The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) is aiming to ensure a steady influx of young, up-and-coming supply chain professionals to its membership.
The longtime Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) was looking for a way to distill all the thought leadership, innovation, networking and education that goes on at its heavily attended annual conferences into one word.
The Chicago area-based organization, which attracts more than 3,000 attendees on average to its hallmark event, conducted both internal and external research and settled on “edge” as the word that best describes the value of these events now and in the future. CSCMP rolled out the new conference brand during the first quarter, when it began promoting this year’s event, Chris Adderton, the association’s vice president, said in an interview.
“From leading edge content to cutting edge supply chain solutions, EDGE reflects the unparalleled resources CSCMP offers today and symbolizes our unwavering commitment to supply chain in the future,” the council said in its promotional literature for the 2017 EDGE Supply Chain Conference and Exhibition, to be held Sept. 24-27 in Atlanta, Ga.
Demographic Shift. An important part of that commitment is aimed at staying relevant to the next generation of supply chain professionals. CSCMP’s membership has been stable for years, but the organization is beginning to witness a steady stream of Baby Boomers now headed for retirement.
Adderton said CSCMP has been fortunate to attract new members each year. About 30 percent of its annual conference participants in recent years are first-time attendees, which is a positive since it’s “getting harder for people to allocate time in their busy schedules” to attend these types of events, he added.
“We’re continuously trying to define what matters to young professionals,” Adderton said. “There’s definitely a demographic shift in approach to business underway in the industry. The move from the physical, mechanical and electronic world to an analytical world has been fairly dramatic.”
This year’s conference includes three keynote speakers CSCMP believes present youthful, out-of-the-box approaches to solving the complex problems of today’s supply chain industry.
Matthew Lunn, a Pixar Animation Studios storyteller and speaker, will explain how “big data” has been used to create animated films like Toy Story 3 and Inside Out. According to CSCMP, Lunn’s insights will “empower and inspire companies, organizations, and professionals about how to forge stronger, more meaningful connections with consumers.”
The council also invited Mary “Missy” Cummings, the Navy’s first female fighter pilot and now director of Duke University’s Humans and Autonomy Laboratory, to discuss the future of artificial intelligence as it relates to the physical movement of goods.
“She will outline how to conceptualize and leverage the strengths and limitations of both humans and artificial intelligence such that humans harness the raw computational power of computers, while applying inductive reason of potentially creative, out-of-the-box thinking for the increasingly complex logistics challenges of the future,” CSCMP said.
Lastly, the organization will have Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar, a decorated Army helicopter pilot, and author of the book Shoot Like a Girl, which will soon be released as a movie, to provide advice on leadership, diversity and motivation as “a catalyst for change on a large scale.”
The first two full days of the conference includes six multi-panel “EDGE” sessions, each lasting an hour and a quarter. A large focus is placed on timely supply chain information technology topics, such as big data and blockchain, procurement and planning, and transportation management. There are panels focused on last-mile delivery, distribution redesign, and omnichannel, as well as talent development and retention.
The event will also include a follow-up panel discussion on CSCMP’s 28th annual State of Logistics Report, authored by A.T. Kearney and sponsored by Penske. Published in June, this year’s report warned that the logistics industry “appears destined for a prolonged bout of cognitive dissonance, coupling frustration over subpar growth with the optimism reflected in rising stock values, technology investments, and consumer confidence data.”
The morning of the conference’s last day boasts three “mega” sessions: “Dis- covering Hidden Profit-Advanced Supply Chain Decision Making,” “Disrupt or be Disrupted,” and “Innovation in the Supply Chain: Perspectives from Leading Executives Presented by AWESOME.”
Staying Sharp. Throughout the year, CSCMP members are encouraged to par- take in the organization’s 40-plus round- tables located in major metropolitan areas throughout the country, as well as another 20 located worldwide. These roundtables often address supply chain issues impacting executives at the regional and local level, Adderton said.
The organization’s SCPro program also offers members the opportunity to further their supply chain management knowledge and skills, and earn certificates. The educational program, which has been endorsed by many companies, consists of three levels: passing a 160-question exam, preparing a case study, and demonstrating supply chain understanding on the job by completing a project under the guidance of a mentor.
In addition, CSCMP remains engaged with various government agencies on matters of infrastructure development, improving export and import regulations, and enhancing the country’s overall supply chain competitiveness. Rick Blasgen, the president and chief executive officer of CSCMP, chairs the U.S. Commerce Department’s 45-member Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness, which was set up under the Obama administration.
For more details about CSCMP and its annual conference visit the organization’s website at www.cscmp.org.