Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+


HARDI Debuts First Focus Conference of the Year in Litchfield Park

Columbus, Ohio- March 9-11 marked the kickoff to HARDI’s 2014 Focus Conferences, starting with the Operations & Logistics Optimization Conference in Litchfield Park, Arizona. With an amazing lineup of speakers, relevant industry content, and beautiful weather at the always impressive The Wigwam, the Operations & Logistics Conference gave members valuable food for thought as they approach their operations and logistics practices in the future.

Dynamic speaker Rick Blasgen, CEO of Council Supply Chain Management Professionals, was the first to present at the conference, enlightening members on the future of supply chain management and how they can transition through times of economic uncertainty. Shooting off critical information, for example the fact that Supply Chain Management is responsible for 8.5% of U.S. GDP, Blasgen informed the audience of supply chain trends he observed around the world, and what the implications of those trends meant for HARDI members. 

This seemed to be an ever-present theme at the Operations & Logistics Conference, with each speaker providing their own unique perspective on how members should maintain a constant awareness of current industry trends, while keeping an eye out on any transformations the future may bring. Ken Ackerman, President of KB Ackerman Co., discussed cost-effective logistics strategies in warehousing and transportation, and even mentioned robotics as something to stay aware of down the line. “In warehousing there’s a move into Robotics. I don’t think most HARDI members are going to be there anytime soon, but some of your suppliers may be.  There are some experiments we’re looking at involving a robot that does packaging and will put one part into another box. It’s a robot that costs about $35,000 and will work three shifts, and the payback for a robot at that price is pretty fast.”

He continued, “Within transportation I think the significant thing is the move from diesel to natural gas, which is so much cheaper and there’s a very rapid payback for that.” 

Jim Apple, Partner and Co-Founder of Progress Group, kept the momentum going, continuing the discussion on technology in warehousing by highlighting how distributors can use information technology to improve overall warehouse operations.  He examined how factors like data profiling and analysis, aisle spacing, order picking accuracy, and inventory location management should be well-thought decisions in order to ensure maximum warehouse efficiency.

A noteworthy addition to the list of speakers this year was Blue Ridge Inventory VP of Education & Professional Development, Mike Mills. Mills provided a fresh perspective on how science and software can assist members in their buying, forecasting, and inventory investing. He made a point of stressing the mantra: “Selling generates revenue, but buying right generates profit.” 

Members had nothing but praise for the high-quality speakers at the event. ““The Operations & Logistics conference was a definite step in the right direction for HARDI’s educational initiatives,” said Mark Bray, I was truly amazed at the quality of the speakers and the relevant information that they provided.  Ultimately, I’m convinced that everyone in attendance went home with a stronger understanding of why their organizations need to focus on the improvement of supply chain activities.  I look forward to seeing this subject matter become a regular part of future HARDI focus conferences.”

Brandon Bateman, Supply & Logistics Manager at Airefco Inc., stated, “The material of this conference was on point. All the topics were extremely relevant for my role and our organization.”

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a true HARDI event without optimum time to network and re-connect with old friends. Between happy hours, a spring training baseball game, a golf outing, and several hospitality events, the Operations & Logistics Optimization Conference provided members with numerous opportunities to rehash the subject matter produced by the speakers and make business connections that could have significant potential down the line.

All in all, the first Focus Conference of the year made a strong impression on members and created a high standard that the remaining Focus Conferences throughout the year are sure to follow. The unique perspectives of the speakers combined with the feedback and interaction from members made this event an experience to remember.

To get more information about the rest of the 2014 Focus Conferences,visit http://www.hardinet.org/node/722.