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Supply Chain Technology Talk Dominates SMC³’s Connections 2018

Technological advancements in the supply chain dominated discussion from panelists during SMC³’s three-day Connections 2018 educational conference, held June 25-28 at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.

During the event, shipper, carrier and 3PL representatives heard speakers talk about supply chain challenges and opportunities in the second half of the year, with a focus on supply chain innovation. C.H. Robinson CEO John Wiehoff provided a broad overview of the transportation world, as panelists took to breakout sessions to discuss everything from the Internet of Things, mobile supply chain apps and automated bidding tools.

The next SMC³ educational event is Jump Start 2019, which is slated for Atlanta’s Renaissance Waverly hotel on January 28.

During a panel on blockchain, Brian Glick, founder and CEO of, told the audience that companies don’t have to be on the “bleeding edge” of the blockchain advancements to benefit from the technology.

“The first movers aren’t always winners. ... You can participate without leading,” he told the crowd on the first day of the conference. “Net, this is a technology that will lift all the boats.”

Chris Gordon of AIMMS and PROS’ Suzanne Grimes participated in a panel on strategic analytics, exploring the use of predictive and prescriptive analysis, and big data. Gordon, who closely watches companies on both sides of the Atlantic, told the audience that U.S. companies are consumed with digitizing their supply chains, a trend that has really taken hold in the past 18 months. He attributes this activity to their “mild panic” of being left behind in a digital supply chain arms race.

Economist Don Ratajczak returned to the stage for his SMC³ event stage for his final discussion of the economy. After examining trade imbalances from America’s perspective, he praised the Trump Administration for taking another look at some of the trade deals enacted by previous governments. Ratajczak told the audience that in the past, there was a rush to boost the global influence of the United States, and this may have caused previous deal makers to rush into agreements with other countries.

“I won’t say they’re the worst deals ever negotiated,” he said of these treaties, “but they’re not the best deals for us. Renegotiating these deals makes some sense.”

Ratajczak then told the audience that “the United States is doing fine,” and that there’s strong consumption activity and GDP growth. The savings rate worries him, though, and the amount of uncertainty in the market could start to impact the growth rate, he said.

“Hey, how many of you guys know what your costs are going to be in six months?” he rhetorically asked the audience. “So that’s a big problem.”

In addition to these thought-provoking panels, Connections 2018 included more than 21 hours of dedicated networking opportunities, including the 2018 SMC³ Golf Classic.

“When putting together the lineup for Connections, we balance panels that give attendees the insight they need to run their businesses with engaging networking opportunities that lead to substantive conversations among attendees,” said Andrew Slusher, CEO and president of SMC³. “Our goal is always to send attendees back to their offices ready to make informed decisions about supply chain pain points and opportunities.”

About SMC³

SMC³ is the one-stop knowledge hub for LTL technology, data and education. The API-powered SMC³ Platform fuels TMS applications with unrivaled LTL analytical capabilities and shipment visibility data. As the single integration point for all carrier rate, transit and service information, SMC³ solutions travel beyond simple connectivity and empower shippers, 3PLs and carriers to collaborate and optimize decision making throughout the entire LTL lifecycle. Thousands of industry trading partners rely on SMC³ solutions to make informed business decisions, achieve higher returns on their transportation investment, and meet ever-changing market demands.

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