The CSCMP Edge Conference is always a great time to gather with, listen to, and learn from the industry’s leading experts. This year was no exception, and I wanted to share 10 of the most important things I heard from this year’s incredible speakers.
1. “Supply chains solve the problems that the world around us creates.” - Mark Baxa, CEO of CSCMP
This big-picture take on our industry shows just how much value we provide and how much pressure we’re under to deliver high-quality services at every stage of our work.
2. “We want to be the Employer of Choice.” - Gretchen McCarthy, CSCO at Target
I love that a company like Target understands that the working population has a choice in where they want to work, and they are thinking competitively about attracting and retaining their employees.
3. “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” - Mike Regan, Co-Founder of Tranzact
This incredibly simple but powerful truth highlights the importance of our transportation industry.
4. “In a recent survey, 84% of executives said they are concerned about geopolitics.” - Krista Wiegand, Director of the Center for National Security & Foreign Affairs at the University of Tennessee
We live in a global economy. Whether it’s raw materials or finished goods, many products have multi-points of origin. Our economy is intertwined with our national security.
5. “Retention is a team sport.” - Karyn Troxell, VP of HR at Penske
The labor market is tight right now, and it’s only going to get tighter. Executive teams need to take a holistic approach to retention and make sure frontline supervisors understand the importance of this message.
6. “Dignity and respect drive down turnover.” - Kevin O’Meara, VP of SC, Executive VP at Shaw Industries
Here we have another executive discussing the importance of retention and offering a very simple way to keep your employees in a tight labor market.
7. “We need to remove single points of failure.” - Jackie Sturm, Corporate VP of Supply Chain Operations at Intel
Jackie was discussing the fragility of the supply chain and how to prevent problems in the future. This perspective helps companies consider their top-priority strategic approaches to supply chain management.
8. “If you are not technology enabled, you are competitively disadvantaged.” - Mark Baxa, CEO of CSCMP
We are in a digital age, whether we like it or not. We need to keep our workforce engaged and educated when it comes to all forms of digital technology. We need our AI products to be relevant, reliable, and responsible.
9. “Diverse organizations function better.” - Irene Quarshie, Senior VP of Global Supply Chain & Logistics at Target
When you have a diverse workforce, you will naturally have a diversity of opinion. This will lead to a greater understanding of what your customers and employees want, need, and think.
10. “Our unemployment rate is at a 22-year low. We are between 3 million and 6 million people short of what our labor market needs, and our birth rate is close to zero.” - Marianne Wanamaker, Executive Director of the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee
Marianne discussed some data points and looked ahead at how this could affect our economy if we don’t change various public policies.
It was a privilege to spend time with some of the top minds in our industry, and I look forward to connecting with other industry leaders in Nashville next year. Hopefully, they'll have 10-foot-tall pink flamingos in Nashville too!