2014-2015 Conference Calendar for Supply Chain, Distribution, Postal, Specialized Industry and More
The value of attending conferences is significant: learn from a combination of expert and peer-led presentations on trends and strategies to improve processes, enhance quality, reduce costs and do your jobs more effectively; network and make new connections; seek certification and professional growth opportunities; peruse the exhibit halls to better understand vendor capabilities and services; and more.
Since I present at many leading shipping industry conferences, I'm often asked for recommendations on which to attend. Each conference has its own unique lineup of speakers, schedule and format, topic/industry focus, etc., so my recommendations depend on what each person is looking to achieve. Some prefer smaller, more intimate conferences with limited attendance, while others enjoy the big shows with attendance into the thousands.
Finally, the cost to attend varies significantly. Some conferences are supported entirely through vendors and sponsors and are FREE for industry buyers; others cost as much as $2,000.
I encourage online retailers and all shippers to selectively attend as many conferences as time and budget allows, but plan in advance. Below you'll find a partial list of conferences that have at least something to do with e-commerce and/or distribution.
If you're new to conferences, let me humbly suggest that you carefully plan your itinerary to maximize your investment. Most shows publish the conference proceedings well in advance, so take the time to map out your schedule prior to the conference. Treat these conferences as work. Attend and actively participate in as many presentations, workshops, roundtables and keynote sessions as you can.
Don't skip social and networking opportunities, including meals, cocktail hours and other events. Bring plenty of business cards and introduce yourself to those sitting around you in each conference session. If you have challenges in your business, ask your peers how they resolved those issues within their business.
One final note: I recognize the conference list above reflects my bias as a parcel shipping consultant. If there are additional conferences that you recommend, kindly let me know to ensure it gets added to next year's list. I hope the list is valuable for you, and I'm happy to talk with you to provide my candid assessment on any specific show or to recommend a conference around your interests. Good luck!
Rob Martinez is the CEO of Shipware LLC, a professional services firm that transforms businesses through intelligent distribution solutions and strategies. Rob has helped some of the world’s most recognizable brands reduce parcel shipping costs an average of 25 percent through contract negotiations, rate benchmarking, modal optimization, invoice audit and other savings vehicles. A cum laude graduate of UCLA, Rob has 20 years of transportation industry experience, including executive positions at DHL and Stamps.com, in addition to his work as an outside consultant since 2001.