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WERC Annual Conference - People Matter

By Steve Simmerman | 05/29/2011 | 7:43 AM

It's been 2 weeks since the Annual WERC Conference was held in Orlando.  Attendance was strong and there were some great sessions and networking events throught the conference.  Two keynote presentations really stood out, and both dealt with the people side of our business.  I always try to mention the People, Process, Technology components of any supply chain initiative, but Randy Lewis (SVP Supply Chain & Logistics) at Walgreens gave one of the most powerful presentations that I have ever seen at a logistics-related event. Randy spoke about a program designed to employ disabled individuals across the Walgreens distribution centers.  The program started in 2007 in their Anderson, SC distribution center. It is a wonderful story about Randy's personal passion and vision and how this vision became reality for Walgreens.


Randy told the story of how the program moved from concept to reality.  The presentation was filled with video profiles of many of the disabled Walgreens DC employees working side by side with their 'typically abled' co-workers.  The results of this program are staggering in many respects.  Today, Walgreens employs 950 disabled workers across thier DC network.  Randy talked about the impact of this program on everyone involved and how this program has positively touched the lives of everyone involved.  Randy has told this story to audiences of all kinds, including features on national television and news programs - it truly is an inspirational and touching story and I highly encourage you to read more about it.  Randy and his team will open their DCs to anyone (even competitors) in order to help others learn about the benefits of this program - it is truly a game changing approach to business.

Robyn Benincasa closed out the conference with a powerful presentation about "Human Synergy" and teamwork.  You see, Robyn is a two-time Eco-Challenge World Champion and she is also a firefighter in San Diego.  She knows quite a bit about teamwork and competition. Robyn's examples of what "total committment" as an individual means in terms of teamwork and success were phenomenal.  If you missed her presentation, you can download a copy here.

Robyn and Randy challenged the WERC attendees to push themselves to the limit as individuals contributing to whatever team they are a part of.  As Randy reminded us all, 'our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond our imagination' and it is that fear that holds us back.  Randy talked about how we are 'quiet when we should have spoken', or 'sitting when we should have taken action'. I really encourage you to read more about Randy and Robyn and see how you can apply their lessons to your supply chain initiatives - as I always say, technology is great, processes are great, but it's the people that will help us succeed in the long run.  Thank you Randy and Robyn for presenting such powerful messages at WERC!

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About Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman is a Senior Director with JDA. Simmerman has more than 25 years of experience in the supply chain industry including software, consulting and material handling. He has focused his efforts on working with clients to achieve high performance supply chain results through partnerships and creative solutions. He is a member of CSCMP, WERC, and MHIA and is a regular contributor to several industry publications and events. Simmerman holds his undergraduate and MBA degrees from The University of Notre Dame.


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