As I write this I am currently flying back from Scottsdale Arizona to Jacksonville Florida after attending IBF’s Supply Chain Forecasting & Planning Conference and find myself taking some time to review the last 3 days in my mind. When I arrived in Arizona, I had no idea what to expect. I had never attended an IBF event. My alarm goes off at 5AM on Sunday and I started my morning ritual of preparing for the conference Golf Outing, a game I love but am no good at. The first person I met was Shan from Utah who I met while in line for the buffet breakfast prior to meeting the shuttle that was going to take us to the golf course. It was a good thing I ran into him as I was beginning to wonder if anyone was really going to show up as I had not seen anyone as yet.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast and then went to meet the shuttle where I met the first person that I was to meet from the IBF. She introduced herself as Constance Korol, the Director of Marketing for the IBF. She was full of enthusiasm and cheer way too early in the morning, but I appreciated it more than she will ever know. A few more golfers arrived along with Anish Jain, the Managing Director of the IBF. I had the pleasure of playing on Anish’s Team. However, I am sure next year he will not make that same mistake again. A great time was had by all I am sure.
Now we come to the real reason I am writing this… the seminar.
Day 1: I quickly found out through mutual networking that everyone in attendance was or has been in the same boat as I am. Basically we were all kindred spirits. When one spends day’s, weeks, and Months explaining the difference between order management and statistical forecasting over and over to someone whose eyes seem to glaze over, it can feel like a dream come true to meet so many others who had been exactly in the same place. It only got better from there.
The first presentation I observed was titled “Account Planning / POS Planning: Beyond Traditional Forecasting.” Steve Tribou did an excellent job as his presentation was concise and to the point. Although, our business does not deal with retail floor display’s I feel I can take the same approach to my business in the set deployment arena.
The Keynote speaker’s talk, “Demand Planning/Business Forecasting: A ‘Real’ Value Added Career,” could not have been better for what I am currently experiencing in my career. Deborah Goldstein did a superb job of keeping everyone in attendance focused and entertained as well as intellectually challenged. I left her speech with many career minded questions that need to be addressed upon my return.
Next I attended “Bull Whips and Beer Games: Integrating Demand Signals for Forecasting and Operational Excellence” Which was given by Jonathon P. Karelse who did an outstanding job. While I had heard of and read many articles about beer games as well as the Bull whip effect I was still able to walk away with a better understanding of how to keep these occurrences from happening in my areas of concern.
Near the end of the day I spent some time with the guys from Forecast Pro (our statistical Forecasting software provider). They answered a few questions I had and agreed to set up a conference call in the next couple of weeks to get all parties on my team up to date. This IBF conference proved to be an excellent outlet for me to network and catch up with colleagues in addition to the lessons I was able to bring home.
The round table discussion was extremely beneficial. Again, it was great to hear from so many like minds.
Day 2: The second day of the conference was more of the same; again all speakers were extremely professional and knowledgeable in their areas and answered any and all of my questions.
Someone made a statement that “As long as they got 1 good ‘golden nugget’ to take back with them they considered this event a success”… I guess in that matrix I considered it knocked out of the park!!! I made good contacts, shared many experiences (both good and bad), and learned a ton. If anyone ever asks me if I would attend an IBF event again I would not hesitate to tell them yes. Well I hope everyone got something out of my long winded “Paragraph” but I could always go on and on… Ask anyone who talked to me for even just a minute…LOL. I had a great time in Scottsdale and look forward to seeing you all at IBF Orlando at Disney, October 21-24!