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Highlights of the 2014 Retail Supply Chain Conference

Highlights of the 2014 Retail Supply Chain Conference

Retail Supply Chain Conference

This year’s Retail Supply Chain Conference saw a flurry of activity, with 721 tweets from 203 contributors over the eight days leading up to and following the conference. In all, 226,467 accounts were reached by Twitter activity. Here’s a brief capsule of the biggest events that occurred and caused so much buzz.

February 24

* A unique perspective. Robert Bianchi, Rear Admiral, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy (Ret.) offered the opening keynote address. Bianchi currently serves as CEO of NEXCOM, and is the first civilian ever to serve as the head of the $3 billion operation. Bianchi discussed the challenges involved in maintaining a global logistics network while protecting the way of life for Navy personnel around the world.

* A look ahead. Business professor and author, Peter Navarro, offered his thoughts on the current and future global economy, and how this could affect the retail industry. Navarro’s comment that “China accounts for 75% of the U.S. trade deficit,” made its way across Twitter like wildfire.

* Winding up in the rough. Former professional golfer and current author and CBS commentator, David Feherty, entertained attendees at lunch with tales of life on the PGA Tour.

* Make your supply chain dynamic. Supply chain executives from Petco, Meijer, and Target formed a panel for the afternoon session titled: Achieving Supply Chain Excellence in a Dynamic Era. The panel discussed newly emerging logistics challenges including those from the 4th Annual State of the Retail Supply Chain Report. This statistic was one of our takeaways: Consumer Markets are 2.26 times more likely than other industries to use direct delivery models to augment their traditional distribution models.

February 25

* Not just the boy’s club. Day 2 of the Retail Supply Chain Conference opened with a discussion applauding the increasingly prominent role women have in the industry. The panel, which included female executives from Wal-Mart, CVS Caremark, and the University of Arkansas, discussed issues and challenges for women working in the industry. Brigadier General Becky Halstead, U.S. Army (Ret.) moderated the panel. Halstead served as the commander of the U.S. Army’s wartime logistics operations in Iraq.

* Hear from the champ. Morning attendees heard an uplifting message from NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith. Drawing parallels between sports and business, he spoke of the tools necessary for every person to pursue their dreams and ultimately achieve them.

* When the crisis comes, will you be ready? Day 2 finished with a roundtable panel discussion of best practices when responding to a crisis. The panel included executives from Home Depot, CVS Caremark, Niagara Bottling, and Hub Group. The panel was moderated by Justin Dombrowski, FEMA’s Region IX Response Division Director. Discussions included developing response plans before they are needed and how to meet customer demands during challenging times.

February 26

* The messages to get you moving. Attendees were treated to a pair of final motivational messages before they traveled back home. Author James Hunter discussed his work, The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, and how the ideas of leadership and influencing others apply in today’s supply chain industry. Journalist and author, Mitch Albom, closed the conference. The author of Tuesdays With Morrie presented messages included in his most recent book, The First Phone Call from Heaven and proved the perfect sendoff for the event’s attendees.

If you were able to attend, what session did you find valuable? What was your biggest takeaway from the event? Please let us know your thoughts about #RILASupplyChain.