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ASCM Insights

ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference - Day 1 Recap


The ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference delivers powerful insights

“Supply chains are at an inflection point,” ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE, said at the launch of the 2021 ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference. “COVID-19 kicked off a series of disruptions — from the Suez Canal to geopolitical to environmental. And their frequency and duration have challenged supply chain professionals everywhere.”

However, Eshkenazi also stressed that the global supply chain community has an unparalleled opportunity to overcome these obstacles by developing relationships, collaborating across time zones and languages, and providing services and products that truly improve lives.

“We also have the opportunity to enable individuals to not only get a job, but have a rewarding career in supply chain,” he added.

One example of this is ASCM’s groundbreaking partnership with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief DREAMS Initiative. Together, these organizations are educating young women in Africa about the essentials of supply chain management, as well as providing mentorship and job placement with ASCM corporate members and multinational companies. To date, more than 100 women have graduated from this exciting program.

Solving the talent riddle

Later on, Eshkenazi was joined by Board Chair Michael Wasson, CSCP, and Chair-Elect Clark Ponthier, CPIM. The three presented State of Supply Chain, which covered numerous critical topics affecting the industry. Unsurprisingly, the overarching theme was talent. Ponthier urged attendees to make a clear effort to demonstrate how much they value their employees: “Take the people on your team, and bring them on the journey with you. Show them the ropes. Show them appreciation for what they do.”

When asked about supply chain’s three greatest challenges today, Wasson simply replied: “Labor, labor and labor.” He highlighted the importance of upskilling, noting that ultimate success requires the contributions of both people and their organizations. “We need individuals who want to grow in their role to step up and learn how they can make a difference. We also need organizations to step up and create opportunities to develop people,” he said. “And ASCM is providing what they need — a training platform and a body of knowledge that can really help create a better career path for supply chain professionals.”

Register now to learn more about ASCM’s world-class education, see a video that tells the story of the DREAMS Initiative and watch the full sessions on demand.

Digital breakthroughs at The Clorox Company

Clorox recently launched a formal digital supply network program, which includes a digital twin that delivers alert-driven, exception-based concurrent planning and what-if scenarios.

“The project was designed to play a critical role in driving the digital transformation of the company’s product supply organization,” said Mark Griffith, information technology manager, The Clorox Company. “The objective was to source and implement transformational technology in order to drive global advanced-planning capabilities and meet the growing complexities of our supply chain.” 

He added that his team quickly learned that ultimate success would rely on the highest-quality data. Therefore, to ensure Clorox had the inputs it needed, the team expanded data requirements, mitigated latencies, added new data elements, focused on effective maintenance and leveraged automation whenever possible.

Today, the digital twin mirrors any planning changes made on the manufacturing floor, supporting concurrent planning. “All demand that's driving the system can be matched to all supply orders that are satisfying the inventory and customer order requirements that are coming in,” said Jim Brooksher, CPIM, group manager of digital data infrastructure at The Clorox Company. “Because it's a concurrent model that uses in-memory computing and has a high degree of automation, we have near-real-time information.”

Discover how Clorox achieved new application functionality, enhanced user skill sets and advanced organizational structure on this digital journey. Register now to watch the full session on demand. 

Priceless professional connections

Throughout the day, attendees discovered numerous ways to build professional relationships, exchange ideas and share in some fun with supply chain professionals from around the world.

In the Networking and Collaboration Lounge, they shared thoughts and inspiration about how to create powerful partnerships, build ethical networks and make an impact through supply chain. In the Tech and Innovation Lounge, participants explored the latest in groundbreaking solutions, digital supply chain advancements and cutting-edge tools that will enable the resilient networks of the future.

Meanwhile, speed networking sessions enabled attendees to chat one-on-one through private video calls. After three minutes, they were reshuffled and randomly matched with someone new, enabling participants to interact with several new people.

During lunch, people gathered together to watch the Midday Movie, “AlphaGo.” This documentary explored the best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match, which pitted a legendary Go master against an artificial intelligence (AI) program. Then, ASCM Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Rennie interviewed Brent Ruth, CPIM-F, CSCP-F, CLTD-F, SCOR-P, about the film. They investigated how supply chains can maximize AI, big data and machine learning in order to tackle big problems from a different philosophical dimension.

Be a part of all of the exciting networking going on this week at the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference. Register now to participate and watch the full Midday Movie sessions on demand.

Don't miss a moment of the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference

These stories are just the beginning. Register now for all the sessions live, plus recordings for 30 days. And be sure to follow us us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. to be be a part of everything happening at the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference!

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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