If I told you that you could spend some of your working time, whatever your position or role, doing something which will educate you, renew your energy, provide new ideas for improvement or innovation, equip you with skills you can use immediately, present you with valuable and useful data for your company to exploit and introduce you to new and interesting people, all while having a lot of fun and feeling a little like you are on holiday, would you be keen to know more? Well, there is a way to enjoy all the experiences listed above, while getting paid and adding value for your company. All you have to do is attend supply chain conferences or similar events when the opportunity arises.
Furthermore, if you are a supply chain leader, encouraging and enabling your managers and/or other employees to attend supply chain conferences is a great way to engage them and to directly benefit your organisation.
So to expand on the benefits listed in the first paragraph of this post, the following six sections explain in detail, exactly why you and your employees should embrace the opportunities to attend supply chain conferences, especially events which take place locally.
6 Reasons Why Supply Chain Conferences Rock
1. Education For All Learning Styles
Let’s begin by looking at supply chain conferences from a purely educational perspective. There are many ways in which you, your colleagues and your company’s employees can continually improve supply chain knowledge and education. In considering the options available however, it’s important to acknowledge that everybody has different styles of learning, although these styles can be broadly grouped into the following categories:
- Visual learners – they like to see information and visualise problems and solutions
- Auditory learners – like to listen to information presented verbally
- Readers/writers – This group likes to learn through interaction with text (reading and writing)
- Kinesthetic Learners – You guessed it, Kinesthetic learners like to learn by doing
While most people have the capacity to learn through multiple channels, we each have a dominant learning style, which are more likely to make use of than the others.
Supply chain conferences are perfect for people to learn and gain new information about the field, regardless of their learning style. If you are a visual learner for example, you will benefit from the presentations, charts, slides, and other visual media which conference speakers use to deliver information. If you are a listener, of course you will home in more on what the speakers are telling you. Are you a reader/writer? If so, you’ll enjoy taking notes as the speakers present their sessions and you’ll usually find that some notes and other literature are provided to help you absorb information.
Finally, if you are a kinesthetic learner, you’ll gravitate toward interactive exhibits and demonstrations which are a key inclusion in many of today’s supply chain conferences and similar events. In short, whatever your own learning style, or that of your nominated conference delegates, valuable and usable education awaits those who take the time to attend.
2. A Change is as Good as a Rest
So now we’ve looked briefly at the educational value of supply chain conferences and events, let’s lighten up for a few moments and consider the fun aspect. Attending a conference, seminar, or workshop is FUN with a capital “FUN.”
In many ways, attending a supply chain conference (if it’s a good one) is like taking a holiday, only a whole lot more productive and useful, both to the delegate and her company. When you or your team members return to the workplace after attending a professional event, you will feel energised, motivated, and ready to bring your best to bear in your business role—and here’s a list of the reasons why:
- You get out of your normal routine
- You get a break from the “work” of your work
- You’ll hear amazing success stories to inspire you
- You can enter contests and competitions with the chance of winning some great prizes
- You get a complete change of scenery and geography (just like a holiday)
- Many events take place in hotels or resorts where you can enjoy relaxing leisure facilities
- The change of environment is refreshing and rejuvenating
- Perhaps you will be able to experience the culture of a new city or country while attending
- It’s possible you will meet old friends in your professional field who you haven’t seen for a while
- You can focus on your work or business in a different way, with no domestic distractions that may exist when you’re at home
Realistically, few of those conditions will exist at any time while you are engaged in your normal working life, so a couple of days indulging in the benefits listed above will surely boost your energy, ambition, belief in yourself and your business, and your desire to implement the things you have learned. If you’re really worried about using the word “FUN” in the context of attending a supply chain conference or other professional event, just replace it with the word “REFRESHING” and you’ll feel even better.
3. Supply Chain Conferences: The Learning Possibilities
Lest you begin to feel guilty for liking the sound of all the FUN aspects of supply chain conferences and events, we’ll return once more to the educational value. You’ve already heard how conferences, seminars, and workshops can appeal to all learning styles, so now let’s focus a little on what you can actually learn and how. Here’s another list for you to quickly overview the learning possibilities lying in wait at the next supply chain conference you or your selected team members attend. You can:
- Learn new information from the keynote speakers and other presenters
- Learn from the shared experiences of other professionals
- Discover the latest supply chain and logistics technology and tools
- Learn about familiar topics from new perspectives
- Collect literature and presentation materials to take away and study at your leisure
- Find information about new educational resources to utilise
- Gather useful statistics and facts about supply chains in your particular industry
- Discover new strategies, tactics, and procedures to leverage in your business
- Access one-to-one learning and coaching sessions with supply chain experts
- Learn about traps and pitfalls to watch out for in your line of business
- Update yourself on new steps and angles relating to older processes
- Gain a mass of useful and usable information in a short space of time
- Identify new competitive opportunities for your company
- Participate in open Q&A sessions with industry experts
- Validate your own ideas about certain topics within your industry, by hearing expert views
- Learn about new regulations and legislation impacting your supply chain
- Observe how speakers and exhibitors present information and hence improve your own presentation skills
- Meet respected experts in a range of supply chain and logistics fields and get answers to your questions
The list goes on and, best of all, every one of these opportunities can give you something to take away and implement, whether it’s something to improve your personal performance, that of your team, or something new and effective to make your supply chain operation more efficient, less costly, or more competitive.
4. Networking Benefits of Supply Chain Conferences
Now we’ve spent some time exploring the fun and educational aspects of attending supply chain conferences and events, it’s time to move on to another reason to love them—the networking opportunities, which of course can be fun and educational at the very same time, not to mention professionally rewarding. Meeting new people and those you already know in the supply chain world is a big advantage of conference attendance. Rarely will you get a better chance to rub shoulders with people from competing companies, experts in a diverse range of supply chain related subjects, and other personalities who may become sources of information and education, professional mentors, and perhaps even lifelong friends after you’ve spent time in conversation with them.
Again though, there are so many benefits of using supply chain conferences as a networking aid, that it’s probably best just to lay them out in a list, so you can appraise them with little more than a glance. If you haven’t tried networking at a supply chain conference before, here are some of the opportunities you should grasp with both hands:
- Talk with anyone and everyone who seems approachable
- Ask for feedback on thoughts and ideas you have for running your company’s supply chain
- Enjoy the opportunity to be with people who speak the same industry “lingo”
- Practice your networking skills
- Seek new members of your professional online social networks
- Make first physical contacts with members of your online network
- Enjoy networking during conference downtime (in the evenings and during leisure activities)
- Raise your profile as a supply chain professional
- Get close to respected experts to benefit from their wisdom
- Improve your confidence in mixing with people you don’t already know
- Connect with useful vendors and/or suppliers for your company
- Strengthen existing bonds, professional relationships and friendships
- Share your own knowledge with other professionals (somebody can always benefit from what you know)
- Keep an eye open for potential new customers (be sure to introduce yourself and your business to them)
If you take advantage of just some of the possibilities listed above, you are virtually guaranteed to have some takeaways from each event you attend—takeaways you can immediately use to further your own success and that of your company’s supply chain operation.
5. Supply Chain Conferences for Problem-solving
As already mentioned, the educational possibilities of supply chain conferences are almost infinite, and most importantly, can often lead to takeaways which can be implemented in your business without further ado.
This then, becomes something more than mere education. It’s a compelling reason to attend supply chain events in the search for solutions and improvements in your supply chain operation.
For example, you might find a supply chain conference or event taking place at just the right time, and covering just the right topic, to help you implement a specific improvement or solution. If so, you can kick-start your initiative at the event, using any or all of the following tactics:
- Kick some potential solutions around with other delegates and visiting experts
- Get ideas for new supply chain services based on what you hear about the needs of customers
- Find service providers or vendors with the right expertise to help you solve a particular issue
- Seek answers to your issues directly from the experts who are speaking or exhibiting
- Find out about new processes, tools, models, or theories related to issues in your supply chain
- Obtain direct help from experts to troubleshoot a particular problem
- Find partners to collaborate with, perhaps to solve a mutual supply chain problem
- Hire the company represented by a speaker at the event, if it becomes obvious they understand your area of concern
So you see, there is a mass of potential for problem-solving through conference attendance. It’s just important that you choose the right event to attend or to send delegates from your company. Some events will be more valuable than others.
At this year’s Supply Chain Leaders Insights event for example, you can get direct access to industry experts from all corners of the supply chain and logistics environment and better still, the whole event is made up of short training sessions, small-group discussions around a table, and one-to-one chats between experts and delegates. The event takes place on October 16th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney, and there are still tickets available if you’ll be in the area or wish to travel to the event.
6. Try Being at the Sharp End of Supply Chain Conferencing
In all five previous sections of this post, the topics have been about what you will get from attending supply chain conferences and events. More accurately, they have been about what you will get without even trying. However, with some smart preparation, you can derive even more important benefits from conference attendance. I’m talking about the opportunities available to your company if you take an active, rather than passive part in conferences, for example, by exhibiting, speaking, running a booth, or some similar activity which positions you as an industry expert instead of a delegate in the audience.
Of course, the value of presenting, speaking or exhibiting at a supply chain conference, trade show or similar event, will depend upon what type of business you are in, and the types of event you participate in. It’s not really possible to describe all the benefits in this post, but generally speaking, the corporate advantages include:
- The ability to generate sales leads for your products or services
- The chance to pose as a delegate and gather intelligence about your competitors
- The chance to strengthen, develop, and raise the profile of your brand
- You can distribute your company’s social media information to grow your online network
- Events are ideal places to catch prospects and customers while they are in a buying mood
- Opportunities to observe other presenters, speakers, and exhibitors to identify successful tactics you can apply
As well as the advantages to your company, there are also important personal benefits to participating actively at a supply chain conference. As a speaker, you will be able to practice your public speaking skills and of course, learn from your mistakes (don’t worry, even the most accomplished keynote speakers still make them from time-to-time), establish yourself as an authority in your field, speciality, or niche, and also learn more about your topic through interaction with your audience. As an exhibitor, you can make personal connections with customers and leads and learn from many people at the event, whether they are visitors to your booth, or other vendors, suppliers, and industry experts.
Choose Your Supply Chain Conferences Carefully
Choose your events carefully and every one that you or your people attend will deliver some degree of value to your business. Perhaps the best events are those which enable you to get close to the experts and specialists from whom you most wish to learn. However, events of this type can be few and far between. That’s exactly why Supply Chain Leaders Insights was conceived; to fill the need for an event at which delegates can spend quality time with any of the experts present. You’ll be able to engage in detailed discussion, without sales pressure, any matter on which you or your colleagues need expert advice, guidance and insight.
If you need another excuse to attend, how about the fact that tickets are on sale at a ridiculously low price, with all ticket fees going to charity?
To find out more, visit our program page for a detailed outline of the Supply Chain Leaders Insights event for 2016. If you like what you see, stop by at the registration page and book your place at the event. We look forward to seeing you there.