This is a guest post by Jeff Ashcroft of the Supply Chain Network
Almost fifty years ago, way back in 1969 the Mass Retailing Institute was incorporated, which in 1976 changed its name to National Mass Retailing Institute (NMRI).
Our evolutionary story today, about the Logistics and Supply Chain conference, begins in 1984 when NMRI held their first Physical Distribution & Transportation Conference.
Then two years after that, in 1986, the NMRI merged with the Association of General Merchandise Chains (AGMC), and then a couple of years after that merger, in 1988 the name of the association was changed to the International Mass Retail Association (IMRA).
This is where I entered the story in 1989, when I attended the first retail logistics conference of my career which was the IMRA Physical Distribution & Transportation Conference in Orlando.
As an up and coming logistics executive at The Hudson's Bay Company, it was exciting to join a gathering of somewhere around 100 of the most powerful Logistics executives in North America for what were truly intimate, informative and candid conversations.
At that time almost all of the delegates were men and very pleased to report, as noted in the MRI/NMRI/IMRA/RILA logistics conference timeline graphic below, that in 2008 the Women in Logistics (now Women in Supply Chain Network) feature was added to the RILA Logistics conference and last year nearly 20% of the more than 2,000 attendees at the event were women, a number which can only grow going forward.
In 2011, the annual State of the Retail Supply Chain Report was introduced by RILA and the 2018 State of the Retail Supply Chain Report was the eighth annual installment of the study covering highly relevant topics that impact success or failure in the hyper-speed omnichannel retail environment.
The next evolutionary step for this event is when RILA Logistics became the Retail Supply Chain Conference in 2014. The focus of the event shifted to cover the entire end to end retail supply chain as highlighted in this RILA Supply Chain video.
As 2019 approaches, RILA Supply Chain is again evolving and this year RILA is introducing LINK, which is RILA's Retail Supply Chain Conference, reimagined.
This conference is the essential link in taking your supply chain organization into the future. It's about far more than the movement of goods, it's about the informal connections you have with peers at other retailers that you simply can't get anywhere else. It's about the amazing relationships you develop with the partners you need to build your supply chain future. It's about getting the information you need to drive business results, and the lasting connections you form that make your organization and ultimately your career successful. LINK2019 will link peers. LINK2019 will link partners. LINK2019 will link retailers and providers alike to a prosperous future.
Today, success means top retailers must master the demands increased customer expectations of variety and speed. For supply chain executives, this means optimizing network flexibility, increasing supply chain visibility, and becoming more responsive through emerging technologies and strategic relationships with service providers.
As always, I'm excited to attend this great event again in 2019, as all of the most important deals in my career were done with someone I met at the IMRA, RILA Logistics, RILA Supply Chain and who knows maybe even again at the RILA LINK2019 Conference!
In the end, the logistics and supply chain business is all about people and the strong links we forge with them. Each of us who attend the RILA LINK2019 event represent a link to our relevant past, the present with the many people in our wider personal and social networks, and most importantly the future that waits to be born out of our shared visions and interactions.
Look forward to seeing you all again in February at LINK2019!