Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Supply Chain’s Next Big Story

Maybe it’s just me, but the last few weeks have illustrated just how weary we’ve all become from the pandemic, and the still unsatisfactory response to it.


We’re already two weeks into the new “alert system” the government rolled out to, ideally, simplify restrictions and to help us better suss out what we can and cannot do in these times. Instead, we still got a lot of questions about what the difference between, say, “alert level 3” and “alert level 4” is. Either that, or we got resigned sighs. Here we go again. It’s just more of the same.


Interestingly, the government decided to impose, without making a fuss about it, a vaccine mandate. Only fully vaccinated Filipinos can eat at restaurants. Luckily, my girlfriend and I got both our doses a few months back, so we finally got to try that new burger restaurant I’ve had an eye on since I first saw it in my travels (remember traveling?) a few years ago. As I enjoyed my yakiniku rice burger, I overheard the staff turn a customer away because she wasn’t fully vaccinated yet.


Personally, I thought we’d consider requiring proof of vaccinations only when we’ve inoculated enough Filipinos. We’re still a long way from that, especially in the provinces. But, well, that ship has sailed.


Will we be stuck thinking of the immediate concerns of the pandemic? It isn’t over around the world, but many countries seem to have managed it, more or less, while we seem stuck in the same place we found ourselves in eighteen months ago. Yeah, I understand how it can make us really weary.


We’ve been preparing the past few months for this year’s edition of the SCMAP Supply Chain Conference, dubbed SCC21 Live. It’s happening from October 5 to 14. Still purely virtual, unfortunately; we were looking forward to meeting you all again in person, but of course the virus had other plans, and we also acknowledge that we’re not yet really in that frame to meet people physically. And yet we know we can’t—we shouldn’t—stay stuck here forever. We designed this year’s event with that in mind.


Our overarching theme this year is “What is Supply Chain’s Next Big Story?” It’s time to look further ahead, to the long-term impact of the pandemic—and many other things—to our supply chains. We hope that when we are able to break free from the coronavirus’ shackles (more or less) we can have a running restart, primed and ready to go head-on with rebuilding our businesses and our economy. That begins with an understanding of the issues that are shaping us now, and will continue to shape us in the future.


We will tackle current issues affecting global trade: congestion in the world’s major ports, the shortage of empty containers, and the resulting shortages and delays that shippers believe will run well deep into 2022 at this point. Joining us to share their perspectives are Maersk Philippines’ John Largo, URC’s Joannie Festejo and YCP Solidiance’s Anna Rellama.


We will look at how the way we deliver our products to our customers has changed with the growth of e-commerce, the continuing uncertainty around physical retail and the exploration of omnichannel fulfillment. Joining us on our panel are NielsenIQ’s Patrick Cua, Alaska Milk’s Ella Gonzales-Batingan, GrowSari’s ER Rollan and Locad’s Constantin Robertz.


We will explore how we can ensure our supply chains are truly sustainable, as the realities of climate change continue to hit home and the focus shifts from individual efforts to corporate ones. We will be talking to the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Material Sustainability’s Crispian Lao, Nestlé Philippines’ Anderson Martins and Personal Collection’s Rolando Lazo.


But of course, we will kick off the event with a broad view of where supply chain is headed in the coming years. Joining us as keynote speakers are Department of Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade and Fast Logistics CEO William Chiongbian II.


While we’re still doing things virtually we have exerted efforts to make sure you can continue to connect with your colleagues across Philippine supply chain. This year we will have networking lounges and a virtual exhibit, which you can access throughout the two weeks of the event. Maybe the next big idea will begin in these chatrooms. Close enough.


These times remain challenging—difficult when things don’t move forward as fast as we want them to—but we also recognize that the readier we are to take on the long-term challenges of the coming years, the more we can continue to provide value to our shareholders, partners and consumers, and perhaps help in the rapid reemergence of the Philippine economy. Join us—registration is open until 30 September. Visit scmap.org to become a delegate or sponsor, or to learn more. We look forward to meeting you (virtually, at least) there.


Henrik Batallones is the marketing and communications director of SCMAP, and editor-in-chief of its official publication, Supply Chain Philippines. More information about SCMAP is available at scmap.org.


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