Retail executives from all across the globe descended upon the Gaylord Texan this week for the annual Retail Supply Chain Conference presented by RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association). Apptricity participated as an exhibitor and showcased our Inventory Management for Retail software solution. Below are general highlights from the conference and information we gleaned from the experts.
- There were over 1500 attendees to this year’s event.
- The event opened with a keynote from Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation.
- It was a mix of speakers and interactive breakout sessions.
Tuesday’s breakout session “What Keeps You Awake? Issues Facing Transportation Executives” was a popular session as people were standing outside the door waiting for more chairs to be brought in. Michelle Livingstone, Vice President, Transportation, The Home Depot and Michael Burns, Vice President, Transportation, Big Lots were panelists and discussed a variety of topics including:
- The problems of an increasingly aging pool of drivers.
- The EDL mandate and its effect on the industry and their schedule to move to fully EDL compliant trucking companies.
- The differing views on the startups bringing an Uber-type model to the trucking industry. Home Depot was not yet looking at it for their core businesses, while an audience member from Crate and Barrel said they have tested on the home delivery side. Liability is a real concern according to Burns which is why Big Lots is taking a slower approach to considering its value.
“The Connected Future” was a general session and featured panelists from eBags, Hudson’s Bay, and XRC Labs. Topics included stuff of science fiction as they discussed the fear of Skynet (artificial intelligence from the Terminator series) to the real impact RFID technology could have on the industry. It seems that RFID is taking off within the retail sector, but not as we thought. Below are key concepts panelist discussed during the session:
- Lots of companies are working on implementing RIFD and in the next few years it will become more prevalent. Attempts to line-bust (remove lines at checkout) are a real driver.
- Items being shipped from store is more expensive then shopping from DC. Reducing costs was one of the original selling point of RFID.
- One of the panelists (Pano Anthos, Managing Director at XRC Labs) mentioned that CEOS at another conference said the price needs to be a penny to become ubiquitous.
- Abundance of emerging new technology, such as, an RFID antenna that can be made into a thread and one group is trying to make ink that transfers electricity to produce an active signal.
Ultimately the moderator (Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner, RSR Research) mentioned how RFID was really an opportunity to drive down the cost of taking inventory. In her words “a crazy amount of money” is spent on taking, reconciling and auditing inventories.
Overall, it was a very informative conference with stellar educational opportunities for Retail Executives. If you are interested in learning more about our retail experience, or Apptricity Inventory, contact us at email@example.com.