Technology Trends in Transportation

Steve Myers, vice president of FedEx Ground Regional Operations for Canada, was the featured speaker at the Center for Supply Chain Management’s inaugural Breakfast Speaker Series event on February 13, 2015.

Myers spoke about trends in transportation, including the impact of new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and delivery drones, that were once wildly impractical, but which are now inching toward implementation. He said the technologies might bring about greater supply chain efficiencies and improve network reliability and responsiveness.

Effective supply chain management and transportation logistics are chief concerns at FedEx Ground, which ships more than 4.5 million packages each day and deploys a fleet of more than 40,000 vehicles. The Pittsburgh-based company generated $11.6 billion in revenues in 2014.

More than 90 people attended Myers’s presentation, which was followed by a lively question and answer session. The attendees were primarily industry professionals from such companies as PITT OHIO, Freight Management Plus, and GENCO, but faculty and Pitt Business students were also in attendance. John T. Delaney, the Henry E. Haller Jr. dean of the school, gave the morning’s welcome address, where he touched upon how value and supply chain management are one of the school’s core strategic initiatives.

Meredith Marsico, director of solution design at GENCO, moderated the question and answer session. The discussion included topics such as the physical and cyber security issues of using drones, the impact of smart cities with road sensors and smart traffic control on automated vehicles, the influence of predictive analytics on health care, and the effects of competition from newer, smaller-scale entrants.

Marsico is co-chair of the planning committee for the Breakfast Speaker Series. The breakfasts, which are open to anyone and cost $25 to attend, are designed to allow professionals in the supply chain management field to learn about contemporary issues in supply chain management from industry experts. The fee includes a hot breakfast, parking, and access to the discussion and networking.

Established in 2014, the Pitt Business Center for Supply Chain Management is dedicated to the study of critical issues in global supply chain management. The interim director, Prakash Michandani, is a Pitt Business Professor of Business Administration and Fryrear Faculty Fellow. The center creates and disseminates its knowledge of best practices in supply chain management through collaboration with industry professionals, the education of undergraduate and graduate students, and the development of professional outreach programs.  Learn more about the Center and ways you can get involved.

The second Breakfast Speaker Series event was held on May 8, 2015. The topic was predictive analytics in the supply chain, and the panelists were Greg Kaiser, former vice president of global technical solutions for Hershey Company; Patrick Flaherty, vice president of operations for BioTronics and vice president of integrated technology and performance solutions for UPMC Supply Chain Management; and Brandon Cox, director of enterprise science for Deloitte.