APICS 2009 Convention: Day 4 (Last Day)

The last day of the conference is different in three ways: there is no general session today; we have plant tours in the afternoon; and the exhibitors are gone (which is too bad, because for IBM only you could spend hours talking with all the vendors in their booth).

As usual, we had a hard time choosing which learning session to attend. Gabriel wanted to learn more about sustainable IT, from Carolyn Farr Sly (Vice President of Education, APICS Charlotte Chapter), who talked about green IT in general, and from Glen Phillips (IT Operations Systems Analyst, Intel Corporation), who showed us how Intel manages sustainable IT. Intel’s 97 data centers are responsible for 69 percent of the company’s carbon emissions, and the company is working on reducing emissions by creating the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) measure to assess data center power usage. Also, in 2007, Intel and Google created the “Climate Savers Computing” initiative, which is supposed to make data centers be more efficient and save energy.

Khudsiya went off in the morning to ask questions (as usual) in a panel discussion focused on women in operations management. The panelists included women from the top management of organizations such as GE Medical, Infor, DuPont, and Unilever. The panelists shared their experiences of operations management with the audience, and gave insightful advice about how women can enhance their careers in operations. In my opinion, the advice they provided applies to any industry or career. Major points included how to make an impact with respect to positive change within woman’s careers and how to provide mentorship to others. The panelists said that women need to take some time for themselves, have specific mentors for career development, and make business cases for promotion, salary increases, hiring more team members who are aligned with organizational strategy, etc.

In my opinion, women can wear multiple hats—regardless of their roles as mothers, wives, material managers, CEOs, etc., their skills can be used to improve organizational resources and goals.

Another session which was very intriguing was “The People Dimension of Enterprise-wide Cost Reductions,” presented by Deloitte. As organizations are still in cost-reduction mode, many have been neglecting their human capital. The presentation addressed some key points:

  • You must reinforce the cost-conscious culture.

  • Communications need to be transparent.

  • Leadership must be realigned to match cost-reduction strategies.

  • You must find ways to manage your critical talent resources within the organization without losing them.

The day does not end here. At noon, we’ll “spy” on our competition and see what Aberdeen has to say about supply chain management research. After that, if Khudsiya finds appropriate shoes (she’s wearing sandals, but you’re supposed to wear closed-toe shoes for the plant tour), we intend to go to the plant tour for Supply Chain Management, Canada’s largest retail and logistics services provider.
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