BJ's Wholesale Club CEO Laura Sen kicked off the annual Retail Industry Leaders Association's (RILA's) Retail Supply Chain Conference: Logistics 2013 by sharing her unique perspective on the retail industry from a warehouse club point of view and addressing the critical role that supply chain plays in retail success. Formerly the executive vice president of merchandising and logistics for BJ's, Sen discussed the challenges facing retail supply chain executives today, particularly in a world of "omni-channel retailing," where consumers expect a seamless and unified experience across all channels.
Sen's keynote was just the start of a content-rich three-day conference and tradeshow that drew more than 1,500 retail supply chain executives to Orlando, Fla. Later, economist Marci Rossell gave a spirited presentation on the economic factors that led to the state of the U.S. economy today and predicted that 2013 will be the year that consumers truly start to feel the current economic recovery already underway. Rossell believes that this recovery is unlike any seen in recent history because it is fueled by U.S. exports rather than a housing boom or government stimulus.
Dana Telsey of Telsey Advisory Group shared an analyst's perspective on how retailers should conduct business in the shifting economic landscape. She identified several success factors for retailers today, including a focus on multichannel retailing, speed to market, product innovation, growth of mobile, and attention to execution.
Breakout sessions included a look at international logistics and sourcing that addressed critical subjects in global procurement and goods movement. The session covered the impact of global procurement on cost and capacity and new collaboration opportunities between shippers.
A transportation track of sessions provided insights into the latest governmental policies and operational advances affecting transportation processes and systems.
Other sessions included a discussion of dedicated fleet utilization and network optimization, a panel discussion on continuous improvement techniques for inventory management, and a "Mythbuster" panel highlighting the benefits and challenges of natural gas as an alternative fuel.
RILA is the trade association of some of the world's largest retail companies. Its members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers. Together these members account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.