Whether you are just starting out or you have been working in supply chain for years, attending professional conferences offers you many opportunities—to connect with your peers, to attend presentations given by thought leaders and to possibly meet some potential job candidates. And there is no shortage of supply chain and logistics conferences. Here are a few of the best for supply chain managers or those who are working their way up the management ladder:
- The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) holds its annual global conference in September. It’s the largest conference for supply chain management professionals, hosting thousands of practitioners, educators, and thought leaders from around the world. Attendees can choose from more than 100 educational sessions.
- The 3PL Summit is held simultaneously with the Chief Supply Chain Officer Forum. Topics addressed include external issues such as market conditions, the regulatory climate, and emerging markets; and internal challenges such as talent acquisition and attraction, and change management.
- The Annual Shippers Conference & Transportation Expo, thrown by the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC), is geared to the needs of the transportation and supply chain executive. Attendees include managers of freight transportation, logistics/SCM executives and professionals at all levels.
- APICS, the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management, holds an annual conference they call the “premier event for supply chain and operations management professionals.” In addition to workshops and seminars on best practices to create more sustainable, resilient, strategic and value-driven supply chains, attendees can participate in hands-on discussions with peers to brainstorm solutions to complex supply chain problems.
How can you make the most of your time at these and other conferences?
- To prepare, ask yourself: What do you want to get out of the conference? Set goals for yourself, such as making a certain amount of connections or meeting certain people. You can get a list of participants and set up meetings ahead of time.
- Have a system for recording and remembering people you met, then follow up after the event.
- Contribute in some way. Submit a paper, sit on a panel, or run a workshop. You’ll meet people and increase—as a representative of your company—your visibility in the industry.
- Be on the lookout for great supply chain talent. If your company or team has had trouble filling certain positions, or you know of an upcoming need, you can start recruiting while you’re at the conference by socializing with other professionals, putting up postings on the conference job board, or even manning a booth at the trade show.
What supply chain conferences do you find helpful to your career? Please share in the comment section below.