Managing a supply chain is no easy feat, but if you don't come up for air— and the fresh ideas and perspective this provides— on a regular basis, it can feel a lot harder than it needs to. From in-depth looks at innovation in logistics services to vital information on potential supply chain partners, conventions and industry seminars provide a host of benefits that the progressive logistics expert needs to stay focused. According to Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics, when selecting an event to attend, there are certain factors you should be taking into account to make sure that you’re making the most of opportunities:
- Is the bulk of this event in line with my business needs and approaches?
- How much of this event is dedicated to networking and forming connections?
- Will the panels and seminars at the event help me as well as my company?
- What sort of feedback have past attendees given about this event?
Choose Wisely for the Best Results
If the event you're considering matches up with these questions in a favorable way, chances are you'll walk out of the hotel or convention center with a lot more than you entered it with. If, on the other hand, you jump at an event simply because it's in a convenient city or has a class or two that seem as though they would address your particular challenges, you could end up spending several days in a hotel that would have been better spent problem-solving behind a desk.
Pre-event research, such as talking with supply chain partners in order to determine which (if any) they're attending themselves will also help you pull double-duty once you touch down at the event. Networking, after all, isn't limited to making new contacts and connections— sometimes the best networking outreach is the kind that strengthens current bonds and reinforces commitments.
Slow Periods Are Great Opportunities
Many businesses have workflows that increase or decrease throughout the year. Selecting an event that falls in your "dead space" will help keep productivity high, even if item or service production is physically low. These enrichment opportunities can also be used for everything from tax deductions to marketing bullet points that emphasize your team's expertise, taking the benefits well outside the event's duration.
Not sure where to direct your research? Here are five popular destinations for logistics professionals in 2015.
February 22nd through the 25th in Orlando, Florida
Notable Speaker(s): Michael Polk, CEO of Newell Rubbermaid
May 3rd through the 6th in Orlando, Florida
Notable Speaker(s): Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trendhunter.com and Jeff Loafman, Sr. Director of Operations - West BU Supply Chain, Walmart Stores, Inc.
May 31st through June 1st in Jacksonville, FL and November 1st through the 3rd in Scottsdale, Arizona
Notable Speaker(s): Rick Blasgen, President and CEO of CSCMP, Eric Allard, Head of Global Logistics at Husky Injection Molding Systems, as well as others from Google, Dow, Perry Ellis, Lenovo and more.
September 27th through the 30th in San Diego, California
Notable Speaker(s): Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks and Dave Clark, SVP of Amazon Global Operations
5. APICS 2015
October 5th through the 7th in Las Vegas, Nevada
Notable Speaker(s): TBA, but the conference page lists an expected attendance volume of over 2,000 and offers opportunities for vendors and exhibitors to secure booths for a trade floor.
No matter which event(s) you choose to attend, be sure to stock up on business cards, bring your phone and laptop chargers, and enter the convention space ready to meet some decision makers and form connections. By treating an event as an opportunity to both learn and network, you may just revolutionize both your own career and the success of your business.