Five takeaways from the 2020 Supply Chain and Sustainability Summit

Five takeaways from the 2020 Supply Chain and Sustainability Summit

Supply chain leaders offered their experiences and insights for driving positive change during a pandemic and beyond.

“There is nothing more satisfying than driving positive change,” said John Caltagirone, founding director of the Loyola Business Leadership Hub, as part of his opening remarks at the 2020 Supply Chain and Sustainability Summit.

Held in October 2020, the virtual summit featured speakers from companies including Allstate, Zurich, Duracell, and Gebrüder Weiss USA. They explored social good through business, future-proofing supply chains, sustainability, and more.

During the summit, Caltagirone announced a new name for the center hosting the event: the Supply and Value Chain Center is now the Supply Chain and Sustainability Center. The new name reflects the increased importance of sustainability, particularly in supply chain.

Key takeaways

Five key takeaways emerged during the Supply Chain and Sustainability Summit:

1. Actions towards common good benefit everyone

Business in action can be a force for good, said keynote speaker Cheryl Harris from Allstate. Examples of impactful priorities are sustainability, supplier diversity, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“In business, we can all come together to deliver value with each other and for each other,” said Harris. “Each of us has an opportunity to make tomorrow better than yesterday and better than today.”

2. Embracing change brings opportunities for improvement

Disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging, but also opportunities to strengthen business processes. Ed Tymick from Ciena shared how his company is using the pandemic as a lessons-learned opportunity to test the robustness of its business continuity plan.

Daniela Hendricks from Gebrüder Weiss encourages us to “invest in a paperless work process and teach employees how to leverage technology, it provides more flexibility when a crisis occurs.”

3. Attracting talent requires addressing personal and professional development needs

Demand for supply chain professional is at an all-time high, and industry, academia, and associations all have roles to play in the retention and recruitment of talent. Technology training and third-party partnerships that develop employment pipelines can help close the employment gap.

“Education and awareness for the workforce to constantly evolve in their career field serve as a baseline for career advancement opportunities,” said LaTonya Armstrong from Olive-Harvey College-City Colleges of Chicago.

4. Sustainability is creativity

Supply chains and sustainability have never been more closely tied, with consumers today demanding more from their supply chains. You can find “supply chain value integration by asking how something valuable can become more useful” past its life cycle, said Dave Foell of Return Polymers Inc.

As more companies start asking how they can divert from landfills and find value within their systems, Foell encouraged them to not be afraid to ask questions. Ryan Hartz from AZEK Company noted that it takes the full commitment and creativity of a company to finding solutions for diverting from landfills.

5. Empathy is a driver for growth and development

Ensuring your employees feel supported and work from home collaboratively is not a one-size-fits-all solution. As moderator Katherine Jeffery from KJ Consulting noted, five generations are currently in the workforce, all with different perspectives, needs, and priorities.

“Remember people are not monolithic,” said Liz Walker from Marsh. Conversations around differences within generational, racial, and gender backgrounds can yield opportunities to be more understanding and realize our similarities. These are opportunities for authenticity, active listening, and empathy.

Supply Chain Management Awards

Four outstanding alumni of Loyola’s supply chain degree programs were recognized and presented with awards for their contributions to Loyola’s supply chain program and to industry. Rising Star awardee Hussam Bachour (MBA, MSSCM ’16) credited Loyola faculty and staff for enabling his achievements and noted that pursuing purpose in his career has helped him succeed in a challenging and changing world. See all the winners →

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