Modex: Celebrating the integrated supply chain

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There was a common denominator during my conference and trade show travels over the last half of 2011: The buzz was back.

Conference sessions were packed, attendees jammed aisles on trade show floors, and lines formed for the complimentary coffee and Danish in adjacent hallways. Taking into account the more upbeat economic news that’s been hitting the headlines over the past month, I’m predicting this buzz will find its way into the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on February 6 when Modex 2012 opens its doors.

For Modern readers who may not be aware, Modex is the new trade show and conference produced by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). The show represents an evolutionary step in MHIA’s service to the industry. Modex will expand the group’s focus beyond the four walls of the warehouse and distribution center to also encompass the broader supply chain—and the professionals working in that function.

The message being sent is clear: While materials handling solutions happen inside the four walls of a facility, their design and development are greatly affected by what happens outside those walls. Executive Editor Bob Trebilcock summed it up best: “This concept goes a long way in explaining the evolution of materials handling solutions. If all that mattered was efficiency inside the four walls, we would all crossdock full pallets and be done with it.”

A glance at the event’s keynoters illustrates MHIA’s commitment to furthering this strategic philosophy. For example, Alberto Aleman Zubieta, CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, will share his insight into the canal expansion and its eventual impact on U.S. distribution network design. And Greg Buza, director of supply chain operations at BASF Corp., will highlight the benefits of integrating all warehousing and transportation systems in an effort to improve overall fulfillment. “But to do this,” says Buza, “we’re going to need to improve processes inside the four walls by adding automated handling and storage.”

Co-located educational partners include the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the American Society of Transportation & Logistics (AST&L), and the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute, just to name a few. Reinforcing the event’s theme, all three of these traditionally transportation and logistics focused organizations will be gearing sessions around the importance of the fully interwoven supply chain and the role that fluid warehouse and DC operations play.

Modern applauds MHIA’s decision to launch Modex. In fact, the entire Modern editorial staff along with a complement of our contributing editors will be covering the show floor (more than 500 exhibitors) and sessions to produce the Modex 2012 Show Daily, the print and online source for keeping you up to date on all the activities surrounding the four-day event.

And if you’re attendance, make sure to stop us in the aisle to share your integrated supply chain success story. If you haven’t noticed, it’s those kinds of innovation stories that make it to our front cover.

About the Author

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 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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