October 2001 | Commentary | Checking In

CLM Shows Resolve

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Shortly after the tragic events of Sept. 11, we received reports of several logistics industry events being cancelled. There was also some question as to whether one of the most important logistics meetings of the year would take place. The Council of Logistics Management made the right call deciding to proceed with its annual conference.

Despite corporate travel cutbacks and spotty air service, rocky economic conditions and threats of more attacks, thousands of logistics professionals came to the Kansas City Convention Center to get recharged, reconnected, remotivated, and to show resolve.

CLM's conference is a top educational opportunity for logistics and supply chain professionals. It offers a blend of high-level business speakers and logistics practitioners talking about what they know best. Registrants can tour warehouse and distribution facilities, and attend targeted workshops.

The theme for this year's conference, Collaborative Relationships in a Changing Economy, was right on track for today's world. In addition to discussion on traditional topics such as XML standards, human resources, collaborative planning, and inventory reduction, conference attendees examined:

  • How leading logistics practitioners are managing successfully through a highly challenging economic and security environment.
  • Whether to shift to more secure modes of transportation, and what to do about unprecedented cross-border delays.
  • The effect of the terrorist attacks on supply chain practices: Is just-in-time less appropriate? Do we need to stage more inventory, rethink distribution networks? What impact will air restrictions have on delivery times? What about insurance issues? How can we hold onto customers in the face of unexpected supply chain hiccups?

Inbound Logistics' editorial team took the opportunity to meet with readers one on one, and through impromptu reader forums. Readers let us know what they want to see in IL, and gave us insight into the latest challenges they face. The 2001 conference brought home to us the reality that we're operating in a very different logistics world. We talked with a number of conference registrants who had just lost their jobs, and logistics executives who had been called up to serve in the Armed Forces Reserves.

CLM stepped up to the plate to give registrants the knowledge and resolve they need to be successful in this new environment. Today's logistics/SC professionals have a big task ahead. As Bill Drumm, president of Herbert W. Davis told attendees, "Logistics managers must lead the logistics processes in North America and throughout the world:

  • to be efficient and flexible, reliable and resilient to unanticipated changes
  • to serve competitors in a competitive world
  • to make the best use of limited assets and resources, and
  • to make significant contribution to the bottom line."

In Kansas City, logistics professionals from every industry expressed their commitment to keeping the wheels of our economy turning, no matter what challenges or impediments these times may bring.

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