AI, blockchain, circular economy under spotlight at supply chain conference

18 November 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202021319

Education & Training
ICT In Industry
Transport, Distribution & Logistics

ONE of Africa’s top knowledge sharing and networking events for the supply chain profession, the annual SAPICS Conference, kicks off next week in virtual form due to COVID-19.

Topics that will be covered range from artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the circular economy, to diversity, ethical leadership, risk management and youth development.

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the vital role that supply chains play in the global economy,” said SAPICS president Keabetswe Mpane. “Skills development, learning, knowledge sharing, and networking are more important than ever for the supply chain profession, and we need professional, suitably qualified supply chain professionals now more than ever.”

She said that SAPICS 2020 would not be just another webinar. “In addition to an exceptional line up of speakers, there will be networking opportunities. From virtual booths to VIP meeting rooms, the ‘FLOOR’ virtual conferencing platform that we are using will enable delegates to meet fellow supply chain professionals from across industry and the world.”

AI, blockchain, circular economy under spotlight at supply chain conference

Conference speaker Professor Justin Goldston (pictured) of Penn State University in the USA will be presenting on blockchain, which he believes offers a solution to the growing threat of “greenwashing”, a term which refers to companies who make false claims about how environmentally friendly their products and processes are.

“As stories of greenwashing continue to emerge within the supply chain space, blockchain could be a potential solution to provide visibility to the life cycle of products,” Goldston said. In his SAPICS presentation, he will look at ways in which the technology’s track and trace capabilities could be used to ensure more sustainable supply chain networks.

Circularity specialist Deborah Dull, Principal Supply Chain at General Electric Digital in the USA will in her presentation introduce delegates to the idea of circularity and the circular economy as the next strategy for supply chains. Dull will explore how more value can be squeezed from the materials and resources already in an organisation’s supply chain.

“Future-Proofing Supply Chains for Risk and Resilience” is the topic of the conference presentation by Dr John Gattorna, who conference organisers are billing as one of the world’s pre-eminent supply chain thought leaders.

He said organisations aiming to survive current and future supply chain disruptions must redesign their supply chains, with dynamic rather than static capabilities. “Previous supply chain designs have predominantly followed a ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy, on the assumption that this will deliver a lower ‘cost-to-serve’, However, as the operating environment has become increasingly complex and turbulent, this assumption has been exposed as flawed.”

Work life balance is the subject of a presentation by award winning speaker, Temitope Ogunfayo, who is Associate Director, Supply Network Operations, Babycare (IMEA) at Procter & Gamble, Switzerland. In his presentation, he will share simple, proven strategies to help SAPICS Conference attendees maintain a healthy work life balance.

Panel discussions on the programme include one on diversity in the supply chain and procurement field. Leading supply chain specialists from South Africa, Africa and the United States will look at what needs to change to break the glass ceiling in the profession.

The value of public and private sector partnerships in improving healthcare supply chains will also be under the spotlight. A panel discussion will highlight success stories and reveal how the public and private sectors are currently working together to improve health outcomes for all.

The conference takes place on 23 and 24 November 2020. For more information visit

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