Hosted by Associated

On June 8, 2017, the Supply and Value Chain Center within Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business hosted their annual leadership conference at Associated Supply Chain Solutions in Addison, Illinois. We invited supply chain management experts to share their knowledge with those in attendance. The conference fostered an atmosphere of engaging learning and networking.

To start the morning, Mike Watson from Opex Analytics, Phil Katz from Hu Friendly, and Danielle Van Der Koon from Cloud SWC Technology Partners discussed data analytics, the importance of visualization and its necessity for a successful supply chain. They said familiar tools, such as Microsoft Excel, can be used to attain the knowledge needed to interpret collected data. The speakers also emphasized the importance of not allowing the desire for perfection to deter a business from celebrating and valuing what is good. Things will not always go over smoothly and business people must be able to problem-solve and adapt.

In the second workshop, Joe DeLucia from Magid Glove, spoke about the essential, yet not as frequently acknowledged, topic of workplace safety. Magid Glove provides protection for the hands of workers. His objective was to ensure employees have the tools to prevent injuries and for employers to recognize the importance of investing in safety. He shared interesting statistics about safety--for example, every dollar invested in safety and safety training has a rate of return of $4-$6. He also noted that the goal of every work place should be to have less than one injury per year, but he stated the average number is one injury per year. He defined a recordable injury as “any injury which requires methods beyond first aid”. 

The third speaker, Jeff Boudreau from Peach State Integrated Technologies, spoke about four steps in Fair Incentive Reality:

  1. Paying for Performance
  2. Objective Feedback Coaching
  3. Statistically Valid Goals
  4. Lean Process Improvement

Mr. Boudreau informed the audience that offering a reward to employees who meet demands or go above and beyond does not necessarily incentivize them to perform better. He supported this claim by explaining how employees may just look for ways to get things done faster, but the quality overall is not of a higher caliber. It is essential to hire employees who are self-motivated and passionate about the work they are doing because one cannot encourage passion. Passion is innate.

To conclude the day, Gary Forger from MHI Roadmap Facilitator cultivated discussion by splitting the attendees into five groups across the room. The groups were asked to debate the Disruptors versus Core Competencies within the supply chain. Unanimously, the attendees agreed one of the most prominent disruptors is artificial intelligence. Autonomous cars are an example of this and it is seeping into the market unexpectedly. The groups were also asked to conclude which factor: technology, consumers, workforce, or logistics infrastructure, was the key driving force of changes within the supply chain and businesses as a whole. Each group believed consumers were the factor of change, because without consumers, there is no business. Mr. Forger, however, had a different answer based off his Roadmap research. He explained that technology drives the supply chain and the market because consumers do not know what they want, which leaves the businesses to deliver the products and services that motivate the consumer’s behavior. 

Collectively, the guests at the Supply and Value Chain Leadership Conference had the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and methods for the efficient operation of their supply chain and business as a whole. From learning how to utilize technology, fostering safety and success, and understanding what drives the market, attendees broadened their perspectives and learned how they can be leaders in the world of commerce.