Supply chain professionals from 34 countries marked the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' 50th anniversary by attending CSCMP's Annual Global Conference in October. Many presenters made note of what has changed during the past 50 years as well as what has remained the same. This year's Distinguished Service Award winner, AbrÃ© Pienaar, probably put it best when he reflected that during that time, the questions have mostly remained the same: How do we get the right product to the right customer at the right time? How do we collaborate better with partners? The answers to those questions, however, change every year, he said.
That theme of "the changing right answer" also featured prominently in the opening keynote presentation by Felipe CalderÃ³n, president of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. CalderÃ³n spoke about lessons that could be learned from the way his country handled the 2008-2010 recession. When the recession hit, Mexico increased public spending to 3 percent of its gross domestic product and expanded its social programs. But once the economy started to recover, the right answer to the question of how to help the economy changed. Mexico responded by developing an "exit strategy," which largely reversed those previous actions, he said.
In the keynote address for the second day, Peter Carlsson, vice president of supply chain for Tesla Motors, talked about Tesla's quest to challenge conventional wisdom about automobile manufacturing. The company has focused on creating a completely new supply chain that combines the best of Detroit and Silicon Valley, Carlsson said. For example, Tesla has a goal of significantly reducing tooling leadtimes, in the same way that the consumer electronics industry was able to reduce its tooling times to just three or four weeks from as long as four months.
To find next year's right answers to longstanding questions, mark your calendar for the 2014 Annual Global Conference, which takes place Sept. 21-24 in San Antonio. For more information, go to cscmp.org.