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  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore


    Supply Chain Digest

Sept. 27, 2019

Supply Chain Comment: Trip Report - CSCMP Edge 2019 in Anaheim Part 2

More Highlights from Three Days in Anaheim

Last week, I published my "trip report" on the 57th annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), held a week ago at the Anaheim convention center.

You can find that trip report, which itself contains links to our three daily video recaps, here: Trip Report - CSCMP Edge 2019 in Anaheim.

Gilmore Says....

In Wednesday closing general session, SnapOn Tools and Fastfetch won CSCMP's supply chain innovation award

What do you say?

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In a very quick recap of that first column, two of the three general sessions featured motivational type speakers, the other a panel discussion from some experts (like the CEO of etailer Boxed) on understanding millennials, moderated by Felisa Higgins of Penn State, who won a competition for that role.

She was a good choice, and I think the panel was a good idea, even if it didn't generate a much in the way of real takeaways. I look forward to more of this kind of thing at future conferences.

Under conference chair Susie Bodnar of Four Kites, breakout session times were thankfully reduced backed to 60 minutes from the overly long 75 for the past five years or so. The number of tracks were also reduced, and as well as the total numbe of breakout sessions, both smart moves.

The schedue also included some new meditation sessions and yoga classes, and a new program for first time conference attendees, among other modest changes.

The big news, however, was the bit of a bombshell during the last day general session from incoming CSCMP board chair Michelle Meyer of Gartner, who provided data on the sharp drop in conference attendees and CSCMP memberships since both peaked in 1998 (I will note CSCMP is hardly the only organization with such challenges).

New CSCMP organization and conference “business models” are needed, Meyer said, announcing a new committee to make such recommendations, to be headed by Elijah Ray of Sunland Logistics.

Let me summarize just a few other bits of news from the conference.

As announced earlier this summer, Kathy Wengel, chief global supply chain officer of Johnson & Johnson, won CSCMP's Distinguished Service Award, generally considered the supply chain discipline's highest honor.

In her remarks, Wengel told attendees to find what they really love to do and build a career around that. For her, it was a love of healthcare, and she found a great match in J&J, with its famous credo putting patient and consumer needs at the top of the corporate priority list.

It was all good stuff, but as I noted in my day 1 video review, not all of us can work in a job that does such clear social good as healthcare. Society benefits from efficient of production of widgets and millions of other things too, and those in supply chain for widget makers should feel just as good about what they do, which lowers prices and increases choices for the whole planet, as those working for J&J.

The winners of the Emerging Leaders award, I believe for supply chain pros under 30, were Anahi Arza of Unilever and Parker Holcomb, founder of logistics firm CoLane. If you have talented people under 30 who have made some things happen, you should consider nominating them for this award.

Outgoing board chain Mark Baxa, for many years at Monsanto and now at his own consulting firm, emphasized that getting involved in CSCMP in whatever capacity pays itself off many fold, with people always saying they get back more than they put in. I agree - so get up, get motivated, and get involved.

The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) was created in 2005 to use logistics to respond to natural disasters with supplies and other needed services by longtime logistics sector executive Jock Menzies, who sadly died a few years ago.

But ALAN's worth thankfully continues on, and at the conference, Amazon and Total Quality Logistics were awarded for their significant contributions to the program over the past year. Congratulations to both companies for the help in "saving lives through logistics."

A handful of years ago, CSCMP started a supply chain hall of fame. This year's inductees, after a fairly rigorous evaluation process, were the late Dr. Eli Goldratt (of Theory of Constraints fame and the business novel “The Goal”) and Elizabeth Dole, the first woman to head the US Department of Transportation. J&J's Wengel, as with other DSA winners, also gets a place in the hall.

Interestingly, it was announced at the conference that the current virtual hall of fame with become a physical thing this year with new space to be opened at the University of Arkansas sometime next year. Don't think I will make a special trip, but if in the area I will certainly pay a visit.

In Wednesday closing general session, SnapOn Tools and Fastfetch won CSCMP's supply chain innovation award, for a system that uses AI to reduce shipping costs. If you don't know, from a pool of applicants six finalists are selecting for this award, who present to a panel of judges at the conference, with the judge's scores determining the winner and a runner up. Intel was that second place winner this year, for an interesting program leveraging the supply chain to drive revenue growth. I saw that session, and will report on it in this column next week.

With regard to the conference overall, as I said last week it was a solid effort and I am glad I attended as always, but the format has stayed the same for a long time now, and I do think some change is needed. I was going to offer some of my ideas here this week, but have decided to hold off for a few weeks to solicit some ideas from others as well, which I will put together in one column soon.

CSCMP, I'd be happy to help on your conference of the future committee.

So I think it will end it here, but will be back one more time on this next week with highlights from the seven breakout sessions I attended. If you have any ideas on how to improve the CSCMP conference I would love to hear via email or a phone call.

You can reach me here to respond via email or set up a time to talk.

Did you go to CSCMP 2019? If not, why not? If yes, what are your thoughts on the conference? How can the conference and CSCMP improve? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.

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