Conference Season for Dummies

We are now in the middle of conference season again!

Where does time go? Only a few more weeks until the king of all conferences is upon us; that’s right, Sapphire! Last year Sapphire had its biggest attendance record ever with over 30,000+ attending the event and another 300,000 attending virtually… that’s a lot of people! We are expecting this year to be just as successful as it was in 2016. With so many people it gets a little hard to optimize your time there. But, no worries, yours truly will provide you some tips and tricks on how to survive the Sapphire conference and leave feeling accomplished!


  • Make an agenda– Before going to the conference check out the website and go over all the sessions that will be covered. There will a ton of them! The good thing is that they are well separated by tracks, so if you are interested in Supply Chain (as you should be) you can filter by Supply Chain and read the synopsis of each presentation to see which one piques your interest (all presentations by SCM Connections should be at the top of your list of course!) A lot of them are really popular, so make sure to get there early. Last year, SCMC’s Wade Smith’s presented on IBP, and it was so well attended that they had to shut the doors and turn people away. Thankfully, another session was added to accommodate everyone.


  • Choosing Exhibitors to see – There will be a lot of exhibitors and they will all want your attention. Make a list of the ones that you would not mind chatting with and stick to that list to begin with. Once you have met with all of them, then you can browse the rest. Make sure to look at the exhibitor map, as the place is way beyond big and finding an exhibitor is not always easy. In fact, everyone should come to the SCMC booth first (786C) and then visit the secondary exhibitors, if needed… just my opinion.


  • Wear something comfortable– You are going to spend all day walking around, and even though you will be inside most of the day, walking from the parking lot in Orlando into the building will be an uncomfortable experience. Is usually hot and about 1000% humidity. Best advice: draw straws, and have the poor loser drop you off by the entrance… that way one only one person suffers. Also, I am sure everyone loves your trendy shoes, but I bet you they are not really that comfy. So, bring out the old Rockports and thank me later.


  • Lots of Food, so pace yourself!- There will be a lot of food! Not only there’s a buffet style lunch every day, but a lot of vendors will be giving out sweets like there’s no tomorrow. Sure, is all fun and games when you have one, but when you are eating your 15th snickers bar by 3pm it gets ugly. Set yourself a limit and stick to it; the only thing you want to gain is knowledge.  Note – Some vendors will serve beer and wine, in this case feel free to indulge yourself as needed.


  • Enjoy the whole conference- Every year I speak with a lot of people that decided to leave on Thursday night. BIG mistake! You spent the whole week on your feet, listening and sucking down terabytes of information, and it gets exhausting! Do yourself a favor and stay for the concert on Thursday night. This year SAP gives us Muse, which is actually a really good band, so stay and enjoy yourself. Plus, it gives you a chance to meet and chat with people on a whole different environment. It is totally worth it (again, the free alcohol is a plus).


And that’s it! I myself will be there not just showing my not-so pretty face, but presenting as well, so stop by and say hello. One of my biggest pleasures at each conference is the chance to not only meet new people but also reconnect with old friends! See you all soon!

(by Claudio Gonzalez)


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