With unpredictable market forces likely to continue through 2023, it is time for supply chains to counteract them by acting differently. Moving beyond day-to-day tactics to build long-term goals is an essential approach for any organization that wants to achieve their highest potential financial performance.
Paul Tedford is the CEO of Synergy, an ERP consulting and implementation company, and 30-year industry veteran Shannon Vaillancourt is the Founder and President of RateLinx, a shipping, logistics, and payment platform. In this livestream-based episode, Paul and Shannon share how companies can offset the escalating costs associated with the top 3 negative market variables with better technology integrations.
They offer their advice with Scott Luton, Greg White, and a live Supply Chain Now audience about how to solve for:
• Labor shortages at all levels of the organization, and the teams that are being spread thin because of them
• Inflation costs that in many cases cannot be passed along to customers for fear of losing market share
• Longer lead times for raw goods that make it difficult to plan production schedules efficiently and reliably
• And how to neutralize all of their effects by integrating your TMS and ERP.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey. Hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you are. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Greg, how are you doing?
Greg White (00:42):
I’m doing quite well. I think, just like the rest of the world, we’re just waiting to see where Aaron Rodgers winds up.
Scott Luton (00:48):
Oh, man. I’ll tell you, he’s got a wish list I see. We’ll see if he gets everything he’s wishing and hoping for, maybe. Speaking of sports, Greg – perfect segue. It’s like we coordinated this – so do you remember that scene – it’s one of my favorites – from Rocky 3 where Clubber Lang played by Mr. T is asked for a prediction when it came to his fight with Rocky Balboa. He says, “Pain.” Just like that. Well, I bet global supply chain leaders feel that scene in their bones here in recent years. Lots of pain. So, great show teed up today as we’re talking Three Supply Chain Pains You Can Solve With ERP and TMS working effectively together. Greg, it took me a little while, but there’s a setup, so it should be a great show, huh?
Greg White (01:32):
We got there. No, that’s good. I think that’s good. I’m glad I could participate in that in any way.
Scott Luton (01:37):
I figured out it was a bridge too far to ask you to go with a Mohawk to play Clubber Lang. I figured I was a bridge too far.
Greg White (01:44):
I need a haircut anyway, but —
Scott Luton (01:47):
All right. So, folks, now that we’ve shared some Rocky trivia, check out Rocky 3, it’s an oldie but a goodie. Greg, we’ve got one of our favorites back with us here today. We’re looking forward to bringing our guests here in just a second. But three supply chain pains, there’s no shortage of pains, but we’ve got a great show teed up here today with Shannon and Paul, right?
Greg White (02:05):
Yeah. The real truth from a real pro who’s been doing it a real while. No Johnny-come-lately here today. We’ve got some trained professionals. Not – what do we call them, Scott? – supply chain enthusiasts. These are real.
Scott Luton (02:20):
Real pros. That’s right. Real pros. Well, hey, let’s say hello to a few folks really quick. Michele up in New Hampshire – snowy New Hampshire. We got a weather report from Paul earlier, 13 —
Greg White (02:31):
We got one of her neighbors here today, as a matter of fact.
Scott Luton (02:34):
Man. So, Michelle, great to see you. John Peterson in warmer, not warm, but warmer Marietta, Georgia. John, great to see you. Josh Goodey says, “May the caffeine hit your bloodstream before the banks report their losses.” Ouch. Ouch. Josh —
Greg White (02:49):
We’re going to lose another one, aren’t we? Credit Suisse is not looking good.
Scott Luton (02:52):
Jonathan tuned in from Louisiana. Great to see you back with us, Jonathan. Rahul tuned in from India via LinkedIn. Great to see you here as well. And, folks, we look forward to all of your perspective. Drop it in the chat as we work through a great conversation here today. Okay, Greg.
Greg White (03:08):
That sounds like a song lyric, doesn’t it? Drop it in the chat.
Scott Luton (03:11):
Drop it in the chat. We got a great show. And with that said, Greg, I want to welcome in officially Paul Tedford, CEO at Synergy, and Shannon Vaillancourt, President at RateLinx. Hey. Hey. Paul, how are you doing?
Paul Tedford (03:24):
I’m doing well. Good morning. How are you?
Scott Luton (03:26):
Great to see you. Shannon, how are you doing?
Shannon Vaillancourt (03:28):
Doing good as always. How are you guys doing?
Scott Luton (03:31):
We’re doing fantastic. Greg, Shannon is back by popular demand, right?
Greg White (03:35):
Mostly mine, but other popular people as well.
Scott Luton (03:39):
All right. So, we’re going to have a great conversation here with Paul and Shannon. And by the way, welcome in Stewart and Geno and many others. Looking forward to y’all’s take throughout. All right.
Scott Luton (03:47):
So, before we jump into the conversation today, I want to start and have a little bit of fun. I don’t know if y’all are Rocky enthusiasts. Maybe y’all remember that scene that we were talking about on the frontend from Rocky 3, but we’re going to switch gears from sports and talk food. We talk a lot of food here at Supply Chain Now. So, I got a little nugget of food trivia to share with y’all. So, hey, on this date of March 15th back in 1980, Paul, Shannon, and Greg, Chicken McNuggets were introduced in Knoxville, Tennessee by McDonald’s. They became so popular almost overnight that McDonald’s quickly had to find new suppliers to meet the demand. Now, with that said, because that may not be one of your favorite meals – Paul, I’m going to start with you – what is one of your favorite chicken dishes and where do you get it?
Paul Tedford (04:31):
Well, I do love the McDonald’s Sweet And Sour Dip, but my favorite is the Outta Bounds sandwich out of Intervale, New Hampshire. It’s at Tuckerman Tavern. It’s a BLT with, basically, Panko-crusted chicken and mozzarella, and a nice non-bun and some chili aioli. So, it’s a good sandwich.
Greg White (04:47):
That is death on a bun. That sounds delicious.
Scott Luton (04:51):
Shannon, that’s going to be tough to beat, but your favorite chicken dish and where you get it.
Shannon Vaillancourt (04:54):
This is the boring part of me, unfortunately. I would say probably the best chicken dish is the one I make.
Scott Luton (05:03):
Shannon Vaillancourt (05:04):
So, what we do is you take the chicken breast with a rib on it, we put, like, hot honey sweet barbecue on top of it and bake it for about a-half-an-hour and then make a sweet potato hash with it. It’s pretty good. So, that’s as about as exotic as I get on the food side, unfortunately.
Scott Luton (05:28):
Well, thank you for sharing that side of you, Shannon, and that recipe for folks. Okay. Greg, Paul and Shannon have made us hungry, your thoughts?
Greg White (05:37):
Well, I’m going to give you a little bit of a spin. My favorite chicken dish is chicken fried steak in Shannon’s home – well, now, hometown, Phoenix, Arizona at Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe. I don’t even know if that still exists, but it was some of the best chicken fried steak or fried chicken that you could get. Me and Charles Barkley would show up there coincidentally – we didn’t, like, coordinate or anything, and it happened maybe twice – as soon as she started serving lunch, which was at promptly 11:35. So outstanding.
Scott Luton (06:11):
Love it. Folks, everybody’s getting hungry. Let’s see here. Jonathan says, chicken on a bun in Camden, Alabama. Okay. That sounds good, anything Alabama. Allen says Chicken Curry. I’m with you, Allen. And good to see you, Michael and David from all over the U.S. coast to coast. Okay. So, folks, now that we’re starving, starving, we’ve got to switch gears. We’ve got a jam-packed conversation to work through here today and I want to start. Shannon’s been with us on a variety of shows and we’re going to talk more about RateLinx in a minute. But, Paul, welcome to your first show here at Supply Chain Now. If you would just level set in a nutshell, what do you and the Synergy team do, Paul?
Paul Tedford (06:48):
Yeah. Thank you. So, Synergy helps manufacturers and distributors reach their full potential, and we do that in a couple ways. We provide a turnkey solution, which is helping prospective customers choose the right ERP for their unique business. And then, we have a team of about a hundred plus consultants that help with best practices and process to meet their business goals and requirements out of that ERP. And then, we’ve helped about 1,450 customers implement ERP. And we have a very experienced team because of that, because they’ve done it for well over 15 years. And then, after they’re implemented, we love helping with continuous improvement. So, that’s what Synergy does.
Scott Luton (07:26):
The aftercare. Critical. Paul, I love that. All right. So, Greg, they’re doing some critical work at Synergy, huh?
Greg White (07:32):
Yeah. Well, somebody’s got to plug that stuff in, right? Because God help us if you try to do it yourself. What we’re here to talk about is how you tie TMS – what RateLinx does – and ERP together to create that success. And I think what’s important to understand is there are a lot of things where ERP is not as deep as, for instance, a Ratelinx or other solutions in other areas. So, you connect those two things, use the valuable parts of your ERP to connect to the valuable operations and technology in your TMS or other solutions. And that way, you keep everything in sync, which is kind of what Paul and his team are talking about doing.
Scott Luton (08:08):
Greg, well said. And Shannon, I know y’all value the partnership you’ve got with Synergy. Before we get into the issues of the day, any other comment on your end, Shannon, about the great work Paul and Synergy are up to?
Shannon Vaillancourt (08:19):
No, I mean it’s been great working with their team. They’re definitely top-notch professionals, lots of experience. So, it’s been a lot of fun working with them and being able to really tightly integrate finally, once and for all, with an ERP to really maximize the value. And I think that’s been the most exciting part so far.
Scott Luton (08:37):
Optimizing all the bells and whistles and the maximum value out of these ERP. That’s where some of the magic is created. All right. So, we’ve got to shift gears here, we’re going to touch more on that later. And, man, the comments keep coming. Tracy is talking about chicken fried steak. We’ve got some lots of recipes over there. I’m going to have to keep my focus here. Paul, let’s start with you. So, I think as we continue to level setting for our conversation here today, no shortage of challenges or pain – as we put it on the frontend, via our friend, Clubber Lang – what are you seeing as some of the biggest issues challenging global supply chain across the industry right now?
Paul Tedford (09:11):
Yeah. So, overall, we’re seeing some improvements, you know, especially from the beginning of the pandemic or during the pandemic, especially around freight costs and some specific industries where capacity is increasing. Some lead times have stabilized as well. But there’s certain industries, especially electronic components, natural gas, black carbon, some steel, and lead times are increasing. Actually, I just have read an article about Girl Scouts having a supply chain issue.
Greg White (09:39):
What a tragedy that is. That’s been happening for a number of years. If you were to donate your services anywhere, Paul, I would say that would be really, really highly valued.
Scott Luton (09:49):
Well, Greg, let’s keep it real though. Paul, if y’all save anything, save the Thin Mints. And you can let all the other cookies go but protect our Thin Mints, okay? Paul, didn’t mean to interrupt. You’re sharing a variety of challenges. Anything else around off your list?
Paul Tedford (10:03):
Yeah. So, the three top challenges that we see are labor shortages and wage increases that we’ve been talking about. So, not only are we seeing that in the shop floor, but we’re also hearing that our customer suppliers are having those same labor shortages, which are causing delays, obviously, in the supply chain. Also, procurement professionals, because they’re asked to do more with those labor shortages, they’re getting burned out. They need to get some help in buyers to fill positions when a company is in growth mode, which surprisingly and with all the stuff going on the news, all of our manufacturing customers are in growth mode. That’s the first thing we’re seeing.
Paul Tedford (10:39):
The second thing we’re seeing is inflation is causing raw material cost to really skyrocket. And sometimes manufacturers cannot pass that increase onto their end customers if they want to keep those contracts or that business. So, that’s impacting their profitability as well. And the third thing that we’re really seeing is lead times are longer for a certain of our materials, like we talked about, that that causes manufacturers not able to plan production accurately because the dates are a moving target right now. That’s the three things that we’re really seeing affecting our customers.
Scott Luton (11:12):
And that’s plenty. All right. So, Shannon, I’m going to bring you in here. You might see some of the same, you might have some differences. When you think of some of the top challenges out there, Shannon, what comes to your mind?
Shannon Vaillancourt (11:21):
It’s the same stuff that I’m hearing. I’m hearing it more from the transportation perspective, but it’s the same categories. I was talking with a customer on Monday that actually came out Scottsdale. They’re out here for spring training games. And, you know, of course, I took them golfing. And one of the things that came up while we were out there was he was talking about lead times, and the ocean freight ,and procurement, and purchasing, and how do we really do that right. Because after coming through the pandemic, everybody just kind of filled the warehouse with as much as they could. Now, they’re concerned about recession. And do we have the right amount? Do I have too much inventory? How do I manage that?
Shannon Vaillancourt (12:02):
And then, that led down the path of we really don’t have experienced procurement people. We don’t have enough. So, it’s like it all kind of bleeds together into the labor side as well. And then, at the end of the day, it’s like, in our freight spend, we got to make sure we have the right carriers hauling our freight. And if we are deciding to source from different locations, how do I get the right carriers? So, it’s like all this stuff intertwines and that’s where I’m hearing pretty much the same thing. It’s different examples of problems that are being caused by those same exact issues.
Scott Luton (12:37):
Yeah. Different ripples, different ramifications, different repercussions. It’s really good given all the work that y’all do across, as you mentioned, the transportation space. And we’re going to touch on manufacturing and some other sectors in a minute.
Scott Luton (12:48):
Greg, before I get your take here, I think this is Shannon, I believe, and y’all correct me, Amanda and Katherine if I’m wrong. “9:00 a.m. and I’m craving Paul’s chicken sandwich.” Thank you, Paul. Just almost wrecking the conversation on the frontend here. All right.
Scott Luton (13:04):
So, back to the topic at hand. Greg, we’re talking about some of the pains and challenges. Paul and Shannon, they’ve got their finger on the pulse given the nature of what they do and who they do it with. Your thoughts, Greg.
Greg White (13:14):
What we’re hearing a lot is just people don’t know where the next disruption is coming from. And they also don’t know where the weakest link in their supply chain is. Everyone knows they have fragility, they don’t know where or what it’s caused by or what is the next triggering event that could have that fail catastrophically or even significantly when stuff hits the fan. I think the lack of clarity around what your supply chain looks like, who your participants are, who’s good, middling, and bad in your supply chain, I think that’s a real threat for a lot of companies out there today.
Scott Luton (13:51):
Some matinee version folks. We got to keep it clean for the kids. When the stuff hits the fan, as Greg puts it. All right. So, I mentioned manufacturing a moment ago, RateLinx, Shannon works with tons of manufacturers and retailers. So, Shannon, what can you tell us about those labor shortages that Paul mentioned earlier and the impact there?
Shannon Vaillancourt (14:10):
A lot of it is around just the quality of the employees that they’re getting because they’re filling the seats as best they can with people. They’re just maybe not able to get the most experienced folks for the job or do the right type of training with them. And I think that’s where, you know, the systems that we have, whether it’s the ERP or the TMS or both of them together, the whole point of them is to help drive the process and, I think, take some of that decision making, I wouldn’t say away, but maybe automate that decision making for them. So that way, you make the decision once you put the rules in place and then let the system drive it for you. So that way, you don’t have to have quite as many people to do it. The system is going to make it more efficient. And because you’ve got the system doing it, it’s going to be more consistent as well. And I think that’s also going to speak to a little bit of the labor shortage that people are running into. So, you don’t have to find the cornerback that runs the 4.2 40 all the time. You can get away with the deep shell coverage and everybody’s in the right spot at the right time doing what they have to do.
Scott Luton (15:16):
But if you do find that cornerback, Shannon, send them to the Atlanta Falcons, we could use it here in Atlanta.
Shannon Vaillancourt (15:23):
The Bears have a little too much cap room right now, so I’m going to send them there so that I can help my hometown team. Well, time is coming, buddy.
Greg White (15:30):
I’m pulling for all of us because I think that’s a great way to describe it. Look, it’s sort of like the NFL had a mass retirement of their oldest and best and most qualified players who had this secret in their mind of how the game was played. The other day we talked about how we lost track for centuries of how to do concrete between the Romans and the modern era. And that’s because we didn’t capture that knowledge before it all left out the door, or in the case, the Romans die off. And that’s part of the challenge that we have and that’s why what Shannon is describing is embedding that knowledge into technology is so important because you can’t teach people a lot of what baby boomers learned over 30, 50 years in the workforce that was almost never documented.
Greg White (16:25):
So, capturing that, embedding that in technology, which, frankly, would’ve been embedded years ago if it weren’t for the fact that we were trying to protect so many jobs. Now, we don’t have to protect those jobs because as we’ve all just talked about here, people are staying away from these jobs and drones. In the case of drones or instead of enabling drones because they don’t want the dark, the dirty, the dangerous, and the dull jobs. They don’t want jobs where they’re just pushing a button. And a computer is really good at doing that. And we can position human beings to do the exception management rather than the rule technology has the ability to manage those rules and those repetitive processes much, much more effectively.
Scott Luton (16:59):
Outstanding. Man, the drone just dropped it on us. I love it, Greg. We heard a lot from Shannon and Greg there kind of piggybacked on your earlier comments around labor shortages and the impact, anything else that you’d like to add there, Paul?
Paul Tedford (17:13):
Sure. Well, first of all, I’m kind of jealous of the Falcons and the Bears for all the moves they’re making. I think our Patriots up here still think they have the best quarterback of all time. But now he’s a baby boomer, too, and he retired and left, and they’re not signing anyone. We’re seeing is similar to what Shannon mentioned is using the systems to provide automation and efficiency. We’re also seeing some of our manufacturers throughout the supply chain and distributors are looking at different ways for recruitment. I think back ten years ago, people thought of manufacturing company with big smokestacks and things like that and it’s dirty. It’s not. I mean, it’s high tech. It’s clean. It’s a great place to work, a great opportunity. So, reaching out and marketing about that to get people interested in these industries is really important.
Paul Tedford (17:57):
We’re seeing a lot of companies work with veterans to bring in some new talent, working with colleges and high schools. Synergy actually just partnered with Farmingdale University out of the SUNY system in New York to actually create am ERP and supply chain program. We’ve actually hired a few people from that, which has been great. And then, I have a friend that’s actually in [inaudible], New Hampshire that runs a small manufacturing company that works with Best Buddies and brings in the best buddy program to do some of the the work around the shop. So, being able to bring those folks in, attract new talent helps with that burnout we talked about in the beginning. But, again, it all comes back to efficiency, leaning out your processes, and using the right tools that can automate those processes.
Scott Luton (18:38):
Yeah. Paul, agreed. And what you were implying throughout some of your answer is getting so much more creative in finding that talent these days. And that sounds real cliche, but, man, the struggle is real. As Jonathan says, “Really hard in the customized metal manufacturing industry.” Jenny Froome – great to see you here – “Preparedness -” talking about some of the earlier comments here “- was one of the many messages at the Africa Supply Chain in Action virtual event over the last couple days. So many unknowns to be prepared for.” Greg, anything else to add? I’ll give the Greg White drone delivery an opportunity to drop a little more knowledge on us here. I mean labor is on the tips of everyone’s tongues, right?
Greg White (19:18):
You know, that’s why this topic, getting technology to work together more effectively, one, you have to have it doing the job because there aren’t enough people to do the job. I don’t know if everyone remembers, but we already had a labor shortage in supply chain in 2019. We had over a 10 percent unemployment rate in supply chain. And now, with supply chain having added so many jobs, it’s even greater. It’s not a smaller problem than it’s been. And because baby boomers made up such an incredible portion of the supply chain labor pool, it’s gotten worse. And those people will never be back. The Great Resignation that it was Gen X, Y and Z, but it was really baby boomers and they will never come back. So, we have to acknowledge that.
Greg White (20:04):
And the other thing is that because we are going to have a ton of newbies in the industry, technology is a great enabler for those people. And we’ve already touched on the fact that they will come in inexperienced. And, also, I think we need to express with the expectation that technology does technology things and humans do human things. We’re talking about digital natives here, people who were born with an iPad in their hands, or at least at every dinner with their parents with their headphones on and iPad in their hands. They’re used to technology and they expect technology to do the things that it should do. I mean, the time is right for this kind of enablement.
Scott Luton (20:43):
Agreed. Completely agreed. Okay. So, I want to shift gears a bit and talk freight. Freight spend accounts for some 10 to 20 percent of a company’s revenue. Shannon, how often are companies keeping their freight spend and their financial systems in sync, especially without that pesky manual data entry involved? Your thoughts, Shannon?
Shannon Vaillancourt (21:04):
They all think they’re doing it, I guess is the short answer. But it’s a challenge. I mean, it’s definitely a challenge and I think that’s where the integration between a TMS and ERP really comes into play. I think getting that right is going to help them. Talking about the company the other day and if they’re listening they’ll know it was them when I say this because it’s a direct quote, but it was kind of a good quote. They were talking about their freight spend, “We have an X million dollar a year freight spend and we’re just trying to figure out what kind of stupid is in there.”
Scott Luton (21:38):
They sure will know who they’re talking to. They’ll sure know if they heard that.
Shannon Vaillancourt (21:42):
So, the question is, are they keeping it really that connected if they’re wondering what kind of stupid is in there. And I think that’s the level of connection that I think about. So, again, do most companies think they’re doing it? Absolutely they’re doing it. They could pull a P&L and see what their freight cost is for that given year, but they don’t have the level of granularity that they need to truly understand it. And then, once you truly understand it, then you can start affecting it and managing it and making change. And I think that’s the next level that we’re seeing a lot of companies wake up to and realize that, “Hey, we are connecting it but we’re maybe not connecting it the way we have to in order to impact change and make sure that as we’re making these changes we get the results that we’re expecting or at least we understand why we’re getting the results that we’re seeing.
Shannon Vaillancourt (22:33):
And I think that’s where this type of integration that we’re talking about is so crucial. It’s more than just pulling in a sales order, generating a shipping label, sending back a carrier in charges so they can generate an invoice to their customer. There’s a lot more to it than that if you truly want to manage this large spend that you have within the company. And I think that’s the thing that people are now realizing, especially now you get through the pandemic that we were through where everybody was just too busy getting freight out the door, getting raw materials in. And now, they’re at the point where they’re like, “Oh, my gosh. We got to start managing this spend.” And are we going into a recession? Are we not? How do I grow the right way and make sure that this freight spend doesn’t balloon out of control? Stuff like that. So, the short answer to your question is, are they yes, but are they doing it at the level that they need to moving forward? I would say no. And I think that’s where the changes are coming.
Scott Luton (23:30):
Right. Well, and as you described, the challenge is real but the opportunity is even more realer. Is that a word, Greg? I will go with it. So, Paul, what are you seeing in this regard?
Paul Tedford (23:41):
Yeah. I think what we see from an ERP perspective when implementing ERP is a lot of these ERPs say they support things like landed cost, rate shopping, international shipping, and automating all that whole process plus all the other things that RateLinx can provide. But, typically, it’s not really there so you end up re-keying or needing a custom integration. So, that takes a lot of time. It requires more labor. And we talked about labor being short. So, what you can do with the integration to RateLinx and the tool that RateLinx has, it better supports our customers with a standard integration that is seamless and creates that efficiency that we need to be able to take those folks that you might have to hire to do the re-keying in, and they can help with supply chain or finding new suppliers or that kind of thing.
Scott Luton (24:27):
So, Paul, thank you for that. And, Greg, I’m coming to you next. What I heard from Paul is not only does it work, but it doesn’t take more of your precious team members’ time. That’s a holy duo. Greg, your thoughts on what Shannon and Paul were talking about here?
Greg White (24:41):
Yeah. A couple things. One is, let’s repeat the framing statement of this question, freight spend accounts for 10 to 20 percent of a company’s revenue. So, if you have $100 million in revenue, it’s somewhere between $10 and 20 million. Where is the right number is what you have to figure out. And that is an enormous swing in terms of cash flow and profitability within a company. And the other is this realization, and I can say it, ERP traditionally in these areas of specialty is a mile wide and an inch deep and a TMS, like what RateLinxs does, is a mile deep in that very specific area. And that’s the difference between manual entry or the inability to do some tasks at all. So, that’s why this whole discussion of integrating a very specialized technology like TMS with your ERP, sharing the appropriate data, and then using the right tool for the job, it’s like using the back of a screwdriver instead of using a hammer to drive nails. Let’s use the hammer and TMS is the hammer. So, I think that’s important for us to recognize.
Greg White (25:48):
But I want to ask this question rhetorically and if anyone led to answer it, go for it. But I don’t want to put anyone on the spot, Shannon, is 10 or is 20 percent the right answer or is it somewhere in between? Because if it’s 10, I feel like, virtually, every company ought to be able to get there. And why aren’t they all flooding?
Shannon Vaillancourt (26:10):
What’s interesting is I’m seeing that from some of these companies, it’s even gone above 20 percent. I used to always use the rule of thumb, it was like 10 percent-ish is what it used to be. And now it’s kind of inched up, and now it’s 10 to 20.
Greg White (26:24):
How much stupid is in 20 versus the amount of stupid in 10?
Shannon Vaillancourt (26:28):
It’s a 2X stupid, I guess, in there. It is an interesting way to look at it. And it’s not that anybody did anything stupid. It’s that there’s a lot of things happening in that freight spend that I think are caused by just a lack of knowledge.
Greg White (26:46):
Yeah. It’s more ignorant than stupid, isn’t it? They don’t even know.
Shannon Vaillancourt (26:49):
[Inaudible] ignorance, not stupidity. It’s like you just have a lack of knowledge around it. I think that’s the visibility side to it.
Scott Luton (26:56):
And, Shannon, I think we were all with you. The person you were speaking to wasn’t calling anyone stupid. It’s the process. It’s the ignorance. It’s the nature of how organizations can approach this.
Greg White (27:06):
They were talking about their own business so they may have been calling somebody stupid. I don’t think people know what they’re missing. And, Paul, to your point, it’s because of if they’re using ERP to do this very complex task. It’s not robust enough. It’s not integrated enough. It’s too manual, let’s just put it that way. And it leaves a lot of room for error. We don’t even have to call it stupid. It’s just unenabled or —
Scott Luton (27:32):
It’s opportunity. Paul, when Greg was making a point a minute ago about the mile wide and, really, shallow, and the mile deep, you were nodding your head in agreement. Would you like to add a comment there? And then, we’re going to move on to talk about a few other challenges. Paul, any additional comments there about the the right tool at the right time perhaps?
Paul Tedford (27:50):
Yeah. So, an ERP can do a lot. And those programmers that are developing the ERP and the product director team, they have to focus on what they’re really good at. So, that ends up being things like capturing all that data, that master data, material planning, the scheduling in some cases, making sure the parts and the inventory are good, and they have the whole AR and AP flow. But if you look at something like salesforce.com, it’s the best of breed CRM. An ERP company is not going to compete with a salesforce.com. Just like an ERP company is not going to compete with a TMS. So, absolutely agree with Greg, some are better than others, but absolutely agree.
Greg White (28:25):
And vice versa. I mean, TMS doesn’t do finance and accounting at all in most cases, right? Let’s call it symbiotic, so we don’t do BS bingo here. But it’s a symbiotic relationship, right? It’s sort of like hand in glove.
Scott Luton (28:41):
As I shift gears here because I want to bring in a couple comments, you got to call into pros. Lamar Jackson. Get an agent. Get an agent. You’d have a big old deal by now. You got to call into pros. So, continuing with that little analogy, I think I can share this quote here. In fact, I’m going to drop it because it covers up the screen. Guy says – going back to labor – “Companies need to be more open-minded and less rigid when they’re looking at their labor issues. Some companies want their candidates to check 10 of the 10 boxes when they’re interviewing candidates. Going back to the football analogy -” thank you, Guy “- the Saints hired an undersized QB in Drew Brees. H wasn’t 6’4″ with a big arm. And it seems that worked out well for the Saints.” So, labor is a big theme here. And, Guy, that’s a great comment there.
Scott Luton (29:24):
Okay. And thank you, Santiago. I appreciate your feedback on great program. I agree. These good stuff from Greg, Paul, and Shannon. And Josh, yes, ignorance is a great way to get blindsided. Excellent point there, Josh. Okay. So, as we kind of come around maybe the home stretch, maybe not quite, but what are we doing about it? We’ve kind of laid out a lot of different challenges, unique and common, that organizations are being faced with. You know, some of these have been around forever, others are newer. But let’s talk about what are we doing about it. So, Shannon, what are some of the ways that you’re seeing business leaders out there offset and address these challenges, break through, and find some success?
Shannon Vaillancourt (30:04):
It starts with, first, getting a good foundation around where you’re at today. And I think that’s where it comes down to that visibility and connecting the data correctly so you actually truly know what you’re spending, where you’re spending it, why you’re spending it. And then, from there what we see is the strategies are then created. And with the tools that are out there, you can model a lot of those strategies to make sure that you’re getting the results you want. So that way, when you finally deploy it, and that’s why we use the 3Ds, diagnose, develop, deploy. Diagnose the real problem. So, again, measure everything right so that way you can develop the right solution, that when deployed can actually be executed the way you need to. I think that’s where by having the systems, the ERP, and the TMS is connected together, you can diagnose, develop, and deploy correctly and quickly and get the results that you’re expecting. And that’s really what I’m seeing out there with a lot of companies. And it’s just taking that step back rather than just deploying, which I think the old way, “Hey, let’s just quick go do this.” We had a customer a long time ago, he’s since retired, but he used to use the analogy shoot, ready, aim. Let’s not do that anymore.
Scott Luton (31:19):
Don’t do that please. And, Shannon, we can fool ourselves often as business leaders, right? We can make these deadly assumptions. And to your point, we got to jump in there, roll up our sleeves, and really embrace reality for where we are as an organization and where the process is, right?
Shannon Vaillancourt (31:35):
Yeah. It’s the goldfish thing. Even though it’s not true, goldfish does have a memory for longer than that. But we’ll let that myth continue because it’s a nice one. The poor little goldfish that whatever happened to them in the last minute has been happening to that poor little goldfish for its entire life as far as it’s concerned because that’s its memory. And I see a lot of that on the freight side. Except I would say it’s more like the elephant because, on the transportation side, they’ll remember something that happened to them 20 years ago. No way, man, 20 years ago, wrecked everything, never using them again,
Scott Luton (32:08):
Leading with the rule of the exception perhaps is kind of what you’re alluding to. Paul, I know you’re chomping a bit to get in here. What are you seeing some business leaders do to work through some of these big and small challenges?
Paul Tedford (32:19):
We’re seeing and helping manufacturing leaders and distribution leaders lean out their processes. So, becoming more efficient and also using technology or digital disruption, the big keyword or the buzzword for the last 15 years. But we’re actually seeing them, you know, implement cobots, robots, tying their ERP into their machines in the shop [inaudible] through IoT, Internet of Things, and all of the efficiencies we’re seeing from that. And then, we’re also getting back to basics. We’ve lost a lot of knowledge, tribal knowledge, like we’ve been talking about on this program. So, getting into, like, lean programs, supplier performance workshops, things of that nature, and really improving the processes in those companies with the software is a piece of that. But it’s not the only thing. The processes are the most important. Automation around, you know, things like we’re talking about, with TMS and RateLinx, how that automates that whole process of freight and shipping with the the ERP, PO collaboration. You know, if you can collaborate with your POs, the buyers and suppliers, they can share a view of future forecast, planned orders, every PO, the line chain shipments, receipts, payments, and approval so everyone can make smart decisions so that collaboration can be important with the new online collaboration these new tools have. And then, just improving capacity and reducing backlog on the shop floor with better scheduling and delivery performance tools, like dynamic production methods. So, that’s what we’re really seeing out there.
Scott Luton (33:46):
Outstanding, Paul. I appreciate that. That’s quite a holistic list. Greg, I’m glad you and I don’t have memories like a goldfish. We’d never get anything done right here and build up and hold conversations like this, right? Greg, bring it home. You’re hearing from Shannon and Paul with what leaders are doing about it. That’s what they’re charged to do, is to do something about all these tag on problems. Your thoughts, Greg.
Greg White (34:08):
I think there is a little bit of shellshock, right? That whole people are still compensating for what happened during COVID, for instance. Or, literally, I had a colleague that in his first purchasing job inadvertently bought a truckload instead of a pallet of brooms for his company. And they literally augmented the system with a don’t buy more than X brooms button because that’s what he asked for. And I think what we’re starting to see is this shift towards looking for what the outcome that is desired. Not the methodology or the process that we want duplicated in technology. But what is the outcome that we want from implementing technology and working back from there. And the more that we see that, the more effective technology implementations will be one of the problems.
Greg White (34:58):
Everybody’s heard of all these tough ERP implementation, but mostly that is because companies insisted that their implementers do make the technology do this. This horrible process that we had before, we’d like it automated so it burns the company to the ground faster, things like that. Instead, now, I think we have much, much more bold, educated, specialist technologist, Paul and Shannon, who can say, “No, no, no. What is the outcome that you want? We’ll show you how to get there. We’ll let you know if that’s going to impact your processes or your people and their skills and if they need upskilling or they need a different process or training in that process.” And I think that shift is one of the things that we’re seeing because there are so many inexperienced users and managers out there. They’re much, much more likely to lean on knowledge of the experts who have been in the trade for longer and simply say, “I just want this to happen.” And in a way I think that’s good. It’s sort of that blessing of night and day.
Scott Luton (36:00):
And such a great point, Greg. You know, business leaders don’t need to map all the Xs and Os. Tell the pros, like Shannon and Paul, the outcomes you’re after. Shannon, you’re nodding your head. Do you wish more folks will just tell you the outcomes they’re after and let you and the RateLinx team get to it?
Shannon Vaillancourt (36:17):
I think that’s part of the fun is the questioning, right? And I think that’s what makes us different than most, is ,we are that type of company where we’re going to ask the question.
Scott Luton (36:28):
So, this is the perfect segue. Man, you’re reading my mind. Shannon, you’re reading my mind like you always do. So, we’ve heard from Paul on the frontend about what Synergy does and all the cool things he and the team are doing. On the flip side, RateLinx. Folks have been tuned into Supply Chain Now for a couple years now. They’ve seen your face with us numerous times. We’re going back to the first time you and I met out in Arizona at a conference at Demska. So, tell us, for the three people out there that may not know, what does RateLinx do in a nutshell.
Shannon Vaillancourt (36:53):
What we do is we help a lot of companies with their transportation spend. So, not only are we going to ask them the right questions to make sure that we’re diagnosing the problems that they have, but we also have world-class TMS that we can deploy very quickly, very easily, and integrate it the exact right way. So that way, they’re getting the results that they’re looking for. And so, I think that’s how we help all of our customers. And to bring it back to the customer who had the great direct quote, we helped root out the the stupid that might be sitting out there and give them a way to flush it out of the system.
Greg White (37:30):
I think that should be your tagline, truly ,Shannon, We root out the stupid.
Shannon Vaillancourt (37:34):
I’m going to use that for as long as I can because that was a great quote.
Scott Luton (37:39):
We’ll have to ask Shannon C. who I think is in the comment, in the sky boxes, what she thinks of that. Shannon, I appreciate you sharing that. And let’s talk about a couple resources. Really, the panel here has mentioned a couple times integrations, integrations, integrations. Well, hey, the RateLinx team, you’re on the move, a variety of new integrations. And y’all can check that out. We’re going to drop a link into the chat to see some of the video overview of those new integrations at RateLinx, so y’all check that out. And I love the tagline y’all put. Talking about great taglines, smarter, faster, simpler. I love that. Greg, it’s kind of like The Six Million Dollar Man when I hear that phrase, huh?
Greg White (38:12):
Yeah. But I can’t remember what that one is. It’s stronger, faster or better, stronger, faster, something like that.
Scott Luton (38:19):
The last one, smarter, faster, simpler. And so, we’ve got the link, y’all check that out there, the video overview of those integrations. And then, secondly – and, Shannon, I want to get you to speak to this a bit – we have a link to this incredible project led by the RateLinx team where you worked with a Fortune 100 company to save millions of dollars annually – if that doesn’t get your attention. Going back to Greg’s prefacing statement on that question 10, 15 minutes ago, so tell us why should folks check out this link? I mean, gosh, millions of dollars don’t appeal to you? Maybe that’s the only reason you wouldn’t click. Your thoughts, Shannon.
Shannon Vaillancourt (38:54):
You know, this gives you an idea of what’s really happening out there. I mean this was one example, probably the scale of which I’ll probably never see again in my career. But nonetheless you think about every company out there, this is happening and it’s just a matter of to what degree is it happening at your company. A lot of folks that we talked to where I asked them about the audit and they’re like, “Oh. No. We just make sure it’s our invoice and then we pay it.” You’re going to see different levels of what’s out there. So, I think you check that out. It’s going to at least lend a little bit of reality to how we could impact the bottom line very quickly and very easily. And, again, just like our tag says, a very simple solution. We’re not very complex. I mean that’s why I couldn’t come up with some magic chicken thing. It’s just not what I do, man.
Scott Luton (39:48):
That’s okay. Do what you do best and do what you enjoy. And, clearly, that intersects with driving big good change industry. And, Greg and Paul, I want to share this graphic again because I think as big as some of these numbers, look at this, less than 30 days to complete. Greg, go ahead.
Greg White (40:05):
What’s interesting about that is it doesn’t matter what size your company is, those numbers apply. 34X ROI, it may not be millions or tens of millions or hundreds of millions in your company. But remember, if you are between that 10 and 20 percent, I think we can establish that it ought to be closer to 10 percent. You don’t have to be that big of a company for that to be millions. And all of those millions matter. The relative scale of that, if you’re a $100 thousand business, that’s $20,000 of your revenue going to freight. So, the scale is there. And that’s what makes it worth it is the scale of it, percentage of your revenue.
Scott Luton (40:44):
Well said. And, hopefully, from your lips to our audience’s ears, especially those that are in position to do something about it. Paul, you have set a new standard when we talk food here at Supply Chain Now. You didn’t think that your contribution was going to make waves as much as it did, huh?
Paul Tedford (40:58):
Oh, I got some people hungry. Hopefully, there’s no supply chain [inaudible] chicken.
Scott Luton (41:01):
Well, hey, kidding aside, we’re going to ask you to make sure folks know how to connect with you and the Synergy team. When you see numbers like we just shared and heard Greg’s perspective, you know, no matter what size of company you are, and that wonderful word, simplicity, your final word around maybe why folks should take some action, whether they work with RateLinx or find a different solution, your call to action perhaps, Paul.
Paul Tedford (41:23):
Yeah. I think we’ve been talking about those labor shortages and people getting burned out, so whatever you can do to automate, and then automate with those cost savings just goes right to the bottom line. So, that’s the final word I got.
Scott Luton (41:35):
I love it, Paul. And, hey, because if you’re not going to do it for your bottom line, which is plenty good enough reason, do it for your people. Do it for your people. Okay. So, Greg, I’m going to get your final key takeaway on the other side after we bid Paul and Shannon ado. And, okay, Guy, easy, easy. “Six Million Dollar Man. Your guys are showing your age.” I’m bad about that. I read Reader’s Digest, still. Be kind. Be kind.
Greg White (41:59):
Reader’s Digest still exists?
Scott Luton (42:01):
It does. It’s skinny down as you might imagine. Paul, I think, mentioned leaned down earlier. And it’s been leaned down, but, hey, it’s still a good read. Gartner RateLinx on their TMS Magic Quadrant as the leader for usability and simplicity. Man, Shannon, you and the team have been on the move there. All right. So, Paul, as busy as you and the team are, appreciate you carving some time out to, not only share what you’re seeing out there and some things you’re doing and some helpful perspective for our audience. But shed a little light on what you and the RateLinx team, how can folks connect all with you and the Synergy Resources team?
Paul Tedford (42:35):
Sure. You can find us on LinkedIn. We have a Synergy Resources site, myself, Paul Tedford, or our website, synergyresources.net. And that’s probably the best way to contact us.
Scott Luton (42:44):
It’s just that easy. Paul, 13 inches of snow last night. I hope that’s not sitting in your driveway waiting for you this afternoon. Is it?
Paul Tedford (42:53):
The great thing is my son’s home from spring break, so he is out there right now.
Scott Luton (42:56):
There you go. And check out Paul and connect with him via LinkedIn in the chat. Shannon – great guest – thank you for bringing Paul along for your regular visit with us and chat with us. How can folks connect, Shannon, with you and the RateLinx teams on the move?
Shannon Vaillancourt (43:11):
Yeah. Again, get us on LinkedIn or you can hit our website, ratelinx.com. Shoot me an email, give me a call, talk to Greg, he’ll hook you up.
Greg White (43:20):
I’m headed to Phoenix here pretty shortly, Shannon, so warm up the Maserati.
Scott Luton (43:23):
Shannon, we didn’t ask you, you mentioned that a customer came out, you’re like, “Of course, we played golf,” who won, Shannon, when you and that customer came out?
Shannon Vaillancourt (43:33):
Oh, I’m a good host.
Scott Luton (43:34):
Ah. Good, good, good.
Greg White (43:37):
It’s called customer golf for a reason, Scott.
Scott Luton (43:39):
See, you can tell I don’t play golf, huh? Well, hey, what a heck of a conversation we’ve had here today with Paul Tedford with Synergy and, our dear friend back by popular demand, Shannon Vaillancourt with RateLinx. Paul, Shannon, thank you very much. Have a great rest of your day.
Greg White (43:54):
Yeah. Well done.
Shannon Vaillancourt (43:55):
Thank you, guys.
Paul Tedford (43:56):
Thank you, guys.
Scott Luton (43:58):
All right. The other side with Greg White. Come join in, tune in for the best frank key takeaways from any conversation we have here at Supply Chain Now. So, Greg, your favorite thing you heard here today?
Greg White (44:10):
Well, favorite thing is that Shannon has proven enough to let his clients win at golf. I mean, anybody who’s met him or has met his sons know that he could whip just about anybody. I’d have to say the symbiotic nature of this – because I’m afraid to say synergy too much. It sounds like an ad, doesn’t it? – ERP and TMS and recognizing the limitations and the strengths of each of those and then combining them for greater good of your company is a really, really important recognition. Because so many people, I just call it the technology paradox, they expect to just drop it in. And both Paul and Shannon alluded to this, you just drop the technology in and magic happens, your business is transformed. But the truth is, it takes some effort on your part and it has to be the right technology, it has to have the right capabilities, it has to be easy to use and easy to implement and fast to results.
Greg White (45:07):
And so, that final example that Shannon gave us is a great affirmation of that. You can do it fast and with enormous results, 34X ROI in the first year. That’s one of those numbers when you put it out there and people don’t believe it. So, I know that Shannon has whoever that is on speed dial so he can just go, “Here, just talk to them if you don’t believe me.” He probably says it a little bit more deadpan than that.
Greg White (45:33):
You know, the other thing that I think is important to recognize is that neither of these guys are new to this game. And because the game has gotten so complex, the knowledge that they represent because of that experience is very, very important. And that both of them are so aware that to make a solution effective that times have changed. It’s not our colleagues that came into supply chain. And it’s not the old men who were in supply chain when we came into it, Scott. Now, it’s people who expect different things out of the workplace and expect different things out of technology. And I think people like Shannon and Paul, and myself and you, are all relieved by that, that now we can embrace automation and robotics and technology to do the things that it should have always been doing. But we had to protect those jobs for those people who needed those jobs and couldn’t adapt to technology. Now, we’ve got three generations in the workforce that all were raised on technology, X, Y, and Z. So, they are both that experienced and that thinking is really, really encouraging and beneficial to companies these days because that’s a really, really rare mix, to have so much experience and not just lean on best practice – which, as you know I say – is peer pressure from old people. And what is it we say? Tradition is peer pressure from dead people.
Scott Luton (47:00):
Yes. That’s right.
Greg White (47:01):
Best practice is basically peer pressure to do things. We’ve always done it. That’s probably a better way to say it. To challenge the status quo like that and to adapt it to a new work environment is a bold and important thing to do. So, good on both for that.
Scott Luton (47:16):
Well said. And just adding to that, to belabor a couple points, we had a show last night, and Allen – who was with us here – talked about the courage, kudos to business leaders with the courage to drive change and help their people. Because, as Paul mentioned, burnout is real. That might sound cliche and and it’s always been with us, advantaged the last few years. Whatever you do, man, drive that good change to help your people out because they want to do a good job.
Greg White (47:42):
Yeah. Because as I said earlier, Scott, people are staying away in drones.
Scott Luton (47:48):
Hey, Greg, always a pleasure. I really enjoyed. I knew this was going to be a good conversation, especially between the synergy that you, Paul, and Shannon had. Hey, I got to call it for what it is. But, Greg, had a great time here today.
Greg White (48:00):
Yeah. Likewise. It was a lot of fun. It’s always good to talk to somebody who’s been doing it so effectively for so long and have that philosophy shared with the entire pro base.
Scott Luton (48:11):
And before I wrap, I’m just going to give Josh Goodey a thank you for trying to help me update some of my references, “Better, faster, stronger. There’s also a Daft Punk song that throws harder in there.” So, Josh, thank you. I’m going to update my reference to that and hope you’re doing well. Always a pleasure to have you as part of the conversation. Big thanks Amanda and Katherine and Tracy and Shannon behind the scenes helping to make the show today happen. But, folks, whatever you do, hey, take it from Greg, take it from Paul, take it from Shannon, act. Deeds, not words. And with that said, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, to be the change that’s needed. We’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com, and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Paul Tedford is CEO of Synergy Resources, an ERP consulting & implementation company specializing in delivering value at the intersection of technology, innovation, and business processes. Paul’s background includes decades of hands-on experience with software innovation for the manufacturing sector. Today, he leads a team of 100+ ERP and business optimization experts serving more than 1,200 companies. Creating synergy between business processes and modern ERP is the key to maximizing effectiveness, efficiency, and opportunity. Paul helps audiences explore practical ways to leverage technology, innovation, and process optimization to accelerate the achievement of current business goals while creating new possibilities for the future. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn.
Shannon Vaillancourt is the President and Founder of RateLinx. He started the company in 2002 with the idea that there was a better way to give companies complete visibility to their supply chain. Since then, RateLinx has become a leading supply chain software and data services company that gives retailers, manufacturers, and distributors the ability to ship, track, and pay for their freight. Before founding RateLinx, Shannon held several leadership and technical roles in software engineering, solutions, and services. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Connect with Shannon on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.