This year’s Supply Chain Conference has adopted a winning formula as its theme on 16th and 17th June

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The Supply Chain Conference, taking place online on 16th and 17th June, is 2021’s must-attend virtual event for industry professionals.

It’s been a long road out of the pandemic but at last the end is in sight, albeit it has not been quite close enough to allow a physical conference this year. We’re nevertheless pleased our speakers have not yet succumbed to Zoom fatigue and will be taking part in this interactive forum from the comfort of their desks with senior executives from Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s, B&Q, Lidl, the NHS, Ericsson, Descartes, JD Sports and Wakeo just a handful to highlight from the expert line-up.

There is a special theme for this year’s conference, too. As we look ahead to the 25th Supply Chain Excellence Awards taking place on 8th November at the Hilton on Park Lane, London, the 2021 Supply Chain Conference features a number of award-winners from years gone by. This is not merely a celebration of industry-leading best-practice from past triumphs, though, but an opportunity to find out how these champions tackled the seismic  events of 2020 and 2021, as well as how the pain points of the past 15 months will influence their future supply chain strategies.

First things first

Day one features tracks dedicated to Retail & E-Commerce and Food & Drink, with a mix of case study presentations and interactive panel discussions. It was perhaps inevitable the pandemic would permeate the topics. Covid-19 – and the subsequent changes in shopping behaviour – have turned the bricks-and-mortar retail model upside-down. As is well reported in these pages, the combination of pandemic-enforced lockdowns, supply chain issues and economic crises accelerated digital retailing in a number of areas of the economy. This will be a talking point for Dan Withers, Logistics Director at Sainsbury’s and Mark Atkinson, Logistics Director at The

Very Group. Speakers from Morrisons, Lidl, JD Sports, Co-op and B&Q will also take part.

Relevant to our readers in the F&B sector, Brexit has been an added challenge in 2021. The government announced earlier in the year that it would postpone checks on imports from the EU to give businesses more time to prepare for the myriad paperwork involved. The UK’s border authorities were set to begin requesting Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) documentation for animal and plant goods from April, before introducing the full range of customs, health and security paperwork three months later. Physical SPS checks on animal products – as well as foods and plants considered high risk – will now not take place until 1st January 2022. (The EU has been implementing full checks on goods sent from the UK since the start of this year.) It’s a complex picture, but David Shaw, Supply Chain Director at Kraft Heinz, may shed some light on its strategy to overcome these and other challenges. Speakers from Coca-Cola and Fever Tree will add further experience.

Second coming

On Day 2, three tracks are scheduled, focusing on Healthcare and Pharma, FMCG, and Technology. A must-hear talk will be delivered by David Lawson, Director of Procurement at NHS Foundation Trust, who will go into the NHS’s pilot of a river cargo service from its consolidation centre into Central London. As for Technology, Hans Hallgren, Head of Networks Supply Chain Management at Ericsson and Nicky McGroarty, Head of Supply Chain at Telefónica UK, will be honing-in on how they have overcome the supply chain disruptions resulting from Covid-19 and Brexit.

Meanwhile, a panel discussion in the FMCG track is sure to generate interest. Supply chain management processes in consumer goods are constantly under review as their optimisation can lead to cost reductions and improved processes. The panellists will therefore delve into what these new processes are and debate whether they can truly reduce fragmentation across FMCG supply chains.

There will come a time when we won’t be talking about Brexit and Covid-19, but these are still the hot topics affecting us all. We hope you will log on to join the debate!

A full updated conference agenda can be found here

Immersive experience

This year’s Supply Chain Conference will be hosted via an engaging and simple-to-use Swapcard virtual conference platform that allows participants to network, share content, host video meetings, and discuss important industry developments

Opportunity knocks

When the pandemic finally ends, a fresh wave of challenges will impact supply chains. A close inspection of your operations will determine whether they are resilient against the kinds of shocks that we saw from Covid-19. But, as the Supply Chain Conference will reveal, disruption from the pandemic has also created opportunities for managing supply chains in new ways

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Neill Wightman on 020 8065 0464 or alternatively email neill.wightman@akabomedia.co.uk

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