When it All Started
The BGSA Supply Chain Conference began in 2007. At the time, dozens of industry conferences existed. They included trade shows, academic events, and Wall Street conferences. No one event gave CEOs a strategic perspective on the big issues in their business.
Meanwhile, the world was changing. Truck brokerage companies were merging with freight forwarding. Warehousing companies were converging with contract packaging. 4PLs were emerging as one-stop-shop services. In short, the historical barriers between supply chain segments were eroding, as customers sought more holistic solutions.
History of the Idea – with BGSA Founder Benjamin Gordon
BGSA Founder Benjamin Gordon had a simple idea. Why not create a forum for CEOs across all areas of supply chain? Leaders could share learnings across all sectors, including asset-based and non-asset, global and domestic, air and ocean, trucking and rail, technology-based and old-fashioned. CEOs could benefit from the pattern recognition and cross-sector insights that would emerge.
In addition, most events were covered by the press. This prevented public companies from being able to speak candidly. And it discouraged private companies from speaking their mind. What if BGSA could provide a media-free forum?
Presentation format was another issue. Throughout their career history, Gordon and the BGSA team had by that point sat through hundreds of “death by Powerpoint” presentations where the audience dozed off. What if BGSA could foster a no-Powerpoint philosophy, where the core agenda was about interactive discussions and audience Q&A? Would panelists and participants be more transparent? Would they learn more from one another? Would competitors be willing to let down their guard and say what they really thought?
Venue was the last topic. Many conferences chose to locate in convention centers. They saved money but made it less appealing for busy CEOs to travel. What if you picked one of the finest luxury hotels in the world, in one of the most appealing resort destinations, in a location that was easy to reach, with a range of fun activities for busy executives and their spouses? In other words, how about the Breakers in Palm Beach?
With these goals in mind, BGSA launched the first Supply Chain Conference in January 2007. Chaired by BGSA’s Benjamin Gordon in Palm Beach at the Breakers, the event included approximately 70 CEOs. Their feedback was positive, as well as constructive. The rest, as they say, is history.
The BGSA Supply Chain Conference Today
Over the subsequent years, the conference has more than tripled. BGSA continues to host it in Palm Beach. Sponsors like Benesch, Cambridge Capital, FedEx, DAT, Lean Staffing, JDA, DHL, UPS, WNS, XPO and other outstanding firms have volunteered to invest to help make the event even better. The agenda continues to center around interactive panels with top CEOs. Benjamin Gordon and Cambridge Capital have invested in companies at the conference. So have other investment firms. BGSA Supply Chain continues to be an invitation-only event. And we believe it gathers the “best and brightest” in the industry, featuring CEOs across all areas of supply chain.
The topics today reflect the issues supply chain CEOs care about. What will Amazon do next? How will ecommerce fulfillment and last-mile logistics transform? How can corporate giants transform to compete with new challengers? What mergers, acquisitions and investments are the smartest companies pursuing?
In the future, we expect to continue to evolve, as the world changes and as participants provide valuable input. Thank you for your interest!