SCL Hosts Supply Chain Executive Forum

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The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering's Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) hosted the spring 2007 Supply Chain Executive Forum in April at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. The focus for the spring gathering was to discuss and exchange ideas on how capacity and infrastructure issues impact the supply chain, and how these issues create challenges for supply chain managers.

Dr. John Langley, Director of Supply Chain Executive Programs and SCL Professor of Supply Chain Management, welcomed the group to Tech's campus and posed some key questions for the group to address throughout the Forum. Included were the following:
* What types of capacity and infrastructure issues are in existence today? Where are they in evidence, and what types of problems do they cause?
* How are these issues impacting supply chain managers?
* What role(s) can technology play to respond to and mitigate capacity and infrastructure issues?
* As citizens and business people, what should we expect in terms of future issues relating to transportation capacity and congestion?
* What creative, innovative solutions are being considered to make progress on the problems at hand?
* What legislative and regulatory priorities are trying to respond to capacity and infrastructure issues, and what is their likelihood of successful implementation?
* What are some of the unique industry perspectives on the issues of concern?

Keynote speaker, John Clendenin, CEO and founder of Inner Circle Logistics, Inc., shared his thoughts on how the internet infrastructure can be managed for competitive advantage. Essentially, it is important first for supply chain managers to fully understand the complexity of the international supply chain, in concert with the enterprise applications environment. Consistent with this objective, it is then necessary to understand the process and technical issues that occur among business and trading partners, internal country governments, border nations, and the international community. According to Mr. Clendenin, "even with the complexity of the international supply chain systems, we can think through these things if we have the right people thinking it through.* Among his suggested areas of priority is the need to provide supply chain data and document management capabilities that assure the connectivity required to complete the "last mile* of supply chain integration in an inexpensive and easy-to-use format.

Dr. Michael Meyer, P.E., Director of the Georgia Transportation Institute, and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech, presented a session on capacity and congestions issues in transportation. Dr. Meyer provided a thought-provoking discussion on the importance of transportation planning, and highlighted a variety of data points that suggest and validate the serious capacity and infrastructure issues that will be experienced in the years ahead. For example, he pointed out the nearly doubling of growth in vehicle miles traveled in several major metropolitan areas over the next 15-20 years, with little increase in the capacity of our highway infrastructure. Similar examples were used by Dr. Meyer to suggest the serious nature of the problem for other modes of transportation, and for domestic as well as international transportation. Dr. Meyer rounded out his presentation with a discussion on the importance of wisely investing in the transportation infrastructure. "Investment in transportation infrastructure is the key to national, state, and metropolitan economic success.*
"We're in a serious situation. We can make improvements, but we will not completely resolve congestion problems.* To more strategically analyze and relieve issues of congestion, he discussed seven objectives.
* Improve the operations of the existing freight transportation systems
* Add physical capacity to the freight transportation system in places where investment makes economic sense
* Use pricing to better align freight system costs and benefits and encourage the deployment of new technologies
* Reduce/remove statutory, regulatory, and institutional barriers to improve freight transportation performance
* Proactively identify and address emerging transportation needs
* Maximize the safety and security of the freight transportation system
* Mitigate and better manage the environmental, health, and community impacts of freight transportation

Bruce Dahnke, president of SkyTech Transportation , and Dan Gilmore from the Supply Chain Digest, discussed an innovative approach toward potentially solving the infrastructure crisis through technology. Reminding the group of the invention of the cargo container by Malcolm McLean in 1970, SkyTech Transportation's STS Framework proposes using new technology to move containers and even whole tractor-trailers down monorail-like tracks. The tracks use electromagnetic energy and in some cases levitation, and promise to reduce costs per mile to move freight, eliminate the need for costly expansion of existing highways, reduce pollution and traffic congestion, and enhance the overall reliability of freight movement.

John M. Cutler, Jr., attorney at McCarthy, Sweeny & Harkaway, PC, presented a briefing on policy and current discussions in Washington. Among the topics discussed by Mr. Cutler were: control of Congress by Democrats; elimination of anti-trust immunity; capacity, congestion and infrastructure issues; and increasing importance of railroads. Among Mr. Cutler's suggestions were that * Mr. Cutler discussed a number of governmental priorities and suggested that "Washington is now beginning to recognize that infrastructure growth is far behind growth in demand.* Overall, his suggestions included a need for shippers and carriers to work together, with the government, to help lessen the current and future capacity, congestion, and infrastructure issues.

The Forum concluded with a stimulating panel discussion moderated by Gene Tyndall, founding partner of Supply Chain Executive Advisors. Panel members included: Tom Escott, president, Schneider Logistics; David Griffith, vice president, Supply Chain Management, Schenker/BAX Global; Mike Miller, general manager, Modalgistics, Norfolk Southern Corporation; and Chris Munro, CEO, RoadLink USA.

The next meeting of the Supply Chain Executive Forum is scheduled for October 10-11, 2007. For more information on how to become a member and participate in the Supply Chain Executive Forum, please call the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at 404-894-2343, or visit

Current Supply Chain Executive Forum Member Organizations include:
American Port Services
Caterpillar Logistics Services
Chain Connectors
Chatsworth Products, Inc.
DSC Logistics and Supply Chain Management
General Motors Corporation
Intel Corporation
JDA Software Group
Kuka Robotics Corporation
LXP * Leveraged Execution Providers
Manhattan Associates
Meridian IQ
Metro Atlanta Logistics Industry Council
Milliken & Company
Philips Consumer Electronics
Schenker/BAX Global
Schneider National
Spencer Stuart
Sterling Commerce
Transplace, Inc.
UTi Worldwide, Inc.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc
Yellow Transportation


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 05/28/2007
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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