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VOL. 123 | NO. 35 | Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Logistics Trends At Heart of Seminar

By Eric Smith

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"I tell people all the time that in logistics especially, the only constant in the world is change. In our world, change happens every day."

- Dan Randall
Director of warehouse operations for Mallory Alexander International Logistics

As director of warehouse operations for third-party logistics (3PL) firm Mallory Alexander International Logistics, Dan Randall deals with a variety of complex situations throughout the workday.

One minute he's in charge of handling 2,000 bales of cotton for a client. The next
he's responsible for offloading 500 cases of beer.

"You never know what's going to come next," Randall said "You have to be able to be adaptable to that."

Flexibility is indeed mission critical for anyone working in logistics and distribution. And so is staying on top of the latest industry trends, which will be the focus of this week's seminar sponsored by the Memphis chapter of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and the Regional Logistics Council.

"Developing Trends in the Supply Chain" will be held Thursday at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus, from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"We're trying to get people to come out and understand, from a few different viewpoints in logistics, where the industry is going in the next few years," said Randall, president of the local CSCMP chapter. "We're trying to get people excited about
some of those opportunities we see out there, some of the trends we think are going to happen."


'Well-rounded'

Getting the seminar's attendees excited is a host of local and national speakers. They will discuss how different links of the global supply chain might apply to various logistics and distribution companies, especially those working in "America's Distribution Center."

The scheduled speakers are:

Shaye Mandle, executive director, FedEx Institute of Technology

Dr. Ernie Nichols, director, FedEx Institute for Supply Chain Management at the U of M

Mark Miller, industry marketing manager, Pittsburgh-based Vocollect

Thomas Nightingale, vice president of communications and chief marketing officer, San Mateo, Calif.-based Con-Way Inc.

Developing Trends In the Supply Chain

Sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and the Regional Logistics Council
Thursday, 1:30­ p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
FedEx Institute of Technology
University of Memphis
Registration:
1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Cost: $35
Information:
e-mail kpeyton@achfood.com or jrobinson@memphischamber.com

William T. Gates, president of contract logistics and distribution, Long Beach, Calif.-based UTi Worldwide Inc.

Dr. Mahender Singh, project director, Center for Transportation and Logistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With experts discussing everything from voice-picking solutions to trucking trends, there should be something for everyone in this city's diverse logistics and distribution sectors.

"It's a good program," said Clifford Lynch, president of the Memphis-based logistics consulting firm C.F. Lynch & Associates. "We have four major speakers who will be talking about new trends in the supply chain. It's pretty well rounded, and I think it's going to be a good afternoon."


Keeping up with change

Singh's presentation on MIT's "Supply Chain 2020 Project" could be especially eye-opening for industry professionals. This project is a look at how the supply chain will evolve during the next decade and beyond, and how companies will need to stay ahead of the curve if they want to remain competitive.

"What MIT is doing is undertaking a study to ask, 'What do we see that we're going to need 12 years from now that we don't have today in logistics, to improve not only the profession and how we look at things, but how that relates to a company's bottom line?'" Randall said.

Lynch agreed that the project should offer a comprehensive look that appeals to anyone in attendance.

"They've interviewed a lot of companies and a lot of people about where they see their supply chains going over the next 10, 15 years," Lynch said. "They're sort of doing a future stock on what we're going to be dealing with by the year 2020."

Another hot topic to be addressed is trucking. Memphis is a key hub for the nation's top truckload and less-than-truckload operations thanks to its existing and future interstate highways, so the city's transportation officials are concerned with how this entire region fits into the future of trucking.

"The infrastructure throughout the United States is in poor shape," Randall said. "We know that truck traffic as it is today is only going to grow. The infrastructure and highway system can't handle that growth. So, what infrastructure do we have to put in place?"

Speakers also will address everything from the advantages and disadvantages of contract logistics public warehousing to inventory costs and carrying costs, and more. Each presentation will prove that no matter what link of the supply chain you're on, staying current is critical.

"I tell people all the time that in logistics especially, the only constant in the world is change," Randall said. "In our world, change happens every day."

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