Innovators lead Logistics Summit

[Nov. 29, 2012]

INDIANAPOLIS- A record crowd witnessed an all-star line-up of logistics innovators at the 10th annual Indiana Logistics Summit held on Oct. 17 in Indianapolis. More than 350 people descended upon the Indiana Convention Center for the 2012 summit hosted by the Ports of Indiana, Purdue University and Conexus Indiana.

The event was highlighted by presentations about innovative logistics operations at FedEx, Honda, BP, ArcelorMittal and American Commercial Lines, and featured a highly entertaining keynote address by Procter & Gamble innovation legend Dr. Nabil Sakkab titled “Growth through Innovation.”

The summit featured 29 speakers including U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon, Washington, D.C. economist James Wiesemeyer, international freight expert Marc-André Roy, Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Michael B. Cline, Indiana Representative Ed Soliday and many others. Topics included innovations in areas such as supply chains, access to global markets, achieving competitive advantages and the future of transportation infrastructure.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sakkab, a co-inventor on 27 patents, discussed the use of innovation in driving business success, citing specific examples from his advisory roles with companies around the world and his 33 years at Procter & Gamble. Sakkab challenged leaders to look for disruption innovations, such as Japanese farmers growing square watermelons for easier shipping or the reinvention of UPS from package delivery to complete supply chain management.

“Why can’t we have square melons?” Sakkab asked during his presentation. “Growth leaders ask these questions…What industry rules can we overturn?…What business are we in?…How do we measure ourselves against the total market opportunity?…What’s the next big thing?…What new aspects of the total consumer problem can we solve?”

Sakkab explained how Procter & Gamble evolved from a candle-making company to the owner of 22 billion dollar brands and its innovation strategy behind doubling the company’s annual sales to over $80 billion in less than 10 years. Beyond successes stories of the Prius, Netflix, Coca-Cola and iTunes, Sakkab offered attendees a roadmap for innovation in their own organization, with strategies for tracking innovation, balancing the dreamers and doers in their workforce, asking the “Five Big Questions,” understanding four primary innovation categories and implementing the “Mental Model” for disruptive change – all of which are available online in his presentation at

Sakkab’s message was certainly well received as Summit attendees rated his presentation as the highlight of the day.

A new feature at this year’s summit that also received positive feedback was a special session for high school students and teachers involved in advanced manufacturing and logistics programs. This session provided an opportunity for students to learn about logistics careers, college programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, with speakers from Vincennes University, Ivy Tech Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harrison College, ArcelorMittal and FedEx. The students also had an opportunity to network with summit attendees and attend the keynote luncheon.

The 2012 summit kicked off with a special reception at the Governor’s Residence on Oct. 16, where Gov. Mitch Daniels welcomed about 150 logistics and business professionals to the historic home on 46th Street.

Other highlights of the event included Wiesemeyer’s discussion of the upcoming election’s impact on the economy and business, Congressman Bucshon’s behind-the-scenes view on the making of the 2012 U.S. Transportation Bill and a town hall forum discussing future transportation funding with Indiana Rep. Soliday and representatives from APPIAN, Indiana Rail Road, Montgomery Aviation and TPG Marine Enterprises.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive, with more than 80 attendees providing survey responses such as: “Very interesting to get the regional perspective on industry logistics and supply chain;” “Great variety of speakers/multiple topics;” “Quite valuable – good for networking, economic outlook and trends;” “It touched many thought provoking topics and had wonderful speakers.”

Over 80 percent of the attendee surveys rated the value of the event as a “4” or “5” on a 1-to-5 scale and no one gave it less than a “3.” When asked if they were likely to attend next year, not one person said “no.”

Major sponsors of the 2012 Indiana Logistics Summit included the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Consolidated Grain & Barge, the Indiana Department of Transportation, Ice Miller, Harrison College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and many other logistics-focused organizations.

This annual event was created to showcase Indiana’s tremendous logistics resources and bring together leaders from manufacturing, academia, government and all transportation modes to discuss key freight transportation issues and opportunities the region.

To find out more about participating in the 2013 summit or to view photos and presentations from the 2012 event, visit

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