Automation Solutions Conference


Companies today face market conditions and trends that have forced them to challenge their business and distribution strategy. The global pandemic has only heightened this awareness and need to take action. As this process continues, customers are turning more frequently to automation to insulate them from the increasing cost and reduced availability of the labor required to drive these changes.

Is your business prepared to support your customers who require Automation Solutions? Is your business’ Automation strategy aligned with the needs of the market? This one-day conference is designed to share the changes that we are seeing with our customers and lessons learned from how these customers are implementing solutions to address these changing requirements.

Hear from industry experts on the environmental factors driving customers’ to act; review the advancements in technology and how they are being applied to our changing environment; hear directly from customers who have successfully navigated these changes; and participate in roundtable discussions with your material handling industry peers to share experiences and successes.

What Will You Learn?

  • Learn and discuss the drivers to market conditions and trends impacting companies today;
  • Learn about the advancements in technology and how they are being applied in business operations;
  • Learn valuable considerations to enhance your Automated Solutions Business Plan.

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors

Lunch Sponsor
Presentation Sponsor

Schedule at a Glance

    Wednesday October 13

  • 7:00 am - 8:00 am
    Registration and Breakfast
  • 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Presentations & Roundtable Discussions
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Lunch
  • 1:00 pm - 4:45 pm
    Presentations & Roundtable Discussions
  • 4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
    Closing Comments & Conference Ends
  • 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
    Optional Networking Dinner at Gibsons Steakhouse

Registration Fees

$795 Member (after September 10)
$1,095 Non-Member
$135 Gibsons Dinner (Optional Networking Event)

Included in the registration fee is admittance to the conference, all handout materials, breakfast, networking luncheon, coffee, soda and snack breaks. Also includes networking with other material handling professionals who face similar material handling career challenges as you and the priceless opportunity to bring your material handling career to the next level! Does not include travel or hotel accommodations.

Cancellation Policy
The full amount will be refunded if you cancel no later than September 30, 2021. Cancellations received after that date but before the start of the conference will be charged a $200 administration fee per person. No refunds given for “no shows.”

Who Should Attend

  • Organizations that want to better understand the market conditions and trends that companies currently face;
  • Organizations that currently offer Automated Solutions;
  • Organizations who are planning to offer Automated Solutions;
  • Dealer Principals, Executive Management, Sales Management who contribute to the development of their automation strategy.

 

Agenda

    Wednesday October 13

  • 7:00 am - 8:00 am

    Breakfast & Registration

  • 8:00 am - 8:15 am

    Welcome & Introductions

  • 8:15 am - 9:15 am

    A Changing World: Environmental Factors Impacting Business and Customer Needs presented virtually by Marc Wulfraat, President, MWPVL International Inc.

    Learn and discuss the environmental factors driving customers’ needs and demands. From the residual impacts of COVID to the changing labor demographics and customer buying habits, gain insights into the forces that are shaping our industry.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Explore the changes taking place in the supply chain due to e-commerce.
    • Review environmental factors that are being changed due to this market shift.
    • Discuss the labor shortage and its impact on business continuity and the increasing demand for automation systems.
    • Learn why automation is not about ROI anymore.

     

    About Marc Wulfraat

    He is the President and Founder of MWPVL International, a global supply chain and logistics consulting firm specialized in helping companies with supply chain strategy, facility design, and supply chain technology. Marc has worked with hundreds of companies to optimize their distribution networks, warehouse operations and overall supply chains. He has 34 years of experience in the strategies and tactics of the most effective logistics and distribution companies. Marc has spent most of his career working in the grocery industry and he has helped many large companies design, optimize and automate their distribution facilities. His firm is currently involved in projects that involve in excess of $1.2 Billion of capital expenditures into infrastructure.

  • 9:15 am - 10:00 am

    Networking Roundtable Discussions

    Attendees will discuss the environmental factors that they and their customers are experiencing.

  • 10:00 am - 10:15 am

    Break

  • 10:15 am - 11:15 am

    Technology Advancements: How Technology is Impacting Material Handling Solutions

    Presented by Troy Donnelly, VP of Integration and Solution Strategy, Toyota Advanced Logistics North America (TALNA)

    From AI to AMRs to Ergonomics, technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid pace. Learn about the advancements in technology and how they are being driven by our current environment.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Review how technology advancements are impacting material handling solutions.
    • Explore how material handling solutions are adapting to market needs.
    • Identify the current solution trends.

     

    About Troy Donnelly

    Troy serves as VP of Integration and Solution Strategy for Toyota Advanced Logistics North America (TALNA). Prior to joining TALNA, Troy held the following positions: Director of Consulting & System Integration for Associated; Project Director for Peach State; Director of Solution Design for HK Logistics; Manager of Simulations and Systems Analysis for HK Systems/Dematic. Throughout Troy’s career he has designed and analyzed material handling systems leveraging every technology and across every market. Troy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree from Marquette University. He also served in the Marine Corps prior to getting his advanced degrees.

  • 11:15 am - 12:00 pm

    Networking Roundtable Discussions

    Attendees will discuss the technologies that they and their customers are leveraging to address the environmental factors.

  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Lunch

  • 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

    Customer Perspective #1 – Parts Town

    Hear from a real-world customer, Kenny William, Senior Director of Distribution Center Wizardry (aka Senior Director of Process Improvement) for Parts Town. William will discuss the market drivers that are impacting his organization, the resulting technologies that they are exploring and how the customer/supplier relationships are evolving. Presentation will be followed by Q&A.

    About Kenny William

    Kenny William is the Senior Director of Distribution Center Wizardry (aka Senior Director of Process Improvement) for Parts Town, where he has led the company’s supply chain technology team for the past six years. His team of DC Wizards writes software to support Parts Town’s world class distribution operation. Prior to this technical work, Kenny was one of the operational managers in the distribution center for three years, where he created the company safety program, and improved productivity and quality while tripling the size of the team. Kenny has played an instrumental role in helping the company achieve explosive, sustained growth.

  • 1:45 pm - 2:00 pm

    Break

  • 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

    Customer Perspective #2 – Tractor Supply Co.

    Hear from real-world customers Will Sparks, Director of Logistics Field Support, and Matt Eskridge, Manager, Logistics Process Improvement at Tractor Supply Co. Sparks and Eskridge will discuss the market drivers that are impacting their organization, the resulting technologies that they are exploring and how the customer/supplier relationships are evolving. Presentation will be followed by Q&A.

    About the Speakers

    Will Sparks has served as Director Logistics Field Support since February 2017. He has responsibility for distribution center standardization and continuous improvement, as well as supporting the supply chain growth strategy, e-commerce fulfillment, and the logistics technology roadmap. From 2005 to 2016, Will worked in various operations and engineering roles within the third-party logistics (3PL) industry. Will earned a Bachelor of Science in Logistics from The University of Tennessee, and an MBA from The University of South Carolina.  He is an active member of WERC, a division of MHI, and recently served as Chair of the 2021 WERC Annual Conference.

    Matt Eskridge has served as Manager, Logistics Process Improvement since May 2020. He has responsibility for deploying standardized analytics across the distribution network, R&D and deployment for automation and MHE, as well as leading flow optimization within the distribution network. Before joining TSC, he worked in the supply chain engineering practice for MHE system integrator, Kuecker Logistics Group (KLG). Before KLG, he worked in various operations and engineering roles in the third-party logistics (3PL) industry. Matt earned a B.B.A. from the University of North Texas in Business and a M.S. in SCM from Middle Tennessee State University.

  • 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

    Break

  • 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

    Customer Perspective #3 – Lawson Products

    Hear from a real-world customer, John Naso, Senior Director US Operations and Global Transportation for Lawson Products. John will discuss the market drivers that are impacting his organization, the resulting technologies that they are exploring and how the customer/supplier relationships are evolving. Presentation will be followed by Q & A.

    About John Naso

    John Naso serves as the Sr Director US Operations and Global Transportation John joined Lawson Products in 2013, bringing more than 25 years of operations and supply chain management experience. John has been a leader of transformation programs that drive consistent improvements in supply chain process, customer service and corporate profitability. He is accountable for operational results in the following areas industrial engineering, network design, supply chain, distribution facilities (design, space utilization, process flow), inventory and replenishment management, transportation strategies and LEAN process improvement. Experience working with third party conversions, selecting and managing 3PL transportation and delivery relationships. Successfully directing multiple remote operations and field regional managers in high volume operations. Before joining the Lawson team, John held the following positions: Senior General Manager for NFI Industries, Vice President Supply Chain Strategy and Logistics for OfficeMax, Director Distribution & Sales Services for Hilti. John received a BSBA from John Carroll University. He has also earned APICS CSCP.

  • 3:45 pm - 4:00 pm

    Break

  • 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm

    Keeping Automation Running: Automation Technician Skills Assessment, Development and Certification

    Presented by Steve Harrington, Industry Liaison for the National Center for Supply Chain Automation (SCA) and a Senior Advisor for the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC).

    The growth in automated systems has highlighted the need for technician training to support these systems. With direction and input by industry professionals from MHI, MHEDA and numerous other logistics experts, the National Center for Supply Chain Automation has developed a comprehensive Certified Technician-Supply Chain Automation credentialing program and introduce the hands-on Skill Boss Logistics device which teaches and accesses 100 hands on skills required in today’s modern 21st century fulfillment centers. This industry vetted solution has been rolled out at technical schools in 19 states and at companies in logistics centroids across the country.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Skills taught in automation credentialing program
    • Technical schools currently administering the automation credentialing program
    • Skill Boss Logistics device overview

    About Steve Harrington

    Steve Harrington is the Industry Liaison for the National Center for Supply Chain Automation (SCA) and a Senior Advisor for the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). In his SCA role, he is responsible for the development and oversight of a national industry leadership team consisting of supply chain executives and logistics industry stakeholders. In his role at MSSC, he is the principle contact for the innovative Certified Technician-Supply Chain Automation (CTSCA) technician certification program he partnered with industry to collaboratively develop. Steve has 28 years of experience in supply chain operations most recently as the West Coast Logistics Manager for the Perrigo Co., a Fortune 500 generic drug manufacturer. Steve is past President and Chairman of the Distribution Management Association of Southern California (DMA), a 250 member logistics industry association he developed, organized and lead. He is a two time “Spirit of the Entrepreneur” award winner for his work in the field of economic development. He is a graduate from Cal State University Fullerton with a degree in Business Administration.

  • 4:45 pm - 5:00 pm

    Closing Comments & Conference Ends

  • 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

    Networking Dinner at Gibsons Steakhouse (Optional)

    Enhance your conference experience with a first-class dinner at the famous Gibsons Steakhouse. Enjoy mouthwatering steaks, huge portions and memorable desserts all in a classy environment, designed for your peer-to-peer networking. You do not want to miss this event!

    Note, registration is $135 per person. Includes full steak dinner, assorted sides, dessert, beer, wine, tax and gratuity. Vegetarian option available.

Location

  • Embassy Suites O’Hare
    5500 N. River Road
    Rosemont, IL 60018

    For reservations call (800) 315-1061 by September 14th and mention MHEDA to receive the discounted rate of $182. Or make your reservations online and click on the button below.

    The Embassy Suites O’Hare Hotel is located less than two miles from O’Hare International Airport and has a 24-hour airport shuttle. Conveniently located only a few blocks from Fashion Outlets of Chicago and rail links to downtown. Enjoy made-to-order breakfast, complimentary evening reception, and access to the pool and fitness center.

    The hotel is doing everything they can to ensure your travel safety and provide maximum flexibility as the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve.

    Illinois requires mandatory masks at indoor events for all individuals, both unvaccinated and vaccinated. We will continue to monitor both Illinois and CDC guidelines and adjust the policy as needed.