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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Jul 2008

MANAGEMENT: Sapics Conference is a Resounding Success


Recent Gauteng Business News

Accolades are pouring in following the 30th Annual SAPICS Conference and Exhibition for supply chain and operations management professionals, which wrapped up at Sun City earlier this month.

Attendees have heaped praise on this year’s milestone conference, which attracted a record 1 263 registered delegates, the organisers report. “It was a wonderful, superbly-organised event”, one attendee enthused, while others recognised the excellent mix and high calibre of local and international speakers, as well as the “excellent range of topics”, impact and relevance of the presentations.

Presenter Kevin O’Marah, chief strategy officer at AMR Research in the United States, was extremely well-received by delegates, and was named the best speaker at the conference. He was presented with the Terry Smee Trophy at the awards presentation that took place at the lavish gala dinner. In his outstanding presentation, O’Marah shared his insights on 21st century supply chains. “As globalisation connects companies together ever more closely, operations and supply chain managers have a golden opportunity to show leadership as their organisations strategise for growth,” he told delegates. A new, demand-driven model of supply chain calls for new metrics, closer links to shareholder value and clear accountability for environmental and social impacts. His presentation mapped these elements for the ambitious supply chain professional.

While he made his mark on delegates, however, the SAPICS Conference had its own impact on O’Marah, who, in addition to working with AMR Research, is also the editor of “Supply Chain Saves the World”, and author of over 300 reports and articles, including bylines in Financial Times, Business Week and Supply Chain Management Review. Following the conference, he summed up the general consensus on this year’s exceptional event: “What I saw and heard at SAPICS’s 30th anniversary conference at Sun City, South Africa renewed my faith that the African continent promises growth opportunities that are still badly underestimated by the outside world,” he states. “I have argued in the past that Africa represents the next great growth opportunity for the world. What I saw at the SAPICS Conference confirmed my belief that supply chain will lead the way for this growth by connecting people, places, and products. The theme of the event was, appropriately enough, Capabilities for Growth. I saw them and they are real.”

Other speakers who were recognised at the awards presentation were Dave Lee of BMW and Matthew Quinn from CHEP, who jointly won the Volkswagen Trophy for the best paper from a practitioner for their case study on the benefits and potential pitfalls of RFID.

The Award for the “Best Exhibition Stand” was presented to SYSPRO.

The South African Breweries Trophy for the most innovative presentation this year went to Ibukun Awosika from Nigeria, whose paper was on “Women in the Economy – Untapped Potential”. “One of the most brilliant topics and speakers”, is how one delegate rated Awosika’s presentation, while others described it as “an inspiration”, “motivating” and “outstanding”.

Another highlight of the conference was Tom Schulte’s opening keynote presentation, which also received rave reviews from attendees. Schulte, who is president of TS Consulting in the United States, inspired delegates with a paper that highlighted the path to success through building rapport. “To succeed personally or professionally, positive relationships must be built with the people around us,” he stated. “Building ‘rapport’ is the foundation for a successful career and for personal fulfillment and happiness.” His presentation covered essential skills, practices and attitudes needed to make positive first impressions and build solid, rewarding, lasting relationships. Attendees learnt how to deepen their listening skills and how to make themselves clearly understood without stirring up negative emotions.

The SAPICS Conference was co-hosted by the Supply Chain Council. This year’s line-up of speakers – 77 in total - included 33 international presenters from as far afield as the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Monaco and India, as well as from Nigeria and Libya. In addition to the exceptional speakers, the conference offered an exhibition in which 64 exhibitors showcased the industry’s latest products and services.

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