May 18, 2017

Networking, peer-to-peer learning highlights for attendees at 40th annual WERC Conference

Eight popular sessions were recorded and will be made available online.

By Annette Danek-Akey

The Warehousing Education and Research Council's (WERC) 40th Annual Conference for Logistics Professionals—held this year in Fort Worth, Texas—wrapped up on May 3. In addition to more than 80 educational sessions, multiple breakout presentations, and Peer-2-Peer discussion groups covering the latest trends and best practices in our field, the feedback most often heard was about how much attendees appreciated the numerous opportunities for intimate networking.

It makes sense when you consider that so many of the participants are logistics management professionals (from a broad range of industries) who rely on WERC as their primary resource for industry-specific education and access to others within the field. The relationships established at the Annual Conference provide value that extends far beyond the three days of activities.

This year's networking started Sunday with a Kick Start Welcome Reception, followed by "Meet and Eat" dinner outings for attendees to share a casual meal. Monday and Tuesday also featured three separate opportunities to visit vendors in the Solutions Center, a Women @ WERC breakfast, and evening receptions.

As attendees forged new relationships and strengthened existing ones, there was much conversation about the topics presented by the General Session speakers and off-site facility tours (including Walmart, The Container Store, and Dillard's distribution centers; a Kuehne + Nagel-managed facility for Allergan Pharmaceuticals; and even a tour of AT&T Stadium—home of the Dallas Cowboys).

The most talked-about sessions covered topics such as metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), information technology and software, transportation, labor management, outsourcing, and execution strategies. They included:

  • "Metrics in the DC: Annual Workplace Study," which presented the latest performance data gathered from WERC members and DC Velocity readers. The findings, available through, support benchmarking.
  • "Transportation Market Update." This session explored both recent and long-term pricing trends in major transportation modes, as well as procurement best practices and transportation-capacity market myths.
  • "Improve Workplace Safety with Adaptive Microlearning,"which shared how Walmart Logistics delivers training that is short, entertaining, and socialized, reducing employee resistance while creating a safety culture.

  • "Increase Productivity by Mastering Key Behavior Indicators,"which correlated traditional KPIs with key behavior indicators (KBIs) that impact employee productivity and mobilization.
  • "Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules To Transform Supplier Relationships,"which examined the University of Tennessee's research on structuring win-win contracts that motivate suppliers to invest in innovation.
  • "Multichannel Distribution at The Container Store," which explored the company's intra-logistics solution to fill e-commerce orders and replenish retail stores.
  • "The Buzz from the Warehouse: Employee Opinion Survey Results," which detailed the latest developments in the logistics labor market.
  • "Supply Chain Innovation—Beyond the Buzzword," which discussed how collaboration and partnerships with customers, vendors, suppliers, startups, and third-party providers drive higher levels innovation.
Missed the Conference?

You're in luck. The eight most popular sessions were recorded and will be made available online within a few weeks. Check for details. And it's not too early to plan to attend the 2018 WERC Annual Conference, held May 6-9, 2018, in Charlotte, N.C. More information can be found at

Annette Danek-Akey is senior vice president of fulfillment for Penguin Random House Inc. and the WERC 2017 Annual Conference committee chair.

About the Author

Annette Danek-Akey
Senior Vice President, Fulfillment
Annette Danek-Akey is senior vice president of fulfillment for Penguin Random House Inc.

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