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Economic Update
Thursday, March 5, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Ongoing handwringing about an impending recession stands in stark contrast to a U.S. economy that just keeps trucking along despite the theatrics that have dominated national politics, the ongoing trade war with China, a slowing European economy, deepening crises in the Middle East, and tightening labor markets.  Beacon Economics' Founding Partner Dr. Christopher Thornberg will present a comprehensive forecast for the U.S. economy, delivering insight into the direction indicators such as employment/unemployment, consumer and business spending, commercial and residential real estate markets, and GDP growth will take in the future.

Dr. Thornberg is an expert in economic forecasting, regional economics, labor markets and industry analysis. In 2015, he was named to the California State Treasurer’s Council of Economic Advisors.  He holds a Ph.D. in business economics from the Anderson School at UCLA. 

Maximize ROI Through Strategic Account Management
Thursday, March 5, 10:45 am – 12:15 pm 

A recent Gallup Poll says that 70% of businesses don’t put the customer at the center of their strategy, and that 71% of B2B customers feel disengaged from their suppliers.

And, as buyers become more informed, they will look more toward sourcing innovation instead of routine B2B transactions. 

To remain successful, distributors will need to focus on strategic account management. 

Denise Freier is executive director and CEO of the Strategic Account Management Association, whose vision is to enable organizations to become essential to their clients. 

Digitizing the Distributor: Strategic Planning at Electronic Speeds 
Friday, March 6, 9:00 - 10:30 am 

Distributors are going digital at an accelerating pace. The process has gone beyond standard business practices in the ERP system to increasingly complex offerings that create competitive advantage.   

Digital is being blended with traditional processes and new value-added services to create new ways to go to market and collaborate with customers and suppliers alike. Online distributors are adding offline value-added services, and offline service distributors are adding online capabilities.   

These new strategies move at speeds that have made strategic planning more critical and more complex than ever before.  

In this presentation, Dr. Barry Lawrence will use real cases of digital distributor models from research conducted at the Texas A&M Global Supply Chain Lab to demonstrate how distributors of different sizes and from different channels are creating competitive advantage. 

F. Barry Lawrence, PhD is program director for the industrial distribution program and director of the of Global Supply Chain Laboratory Texas A&M University.