Learning is a career-long process for every professional. But in an industry that’s changing as fast as logistics, it’s essential to keep your knowledge up to date — for the sake of your own success as well as your team of industry professionals.

Supply chain conferences offer great opportunities for attendees to hear from the people at the forefront of the changes on the horizon. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to ask direct questions about artificial intelligence, supply chain management and optimization, the impact of tariffs, or the future of trucking from people who actually have decision-making power.

Networking with your peers offers another type of learning. As you meet people in supply chain roles similar to yours, you may be able to glean some wisdom — about challenges your company is facing, solutions you’ve experimented with, or resources you may be able to tap into.

One constant at supply chain conferences lately is data. Many presentations are immediately applicable to industry leaders who have data close at hand. Walking into a conference with high-quality data puts you at an immediate advantage as you begin applying the lessons attendees learn. (Do you have questions about how to start gathering logistics and supply chain data? Reach out to Reveel today.)

These are our picks for the best logistics conferences of 2020.

1. BG Strategic Advisors Supply Chain Conference

BG Strategic Advisors is an investment bank that specializes in mergers and acquisitions in the supply chain sector. Their annual conference — this year at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. — is targeted at senior executives, and the schedule includes opportunities for executives to meet with BGSA team members. Speakers for the conference have not yet been announced.

Notably, the 2020 BGSA conference will include a “Shark Tank” event, where supply chain innovators present ideas to a panel of judges. Six finalist companies that need financing to bring the “next big idea” to market will have the opportunity to make a 10-minute presentation to three judges and more than 200 industry leaders. Any of these people can offer working capital to any of the competing companies. To register, visit https://bgsaconference.com/sharktank/.

Related: What are the Best Ways to Improve Your Supply Chain?

2. IWLA Convention

The 2020 International Warehouse Logistics Association Convention is scheduled for March 15-17 in San Diego. IWLA is an industry group made up primarily of warehouse owners. Consequently, its conference focuses specifically on warehouse logistics.

Suppliers are invited to exhibit products on a trade show floor. Attendees, who are primarily warehouse-based 3PL executives can peruse the expo seeking technology for their fulfillment centers.

3. SCOPE Supply Chain Summit

The SCOPE Supply Chain Summit bills itself as an “invitation-only trade show for supply chain executives that bridges you to the most efficient solutions and information for your crowning priorities.” Conference organizing staff craft custom schedules for attendees, sending them to sessions tailored to their job duties and interests within the field. The agenda is organized around industry-wide key themes, which include supply chain visibility, warehouse management and optimization, and adoption of rising technologies.

The SCOPE Supply Chain Summit is presented by Quartz, a producer of corporate events. Quartz also organizes conferences in the fields of human resources, procurement, IT and more.

Related: What Does 3D Printing Mean for Supply Chain?

4. WERC 2020 Annual Conference for Logistics Professionals

The first weekend in May marks the 42nd Annual WERC Conference for Logistics Professionals. WERC was founded as the Warehousing Education and Research Council in the 1970s, as warehousing became recognized as a specific, narrow field. Today the organization focuses broadly on “logistics management and its role in the supply chain,” seeking to offer education and networking.

A schedule for the Providence, R. I. conference has not yet been released. Last year’s agenda included a combination of “thought leader sessions” and peer-to-peer discussions for attendees, covering topics like benefits for warehouse workers, safety, machine learning and autonomous robots.

5. Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

Last on our 2020 calendar, also in May, is the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo. The Orlando, Fla. conference boasts that it is “the world’s most important gathering of CSCOs and supply chain executives,” and the agenda offers pathways for a variety of specializations — sourcing and procurement, consumer-retail exchange, supply chain leadership, and more.

Gartner, which sponsors the gathering, is a consulting firm with a wide variety of services, including dozens of annual conferences around the world.

Why Attend a Logistics and Supply Chain Conference in 2020?

Supply chain management, as a field, is growing and growing. And the field is evolving faster and faster. New areas of focus appear every few years, giving industry leaders opportunities to grow and specialize.

At the same time, however, the converse is true: If you don’t keep up, your knowledge might become irrelevant sooner than you expect. If you don’t specialize, you may struggle to innovate or move forward in your own career.

Take advantage of the logistics and supply chain conference that best fits your needs. Send your team to a variety of panels and conversations, seeking as much knowledge as possible. When you debrief in the office the following week, you might be shocked by how quickly the ideas start flowing.

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