The 25th Annual ARC Industry Forum Goes Virtual
Accelerating Digital Transformation in Supply Chain & Logistics

February 16-17, 2021 - Online

 The current situation with the coronavirus has led us to re-invent our Forum in Orlando and offer it to you as a Virtual Forum.  There is a feeling of solidarity in the industry right now that if we are creative and flexible, we can beat this disruption and minimize its impact on our lives and our business!

The future is already here.  Discover strategies and stories from the digital front lines at the 25th Annual ARC Industry Forum.

Companies mean different things when they use the term "supply chain digital transformation" or “digital supply chain.”  For some companies, it means replacing manual, paper, and pencil processes with digital data and process support.  For some companies it means using autonomous mobile robots and other forms of robotics in their supply chain.  For some, it means applying machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to supply chain Big Data.  And for some, it means getting better digital data to support an end to end supply chain involving multiple tiers of a company’s supply chain. 

Accelerating Supply CHainCertainly, supply chains are undergoing transformation: 

  • The Coronavirus has highlighted the need for more agility to handle unexpected events. Technology has evolved to a point where mature control towers that provide an end-to-end view of inventory at rest and inventory in motion are now possible.  Further, companies better understand how to more tightly align supply chain planning and execution.
  • The pandemic and global trade wars have highlighted the risks of being single sourced or having suppliers for a key component located in the same region.  Never has it been more important to follow procurement best practices. 
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are not new in supply chain applications.  But they have become much more mature.  These technologies are enhancing companies’ ability to do demand driven forecasting.  With the pandemic also came a global recession.  Traditional forecasting becomes highly inaccurate during recessions and volatile environments.  Machine learning applied to downstream data sources are particularly important during times of upheaval.
  • Freight transportation is being transformed by digital brokerage, greatly improved ETAs based on machine learning, and transportation networks that seek to drive more collaboration and reduce empty miles.  Autonomous trucks are coming.  But when will they arrive?
  • Retail is being transformed by omnichannel initiatives.  The pandemic has only accelerated this industry’s transformation.  From a supply chain perspective, this has led to a revolution in each picking automation, dark warehouses, and new technologies to support the last mile. 
  • The Coronavirus shutdowns, slowdowns, greatly decreased travel for business, and employees working from home have all led to a surprising drop in pollution.  But even before that, there was a real trend toward sustainability.  Transportation management systems, network design projects, and collaborative transportation solutions all contribute to sustainability while delivering a robust return on investment.

A Supply Chain Digital Transformation!  It sounds oh-so-glamorous.  But digitalization is not a panacea for a company’s supply chain problems.  It is true that automating and digitizing time-consuming processes can increase profitability, efficiency, and sustainability across the supply chain.  But legacy issues surrounding poor internal and external collaboration, slow decision-making, and muddled strategies can’t be eradicated by technology alone.  

The Supply Chain Program will kick off with ARC’s perspective on what is encompassed in a robust digital supply chain transformation.  But following that presentation, will come two days of sessions by practitioners – executives from companies like Ahold Delhaize and AGCO – on the real-world problems associated with the digital transformations they have gone through and continue to go through.  Transformative benefits are possible, but they don’t come easily.

 The ARC forum has been a great opportunity to learn about new innovation in digitalization, connectivity, and solutioning.  The conference provides a great level of insight to the real implementation stories, the lessons learned from initiative implementation, and the value delivered to organizations.  The combination of research content, peer networking, and presentations provides a solid level of value that organizations can understand and subsequently investigate the potential value gained within their organizations.

Greg Toornman
Vice President, Global Materials, Logistics, and Demand Planning

 It was an honor to be invited to speak at the ARC event.  I was impressed with the level of knowledge I was exposed to at this conference.  A sincere thank you to ARC for putting on a GREAT event.  ARC has been a valuable resource to me over the last decade.

Bruce Welty
Founder and Vice Chairman of Quiet Logistics and Cofounder of Locus Robotics
Locus Robotics