Retailers, suppliers and service providers came together to tackle industry issues and share ideas during the Retail Value Chain Federation's Spring Conference, held May 3-6, 2015 at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, NJ. Like all RVCF events, the Spring Conference gave trading partners the opportunity to meet and collaborate face-to-face during educational programs, panel discussions, breakout sessions, open forums, pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings, networking events and social gatherings.
Feedback from attendees and participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Among the specific sessions that were particularly well-received were those that covered ongoing product images and attributes initiatives and what suppliers should be doing to become compliant. Extended peer interaction sessions received high marks as did discussions about e-commerce and omni-channel programs that are becoming a business necessity in retail.
The Spring Conference, themed "Innovation, Collaboration and Execution," also marked a major milestone for RVCF. We celebrated our 15th anniversary with a dinner cruise aboard the Atlantis, enjoying breathtaking views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Of course, in the RVCF spirit of collaboration, there was plenty of networking to be done between dinner courses and dancing! Special thanks to our cruise sponsors, Yusen Logistics (Americas), Inc. and Dynamic Worldwide, as well as conference attendees and RVCF members for a wonderful, memorable evening.
Dr. James A. Tompkins of Tompkins International delivered a memorable keynote, "The Alibaba Tidal Wave." Dr. Tompkins discussed how Alibaba, the largest marketplace in China, is now making waves around the world. Alibaba has caused an abrupt, tsunami-like effect on technology, globalization and the supply chain. Retail is undergoing a similar tidal wave of change. His mantra – "I want it, when and where I want it, once you tell me the price" – is a consumer-created demand that retailers and suppliers must satisfy in order to survive. Companies that have yet to recognize the quickly changing retail landscape have a simple choice – ride the omni-channel wave or be crushed by it.
Other conference highlights included:
Maximizing Value through Strong Supplier Relationships
Kristian O'Meara, Managing Director, Americas, BravoSolution, outlined several steps to achieving collaboration in an effort to protect your brand. Mr. O'Meara maintains that collaboration has to grow from within and discipline must occur in-house before a supplier ever approaches their retail customers. His focus on relationship management as a strategic advantage outlined how top companies stayed in the game by minimizing risk, increasing awareness at the executive level, and protecting brand value.
Interactive Scorecards Made Simple: Driving Supply Chain Improvements
Representatives from The Container Store and Oxo International shared how their commitment to a strong relationship drove the development and implementation of an easy-to-use, actionable and information-packed supplier scorecard. The Container Store team began by offering an overview of the company's corporate culture and highlighted communication as a critical component of supplier performance management. They walked the audience through their interactive scorecard, a mobile app that provides next-day, receiving-level feedback to suppliers with "action required" details when necessary. The Oxo team discussed how the new scorecard is being used by suppliers to improve performance.
Mastering the Art of the Deal
Barry Elms, President of Strategic Negotiations International, had everyone on the edge of their seats with his interactive presentation that covered his five-point game plan for securing the best possible deal and the seven keys to negotiating like a pro.
In a continuation of his articles featured in the RVCF Link, Kirk White of Yusen Logistics took a deeper dive into how Kaizen – Japanese for "change for better" – can be implemented into any business environment to improve standardized activities and operations with a focus on eliminating waste. The goal of Kaizen is continuous improvement and the culture created by its implementation can streamline processes and promote profitability.
Supplier-Only Round Table Discussions
Suppliers reconvened for peer discussion, this time to discuss best practices for shipping efficiently and accurately to major retailers. Other issues discussed included scorecard improvement, negotiation, and the most effective ways to reconcile and resolve disputes. This session allowed suppliers to more closely analyze processes that peers recommend for improving specific trading partner relationships.
We at RVCF would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the Spring Conference. We are already looking forward to the Annual Fall Conference, themed "Consumer Driven Supply Chain," to be held November 8-11, 2015 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ. For more information or to register, click here.
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