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Finding "new right answers" to age-old supply chain questions
Keynote speakers at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' 2013 Annual Global Conference focused on how to apply creative thinking to address problems.
Thousands of supply chain professionals from 34 countries marked the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' 50th anniversary by attending the organization's Annual Global Conference in Denver, Colorado, USA from October 20-23, 2013.
In recognition of this significant anniversary, the council used photos, videos, and special presentations to commemorate the supply chain discipline's march—in conference chairman Kevin O'Meara's words—"from the back room to the boardroom." Many presenters made note of what has changed during the past 50 years as well as what has remained the same. This year's Distinguished Service Award winner, Abré Pienaar, probably put it best when he reflected that during that time, the questions have mostly remained the same: How do we get the right product to the right customer at the right time? How do we collaborate better with partners? The answers to those questions, however, change every year, he said.
That theme of "the changing right answer" also featured prominently in the opening keynote presentation by Felipe Calderón, president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. Calderón spoke about lessons that could be learned from the way his country handled the 2008-2010 recession. When the recession hit, Mexico increased public spending to 3 percent of its gross domestic product and expanded its social programs. This was the right decision at the time, according to Calderón. Once the economy started to recover, however, the right answer to the question of how to help the economy changed. Mexico responded by developing an "exit strategy," which largely reversed those previous actions. "At that time, you saw other economies where presidents did the same in the crisis but then never took steps to reduce the deficit after the crisis," Calderón said.
Calderón also saw the recession as an opportunity to increase Mexico's global economic competitiveness. Using the sense of crisis as a catalyst, the government put in place structural reforms while simultaneously strengthening Mexico's commitment to free trade and an open global economy, he said.
The keynote address for the second day of the conference, by Peter Carlsson, vice president of supply chain for Tesla Motors, also played into the concept of new answers to old questions. Carlsson talked about Tesla's quest to challenge conventional wisdom about automobile manufacturing as it designs and manufactures high-end electric cars. To accomplish this feat, the company has focused on creating a completely new, complex supply chain that combines the best of Detroit and Silicon Valley, Carlsson said. Tesla wants to radically change not just the cars themselves but also how the supply chain enables production of those cars. For example, the company has a goal of significantly reducing tooling lead times, in the same way that the consumer electronics industry some years ago was able to reduce its tooling times from 14 to 16 weeks to three or four weeks.
Carlsson acknowledged that it will be hard for "the smallest fish in the world's biggest industry" to change the game. The key to success for Tesla so far has been seeing its supply chain as a key differentiator, and developing deep ties with key suppliers. For example, Tesla has been able to secure a disproportionate amount of resources and attention from some of its suppliers because the owners of those companies have become personally interested in the product and see securing Tesla's business as a long-term investment.
To help conference attendees be like Mexico and Tesla and find their own "new right answer" for age-old problems, CSCMP presented three days of breakout educational seminars that touched on such hot topics as outsourcing, sales and operations planning, risk mitigation, and talent management, among many others. CSCMP members can learn more about these sessions by downloading the presentation slides from CSCMP's website. A member log-in is required to download the slides.
The conference also included numerous special events, including facility tours, the annual supply chain educators conference and doctoral symposium, a "Women at Work" panel and reception, and a student recruitment day. Additionally, the Supply Chain Exchange exhibition showcased cutting-edge technology, equipment, and services (although the hottest attraction on the show floor was a shiny new, black Tesla).
To find next year's right answers to long-standing questions, mark your calendar for the 2014 Annual Global Conference: September 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
CSCMP bestows awards for excellence
Here is a brief rundown of the awards that were presented for excellence in business and academics at CSCMP's 2013 Annual Global Conference.
CSCMP recognized a number of special achievements at its annual conference. Here is a brief rundown of the awards that were presented for excellence in business and academics.
- The 2013 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Abré Pienaar, chief executive officer of iPlan, a South Africa-based consulting firm. Pienaar's career includes stints in engineering, manufacturing, and business system implementations, as well as roles as a university lecturer, executive director of a Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company, and author.
- Jason Acimovic, assistant professor of supply chain and information systems at the Smeal College of Business of The Pennsylvania State University, received the Doctoral Dissertation Award for his research, titled "Lowering Outbound Shipping Costs in an Online Retail Environment by Making Better Fulfillment and Replenishment Decisions."
- The Bernard J. La Londe Best Paper Award was given to Adriana Rossiter Hofer of the University of Arkansas, A. Michael Knemeyer of The Ohio State University, and Paul R. Murphy of John Carroll University for their paper "The Roles of Procedural and Distributive Justice in Logistics Outsourcing Relationships." The La Londe Award recognizes the best paper published in the Journal of Business Logistics.
- Office products company Staples Inc. and on-demand packaging manufacturer Packsize received the Supply Chain Innovation Award for Staples' "Smart-size" packaging program, which creates corrugated packaging that is customized for each individual order.
- Keiko Arai of Bell Helicopter, Florian Schick of Merck Serono, and Amanda Tolhurst of Whirlpool were presented with the CSCMP Young Professionals Emerging Leader Award. In its inaugural year, this award recognizes CSCMP members age 30 or younger who have made substantive contributions to the field.
New board officers announced
CSCMP elected new officers to its board of directors at the association's annual business meeting
In addition to being an educational event, CSCMP's Annual Global Conference also serves as the association's annual business meeting. As part of those proceedings, members elected the following officers to CSCMP's board of directors:
- Board of Directors Chair: Heather L. Sheehan, vice president, indirect sourcing and logistics, Danaher Corp.
- Immediate Past Chair: Rick J. Jackson, executive vice president, Mast Global Logistics Inc., a subsidiary of Limited Brands Inc.
- Board Chair-elect: Ted Stank, Bruce Chair of Business and professor of supply chain management, University of Tennessee
- Board Vice Chair: Kevin F. Smith, president and chief executive officer, Sustainable Supply Chain Consulting
- Secretary and Treasurer: Mary C. Long, vice president logistics and network planning, Domino's Pizza
A list of CSCMP's current board members and committee chairs is available here.
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