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An early highlight of the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA’s) Retail Supply Chain Conference: Logistics 2013, now taking place in Orlando, Fla., was the keynote address by Laura Sen, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based BJ’s Wholesale Club. Attended by more than 1,500 retail supply chain executives, the event runs Feb. 17-20.
RILA’s annual conference addresses the most current and relevant issues confronting retailers, wholesalers and supply chain leaders. New this year is the Inventory Management breakout track, which joins the already established International Logistics & Sourcing, Transportation, Distribution, and Multichannel breakout tracks.
Sen shared her experience of the retail industry from a warehouse club concept point of view, and discussed the key role that supply chain plays in retail success. As BJ’s one-time EVP of merchandising and logistics, Sen has particular knowledge of the challenges now facing retail supply chain executives.
“Laura’s keynote was extremely informative and gave attendees a unique perspective into the world of warehouse club retailers,” said Lisa Labruno, SVP of retail operations for Arlington, Va.-based RILA. “Her insight is relevant to all industry partners.”
Later on, economist Marci Rossell gave a presentation on the factors that led to the current state of the U.S. economy, and predicted that this year, consumers would truly start feeling the economic recovery already occurring. This recovery is unlike any in recent history, according to RILA, because it’s spurred by U.S. exports rather than a housing boom or government stimulus.
Additionally, Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer of New York-based Telsey Advisory Group, provided an analyst’s perspective on how retailers are doing business in a changing economic landscape, and identified several success factors for retailers today, among them a focus on multichannel, speed to market, product innovation, growth of mobile and the importance of execution.
The International Logistics & Sourcing breakout track covered the effects of cost and capacity, as well as new collaboration opportunities between shippers and gateways in today’s shape-shifting economy, while the Transportation track discussed insights regarding the latest governmental policies, and operational advances affecting transportation processes and systems.
Other sessions included “Dedicated Fleet Utilization and Network Optimization; Surprises and Challenges on the Lean Journey”; “Online, Big-box Showrooming”; “Roadmap, Forecasting, Replenishment, Integrated Planning and Execution”; “Innovation and Forward-leaning Trends in Supply Chain”; “Evolving International Container Chassis Supply Models”; “Brick and Mortar: Leveraging your DC and Store Capabilities to Win in the Future”; and “Inventory Management Continuous Improvement Panel.”