Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance 2015 National Education and Training Conference by Slidely Slideshow
by Yvonne Dragon and Donna Ennis
The DMSCA National Education and Training Conference and the PRMSDC Business Opportunity Expo
As a part of a strategic initiative of our Advanced Manufacturing Supplement awarded by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and our Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP), we attended the 2015 Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance’s (DMSCA) National Education and Training Conference hosted in San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 23, 2015. This is the one time of year when participants are able to connect with OEMs, suppliers, minority business enterprises (MBEs) and advocates that operate in or support, the manufacturing industry. The 100 attendees varied from local MBEs and advocates located in San Juan to MBEs from the Midwest to representatives from Fortune 500 corporations throughout the U.S. and partners from South Africa. An added bonus to the timing of the conference was that attendees were able to participate in Puerto Rico’s National Minority Supplier Development Council (PRMSDC) Business Opportunity Fair that followed the DSCMA conference. Both events gave us the opportunity to interact with many organizations, to learn new research, and to build relationships. Another benefit for many of the attendees (especially those from the northeast and Midwest) was the opportunity to escape the cold and snow that week!
Conference activities included an opening patio reception, panel discussions, training seminars, system demos, a factory tour, networking receptions, awards dinner and trade mission updates. All of these activities helped us to get updated on what business activities and trends are occurring in the manufacturing and supply chain space and in global procurement. MBEs and corporations that attended included Johnson & Johnson, Merck, McCormick, Caterpillar, Gray Solutions, Harvey Industries, TAG Holdings, and AMG Engineering, to name a few.
In addition to connecting to MBE’s and building stronger corporate partnerships, we were also able to connect with other MBDA Business Centers that serve manufacturers. We met face-to-face and discussed the next steps in partnering with MBDA’s advance manufacturing initiative and the CAMP program. In fact, we were able to have impactful discussions around best practices and strategies moving forward with the Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Puerto Rico Business Centers as well as with the Chicago operator of the Chicago MBDA Business Center.
The Bacardi Plant
One of the major highlights of the trip was a special tour of the Bacardi plant. We were given VIP access to their warehouses where rum is aged, the distilleries are located, and where the fermentation process takes place. This extensive tour was fascinating. The details and the history of Bacardi’s patented aging process (one of the oldest in the world) was presented by their “master ager”. We learned that while the making of Bacardi rum is still somewhat manual, technology has been infused into the process. From the utilization of barcodes to track the millions of barrels used in the process, to the state-of the-art fermentation and distillery operation, this plant tour is clearly one that all should experience.
Additional highlights and tips from our trip:
- Advanced Manufacturing panel with the Atlanta, Indianapolis and Cleveland MBDA Business Centers allowed us to update DMSCA participants on our services and receive feedback from MBEs.
- We were able to identify clients looking to leverage research and innovation at Georgia Tech to grow their businesses.
- DMSCA detailed its Corporate Mentoring Program (CMP) which focusses on developing and implementing a scorecard for a manufacturer’s customers.
- We learned that the procurement profession is being elevated in many companies. Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) are gaining more influence in the supply chain with more than 70% of CPOs now reporting directly to the CEO.
- Engagement of sub-tier suppliers (Tier 2, 3 and beyond) is increasing as more companies are tracking the activity and spend in their “entire” supply chain.
- Diverse suppliers should also have robust diversity programs.
- Pay attention to global shifting. A lot is changing around the world with regard to how supply chains are managed. Risk management, innovation, and other customer business issues are at the top of customers mind.
- Centers were able to: 1) collaborate to identify specific opportunities to leverage Center strengths to assist clients, 2) identify clients in Puerto Rico looking to expand their businesses in the U.S., and 3) experience a new tool that will identify MBE manufacturers which has been a challenge across all Centers to date.
If you want to know more about our trip please contact us!