Here’s a look at the sessions we’re planning at Operations Summit 2017 – including pre-conference workshops (March 27) and the main conference sessions March 28-29.
Check back often for the latest or sign up here for updates on new speakers and sessions! 


Monday | March 27

  1. 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM

    Lunch for Workshop Participants

  2. 1:00 PM – 5:15 PM

    Pre-Conference Workshop: Increasing Performance and Profitability in Omnichannel Operations

    Multichannel, omnichannel, unified commerce … whatever term we use, this is the new reality. It’s what you need to do to meet your customers’ expectations with the same seamless experience however they shop.

    Yet a few years into the revolution, most retailers still struggle to make all the moving pieces of omnichannel sync smoothly, rendering profitability or even a break-even proposition difficult to achieve. This is caused by barriers like siloed data, systems and processes and a lack of real-time, holistic inventory visibility, leading to fulfillment issues that leave customers disappointed.

    In this half-day workshop, we will bring together an expert panel of merchant practitioners who will guide you step-by-step through an “omnichannel journey.” It will provide practical insights to help you overcome barriers and increase the performance and profitability of your Omnichannel operations.

    In this workshop you will learn:

    • How to refine and reimagine your omnichannel strategy to meet rising expectations and market changes
    • About the latest technologies, including pros and cons of best-of-breed vs. single platform approaches
    • How to enable chain-wide inventory visibility
    • How to gain a single view of the customer across channels to better anticipate and serve their needs
    • About reimagining the supply chain to optimize product/order flow in an interconnected ecosystem
    • Tactical tips and insights (ship to store, ship from store, buy online/pickup in store)
    • How to tap vendors and drop shipping to bulk up inventory and decrease risk
    • How to ensure orders are delivered to your customers quickly and efficiently

    • Moderator - Brian LindmanSenior Solution ConsultantRadial
    • Workshop Leader - Deanna KaufmanManager, SolutionsFedEx Services
    • Workshop Leader - Sajid MohamedyVice President, Strategy and OperationsNisum
    • Panelist - Rhonda LandsOmnichannel Operations ManagerAscena Retail Group
    • Panelist - Ritch HaagSenior Vice President, OperationsClarks Americas
    • Panelist - Jim BarnesSenior Managing Partner, President, CEOenVista
    • Panelist - Thomas RetzSenior Manager, TransportationAscena Retail Group
    • Panelist - Megan DiehlDirector, Omnichannel Fulfillment OperationsDick's Sporting Goods
  3. 1:00 PM – 5:15 PM

    Pre-Conference Workshop: The Fundamentals of Operations & Fulfillment

    Whether you’re someone who’s just starting out in direct-to-customer operations or you’ve been at it a while, this half-day workshop will go over the basics while also providing a review for experienced total operations management. Strategies and tactics in DTC and omnichannel operations will be covered in depth, giving you practical tools to help you deliver superior call center and fulfillment services as a competitive advantage. This workshop will place an emphasis on real-world examples as well as interaction and engagement with attendees.

    The bottom line: You’ll come away with actionable ideas to maximize performance and operational efficiency throughout your front-end and back-end operations. This workshop is a must for anyone responsible for executing DTC or omnichannel fulfillment, from supervisors to executives.

    In this workshop you will learn:

    • How to set up and execute your operations organizational plan
    • What delivery service level/speed is right for you and your customers
    • How to make the returns process as clear and simple as possible
    • How to set customer care expectations and measure the results
    • How to establish levels of authority to handle customers more efficiently
    • About different upselling approaches and finding ones that work
    • Best practices in receiving, vendor management, QC and more
    • How to turn your call center into a profit center
    • About how pay for performance can reward your top performers AND reduce costs

  4. 1:00 PM – 5:15 PM

    Pre-Conference Workshop: Negotiate Like the Pros – Parcel Contract Negotiations to Cut Your Shipping Costs 5%-25%

    Shipping costs too high? Then you cannot afford to miss this workshop! Led by one of the top consultants in the industry, gain valuable information to negotiate best-in-class pricing and reduce overall shipping costs 5-25%. You will walk away from this half-day session with an in-depth understanding of parcel contracts terms and how to maximize pricing agreements with your parcel carriers.

    Using actual shipping data, you will learn:

    • How to establish shipping baselines and requirements prior to beginning any carrier negotiations
    • Different ways to reduce the impact of accessorial charges and other contract “gotchas”
    • How to use your weekly parcel invoice data to generate powerful information to lower costs

    We will place particular emphasis on how to gain leverage during contract negotiations, and using benchmarking (provided) to your advantage. You’ll also learn additional strategies used by other shippers to reduce delivery costs, how to offer “free” shipping and make delivery a competitive differentiator in your business. We encourage you to register early; seating is limited and this session is expected to sell out!

  5. 1:00 PM – 5:15 PM

    Pre-Conference Workshop: Creating an Exceptional Customer Experience

    It’s been said that customer experience is the new currency in direct-to-consumer business, and that means you need to step up your game across multiple departments to stand out in the eye of the customer.

    What does this mean and what does it look like? While the answers will vary across organizations, a couple basics apply universally: Making the cross-channel experience as seamless as possible, engaging with customers how, when and where they prefer; and connecting the dots across all interactions to understand a customer’s true value.

    Leading merchant practitioners will share their expertise about their experiences in the trenches, working to align people, processes and technology in pursuit of the universal goal: Consistently delighting customers to win loyalty and drive sales.

    In this workshop, you will learn how to:

    • Communicate with your customer with shipping and delivery notifications
    • Create an unboxing experience that your customers will find share-worthy
    • Be social with your audience during both good times and bad
    • Successfully solicit ratings and reviews that will help grow your customer base and assist with future merchandising
    • Empower your call center employees to make things right for your customers
    • Use contact center feedback to improve process and procedures across all departments

    Workshop panelists TBA

    • Workshop Leader - Steven WatersContact Center ManagerGander Mountain
    • Workshop Leader - Debra EllisFounderWilson & Ellis Consulting
    • Workshop Leader - Bruce PullensDirector of Customer Service, Strategy & Customer InsightsLane Bryant
    • Workshop Leader - David Tullformer Customer Engagement ManagerJackThreads
    • Workshop Leader - Ray WilsonDigital Transformation Senior ConsultantLiberty Technology Advisors
    • Workshop Leader - Angie StocklinCo-founder/COOOne Click Ventures
  6. 1:00 PM – 5:15 PM

    Pre-Conference Workshop: Cross-Border Strategies and Tactics

    As merchants look to global demand to grow their businesses, cross-border transactions represent a significant market opportunity. But delivering on the promise of a satisfying customer experience can be daunting. And while delivering on customer expectations, you also need to do it profitably.

    The shopping habits of consumers around the world are constantly evolving, making it crucial for merchants selling internationally to stay up to date on market changes.

    In this workshop you will learn:

    How to build your cross-border shipping strategy
    The best ways to source and vet local fulfillment and delivery partners
    Which marketplaces will help you find your cross-border audience
    How to protect your assets with proper fraud detection
    How to localize the cross-border customer experience

    • Workshop Leader - Tim SailorPrincipalNavigo Consulting Group
    • Workshop Leader - Reid WegnerSales Strategy Department/ U.S. Strategy and Sales TeamRakuten
    • Panelist - Uwe BaldVP, Intl Business DevelopmentHermes NexTec
    • Panelist - Norman KatzPresidentKatzscan Inc.
    • Panelist - Jamie BriggsEcommerce Business Development ManagerCanada Post
    • Panelist - Marc SmithEcommerce StrategistCanada Post
  7. 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

    Welcome Party

    The Welcome Party kicks off your 2017 Operations Summit experience in style. It’s a great place to meet up with your fellow attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, get a leg up on your networking and make new contacts! See you there!

    Allegheny Grand Ballroom | Westin Convention Center | 1000 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

    Welcome party sponsored by Canada Post and Hy-Tek

Tuesday | March 28

  1. 7:15 AM – 9:15 AM

    FedEx Facility Tour

    Part of the FedEx Ground network, this facility handles both inbound and outbound shipping capabilities for low-weight residential shipping and returns.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 7:15 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:15 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  2. 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

    FedEx Facility Tour

    Part of the FedEx Ground network, this facility handles both inbound and outbound shipping capabilities for low-weight residential shipping and returns.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 7:30 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:30 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  3. 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

    Keynote: The ABCs of Digital Disruption for Omnichannel and DTC Operations

    The rate and pace of digital disruption is at an all-time high, and it's safe to say that the holiday trends for 2016 will have a different impact on your omnichannel and direct-to-customer operations than the trends from holiday 2015 or holiday 2017.

    Having a five-year plan is no longer an option: Merchants need a sense of urgency to create customer satisfaction, and they need to do it economically.

    In this exclusive keynote Dr. James A. Tompkins will lay it on the line about where the DTC industry is heading. Tompkins, a futurist, and a leading authority on designing and implementing end-to-end supply chains, was the first to talk about Alibaba's impact on ecommerce, and predicted every major change that has happened in DTC and ecommerce.

    Tompkins will tell you what you can do differently and creatively to allow your firm to be a winner against Amazon.

    Breakfast Keynote sponsored by FP International

  4. 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

    SEKO International Tour

    This facility in Aliquippa, PA is part of SEKO’s Global infrastructure network, comprised of multi-user logistics facilities throughout the world. The facility includes ecommerce fulfillment and reverse logistics in addition to additional capabilities.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8:30 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 10:30 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  5. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Riding the Waveless? Fulfillment Options for Omnichannel Success

    Wave-based order fulfillment, which periodically releases batches of customer orders, has worked great for a long time. But the growth of omnichannel and ecommerce has led to challenges in wave systems, including bottlenecks and delays, poorly coordinated islands of automation and labor management issues.

    When does it make sense to move from waves to waveless order fulfillment? With orders constantly streaming down to the warehouse floor, waveless seems tailor-made for the omnichannel world. But how will it work in your operation, and what are the considerations? Merchant operations leaders and industry experts will weigh in with the pros and cons of both approaches, and offer insights and solutions.

    You’ll learn:
    • About the impact of omnichannel on fulfillment operations
    • About the decision criteria in wave vs. waveless approaches
    • How waveless can increase speed and efficiency of order processing
    • About the implications for your technology, people and processes
    • About the current state of waveless technology and where it’s headed

    • Speaker - Kenneth RuehrdanzKen Ruehrdanz, Manager, Distribution Systems MarketDematic Corp
    • Speaker - Michael ParsleySenior Vice President, Distribution and TransportationTailored Brands
  6. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    From Order to Door: Strategies for Reducing Time in Transit

    In a world of heightened customer expectations, service-level guarantees and commitments are more important than ever. Reducing the average time from the click to the package landing on the customer’s doorstep is a major part of this equation, but difficult to achieve. So how do you go about improving time in transit in order to consistently meet SLAs and keep buyers happy and coming back, without blowing out your parcel transportation spend?

    Experienced merchant shippers will explore all sides of this question, from distribution network models to transportation strategies and beyond that can help you achieve your goals and improve results.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to work with carriers to set acceptable time-in-transit guarantees as part of the SLA
    • About optimizing your network model to achieve faster shipping times
    • About the use of zone skipping and other time-reduction tactics
    • How line hauling can increase delivery speed and distribution range

  7. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Getting Outside Help: When a 3PL Makes Sense, and Choosing the Right One

    There are many reasons a company looks to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider as a fulfillment partner. Some want to use a 3PL location to store product, others are looking for a specialized service like kitting and assembly, while still others want to test the effectiveness of an opposite-coast distribution center without the capital costs. Whatever the reason, use of 3PLs is growing as more direct-to-customer merchants are looking to focus on their core business operations and leave fulfillment to the professionals.

    This panel discussion will explore the various criteria in the decision process of in house vs. outsourced operations, what parts to hand off and why, and how to select the right partner that best fits your needs.

    You’ll learn:
    • The advantages of outsourcing part or even all of your fulfillment operations
    • The critical elements to include in a requirements document for your 3PL search
    • How to level-set expectations on both sides
    • How to ensure your brand is properly represented and the customer experience maintained
    • How to properly manage – not micromanage – the 3PL partner relationship

    • Moderator - Brian BarryVice PresidentF. Curtis Barry & Co.
    • Panelist - Jeff DavidsonVice PresidentIngram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment Solutions
    • Panelist - Pooja AgarwalVice President, OperationsBirchbox
    • Panelist - Kylie HartmanDirect to Consumer Operations and Fulfillment ManagerJockey International
    • Speaker - Edwin HeslingaExecutive Director, Commerce & Fulfillment SolutionsIngram Micro Commerce & Fulfillment Solutions
  8. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Order Management: Allocation Adjustments and Fulfillment Optimization

    The ability to leverage all available inventory is one of the advantages of multichannel fulfillment. But to support this and reduce delivery times while preserving the store experience requires a new approach to order management. The old “first in, first out” allocation rules of the past are outdated and don’t provide optimal order routing. This session will focus on the order management process and Order Management Systems (OMS), new approaches to routing logic, and how order management interacts with other parts of the ecosystem.

    Key Change: From “first in, first out” to optimized allocation and fulfillment, and the flexibility to adapt to fulfillment disruptions.

    Key Technology: Order Management

    Key Integrations: POS, Shipping Solutions, Warehouse Management, Demand Planning & Allocation

    You'll learn:
    • The benefits and challenges of allocating by fulfillment date rather than order date
    • The cost savings from end of day reallocation
    • When to split orders
    • How to use the ‘total cost of ownership’, sale price, and cost of delivery to determine the most profitable method of fulfillment

    • Speaker - Doug BrochuCEOBridge Solutions Group
    • Panelist - Michael DeatonWorldwide Commerce Solutions ExecutiveIBM Corporation
    • Panelist - Jay KentManaging PartnerSLB Performance Consulting
  9. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Understanding and Leveraging Net Promoter Score

    Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become the industry standard for gauging customer loyalty as it provides a consistent scale for measuring customer sentiment over time. But companies are often left with no guidance or insight as to what needs to be done to improve their NPS score, or how it ultimately ties into growing the business and increasing customer loyalty.

    This session will explore best practices in understanding and applying the feedback from NPS surveys. This can include targeting NPS by certain products, and determining the right NPS score for your product or company.

    You’ll learn:
    • The impact of various methodologies and approaches to NPS
    • Different strategies for making NPS scores actionable
    • How NPS can help you gauge sentiment around new policies or major changes that are customer facing

    • Speaker - Debra EllisFounderWilson & Ellis Consulting
    • Speaker - Lynn JeffreySenior Director, OperationsVermont Teddy Bear
    • Speaker - Ray WilsonDigital Transformation Senior ConsultantLiberty Technology Advisors
  10. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    The Big Picture: Omnichannel, Unified Commerce and Your Operations

    As omnichannel evolves into simply “the way we meet rising consumer expectations,” retailers continue to struggle to make it happen successfully. Achieving cross-channel inventory visibility, in particular, is an elusive goal but remains a critical aspect of making anytime/anywhere/anyhow fulfillment happen. Enter unified commerce, a key to unlocking omnichannel performance. It describes how systems and data need to integrate and interact from the front end through to fulfillment to make the experience more seamless for your customers – and more efficient for you.

    So what does all of this mean for operations and fulfillment professionals? This session will explore the overall strategy as well as the various integration points of a unified approach, including ecommerce platforms, order management, inventory management and warehouse systems.

    You'll learn:
    • About the thinking behind unified commerce, and how it delivers on the omnichannel promise
    • How the various systems in the stack need to interact more cohesively
    • How unified commerce helps you achieve a “single version of the truth”
    • The pluses and minuses of enterprise system vs. component/module approaches
    • How bridging digital/traditional touchpoints leads to a better customer experience and bottom-line results

    • Speaker - Brian LindmanSenior Solution ConsultantRadial
    • Speaker - Rhonda LandsOmnichannel Operations ManagerAscena Retail Group
  11. 9:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    Executive Operations Forum: Benchmarking For Success

    How Do Your Operational Measures Stack Up?

    Meeting the demands of today’s multichannel shopper has never been more challenging for merchants. Omnichannel, low-cost shipping and easy return options are some of the factors that have increased the complexity for direct-to-customer merchants as they strive to deliver a great customer experience and maintain profitability.

    This senior executive forum will tap the expertise and experience of a group of DTC merchant operations executives and cover a range of issues that are top-of-mind in the industry, including dealing with Amazon; rising labor costs; continual increases in shipping costs; using outside partners like 3PLs; and inventory forecasting.

    The discussions, held in an interactive format, will cut across three primary areas of focus: Fulfillment center, contact center and inventory management. Much of the emphasis will be on the use of benchmarking data to improve your company’s performance in these different areas.

    At this forum you will come away with:

    • Best practices for improving performance, reducing costs and raising the bar on customer service
    • Real-world examples of how operational challenges are met by leading companies
    • Tips on how to set up key benchmarking for your business on an ongoing basis

    Please note: you must pre-register for this forum. There is no extra cost, but only one person per company is allowed – and you must be the top operations or C-level executive in your organization in order to participate.

    If you have any additional questions about the benchmarketing, please contact Curt Barry at (804) 814-8168 or

    • Moderator - Curt BarryFounder and PresidentF. Curtis Barry & Company
    • Panelist - Anthony VicarsVice President of OperationsFramebridge
    • Panelist - Victor EngesserRetail Executive AdvisorRetail Value Chain Federation
    • Panelist - Patrick GillCo-Founder, CEOeCommerce Outdoors
    • Panelist - Keith KirssinPresidentBoxInBoxOut, LLC
    • Panelist - Brian BarryVice PresidentF. Curtis Barry & Co.
    • Panelist - Bob UbertiDirector of OperationsDCL Logistics
  12. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    The Impact of Your Supply Chain on Multichannel Success

    Is your supply chain from Mars and marketing from Venus? The two are inter-dependent in driving multichannel success and meeting consumer expectations.

    Our expert presenters will discuss what each department needs to know about the other (including team knowledge/skills/abilities; analytics, requirements, consumer point of view, and more) to drive success.

    You'll learn:
    • What supply chain and logistics teams need to know to build the right supply chain to drive multichannel success
    • Why the consumer view point matters in an increasingly demanding direct-to-consumer world
    • The knowledge, skills and abilities each team needs to be successful and foster collaboration
    • The positive impact of meeting consumer expectations in multichannel retail

    • Speaker - Deanna KaufmanManager, SolutionsFedEx Services
    • Speaker - Thomas RetzSenior Manager, TransportationAscena Retail Group
  13. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Life at the Peak: Positioning Yourself for Crunch Time Success

    With so much of your business wrapped up in holiday season sales, your holiday prep strategy is a make-or-break proposition. Your company may have great offers, amazing products, dazzling marketing and attractive delivery options, but dropping the ball on your back end execution could spell major trouble. Ensuring not only adequate staffing levels and near-flawless fulfillment but also correct inventory positions and levels in November and December requires serious planning as well as an in-depth postmortem reporting and analysis.

    In this session, a retail logistics expert and a merchant panel will walk through the process from start to finish. They’ll share insights gleaned from the 2016 season to help you better prepare for the rigors of holiday peak 2017.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to maximize the use of your facility’s space
    • About synching demand forecasts and labor needs
    • How lessons from the peak can be applied all year
    • Best practices for working with vendors and carriers

    • Moderator - John GruborSenior Vice President, OperationsGEODIS
    • Panelist - Dana ThomasDirector of OperationsThe Golf Warehouse
    • Panelist - Logan CraneDirector of OperationsBoll and Branch
    • Panelist - Nathan BrookesHead of Global OperationsSuperdry
  14. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Inventory Management: Knowing Where It Needs to Be

    Keeping track of where inventory is stored, where it needs to be and how much should be allocated to each location, has always been a foundational capability for merchant companies. Now the new reality of always-on customer demand across channels has added layers of complexity to inventory management.

    This session will focus on how demand planning and allocation tools can be used to optimize inventory locations, and replenish based on the true source of demand so you can avoid stock-outs at one location and overstocks in another.

    Key Change: Optimizing replenishment and inventory locations based on the true source of demand, not the place of fulfillment.

    Key Technology: Demand Planning & Allocation

    Key Integrations: ERP, Order Management, POS

    You will learn:

    • Why traditional allocation models are outdated
    • Challenges of multichannel inventory accuracy
    • How drop shipping can form part of your inventory location strategy
    • The benefits and challenges of hub and spoke fulfillment
    • Creative peak season demand fulfillment options

    • Speaker - Doug BrochuCEOBridge Solutions Group
    • Speaker - Michael ParsleySenior Vice President, Distribution and TransportationTailored Brands
  15. 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    How is the Voice of the Customer Speaking to You?

    You might be tapping social media, product reviews, and anecdotal information from your frontline to gauge what customers are thinking and feeling. But how are you sharing that information—and is it representative, and helping you to improve?

    The data you collect and how you collect it is vital to ensuring a profitable VoC program—one that gives you actionable facts that result in positive customer relationships.

    So, how do you collect quality VoC data? What are the metrics that all employees can believe in — because they’re scientific and meaningful? And how do you create a culture that shows staff at all levels they have a stake in creating customer happiness? Hear leading-edge retailers and an industry expert discuss best practices for getting results from VoC.

    You’ll learn:
    • The most common mistakes retailers make with their customer listening surveys
    • Concrete tips for getting more value from your VoC program
    • How to connect multiple types of feedback across data channels
    • New ways to solicit and evaluate customers’ ideas and solutions
    • Processes to capture, analyze, and monitor customer sentiment

    • Moderator - Martha BrookeChief Customer Experience Analyst & FounderInteraction Metrics
    • Panelist - Angie StocklinCo-founder/COOOne Click Ventures
    • Panelist - Scott CasciatoDirector, Ecommerce Customer Experience in the Digital MaterialsDick's Sporting Goods
  16. 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    Drop Shipping Detente: Vendors and Dealers as Trading Partners

    The state of retail and direct-to-customer commerce is at a tipping point, and traditional business processes and supply chain relationships no longer fit today’s digital world. With the rise in drop shipping, new business models are highlighting the increasingly virtual nature of the retailer/supplier relationship. This new reality is also creating opportunities for companies to work together, allocate resources and become true trading partners.

    If you’re looking for ways to maintain relevance among increasing competition, join Nordstrom and Dsco as they discuss these new business models. They’ll talk about why smart retailers and suppliers should move away from the “retailer as the customer, supplier as the vendor” mindset and work together to build a partner-based solution.

    You’ll learn:
    • The critical elements required for a successful B2B2C solution
    • About loyalty and revenue-building strategies
    • How to think about roles, business models and margins
    • How to coordinate to ensure positive consumer experiences
    • How to effectively work with your trading partners

  17. 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    World-Class Negotiating Strategies to Achieve Best-in-Class Carrier Pricing Agreements

    “Our parcel carrier rep gave us great pricing.” Really? Do you know that carrier reps are trained and compensated to sell your business at the highest margins possible? If you’re like most shippers, you may be paying too much. This presentation will provide invaluable information to help you negotiate best-in-class pricing and reduce your overall shipping costs by as much as 25 percent.

    This session will teach you proven strategies to:
    • Negotiate the best upfront discounts, contracts and services available
    • Mitigate the impact of annual rate increases and hidden surcharges
    • Leverage statistical benchmarking data to compare pricing to peers
    • Analyze parcel data for reporting and auditing to lower shipping costs, improve productivity and enhance carrier communication
    • Create and utilize leverage to improve your position during carrier contract negotiations
    • Structure your contract to your company’s maximum benefit
    • Take advantage of savings through modal optimization and workshare discounts

  18. 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    SMB Focus: Driving DC Communication and Accountability on a Shoestring

    If you’re a small ecommerce or DTC startup, how do you facilitate communication and accountability among your DC personnel to drive increased operational efficiency? That was the dilemma facing as it looked for a way to ensure that daily, weekly, monthly and yearly repeatable tasks got done on time regardless of labor force issues.

    In this session, founder Kevin Stecko will take you through his company’s process for implementing inexpensive – or even free – tools to communicate everything that needs to be done to its warehouse employees. By integrating a couple of simple, easy-to-use apps, has been able to guarantee all work is done in a timely manner, while holding staff accountable for meeting performance goals and duties.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to communicate instantly with your entire warehouse staff
    • How to hold warehouse employees accountable
    • How to prompt them to do what needs to be done at the right time

  19. 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

    Warehouse Management: Technologies to Drive Faster, More Efficient Fulfillment

    Choosing the right warehouse technology can be a catalyst to propel a company from average to best-in-class warehouse performance. The technology behind warehouse systems – including WMS, WLM, WCS and now WES – has accelerated dramatically in recent years to meet the demands of ecommerce and omnichannel businesses.

    Key Change: Direct-to-Customer fulfillment and speed of fulfillment
    Key Technology: WMS, WLM, WCS, WES
    Key Integration: OMS

    This interactive session is designed to help companies learn how to successfully navigate warehouse management technology selection.

    You will learn:
    • The difference between WMS, WES and WCS and how to know which system types to implement
    • About the benefits and challenges of adding automation (material handling, pick to wall, etc.)
    • How to structure the process of evaluation and selection to minimize implementation risk (cost, business disruption, etc.)

    • Speaker - Ian HobkirkFounder, Managing DirectorCommonwealth Supply Chain Advisors
    • Speaker - Troy Van WormerVice President of OperationsHollar
  20. 11:20 AM – 5:30 PM

    Exhibit Hall Opens

  21. 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

    Keynote Luncheon - Afterburner Inc.

    For nearly 20 years, this highly motivated team of current and former fighter pilots, U.S. Navy SEALs and other elite military professionals have brought the processes of high-performing military teams to organizations around the world to close execution gaps, accelerate learning and improve individual, team and organizational performance.

    They teach Flawless ExecutionSM through four simple, scalable steps: Plan. Debrief. Execute. Debrief. This framework leverages the same principles of teamwork, accountability and continuous learning utilized in their military careers to win when the chips were down, stakes were high, and failure was not an option.

    The power of Flawless Execution is recognized by leading business management and leadership development scholars around the world and their Executive Consultants have spoken at notable business schools, including Harvard, Wharton, Vanderbilt, Emory, MIT and Duke.

    Keynote luncheon sponsored by UPS

    • Speaker - Jim MurphyFounder and CEOAfterburner Inc.
  22. 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

    Dessert Break in Exhibit Hall - Sponsored by Sealed Air Corp.

  23. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    Creating a Consistent Experience Across Channels

    Delivering a great customer experience is hard enough; ensuring that it’s consistent across your channels is another matter entirely. How are you sharing information among your store, ecommerce, customer care and operations teams to get everyone on the same page? How do you avoid fostering siloed responsibility for the customer experience?

    In this session we’ll cover how to create a “brand experience” mentality and make sure it is shared throughout your organization.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to show all teams the connection between what they do and the customer
    • How to provide, evaluate and learn from customer satisfaction feedback across functional areas
    • How to instill a “customer first” point of view across the enterprise

    • Speaker - Stanley LucasAssociate Vice President, Customer and Business InsightsLane Bryant
    • Speaker - Kevon HillsVice President, ResearchStellaService
  24. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    6 Ways to Achieve Profitable Omnichannel Fulfillment

    Consumer expectations continue to soar and merchants have scrambled to meet them, but at what cost? Is it sustainable? In this interactive session we’ll explore 6 strategies omnichannel merchants can use to maximize revenue from each sale and minimize fulfillment costs. We’ll also share some recent consumer insights that are driving these strategies.

    You will learn:
    • Why out-of-stocks are costing you more than you think
    • The compelling business case for Buy Online Pickup In-Store
    • How incorrect replenishment causes out-of-stocks
    • Why applying the 80/20 rule to store fulfillment makes sense for many merchants
    • The impact of free shipping on where consumers choose to shop

    • Speaker - Jim BengierChief Customer OfficerBridge Solutions Group
    • Speaker - Michael SmithSenior Vice President, OmnicommerceStage Stores
  25. 2:00 PM – 3:50 PM

    Executive Operations Forum: “Breaking News” Trends and How They’re Impacting You

    In the world of direct-to-customer and ecommerce business, there’s a lot of “big picture” information to digest even as you strive to keep your operations humming on a daily basis. Events and trends both inside and outside the industry are continuously shaping its future direction, and to a greater or lesser degree have an impact on your short- and long-term strategic planning.

    Join Multichannel Merchant and a panel of top merchant operations executives in a lively, interactive forum as we discuss various hot-button trends ripped from the headlines. We’ll focus on their impact and provide unique insights, as panelists speak from their own experience and provide a window into their thinking.

    Some sample topics that may be covered (subject to change as things evolve):

    • Taxation issues by state and the Marketplace Fairness Act
    • The growing impact of marketplaces
    • Delivery disruptors: the gig economy, same-day startups, lockers, Amazon, etc.
    • Future shock: AI, the Internet of Things, drones, self-driving vehicles, etc.

    • Moderator - Mike O'BrienSenior Content ManagerMultichannel Merchant
    • Panelist - James ReidVice President of DistributionQVC
    • Panelist - Pooja AgarwalVice President, OperationsBirchbox
    • Panelist - Kunal ThakkarSenior Vice President,
    • Panelist - Bill MonkDirector, DistributionGNC
  26. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    Don’t Drop the Baton: Solving the Last-Mile Puzzle

    As the shift from brick and mortar to ecommerce and direct-to-customer continues, the difficulties of managing last-mile delivery grow. New customer expectations regarding delivery time, the overall experience and open communication have forced many merchants to invest in new technology solutions to manage their delivery operations. And the last mile can account for a quarter to a third of the total delivery, which is exacerbated by the growing volume of orders shipped to the home.

    To deliver performance and meet customer expectations in the final mile requires a mix of flexibility, creativity and logistical prowess. This session will cover ways to tackle this challenge from the perspective of cost, transparency, efficiency and friction reduction.

    You’ll learn:
    • About new service offerings and startups addressing the final mile
    • About how upstream activities like DC network design, fulfillment rules and streamlined processes impact final-mile performance
    • About options like collection points and locker locations to drive efficiency and economies of scale and consumer choice
    • About ways to ensure proper tracking and customer communication

    • Speaker - Amine KhechfeChief Strategy
    • Speaker - Brian WrightVice President of Transportation and Supply ChainHudson's Bay Company
  27. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    DC Automation: Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore

    Your customers require fast and secure order delivery, and the marketplace demands that you improve your game and reduce costs at the same time. And if you’re not an enterprise player, automation can seem like an out-of-sight, nice-to-have for your distribution center operations. But there are solutions available today that make it possible to introduce automation without breaking the bank.

    Knowing where to start with DC automation, while at the same time keeping your order process flowing smoothly, can be a tricky proposition. In this session, a trio of industry experts will explore automation solutions and scenarios for the SMB market, addressing not only how to meet your current needs but future expansions as well. It will also cover key focus areas to help you drive maximum process improvements and faster ROI.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to increase order fulfillment capacity within the same square footage
    • How to reduce your labor cost per package
    • How to become less reliant on temporary employees during peak season

    • Speaker - Ken MyersDirector, Packaging & AutomationTension Packaging & Automation
    • Speaker - Corey AndersonPresidentBoxLogix Automation
    • Speaker - Stephen MartinExecutive Vice PresidentRuby Has Fulfillment
  28. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    Supply Chain Management: Optimizing the Movement from A to B to C

    As with inventory management and order management, supply chain management is a whole new ballgame. What had been a fairly straightforward proposition in a brick-and-mortar world is considerably more difficult in the age of omnichannel and “I want it now.” This session will cover next-generation systems and processes that are helping merchants to optimize their supply chain and achieve key objectives like shortened time-to-market performance.

    Key Change: The first mile is just as important as the last mile.

    Key Technology: Forecasting, Shipping Solutions

    Key Integrations: Order Management, Demand Planning & Allocation

    You will learn:
    • How to provide better forecast information to vendors
    • The strategic allocation benefits of having vendors send Advanced Shipment Notices
    • The surprising results of rate shopping for the last mile
    • What the future holds (alternate carriers for last-mile delivery, Blockchain to protect supply chain integrity, integrated weather data, etc.)

    • Speaker - Ninaad AcharyaSenior Director, Information TechnologyFedEx Supply Chain
    • Speaker - Jason AcevedoFormer Senior Director, Logistics and Ecommerce OperationsLimited Stores
  29. 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

    Buy Online Return to Store – For Merchants Without Stores

    Providing in-person returns is the next evolution for online merchants to drive greater sales, improve customer satisfaction and remove cost from today’s inefficient return-by-shipping process. Hear a step-by-step case study about how one leading retailer is transforming its return experience from something shoppers merely tolerate to something that delights.

    We’ve brought together two operations executives – one from an apparel and accessory ecommerce company and one from a technology and logistics startup – who will discuss the state of ecommerce returns and detail the friction points of returns by shipping. They will also talk about how to enable in-person returns and the benefits for each stakeholder.

    You will learn:
    • Why shoppers prefer to return online purchases in person
    • How in-person returns are easy to implement
    • How to generate savings through shipping aggregation and fewer customer service calls
    • How shoppers report a high degree of satisfaction with in-person returns
    • How shoppers reward retailers who remove return friction with greater sales

    • Speaker - David SobieCo-Founder and CEOHappy Returns
    • Speaker - Bijan BinaSenior Product Manager, Shopping ExperienceTradesy
  30. 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

    Space Crunch: Getting Creative in a Tight Market for Facilities

    Continued growth in ecommerce is creating a tight market for distribution and fulfillment center space. This is especially true in major markets, where merchants and 3PLs are finding it increasingly difficult to locate new spaces that meet all their operational and service level criteria.

    What can be done to address this space crunch issue? This session will feature a commercial real estate expert and merchant panelists discussing the current state, future expectations and creative approaches in the meantime.

    You’ll learn:
    • About the current state of supply and demand for DC space, and future projections
    • How this new reality is reshaping the search and selection process
    • About alternatives such as forward fulfillment and co-location
    • About solutions and approaches for small, midsize and large companies

    More speakers TBA

    • Speaker - Ben ConwellSenior Mg. Dir. and Nat'l Practice Leader, Ecommerce FulfillmentCushman & Wakefield
    • Speaker - Scott MichaelisManager, Distribution and LogisticsSouthern States Cooperative
  31. 3:50 PM – 4:30 PM

    Roundtable Discussions

  32. 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

    Pub Crawl in Exhibit Hall - Sponsored by SEKO Logistics and OnTrac

  33. 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

    Group Networking Cruise

    After your first day of the conference, join fellow Operations Summit attendees for the best Pittsburgh riverboat tour on board the Gateway Clipper! Sailing along the Three Rivers, experience a unique perspective of Pittsburgh. It only happens out on the water! Price: $95

    Group Networking Cruise sponsored by Newgistics

  34. 9:30 PM – 11:30 PM

    Giant Eagle HB Warehouse Tour

    This 304,000 sq. ft. health & beauty care warehouse, located in Washington, PA, features Vocollect Voice-directed picking in action along with Manhattan’s WMS and cigarette stamping capabilities. The facility services over 400+ supermarket/convenience stores and has 14,000 slotted items. Speech Interface Design, a premier-level Vocollect Voice Total Solution Provider based in Pittsburgh, will be co-hosting this tour.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:30 p.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 11:30 p.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  35. 9:30 PM – 11:30 PM

    Giant Eagle OK Grocery Tour

    This 425,000 square foot warehouse for wholesale and supply in Pittsburgh, PA, services 125 supermarkets and has 8,000 slotted items. It features Vocollect Voice-directed picking, featuring Manhattan’s WMS and Seegrid automation for reduction in travel and more! Speech Interface Design, a premier-level Vocollect Voice Total Solution Provider based in Pittsburgh, will be co-hosting this tour.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:30 p.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 11:30 p.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

Wednesday | March 29

  1. 7:15 AM – 9:15 AM

    FedEx Facility Tour

    Part of the FedEx Ground network, this facility handles both inbound and outbound shipping capabilities for low-weight residential shipping and returns.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 7:15 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:15 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  2. 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

    FedEx Facility Tour

    Part of the FedEx Ground network, this facility handles both inbound and outbound shipping capabilities for low-weight residential shipping and returns.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 7:30 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 9:30 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  3. 7:45 AM – 8:30 AM

    Breakfast Roundtables

  4. 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

    SEKO International Tour

    This facility in Aliquippa, PA is part of SEKO’s Global infrastructure network, comprised of multi-user logistics facilities throughout the world. The facility includes ecommerce fulfillment and reverse logistics in addition to additional capabilities.

    Bus departs David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 8:30 a.m.

    Bus returns to David L. Lawrence Convention Center at 10:30 a.m.

    Special information and instructions: Please bring valid government-issued ID

  5. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Talkin’ ‘Bout Their Generation: Working with Millennial Workers

    Finding quality customer care agents has always been difficult, given the nature of the work along with perennial factors like competition and wage pressure. But as demographics dictate the hiring of more millennials (those born from 1982-2004), a particular set of challenges arise. What are their expectations in terms of duties, environment and advancement? What sorts of incentives resonate with them? What are their work habits? How are they a fit with your company culture?

    Hear from customer care practitioners who are using creative ways to recruit and retain millennial employees to do the important work of meeting customer needs, resolving issues and representing your brand.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to create an inviting environment for millennials without compromising your culture or values
    • How to bridge generational communication gaps and encourage feedback
    • How to define work expectations and provide the right incentives
    • How to re-position perceived millennial flaws to energize your team and empower them to drive results

    • Speaker - David Tullformer Customer Engagement ManagerJackThreads
    • Speaker - Taten SoltisSenior Manager, Customer CareModcloth
  6. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    The Omnichannel Supply Chain: Achieving End-to-End Optimization

    Expectations placed on supply chains are rising at an incredible rate, and omnichannel operations only add more complexity. What was once delivered in 7 to 10 days is now expected in a day or two, with some e-tailers raising the bar to same day. In addition to speed, product assortments are expanding and supply sources are often on the other side of the world with long lead times and lots of opportunity for disruption. Fulfilling to the customer how, when and where they want also has serious supply chain implications.

    This panel discussion will explore what it takes to optimize the omnichannel supply chain to meet these rising expectations with acceptable cost and risk.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to determine the speed of your standard service
    • About making cost-service tradeoff decisions
    • How to integrate supply chain processes from end to end
    • About supply chain designs to accommodate peak period demand
    • About tools that can help in supply chain optimization

    • Moderator - Paul HuppertzPartnerThe Progress Group, LLC
    • Panelist - Michael SmithSenior Vice President, OmnicommerceStage Stores
    • Panelist - Ritch HaagSenior Vice President, OperationsClarks Americas
    • Panelist - Scott DeGraevePrincipalScott DeGraeve Consulting (former SVP, Peapod)
  7. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Transforming Departmental Conflict into Operational Opportunity

    Do you wish you could see increased effectiveness, better decisions and more innovation from your operations staff? Are departmental silos and internal turf battles making the kind of messes that reduce customer satisfaction and employee engagement? Thirty years of research shows that managers spend about a third of their time coping with conflict. Imagine what kind of performance gains you could realize by eliminating this wasted time, energy and resources!

    An expert in management consulting will draw on real-world examples from top retailers and brands to provide tested strategies for moving your team from conflict to collaboration. Along the way she’ll debunk some common myths about communication and personality problems as the sources of intractable conflicts.

    You'll learn:
    • Structural and interpersonal approaches for breaking down operational silos
    • The conflict triggers that are implicit in change initiatives, and how to minimize their impact
    • A 4-step process to help move your staff from clashing to working in concert The two kinds of accountability you need to build in
    • How to encourage productive conflict

  8. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    Majors, Regionals and Beyond: Exploring All Your Carrier Options

    Given the constant change in direct-to-customer and ecommerce shipping, including major carriers jockeying rates and offerings, rumblings from Amazon Logistics, U.S. Postal Service improvements and growing capabilities of regional carriers, there’s a lot for merchants to keep on top of. How do these changes affect you and your operations? What do you need to pay attention to? What will the landscape look like in 2017 and beyond?

    Industry veteran Tim Sailor will lead a panel of merchant shippers and experts who will discuss trends and industry dynamics and how they’re continuing to impact your decision process around shipping mix, partners and volume allocation.

    You’ll learn:
    • How merchants are rethinking carrier mix to optimize shipping
    • How to adapt to new rules and tariff changes from UPS and FedEx
    • How to select and implement a regional carrier
    • How to take advantage of a carrier’s total supply chain solution
    • How to implement effective least-cost routing

    • Moderator - Tim SailorPrincipalNavigo Consulting Group
    • Panelist - Joe BobkoVice President,
    • Panelist - Seth PierceDirector, Business DevelopmentLaserShip Inc.
  9. 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM

    The Current and Future State of Robotic Fulfillment

    While drone deliveries might be further off on the horizon, robots are here and now in direct and ecommerce fulfillment operations. Amazon’s Kiva was a forerunner in this regard, but a number of startups have jumped into the fray, promising efficiencies, labor savings, increased throughput and greater accuracy within reach of mid-market companies.

    We’ve brought together an all-star panel of technology providers and merchants who use them to talk about the capabilities, implementation, challenges and benefits of a robotics solution.

    You’ll learn:
    • About advances in robotic systems for fulfillment operations
    • About facility preparation and system limitations
    • How robots interact with existing systems (WMS, WCS, etc.)
    • How they can be redeployed based on order flow and spikes

    • Moderator - Mike O'BrienSenior Content ManagerMultichannel Merchant
    • Panelist - Ronald GilbertSenior Vice President, Ecommerce FulfillmentHudson's Bay Company
    • Panelist - Yaro TenzerCo-FounderRightHand Robotics
    • Panelist - Bruce WeltyChairman and FounderLocus Robotics
    • Panelist - Nick SaundersSenior Vice President, Sales and MarketingQuiet Logistics
  10. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Building the Business Case for Omnichannel

    Research from Aberdeen Group shows that retailers with omnichannel strategies experience customer retention rates of 89%, versus 33% for retailers without them. So if the benefits are so high, why do so many organizations still struggle to build a business case to invest?

    In this presentation we will help you establish a framework for developing that business case for omnichannel investment. Whether you’re pitching it to the C-suite, the marketing team or IT, we’ll provide the necessary data and justification. We’ll also make recommendations on where to start in order to realize the fastest ROI. By implementing the omnichannel strategy across every channel, you can drive increased sales, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and profitability.

    You will learn:
    • How to gain internal buy-in for omnichannel implementation
    • How to avoid costly implementation errors
    • How to create a seamless customer experience

  11. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Short-Term and Long-Term Planning in Operations: Keeping Both in Play

    Balancing short-term imperatives with longer-term business goals and objectives can be a tricky maneuver.

    How you approach prioritization has to be done in a thoughtful way to ensure that one imperative isn’t sacrificed in favor of the other – or that the more immediate demands don’t crowd out your vision of what’s down the road.

    We’ve brought together two operations executives – one from a B2B lighting supply company, the other from a high-growth multichannel apparel firm – who will discuss their different approaches to the planning process. They’ll talk about how their teams are able to strike the right balance, working across functions to set goals and blaze a way forward while keeping the engine humming on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

    You’ll learn:
    • About the nuts-and-bolts of the overall planning process
    • About the allocation of resources to short- and long-term goals
    • About when to stick to the plan – and when to modify
    • About using metrics to test incremental steps
    • About designing processes that will scale efficiently

    • Speaker - Lauri SullivanChief Financial Officer/Chief Operating OfficerDonna Salyer's Fabulous Furs
    • Speaker - Wes FunschVice President of OperationsNanoLumens, Inc.
  12. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    You Want it When? Balancing Free/Fast and Managing Expectations

    There’s an awful lot of noise about the rise of same-day and next-day delivery services, but most consumers are willing to wait if it means free or cheap shipping – even with the Amazon effect. But what about your customers? How well do you know their delivery expectations? Are they changing? How do you manage them? And how do you achieve all this with a sharp eye on the bottom line?

    In this panel discussion, UPS will share data from its annual Pulse of the Online Shopper survey and frame a discussion of changing customer expectations, how to meet them, and how to balance service level, cost and time in transit. You’ll hear perspectives from a large, midsize and small merchant shipper on how they address these issues in the pursuit of customer delight without breaking the bank.

    You’ll learn:
    • About research data on consumers’ delivery expectations
    • How to understand and match what your customers want
    • How to establish clear, consistent communication throughout the process
    • How to tweak your transportation plan to achieve your goals

    • Moderator - Gary SingeryDirector of Marketing, Mid-Atlantic DistrictUPS
    • Panelist - Jerry VanCampVice President, Distribution and PurchasingWoodcraft Supply LLC
    • Panelist - Gwen BennettVice President, EcommerceDestination Maternity
    • Panelist - Patrick GillCo-Founder, CEOeCommerce Outdoors
  13. 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM

    Building a More Nimble Supply Chain: An Ecommerce Success Story

    Mason Companies, an ecommerce company, ships anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 orders per day, and automation is a key capability in their warehouses to ensuring accuracy and on-time delivery to their customers. This session will showcase how shipping software and fit-to-size packing have been integral parts of their automation process and business success.

    You’ll learn:
    • How order management and rate shopping are the keys to automation and ecommerce success
    • How to reduce DIM weight charges and your environmental impact by decreasing packaging materials with fit-to-size packages
    • How to implement track and trace to allow both customers and your support team to track packages

    • Speaker - Scott EggenbergerDirector of Business Development/CVP-500ProShip
    • Speaker - Pat SullivanDistribution Center and Logistics ManagerMason Companies
  14. 10:15 AM – 2:00 PM

    Exhibit Hall Opens

  15. 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

    Winning in the Second Half: Bringing the Brand Experience Full Circle

    Retailers have focused a lot of energy on ensuring that the online and mobile shopping experience exceeds customer expectations. But for shoppers, clicking the “buy” button only completes the first half of the brand experience. From that point on, how you handle all aspects of order fulfillment will make or break customer loyalty and repeat business. In this session, hear from leading retailers how they’re meeting rising expectations for high-touch, immediate and convenient interactions throughout the post-purchase cycle.

    You’ll learn:
    • A better understanding of the customer mindset and their desire for consistent, genuine brand interactions
    • How to strengthen the post-purchase experience through parcel tracking, proactive communication, custom branding and marketing opportunities
    • Practical advice to help you enhance the “second half” of the engagement to improve loyalty and the bottom line

  16. 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

    Taming the Omnichannel Inventory Management Beast

    Retailers understand the need to create omnichannel shopping experiences for their customers, but many struggle with how to effectively and profitably meet today’s consumer demands. Allocating your inventory across various stores and fulfillment locations, managing multiple systems and distributed datasets and forecasting sales and cross-channel demand are all pervasive challenges omnichannel retailers must overcome if they are to achieve and sustain growth.

    To help solve these challenges, retailers are increasingly turning to centralized platforms and creating “virtual warehouses” to more effectively manage their inventory. Hear how a fast-growing ecommerce apparel company is tackling these challenges and taming the inventory management beast.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to break down inventory silos, improve allocation, lower warehouse transfer costs and reduce costly stock-outs and backorders
    • How Chubbies uses virtual warehousing and innovative operational workflows to maintain a customer satisfaction rating of 98% and grow repeat revenue by 70%
    • How Chubbies has been able to expand into multiple new warehouses and physical locations by leveraging scalable solutions

  17. 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

    Building and Leveraging Successful Cross-Functional Teams

    Getting a handle on what’s happening in other functional areas – and knowing what their priorities are and how to interact more collaboratively – is an important but often overlooked ingredient of success in many merchant companies. For instance, when customers start returning online orders to stores, ecommerce, store operations, finance and inbound logistics will all have their own take.

    How do you get everyone pulling in the same direction? And how do you consider the different points of view and departmental impacts in order to make better overall business decisions? Listen in as these merchant practitioners explore the challenges of establishing and running cross-functional teams, and provides examples of organizational structures and process, as well as benefits and success stories.

    You will learn:
    • How to set up and manage cross-functional teams
    • How to establish executive champions to ensure success
    • How to adopt a systematic approach
    • How to establish specific goals and lines of accountability

  18. 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

    Exploring Your Options with TMS to Improve Shipping Efficiency

    Because transportation is the foundation of the supply chain, transportation management impacts every supply chain activity, including supplier sourcing, inventory management, order fulfillment and product distribution. Poor management may lead to higher landed costs, service failures and customer dissatisfaction. Challenges facing retailers and suppliers today include rate uncertainty, truck capacity, fuel cost variability, DOT/CSA compliance, evolving customer requirements and service provider consolidation. To address these challenges, best-in-class logistics organizations are turning to customizable TMS solutions.

    You’ll learn:
    • The benefits of implementing TMS and how it will improve decision-making
    • The pros and cons of utilizing a TMS vs. outsourcing to a 3PL
    • How a TMS can increase efficiency throughout the supply chain and organization
    • Considerations when choosing a TMS provider
    • How implementing a TMS will affect your suppliers and service providers

    • Moderator - Brian BarryVice PresidentF. Curtis Barry & Co.
    • Panelist - Scott MichaelisManager, Distribution and LogisticsSouthern States Cooperative
    • Panelist - Jeff BradyDirector, Transportation & LogisticsHarry & David
    • Panelist - Tony DeelyDirector of DistributionNew Pig
    • Panelist - Warren MillerLogistics ManagerSouthern States Cooperative
  19. 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

    Ecommerce Packaging Trends to Watch in 2017 and Beyond

    With ecommerce and direct-to-customer business continuing to grow, how your products are packaged and presented need to evolve as well to keep pace with demand and increasingly high customer expectations. How your product looks when it arrives, the protective nature of the packaging, its “green friendly” score and how package space is optimized all matter a great deal. As you keep one eye on the bottom line and the other on the customer, your packaging approach is a big factor in both equations.

    In this session, hear from a packaging industry professional and a merchant executive about recent trends affecting ecommerce and DTC operations, and how they’re impacting decisions you need to make around your packaging strategy and approach.

    You’ll learn:
    • How dimensional weight pricing continues to affect packaging and how it’s being addressed
    • How the growing use of polybags is helping merchants drive efficiency and cut costs
    • How new systems allow the creation of stronger package seals in a production environment
    • About the importance of making store- and DC-fulfilled orders look the same, and advances that are enabling it

    • Speaker - Jim BurnsDirector of MarketingShorr Packaging Corp.
    • Speaker - Chris GrosecloseSenior Director, Distribution OperationsCrutchfield Corp.
  20. 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

    2017 Excellence in Customer Experience Awards Luncheon

    In 2017, the annual Excellence in Customer Experience Awards ceremony will once again allow you to see and hear the stories behind the companies which have led the way on customer experience. The awards have been developed to demonstrate how the power of operations is the key driver in today’s growing ecommerce marketplace and honors operations and fulfillment innovation. The awards ceremony takes place March 28 during the Operations Summit and attendance is included with your registration. Come and celebrate the ecommerce merchants who have been the best in innovation and managing their contact centers, returns, orders, shipments, packaging and customer service.

  21. 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM

    Dessert Break in Exhibit Hall

  22. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    Omnichannel Fulfillment Standards: A Path to Performance

    With heightened consumer expectations for fast and seamless shopping experiences across all channels, traditional fulfillment processes need a makeover to ensure the retail supply chain can deliver on the promise to the consumer. As retailers begin to offer a number of flexible fulfillment and delivery options, such as buy online, pickup in store and buy in store, ship to home, industry leaders have collaborated on important process improvements and best practice guidelines that will increase consumer satisfaction.

    Michelle Covey, Vice President, Retail Apparel and General Merchandise for GS1 US, will be joined by representatives from Macy's and REI to discuss how their work creating omnichannel fulfillment standards can benefit a wide range of merchant companies.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to take steps to close the gap between what consumers expect and what the retail industry can actually deliver
    • How omnichannel fulfillment requires a more integrated, interoperable approach across all members of the supply chain
    • How inventory visibility enabled by item level RFID, provides the real-time accuracy needed to succeed
    • About opportunities to increase sales such as expanding basket size and selling to the last item

    • Moderator - Michelle CoveyVice President, Retail Apparel and General MerchandiseGS1
    • Speaker - Rick BingleVice President, Supply ChainREI
    • Speaker - Bill ConnellSenior Vice President, Logistics and OperationsMacy's
  23. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    Managing Your Operations in Hyper-Growth Mode

    Congratulations – your ecommerce company is starting to catch fire! Uh oh – now you need to learn how to scale your operations, and fast, or risk losing the lighting you’ve captured in a bottle. Think of the famous UPS ad from 1999 where the startup company cheered as the first orders came in, then panicked as they grew by the thousands.

    So how do you design and build the plane while it’s in flight? What should you probably spend more time on before the plane takes off? What’s the best way to keep orders flowing and sales cooking while in hockey stick mode?

    Join Jon Um and Steve Mulaik for a real-life tale of what it's like to live inside an uber-growing startup that within a few months went from zero to 40k+ lines a day. They will cover what ideas worked, which didn’t and why, and what fulfillment constructs they wished they had spent more time thinking about beforehand.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to craft your operational infrastructure to be flexible to customer expectations
    • How to build a fulfillment strategy that addresses current and projected growth
    • How to set up “fast turn” fulfillment to meet demand as it arises, minimizing replenishment and correctly positioning hot items
    • How to drive down touches and reduce costs while keeping up with rising volumes

  24. 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM

    SMB Focus: An Operational Roadmap for Success

    How can emerging companies ever expect to compete in managing orders, inventory, warehouse and shipping when Amazon and other big players have set customer expectations so high?

    This session is geared toward those just starting up their warehouse, and for medium-sized companies who’ve been running warehouse operations for a while. We’ll provide useful takeaways that you can immediately apply to take control of your ecommerce fulfillment and power your profit margin for rapid growth.

    You’ll learn:
    • How to affordably automate whether in a garage or a large facility, and be ready to scale at a moment’s notice
    • How to use technology to get a handle on digital order management across platforms
    • How to pick-pack-ship fast and consistently deliver for your customers
    • How to real-time inventory management can give you stock levels in that Goldilocks zone of “just right”
    • What tools you’ll need to bring your operations to a competitive level