They say a fifth anniversary gift should be made out of wood. Well, if thats the case find me a piece to knock on. Why? Because, five years ago, we set out to build an event that was a little bit different. We werent sure how the industry would respond or whether or not the event would make it through year one. Well, we know now! To play on a quote from Sally Fields famous 1985 Oscar speech, You like us, you really like us!
Our theme for this years event was Educate, Entertain and Enlighten. And boy, did the forum live up to that. On the educational side, PARCEL Forum introduced a brand-new conference program that featured five tracks and more than 50 industry-leading presenters. Attendees could delve deeper into areas that were important to them and still keep the flexibility of building their own conference program to fit their individual needs. Overall, 30 individual sessions as well as two all day pre-conference workshops sponsored by UPS were presented over three days. Based on the attendee conference evaluations, the new format was well-received with our average presenter receiving a 3.8 (out of 4) for knowledge and 3.5 (out of 4) for content.
From an entertaining standpoint, our friends at the United States Postal Service once again hosted our Opening Night Networking Reception, which attracted more than 300 attendees for a night of great food and networking. John Gullo, Manager of Information Requirements, welcomed everyone to the reception.
The Opening Day Keynote was given by Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of DHLs Global Customer Solutions group. Rolf discussed the tremendous growth in international parcel shipping, citing that 90% of companies report that they are shipping internationally (Fact: 92% of PARCEL Forum 2007 attendees indicated that they ship internationally) and how shippers must stay on top of changing trends to stay competitive. He discussed the importance of establishing trade relationships to make the international transition a smooth one and the opportunities that exist in emerging markets.
The Breakfast Keynote, sponsored by Green Mountain Consulting, featured William Greene, Chief Financial Analyst with Morgan Stanley. Bills keynote entitled, Parcel Trends: A View from Wall Street, provided attendees with an inside look at how Wall Street evaluates the parcel shipping industry and the major carriers. He shared market insights for DHL, FedEx and UPS and discussed how each is currently positioned for the future in terms of capital, infrastructure and other variables Wall Street assesses when valuating a companys future growth.
This years PARCEL Forum featured 65 (20 first-time) exhibitors on more than 7,000 square feet. In keeping with the forums philosophy of not allowing a booth larger than a 20 x 20, the event provided attendees with an intimate atmosphere conducive to doing business. In addition to the growth of the exhibit floor, the forum increased the number of dedicated, non-compete exhibit hall hours to seven, thus allowing attendees more uninterrupted time to meet with these leading companies.
Also new in 2007, PARCEL Forum put together its first-ever Conference Advisory Board. Board members included: Kimberly Cox, Bracco Diagnostics; Gerardo Figueroa, Frito-Lay, Inc.; Kathy Kuechle, Fingerhut Fulfillment; Oscar Murray, Ditan Distribution; Deb Toba, United Stationers Supply Co.; Lori Youngblood, Moen; and Sriram Yuvakumar, United Stationers Supply Co. The Advisory Board played a major role in helping identify hot button topics and making sure the event served the educational needs of the parcel shipping professional.
And with what has become our signature event, PARCEL Forum once again played host to the Carrier Roundtable luncheon, which was sponsored by Morgan Stanley. This years panel was moderated by Rick Collins, Managing Director, AFMS Logistics Management Group and featured panelists Al Burba, VP of Sales, DHL; James P. Cochrane, Manager, Package Services, USPS; Roman Hlutkowsky, VP, Operations Technology & Systems Support, FedEx; and Bill Lewandowski, VP of Strategic Accounts, UPS. With the 2008 rate increases on the way, attendees were eager to find out the who, what and why of the projected 4.9% ground delivery increase and new planned surcharges. This was the best carrier roundtable yet; the panelists didnt tip-toe around the questions. They seemed to give honest answers to tough questions, and I respected that, says David Fort, Pinnacle Asset Management.
Lastly, PARCEL Forum would not have celebrated its fifth anniversary without the support of our corporate partners: United States Postal Service, Pitney Bowes and DHL. Their understanding of our mission makes an event like PARCEL Forum possible.