Sessions Overview

Track 4 - Optimize Operations

Creating a strategic plan for your warehouse is no longer a nicety; it’s a must-have business imperative that covers everything from the facility’s physical design to its labor force and its overall workflow…and everything in between. Using the thorough planning process outlined in this track and covered across multiple sessions, you’ll be able to accelerate change by maximizing existing space and planning effectively for new facilities before making those critical investments.

Track 4 Sessions

  • Session 1
    Designing the Optimal Distribution or Fulfillment Center

    Derek Ream


    Monday: 9:00AM - 10:00AM
    Location: Kokopelli 2

    From the outside, the typical warehouse may look like an empty shell. In reality, distribution centers are complex assets that work best when automation, labor, seasonality, growth, and optimization are properly factored into the equation. Ignore these critical elements and the fast-paced distribution environment will quickly leave your company in the dust. In this session, we’ll show you how to effectively navigate the planning and design phases as fast as possible without skipping the most important steps.

  • Session 2
    Selling Automation's Value to the C-Suite
    Monday: 10:15AM - 11:15AM
    Location: Kokopelli 2

    Automated warehouses help organizations reduce costs, increase efficiencies, reduce errors, and fulfill orders faster — ultimately streamlining their operations. The challenge is making a solid argument bolstered by facts and data that the C-Suite can embrace and get onboard with. Top executives need to hear how automation can improve everything from supply chain execution to customer satisfaction — and everything in between. From this panel, you’ll learn how to present the data in a way that tells that story.

  • Session 3
    Closing the Gap Between Maintenance and Operations
    Monday: 11:30AM - 12:30PM
    Location: Kokopelli 1

    It’s no secret that the holistic approach to overall equipment effectiveness requires collaboration between maintenance and operations. Firms that understand this and work to close the gap between the two not only improve their overall equipment efficiency, but they also minimize repair times and more readily identify/prevent the pressing equipment issues that impact operations. Come to this session to hear how one company is using this strategy to achieve these and other wins in today’s competitive business environment.

  • Session 4
    You've Got the Power! How to Harness Reverse Logistics for Easier Returns

    Julie Arington

    FedEx Supply Chain

    Monday: 2:15PM - 3:15PM
    Location: White Pine 2

    Last year, retailers took back $351 billion in returned merchandise — roughly 10 percent of their total sales for the year. When outgoing packages get shipped back to retailers by shoppers who are unhappy with their purchases, it kicks off a reverse logistics process that’s exploded in the age of e-commerce. This flood of returns is creating a logistical headache that’s not only making the distribution environment more challenging, but it’s also undermining the organizational bottom line. In this session, we give you the latest solutions to these operational pain points and hear how some of the nation’s top retailers are effectively coping with their own returns challenges.

  • Session 5
    Cost-Justifying and Creating a World-Class Shuttle System

    Marc Wulfraat

    MWPVL International

    Monday: 3:30PM - 4:30PM
    Location: White Pines

    By speeding up and facilitating the automated storage and retrieval of cartons, small parts, trays, containers, and individual bundles, shuttle systems are dramatically increasing speed, accuracy and throughput in warehouses, factories or distribution centers in an era where speed, accuracy, and velocity are all paramount. At this session, one of the nation’s leading logistics experts will walk you through the design and development plans that go into a world-class shuttle system, and help you create a financial/business case for a shuttle system investment.

  • Session 6
    Ready, Set, Go Live…Then Stabilize Your DC

    Karen Adie-Henderson

    Canadian Tire Retail

    Tuesday: 10:15AM - 11:15AM
    Location: White Pines

    Large-scale automation projects require rigorous planning, time, energy, and effort. The successful ones are absolutely worth the Herculean effort needed to make them happen, but many companies underestimate what it takes to get from “go live” to “stabilization.” The board and the C-Suite want to see a business case and customers expect immediate improvements, but getting there requires process reviews, analysis, optimization, constant communication, and a commitment to organizational change management. Come hear one retailer’s experience and lessons learned on its journey from go live to distribution center stabilization.

  • Session 7
    Get Your DC Out of the “Survival Mode” Quicksand

    Jason Lukas


    Curtis Puechl

    W.W. Grainger, Inc.

    Tuesday: 11:30AM - 12:30PM
    Location: Kokopelli 2

    The tremendous growth in e-commerce is pushing companies to step up their games in order to put products into customers’ hands when promised. But much like the human body can’t operate on adrenaline for long, distribution and fulfillment centers can’t operate in survival mode 24/7/365. Safety audits, equipment checks, labor standards, and maintenance routines are just a few of the things that fall by the wayside when you’re operating in survival mode. Ready to get out of the quicksand? Come to this session, where you’ll learn how companies are managing these ebbs and flows and take part in a Q&A session with our customer panel.

  • Session 8
    How Single-Item Orders are Tipping the Fulfillment Scales (and What to Do About It)
    Tuesday: 2:15PM - 3:15PM
    Location: Kokopelli 2

    Today’s distribution centers receive a lot of single-item orders — as small as a tube of lip balm — that have to be picked, packed, and then shipped to individual customers. These consumers have extremely high expectations for order timeliness, tracking, and accuracy — a stark reality that puts unique strains on even the newest fulfillment centers. To further complicate matters, managing single orders in our fast-paced distribution environment requires a high volume of SKUs, enough inventory to cover the orders, robust fulfillment systems, and reliable labor forces. Come to this session to learn how to address these issues in the most efficient, consistent, and cost-effective manner.



Contact one of our team members at 262.860.6546. Or visit the Contact Us page and complete the form. You may also find your answer on our FAQ page.