Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join RVCF
Blog Home All Blogs
RVCF LINK focuses on the challenges and trends relevant to today's changing retail landscape. Our newsletter contains case studies, articles of note, and original content regarding collaborative initiatives, research, and training occurring in the world of RVCF.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Omni-Channel  e-commerce  Inventory Management  3PL  Collaboration  Kaizen  Vendor Compliance  Amazon  Brick-and-Mortar  RVCF Fall Conference 2015  RVCF Fall Conference 2016  supply chain  Chargeback  EDI  Onboarding  Shortages  Chargebacks  Compliance Management  Holiday 2014  RVCF Conferences  RVCF Membership  Tariff  Audit  CBP  Economic Sanctions  exports  Holiday 2015  Imports  NAFTA  Ports 

RVCF Spotlight: Conference One-on-One Meetings

Posted By RCVF Admin, Monday, January 28, 2019

RVCF Link Image 

RVCF Spotlight: Conference One-on-One Meetings
by Susan Haupt, RVCF

One-on-One Meetings began as casual, ad-hoc conversations between Retailers and Merchandise Suppliers during RVCF Conferences.  Fast-forward to today where One-on-One meetings have become a signature session on every agenda with literally hundreds of meetings taking place during the course of each RVCF conference.   

The meetings themselves look something like “speed dating”.  Retailers are situated at tables in a separate area of the event venue during designated meeting times. Merchandise suppliers report to the meeting area and move among the tables in 15-20 minute intervals following their pre-assigned meeting schedule.  The area is closely monitored by RVCF Staff to make sure that the meetings run smoothly and on time.   Discussions may include performance reviews, upcoming initiatives, deduction evaluation, and more.

Retailers wishing to conduct One-on-One Meetings with their merchandise suppliers need only advise an RVCF Staff member of their interest and availability to meet.  We will notify you of your meeting requests including the supplier number and topic(s) to be discussed. Only the requests that you approve will be included in your schedule, which is sent the week prior to the conference.

Merchandise Suppliers wishing to participate in One-on-One Meetings with their retailer trading partners must register for the event and pay their conference registration fee.  In the weeks prior to the conference, an on-line survey will be sent through which meetings are requested.  All registrants that requested meetings will receive a schedule of their approved meetings the week prior to the conference.

To make the most of this unique opportunity for collaboration, please be mindful of this timeline. 

  • On-going - Retailers commit to One-on-One Participation.
  • 6 weeks prior to conference – RVCF launches meeting request survey to paid registrants.  Please complete the survey as thoroughly as possible including your availability for meetings.  Be sure to take into account travel plans and sessions that you don't want to miss.  
  • 5 weeks prior to conference – meeting requests are distributed to Retailers for review and approval.
  • 4 weeks prior to conference – scheduling of retailer-approved meetings take place.
  • 1 week prior to conference – schedules are distributed to Retailer and Merchandise Supplier participants.

While the process has evolved over the years, the purpose remains unchanged; to provide an environment for Retailers and Suppliers to meet, exchange valuable feedback concerning their business relationships and pave the way for future dialog.   All participants benefit from being able to meet with multiple trading partners in one location during the course of a single trip saving precious travel dollars. 

Tags:  One-on-One Meetings  Retailers  RVCF Conferences  Suppliers 

Share |

The Benefits of Speaking at an Industry Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 19, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Attending an industry conference is an incredible experience, professionally and personally. It means you've earned the right to attend based on your job responsibilities and performance. You have to do a lot right to have your organization send you to a nice resort or hotel, where you can attend educational sessions, network with your peers, build relationships, learn about the latest trends and technologies, and possibly sneak in a round of golf.

As great at it is to attend a conference, speaking at a conference can take the experience to a whole new level. Whether you deliver a solo presentation, co-present with a colleague, or participate in a discussion as a panelist or moderator, you raise your profile in the industry. A speaking engagement could very well serve as a career boost for you and a business boost for your company.

This actually begins before the event when you promote your speaking engagement on LinkedIn and other networking and social media platforms. Press releases, e-mail announcements and search engines from the event hosts and sponsors drive people to the conference agenda, where they'll see your name. Every time someone views the conference agenda, you build awareness and credibility for yourself and your organization. Journalists could cover your presentation and request interviews. You might even get invited to present at another event and become a regular on the speaking circuit.

By speaking at an industry conference and sharing your insights and expertise, you position yourself as an expert and resource of information. By helping others become more knowledgeable and apply what they've learned, you contribute to the growth and betterment of the industry as a whole.

Perhaps you say, "There's no way I'm getting up on stage in front of all those people." Speaking at a conference can definitely be awkward or uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the better you get, and the more confident you become. You'll probably get constructive feedback that you can apply to future presentations. If you're a little uneasy about presenting, offer to be a panelist in a group discussion so others can share the spotlight and take the pressure off.

The skills you develop as a speaker make you more valuable to your organization. Better communicators are better managers. You can apply your speaking skills to business development, department meetings, staff training and everyday interactions with colleagues, supervisors and employees. It can even help you when you're asking for a raise or promotion.

One overlooked benefit of speaking at an industry conference is the value of the content you present. You'll spend many hours researching, writing, revising and fine tuning your presentation, so why not use that content beyond the actual event?

Turn that content into a white paper and/or a series of blogs, newsletter articles or podcasts. Use snippets in sales presentations and social media posts. If you shoot a video of your presentation, you can post the video on your website in its entirety and in smaller, more digestible morsels. Use your presentation content strategically and get as much mileage from your investment of time and energy as possible.

We're always looking for speakers at RVCF conferences who offer new ideas, fresh perspectives and unique insights. In fact, we've noticed an increasing appetite for presentations involving a retailer, a supplier and a service provider. They would share a collaboration success story that might involve launching a new initiative, transforming a business process, or overcoming a business challenge. This type of presentation would include all perspectives and illustrate how all sides have benefitted. This is why RVCF exists – to help all retail industry stakeholders move forward together. We'd love to see more real world examples of how this is happening.

If you're interested in speaking at an RVCF conference in any capacity, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact Kim Zablocky with an outline of your proposed topic and speaking points for consideration.

CLICK HERE to return to the JANUARY 2017 RVCF LINK

Tags:  RVCF Conferences  speaking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

From the Desk of Kim Zablocky: A Great Fall Conference and the Need for Planning and Forecasting

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Updated: Monday, November 23, 2015

Wow, what an event! The RVCF Annual Fall Conference brought together 500 retailers, merchandise suppliers and service providers, all of whom were more interested in solutions than a show. The desire of conference attendees to improve business processes and workflows, reduce errors, and increase speed to market in a constantly evolving omni-channel environment is truly inspiring.

I was happy to see many new faces this year and enjoyed the conversations I had with first-time attendees. I especially want to thank our retail members who invited their supplier partners to the Fall Conference and offered them promotional codes to register at a reduced rate. It never takes long for first-timers to embrace the event and understand the tremendous business value.

This value comes in many forms, from 45 educational programs, to more than 700 One-on-One meetings between retailers and suppliers, to a tremendously uplifting keynote from Mike McKinley. Mike reminded us of who we are and how good we really have it, no matter how much we feel the urge to complain. He showed us that the road to success can be challenging, but it's well worth the trip.

The 2016 Spring Conference is scheduled for April 17-20 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa in Fort Myers, FL, while the Fall Conference returns to the Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ from November 6-9. RVCF is polling members to determine their location preferences for our 2017 Fall Conference. The choices are Scottsdale, AZ, San Diego, CA, and Palm Springs, CA. We're still waiting for more responses to the survey, but we expect to announce the lucky city around Thanksgiving.

As our 15th year draws to a close, we belief RVCF is more relevant than ever because the need for collaboration among retail industry trading partners is greater than ever. As an organization, we have no agenda or expectation other than to help the industry come up with better ways to do business.

To that end, RVCF would like to explore both best practices in sales and operations as well as planning and forecasting. We're hearing a lot of frustration from retailers and suppliers about inaccurate forecasting, low fill rates and poor replenishment performance. These less-than-desirable downstream outcomes are often the result of a lack of collaborative upstream planning.

With a coordinated step-by-step program focused on planning and forecasting where retailers and suppliers roll-up-their-sleeves and communicated regularly, they can tighten up forecasts, improve inventory accuracy, increase sales, reduce markdowns, and ensure that customers get the merchandise they want. A significant commitment is required from both parties to do three things:

  1. Dedicate resources and personnel to the effort
  2. Follow a disciplined process of weekly activities
  3. Share a level of data that they probably haven't shared previously

For example, if retailers share sales, inventory and promotional data at the DC and store levels and suppliers share data about their manufacturing process, such as lead time required and how frequently products are manufactured, visibility into hard data can jointly build a more accurate forecast and improve replenishment performance. Sophisticated predictive analytics tools can be used to streamline processes and enable the data-driven decisions that minimize discrepancies and thereby remove friction from the trading partner relationship.

But it all starts with collaboration. And that's why RVCF exists.

I want to hear from planning and forecasting folks from both retailer and supplier organizations. I want to see you at RVCF events. I want to see solutions and case studies from service providers. I want to be able to develop programs that bring all stakeholders together to share their knowledge about what it takes to make planning and forecasting a joint process. As we've seen time and time again, this is the best way to solve problems in ways that benefit all parties involved.

Again, thank you for helping to make the RVCF Fall Conference such a great event. Now, onto the next challenge. Let's put our heads together and work to improve planning, forecasting and replenishment.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

(646) 442-3473

CLICK HERE to return to the NOVEMBER 2015 RVCF LINK

Tags:  Forecasting  Merchandise Planning  Operations  Planning  RVCF Conferences  Sales 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

A Recap of the 2015 RVCF Annual Fall Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2015


Approximately 500 attendees representing retailers, merchandise suppliers and service providers – an attendance increase of about 10 percent from last year's event – gathered for the Retail Value Chain Federation (RVCF) Annual Fall Conference, held November 8-11, 2015 at the beautiful JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, AZ. The theme of the conference was "Consumer Driven Supply Chain" as industry stakeholders continue to look for better ways to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of the end consumer.

The Fall Conference featured 45 educational programs, a number of breakout sessions, and more than 700 pre-scheduled One-on-One meetings between retailers and suppliers. These fast-paced One-on-Ones, with the Sonoran Terrace serving as home base, gave trading partners the chance to discuss issues, identify disconnects, and open the door for improved communication. No other industry event offers this kind of opportunity for personalized collaboration.

Retailer breakout sessions allowed our retailer members to explain new and upcoming initiatives and outline requirements for suppliers. This helps suppliers proactively prepare for these initiatives and become better trading partners. Of course, networking and relationship-building were constant at the RVCF Fall Conference, whether attendees were chatting between sessions, during lunch and dinner, at the bar, or on the golf course. The goal of every RVCF event is to provide as many opportunities for collaboration as possible, both formal and informal, so problems can be solved and the industry as a whole can benefit.

Here are a few of the many highlights of the RVCF Fall Conference:

Mike McKinley of Alive! Alive! Associates delivered an inspiring keynote that truly focused on the title of the session – "Getting Back to Basics." Why are we here? Why do we do what we do? By asking these simple questions, Mike inspired each attendee to do some soul-searching and assess the purpose of not only their jobs, but their lives, discussing how daily behavior should be a reflection of professional and personal priorities.

In an informative retail-only session, Rob Oglesby of the Parker Avery Group discussed the logistical challenges of filling e-commerce orders from the store. Rob pointed out that inventory precision and accuracy are critical to omni-channel success and customer satisfaction, and offered ideas for improving inventory management and servicing customers who choose to pay online and pick up in store. Ken Lettre of Stage Stores and Jeff Eckel of OpenText/GXS also delivered a retail-only presentation about how a new web-based iPad solution can improve the processes of capturing and sharing compliance violations.

On the supplier-only side, Rachel Greer of Cascadia Product Testing Solutions provided valuable insight into the inner workings of Amazon, shedding light on the e-commerce giant's business practices. Rachel explained what suppliers can do to better manage compliance and navigate Amazon's Vendor Central and Transportation Manual. She offered recommendations for getting issues addressed, discussed why suppliers were experiencing problems with communicating with Amazon, and frankly outlined where suppliers will likely continue to see resistance.

The term "best practice" is often misunderstood and abused. In many cases, best practices are manufactured by consultants to ensure that best practices are aligned with their services. Focusing on retail consumer products, Jamie Tenser of VSN Strategies first helped attendees understand the true definition of "best practice" and what a best practice must support. Jamie then outlined and explained the five key traits of best practice in the retail consumer products industry – designed, conscious, realistic, measurable and customer-oriented.

In assessing the financial impact of drop-shipping, Annibal C. Sodero of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas presented the initial findings of a study being conducted jointly by RVCF, Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas. Annibal started by reviewing the market conditions and business reasoning that have been driving retailers to become increasingly dependent on suppliers to fulfill e-commerce orders directly to customers. He then outlined the research completed thus far via interviews with retailers and suppliers, explained the broad variations he has uncovered, and discussed difficulties experienced by both retailers and their supplier partners.

Leslie Montgomery of GS1 US led a workshop focused on industry initiatives related to the implementation of images and attributes guidelines and discussed the need for and benefits of these initiatives. By providing additional information required for extended attributes, ensuring that all product information is accurate and complete, and all images are compliant, you make it easier for the end consumer to make educated decisions about online purchases. This results in greater customer loyalty and satisfaction as well as a lower risk of returns.

Doug Cowan of Cognizant led a workshop and live demonstration that showed how to optimize SAP workflows and processes for accounts receivable and deduction management, incorporating real world applications and roadblocks from audience members into his presentation. Specific areas covered included dispute management, auto assignment and automatic write-off of reason codes, dispute workflow, and dispute correspondence.

EDI cost management required a double-length session and Kelvin Takhar of Edisoft, Inc. filled the program with valuable information. Kevin reviewed trends and challenges facing suppliers and retailers, such as omni-channel data management requirements, and laid out the five key principles desired in a high-quality EDI solution configuration – greater flexibility, full configurability, end-to-end modularity, scalability, and support for B2B or B2C compliance. The session then transitioned to a workshop format focused on addressing actual issues raised by audience members.

David Schneider of We Are The Practitioners discussed how collaboration and not the chargeback is more likely to result in a quantum shift in supply chain performance. This requires a change in mindset rooted in a genuine desire to better understand problems and perspectives – first between departments within the retail organization, and then with each supplier. This is how you enable proactive problem-solving based on communication and mutual respect.

From a global perspective, Karen Dickinson of the Polsinelli law firm and Deborah Weidenhamer of iPai Auction Company and Auction Systems Auctioneers and Appraisers discussed the ins and outs of joint-venturing in China. Karen discussed the cultural differences between the U.S. and China and how this impacts business relationships and practices, and explained the new five-year plan (2016-2020) for economic transformation and upgrading by the Chinese government. Deborah profiled the Chinese middle class consumer and emphasized the need for truly understanding this consumer when developing an e-commerce strategy.

Ron Marotta of Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc. and Kevin Smith of Sustainable Supply Chain Consulting discussed the factors to consider when navigating the sea of risk in global trade. After getting the audience up to speed on major global trade agreements and China's political and economic issues, Ron and Kevin laid out the primary risks encountered globally. These risks include changes in East and West Coast port volumes, increasing container capacity outpacing demand, Panama Canal expansion, the growing trend of "near sourcing," and driver shortages.

We at RVCF would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the Annual Fall Conference. What parts of the conference did you find particularly helpful or valuable? What topics or issues would you like to see us cover more comprehensively at future conferences? We want to hear your feedback!

CLICK HERE to return to the NOVEMBER 2015 RVCF LINK

Tags:  Collaboration  One-on-One Meetings  One-on-Ones  RVCF Conferences  RVCF Fall Conference 2015 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Ask a 3PL Expert: What Did I Miss?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2015

by Scott Weiss, Port Logistics Group

Advice on routing guide compliance, 3PL relationships, and domestic logistics topics creating supply chain challenges for your organization. If you have a question or challenge please send your questions to  

I missed the RVCF Annual Fall Conference. Can you tell me what themes customers were focused on this year?
-Scott, New York

We have been attending the conference as a 3PL for 12 years now and so we feel we are experts in the industry and RVCF conferences. There were a number of common themes that we heard over and over again from visitors to our booth this year, summarized as follows:

Inventory Accuracy. Many of the attendees were operations managers or directors. We continuously heard stories about 3PL's that are having a hard time keeping track of on-hand inventory. A customer might get down to two pairs of a certain SKU and when it comes time to pick that pair, the 3PL cannot find it. Some of our bigger DC's are storing 400,000 plus active SKU's, so visitors to our booth wanted to understand how we perform cycle counting and maintain inventory and order accuracy.

Correct GS1-128 Labels and Bills of Lading. A fairly high number of attendees were vendor compliance managers or directors. These visitors to our booth wanted to know what steps we have in place to audit outbound label accuracy and bill of lading requirements. We reviewed our auditing processes and steps we take to make sure routing guides are up-to-date.

Timely Ship Confirmations. We also had EDI specialists and credit managers stop by our booth. They expressed frustrations with ASN chargebacks from retailers because their 3PL's are not sending them the shipped confirmations on time. So we reviewed what steps we take to make sure shipped confirmations are sent back in a timely manner and with no down time.

Continuous Improvement/LEAN. There were a number of attendees whose jobs are to identify how to make the processes more efficient. These attendees were very interested in our continuous improvement and KPI (Key Performance Indicators) programs that we have in place. They were also interested in how we increase productivity and eliminate waste while not compromising safety to our employees.

Omni-channel Fulfillment. We met with a number of customer service directors who are faced with fulfilling orders from wholesale, retail, and e-commerce from the same inventory. As such, they wanted to understand how we satisfy each channel from the same inventory or multiple inventories and the benefits/disadvantages of maintaining a single inventory versus multiple inventories. This group was also interested in the KPI's we have in place to make sure outbound orders are filled on-time and accurately.

Networking. Most of the attendees mentioned to us that the RVCF Annual Fall Conference is THE big conference of the year for their position. They don't get out of the office too often and they really appreciated the opportunity to be there. We had several attendees also mention that this was their first RVCF conference, so this was a great opportunity for them to get out of the office, get up-to-date on new issues, and forge relationships with industry peers, competitors, and the many service providers in attendance at the conference.

All in all, RVCF conferences advocate collaboration and the exchange of information, ideas, and solutions. Attendees derive numerous takeaways that they can implement immediately upon return to their organizations – a win/win for all. Missing RVCF conferences leaves you behind in the pack and with stiff competition and bottom lines to protect, participation is a must.

As Vice President, Business Development, Scott Weiss works closely with apparel, footwear, and housewares manufacturers of all sizes to ensure compliance with retailer routing guide requirements.  Port Logistics Group is a market leader in gateway port logistics services, operating over 5 million square feet of warehouse space.  Services include port drayage, import deconsolidation, warehousing and distribution, retail compliance, local transportation, and store delivery in key port locations of Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Seattle, and Savannah.  Scott may be reached at or (562) 977-7620.

CLICK HERE to return to the NOVEMBER 2015 RVCF LINK

Tags:  RVCF Conferences  RVCF Fall Conference 2015 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Power of One-on-Ones

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2015


During the past few years, we at the Retail Value Chain Federation (RVCF) have been gradually increasing the number of one-on-one meetings between retailers and suppliers at our conferences. In fact, approximately 700 one-on-ones were held at the RVCF Fall Conference last week as we maximized the number of meetings based on the time available and the number of participants. More than a meeting, each of these one-on-ones represents an opportunity – an opportunity for trading partners to build stronger relationships and solve problems.

This is why RVCF exists.

A one-on-one meeting is a prescheduled meeting – a sit-down, so to speak – between a retailer and a supplier at an RVCF conference. All one-on-one meetings are held in a designated area that is closely monitored by RVCF staff to ensure that only those attendees who have scheduled one-on-one meetings are admitted. Each retailer is assigned one or more tables, depending on how many representatives are available, and suppliers move between retailer tables according to a pre-determined schedule.

What Retailers Need to Know about One-on-One Meetings
Retailers that would like to schedule one-on-ones with suppliers just need to inform RVCF of their interest and availability. We'll provide you with a list of suppliers that have requested to meet with you, their supplier number, and what topics each supplier wants to discuss during a one-on-one. RVCF will schedule one-on-one meetings with only those suppliers that have been approved by the retailer.

We understand that many retailers attend RVCF conferences for the educational sessions, which is why we work so hard throughout the year to ensure that each session delivers helpful, valuable information. At the same time, retailers can benefit tremendously by participating in one-on-one meetings. In fact, the number one reason why suppliers attend RVCF conferences is to meet with their retailer partners.

Many retailers send one person and have a single table in the designated one-on-one area. But if this person wants to attend educational sessions, it limits their availability for one-on-ones and more suppliers are turned away. As you can imagine, this can be frustrating for supplier members whose primary reason for attending the conference is to meet with multiple retailers.

In many cases, it would be helpful if retailers could send more people and have two or even three tables for one-to-one meetings. We understand that you'll never be able to meet with everyone. But the more people you meet with, the more problems you solve.

We're also asking our retail members if it would be more feasible to extend the conference to accommodate more one-on-one meetings. An RVCF conference typically runs from mid-afternoon on Sunday to late morning on Wednesday. Would you be willing to meet with more suppliers if we extended the conference through Wednesday afternoon? We appreciate and encourage your feedback and participation.

What Suppliers Need to Know about One-on-One Meetings
Suppliers that would like to schedule one-on-ones with retailers will receive a One-on-One Request Survey after paying their RVCF conference registration fee. Surveys are sent approximately six weeks prior to the conference. In this survey, suppliers can indicate which retailers they would like to meet and the reason for requesting each meeting. A valid supplier number must also be provided.

Due to the laws of supply and demand, suppliers are not guaranteed to receive every meeting that they request. However, there are a few things suppliers can do to improve their chances of having meeting requests approved. First, register for the conference early to ensure that you receive the One-on-One Request Survey at the same time as other suppliers. Second, be specific about what you want to discuss during each one-on-one. For example, don't request a one-on-one meeting to discuss a topic that a retailer will cover during a Supplier Breakout session.

Keep in mind that the goal of each one-on-one is to address and solve problems. Casual meet-and-greets and catching up with people who you've been working with for years should happen during a reception or at the golf course, not a one-on-one. As mentioned previously, every one-one-one meeting is an opportunity to build a stronger trading partner relationship. Look for solutions to problems before you look for settlements, and make sure you bring operations people to the table, not just the credit and finance people, as operations people are the ones retailers want to see since they can put solutions into action.

Start Preparing Now
Another successful RVCF Annual Fall Conference is still fresh in our minds, but we're already looking forward to the Spring Conference from April 17-20, 2016 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, FL. Start thinking about supply chain issues that need to be addressed. Start thinking about who you would like to meet to discuss these issues. Start talking to senior management about the business value of being able to meet with multiple trading partners during the same event over the course of three days.

Again, the kind of collaboration that occurs during a one-on-one meeting is the reason why RVCF exists. We want as many retailers and suppliers as possible to take advantage of these opportunities so that everyone may benefit. Your input is welcome and valued, so please contact us if you have any suggestions about how we can improve the one-on-one meeting process.

CLICK HERE to return to the NOVEMBER 2015 RVCF LINK

Tags:  Collaboration  One-on-One Meetings  One-on-Ones  RVCF Conferences 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
          Innovative Retail Technologies EDI Academy