Florida Sun, Bright Speakers Rise at IARW-WFLO Gathering

The countdown is getting short for the 127th IARW-WFLO Convention, which lifts off on April 29 and runs through May 2 at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, USA. Organized by the Global Cold Chain Alliance, the annual gathering is promoted as the “number one event for executives of temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics companies and industry suppliers eager to advance the cold chain.”

gcca2 logoFor those not yet registered to attend, there is still time to do so by visiting www.gcca.org/events/iarw-wflo-convention.

The convention’s educational program is designed for senior-level warehousing and logistics executives looking for solutions to key business challenges and ways to successfully seize opportunities. Prominent social activities, receptions, and a Supplier Showcase provide industry suppliers direct access to build relationships with warehousing and logistics leaders.

Four keynote speakers will focus on issues that are impacting business today. Here’s a synopsis what’s on tap:

Artificial Intelligence

In the opening general session on April 30, from 11:45 AM-1:15 PM, Neil Jacobstein, chairman of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track, Singularity University, will address how the PRW industry faces workforce challenges and has reached a tipping point where cold chain companies are evaluating automation solutions to help solve labor challenges. Robotics and artificial intelligence in warehouse operations have transitioned from far-fetched ideas to operational realities.

Jacobstein will dive into the technical, business, environmental and ethical implications of AI and robotics, and how they will transform the cold chain. He will focus on the latest developments in this field of technology, and hone in on relevant advancements such as the future of atomically precise robotics for manufacturing.

Retail Evolution

Tom Furphy, chief executive officer and managing director of Consumer Equity Partners and former vice president of consumables at Amazon Fresh, will provide an inside look at e-commerce’s growing relationship with the Cold Chain from 8:30-10 AM during the general session on May 1.

Nielsen predicts that 20 percent of grocery volume in the United States will move online over the next few years. With roughly one in 10 millennials purchasing much of their groceries online, the trends of consumers continue to shift, therefore forcing logistics providers to do the same. With industry-altering purchases like Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, 3PL providers are left wondering how this will impact business in the cold chain.

Furphy will offer his thoughts on the implication of the Whole Foods purchase, and how disruptions to retail such as this will continue to drive producers and consumers to e-commerce, impacting the perishables industry.

Perspective from a Processor

Chad Whyte, vice president of logistics at Pinnacle Foods, is scheduled to address the breakfast and general session on May 2 from 8:30-10:30 AM. Among his topics will be the Parsippany, New Jersey-headquartered production and marketing company’s strategic goals, anticipated trends, and business challenges.

For more than 150 years, Pinnacle Foods’ iconic frozen and shelf stable brands have brought American consumers convenience, taste and nutrition. Behind the scenes, the company prides itself on visionary leadership and operational excellence, by improving supply chain efficiency, while growing its brand portfolio through value-enhancing acquisitions.

Engaging Closing Session

“Engaging Your Audience in a Business-to-Business World” will be UnMarketing President Scott Stratten’s subject during the 12:15-2 PM closing session on May 2.

When asked in a 2017 survey what is the number one reason customers of the third-party logistics industry leave their 3PL partner, the answer was “customer service.” While companies continue to pour money into traditional marketing practices, Stratten emphasizes that the power is in UnMarketing – the day-to-day interactions with customers.

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In this session, the speaker will examine the dynamics of marketing in the B2B environment that third-party logistics providers call home. Stratten invites IARW-WFLO Convention delegates to attend and “lean how to stay in front of your partners and potential clients through ‘unconventional marketing’ methods, and appreciate how customer service and business ethics speak louder than any billboard.”