I don’t know about you, but fall is my favorite season of the year. Seeing the green of summer change into gorgeous yellows, oranges, and reds; watching the late afternoon shadows grow longer as the sun sets; enjoying Saturday or Sunday afternoon football tailgates with friends; and feeling the chill of crisp mornings are some of the things I enjoy the most. But another reason I love the Fall is that it is the season for our annual CSCMP EDGE Conference.
Like many of you, I have just returned from EDGE 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. What an amazing event it was! EDGE always leaves me with so many feelings. For sure, exhaustion is usually one of those, but that wears off quickly! More importantly, I always leave with excitement about all that is happening in the supply chain world, admiration and pride in the quality and caliber of our CSCMP members, and above all gratitude … gratitude for having the honor of serving the organization on the board of directors and especially as this year’s board chair. What an amazing privilege!
EDGE is the embodiment of CSCMP’s mission to connect, educate, and develop. I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends and colleagues again and making some new connections in Nashville. Many of my oldest friendships started from a connection at EDGE. Perhaps COVID made us all more deeply appreciate being together in person. I know it felt extra special to me this year.
The content and speakers in the EDGE keynotes, mega-sessions, and track sessions were just incredible. I always bring back new concepts and ideas, and this year was no exception. Every year, after sitting and listening thoughtfully to so many great EDGE sessions, I leave the conference thinking differently about some of the challenges I am facing.
Finally, I left EDGE in Nashville feeling recharged about the future of our profession. We in supply chain have had a tough couple of years to say the least. But I am confident that the future is bright! At no time has there been this much transformation happening. New technologies—such as robotics and automation, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning—are rapidly reshaping our supply chains.
But even in the face of this breathtaking technological transformation, our profession at its core is still about people. Our membership is made of the folks that have capably weathered so many unprecedented global challenges and kept businesses running through COVID. I found myself looking around the packed ballroom in the keynote sessions and thinking about that very fact with great pride.
But perhaps the greatest source of inspiration I left EDGE with was the students and young professionals I met. They were (and are) simply amazing. The energy, curiosity, drive, and talent they possess will power CSCMP and supply chain in the decades ahead. What an exciting time to be in supply chain!
Now it’s time for all of us to jump back into holiday planning and to start looking ahead to 2023. There’s never “down” time in supply chain, but our time together at EDGE every year is always time well spent.
Lee Beard is the current chair of CSCMP’s Board of Directors. He is also Senior Vice President, Transportation & Global Logistics, for Nordstrom.