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News & Press: SAPICS News

SAPICS 2019 Arms Delegates With Knowledge And Skills To Improve, Innovate And Advance

Monday, 01 July 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: SAPICS
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The 2019 SAPICS Conference saw close to 800 supply chain professionals representing 28 countries converge in Cape Town to learn, share knowledge and network.


In her opening address at Africa’s leading event for supply chain professionals, SAPICS president Kea Mpane said that supply chain proficiency and competence is a catalyst for economic growth. She urged attendees to make the most of the opportunity presented by the internationally acclaimed annual SAPICS Conference to empower themselves, advance their skills and build new partnerships. “Go back to your business with ideas that can improve, innovate, inspire and advance your business,” she advised delegates.


Mpane said that professionalisation and the regulation of supply chain management is vital as it holds a high level of responsibility, touching virtually every aspect of every industry every day. “Supply chain management is constantly evolving and ever changing. We compete on a global scale. We need qualified, certified, professionally designated and ethically accountable supply chain professionals,” she stressed. Mpane added that SAPICS, through the annual conference, its skills development programmes and ongoing professional designations initiative, is at the forefront of the drive to professionalise supply chain management.


This year’s keynote presentation by Bruce Whitfield highlighted South Africa’s current political and economic challenges and left delegates with inspiring insights on “How to Thrive at the Edge of Chaos”. Well known broadcaster, journalist and writer Whitfield shared extracts from exclusive interviews with some of South Africa’s most successful and influential business leaders.


Diverse keynote presentations by world leading futurist, author and business transformation specialist Sean Culey and risk expert Robert Besseling gave delegates a glimpse of our high-tech future and the political risk that impacts supply chain management in Africa.


The 1982 science fiction movie Blade Runner was set in 2019, Culey told attendees. The future is here, and innovation and disruptive technologies are advancing at a faster pace than ever before. Whole rafts of new disruptive industries are being created, he said. What Culey dubs “waves of creative destruction” are getting stronger, faster and higher; and the impact is getting bigger. “Innovation used to move by sailboat; now it is digital. We have technologies like smart robotics, warehouse automation, drones and autonomous trucks replacing human operators. Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving that it can do many knowledge-based tasks better than humans, including analysing more data, which is the currency that we trade in today. Robots are even picking strawberries – an activity in which quite cerebral decision making is required. Parts for jet engines are 3D printed; and new CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) printing has even disrupted 3D printing.”


Culey’s outstanding presentation netted him the award for the “Most Innovative Speaker” at the 2019 SAPICS Conference.


This year’s “Best Speaker” award was presented to Herbert Pechek who is the supply chain management principal at the United Nations’ support office in Somalia. He was the main architect of the transformation of the organisation’s complex, multidimensional peacekeeping operations into an efficient horizontal supply chain.

“We did not use the words supply chain management in UN peacekeeping before 2012,” he informed SAPICS Conference delegates. However, the United Nations operates a large, complex supply chain network consisting of processes and activities to procure, produce and deliver materials and services that include fuel, rations, water, equipment, modular camps and other items to field missions around the world. In terms of its aircraft and aviation services, the UN’s peacekeeping operation would be ranked number 20 in the world if it was an international airline, he revealed. Water and sanitation, power and energy, vehicles, field technology and fuel must reach the most remote areas of the world. “Our supply chain is life critical,” Pechek stated. “If we don’t succeed, lives are at risk. We have to get it right the first time.”


Reflecting the growing global drive for greener supply chains, SAPICS was proud to once again partner with conference sponsor CHEP to make the 2019 SAPICS Conference carbon neutral. CHEP achieved this by calculating the carbon footprint of the event, based on the number of delegates and their travel itineraries, and purchasing carbon credits to offset this.


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