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ASCM Insights

ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference - Day 3 Recap


ASCM CONNECT closes with a big reveal

Day 3 of the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference featured fascinating lessons learned and key strategies for supply chain success. Read on for some highlights.

2021 ASCM Awards of Excellence winners unveiled

Each year, the ASCM Awards of Excellence recognize superior performance and dedication to advancing the field of supply chain management. At the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference, this year’s winners were revealed during a celebratory luncheon.

“Here at ASCM, we are dedicated to unraveling the tough questions facing today’s global supply chains. But we’re equally passionate about marking victories,” said ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. “It’s an honor to recognize such an impressive group of industry leaders through the ASCM Awards of Excellence.”

The first recognition, the Award of Excellence — Learning and Development, went to Eaton. It recognized the organization’s commitment to productivity and advancement based on the effective and ongoing application of educational concepts, competencies and best practices from ASCM performance-driven team training and the APICS body of knowledge.

Next, the Award of Excellence — Corporate Transformation was given to Univar Solutions for an organizational transformation that elevated the business as a result of a supply chain assessment leveraging ASCM global standards, products, services and resources; the APICS body of knowledge; and the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model.

Microsoft was honored with the Award of Excellence — Making and Impact for its commitment to creating a better world through supply chain as a result of pioneering corporate social responsibility, proven business integrity and an unwavering focus on sustainability. 

In addition to the three corporate awards, three outstanding supply chain individuals were recognized. First, Shaunna Rudolph, supply chain director at GDIT received the 2021 Award of Excellence — Supply Chain Leader for exhibiting extraordinary team and organizational leadership; providing dedicated coaching, mentoring and support of colleagues; and making lasting contributions to the advancement of the supply chain profession.

The 2021 ASCM Award of Excellence — Emerging Supply Chain Leader was given to Haris Ikram, CLTD, logistics, distribution and transportation manager, PepsiCo, Pakistan, for being a visionary young professional who has made contributions to the supply chain profession that demonstrate strong potential to become an outstanding leader in the field.

Finally, the 2021 Award of Excellence — Diversity and Inclusion Champion was given to Northrop Grumman’s Angela L. Ward, manager of global supply chain, for displaying exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion, fostering professional environments that value equality and individual differences, and inspiring people of all profiles and backgrounds to succeed in supply chain careers.

Watch the virtual ceremony now, and learn more about the ASCM Awards of Excellence at

Today’s supply chains must prioritize DEI

More than half of all supply chain organizations are aware of the importance of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, yet only one-quarter of them have formal targets in place. During the final day of the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference, ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE, explored this issue with Dana Stiffler, vice president analyst, Gartner. They investigated how to prioritize DEI in the midst of extreme disruption.

“When we're very stressed, and the system is very stressed, we have a tendency to go back to what is comfortable,” Stiffler said. “And that comfort level, that history, that trust with people who are similar to you is very tempting and comforting. But to be a world-class supply chain organization, you need to mature some of those processes and approaches to get not only a better DEI outcome, but all of that is really in service of the customer experience, positive business impacts, and better innovation.”

Eshkenazi agreed, noting, “When you're a supply chain professional dealing with a fire in the backroom, it’s challenging to ensure you're doing the right things for the long term.”

The two offered some key takeaways for those seeking to meaningfully advance DEI efforts:

  • Put in the time. True mindset shifts are not accomplished overnight. Establish long-term methods for talent disciplines that get lasting results.
  • Make DEI agendas sustainable by baking them into the organization’s strategy pillars. Including talent as a major pillar helps ensure it doesn't get left behind.
  • When looking at a candidate, or thinking about giving someone an opportunity, be sure to consider what they will add to the team or bring to the opportunity — rather than how they fit. “We once lived and died by cultural fit. But what cultural fit means is, ‘Do we like that person?’ And we're much more liable to like people who are like us,” Stiffler warned.

Check out the Supply Chain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey by ASCM and Gartner to learn more about integrating DEI into your team and organization. Register now to access the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference on demand.

Factoring in Amazon's logistics investments

Amazon continues to invest heavily in the future of its logistics, transportation and distribution capabilities. This session took an in-depth look at the e-commerce giant's key supply chain investments, as well as their implications for our industry now and into the future.

“There's still a lot of mystery and confusion over Amazon's role in the shipping ecosystem,” said Rick Watson, founder and chief executive officer, RMW Commerce Consulting. “How do they get to the doorstep, the last mile? How are they getting from their facilities to the rest of the country, the middle mile? What advantages do they have on the data side? … And what could go wrong — are there any chinks in Amazon's armor?”

David Glick, chief technology officer, Flexe, was likewise amazed by Amazon’s incredible range and reach: “There's big scale, there's huge scale, then there's Amazon scale. I don't think the world has seen anything like Amazon scale before.”

He said the “crown jewel” of what it takes to get packages to people’s doorsteps is Amazon’s logistics delivery service partners, which encompass more than 100,000 drivers. “Even that boggles my mind,” he added. In fact, one in every 140 employees in America is an Amazon logistics employee.

The two also discussed challenges associated with maintaining such a vast scale. They noted that the true cost of picking is not in picking, but in walking. Likewise, the cost of delivery is not in the actual delivery, but in driving. As Glick stated: “If you can reduce the average miles per delivery, miles until revenue unit or miles until doorstep, you're going to win.”

Learn more about what Amazon’s logistics investments mean for your network. Register now to access the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference on demand.

Keep learning!

The ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference may have come to a close, but the education continues. Register now to watch all of the event content on demand. Plus, as always, ASCM members enjoy access to all kinds of best-in-class supply chain education:

About the Author

Elizabeth Rennie Editor-in-Chief, SCM Now magazine, ASCM

Elizabeth Rennie is Editor-in-Chief at ASCM. She may be contacted at

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