8 Supply Chain Industry Events to Consider Attending
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The good news is that there are many opportunities for your company to connect with other professionals in the industry to exchange ideas, discuss solutions, and identify a path to increased efficiency and profits for your operation. Specifically, each year offers a number of supply chain and order fulfillment industry events which bring together hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) or professionals just like you.
Unfortunately, there are dozens of such events to choose from each year. If you find yourself asking the question of which one is best, consider the list below.
8 Supply Chain Events, Conferences, and Tradeshows
Focus: ProMat is primarily centered around the material handling and order fulfillment industries.
What it is: Often regarded as the largest North America expo and trade show for professionals working in the supply chain, warehouse, and distribution industries, ProMat takes place every other year (on odd-numbered years) around mid-spring. It is powered and sponsored by MHI.
Each year brings hundreds of exhibitors offering attendees the opportunity to learn about new order fulfillment strategies, trends, and technologies. Because the event brings so many professionals together, it can also be an incredible networking opportunity connecting you with different potential partners.
“ProMat 2021 is the one show where you will see in person, in action the best solutions and innovations the material handling and supply chain industry has to offer and meet over 1,000 of the leading solution providers face-to-face,” said Carol Miller, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for MHI. “With over 150 educational seminars, 4 keynotes, ProMat is your one destination to make new contacts, discover cutting-edge solutions, and learn the latest trends that will power up your manufacturing and supply chain operations for future success.”
Focus: A sister-show to ProMat, MODEX was originally focused more broadly on the supply chain industry, while ProMat was more focused on material handling and distribution. That being said, the two shows have grown closer over the years.
What it is: Much like ProMat, MODEX is one of the largest trade shows that focuses on supply chain logistics. Occurring every other year (on even-numbered years), MODEX is powered by MHI and usually takes place around mid-spring.
MODEX features hundreds of exhibitors presenting and sharing the latest industry trends and new technologies. In addition to exhibitors, MODEX also provides over 100 educational sessions and four keynotes on cutting-edge solutions for manufacturing and supply chain operations.
Carol Miller, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications of MHI offers more: “From 150 educational seminars and 4 keynotes to 950 exhibits of next-generation supply chain technology and equipment in action, MODEX 2020 lets you see what’s coming—and take advantage of it to make your supply chain operations a key competitive advantage.”
Plan your trip to take advantage of the countless networking and one-on-one opportunities available at MODEX.
3. PARCEL Forum
Focus: PARCEL Forum the only conference solely dedicated to industry professionals responsible for shipping, warehousing, packaging, distribution, and parcel delivery.
What it is: Usually occurring in the fall of each year, Parcel Forum features dozens educational sessions, workshops, and other learning opportunities spanning across three days. Featuring more than 150 exhibitors, the show is a great way to connect with technology suppliers and other professionals from whom you can learn and discuss your challenges.
As the show is located in different regions each year (previous years have included Tennessee, Chicago, and Texas) it can be an especially cost-effective event for professionals located near the conference.
“The parcel shipping and distribution industry is a fast-paced, ever-evolving segment of the supply chain that is constantly changing to meet the demands of both the B2C and B2B markets,” says Joel Dunkel, President of EventEvolution Management, which helps produce Parcel Forum. “For the past 18 years, PARCEL Forum has been the only event 100% focused on the needs of the professionals who work within it by delivering cutting-edge educational content and showcasing the top parcel-centric companies on our exhibit floor that help them ship more packages, more effectively and more efficiently.”
Focus: The NRF conference serves as one of the world’s largest retail conferences.
What it is: The NRF conference is the main event of NRF Retail Week, which brings together industry experts in a single location in January of each year. The massive event features nearly 40,000 attendees, hundreds of exhibitors, and well over 16,000 retailers.
The event is centered on visionary ideas and technology that will shape the future of the retail industry. With over 400 speakers presenting throughout the event, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the latest industry trends and solutions. Considering the current challenges that the retail industry is facing, the NRF Conference can be a great way for businesses to learn more about newer omni-channel fulfillment strategies including buy-online, pick up in store (BOPS), using stores as distribution nodes, and more. The expo is free for all retailers.
5. Pack Expo
Focus: While relevant to professionals across industries, the focus of Pack Expo is packaging and processing technologies and solutions.
What it is: The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) is the owner and producer of the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows. Next up is PACK EXPO East, which will feature 400 exhibiting companies and 7,000 attendees.
PACK EXPO is a convenient and affordable way for companies to send entire project teams, which sparks conversations around potential solutions, while stimulating creative thinking, problem solving, and nurtures professional development.
“PMMI is proud to continue to bring the full PACK EXPO experience to the East Coast next year (2020), offering a convenient location for the industry to discover new technologies and address critical issues right on the show floor,” says Laura Thompson, vice president of trade shows at PMMI.
PACK EXPO will also offer world class educational offerings, free of charge, on the show floor. In the center of the action, the Innovation Stage will also provide professional enrichment during 30-minute seminars throughout each day, presenting breakthrough technologies, innovative applications and proven approaches from the experts.
Focus: The WERC conference focuses on bringing together logistics and distribution professionals to discuss, analyze, and learn about challenges surrounding modern day warehouses.
What it is: Powered by the Warehousing Education and Research Council, the WERC conference is generally held around late spring of each year. WERC features a unique setup much different than the traditional trade show format, as a warehousing and logistics leaders can stay on top of industry developments while building high-impact business relationships through a collaborative approach to education and networking.
For example, WERC will unveil their new, groundbreaking Solutions Studio Sessions in 2020. These sessions will allow conference-goers to learn about products and services in a zero-pressure group setting. This environment allows for peer-to-peer discussion sessions led by thought leaders to deliver real, practical solutions as well.
In addition to the solution stations, the WERC conference also offers facility tours, networking events, and much more. As such, the conference can be particularly well-suited to businesses and operations who would like to learn more about specific technologies.
Focus: Hosted by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the EDGE conference focuses on education within the supply chain industry.
What it is: Taking place every fall, EDGE brings together the top supply chain leaders to discuss the best practices, research, and solutions to the industry. The conference is heavily centered around education, with over 120 sessions and 300 speakers throughout the event.
EDGE also includes several networking opportunities for industry professionals of all ages and experience. A major component of EDGE centers on end-to-end supply chain management and education with efforts to advance and grow solutions to modern day industry challenges as well.
“CSCMP’s EDGE conference is the original and truest form of end-to-end supply chain education, driven by a true community of dedicated volunteers,” said Krissy Scordator, the Manager of Conference and Event Services at CSCMP. “For nearly sixty years, EDGE has been leading the charge to provide professionals from every part of the supply chain unbiased education that strengthens their core competencies and expands their knowledge into every aspect of supply chain.”
Focus: The Ecommerce Operations Summit is the only conference focused exclusively on direct-to-customer and omnichannel operations and fulfillment.
What it is: The Ecommerce Operations Summit brings together industry professionals focused on creating seamless, cost efficient, and customer-centric operations.
The annual event usually takes place in the spring and features workshops, keynote presentations, and educational sessions addressing the innovation, strategies, and tactics essential for today’s ecommerce environment.
Networking is a critical component of the event as well, as over 800 attendees are expected to attend this year’s event. These ecommerce professionals will gather to collaborate and discuss a number of solutions to challenges including—but certainly not limited to—shipping and delivery, fulfillment operations, omnichannel, customer experience, e-grocery, robotics, and many more.
Start Planning Now
With so many supply chain events and tradeshows taking place each year, it’s generally a good idea to start planning for them as early as possible. Identify the shows that you would like to attend, make the pitch to your team, and begin coordinating the logistics of travel and lodging early to ensure that you secure the best rates and value.
Don’t think you can wait until one of these events to find a solution to your order fulfillment challenges? A trusted systems integrator like Conveyco can help you analyze your challenges, evaluate potential solutions, and craft a custom path forward for your business.
- Romaine has spent over 30 years involved with organizations looking to optimize their distribution, manufacturing, and warehousing operations. Focusing on the customer’s processes, automation and business model, Romaine has helped dozens of organizations improve profitability by reducing labor, floor space, errors and inventory while improving accuracy, inventory turns and cut-off times.
Within the industry trade association, MHI, Romaine has taken numerous leadership positions including: Chairman of the Automated Storage & Retrieval (AS/RS) Group, Chairman of the Order Fulfillment Council of America, Chairman of the Warehouse Execution Systems Group and was one of the originators of the Carousel and VLM Product Section Group. He has also spearheaded the efforts to create the first ANSI industry safety standards for horizontal carousels.
Romaine is a frequent editorial and information contributor to hundreds of publications, blogs and online publications and has been a speaker at dozens of Supply Chain, Logistics, Lean and Facility organizations and functions. Just a few include the Parcel Forum, Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Promat, North American Material Handling, Modex, National Mfg Week, Southern California Plant Operations, NJ Material Handling Assoc., Applied Ergonomics, Warehousing Education & Research Council (WERC), Lean Manufacturing Conference, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), NeoCon, Health Information Distribution Association (HIDA), National Catalog & Operations (NCOF), CSCMP and more.