The Georgia Tech Supply Chain Executive Forum held its fall meeting on October 25-26, 2011, offering senior supply chain executives new and innovative ideas to enhance profitability and growth within their companies.
The two-day biannual meeting, themed “Building Customer Value Through Supply Chain Service Innovation,” was hosted by the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute (SCL), a unit of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and featured presentations and discussions by some of the most prominent experts in the industry.
After a welcome and introduction by Jaymie Forrest, managing director for SCL, Lorenzo Vicens, the directing partner for Intelecta S.A. of the Dominican Republic, gave the opening keynote, “Building Customer Value Through Innovation.” During his presentation, Vicens stressed the importance of innovation in facilitating trades in America. “Innovation will become the dominant force in the marketplace,” said Vicens.
Following Vicens’s opening remarks, Soumen Ghosh, professor of operations & supply chain in the College of Management, moderated a panel titled, “Building Customer Value,” asking the question, “How do we understand what customer value is?” Panel members included: Manpreet Hora, assistant professor of operations in the College of Management, Ajay Kohli, professor of marketing in the College of Management, Rick McDonald, vice president of global logistics for The Clorox Company, and Nancy Nicodemus, senior director of marketing research at UPS. The panel members provided their perspective from the standpoint of how they engage in customer value creation in their organizations, whereas the academic panel members addressed the theoretical side of how firms can create, build, and deliver customer value in order to enhance their competitive advantage.
After the panel discussion, Jason Denmon, account executive at Fortna, made his presentation on “Building Customer Value—Service Innovation.” Customer expectations are driving innovation and change at a furious pace. According to Denmon, cooperative competition is becoming the norm, causing manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to go after the same consumer. Denmon’s presentation covered recent trends, such as the rise of the e-commerce channel, and offered ways to proactively design supply chains for these increased service requirements.
The second day of the meeting began with a discussion by Michael Stolarczyk, president of Kontane Logistics and author of Logical Logistics. In his presentation, “Building Value Through Vested Collaboration,” Stolarczyk spoke on the “knowledge economy,” and the importance of creating an atmosphere of solid communication and dialog. “The knowledge economy requires empathy and collaboration,” said Stolarczyk.
Wally Buran, EVP of Firestorm, former global supply chain practice lead for Deloitte and Monitor Group, gave the next presentation, “Driving Value in your Customer’s Value Proposition.” Buran discussed a case study and the approach used for achieving success: identify service portfolio opportunities, simulate capability requirements, and transform support structures and systems.
Next, Jorge Fares, supply chain and logistics systems for OXXO, presented “The Challenge of Supply Chain Transformation in Retail.” Opening a new store every eight hours, OXXO is an example of a company with amazing growth and challenges, trying to build its competitive advantage on the constant evolution of its supply chain. According to Fares, innovation, emphasis on excellent logistics execution, and building relationships is essential in the retail industry but most important is the availability of product
The last two presentations of the day were given by Maria Rey, senior lecturer in SCL Rey began with a discussion on “Demand-Driven Supply Chain Strategy,” using the fundamentals of economics as a tool to understand demand. The session reviewed demand-driven supply chains, including their ability to capture demand signals and use them to shape and profitably respond to demand.
Complementing her discussion, Rey facilitated a roundtable titled, “Sensing, Shaping and Response: How does your company do it?” The discussion explored demand sensing, and collected ideas on how companies use demand signals to drive supply chain decisions in the value network. Ending the session, Rey advised, “If you want to get a supply chain organization that’s more demand driven, connect with the sales and marketing teams and understand the force of commercial strategy.”
The Executive Forum will meet again in April of 2012. To learn more about Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain Executive Forum, visit http://www.scl.gatech.edu/professional-education/scef/.
Industrial and Systems Engineering