Spoilt for choice
Working on the news desk of Logistics Middle East, we've recently been inundated with information about trade events taking place in the Middle East for supply chain professionals, especially in Dubai.
In the last month alone, Dubai has hosted the Shipping and Logistics Forum 2008, Total Supply Chain Management and Security Excellence, and Logistics and SCM Fundamentals to name a few.
A concern amongst industry professionals is that the increasing number of events could result in them becoming unnecessary and irrelevant.
Geoff Wheatley, regional director Middle East and Africa of SSI Schaefer complains about the sheer number of events. "In my humble opinion there are just too many events and it is impossible to stretch both the training and marketing budgets to cover them all."
This financial strain on companies is something that we really need to streamline, but the other cause for concern is that the subject matter often leaves a little to be desired.
"My main objection is to the latest phenomena of these companies usually not even based in Dubai who run seminars as a way to generate profit with little thought to the needs of the market place and no concept of the value of education in the industry," Wheatley continues.
What it seems we need are speakers with specialised experience in the UAE, who are there to educate and improve logistics in the Middle East, not belittle it.
"The modes to be addressed need to be carefully chosen for each conference and well communicated. The presenters need to be relevant and capable. The subject matter needs to be carefully vetted in order that the delegates go away with additional knowledge," explains Michael Proffitt, CEO of Dubai Logistics City.
If we achieve a more focused, coordinated and insightful approach to our events then their popularity will continue. And it needs to.
"Given the growing importance of Dubai as the new global logistics hub it is essential that the level of knowledge and experience is readily available within the Country. Conferences are one way to ensure that individuals are up to date with the latest information," emphasises Proffitt.
It is a shame that there are a small proportion of events that waste logistic resources, and that it gives effective seminars run by companies like SCLG a bad name. What we need to avoid is draining participant's enthusiasm with unproductive events and encourage events that successfully promote the Middle East as a place to learn and expand within the transportation and logistics industry.
It is important therefore to commend companies who have achieved this, and The Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) will do just that. The event taking place in May, will award companies that have gone above and beyond in terms of innovation and industry contribution. Following on from last year's success, this year promises to be even bigger and better. If you want to have your say on who you think deserves the most recognition in the supply chain and transport industry then send me your views at firstname.lastname@example.org