Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE Chief Executive Officer | May/June 2012 | 22 | 3
A few weeks ago in the weekly e-newsletter APICS Operations Management Now, I wrote about CEO Tim Cook’s increased scrutiny of Apple’s supply chain in China and the company’s relationship to sustainable production. Cook, who comes from a strong background in supply chain and operations management, is taking deliberate steps to address the labor violations at Foxconn and other Apple suppliers. Many argue that Cook has a unique opportunity to distinguish himself at Apple and influence Apple’s reputation by changing the way that Apple makes its products.
It’s fascinating to see how Cook, a supply chain and operations management professional, is looking critically at Apple’s supply chain and taking notable steps to improve it. Recently, I was in Shanghai, China, for APICS Asia Supply Chain & Operations 2012. The two-day program was designed to help supply chain and operations management professionals in China increase performance, identify and address potential challenges before they become problems, and build their knowledge and ability to apply it strategically. As we often see at our conferences, our attendees taught us nearly as much as our esteemed presenters taught them.
For example, at the APICS World Café, attendees discussed their role in sustainability. While China has developed a five-year plan to reduce energy use throughout the country, participants indicated that creating profitable businesses still is the priority.
However, when asked what avenues their companies could explore for future energy saving in Asia, responses included exploring alternative energy modalities, fostering sustainability education, optimizing travel policies, developing intermodal travel capabilities, and implementing key performance indicators to monitor water and electricity consumption.
Learning goes in both directions
The theme of interactivity and feedback continued throughout the conference, as we incorporated discussion questions and facilitated conversation into the program. Attendees were given additional issues and topics to consider after each presentation, and they were invited to talk through the questions in small groups, and later to the entire field of attendees. The resulting discussions were enlightening.
Of course, if you were not able to join us in Asia, I hope to see you at another APICS conference soon. Explore all of our learning and networking event opportunities at the new APICS website at apics.org.