Great Conversations and Key Takeaways from Manifest 2024

Manifest 2024
Great Conversations and Key Takeaways from Manifest 2024

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Manifest 2024 delivered. The event was a steady stream of inspiring conversations and insightful sessions highlighting the amazing strides the logistics industry is taking with technology and innovation.

A personal highlight was moderating a session on “Last Mile Innovations – Leveraging AI, Assets, Partnerships & Technology” with industry experts, including Moid Alwy, Bill Catania, Mike Powell, and Andrew Whiting. The group shared insights and practical strategies companies can adopt to be more efficient and provide a better customer experience. The conversation reinforced for me the high level of complexity in the last mile. The need for continuous innovation by shippers and carriers and the value of partnerships to create the best customer-centric solution were also discussed.

Fulfillment IQ CEO Ninaad Acharya led another valuable session with Dustin Burke, Stephen Meyer, Dr. Gopalendu Pal, and Sameer Rashid. The panel discussed the importance of nurturing talent at all levels of the organization and the value employee development brings to both the company and personal growth. A key theme was how it is essential to make a deliberate attempt to identify, promote, coach, and train talent not just in the present but for the future of the company.

A third highlight was recording a podcast with Ninaad and Peter Sheldon centered on the latest trends for ecommerce logistics — specifically, the importance of managing returns and the types of technology investments companies are making. We agreed the show had a feeling of greater seriousness because the business climate is challenging. Because of this, companies are focusing on high-cost areas, such as returns processing, and looking for ways to invest in technology and use data to improve operating efficiency within their distribution centers.

Over the two days of the event, I participated in a lot of sessions and spoke to a lot of people. Here are some of my favorite quotes that I took away from the event.

Jason Murray – “Legacy tech vendors are universally letting people down.”

This statement resonates with me because I agree that dissatisfaction drives demand for innovation and a shift towards more modern, cloud-based solutions to enhance efficiency and meet modern demands. Prioritizing customer needs and adopting advanced technologies will be key to transforming supply chain operations.

Sally Miller – “The supply chain of the future seamlessly integrates operational technology and data to continuously and dynamically optimize operational service delivery.”

As discussed during the Last Mile Innovations panel, executing delivery in the final mile is complex. Technology will continue to grow, highlighting the importance of integrating advanced technologies to augment and enhance service delivery, not as a replacement for human effort. It’s a forward-thinking approach that promises to redefine efficiency and adaptability in the supply chain.

Anneke Gambina – “Operators and tech people in this industry need to be attached at the hip.”

This statement resonates with me because I agree that dissatisfaction drives demand for innovation and a shift towards more modern, cloud-based solutions to enhance efficiency and meet modern demands. Prioritizing customer needs and adopting advanced technologies will be key to transforming supply chain operations. 
 
Sally Miller - “The supply chain of the future seamlessly integrates operational technology and data to continuously and dynamically optimize operational service delivery.” 
 
As discussed during the Last Mile Innovations panel, executing delivery in the final mile is complex. Technology will continue to grow, highlighting the importance of integrating advanced technologies to augment and enhance service delivery, not as a replacement for human effort. It’s a forward-thinking approach that promises to redefine efficiency and adaptability in the supply chain. 
 
Anneke Gambina - “Operators and tech people in this industry need to be attached at the hip.” 
 
FIQ sits at the confluence of people and technology, so we know how true this statement is. Logistics and supply chain industry operators must be closely aligned with tech professionals. Tech know-how is essential for making informed decisions that enhance customer service. This collaboration is crucial for integrating technology effectively, ensuring businesses stay ahead in a fast-evolving market. 
 
Wiley Strahan - “Visibility is table stakes.”  
 
Visibility is a term that gets used a lot in conversations about the supply chain, but that’s because it is foundational. The key differentiator is how you use it—optimizing processes, extracting insights, or sharing data to enhance the entire journey. This strategic use of visibility drives efficiency and competitive advantage. 

My final takeaways from Manifest 2024 are that the in-person experience of being at the event was exceptional, and the forward progress of the industry when it comes to technology continues unabated. All of which makes me look forward to what’s in store in 2025! 

Great Conversations and Key Takeaways from Manifest 2024

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