NAW Billion Dollar Operations Roundtable

May 3rd-4th, 2016 at the O’Hare Hilton

“NAW enables a free-flow of ideas and answers to Questions for Operations executives from large companies and different industries. The Roundtable is a “great-value-add” since it allows you to discuss tactical issues with counterparts facing the same challenges.”
Submitted Anonymously by the Senior Vice President of Operations of a $7 Billion Dollar Distribution Company

Register Now

Eligibility: Companies with $1B+ in annual revenue.

The NAW Billion Dollar Roundtable is the only opportunity that provides networking and benchmarking exclusively with other top executives of non competing, like-sized Wholesale-Distribution companies.

*For further details about sponsoring this Roundtable, contact John Peter at


The NAW Billion Dollar Company Operations Roundtable for direct members was created as a new mechanism for the Operations Executives of large distribution enterprises to network with non-competing peers in multiple lines of trade on key operations issues.

Similar to other billion dollar roundtables NAW has created for the CIO, CFO, Chief Legal Officer, and Human Resource executive, this by invitation roundtable is composed of executives from billion dollar companies that meet in Chicago two times per year. This highly interactive group consists of the SENIOR-MOST operations executives. The annual fee is $1,800 per member, which covers meeting costs for two events in a twelve month cycle. Participants are expected to cover the cost of their hotel and travel. Once the annual fee is paid, there are no additional fees to attend the meetings, which will last one day beginning with a reception and dinner the evening before.

The participating companies can also name an alternate who can take the place of the Operations Executive, should that person be unable to attend the scheduled meeting.

Become a Billion Dollar Company Operations Roundtable member. Click here.

If you would like to learn more please contact John Peter or Tamela Blalock at 202.872.0885.

NAW Billion Dollar Operations Roundtable Agenda

May 3rd, 2016 – Day 1

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Drinks & Dialogue Reception
Come prepared to meet and mingle with your fellow participants from the largest firms in the industry.

7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Billion Dollar Executive Dinner

Speaker: Jade West of NAW

Make sure to attend the most exclusive executive supper club in Chicago this evening! This dinner is your opportunity to pick the brains of the senior executives for the top wholesale distribution companies in the industry. This is a joint dinner that will include the CLO, HR and Operations executives attending the spring Roundtable.

May 4th, 2016 – Day 2

7:00 AM – 7:45 AM

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Presentation & Discussion – “Innovation Nation – Building Enterprise Value with Transformational / Emerging Technologies in Distribution”

Speaker: Amie Gray, N3 Innovation

Billion Dollar Operations Executives need to set up their organizations around innovation and establish appropriate processes and metrics to integrate innovation into the fabric of corporate culture and to build enterprise value. Innovation isn’t an option; it’s a necessity to stay in business during times of rapid change. Rapid change is happening now.

Key Questions for Operations Executives:

  • How do to you avoid being an “Innovation Tourist” and make innovation “stick” in your organization?
  • How do you to engage with startups, accelerators and the venture capital community without spending a million bucks?
  • How do you organize around innovation to ensure projects lead to enterprise value; who’s responsible and what’s the process?
  • How do you to put metrics and mechanisms in place to manage innovation?

There are new technologies that are dramatically changing the economics of the future business models: Internet of Things (IoT), 3-D printing, social networking, mobile, data analytics, and cloud. These technologies enable new ways to develop products, interact with customers, partner with others, compete, and succeed.

Top-performing billion dollar distribution companies show greater mastery in how they leverage these new technologies to plan, innovate, measure results, interact with customers, and create value.


  • Learn about operating models that increase pace of innovation in the organization, which is needed to keep up with increasing pace of change in the marketplace.
  • Learn how to match the innovation horizon, with the business strategy, tolerance for risk, and potential for enterprise value.
  • Review case studies to decipher why some strategies were more successful than others.

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM

9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Presentation & Discussion -“2016…. Building the Future Supply Chain”

Speakers: Helgi Thor Leja & Chris Mehl of Fortna 

Distribution is taking on new, more strategic importance as a driver of growth and profitability. The “C” suite is demanding higher levels of service while seeking ways to reduce cost. Distributors are looking to technology, systems, and new approaches to help build competitive advantage for the business.

Fortna will share where the hype ends and reality begins and provide a viewpoint on what’s happening today and what you can expect in the future. They will give you a view into what the “DC of the Future” might look like. For example, will your associates be wearing Google glasses to fulfill orders more efficiently and accurately? Will robots help work alongside humans to increase productivity? What other new technologies might exist to help reduce your labor costs, transportation costs, and improve the customer experience?

Is your supply chain ready for the future?


  • Understand how technology enables competitive advantage for your business.
  • Understand the technologies (applications, benefits, and financial justifications) available today to improve service and reduce costs.
  • Learn about new and disruptive technologies coming on the horizon.
  • Understand the best way to evaluate and justify investments in systems and technology.
  • Learn how to develop a technology roadmap for the future.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Open Discussion
This session is set aside for you to raise any issue you would like and have the group provide their thoughts. This is an open forum to further discuss any item on the agenda or to bring up topics that are not on the agenda. Make sure to take notes during this session, you may find a perfect topic to suggest for the next NAW Roundtable.

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
Joint Networking Lunch with CLO and HR Executives
This is the “halftime” period where you meet up with all of the Billion Dollar Company senior executives at this week’s Roundtable to compare ideas and benchmark across disciplines. All 3 groups: Operations, HR and CLO executives will attend this joint lunch.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Closing Session & Discussion – “The Continuous Improvement of Distribution”

Speaker: Steven Horst, Graybar

Continuous Improvement is a tenet as much as a technique: small improvements made every day can build up and create major advances over time. Senior operations executives have had to walk and chew gum in this area. Their companies don’t engender customer loyalty–nor impress potential new customers–by doing the same thing over and over, no matter how competently. Operations executives have to not only continuously improve internal operations, they also need to look for new ways to enhance their service offerings, sharpen their skills, and better their entire supply chain more than ever. The best-in-class billion dollar operations executives find the balance among efficiency, innovation, and profitable growth.

Steven Horst (Graybar) has a system that they use throughout the supply chain, working with Conway Management of Ontario, ON. Steven Horst’s team leads the continuous improvement effort for Graybar and will share best practices at this Roundtable.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Set Agenda for Next Meeting Scheduled for November 1-2, 2016

2:30 PM

Register Now

Registration is open for the NAW Billion Dollar Company Operations Roundtable Register Now

Driving CRM Adoption: Best Practices for Wholesale Distributors

Becoming a Digital Distributor: Strategies and Tools That Create Value

INNOVATE! How Successful Distributors Lead Change in Disruptive Times