CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 22, 2018
CSCMP Notebook

2017 CSCMP EDGE Conference Report

Here's our roundup of events at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' annual CSCMP EDGE 2017 conference held in September in Atlanta, Georgia.

With its focus on cutting-edge technologies, leadership development, and industry disruptors, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' annual conference lived up to its new name: CSCMP EDGE. Attendees at the event, held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in September, represented 39 countries and all facets of the supply chain. They came to gain a glimpse of the future of the discipline and celebrate the fact that, as CSCMP President and CEO Rick Blasgen (at left) said, "Supply chain managers are making the world smaller and a better place to live."

While there, attendees enjoyed three days of educational seminars, the annual Academic Research Symposium, site visits, networking receptions, and the Supply Chain Exchange exposition, which showcased supply chain technologies, equipment, and services. Not able to attend the conference this year or unable to sample everything that was offered? This roundup of the conference's sessions and main events will help you fill in some of the gaps.

CSCMP bestows 2017 awards for excellence

Every year at its annual conference CSCMP recognizes individuals and organizations that are helping to push the supply chain discipline to new heights. The following are some of the recognitions given out this year.

  • The 2017 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. Nancy Nix, executive director of the industry association Achieving Women's Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education (AWESOME).
  • Nix; Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon; and George Laurer, the inventor of the Universal Product Code (UPC), were inducted into CSCMP's Supply Chain Hall of Fame.
  • Nathan Chaney of the logistics and transportation company Mainfreight and David Perez of the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield received the 2017 Emerging Leader Award for outstanding supply chain professionals age 30 and under.
  • Dr. Jeffrey J. Risher of Southeastern Louisiana University won the Doctoral Dissertation Award for his paper "From Offshoring to Reshoring: A Conceptual Framework for Manufacturing Locations Decisions in a Slow-Steam World."
  • The Bernard J. La Londe Best Paper Award was given to Monique L. Murfield, Terry L. Esper, Wendy L. Tate, and Kenneth J. Petersen for "Supplier Role Conflict: An Investigation of its Relational Implications and Impact on Supplier Accommodation."
  • Brian Fugate and Jon Johnson of the University of Arkansas and Saif Mir of the College of Charleston received the E. Grosvenor Plowman Award for their research paper "Persuasive Communication Pathway: Influencing SCM Partners to Work Voluntarily on Sustainability Initiatives."
  • TransCelerate BioPharma Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline won the Supply Chain Innovation Award for creating a collaborative network that improves the supply chain for medicines used in clinical drug trials.

New CSCMP board members begin their terms

CSCMP EDGE marked the start of the 2017-18 term for the association's board of directors. The following officially took office at CSCMP's annual meeting, which was held during the conference:

  • Board of Directors Chair: Remko van Hoek, independent advisor and former sourcing, procurement, and supply chain executive
  • Immediate Past Chair: Mary Long, managing director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego
  • Board Chair-elect: Mark Baxa, vice president of global procurement, strategic sourcing, at Monsanto
  • Board Vice Chair: Michelle Meyer, director of supply chain management, PwC
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Brian Gibson, Wilson Family Professor of Supply Chain Management, Auburn University

CSCMP session sampler

With 18 tracks, three keynote presentations, and nearly 100 educational sessions, CSCMP EDGE 2017 attendees had a wide variety of educational opportunities to choose from. Here are highlights of just a few that sparked interest at the conference.

  • The power of stories. Opening keynote speaker Matthew Luhn, who has crafted a string of blockbuster animated films for Pixar Studios, explained the value of telling a compelling story. "A story," he explained, "is 22 times more memorable than facts alone." How does that advice apply to supply chain management? Luhn said that a supply chain professional's story could be the mission statement or vision for a business, what they want to do to transform customers' lives, or how they intend to turn everyday life upside down.
  • Support for truck platooning. Commercial motor vehicle "platooning," where a string of driverless trucks follows behind a lead vehicle with a driver, is a safe and sensible idea that needs more support from the freight transport and logistics community, said Mary (Missy) Cummings, director of Duke University's Humans and Autonomy Laboratory. Cummings also predicted the development of highly automated "super-dispatch" centers that will function like control towers to manage the movement of vehicles and their interaction with intelligent roads.
  • Why truck rates are rising. Trucking executives have long warned that a sustained U.S. economic recovery paired with a shortage of trucks and drivers would lead to significantly higher freight rates. That moment may finally have come, said a panel of trucking executives. Spot rates, which have been surging for months, will continue to climb, and contract rates, which lag the spot market by three to six months, will follow a similar trajectory, they predicted. Derek J. Leathers, president and CEO of truckload carrier Werner Enterprises Inc., said the industry is experiencing freight demand that "it hasn't seen in a long time."
  • Trust the data. Before supply chain organizations can apply artificial intelligence (AI), they must first learn to trust the data that underlies the technology, said speakers in a session titled "The Artificial Intelligence-Based Supply Chain." Panelist Alejandra Dorronsoro of GP Cellulose suggested three ways to convince a company to trust the results of an AI project: 1) tie the project to solving a specific problem; 2) educate colleagues that AI is not the "Star Wars" product many people imagine; and 3) prove that the project can produce a profitable business value.
  • Digitization marches on. Digitization of supply chain management procedures will take on greater importance as order-to-delivery times continue to compress, said a panel of top executives during one of the three "mega-sessions" offered on the last day of the conference. This digitization, however, need not be complex to yield significant savings. For example, General Electric Co. (GE) discovered that its business units were paying different prices for the same product. By "pulling data together and doing basic analytics," GE resolved the issues and, in the process, saved US$40 million, said Jennifer Schopfer, a vice president with GE Transportation. Barbara Schwarzentraub, director of global supply chain and operations for Caterpillar Inc., said that her company's push into 3-D printing, with its goal of printing more parts on-site rather than waiting for them to be shipped from a factory or a warehouse, "will change all of our physical networks."
  • Customer-centric focus drives innovation. Amazon's vice president of logistics, Ed Feitzinger, spoke about how innovation is helping his company meet growing demands. The message is simple: It all starts with the customer. If you focus on customer satisfaction as the primary driver of your business, force yourself to meet customer demands, and create a supply chain around them, you will open up your business to innovations that can have a real impact not just on the customer but also on costs, he said.

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