Manifesting a Bigger, Bolder Space for Supply Chain

The 2024 Manifest Las Vegas event proved again to be a space where big ideas prosper in big ways.

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We're only in month two of 2024 and somehow this year is already shaping up to be an influential one.

How do I know? Because I attended Manifest Las Vegas. 

In my second time attending Manifest, this year with over 4,600 leaders and innovators, I was immersed in a sea of ideas and collaboration that seeks to boost the future of supply chains everywhere. We're talking robotics, innovative technology platforms, shippers and startups looking to make waves in logistics. This year the venue was larger, with more tradeshow floor to cover and too many enlightening panels to count, plus multiple opportunities for unparalleled networking— including a feature performance by Ne-Yo that I didn't miss. 

Manifest Rb Pic2I heard the word electric— a lot— and it wasn't in the context of Vegas lights. It was in the air and on the faces of new and old colleagues as they shared their latest offerings and insights. One such moment special to me was a panel discussion on the food and grocery supply chain which I moderated. 

I was joined on stage by Darko Mandich, CEO and co-founder at MeliBio, Jayson Berryhill, partner and co-founder at Wholechain, Owen Nicholson, CEO at SLAMcore, and Raul Bujalil, VP, supply chain strategy and enablers, at Kroger. Together we talked through new consumer consciousness in e-commerce, regulations supporting sustainable food logistics and how companies can future proof for efficiency and sustainability alike. The audience was engaged, asking over 10 questions to these industry experts, continuing the conversation post-session, and that's where the real magic happens.

Image (5)It's when panels spark extra dialogue that proves topics are interesting, engaging and necessary. There was another portion of the event that checked all those boxes: the women's lunch. Each year Manifest hosts a women's lunch as a space specially carved out for DEI, gender equality and more. Hosted by DHL, Flavorcloud, Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics, the women's lunch was a packed house of women and men eager to ask questions and listen with open ears on topics like microaggression in the workplace, gender-balanced workforces and pay inequalities. 

Courtney Muller, CEO & founder at Manifest, joined Rathna Sharad, CEO & founder at Flavorcloud, and Lindsay Kaplan, co-founder at Chief, where they shared their journeys to leadership and growth in the industry. Sharad explained how embracing discomfort can help propel you to the next level and Kaplan described how women can form a sisterhood to overcome one-on-one perceived competition, often a learned behavior from other women. I walked away from the discussion with a better understanding of workplace communication and a goal to reflect on the statistic shared by Muller where a study found that women were interrupted 33% more while speaking than men

Image (2)And it wasn't just the panels where I learned something new. In a tour with Ocado Intelligent Automation (OIA), Mark Richardson, CEO, walked me through the processes of its Ocado Storage and Retrieval System (OSRS)— specifically, the options for use in cold storage that help fill the gaps in worker shortages and in capacities where human workers might not want to work. Human versus technology was a hot topic around the event, but the consensus I continue to find is that a combination of both is the way to an efficient future. 

I saw ISEE's autonomous operations and picked in a virtual warehouse with Körber Supply Chain and Locus robots. I rode 550ft above Las Vegas with AxleHire, sipped drinks with Enveyo, played basketball at EASE's booth and enjoyed watching puppies— because that's always a necessity. Most importantly though, I connected with other people in the space who are on the same quest to make supply chain better, and that's what I'll be 'Manifesting' this year. At least until we do it all again February 10th-12th, 2025.