Date line: February 16, 2010 Reverse Logistics Association (RLA) Las Vegas 2010 Conference & Exhibition was held from February 7-10. I have had the long President's Holiday Weekend to reflect on what I found to be the key highlights of this conference. RLA Las Vegas is one of the key industry events of the year for Reverse Logistics and After Market Service Professionals. Chock full of workshops, presentations, exhibitors. It is a great forum to learn about industry trends and conduct commerce.
I look forward to attending RLA LV every year. It gives me a chance to network with long time business associates, make new contacts, and even conduct business. Each year that I have attended, the organization has asked me to conduct workshops on "Service Marketing" and "Best Practices & Benchmarks in Reverse Logistics". It gives me a great sense of fulfillment to share my knowledge with others, and this year, I noticed that the workshop participants were taking more copious notes then I ever before. I also moderated a panel with key executives for Motorola, Comtek, LTX-Credence, and Applied Materials on the subject of supply challenges and opportunities in managing high value, long lifecylce requirements. A "Lunch & Learn" workshop on Reverse Logistics Management Systems co-presented with Pat Anderson of Take Supply Chain Solutions was also a key highlight for me.
The most important aspect of going to RLA is that it provides me with a venue where I can conduct field research in order to validate current market trends and identify new opportunities. It allows me to roll-up my sleeves and get down in the trenches with RL professionals. The key take-aways for me this year were that RL professionals are resilient and last year (2009) was not such a bad year for most 3rd Party Service Providers. The observations and anecdotal evidence I collected lined up nicely with the issues I have been blogging about. Here's a quick run down of what I've found:
- Many 3rd Party Services providers followed their Strategic Business Model to increase top line revenue and/or improve profits.One CEO told me that he added 6 new customer accounts by outsourcing lead generation.
- Remember my blog about 2010 being the year of the Reverse Logistics Management System (RLMS)? Absolutely !! I met a number of software vendors for the first time who have developed state of the art RLMS and have flagship customer accounts to prove it. Expect a lot more interest and implementations in the future !!
- There is an increased interest among the financial community in the Reverse Logistics Market Space. I ran into 4 private equity groups who are interested in learning more about this market and searching for transactions. Obviously, companies will need growth capital to implement their new RLMS.
- Many of the larger 3rd Party Service Providers are pursuing acquisitive growth strategies to increase top line revenue and profits. This was eye opening for me as many of the other "analysts" have been predicting that 2010 will be about organic growth. Can we expect higher price valuations given the increasd competition for acquisitions? Will we soon see conditions where M & A in th RL space becomes a seller's market?
My analysis and prognosis is that RL is alive and well. The next three quarters of 2010 should be very interesting. RLA has given me a lot to think about. I can't wait unitil next year to see how things panned out. Please do not hesitate to contact me if any of these issues sparked your interest.