17th Annual Voorhees Business Conference on supply chain management set for April 3

AMES, Iowa -- With many business owners now slashing overhead in order to survive the economic downturn, supply chain management efficiency and sustainability have become even more critical to the long-term health of their businesses.

Owners can learn from industry leaders in those areas at the 17th Annual Voorhees Business Conference -- sponsored by Iowa State University's College of Business, Jacobson Companies, Caterpillar Foundation and John Deere -- on Friday, April 3, in the Scheman Building, Iowa State Center. The conference will focus on "The Green Supply Chain: Challenges and Best Practices" and feature supply chain leaders from such business giants as Wal-Mart and Nestlé Purina PetCare, among others.

The conference fee is $160 and includes all conference materials, speaker sessions and lunch. ISU students and faculty may attend free, but must register.

The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with William Blackburn, president of Consulting Ltd. -- a company which focuses on sustainability, environment, health and safety management, and emergency and crisis response. His presentation, "Lean and Green: Building the Lean Sustainable Company for Competitive Advantage," will explain the concept of sustainability, how it relates to being lean, and how business can use an integrated "lean and green" approach within their operations and supply chains for long-term business advantage.

"Companies are realizing value from the Lean Manufacturing process; others are finding strategic benefit in pursuing sustainability," said Blackburn, who is co-chair of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee for the American Bar Association's section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.

Wal-Mart's new sustainability approach

David Reiff, senior vice presidents of logistics; and Candace Taylor, director of corporate strategy and sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will jointly make a 9:45 a.m. presentation, "Wal-Mart Business Sustainability." They will discuss Wal-Mart's "Sustainability 360" approach and the benefits of supply chain management.

"In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart executives realized the company could do more for the environment and the communities it serves," Reiff said. "President and CEO Lee Scott announced three sustainability goals for the company: to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain the earth's resources and the environment. Sustainability 360 was created to help meet those goals. The new approach focuses a sustainable lens at the entire company: its customer base, supply chain, associates and products."

Reiff earned his bachelor's degree in transportation and logistics from Iowa State and has responsibility for all of Wal-Mart's general merchandise and food distribution centers in the western half of the United States. He also has responsibility for fashion, pharmacy, Walmart.com and jewelry/specialty distribution centers.

Taylor works on Wal-Mart's commitment to integrate social and environmental sustainability into its business practices. Additionally, she serves as a resource for almost 2 million associates around the globe while they learn to lead more sustainable lives.

Marty Tendler, vice president and director of procurement and logistics, Nestlé Purina PetCare will present "A Corporate Perspective on Environmental Sustainability," at 11 a.m. He will provide insight into the sustainability strategies of Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company and one of the recognized leaders in the area of environmental sustainability. He will also look closely at Nestlé's pet food company, Nestlé Purina, and detail many of the actions being taken to reduce its environmental footprint.

The green approach to sustainability

Steve Matheys, executive vice president, Global Commercial Services, Schneider National Inc. -- a premier provider of transportation, logistics and intermodal services that began its green movement 30 years ago -- will be the final speaker at 1 p.m. His presentation, "Sustainability is About Going for the Green," will provide insight from the most energy-efficient transportation and logistics provider on how going green saves a business on its bottom line.

"When it comes to sustainability, the word 'green' is often overused and under defined," Matheys said. "For transportation and logistics professionals, going green not only mitigates negative impacts on our environment, but also drives cost out of supply chains. Saving fuel, operating more efficient equipment and incorporating innovative business practices has a dramatic effect on improving our environment while creating cost savings opportunities for shippers. Going green just makes good business sense."

To register or for more information, call (515) 294-3659, e-mail business@iastate.edu or visit the conference Web site at http://www.business.iastate.edu/events/voorhees.

The Voorhees Business Conference was established to honor the career of Iowa State Professor Emeritus R. Dale Voorhees, who taught at the College of Business for more than 20 years.