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IRX 2017 PREVIEW The Operational Excellence Conference

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Ahead of this year’s InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2017) and eDelivery Expo (EDX 2017), we’re looking ahead to the event in a series of previews and interviews. Today the focus is on the Operational Excellence conference.

The Operational Excellence Conference, part of EDX 2017, is for retail logistics professionals who are focused on reshaping fulfillment around the seamless shopping experience that customers now xpect.

The conference will look at how the fast growth of online retail has brought new demands for agile, responsive and efficient infrastructure. Retailers are restructuring their operations, models and their relationships with customers as they look to satisfy customers and benefit from new opportunities for growth.

Dino Rocos, board member and operations director at John Lewis , opens the day with an opening keynote address that considers what the retailer learned from Black Friday and Christmas 2016, and how they can be applied in the coming year. He’ll be asking questions such as how supply and distribution can work around fluctuating buying behaviour, and what the costs and benefits are. Festive post-mortem lessons to learn and moving forward for 2017 and beyond is at 9.30am.

Jonathan Gorst, principal lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, then considers why it’s so important to get returns right in a multichannel world. He’ll be considering how robust returns management can improve customer communications and engagement, and how back office management can reduce the impact on the bottom line. Why retailers need to work harder on their returns is at 10.30am, followed by a case study session from the channel sponsor at 11.05am.

Walter Blackwood, omnichannel logistics expert at W&MB Consulting, is leading a session on how retailers can improve the effectiveness of their omnichannel operations. He’ll be looking at how their processes can meet customer needs while doing so in a cost-effective way. Increasing operational effectiveness in the omnichannel today – top tips! is at 2pm.

Peter Ward, chief executive of UKWA, is among the panel members looking at how best to approach working with 3PLs. Questions likely to come up include what retailers should be looking for in a business partner, at home or abroad, and how 3PLs can best be used to increase the speed and efficiency of logistics operations. Partnering with 3PLs – where, when and how? is at 3pm.

James Matthews, managing director, general merchandise at Ocado , brings the conference to a close with a look ahead at the challenges that 2017 is set to bring, at how the customer-facing supply chain can benefit retailers, and how logistical challenges can become commercial opportunities. Strategies for growth in 2017 and beyond – aligning operations with better customer experiences is at 3.35pm.

The Operational Excellence Conference takes place on April 6 at EDX 2017. To find out more, visit the Operational Excellence Conference here. To learn more about IRX 2017, its sister conference eDelivery Expo and to register for free, visit and

Attendees can also get a 25% discount on their train fare to the NEC when they book through the IRX or EDX visitor information website.

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