How to Choose the Best Supply Chain Conferences to Attend in 2019
By Alex UllrichRead Time: 10 min.
Supply chain and logistics conferences can provide a wealth of knowledge for those looking to optimize their efforts this year. Here's everything you need to know before choosing the best supply chain conferences or expos to attend — including my top picks for 2019.
Every year, supply chain organizations across the US host hundreds of specialized conferences and expos. These conferences bring both industry veterans and newly appointed operational leaders under one roof to discuss the latest strategies in supply chain management. Events like these are a great chance for industry professionals to share ideas and learn about exciting new developments in the world of supply chain and logistics.
To help you narrow your focus, I've compiled a list of some of the best supply chain conferences (jump down to the list) to attend in 2019. Before we get to the list, it's important to understand what goes on at these conferences and how you can get the most benefit from attending.
What Are Supply Chain and Logistics Conferences All About?
Supply chain and logistics conferences are all about bringing together relevant industry professionals that all experience the same challenges when streamlining their operations. You will be able to hear from successful business leaders, network with influential peers, and discover leading industry solutions - all while gaining valuable, actionable insights on how to improve your business.
Most conferences offer a good mix of educational segments and expositional components where attendees can walk a trading floor and see the latest in supply chain and logistics technology. These segments are a great place for colleagues to connect while meeting with industry professionals, discussing new relevant trends and planning new business initiatives.
Why Should You Attend a Conference or Expo in 2019?
The last few years have seen significant advancements in new disruptive technologies and innovation that have completely reshaped how companies approach their operational priorities. When attending a supply chain conference this year, you'll discover the latest strategies in managing complex logistics and enterprise solutions, while learning from your industry's most relevant thought leaders.
In 2019, it will be more important than ever for businesses to adopt an agile mindset when it comes to coordinating their supply chain. Taking the time to attend a logistics or supply chain conference could help you gain valuable insights on how to overcome complex hurdles you've experienced.
How to Choose a Conference That Fits Your Needs
As beneficial as supply chain and logistics conferences can be, it may be hard to choose one that's the best fit for you. And while I've listed the conferences we think will bring you the most value this year, only you can decide which are most relevant to your industry and your business' budgetary requirements by asking yourself these questions:
Who will attend?
Supply chain and logistics conferences can cater to a variety of attendees. Most conferences will list who will be attending the event and give you an idea of the environment you'll be in. When reviewing a list of educational topics, ask yourself: “Does this content interest me?” “Will I benefit from connecting with the attendees?” Answering these types of questions will identify if that conference is right for you.
Is the conference specialized for your industry?
Even though certain conferences may examine a subject you're interested in, remember that supply chain and logistics covers an array of industry verticals. There may be nothing wrong with having a more broad focus when attending these events, but to gain the most value, narrow your decisions based on which conference agendas best align with any core initiatives you're trying to achieve.
Are you taking a team or flying solo?
You should consider the size and scale of the conferences you attend. Are you planning on traveling alone, or do you have a team going with you? How you answer this question should help you decide if you're able to extract the most amount of value during your visit. Remember, you can split your teams to tackle more ground - solo attendees may not have this luxury.
The Best Supply Chain Conferences in 2019
Using the criteria above, let's review the best supply chain conferences.
Note: Conference fees are the base price for the full conference at the non-member rate where applicable. You'll want to check for discounts such as member rates, early registration, and multiple attendees from the same company.
Here are my top picks for the best supply chain and logistics conferences in 2019:
Who Should Attend: Senior executives in the retail industry who manage supply chains, logistics, strategic sourcing, serialization, distribution or transportation should consider attending.
Why:This conference is open to executives from retail and consumer goods product manufacturing companies. LINK2019 is a great place to connect with peers, engage with partners, and find insights and solutions to impact your bottom line. The goal at LINK is to provide top executives with the next “big idea” that will supercharge their retail supply chain. Past attendees have rated LINK one of the most valuable retail industry events.
Who Should Attend: This invitation-only event is for those in middle management or above who are actively interested in sourcing new services and/or technology for their supply chain.
Why:SCOPE is a unique program made up of strategic presentations and panels from CSO's and industry thought leaders. This day and a half event offers unlimited networking with CSO's and other senior-level supply chain, logistics and procurement executives along with streamlined exhibitor access and evaluations. This event is laid out in a personalized schedule so that every meeting is fully relevant.
Who Should Attend: This event is designed for warehouse 3PL owners and executives.
Why:The convention and expo hall attracts hundreds of leaders in the logistics and warehouse industries, bringing together suppliers and partners for learning and networking. The 2019 IWLA Convention + Expo is guaranteed to bring suppliers and executives together to reimagine the warehouse of the future.
Who Should Attend: LogiMed is a focused conference for supply chain VPs and Directors from medical device and diagnostics manufacturers.
Why:An interactive and collaborative event, LogiMed brings together the top VPs and Directors from the medical device supply chain.Through case study examples, small group discussions, and structured networking activities, you'll identify best practices to improve your end-to-end supply chain and minimize cost in today's dynamic healthcare environment.
Who Should Attend: Retail senior executives, forward-thinking grocers, supply chain experts and logistics professionals should consider attending this event.
Why:Home Delivery World focuses on important retail logistics topics such as parcel, heavy goods, supply chain management, data & analytics, grocery and city freight. This is an amazing opportunity to network and learn from retailers and grocers including Etsy, Walgreens, Nordstrom, QVC, Meijer and Home Depot — just to name a few.
Who Should Attend: This event is geared toward senior executives who manage supply chain, logistics, planning, distribution, serialization, strategic sourcing or operations.
Why:ISM2019 is guaranteed to spark creative thinking with over 70 breakout sessions, 3 keynote sessions and over 100 suppliers who are offering new solutions and innovative supply chain technology. You'll join more than 2,500 of the world's leading professionals to collaborate and learn during this dynamic event.
Who Should Attend: At Promat, you'll be able to to network with other supply chain executives, manufacturing and production managers, IT directors, 3PL professionals, warehousing managers and procurement professionals.
Why:Held on alternating years with MODEX, ProMat is the largest expo for manufacturing and supply chain professionals with over 1,000 exhibitors. Sessions feature industry experts and highlight the latest supply chain and manufacturing trends, technology and innovations. This event attracts visitors from over 115 countries for a truly global scope.
Who Should Attend: I recommend this event for anyone who works in customer experience management, e-commerce management, corporate management and operations management.
Why:This conference is focused on helping multichannel merchants optimize their operations and their customers' experiences with their brands. Topics include: omnichannel distribution, inventory management, operations improvement, global expansion, warehousing, fulfillment, packaging, shipping and delivery.
Who Should Attend: This event is recommended for anyone in a manager level or above.
Why:WERC is the only professional association focused on logistics management and its role in the supply chain. Its conference is the premier education and networking event for logistics and warehousing professionals. Over the course of three days, WERC offers nearly 100 educational sessions, on top of facility tours, networking events and an interactive Solutions Center with leading suppliers.
Who Should Attend: I recommend attending if you are: the head of supply chain management, a procurement & manufacturing executive, a CSCO, or a logistics, warehousing and transportation executive.
Why:When you attend the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, you'll be joining fellow chief supply chain officers and their teams to learn how to build a more responsive, agile and customer-centric supply chain. You'll discover how to better position your company for success while implementing new technologies.
Who Should Attend: The Supply Chain Summit is a great event for CSCOs, manufacturing and supply chain planning executives, as well as retail and manufacturing executives who are looking for new and innovative ways to streamline their supply chain.
Why:At the Supply Chain Summit, you'll learn how to improve operational efficiencies with the right technology decisions. With over 60 C-level speakers and 100 educational sessions, you can learn how to implement successful strategies for seamless operations, reducing risk, managing costs and delivering to meet customer expectations.
Who Should Attend: Senior executives of major retailers should attend this invite-only event.
Why:Retail Delivery Connect is an interactive event designed exclusively for a high-level audience of retail leaders in charge of their delivery strategy. It's a great platform to discuss current trends, share valuable experiences and best practices to keep up with customer expectations. This event is extremely intimate, with only 75 hand-selected senior executives from cutting edge retailers in attendance.
Who Should Attend: Those in management level position or above who specialize in supply chain, operations, logistics, warehousing or fulfillment.
Why:This conference delivers cutting-edge solutions while providing opportunities for professionals to develop and improve their supply chain management skills. At Edge, attendees will learn from valuable industry research that will assist them in developing, defining, understanding & enhancing their supply chain management profession on a global basis.
Who Should Attend: Those in management and above in supply chain, operations, warehousing, logistics or fulfillment should consider attending this event.
Why:This influential conference from the world's leading supply chain organization brings together more than 2,000 people from 50+ countries. You'll make invaluable contacts, explore new ways of thinking and meet people from many of the world's most respected organizations. From planning and procurement to production, delivery and return, ASCM 2019 is the place to be for end-to-end supply chain education.
Who Should Attend: This event is catered towards senior supply chain, serialization, logistics and pannin executives of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.
Why:The LogiPharma agenda allows you to hear from your customers, suppliers and even antagonists in order to incite unconventional thinking that solves problems. With 50 speakers, multiple breakout sessions and a variety of session formats, you can individualize your experience by picking and choosing the content that best applies to your role.
Will I see you at any of these conferences or expos in 2019? Did I miss any of the best supply chain conferences that are on your radar? Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss!