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There’s a significant trend that has been unfolding over the first half of the year that’s given me hope that the economy has finally turned the corner: Professionals representing all facets of supply chain management are starting to step out of their facilities and offices to attend live trade shows and events.
By Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
June 01, 2012

There’s a significant trend that has been unfolding over the first half of the year that’s given me hope that the economy has finally turned the corner: Professionals representing all facets of supply chain management are starting to step out of their facilities and offices to attend live trade shows and events.

For me, it started in February when 20,000 attendees descended on Atlanta to visit Modex. And the good news continues to unfurl month after month as the staff of Modern Materials Handling and our sister publications report back from conferences and shows in all corners of the country. Attendance is finally picking up, and the buzz surrounding facility investment, automation upgrades and future planning are generally upbeat.

While live attendance numbers are certainly on the upswing, the live event business is still falling well short of pre-recession levels. While many have been given the “green light” to move forward on an upgrade or new project, those attendance figures signal that the majority remains tethered to their facilities, weighed down by the recession’s mantra of doing more with less. Travel may be back in the budget, but many simply don’t have the time.

It’s for these folks that we’ve designed Modern’s upcoming “State of Materials Handling Automation,” a half-day, virtual conference where a select team of materials handling analysts, consultants and practitioners share how today’s leading supply chain organizations are leveraging automation to improve facility operations and streamline overall business strategy.

The event will be sharply focused on the revolutionary impact that multi-channel fulfillment is having on materials handling automation and overall operations. In today’s emerging, multi-channel environment, flexible retail warehouse and DC operations are now handling a variety of functions out of one facility—direct-to-consumer order fulfillment, store replenishment, wholesale distribution, and global distribution. And, of course, any retailer worth its salt today has to fill orders in all of these channels, even though each has distinct order profiles, order quantities and inventory requirements.

The challenge to both retailers and systems integrators has been immense—and from what we’ve seen, the best have been equal to the task.

In our effort to offer a complete overview of the multi-channel effect, executive editor Bob Trebilcock opens the event with his Keynote that summarizes his conversations with leading systems integrators and their forecast for how materials handling automation will evolve to meet the multi-channel challenge.

Conference sessions will then dive into goods-to-person order fulfillment and its role in multi-channel retailing; how warehouse management systems and warehouse control systems are now collaborating to better manage the release and flow of multi-channel orders; and we’ll wrap up with a look at the rise of AGVs and automated storage and retrieval systems and the critical part these technologies are playing in next-generation fulfillment.

So, if you’re anxious to gain more insight into the latest developments and applications of materials handling automation and you don’t have the time to leave the facility, I have good news for you. You don’t have to catch a flight. You just need to click here: supplychainvirtualevents.com.

About the Author

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Michael Levans
Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 27-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 20 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past 11 years. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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