Five tips for making the most of your time at the crossroads of the supply chain network

Brokerage, Dedicated, Our People, Shippers

Thousands of supply chain pros will be together soon at LINK: The Retail Supply Chain Conference, and we’re gearing up for a big week of connecting with customers and peers.  

What’s happening: It’s almost time for LINK: The Retail Supply Chain Conference, where thousands of supply chain decision-makers, freight-movers, and logistics pros get together to unpack the massive challenges of moving goods in a fast-changing market.  

Why it matters: Let’s do the math: 75+ shippers, 40 carriers, 40 3PLs, five railroads, 10 port authorities, and 25+ technology companies serving transportation and logistics, warehousing, and equipment OEMs. This is where the industry goes to talk shop.

The bottom line: We’ve got five tips for making the most of this event from a U.S. Xpress leader who’s been working this conference for more than a decade. Dig in to get the most from your time at LINK. We’ll see you there!

Moving retail freight is a massive business, but the drive to get it done every day doesn’t always come with chances to connect, compare, and problem-solve across the industry. That’s where LINK: The Retail Supply Chain Conference comes in. 

“This is the number one opportunity to connect with the largest shipper partners all at one location,” said John Edwards, head of Dedicated Sales for U.S. Xpress. “There are more than 2,000 supply chain leaders in one place, from the top 75 shippers and top 40 carriers to the top 40 3PLs, from 10 port authorities and five railroads – you name it, they’ll be there.”

The broad scope of the event — scheduled this year for Feb. 19-23 in Orlando, Florida — means that it takes a ton of planning to make the most of the time. The top priority is always connecting with customers in person, having direct and productive conversations about what’s working and what needs work when it comes to making their goods move better.

“These are invaluable conversations with massive retailers that rely on us to get their goods to store shelves every day,” John said. “We spend months planning to work this event nonstop, making sure our team is connecting with the businesses we serve and looking for opportunities to adapt to serve their needs as the market shifts.”

In addition to a valuable forum for conversations with customers, the LINK event gives large shippers and leading carriers the chance to connect and learn from each other, as well.

“It’s a big, competitive business, but it’s also a tight network of professionals who share a lot of the same challenges and experiences,” said John, who has been working the LINK conference for a decade. “There’s a lot of value in talking shop with your peers, whether you’re a retailer or a shipper.”

Here are John’s top five tips for making the most of the LINK conference:

  1. Plan ahead. Way, way ahead. Register early! Ideally, you register at one conference for the following year so you can start planning for your team to get there and get to work.
  2. Get business meetings on the books. Lock in meetings early and often. Start a few months before the event and get as many set up as possible. This is the best event to get in front of as many partners, peers, and prospects as you can in a short period.
  3. Meal time is prime time. Business breakfast, lunch, and dinner on all days is a must. Bring your partners to the table to celebrate the prior year, lay a foundation for the upcoming year, talk growth, diversification, and new opportunities to move goods better.
  4. Play booth sides. Time in your company’s booth on the conference floor is also important. Chat up your peers and prospects, make new friends, explore opportunities, and interact with everyone who stops by.
  5. Class is in session. Work in as many relevant breakout sessions and keynote speakers as possible. There is a wealth of information and engagement to be had within the event with a ton of industry leaders, shipper partners, and peer competitors.

We’re counting down the days until this event, and can’t wait to see everyone at LINK. Got tips of your own for making the most of our time together? Share them here, or get in touch at

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