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Extended Supply Chain Brussels starts tomorrow (Tuesday) bringing together some of Europe’s top supply chain professionals to examine key issues including collaboration, social responsibility, risk management and the impact of the third industrial revolution.

Collaboration can transform the extended supply chain. Asda certainly thinks so – it has estimated that there is £800 million of savings in its food supply chain. But new levels of collaboration are required with multiple stakeholders – and even advocates admit that it can be difficult to achieve.

Simon Brown, managing director of 2degrees, and Philip Pearson, group development director of APS Salads, will look at the challenges involved at the Extended Supply Chain conference which takes place in Brussels later this month.

Using the Tesco Knowledge Hub as a case study, they will consider what should be the ultimate goal of collaboration: resource savings, risk reduction or business growth?

This is just one of the sessions at Extended Supply Chain.

Gerben Hieminga, senior economist at ING Commercial Banking will consider what impact the third industrial revolution will have on the extended supply chain – as well as examining what continued volatility and uncertainty in the world economy means for supply chain in 2012 and beyond.

Volatility is one of the key challenges for supply chain professionals. Forecasts do not predict the future, says Kurt Gruber, corporate vice president, corporate supply chain at Infineon Technologies, will be looking at strategies to deal with volatility.

He will focus the semiconductor market and how Infineon’s supply chain has developed over the past 30 years. In particular, he will examine the importance of flexibility in dealing with market uncertainty as well as the role of supply chain integration.

The Extended Supply Chain Conference provides an excellent platform for supply chain thought leaders from all sectors to explore and discuss the latest developments and network with the industry’s key strategic figures.

Of course, the recession which started in 2008 means that world has changed significantly and in a panel debate industry leaders will look at adapting supply chain structures to meet the new realities. Are the supply chain structures which were built around solutions five to ten years ago still appropriate? And what is required to create more secure supply chain structures and overcome difficult market conditions?

Speaker include Katariina Kemppainen, vice president, master planning at Nokia; and Anita Arts, vice president, global supply chain at Liberty Global.

Increasingly, organisations, particularly in consumer facing businesses, are being called on to developing socially responsible supply chains. Wolfgang Weber, director production steering, Central Eastern Europe, at Henkel, will look at the extent to which the consumer influences supply chain responsibility in making sustainability improvements. He will also consider how you ensure a cohesive approach which takes into account different stakeholders’ sustainability requirements?

Collaboration is high up on the agenda at ESC Brussels. Ralph Keck, global director supply chain innovation at Procter & Gamble, together with Silvia Rossi of the Cranfield School of Management, will examine the new frontiers in horizontal collaboration focusing on P&G’s experience.

In particular, Keck will look at the relationship between horizontal collaboration and competitiveness- asking is it a trade-off? And there will also be an examination of collaboration concepts for co-modality (CO3) – a novel business model for horizontal collaboration in freight transport.

And Dominic Burbridge, associate director, business advice at The Carbon Trust, will examine the trends, opportunities, challenges of supply chain emissions. He will look at how to start building the business case for supplier engagement, how to uncover the potential for co-investment in supply chain initiatives that benefit all parties, and how to improve the sustainability of your procurement.

Extended Supply Chain Brussels takes place at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels, Belgium from Tuesday 20th to Wednesday 21st November.

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