If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Georgia is entering an unprecedented fifth straight year as the best state in the nation to do business. A number of factors have to come together in order to achieve this sustained level of success,
The vast majority of businesses in Georgia need some form of logistics to operate efficiently. Whether that’s moving large cargo via the State’s network of railroads or exporting goods overseas via the fourth largest port in the nation, there’s almost always something to move. Georgia businesses are fortunate to have a bevy of options to keep their products getting where they need to go. One unique logistical advantage offered to Georgia companies is the annual Georgia Logistics Summit, held every spring at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.
This year, the 9th annual Georgia Logistics Summit welcomed nearly 1,500 attendees to the World Congress Center to discuss logistics and supply chain best practices and successes, as well as hear updates on Georgia’s logistics industry from the State’s top government and industry professionals.
This year’s Summit hit the ground running with an address from the Honorable Governor Nathan Deal. Governor Deal has presided over the state during its incredible run as the country’s best place to do business, and he reiterated throughout his address that the State of Georgia is committed to keeping its businesses moving with significant investments in transportation infrastructure both for moving goods and people quickly and efficiently through Georgia.
Early morning Summit attendees were treated to an in-depth conversation on workforce trends and solutions complete with an on-screen live poll. The panel contained both industry and academic experts, and the breakfast crowd was engaged throughout.
The morning continued with a lively session led by economist and former standup comedian Pete Mento. Pete gave a humorous and enlightening talk about the U.S. and global economic landscape that was as fascinating as it was hilarious.
After Pete Mento’s captivating economic address, the 2017 Summit continued with the second edition of the previous year’s most popular session by far: Logistics Technology Disruptors. This session saw an in-depth discussion of the role of technology in today’s logistics landscape between representatives from Geodis as well as logistics giant UPS, moderated by a supply-chain technology expert from the Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute. As before, this session proved to be one of the most popular and most enlightening Summit sessions, as the logistics landscape continues to be changed exponentially by emerging technologies.
As attendees broke for lunch, they got the opportunity to head downstairs and check out a brand new feature of the 2017 Summit: the Logistics Technology Showcase. Representatives from some of the most innovative logistics technology firms were able to show off their emerging technologies and bring the conversation from the previous session full circle.
Day one continued with the Georgia Logistics Summit Sharing Success Roundtables. Also in their second year, the roundtables paired two firms who were able to work together to solve pressing logistics and supply chain issues. The topics for this year’s roundtables ranged in scope from “Best Practices in Inventory Synchronization” with representative from some of Georgia’s most important logistics-enabled firms, including The Home Depot and Georgia Power, as well as C.H. Robinson to Supply Chain and Logistics Visibility with companies like Roadie and TruckIT, as well as Tech for Transportation with conversations between logistics tech enabled companies like MuHu and Predikto, moderated by a supply chain representative from WalMart.
Day one ended with a conversation on Economic Development Trends in the State of Georgia between some of Georgia’s foremost economic development, industrial real estate, site location, and international trade professionals. It’s an exciting time to do business in Georgia, and this year’s Summit attendees were able to hear from some of the people that are pushing the State forward on what they think are the most important economic development trends of today.
After a networking reception and a good night’s sleep, it was time for Summit Day Two.
Day Two of the 2017 Georgia Logistics Summit began with breakfast from Chick Fil A and a conversation with the State’s top transportation officials, including Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry, Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch, and STRA/GRTA’s Christopher Tomlinson. The first week of May was a big week for both GDOT and the Georgia Ports Authority, with the I-85 repair being completed in record time as well as the largest ship to ever call on the East Coast pulling into the Port of Savannah for a several night stay, so it goes without saying that the first session of Summit Day Two was filled with attendees eager to hear more about these amazing feats.
Before the second day of Sharing Success Roundtables commenced, Summit attendees were able to spend some time with some of Georgia’s brightest supply chain and logistics students in the second annual Logistics Student Showcase. College students from Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Clayton State and more showed off their incredible logistics prowess and were able to network with potential employers while soaking up the atmosphere of the State’s top logistics event.
The second round of Sharing Success Roundtables focused on Supply Chain and Logistics Efficiencies, Tech for DCs, as well as and Industry Focus panel with representatives from all the State’s major transportation modes. The Efficiencies roundtable was a discussion between heavy hitters in Georgia logistics like the Georgia Ports Authority, Kia, and Hyundai Glovis as well as firms like LeanCor and Lennox International. Attendees at the Tech for DCs panel were treated to another great discussion about logistics technology from some of the folks that do it best like Smart Gladiator, Bosch, and WMSight.
The 9th Annual Georgia Logistics Summit was brought to a close over lunch on Wednesday, May 17th with a keynote address from Kimberly-Clark’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Sandra MacQuillan. Sandra challenged Summit attendees to take a hard look at their supply chain in an effort to squeeze every drop of efficiency out of them and therefore become the most competitive possible firms. She detailed efforts by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation to essentially build a world-class supply chain from the ground up, and then how they decided to look at their metrics in a harsher light in order to go from good to great.
There shouldn’t be any doubt that the Georgia Logistics Summit is the Southeast’s premier Logistics and Supply Chain conference. Over the years, the Summit has welcomed thousands of logistics professionals from all over to the State of Georgia to discuss best practices and to network with some of the foremost supply chain professionals in the State. Next year’s Summit will be co-located with TLA and Modex on April 9-12 and if history is any indicator, it will be the best Summit yet. Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there.