The 2011 APICS International Conference & Expo took place from October 23-25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The theme of this year's conference was "Achieving Sustainable Productivity: Meeting Customer Demand in an Unpredictable World," and was attended by several members of our APICS Student Chapter, including Niki Zmij (President), Kevin Lytle (Vice President), Kyle Seibenick, Courtney Wafler, Jen Ackerman, and Dennis Em. Also in attendance were Brent Albert (APICS Cleveland Chapter President) and Dr. Birsen Karpak of Youngstown State University, who is the instructor for our course that utilizes SAP with Supply Chain Management.
One of the can't-miss events came on the first day of the conference when Jim Donald, the former CEO of Starbucks, discussed his experience as a leader with a focus on innovation, quality, service, and strong community relationships. Kevin, Niki, and Courtney attended a plant tour at Eaton Corporation, which explored how Eaton products are applied and interact in low- and medium-voltage applications.
There were also plenty of interesting workshops to attend. Niki attended a two-part interactive session of a Lean and Green Simulation. The participants were broken up into groups, and the first part of the session involved a Lego block simulation to help participants focus on the application of sustainability concepts. The first part was chaotic, with the intention of showing the adverse effects of a poor-performing supply chain on the environment. The second part of the session continued with the Lego block simulation, but this time, participants were allowed to implement lean and green concepts for significantly improved performance.
Another interesting workshop that Niki attended was titled Sustainable Value and the Reverse Logistics Pipeline. Joseph Walden, executive director of The Supply Chain Leadership Institute, talked about the environmental issues that have been created by throwing certain items away. The issue is that consumers know it is often less expensive to replace a broken item than to repair it, but they seldom think about how the item they are throwing away builds up as waste. Walden discussed ways in which managers can rectify the crisis and how to better recycle certain products.
It was a great and informative weekend for everyone involved. To learn more about our local student chapter of APICS, please visit this link.