Article | May 26, 2023
Enhance professional skills and knowledge in supply chain management by attending top industry events. Gain insights from thought leaders, connect with peers, and stay ahead of the competition.
Supply chain and logistics professionals face various challenges in improving supply chain efficiency and overcoming obstacles. The industry is complex and highly competitive, with external forces making it more challenging. Supply chain and logistics conferences help to address these challenges and promote a healthy international supply chain. In addition, the events will offer a comprehensive platform for professionals to understand the latest innovations & technologies and learn about digital transformation within the supply chain. Discover the latest insights, innovations, trends and more at the top 15 supply chain events to be held between May and December in 2023.
1. Swiss Supply Chain & Logistics Conference 2023
May 31- June 1, 2023 | Zurich (Switzerland)
The Swiss Supply Chain & Logistics Conference is a comprehensive platform uniting global stakeholders within the industry. The event focuses on presenting cutting-edge innovations and technologies, addressing industry challenges, and promoting environmentally friendly solutions. By fostering networking opportunities, the conference aims to facilitate business collaborations among participants. Attendees representing various stakeholders in the value network can expect to gain insights into creating agile, resilient, and sustainable supply chains while optimizing logistics operations. Esteemed speakers will discuss critical topics such as supply chain digitization, demand forecasting, and sustainable transportation practices, which directly impact businesses' bottom lines.
2. ASCM Connect 2023: Europe
June 27-28, 2023 | Belgium (Europe)
ASCM is set to host ASCM CONNECT 2023: Europe, a highly anticipated conference in Brussels. The event promises an extensive range of educational sessions covering the latest trends and developments in the supply chain field. Supply chain professionals attending the conference will allow them to connect with peers, gain insights from industry leaders, and explore advancements in the area. In addition, keynote speakers will share their corporate transformation journey, sustainability in the supply chain, resilience while disruptions, and their views on topics related to the digital supply chain. This event offers a platform for networking and knowledge sharing that can positively impact the growth and success of supply chain businesses.
3. Annual European Supply Chain Management Strategies Summit
November 7-8, 2023 | Munich (Germany)
The European Supply Chain Management Strategies Summit is a premier event that provides a unique platform for senior leadership to explore case studies and solutions in the supply chain industry in Europe and globally. This conference focuses on essential methods to enhance supply chain management. Attendees will gain insights into improving logistics and inventory management, implementing and optimizing IoT and new technologies, fostering collaboration and transparency with suppliers, and mitigating key and emerging risks. In addition, the summit offers an opportunity for supply chain businesses to contribute to the conversation and improve management practices.
4. Empack: The Future of Packaging Technology
November 29-30, 2023 | Madrid (Spain)
The upcoming 15th edition of Empack Madrid, scheduled at IFEMA, is focused on the future of packaging technology and promises to offer a transformative experience for professionals in the logistics and packaging sector. This innovation-driven event is a hub for networking, knowledge sharing, and business opportunities. Attendees will learn the latest advancements and updates that will optimize their supply chain operations within a few hours. Empack caters explicitly to designers, packaging managers, marketing professionals, product developers, sustainability advocates, and industrial packaging, labelling, printing, weighing, palletizing, and robotics experts. Additionally, the event features a key session with Jose Luis Gallego, a prominent naturalist, environmental disseminator, and writer, who will share valuable insights.
5. Future Supply Chain
November 28 - 29, 2023 | Torrey Pines (California)
The Logistics & Supply Chain Summit is designed to bring together supply chain and logistics professionals and key industry solution providers. The event provides a platform for engaging in one-to-one business meetings, participating in interactive seminars, and building valuable professional networks with the range of industry experts, including keynote speakers such as Clare Bottle (Chief Executive of UKWA), Richard Lim (Chief Executive Officer of Retail Economics), Jon Brewin (Business Development Manager of AutoStore System), and Jonathan Ogg (Senior Solution Architect of sofco Limited). The seminars and discussions at the summit cover a range of topics, including emerging technologies, innovative logistics solutions, and sustainable supply chain practices.
6. Deutsche Bank's 2023 Transportation Conference
August 15-16, 2023 | New York City (United States)
Deutsche Bank presents the highly anticipated 2023 Transportation Conference, an event that offers market-leading insights into the global transportation industry. The conference caters to logistics industry professionals with a comprehensive program, including one-on-one and group meetings, engaging fireside chats, and intimate small company dinners for networking. Renowned industry experts, including esteemed key speakers, will share their extensive knowledge and expertise on various logistics and transportation topics. Discussions will cover market dynamics, emerging trends, regulatory developments, and lucrative investment opportunities. The conference provides an invaluable platform for supply chain businesses to gain critical market intelligence, establish strategic partnerships, and capitalize on vast opportunities in the industry.
7. International Conference on Transportation and Development (ICTD 2023)
June 14, 2023 | Austin (Texas)
ASCE's Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) has organized the co-located ICTD 2023 and Pavements 2023 conferences in partnership with TxDOT. The collaboration brings together global leaders in transportation, development, and pavements, offering an exceptional networking and knowledge-sharing platform for supply chain businesses. Professionals and researchers worldwide will convene to explore topics such as transportation strategies, cutting-edge technologies, infrastructure solutions, and pavement best practices. In addition, the influential key speakers, including Marc D. Williams, Carlos Braceras, Marie Dominguez, Butch Eley, Roger M. Millar Jr., Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Lorie Tudor, and Eileen M. Velez Vega, will share industry-related insights and experiences.
8. Supply Chain Risk and Resilience Forum 2023
May 30 - June 1, 2023 | Berlin (Germany)
The Resilient Supply Chain Summit brings together 35+ experts to discuss new strategies and approaches to manage supply chain risks and build resilience in future crises. The conference provides deep-dive assessments of categories, supplier portfolios, and processes to surface potential issues, better understand risk exposure and vulnerabilities across the supply chain, and identify winning strategies for current and future challenges. Join the summit to gain insights from industry experts and improve your supply chain ecosystem.
9. Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo
June 5-7, 2023 | Barcelona (Spain)
In today's changing world, supply chains have become more crucial than ever, given their ability to navigate disruptions and manage risk while maximizing returns. Supply chain leaders can deliver profitably in times of uncertainty by leveraging their credibility, confidence, and commitment. Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2023 will explore big ideas and provide actionable insights to help supply chain leaders develop agile and resilient strategies, mitigate risk, respond to disruptions, pursue digital initiatives that drive growth, develop talent for the future, and prioritize technology investments.
10. Supply Chain USA 2023
June 13-14, 2023 | Chicago (United States)
Supply chain professionals, mark your calendars for the upcoming event in Chicago, where 900 executives from the supply chain ecosystem will convene to address the pressing need for resilient, customer-centric, ESG-compliant, cost-effective, and data-driven supply chains. The event is an opportunity to exchange insights, innovative solutions and best practices with industry heavyweights, leading technology providers, forward-thinking logistics organizations, Fortune 500 retailers and manufacturers, and government officials. In addition, the event will help the participants understand how to overcome the glaring weaknesses prevalent in fragmented, siloed, inflexible, and inefficient supply chains and emerge with the right strategies for a successful future.
11. 6th Edition Supply Chain Innovation Summit
June 15-16, 2023 | Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Supply chain management is undergoing a digital revolution that renders old fundamentals obsolete. As a result, companies must rethink and redesign their strategies to stay ahead of the new trends. The Supply Chain Digitalization Summit 2023 will provide an in-depth exploration of the latest advances and techniques in supply chain technology and innovation. Experts will cover every modern supply chain management aspect, from planning and strategy to risk management and customer focus. Gain insights from industry leaders that will help in transforming supply chain operations.
12. The Future of Supply Chain 2023
June 21-22, 2023 | Cleveland (Ohio)
The Future of Supply Chain will bring together executives, academics, and experts to share their knowledge, experience, and vision for the future of supply chain management. The event will feature captivating discussions and fast-paced demonstrations of emerging technologies that will shape the industry's future. In addition, attendees will have a chance to explore interactive sponsor kiosks and network with like-minded professionals. This year's conference will feature special topics such as the circular economy, blockchain, and last-mile delivery.
13. Digital Supply Chain Transformation 2023
October 3-4, 2023 | Biltmore (Miami)
The Digital Supply Chain Transformation Assembly is an exclusive gathering of industry experts, thought leaders, and visionaries at the forefront of digital transformation in the supply chain industry. The event provides an opportunity to learn from what the field's experienced and innovative minds share about the experiences for navigating the challenges of the digital era. Through interactive discussions, hands-on workshops, and insightful keynote speeches, attendees will gain practical insights and strategies for transforming their supply chains, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing customer experience.
14. Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit 2023
November 29-30, 2023 | Phoenix (Arizona)
The Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit 2023 is the right platform for supply chain planning leaders to learn about new strategies, insights and frameworks to tackle the challenges of network complexity, demand volatility, and supply disruptions. The event allows heads of Supply Chain Planning, S&OP, integrated business planning, demand planning and supply/inventory planning to connect and share their future vision. At the summit, attendees will gain actionable insights and drive resiliency to achieve sustainable business outcomes. Join now and shape the future of supply chain planning.
15. Supply Chain & Logistics Transformation Summit 2023
November 29- December 1, 2023 | Phoenix (Arizona)
The Resilient and Sustainable Supply Chain Summit will bring supply chain and logistics leaders to address the topics and learn from peers and industry experts how to accelerate digital adoption, transform the supply chain with new technologies, and build the leadership, team skills, and capabilities needed for long-term success. This summit will help professionals to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing supply chain management landscape. In addition, it will gain valuable insights into the latest trends, strategies and best practices for building resilient and sustainable supply chains that can withstand disruptions and meet the demands of a rapidly-changing world.
Professionals in the supply chain and logistics industry face challenges in improving efficiency and overcoming obstacles due to high competition, making it crucial to stay informed about the latest industry developments and best practices to succeed.
Attending the top supply chain conferences can provide an opportunity to address challenges, learn about the latest innovations & technologies, and maintain adequate supply chain operations. In addition, attending the events and conferences for supply chain opens up better possibilities for supply chain and logistics professionals to network, gain valuable insights, engage in peer-to-peer discussions and access resources.
Article | August 17, 2023
The rapid growth of e-commerce continues to create new challenges for retailers as they plan distribution strategies. One of those challenges is managing the high volume of returns. One in three shoppers returns items, and more than half read a company’s returns policy before making a purchase. Retailers lose $50 billion annually due to inefficiencies in processing returns, and distribution centers handling returns need 15% to 20% more space than a traditional facility.
Warehousing and Distribution
Article | July 11, 2023
The unsurprising investment eagerness of venture capital funds is manifesting in an automation tech glut in the distribution center space. Motivated by enabling trends like labor and land shortages, DCs are amid an automation transformation. Never has defining an automation strategy been more important.
There’s no shortage of VC cash available to logistics tech startups
With a brightly shining spotlight centered on supply chains for the past two years, it’s no surprise that total funding in logistics startups has seen a dramatic increase – growing at over 70% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Logistics technology startups raked in over $25 billion in the first three quarters of 2021. That’s more than half of the total amount raised in the whole of 2020, and the incentives for continuing investment persist.
The rise of the of the “micro” DC
“Micro” is a relative term. The size of a micro fulfillment center (MFC) can range from 5,000 to 50,000 square feet. Those reduced square footages allow location in dense urban areas, typically within 40 miles of most of their intended customers. In addition, smaller footprints lead to reduced rents compared to a standard customer fulfillment center (CFC), and the proximity to consumers makes for lower final mile delivery costs. It’s no wonder that MFCs accounted for more than half of the logistics real estate leasing activity in the third quarter of 2021. The “urban logistics” trend is fueling demand for these highly automated, smaller locations.
Vertical logistics integration grows ever more fashionable among retailers
It’s a very “in” thing right now, these acquisitions and partnerships, and they won’t be going out of fashion soon. For example, American Eagle took in Airterra and its parcel optimization tech and third-party logistics (3PL) provider Quiet Logistics.
Target started early. They bought Grand Junction, a software platform that helps retailers determine the best delivery method and track carrier performance, in 2017. Their 2020 acquisition of Deliv brought with it same-day delivery routing technology that they’re now applying to their 2021 purchase, on-demand delivery service Shipt. Target uses Delivs’ tech to generate more efficient routes for Shipt.
Kroger has partnered with UK’s e-grocery specialist Ocado to build automated CFCs across the US and expand their retail footprint. The first CFC opened last spring in Ohio and their second in Florida later that year. They plan to open 20 CFCs over the next three years.
“The proliferation of DC automation solutions and modalities, the rise of MFCs in high-density urban areas, the increasingly automated vertical integration of logistics, and the need to rapidly expand order fulfillment capacity have all, in combination, advanced the need for and application of clearly defined strategies concerning the implementation of automation technology. Do not operate without one.”
Vikas Argod, Principal, Supply Chains Operations practice at Chainalytics
Coping with shortages in warehouse space and labor availability
Third quarter, 2021 US demand for industrial real estate exceeded supply by 41 million square feet. This pushed the national vacancy rate in the fourth quarter down to a record 3.7% in the Cushman & Wakefield US National Industrial MarketBeat report for Q4 2021. Who knows what the record might be when the Q1 2022 report breaks in a few weeks?
On the labor side, the December 2021 US unemployment rate was 3.9%, lower than in December 2019 (3.6%) yet reflecting a tighter labor market. Labor force participation rates are at 61.9%, nearly 2% below February 2020 levels, because of lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rising wages and signing bonuses of the past year offer silent testimony to the ongoing constraints in today’s labor market.
Both trends will remain with us for the near- and mid-term, making an automation strategy a necessary part of your DC operations as you attempt to mitigate the effects of both. In addition, warehouse labor shortages are most pronounced in markets with high distribution center densities – Greater Memphis, In-land Empire, Allentown, PA, et al.)
Building the capability to rapidly open DCs at scale
No other factor drives home the need for a coherent DC automation strategy like this one. Let’s explore it with an example.
We’ll call this “A Tale of Two Companies.” One jumped on the automation bandwagon without hesitation – not a bad thing – but applied no strategic groundwork. The other is, well, Amazon.
Company one responded to increasing demand by creating DCs in their usual, strategically located fashion. However, with automation, the lack of a logical strategy led to adopting “the best that money could buy.” So, while these DCs work fine on their own (most of the time), each employs unique implementations from a variety of vendors, with little to no overlap of methods, capabilities, and management procedures between DCs. It’s functional, but a needlessly complicated hodgepodge.
On the other hand, it definitely looks like Amazon has a standardized automation strategy. One that can easily adapt to exploit the individual physical specifications of any space. This makes it simple to arrive and equip it with a standard package of automation solutions. That’s probably how Amazon blanketed the US with over 400 new DCs in just the last two years. They waste no time or money on repeating unnecessary decisions along the way.
Now, we all can’t have the resources of an Amazon. However, the rise of on-demand warehousing companies like Stord and Flexe allow organizations to dramatically decrease the cycle time of standing up additional fulfillment capability.
Developing an automation strategy will feel familiar. It begins with benchmarking, order profiling, current performance drivers, EBIT targets, and theoretical evaluations of newer technology options. All this leads to the creation of a decision framework for DC automation. The goal here is achieving alignment among the leadership on critical capabilities to focus on. These include rapid fulfillment, labor shortage, capacity constraints, safety challenges, or sustainability. Those that commit to this process will start slowly but finish with a strategy that will underpin thousands of decisions and enable sustained rapid growth.
If, in the end, you decide that automation is not right for your operation, that’s a perfectly valid strategy as well. So long as you have a method to evaluate all of your options, and you base your decision on cost-service-sustainability trade-offs, the right strategy for your organization may be no automation at all.
There’s no point in chasing shiny robotic objects if automation makes little sense.
The rise of automation and the multitude of technologies to choose from require the development of a strategic decision framework. Contact us and see how Chainalytics – an NTT DATA company – can be your guide in developing this critical part of your foundation for growth. Our top supply chain talent, enabled by proven, leading-edge digital assets – tools, methods, and content – deliver actionable insights and measurable outcomes to some of today’s largest and most complex supply chains.
Article | June 29, 2022
Purchasing software and supply chain management software are often mistaken for one another, but both have distinct functionalities. While purchasing software automates the procurement process, supply chain management software executes logistical transactions and manages supplier relationships. This report identifies the similarities and differences between the two software categories to help you understand which one is better suited to your needs.
What is purchasing software?
Purchasing software is an online tool that allows businesses to automate the process of procuring goods and services. It includes security compliance and reporting features.
Purchasing solutions offer integrated tools for invoice approval, inventory control, asset management, customer service, and work order management. They help manage contracts, analyze spending, track sales deliveries, and monitor inventory levels. They also assist in identifying bottlenecks in the purchase process, such as functions that have high expenditure.
Purchasing software offers invoice processing capabilities as well. Procurement professionals and accounting teams can use the tool to generate invoices, track invoice status, and monitor expenses via detailed reports.
What is supply chain management software?
Supply chain management software is a software platform that allows supply chain managers to automate the entire supply chain process—from acquiring raw materials to delivering the finished goods to consumers. The software provides tools for monitoring stock levels, including raw materials, and predicting future requirements based on the current inflow and outflow of inventory.
Supply chain management tools manage material handling, order fulfillment, and information tracking for stakeholders such as manufacturers, suppliers, and transport and logistics providers. They also track the returns of damaged goods, process refunds and insurance claims, and provide planning and forecasting tools for supply chain professionals.
What do they have in common?
Purchasing is a crucial component of supply chain management. Together, these processes significantly contribute to an organization’s procurement cycle. Despite the functionality differences, both the software categories have a few features in common, including supplier management, order management, and forecasting.
Which tool is right for you?
The answer to this question depends on your use case. If you’re looking for a tool that majorly focuses on acquiring supplies, opt for a purchasing software solution, as it will help you streamline the procurement cycle, maintain purchase order accuracy, and monitor supplier activities. However, if you wish to manage your entire supply chain operations, including supplier, transportation, warehouse, and inventory management, then investing in a supply chain software solution would be the right choice.