The 16th annual European Supply Chain and Logistics Summit has come and gone in a flash. The event took place between June 16th and June 18th, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The old mantra of “time flies when you’re having fun” can definitely be applied to my experience at this event. Aside from serving as a “blogger” and member of the press, I had the privilege of taking on the role of chairman for the world class logistics stream on Day 1 and Day 2.
This two-part blog series will recap my experience and main takeaways from the summit.
More than 560 supply chain and logistics professionals attended the event in Barcelona, providing a good mix of delegates, corporate sponsors, speakers and the press. Delegates represented companies from a wide range of industry sectors, the top three being: 23% manufacturing, 14% industrial, 13% chemical. Other sectors included automotive, food/beverage, pharmaceutical and FMCG/CPG. The majority of delegates came to the summit representing companies with 5,000 or more employees (64%).
The event featured 5 streams, all of which provided insight into supply chain and logistics best practice: Effective supply chain strategies, Supply Planning & Optimization, World Class Logistics, Customer Collaboration and Performance Management.
A total of 46 case studies and workshops were offered within these streams to event participants. On top of this, 9 keynote presentations from the likes of Nike, Virgin Galactic and HP provided supply chain and logistics managers with useful and innovative insight into some of the world’s most complex supply chains. Despite the jam-packed schedule of keynotes, workshops and case studies, event attendees were given ample time to network. One highlight was the Day 2 Networking BBQ:
In addition to the BBQ, so-called 1-2-1 and delegate-to-delegate meetings were prearranged, providing time for participants to exchange valuable supply chain and logistics insights. General networking blocks and a networking lunch were also planned into the schedule across all three days. Event organizer, WTG Events, also kept things exciting with various giveaways as well as a twitter competition, in which the writer of the day’s best tweet was awarded a bottle of champagne:
— SCLNetwork (@SCLNetwork) June 18, 2014
As you can see, this event certainly provided the perfect balance of keynotes, case studies, workshops, networking opportunities…and fun!
Day 1 Highlights
Walking to the North Pole
The first keynote presentation was held by Alan Chambers, who successfully led the first British team on an unsupported trek from Canada to the Geographic North Pole. Facing starvation, dwindling supplies and frigid temperatures, Chambers and his team were able to complete the 500 mile, 70 day journey, due in large part to his belief in the concept of leading from behind. Chambers encouraged the packed room full of logistics and supply chain managers to question conventional thinking and stressed the importance of project planning and resource management. He also emphasized that “the only limits are those of vision” and encouraged his audience to take a long term survival mindset approach to their supply chain and logistics processes. His words really created a buzz at the event as managers came away with great insight on leadership, teamwork and planning. To get an idea of Alan Chambers’ journey, click here.
Supply Chain Excellence
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Jeanne Reisinger’s case study on how to avoid supply chain disruptions, which was held in the Supply Planning and Optimization stream. Reisinger drew on her 30-plus years of supply chain experience at Procter & Gamble and provided her audience with 5 key attributes for supply chain excellence:
- Consumer focus – by the entire company
- Collaboration and integration of ALL functions
- Choose measures linked to business outcomes
- Horizontal Pocess Excellence
- Supply Chain strategy must influence business strategy
Reisinger spoke about the importance of understanding the customer and creating a business strategy tailored to them. She concluded her session with the following quote: “Supply Chains are not a cost to be managed. Supply Chains are an asset to be leveraged and should be an engine that drives value creation.”
Reducing transportation costs
Karl Johan Servin, Ikea’s managing director for Distribution Services in Spain, also had some great input in his presentation, which was held in the World Class Logistics stream. Servin talked about Ikea’s focus on the environment and sustainability. He shared some facts with the audience regarding Ikea’s wooden pallet phase-out project and the switch to paper pallets. Since implementation, Ikea has been transporting less “air” and more product, which has reduced transportation costs significantly as they improve their “fill rate.” The switch to paper pallets has also reduced Ikea’s footprint on the environment, cutting its CO2 emissions by 75,000 tonnes per year.
Joan Carles Peiro, Nike’s Director of the Center of Excellence Operations in Europe, closed Day 1 with his keynote presentation on the company’s supply chain innovation efforts. He provided useful insights into a very complex supply chain operation: 700 factories, 500,000 unique product and 12 billion customer orders. He talked about the importance of sustainability and shared some of Nike’s efforts in this area including cutting energy use, slashing water use, reducing waste and supporting local communities. This video sums up Nike’s innovative approach quite well:
Conclusion of Day 1
Last but certainly not least, a large group of attendees were treated to a tour of the Port of Barcelona to conclude Day 1 activities. Day 1 really focused on supply chain strategy and execution and there was a slight emphasis on sustainability across a couple of the streams. Teamwork and optimized leadership strategies were also highlighted themes. Furthermore, the role of innovation in the supply chain was addressed several times, and that was a recurring theme on Day 2 as well. Be sure to come back on Monday to read part two of the European Supply Chain and Logistics Summit 2014 review, which will cover Day 2 and Day 3 highlights as well as some of my favorite quotes from the event.
What grabbed your attention on Day 1?