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  First Thoughts

    Dan Gilmore


    Supply Chain Digest


Oct. 13, 2023

Trip Report: CSCMP Edge Conference in Orlando Part 2

We Catch Up on Some Conference Business, including the New "3V's" Competition

I am back for a second week with my review and comment on CSCMP’s 2023 Edge conference in Orlando at the great Gaylord Palms hotel and convention center Oct. 1-4.

A few more highlights and observations here again in my Edge Trip Report Part 2 You can find Part 1 here, which summarizes some overdue changes to the long-time 2.5-day conference structure, notably new mid/late afternoon general sessions Monday and Tuesday, which in turn resulted in a reduction in the number of breakout sessions.

Gilmore Says....

This year, instead we got the “3 V's of Business Innovation Award,” connected to the 25th anniversary of the famous 3V’s framework of Visibility, Velocity and Variability from Art Mesher, then a prominent analyst at Gartner.

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As I said then, there are only many hours in a conference day, so something has to give.


Last week I failed to mention the conference theme of "Foundation to Future," which CSCMP CEO Mark Baxa re-emphasized in his relatively brief opening remarks. The idea being that companies have a lot of work just getting the basics right, but doing so in the context of being able to successfully navigating a future filled with the game changing technologies we all now know in terms of AI/machine learning, robots, drones and more.


They won’t eliminate human beings in the supply chain, but there are processes that will run with little or no human intervention, Baxa said.


CSCMP 2023 board chair Tom Nightingale, CEO at AFS Logistics, discussed some of the organization’s recent goals and achievements. Those goals included beefing up local CSCMP roundtable activity, which in my view had seen some decline in recent years due general trends, the impact of COVID and more.

Nightingale told the opening session crowd on Monday that roundtable events were up 21% while attendance has risen 39% in the past year, which I didn’t know. Getting the roundtable ecosystem to work, almost totally dependent on local volunteers, is a major challenge indeed, and I wish CSCMP success in its efforts in this.

Announced at least a couple of months prior, on Monday morning Dr. Ted Stank of the University of Tennessee received his Distinguished Service Award, the most prestigious honor we have, dating back several decades.

I frankly feel academics are over-represented in the DSA pantheon, but understand why, including the fact that you really can only be considered if someone nominates you and lobbies your cause, which is hard to make happen for non-academic supply chain pros.

But in Stank’s case I think the award is well-deserved. He has clearly been one of the Supply Chain thought leaders over the past 20 years or more, has involved himself in a number of industry activities, including many relative to CSCMP, and much more.

In his brief remarks, Stank thanked many, including his late University of Tennessee colleague Tom Mentzer, while he emphasized the “power of the team” in almost any endeavor.

I believe Stank winning the DSA still also gets him a place in the Supply Chain Hall of Fame, an honor CSCMP started with its creation of a virtual hall in 2016 (see note on this below). This year, he was joined by 2023 Hall of Fame inductee Lynn Fritiz, who as CEO of Fritz Companies built a large, innovative freight forwarder that was sold to UPS in 2001.

After that move, Fritz shifted professional gears, dedicating the Fritz Institute to the development and deployment of logistics expertise to the global Humanitarian Sector. Lynn partnered with his wife, business professor Dr. Anisya Thomas, and resolved to be an advocate for humanitarian logisticians, and bring academic expertise and private sector resources and best practices to their endeavors.

He invested significant financial resources and devoted a majority of his time partnering with a broad array of institutions and individuals in the creation of a field now recognized as humanitarian logistics.


Fritz and his wife were there to receive the honor, and he seems like a very worthy recipient.


As a note, there is now actually a physical Supply Chain Hall of Fame, opened in 2020 at the University of Arkansas.

Also well deserving was my friend Mike Regan of TranzAct Technologies receiving the Gail Rutkowski Transportation Excellence Award, named after the long-time head of the NASSTRAC shipper organization, which CSCMP absorbed a few years back.

Regan is himself was also the DSA honoree in 2014. He is a great guy, involved in a mind-boggling number of logistics-related organization and other efforts, and gets extra points for having often cited SCDigest articles and data at various events over the years. Congrats to Mike.


One additional conference wrinkle this year. The Supply Chain Innovation Award we’d seen for many years had its own conference presentation track with live summaries of five-to-six finalist case studies chosen from a pool of written submissions.  A panel of judges would select a winner and runner up, announced on the final day morning session on Wednesday.


This year, instead we got the “3 V's of Business Innovation Award,” connected to the 25thanniversary of the famous 3V’s framework of Visibility, Velocity and Variability from Art Mesher, then a prominent analyst at Gartner. It is among the most influential supply chain research of all time.


The idea for the award was that applicants using a similar written submission process needed to connect their projects or commercial technology solutions to some aspect of the 3 V’s.

It was frankly a bit of a stretch. In this process, we got very short presentations from three finalists at about 5 PM in a small theater-type set-up on the exhibit hall floor, again in front of a small panel of judges. Mesher himself was there, though not a judge, while former CSCMP CEO Rick Blasgen was master of cermonies.

None of the three presentations was very good in terms of succinctly articulating the solution and its benefits, perhaps due to the abbreviated time alloted. The three finalists were: (1) Local Line, which has a platform for connecting thousands of small farmers to large retailers and restaurant chains for procuring produce and adding visibility to order status and source attributes; (2) ProvisionAI, which uses artificial intelligence to plan and execute synchronized inbound and outbound transportation moves (unsually at consumer packaged goods companies), first deployed at Kimberly Clark; and (3) Transvoyant, which offers a visibility and risk management platform with US military roots that uses AI to predict from a huge number of inputs when a supply chain disruption is likely to occur, with recommended mitigation actions (very cool, actually).

I think with better presentations any of the three could have won, but absent that I was certain that Local Line would prevail, because it was (a) the easiest to understand; and (b) the sustainability-oriented entry usually wins these things, and this solution is shown to significanty reduce fruit/produce waste and “food miles” travelled to get the produce to market. It also gets small farmers substantially more of the total money pot.

I was right.

So I think I will wrap it up there. Again, a very solid event from CSCMP.

Back with one more CSCMP Trip Report next week with a look at key breakout sessions


Any reaction to this trip report? Did you attend Edge? Let us know your thoughs at the Feedback section below.

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