Dial P for Procurement
Episode 54

Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be possible and truth doesn’t.

– Mark Twain

Episode Summary

2022 was a wild year… The speed and complexity of the world seem to keep increasing. The news stories that made headlines this year seemed to defy prediction and logic… and yet, each month brought new and surprising events.

As we get ready to boldly go forward into 2023, host Kelly Barner pauses and takes a look back at the major procurement and supply chain news stories that captured the world’s attention this year.

In this episode of Dial P, she reviews:

• The results of a LinkedIn poll that gave Dial P audience members the opportunity to rank the top procurement and supply chain news stories of 2022

• A few honorable mentions that stood out but didn’t make the top of the list

• The overarching challenges and lessons learned that all of us should be carrying into 2023

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Dial P for procurement, A show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders. Give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value and now it’s time to dial P for procurement.

Kelly Barner (00:32):

2022 was a wild year. How is it that the speed and complexity of the world seemed to keep increasing? I can’t tell you how many times I would read a news story this year and then think seriously, you just can’t make this stuff up as we get ready to boldly go forth into 2023. I think it’s a good time to pause and take a look back at the major procurement and supply chain news stories that defined this year. So in this episode of Dial P, I’m going to review the results of a poll that I ran on LinkedIn to find out which stories you think were the top ones of 2022. I’ll share a couple of honorable mentions that really stand out to me, but which didn’t make the top of the list. And then finally, I’ll uh review the overarching challenges and lessons learned that all of us should be carrying into 2023.

Kelly Barner (01:33):

But before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the co-founder and managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. I’m the head of operations and content at Art of Procurement, and I’m your host for Dial P here on supply Chain. Now, I’m constantly scanning the news for complex articles to discuss things that I think are interesting, but which may escape people’s notice. Dial P releases a new podcast episode or interview every Thursday, so be on the lookout for future episodes and don’t forget to check out past episodes as well. In fact, we’re continuing to run content right through the end of the year. Before we get back to the top news stories, I have a quick favor to ask. If you find value in the time we’re about to spend together, please find a way to engage. We have listeners on all kinds of platforms, so you can give us a review on iTunes, you can subscribe on Spotify.

Kelly Barner (02:35):

You can share a post or like something you see on LinkedIn or Twitter. You can even send this recording directly to a colleague that you think will find it useful. As always, I’m grateful for your interest and attention to what we’re building here at Dial P. Now, as I mentioned before I begin our in-house countdown, there were a couple of stories that I was gripped by this year that I couldn’t add to the poll because I was limited by LinkedIn to just four options. One was all of the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It impacted energy costs and availability, especially in Europe, and that challenge continues. But the struggle that I really wanna focus on here was the effort made to get grain out of Ukraine with their port being blockaded. The Ukraine is either fourth or fifth. The numbers vary by source. When you look at the world’s largest exporters of grain, they fall behind Russia, Canada, the US and France.

Kelly Barner (03:39):

They’re still producing despite the fact that the war rages on, in fact, they had a better growing season this year than many other regions of the world. The problem is getting it out of the Ukraine to the people who need it. Before Russia invaded the Ukraine, 90% of their exports left the country via deep ports in the Black Sea, and that includes their grain. When that was closed off to them, both land and sea options were explored and there were challenges with both. Russia is blockading their ports or was at the beginning of this story, and they denied it and blamed the West, so that made ocean options very difficult. They needed those deep ports to get the very large tankers in to take the grain rail was another option that was investigated, but there were compatibility issues with the rail gauge itself moving between Ukraine and Eastern European nations.

Kelly Barner (04:40):

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was arranged just to get the grain out. While the war continued to rage on Russia has been in and out of the deal, but generally speaking, the grain has mercifully kept moving even when Russia suspended their participation. Now, the problem is not completely solved, but this initiative did manage to ward off the widespread starvation that may have occurred if it hadn’t been possible. The other honorable mention I wanna give goes to Spencer Patton. He was the large FedEx ground contractor who dared to take on the delivery giant and lost his major source of revenue in the process. He called for a Purple Friday protest one that did not materialize. I didn’t hear anything about Black Friday deliveries being interrupted by FedEx ground contractors walking out, but Spencer Patton did teach the rest of us an awful lot about the inner workings of this huge part of the FedEx ecosystem.

Kelly Barner (05:46):

FedEx ground is actually delivered through the help of 6,000 contractors, also known as independent service providers. They provide delivery, pickup and line haul services. They hire their own employees, they invest in their own equipment. Importantly, they pay for their own fuel. Now, being a contractor is very different than being a franchisee because contractors have a lot less visibility into FedEx’s corporate doings and it lowers their leverage with the company. As the contractor’s costs have gone up or at least fluctuated, FedEx has not increased payments to them accordingly. In fact, there are accusations that FedEx is keeping the fuel surcharges that they are charging their customers instead of passing them along to these contractors who are the ones that are actually bearing the increased cost of fuel? According to C N N, 30% of these FedEx Ground contractors are at risk of financial distress. Wages are up by 37%.

Kelly Barner (06:54):

The cost of trucks is up by 30%, and because of labor shortages, those contractors are now competing with FedEx directly for drivers. So what about Spencer Patton and Patton Logistics? He attempted to, let’s just say organize even if we don’t necessarily mean unionize the other independent service providers so that they could all push back on the company together. FedEx sued him for violating the terms of his agreement. They also canceled their contract with him, and the combination of the lawsuit and the cancellation sent a very loud, clear message to all of those other contractors do not mess with us. So they didn’t have the Purple Friday walkout and the lawsuit is working its way through. Federal court can watch for news about FedEx versus patent logistics. Only time will tell how that will work out. All right, those are my honorable mentions. Let’s move and count down the top four news stories of 2022.

Kelly Barner (08:02):

Based upon your vote in fourth place with 4% of the vote, we actually find another court case, Byron Allen versus McDonald’s. Byron Allen owns Alan Media Group and they in turn own the Weather channel among other digital media properties. It is a black owned business. Now, McDonald’s welcomed their participation in their digital media advertising program, specifically in support of their supplier diversity initiatives, which sounds wonderful, but of course the devils in the details. McDonald’s has a formal minority owned digital ad buying program, but it is confined to specific segments and according to Byron Allen, those segments are less lucrative. His company wanted to participate in the national general market competition and McDonald’s said No thank you. So Byron Allen has a history of suing companies and also putting public pressure on them for just this sort of thing. He sued charter communications, he put public pressure on General Motors.

Kelly Barner (09:17):

Now I’m hoping in the case of all media group versus McDonald’s that it actually goes to trial. If that conversation can be had in sight of the public eye, all of us are likely to benefit. An interesting little twist on this story is that among the legal representatives who have been hired by McDonald’s involved with this case, we find Loretta Lynch, former US Attorney General, who also happens to be a black woman helping to defend McDonald’s against Byron Allen’s claims. Again, we have to wait for the trial, which is slated for May of 2023 or news of a settlement. We will see in third place with 10% of the vote. We have a story that actually just had another chapter added to it over the weekend. Tony Blevins was the vice president of procurement for Apple, and he worked at the company for over 20 years where he built up a reputation for being a very intense and shrewd negotiator.

Kelly Barner (10:26):

Over the summer, he was captured in a TikTok video making a racy comment. It was a quote from the 1981 movie Arthur featuring Dudley Moore. I won’t repeat it, but it’s certainly not R rated. That video went viral to the advantage of the TikTok er, but the horror of Apple. They quickly fired Blevins at the time. I ran another poll asking the Dial P audience if he should have been fired for the video. The results were a clear two-thirds voting, no, he should not have been fired. Here’s the update, which is really interesting. Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal released an exclusive interview with Blevins. We learned some new things. We found out that the woman in the car with him while the video was captured was his wife, and she thought his racy joke was funny. Once the video went viral, apple actually called him at one 30 in the morning and demanded that he’d get the video pulled down because people internally were angry.

Kelly Barner (11:36):

When he was unsuccessful at even reaching the toker, he was fired with zero severance. Somewhat strangely, the company still wanted to host a good bye party for him, and they invited a hundred people to it, but the plans broke up when Blevins broke off communication with Apple. Now, when I shared this on LinkedIn, the new news story Anthony Cler at Unna made what I think is an excellent point. There is probably a lawsuit in the works, one that’s sadly we are unlikely to ever hear about, but still I can dream right On the procurement front, we also learned that Blevins was not replaced with a new vice president of procurement. Instead, his former team was distributed through operations. So Apple procurement went through some organizational upheaval through this as well. In second place, with 32% of the vote, we find the railway strike rail unions have been struggling to reach an agreement with the companies for years, and it looked like a strike was imminent in September, but it was prevented by 11th hour talks involving Labor secretary and former mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh.

Kelly Barner (12:57):

Now, that agreement was herald as as good news, but it was just between the union representatives and the rail companies. The union membership still had to ratify the agreement through a series of votes. It quickly became clear that that deal was not going to be accepted. There was already monitoring when Walsh declared success, and that just grew louder as the votes went forward. As we moved through November, four of the biggest unions had either voted down the agreement or returned to the bargaining table, and the primary issue, their reason for voting the agreement down was not actually around pay. They had negotiated a significant pay increase of over 20%. The key issue was about quality of life issues like being able to secure days off. Now, a strike would’ve been a huge issue if it had come to pass. According to the Wall Street Journal, 28% of US freight moves via the rail network that’s only second to trucking at 40%.

Kelly Barner (14:04):

Interestingly, the trucking industry is freight rail’s largest customer. So if rail stops, so does freight. According to the Association of American Railroads, 467,000 additional long haul trucks per day would be needed to handle the freight that currently travels via rail. And of course, there’s the cost. The US Department of Commerce estimated that a shutdown of the Nation’s rail service would cost more than 2 billion a day. So faced with the option that the unions were probably not going to ratify the agreement and the enormous cost and disruption that would’ve been associated with the strike, everybody turned to the remaining worst possible, least desired option. Congress got involved. The House and Senate both passed a bill, which President Biden then signed into law on December 3rd, making it illegal for the railway workers to strike so the federal government can make them work, but it can’t make them like it.

Kelly Barner (15:12):

There’s still a lot of frustration from the workers towards the federal government as well as towards their union representatives. This strike may have been legally averted, but I don’t believe this story is over by a long shot. We will continue watching it looking for new developments, and that brings us to number one with 54% of the vote. You selected this as the top news story of 2022, the Baby Formula shortage. This is a story that hit me in my heart and my head at the same time as a mother and as a supply chain professional, this was definitely one that I could not believe what my eyes were seeing and what my ears were hearing. The baby formula shortage dominated news headlines through the spring and summer, and then it disappeared, so it would be reasonable to assume that everything was fixed and had gone back to normal and everything was fine, which was not the case at all.

Kelly Barner (16:18):

I recently brought this story back up to date in a Dial P updated classic, and I was really disappointed to find that nothing notable had actually changed. So here’s the issue. At the core of the story, there are four domestic producers of Baby Formula that make up 89% of the market. There’s Abbott Labs, which produces Similac 43% of the market record, Ben Kisser, which produces en famil 37% of the market. Nestle makes Gerber Pergo actually makes the store brand or or many private label formulas that you may buy, but that 89% and then the top producer with 43%, that is a huge and almost reckless over concentration in a very important market. Ironically, the federal government played a role in creating this over concentration. The Women Infants and Children Federal Assistance Program known as WIC is federally funded, but administered at the state level. 60% of all the BABY Formula bought in the US is bought through this program, and it’s how they award their contracts that led to this over concentration.

Kelly Barner (17:39):

Each state bids out the contract for their entire WIC voucher volume to one provider. Abbott is currently the supplier for over half of the agency’s administering wic, and the Biden administration kind of took two different paths. They started by loosening the requirements. So if your state is supposed to have Similac on the voucher and people can find and famil let them use the voucher with another provider, they also started working internationally to make it possible to import formula from other countries. But it wasn’t just the administration of this program that led to the dire situation we faced. There was also a highly publicized plant closure between September of 2019. In October of 2021, the F D A either had negative inspections or missed inspections in audits at the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan. That’s where they make Similac, that brand that represents 43% of national formula volume.

Kelly Barner (18:47):

On February 17th of this year, three Similac product recalls were issued after infants began getting sick, there was contamination at the plant and allegations that two infant deaths had resulted that same day there was a total shutdown of the Sturgis Michigan plant, and in early March matters became worse when the scope of the recall was increased. By March 18th, the F D A had completed their investigation. They came with a list of recommended steps and actions that Abbott could take to get the plant back open. Abbott continues to deny responsibility for the infant deaths. Now that Abbott plant did reopen, but not until July 1st, an event which was actually delayed for two weeks because just as they were getting ready to go back into operation, there was rain that led to heavy flooding at the facility and it had to be re-closed. I originally released the Dial P episode about Baby formula in May, but the shortage didn’t peak until July when the national average out of stock rate was 31%.

Kelly Barner (20:00):

As of October, we were still seeing an average out of stock rate of 18%, which was certainly down from the peak in July, but nearly double the rate that had been seen before the AVID plant recall and closure. And in fact, if you go into a store, whether you buy formula or not, you’re probably seeing some lasting changes from this. I still in my local supermarket walk past the Formula section only to see a sign that says, we are limiting volume, and please come up to the front desk because that’s where we’re keeping all of the formula. Perhaps the most unbelievable thing about this story is actually a lack of update. I could find no evidence that WIC is being reexamined for the role it played in causing this crisis. Why would they continue to award one contract per state instead of deliberately creating a little bit of diversification in the supply chain and making it possible for smaller manufacturers of baby formula to actually grow and distribute this market a little bit?

Kelly Barner (21:03):

Instead, the federal government seems to have put most of their effort into making it easier to import baby formula from abroad instead of increasing competition here at home. And that is your 2022 Procurement and Supply Chain News Year in review. Here are my key takeaways, both from the episode and from the year that we’ve all just lived through procurement in the supply chain. Being in the news is sometimes a good thing and other times a really bad thing. The role of government involvement, whether it is through labor agreements or federal program funding and administration, can easily start with good intentions and still lead to really bad outcomes. And the same dynamic can be found in the private sector with McDonald’s and FedEx ground running national programs in a way that they think benefits them, benefits their shareholders, and benefits their customers, but maybe doing so at damage to other companies and groups.

Kelly Barner (22:10):

Now, that’s my point of view on the year, but I wanna hear what you think. Even though that poll is closed, do you agree with the voted ranking of the top stories? What other stories or runners up in Honorable mentions would you add to the list? And most importantly, will we ever learn? We can be sure of one thing. 2023 is bound to hold surprises. After all, you just can’t make this stuff up. Until next time, I’m Kelly Barner, your host here for Dial P. Thank you so much for joining me. On behalf of myself, the show, and the whole team at Supply Chain now. Thank you for listening and have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro (22:59):

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Dial P four procurement and for being an active part of the supply Chain Now community. Please check out all of our shows and events@supplychainnow.com. Make sure you follow Dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of Dial P four, procurement.

Hosts

Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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