CLAYTON, In. — The 2019 Emerson Logistics Supply Chain and Distribution Center Conference was held earlier this month at the company’s 545,010-square-foot distribution center here, which opened in September of 2018.
The First Annual Conference focused on meeting the challenges of today’s rapidly changing logistics landscape. Emerson’s two-day event featured tours of their facility and overview presentations, which addressed topics such as warehouse operations, supply chain finances, outbound freight and reverse logistics.
Patrick Gibbons, president Emerson HealthCare and founding partner said the event had a pretty lively crowd of about 110 people.
“Right now we are going through a second revolution of convenience, which is e-commerce. The first revolution was the move from corner stores, butchers, bakeries, dry goods stores etc to Supermarkets in the 1950s. What both revolutions have in common is that they were not driven by product innovation or improvement, they were driven by the demand from the consumer for convenience in the shopping experience. Today, the supply chain is a driving voice in C-Suites, and it’s fueled by this second revolution. Executives more and more realize the strategic value of an efficient supply chain being part of the DNA of their businesses”
Gibbons continued, “People in the supply chain are more important than they ever were before. So what we did was we set up a day and a half session for each area of supply chain. We had a segment on supply chain finance, a segment on outbound freight, in bound freight, warehouse labor optimization, and value-added services or VAS, which is a really critical area within the supply chain.
In today’s omnichannel environment VAS is even more important because products are being demanded by retailers and wholesalers in different configurations. Products are constantly getting reworked in order to satisfy direct to consumer’s specific needs. In addition, as our brick and mortar companies begin to adjust to e-commerce, they are asking for varying counts for their inner packs. Many also have sister departments for e-commerce such as walmart.com, target.com. So we focused on that topic heavily,” he said.
Gibbons added they also discussed the product information management systems that are out there also known as PIM and the importance of standardized data between manufacturer and retailer.
“The need for cost savings and greater efficiency is growing today. Meanwhile, there’s a shortage of truckers. You’re seeing it on the back of every truck out there. Help wanted, please come drive for our company because there’s a driver shortage. The labor is shifting from retail stores to warehouses and that’s putting pressure on warehouse labor and warehouse space,” he pointed out.
“They call it the Amazon effect, but it really goes across all of dot-com,” Gibbons said. “And so warehouse labor is in more demand and truckers are in demand. And premium trucking services are becoming more and more in demand, because retailers who are responding to the Amazon threat are shrinking their must-arrive-by-date windows. There is a zero tolerance policy out there in the trade for merchandise not arriving on time. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. And we believe that we’re at the tip of the iceberg.”
Gibbons noted that the conference is going to become an annual event. We’ve just gotten our first feedback from survey monkey and it was overwhelmingly positive that it needs to be repeated. In fact, all participants in the survey monkey were asked do you want to do this again next year? The answer was 100% Yes,” he concluded.