Hundreds of S.O.L.D. - Supply chain, Operations, Logistics, Delivery - professionals from across the ecommerce and 3PL sector came together last week for the second eDelivery Conference (EDC 2016) at London's Hammersmith Novotel.
Speakers, delegates, strategists and decision makers from leading companies such as Argos, Sainsbury's, Royal Mail, Amazon UK, Mothercare, Intershop, M&S, John Lewis, Wayfair, Ocado, Sky and FedEx Cross Border discussed and explored the latest trends and developments, as well as the best strategies for the operations and logistics industry, at the show.
The conference kicked off with a packed plenary session, led by two of the biggest multichannel retail companies in the UK, on "The Strategy", the inner workings of the retail boardroom and the shifting role and image of the logistics industry within the digital commerce landscape.
Ben Farrell, Head of Central Operations and Transport at John Lewis, talked about the changes the company experienced this year, the pressures entailed to operations, the importance of channel cross-over and the need of collaboration between commercial and logistics departments. On a similar note, Katie McQuaid, Director of Fulfilment at Amazon UK, discussed the growth of Amazon Fulfilment across Europe and highlighted how customer demands have changed over the past year and the constant need for experimentation and innovation within the industry to satisfy these new demands.
The practitioner-led conference, with an overall theme around PRACTICALITY, focused on how to respond to new customer demands and improve operational performance, later split into two conference streams "Availability" and "Experience" and 10 interactive roundtable discussions.
Insights, experiences, challenges and advice were shared during the two tracks that drew together fulfilment professionals including: Roger Morris, Head of Royal Mail Parcels at Royal Mail; Ricky Wilson, Head of Operations of M&S; Vinesh Patel, Mobile Operations at Sky; Walter Blackwood, Omni Channel Logistics Expert at W&MB Consulting Ltd and Former Logistics Director at Mothercare; Maxim Romain, General Manager of Wayfair; and Craig Wheeler, Operations Director at feelunique.com.
They provided a better understanding on how the growth of online retail has impacted traditional infrastructure and underlined how efficiency, innovation, responsiveness, availability and experience are key to meet the expectations of today's customer.
New to this year, and requested by last year's attendees, were the Roundtable sessions. These chairs provided attendees with the opportunity to intimately sit across the table from industry experts and have a closer discussion over the strategic, operational and trading aspects of their own businesses.
The sessions included moderators such as Greg Bacon, Senior Development Manager and Home Delivery CX at Sainsbury's and Argos, analysing the benefits and pitfalls of same-day delivery; Paul Johnson-Barnett, Head of Distribution at Barbour, discussing how to take fulfilment and delivery abroad; and, Kamal Bal, Head of Online Performance at M&S, sharing strategies to put customer experience at the heart of online.
Sam North, Portfolio Director at InternetRetailing Events, said: "It is great to see how the eDelivery Conference, in its second year, has already made its way to become a reputable and must-attend event within the European trade calendar.
Attendees to this year's show were not only able to witness what trends and issues they should take notice of to remain at the forefront of the growing industry, but to interact with their peers and have a more personal approach to learn about strategies, new capabilities and cross-border regulations that are currently shaping the universe behind the buy-button."
The conference received board-level visitors from hundreds of companies, including; Tesco, Doddle, ASDA, Kingfisher Group, Canon Europe, Postnord, Mountain Warehouse, Halfords, Evans Cycles, Lush Cosmetics, Laithwaite's Wine, Yodel, Dyson and Nike.
More insights and developments for the multichannel retail and S.O.L.D. industry will be presented next year at the eDelivery Expo, co-located with the InternetRetailing Expo, on the 5th and 6th April at the NEC in Birmingham.