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SCRC Meeting December 3-4 2012: Coping with Increasing Global Supply Chain Complexity

It’s a week before our bi-annual Supply Chain Resource Cooperative meeting, taking place at NC State’s Centennial Campus on December 3-4, 2012. This year’s meeting has an exciting lineup of speakers, all sharing insights on how organizations are coping with the brave new world of global logistics. As organizations continue to expand their global footprint, they are discovering a variety of significant and unexpected challenges. These include an unreliable logistics infrastructure, where roads, ports, and railways do not always run on time, and shipments often vanish into black holes along the way. They are encountering new and often inconsistently applied government regulations, that are difficult to comprehend and comply with. Layer on top of this, increasing customer demands for customized logistics solutions, and simultaneous competitive cost pressures and a reluctance to pay more for these services, and you have an idea of how difficult this picture looks for supply chain managers!

My research with BVL International, based on interviews with over 60 executives and over 1000 survey respondents, suggests that the picture is not an impossible one. Some organizations are not only surviving in this environment, but indeed are thriving. They are doing so by leveraging technology solutions to improve visibility into material shipments and handling, combined with GPS and mobile technologies that are being leveraged in ways never imagined. They are also creating standards for logistics systems in locations such as China, India, and Brazil, that provide guidelines which strike a balance between global standards and localized operations. And most importantly, they recognize that agile decision-making is critical and that their supply chains are only as good as the people they recruit, hire, train, and retain over time.

Some of the questions we expect to cover at the meeting include:

• What is the nature of the key global supply chain trends that are on the 5 year horizon for corporations as they expand globally?
• What are the key strategies organizations are implementing to address these trends and challenges?
• How are enterprises organizing their global supply chains (centralized vs. decentralized) to optimize agility and demand responsiveness to changing customer demands?
• What is the right mix of people, process, and technology that is critical in driving end-to-end integrated delivery systems (procurement, operations, and logistics), that still allows enough flexibility to adapt to local geographic requirements?
• What key skills and capabilities will be required for supply chain management talent in the future? How are companies going about developing and retaining key talent for the future?

This SCRC meeting theme, “Global Logistics – Trends and Strategies,” is an excellent opportunity for you and your team of supply chain professionals to hear from a number of subject-matter experts on these topics, network and share perspectives with other executives facing the same challenges. The meeting is a private forum for open discussion of problems faced by executives with a common interest in driving intelligent solutions to a largely undefined and challenging public directive.

The meeting agenda will include:

A keynote address by Dr. Rob Handfield, Distinguished Bank of America Professor and Co-Director of the SCRC.

Mr. Jason Schenker, Economist and President of Prestige Economics. A regular presenter at the SCRC meeting, Mr. Schenker will share his thoughts and views on the current health of the economy and the impact of current geopolitical events on global business conditions. Mr. Schenker has been recognized by Bloomberg News as one of the top economic forecasters in the world for eight consecutive quarters across multiple categories.

Robin Hager, Senior Manager of Global Logistics – Hanesbrands Inc. Ms. Hager will discuss key elements impacting Hanesbrands logistics strategy as they expand their global footprint.

Mr. Tom Boike, Vice President of Supplier Management, United Parcel Service“Creating a Global Supply Network Using New Technologies”. Tom will share some of the insights of UPS as they deal with a global logistics environment.

Charles Edwards, The North Carolina Center for Global Logistics. “Doing Business in East Africa: Why Should We Care!”

I will be updating this blog as we hear insights from these speakers….stay tuned…