Nearly 3,000 supply chain management and logistics professionals from more than 40 countries gathered in Denver, Colorado, USA recently to attend CSCMP's Annual Global Conference 2008. In case you weren't able to join us, I'd like to share some of the highlights of this exciting event with you. (For more conference highlights, please turn to Page 24.)
Our keynote speaker was Frances Townsend, former assistant to the United States President for homeland security and counterterrorism. She explained how global security issues are affecting businesses of all kinds. She also discussed the implications of globalization and why companies should consider developing risk management strategies that include their external partners.
In CSCMP's Annual "State of Logistics Report" session, researcher Rosalyn Wilson provided an overview of U.S. business logistics costs and performance. Those costs totaled US $1.4 trillion in 2007, an increase of US $91 billion over the previous year.
CSCMP hosted a panel in which corporate executives discussed how they are conducting business in today's difficult economy. William Zollars, chairman, president, and chief executive officer (CEO) of YRC Worldwide, said that companies that focus on operational improvements will be well-positioned to reap rewards when the economy turns around. Jeffrey Schwartz, chairman and CEO of the industrial real estate firm ProLogis, agreed. "It's time to examine how you can improve every aspect of your business, from serving your customers to accessing capital," he said.
DHL/Exel Supply Chain Global CEO Bruce Edwards observed that focusing on what's most important in their operations is helping companies make quicker business decisions. "Play defense while planning for offense" is the strategy that Executive Vice President Rick Jackson is employing at Limited Logistics Services. All four panelists concurred that effective leadership is the key to success in challenging times.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership presented its annual Excellence Awards to carriers, shippers, and logistics companies for their efforts in reducing fuel use and carbon emissions. This year's recipients integrated innovative fuel-saving strategies into their transportation operations, moving toward cleaner air and greater energy security.
The Learning Exchange was a popular event, with more than 80 organizations participating. Attendees were able to talk to supply chain management experts, watch technology demonstrations, discuss career opportunities with executive placement firms, and learn about professional education options.
The Student Showcase allowed attendees to meet with students and review their résumés and projects. This year the showcase also included a job fair. These events resulted in 337 interviews, and many companies plan to conduct follow-up interviews with the students.
The return on investment for those who attended the Annual Global Conference was immeasurable. Where else can you interact with and learn from 3,000 supply chain leaders and develop long-lasting, collaborative relationships with peers from around the world? The benefits of attending CSCMP's conferences will last you a lifetime.
See you in Chicago, September 20?23, 2009!