SEPTEMBER 23-25, 2018

The Supply Chain Excellence Focus Conference combines the best parts of the Operations & Logistics and Purchasing Optimization Focus Conferences. Attendees involved in all aspects of the supply chain from forecasting and procurement to logistics and operations will find practical and valuable takeaways in the event. Distributors looking to gain a competitive edge through improved supply chain operations won’t want to miss this event.


Executive $625 | Social $150



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Andrew Duguay is a Senior Economist for Prevedere, a predictive analytics company that helps provides business leaders a real-time view of their company’s future performance. Prior to his role at Prevedere, Andrew was a Senior Economist at ITR Economics. Andrew’s commentary and expertise have been featured in Forbes, MarketWatch and other publications. Andrew has an MBA and a degree in Economics. He has received a Certificate in Professional Forecasting from the Institute for Business Forecasting and Certificates in Economic Measurement, Applied Econometrics, and Time-Series Analysis and Forecasting from the National Association for Business Economics.

Challenges of Business Forecasting in a Changing Economy

The annual enterprise planning cycle is riddled with baseline forecasts and assumptions that end up simply not being true 6, 12, 18 months away as the consumer shifts, and the economy changes. Together we will talk about how systematically identifying key leading external indicators are helping businesses not only better explain past “misses” but see changing trends out into the future. Topics include:

  • An overview of relevant market conditions impacting distributors and the HVACR industry
  • Key economic indicators to watch during the next six to twelve months
  • How distributors can refine their strategy to incorporate the signals from industry indicators into the forecasting process


MCA Associates, a management consulting firm since 1986, works with wholesale distribution and manufacturing companies that seek and are committed to operational excellence. Our staff of Senior Consultants provides operational excellence – thought leadership – and implements continuous improvement solutions focused on business processes, inventory and supply chain management, distribution center/warehouse design and productivity improvement, sales development and revenue generation, information systems and technology, and organizational assessment and development including family-business succession planning.

Modern Warehouse/DC Design & Performance Metrics Concepts…What’s your Strategy for “Speed-of-Flow” – Cost Center or Profit Center?

Are you considering bringing your DC/Warehouse into the “mainstream? Will you be able to handle any projected increases in sales with the same workforce or just end up throwing more bodies at it? How do you go about mitigating the “constraints” you face?

It could be a wise investment if it’s financially measurable, and has a verifiable and tangible return in terms of reducing transaction costs – now – while attaining “future cost avoidance” opportunities as you continue to grow.

This presentation will identify the common “wastes” of major warehouse and distribution center activities and the lean thinking methods and technologies available that debunk what has been, for too long, current thinking within the context of small, medium and large size wholesale distributors.


Kevin Gue is a professor of industrial engineering and Director of the Logistics and Distribution Institute at the University of Louisville. His research interests are in logistics, warehousing, and material handling. He has published in leading journals of his field, and is a past president of the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education. He is co-inventor of the Flying-V, Fishbone, and Chevron warehouse aisle designs—work for which he was awarded the Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering Award in 2009. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the 2014 U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics.

Logistics Technology and the Future of Retail

America’s growing demand for convenience has enormous implications for retail distribution operations, and the problems go well beyond integrating e-commerce as just another distribution channel. We describe a future in which retail evolves into a multitude of shopping experiences, including pure play e-commerce, new forms of in-store shopping, pick up from store, and on and on—all of which must be delivered in a highly constrained labor environment. We explain the scope of the problems, and then suggest a number of emerging technologies that could be part of the solution. Buckle in, folks, this is going to be a wild ride!


Corry Dickerson founded Dickerson Transportation Solutions five years ago, and wanted to create a company that would provide multi-modes of service offerings in an environment that flexibly assisted customers in growing their business. The DTS mission is bundling LTL and Final Mile, offering a multiple of LTL providers to provide a nice array of price and service options coupled with a deep availability of Final Mile; Whiteglove – 2-man delivery with set-up or 1 man threshold service. Dickerson hold 35 years of experience in the transportation and logistics fields.

Final Mile, Rush Delivery, Hotshot, White Glove Transport Service

Dickerson Transportation Solutions is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes achieve their final mile delivery needs. From nationwide to regional delivery, their strategy is built around the needs of your business and your customers. Dickerson will discuss aspects of Final Mile you can utilize to improve service to your contractor customers.


Bill Sullivan joined the American Trucking Association (ATA) as the Executive Vice President of Advocacy in 2016 after serving as legislative director for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and previous tours at the Department of Justice and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

The State of the Trucking Industry

Sullivan will discuss the challenges facing the trucking industry, including the current driver shortage and how that is impacting our industry and your business. Also to be addressed are the current legislative and regulatory developments in the trucking industry. Sullivan will provide an outlook on these issues to help you plan for the future.


Tony was selected to become the Executive Director of the RLA in 2016 after 12 years of active involvement on the Advisory Board and on Committees. In his 35 plus years in the consumer products industry, Tony has held various positions including 15 years in returns management at Philips. During his Philips years, Tony developed new reverse logistics strategies and implemented many new returns initiatives. He worked with retail partners and industry groups on best practices still being used. Tony then became an evangelist for improving the customer experience to reduce returns and their associated costs. Today, Tony is considered a subject matter expert in reverse logistics, and speaks for the industry at conferences all over the world while leading RLA.

12N Labeling Technology

Sciarrotta will be discussing member feedback on a new exciting product label technology that can help the HVAC Distributor and Dealer community to reduce costs and complexity. This new technology also has provisions for improving end customer support, consumer and technician product education, RMA, repair tracking, parts, BOM, logistics control and many other tasks. This session will give attendees a directly actionable and affordable opportunity.


Attendees will split up and choose from one of three tours to a non-HVACR distributor facility and learn what best-in-class distributors in other industries are doing to optimize their operations. Find out how these facilities are tackling automation, implementing new technologies, adding value, gaining efficiency and promoting sustainability. Attendees will regroup in mixed roundtables the next morning to compare and contrast the unique strengths identified on their tours. Additionally, groups will be asked to brainstorm ideas and applications for our own industry.


Testa Produce

Come get some fresh ideas at Testa Produce. The Chicago-based produce distributor can offer insights in two unique ways. First, they take sustainability to an extreme – even installing their own 150-foot wind turbine — and operate the first facility of its kind to earn a LEED Platinum certification. Second, they require extremely efficient forecasting because most of the products must arrive and ship within 72 hours. Add to that the logistical challenges of quickly moving product to customers and tracking shipments in the event of a recall, and you have an operation equipped to meet substantial logistical demands. Anyone curious about what they can do to promote sustainability or how other industries overcome their own logistical challenges should check out Testa Produce.

*As a food distribution facility, this tour has specific dress code requirements, which you can view here.


What sort of metrics do you track? Parksite tracks 58 data points to inform six key performance indicators involving productivity, accuracy, costs, and shipping and delivery. With their implementation of voice technology in the warehouse, the “hands-free eyes-up” operation improves their safety and adds to their accuracy. Parksite’s customer service model deemphasizes value added services in favor of partnering with their customers to generate downstream demand. If you’re looking to sharpen your performance measurements and add technology, this is for you.


Is next-day delivery on virtually all orders a capability reserved for large distributors? Not if you ask the folks at ConneXion, who have a singular focus on customer service. A younger company – just 10 years old – with only three locations serving the Chicago area, ConneXion embraces a culture of customer service from maintaining a tidy, presentable customer-facing warehouse to running packing and routing operations at night, ensuring orders get delivered the next day with very few errors.


Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel

5300 N River Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018
Room rate: $199/night

Book a Room

Hotel cut-off: August 31st


Sunday, September 23rd

6:00- 7:00 PM Registration
6:00- 7:00 PM Welcome Reception

Monday, September 24th

7:00 AM – 12:00 PM Registration
8:00 – 9:00 AM Opening Breakfast/HARDI Update
9:00 – 10:15 AM Featured Speaker: Kevin Gue
10:30 – 11:45 AM Featured Speaker: Andrew Duguay
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 2:15 PM Featured Speaker: Howard Coleman
2:30 PM Depart Hotel
3:15 – 4:45 PM Tours
Return to Hotel by 5:30 PM
6:00 – 7:00 PM Happy Hour

Tuesday, September 25th

7:45 – 8:30 AM Breakfast
8:30 – 9:30 AM Roundtables/Tour Debrief
9:45 – 10: 30 AM Featured Speaker: Bill Sullivan
10:30 – 11: 15 Featured Speaker: Corry Dickerson
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Featured Speaker: Tony Sciarrotta

*This agenda is tentative and is subject to change.


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