CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
November 18, 2017
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CSCMP EDGE: Education, thought leadership, and innovation

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CSCMP's annual conference offered programs and networking opportunities that will benefit attendees for years to come.

As I write this, we've just concluded CSCMP's newly renamed EDGE Annual Conference. I'm happy to say that once again, what we proudly call "supply chain's premier event" was a great success. Nearly 3,000 supply chain professionals from 39 countries joined us in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, for three and a half days of education, thought leadership, innovation, and networking.

The conference program was designed, as always, to reflect and serve the business needs of CSCMP's membership. Supply chain professionals from many of the world's largest companies—about 100 of the Fortune 500—as well as from numerous small and mid-sized companies in every industry imaginable were in attendance. Conference attendees hailed from manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, colleges and universities, research and consulting firms, technology companies, logistics and supply chain service providers, government agencies, and many more. As this remarkable diversity illustrates, our discipline continues to become more and more prominent in business worldwide. In fact, the word is out: Supply chain professionals not only make the world a better place, we make it a more economically productive and efficient place.

Another standout aspect of the EDGE annual conference was its emphasis on innovation. That was the focus of many of the educational and general sessions, our annual Supply Chain Innovation Award, and the Supply Chain Exchange exhibition, where more than 140 companies showcased their newest products, technologies, and services. It's critical that we stay abreast of new ways of thinking and solving problems. The innovations we are seeing today help supply chain leaders not only to better manage their own businesses, but also to connect key participants up and down the supply chain, to the benefit of all.

The CSCMP EDGE program was forward-looking in other ways as well. Among the top concerns in 2018 will be risk management, a topic that formed the core of several educational sessions and many of the technologies and services at the Supply Chain Exchange exhibition. A global, complex, and extended supply chain opens up opportunities, but it inevitably creates risk, too. That's why risk management is now and forever will be an important part of any complex and modern supply chain.

If I had to sum up what attendees learned at CSCMP EDGE 2017 in one sentence, it would be this: The things that made us successful over the last 50 years will not be what will make us successful in the future. Supply chain professionals must be forward-thinking leaders who continue to innovate and create new ways to do business. CSCMP, with a tradition of supporting and educating professionals throughout their entire career journey, will be there to help you meet that challenge.

If you attended EDGE 2017, I'm sure you will greatly benefit from what you learned from the formal program as well as from the people you met throughout the conference. I hope you'll join us for EDGE 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. I look forward to seeing you there!

Rick Blasgen is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

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