Blog: Retail Logistics 2004 – behind the scenes

Catherine Sleep | 10 November 2004

You’ll have seen I attended last week’s IGD Retail Logistics conference in London as I published a report in the features section of just-food. I have some extra observations which didn’t really belong in the feature though.

For example, I thought that Steward Oades’ words on the thorny issue of who pays for RFID and who gets the benefit were very diplomatically put. “No doubt there will be a degree of mandate from the retailers to adopt RFID,” he said, to a ripple of agreement from the manufacturers in the room. Talking to various delegates from manufacturers over coffee and lunch, some did seem to begrudge the way they were being pushed into investment in a technology from which they foresaw only negligible benefit for themselves, and felt that a bit more support and investment and a bit less 'mandate' from retailers might not go amiss.

There was also lots of talk (from retailers) about how RFID was going to free up store staff to spend more time on the shop floor actively assisting customers. So it won't free up retailers to cut their workforce then, good....

The standard of several of the PowerPoint presentations was abysmal. A few were littered with typos or simply bad spelling, which reflects poorly on the company represented. I also think it’s disrespectful towards the IGD, which hosted the event, and to the audience. Tony Taylor of EPCglobal noticed an error on one of his slides and promptly apologised for it, but others were blissfully ignorant or simply didn’t care. Yes, I edit material for a living so perhaps have a keener eye than most, but speakers should remember that the materials they present give an image of their company, and that the audience often has the chance to stare at a slide for several minutes, with letters appearing foot-high. Rant over.

And let another begin… where oh where were the women?! Of 11 speakers who took to the podium, not a single one was female. Even in the audience, I’d be surprised if women made up 10%, and several of us were there as journalists rather than delegates. It is disheartening and, as I’ve said before, not having to queue for the loo is little consolation for seeing such clear evidence of the gender gap in industry. Will I live long enough to see this change?

Streamlining the supply chain: RFID and beyond


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