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The recent 37th Annual SAPICS Conference and Exhibition held true to its long-standing reputation as the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals. The sessions covered an array of topics with some impressive speakers stepping up to the stage to deliver significant insight into topical issues, challenges and trends affecting not only the supply chain management profession, but also business in the context of global economic growth.
Opening keynote speaker Justice Malala bravely took on a political stance, often a risk, and provided some excellent perspective on the challenges facing the profession. His view was that there is plenty of noise in South Africa across both politics and industry and that it is necessary to be very selective in the issues one spends energy on.
Justice’s advice was elegantly simple – figure out a way to worry better. He advised us to spend more energy and thought on issues that could make a difference to our immediate environment, whether in the short or longer term. Although Supply Chain Management (SCM) professionals are experiencing frustration with government for seemingly not getting the basics right, there needs to be a way of channelling this energy towards positive outcomes.
Yes, we need to make the call to government and make them realise why these areas need attention, but we also need to focus on what SCM can do for economic growth. One of the reasons I am so proud to be part of this profession is that we always seem to find a way to get things done and, if we can’t find a way, we invent one. Innovation is central to the profession and the people that populate it.
There were a number of upbeat themes that threaded their way through the conversations and discussions during the event. SCM professionals are aware that to change and develop people there needs to be flexibility and adaptability alongside a commitment to using technology for change.
Being ready for, and forcing, change should be a focus area. We need to remain optimistic and go and search for another way to get things done. It’s amazing what we have accomplished, but we spend too little time celebrating our success and tenacity.
Another problem raised at the event was the lack of skilled and talented people who work hard and want to try new things and how it is impacting on the profession. This is not only relevant to SCM, but also to most of South Africa’s public and private sectors. Solutions put forward included changing basic education standards, decreasing bureaucracy around skills development and spending money not only on training, but ensuring that this spend is aligned with strategic business objectives.
The biggest challenge for SAPICS as representative industry body is to be relevant for business in general, not just supply chain management. SAPICS will therefore continue to strengthen alliances with both international and local bodies for the greater good of the profession, but we need the help of our incredible industry professionals to position the Supply Chain Management function as a strategic business imperative.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cathlen Fourie, 012 644 2833, email@example.com, www.atthatpoint.co.za
For more information on SAPICS please visit:
LinkedIn: SAPICS group
ABOUT SAPICS – your supply chain network
SAPICS is a professional knowledge-based association that enables individuals and organisations to improve business performance. SAPICS builds operations management excellence in individuals and enterprises through superior education and training, internationally recognised certifications, comprehensive resources and a countrywide network of accomplished industry professionals. This network is ever expanding and now includes associates in other African countries.
The impact of disruption, one of the biggest buzzwords of 2014, isn’t limited to only the technology industry. The breakneck pace of disruptive innovation has one of the biggest ripple effects since the industrial revolution, forcing many industries and businesses to re-evaluate direction and growth potential.
This re-evaluation leads to the identification of knowledge and skills gaps, some of which are easily bridged by reassigning existing resources, and others that appear to be chasms of impossibility. For industries to move with the ever-increasing pulse of business, it is necessary to fill those gaps as a matter of great urgency.
While formal education is traditionally used to address knowledge and skills gaps, a more informal approach might yield results quicker, albeit not as comprehensive. Informal education events such as workshops and conferences are a proven way of sharing maximum knowledge in minimum time. An additional benefit is that attendees receive input from multiple sources, thereby increasing the range of knowledge transfer.
“With so many changes in technologies, techniques and experience it is necessary to regularly participate in industry events; whether it be to increase your knowledge, or confirm that you are on the right track,” says Jenny Froome, General Manager of SAPICS, the industry association for supply chain professionals.
“Supply chain management is a discipline that is influenced immensely by developments and changes in a variety of industries,” says Froome. “For the good of the profession it is imperative that influencers with diverse expertise and background share their knowledge and expertise with those involved in the day-to-day shaping of supply chains.”
During an industry conference attendees have the opportunity to learn from many experts at once, and the benefits for speakers are sometimes even more valuable. “In sharing your knowledge with conference attendees you not only help others achieve their personal and professional goals, but also enable the growth of the industries represented by the attendees,” says Froome.
A spin-off benefit for speakers at industry events is of course the market awareness they create for themselves in their professional capacity, as well as the company or organisation they represent.
Sharing knowledge and experiences isn’t only beneficial for the recipients but also for the individual speaker and the company or organisation they represent. Conference speakers also usually have the benefit of attending sessions by other speakers, exposing them to ideas that might either strengthen or challenge their own.
“We usually advise prospective speakers to evaluate opportunities based on location, timing, whether the topic or theme of the event suits their expertise and passion,” says Froome. “One of the leading platforms for supply chain professionals in Africa to share their stories is the annual SAPICS Conference & Exhibition, of which the 37rd edition will take place in South Africa from 31 May to 2 June 2015, themed ‘The Pulse of Africa’s Supply Chains’.”
Details of speaker submissions for the conference are available online at www.sapics.org.za
Several popular speakers from this year’s SAPICS Conference have already been confirmed for the 2015 line-up, including 2014 Best Speaker award winner Sean Culey,
“There are so many passionate local and global supply chain experts,” concludes Froome. “SAPICS 2015 provides the perfect platform share their hard-earned expertise with fellow industry professionals and keep their fingers on the pulse of Africa’s supply chains.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Juanita Vorster, 079 523 8374, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on SAPICS please visit:
LinkedIn: SAPICS group