It's been a good three years since I've been to AMR's spring supply chain research event which is held every year at the "ode-to-eighties-over-indulgence" Phoenician resort in Arizona. And every year I miss it, I kick myself for not taking out a few days to go (even if it's just to hang out on the outdoor veranda with old friends). But more important, the quality of the speaking and presentations seems to improve every year from what I hear. When I first started going nearly a decade ago, AMR had not yet taken a lesson from the Forrester school of presentation and speaking -- in other words, the content was fine, but the panache was lacking. Now, I hear their conference content is not only highly informative -- which it's always been -- but polished as well.
My blogging colleague Tim Minahan featured some of the scoop from this year's event over on his blog, Supply Excellence. Among other areas, Tim highlights how "keynoter Colin Powell set the tone by bluntly stating that, when it comes to risk, we are our own worst enemy ... He lamented that the heightened restrictions of student and work visas since the September 11th tragedy – and the ongoing immigration debate – are diminishing the U.S.'s role as chief innovator and industrial powerhouse."
Tim continues his interpretation: "The message: we can't legislate U.S. industry back into greatness. History shows that protectionism makes countries less competitive by cutting off access to foreign monies, workers, and innovations. U.S. businesses need to develop and continuously improve methods to compete more effectively, run more efficient supply chains, and out innovate the competition. That's the only sustainable competitive strategy."
Hmmm ... now why isn't Powell running to be the US's next President?