‘On Demand’ event Feb. 24 looks at supply chain impact of shifting consumer trends

prime now
Courtesy Amazon.com

With fourth-quarter and year-end financials for online retail juggernaut Amazon.com set to be released Feb. 2, industry watchers were abuzz with a statistic from digital commerce watcher Slice Intelligence: More than half of all 2016 growth in e-commerce came from Amazon alone.

This dominance is the latest sign that Amazon is growing as an industry disruptor, shaking brick and mortar retail to its core and reframing what it means to be competitive – and to win. Amazon’s most headline-grabbing move of late – Prime Now one-hour delivery – demonstrates that what’s propelling the company along is a relentless push to satisfy customer demand with lightning speed and unprecedented convenience.

Indeed, a shift toward instant-gratification customer demand is transforming the supply chain as we know it – and for a variety of industries. In the space of several years, Uber has turned the personal transportation trade on its ear and become a model of disruption, leading the Wall Street Journal in 2015 to state “There’s an Uber for Everything Now.” In the traditional world of goods production and fulfillment, consumer product giants such as Procter & Gamble Co. are undertaking vast strategic overhauls of their distribution models.

These changes roiling in the operations, logistics and supply chain management worlds pose huge challenges to companies just as they present opportunities. The Center for Operational Excellence has teamed up with the Fisher College of Business Operations and Logistics Management Association for a look at this trend through a half-day Supply Chain Symposium event called “On Demand,” set for Friday, Feb. 24, from noon to 3:30 p.m. At this event, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from leaders at companies including Nestle USA, DHL and Amazon about how they’re working to keep pace with demand and stay competitive.

adrian kumarThe first speaker at the event is Adrian Kumar (pictured, right), VP of Solutions Design, North America for DHL. Kumar leads a team of 50 engineers and supply chain professionals to drive growth and continuous improvement across the US and Canada. He’ll be discussing how changing consumer trends are changing the traditional fulfillment model along with the economics behind the model, crowd-sourced delivery. Kumar also will highlight the shift to regional and local fulfillment centers and the challenges in addressing short supply chain lead times.

michael coburnThe keynote speaker at the event is Michael Coburn (pictured, right), head of customer-facing supply chain for Nestle USA. Coburn, a nearly 30-year Nestle veteran, will introduce the concept of short-shelf-life products and their impact on products and customers. By presenting Nestle case studies, he’ll also illustrate their challenges and complexities along with the evolution of the short-lead-time supply chain space.

The event, open to COE members and Fisher graduate students, will wrap up with a discussion panel where Kumar of DHL will join Rob Precord, project manager, supplier-facing supply chain at Nestle and Matthew Fein, an operations manager at Amazon in Columbus.

Registration is open now for this event, which will take place on Fisher’s campus.

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