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Modex 2012: To secure future, industry must make its voice heard

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Rick D. Blasgen is the president and chief executive officer of CSCMP, serving in the association’s Lombard, Illinois, USA headquarters.

By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
February 06, 2012

In his show-opening keynote address, Rick Blasgen expressed optimism for the future of domestic logistics, emphasized the urgent steps that must be taken to secure that future, and hailed the materials handling industry as a key driver of the ongoing economic recovery.

“The supply chain is a shock absorber managing the difference between what is planned and what actually happens,” said Blasgen, CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (Booth 5403). “We facilitate a lot of what happens in our economy and we don’t get a lot of credit for it. We need to get out and tell our story.”

In his 25-year career in materials handling, Blasgen said he has seen SCM become not just a corporate necessity, but an essential growth vehicle. According to Blasgen, logistics spending in the U.S. totaled $1.2 trillion in 2011, constituting 8.3% of GDP. In 1980, logistics accounted for 17.9% of GDP. Blasgen credited vastly improved supply chain efficiency for the decline.

Of last year’s $1.2 trillion, transportation costs accounted for $768 billion, he said. It’s a highly physical business, said Blasgen, and one that is dependent on increasingly inadequate infrastructure.

“The U.S. needs a national transportation policy,” he said. “That much is glaringly obvious.”

Blasgen said the management of transportation will a focus in 2012, followed closely by access to capacity, continuing efforts by shippers to outsource, and a gradual shift to a “truckers’ market.”

But most important, said Blasgen, is that current supply chain leaders challenge and educate the industry’s young generation.

“The supply chain will be run by technically savvy people with a penchant for innovation,” said Blasgen. “If you’re new to this industry, go work on the third shift in some distribution center. It will help you immensely.”

Modex 2012 is scheduled to be held February 6-9, 2012 in Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Modern’s complete Modex 2012 coverage.

About the Author

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Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


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