The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) said Thursday it had named Walmart Inc. executive Ken Woodlin as this year's president to lead the Chicago-based logistics industry association.
WERC rotates the presidency of the organization annually, choosing a new president from among its member leaders. Woodlin replaces Tony Ward, who is managing director for retail at Accenture Strategy.
Woodlin, who is divisional vice president of supply chain for Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant Walmart, will become WERC's 40th president, the group said. "Our immediate priority is to stay on top of—and ahead of—the rapidly evolving industry, all while supporting the one true constant: our people," Woodlin said in a statement.
One of the biggest changes in the industry is the growing importance of the workforce, WERC concluded in its 2018 DC Measures Annual Survey and Report on Industry Metrics. Respondents to the study ranked employee performance as one of the most important warehouse metrics for the first time in 2017, and elevated that variable from 25th to 9th in importance just a year later, WERC found. That swift climb in profile shows that companies are becoming more cognizant that their technologies and processes are only as good as the people using them, according to WERC.
WERC said it helps members cope with professional changes like this by offering educational events, performance metrics for benchmarking, practical research, expert insights, and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.