I really enjoyed (see below), but it seems to be a rapidly decreasing area of attention. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

I believe there was a grand total of one session on RFID. Two years ago, many complained the schedule was locked in so far in advance the conference blew its chance to show RFID leadership. You can decide what this means.

This year also saw the introduction of a “Sit with an expert” program, which gave attendees a small group opportunity to hear from say Mary Long of Campbell’s Soup on customer logistics or Nike’s Roger Sklar on inbound international. Not sure how well used these sessions were this year, but think it is a great idea that can evolve into a really good thing over time.

I saw several excellent sessions, including: Ingram Books and TranSystems on using simulation to improve wave planning processes in the DC; a team from Toyota with a powerful presentation on the company’s relentless use of Kaizen in logistics to drive continuous improvement; an absolutely outstanding presentation by Chevron’s Mike Brooks on the company’s development of a visual, near real-time performance dash board; Hershey on how network optimization technology led to non-obvious conclusions about the best supply chain decisions; Caterpillar on its incredible use of activity-based costing and its role in global sourcing decisions; and a very interesting session from Australia’s Dr. John Gattorna on supply chain collaboration. We summarize each of these sessions nearby in News and Views (take a look), and will provide more detail on each in coming weeks.

It was a good conference, and I expect Blasgen will do even more with it over time. That said, I can’t help but offer a couple additional constructive suggestions:

  • I would actually consider having slightly fewer sessions, and more repeats of expected excellent/highly popular ones. I bet the standing room only Toyota session, for example, would have drawn the same crowd if offered again, and given an opportunity for folks facing the inevitable conflicts to have a second chance on some presentations. I also think the number of tracks could be condensed to the attendee’s benefit.
  • While I personally like speakers from somewhat tangential fields, I’d argue that one key note speaker should always be a supply chain heavy weight.
  • Let’s get the forecasting right – why does every conference run out of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi at the breaks, while there’s always plenty of Sprite? The easy answer – it’s push, not pull.

I had the best time in a few years, and learned a lot. Was pleased so many people I met read SCDigest!

Did you attend CSCMP? If not, why not? If so, what was your opinion? Do you agree or disagree with Dan’s assessment? What sessions did you find really good – or not so good? How could the event be improved? Let us know your thoughts.

Let us know your thoughts.

Dan Gilmore


A New Age for Transportation Management

Attend this free web seminar seminar to listen as Beth Enslow of Aberdeen Group, Dan Gilmore of Supply Chain Digest, and Razat Gaurav of i2 discuss how competitive advantage can be won or lost within a supply chain, and how today’s challenges demand that companies adopt an entirely new generation of supply chain management strategies, processes, and solutions in order to succeed.

More information or to register for this informative event

Supply Chain Videocast Series

Cutting Transportation Costs With On-Demand TMS

How Snyder's of Hanover is Driving Real Results

More information or to register

Workforce and Labor Management Success at DSC Logistics

How They Did It, and Real Feedback Straight from the DC Floor

More information or to register


Integrated Supply Chain Organization Research Project

Help SCDigest and The Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech with the important research.

Fast, easy web survey.

Summary report to all participants. Go to link above


Optimizing Warehouse Facility Design

Make the process data driven, with attaining balance a key operational goal, say

Ciber's Mike Krabbe and Jan Klingberg


Oct. 20 , 2006

CSCMP Lessons from The Limited Brands, Toyota, Hershey, Caterpillar, Ingram Book, and More

Didn’t Make it to San Antonio? We summarize key takeaways here

Oct. 20 , 2006

Major Parts Supplier, Tired of Losses, Plays Hard Ball with Ford, Causes Brief Plant Shutdown

Collins & Aikman move hits Mexican plant; sign of even more tense times ahead

Oct. 20 , 2006

The Limited Brands’ Nick LaHowchic Set to Retire

Well-known exec help transform the supply chain at both the specialty retailer and Becton Dickenson

Oct. 10 , 2006

Supply Chain Digest Announces The Supply Chain Digest Letter, a Hardcopy Newsletter Focused on a Single Topic Each Month

Upcoming issues feature deep dives on TMS, network optimization, labor management, S&OP, sortation, warehouse management, and more; free subscriptions for qualified professionals


Q. How many candy bars does Hershey sell every second?

A. Click to find the answer below


New Report: Value-Added Warehousing: Differentiation in a Dynamic Logistics Marketplace

Why adding new, information-driven capabilities in your warehouse is an essential component to acquire new business and keep existing customers

Access the report immediately at:



Do use an RSS reader? Do you have a MyYahoo! or personalized Google page? For these and more you can have SCDigest delivered right to your personal pages, all week long.

You can subscribe to our RSS feeds in two ways:
1. Copy our RSS link into your RSS reader - it's easy!
2. Click on a button below to quickly add it to your favorite reader.
  Add to My Yahoo! Subscribe with BloglinesSubscribe in NewsGator Online

Feedback is coming in at a rate greater than we can publish it - thanks for your response.

Feedback will return next week.

Keep the dialog going! Give us your thoughts on this week's Supply Chain topics. As always, we’ll keep your name anonymous if required.


Q. How many candy bars does Hershey sell every second?

A. About 111, or 3.5 billion per year.

Copyright © SupplyChainDigest™ 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
To Unsubscribe: Click Here
PO Box 714
Springboro, Ohio 45066