Supply Chain Management Valued at 8th Annual Summit

By Susan Avery

August 24, 2015 at 8:29 AM

Eugene Campbell.jpgBeginning his presentation by humbly admitting he didn’t think he had much to teach a roomful of supply chain management and logistics professionals, Eugene Campbell, Vice President--Supplier Diversity at The Walt Disney Company, ended up nicely tying together topics discussed at many of the sessions held during the 8th Annual Supply Chain Management Summit recently at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

Providing Disney’s perspective on supply chain management, Campbell shared a “corporate sizzle” video that contained images of the company’s properties and products. He explained that for Disney, “it’s all about emotion, the guest experience, which translates into the brand. It all starts and ends with the brand,” he said. “It’s the job of the company’s employees worldwide to protect the brand.”   

This is true for all companies. Unlike most companies, Disney does not make the products it sells. Contract manufacturers do. If a supplier does not follow the company’s requirements, it can affect the quality of its products and the guest experience or brand, Campbell said. 

Reiterating the value of supply chain for attendees at the summit, he said, “Procurement and supply chain are at the vanguard of communication with suppliers. We touch a product even before it’s made. Can you imagine a shelf in one of our stores that’s not stocked with a plush Mickey for a child?”

In his talk, Campbell also touched upon demographics and how changes are going to affect the market for Disney, as well as the importance of including diverse suppliers in the integrated supply chain. He linked back to an earlier presentation by motivational speaker Lois Kelly who had said that “cognitive diversity drives creativity.” He seconded that thought. 

Kelly, a consultant and co-author of the book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change, spoke on what it takes for supply chain management executives to lead change. She said she’s traveled the world and people routinely ask, “How do we change? How do we adapt to the world?” 

She uses the word “rebel” she said to wake people up, to realize that change is necessary for innovation in a competitive marketplace. “There’s a difference between a rebel and a troublemaker, she said. “A rebel is not a complainer. He or she is an optimist, open to what’s possible.” 

In her remarks, Kelly, looked at why change is hard--”it makes people uncomfortable”--and the different types of organizational challenges--technical versus adaptive, which cannot be resolved by hiring a consultant. To lead change, she suggests first to gain an understanding of the organization--to frame and position an idea--and then to have that difficult conversation. “All change requires difficult conversations,” she said. 

Designing to Account for Uncertainty

SCM Summit attendees had a choice of two of nine breakout sessions that covered such topics as: How the Malcom Baldrige Quality Award Program Criteria Can Improve Supply Chain Performance; Product Preservation and Best Practices in Today’s Use of Packaging and A Practical Look at Quality Tools and Kaizen Events for Process Improvement. 

In the breakout session, Confidently Committing to a Distribution Center Design, When Demand is Unpredictable, Ian Hobkirk, Managing Director at Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors, said: “There are lots of uncertainties for companies with physical supply chains. The impact of a wrong design can be significant.” 

Some of these uncertainties include the growth of e-commerce and a proliferation of SKUs in some industries such as wine and spirits and pet supplies. “We get lots of calls about managing for distributing packages to individual consumers,” Hobkirk said. “Traditional methods of setting up a distribution center are static. With such a distribution center, management can’t evaluate the impact of changes to businesses.” 

Hobkirk then explained that improved distribution center design determines a business’s 1) space requirements, 2) pick strategy, 3) pick methodology and 4) inbound processes. Of these, perhaps pick methodology is most important. “It makes sense to design around pick methodology,” he said, demonstrating use of a tool he developed to help businesses design a distribution center that takes into account changing conditions. 

Positive Sustainable

2015 Supply Chain Management Summit Planning Committee Co-Chairs Angela Wicks, Management Department Chair and Associate Professor in Operations Management at Bryant University, and Junior Jabbie, Executive Manager at Banneker Industries. welcomed the 300 leaders in supply chain management to the event. After thanking the committee and other supporters for making the summit possible, Jabbie announced the recipients of three SCM scholarships: Collin Brady, who is attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tiffany Lam, attending Arizona State University, and Jaclyn Valentine at Binghamton University. 

Ronald Machtley, President at Bryant University, called out the 66 students in the Global Supply Chain Management program where they’re “discovering their mission and becoming innovative leaders, a resource for our state.” 

Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor recognized the “incredible collection of leaders” at the summit and shared news of the state’s economy which has its challenges, including sluggish job growth, with an unemployment rate of 5.9%. Yet there are some brights spots, including “great” research universities, an improving tax environment and reforms to the state’s pension and Medicaid programs. Rhode Island also is a leader in the country on spending on research and development and has a high concentration of software developers per square mile. 

“These positive trends are sustainable,” Pryor said. “We’re creating a stronger ecosystem so business can thrive here.”

Also on hand was Richard Armstrong, Chairman and CEO at Armstrong & Associates, a supply chain management market research and consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, logistics outsourcing, competitive benchmarking, mergers and acquisitions, 3PL service/cost benchmarking, and supply chain systems evaluation and selection. 

In his keynote, Armstrong described the evolution of the logistics industry from the 1980s to the present, including his thoughts on recent merger and acquisitions which he expects to continue, and highlighted capabilities of his firm including the data available through its Who’s Who in Logistics Online Guide to Global Supply Chain Management.

The 8th Annual Supply Chain Management Summit sponsors include: Arrow, Banneker, CVS Caremark, Hope Global, Raytheon, Bryant University, the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) and ISM--Greater Rhode Island.

For more information on the Supply Chain Management Summit, please use this link:

Listen to the My Purchasing Center podcast, Bryant University Passionate about Global Supply Chain Management







Bryant Passionate about Global Supply Chain Management

Tags: purchasing logistics Supply chain management Careers Procurement Supplier diversity Education Leadership sourcing
Category: News Article

Susan Avery


Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and 

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