Leading distributors are constantly seeking new ways to improve their shipping planning and execution and improve their customers’ experiences. Such was the case for Scott Wolfer and Power Sales and Advertising, a leading incentive distributor, who transformed their shipping execution with their new RateLinx TMS that kept everything in sync with their ERP, Microsoft Dynamics.
In this episode, Scott and Shannon Vaillancourt with Ratelinx join hosts Scott Luton and Greg White to discuss the top three reasons you should use a TMS that extends the power of your ERP. Listen in as Scott and Shannon provide practical examples and anecdotes to illustrate the importance of delivering on promises and the challenges faced when implementing next chapter technology.
Highlighting the power of partnerships, technology, and efficient shipping practices, listen in and learn from our panel of experts how effective partnerships and integrations can level up your business.
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 (00:32):
Hey, hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Greg White. Good looking Greg White here with you today on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s live stream. Greg, it’s just that color. We were talking about it in the green room, it just pops with your eyes,
Greg White (00:45):
Not like — thank — wow. Thank you. Not like the usual Greg White, what you’re saying.
Scott Luton (00:51):
No, not at all. Love the color and the nice good looking haircut. But hey, Greg, talking about good looking, we got an outstanding conversation here today. A couple of business leaders doing big things, especially when it comes to shipping freight and leveraging tech to shipping much more successfully. Big show today, huh?
Greg White (01:09):
Yes, no doubt. Yes. As always, I’m going to give him up. Shannon Vaillancourt is here from RateLinx and, you know, how much — in what high regard I hold him.
Scott Luton (01:18):
Greg White (01:19):
And our other guest is helping people, right? Like get stuff done and a Chiefs fan.
Scott Luton (01:28):
Greg White (01:28):
Minor detail, so.
Scott Luton (01:29):
Big old can — 11 — I think he’s had season tickets for 11 years. You got a big tailgate coming up. We’re going to dive right into that.
Greg White (01:37):
And we will to keep it on topic, Scott.
Scott Luton (01:39):
Right, right. Big show here today. A lot of folks are still struggling, certainly with shipping successful. It’s a lot of good stuff here today. All right. So, Greg, within — with no further ado, I’m going to go ahead and welcome in our two panelists here today. We’ve got Scott Wolfer, Process Analyst with Power Sales and Advertising Inc., and as you mentioned, Shannon Vaillancourt, President of RateLinx.
Scott Luton (02:03):
Hey, hey, Shannon. Welcome back. How you doing?
Shannon Vaillancourt (02:05):
Doing pretty good.
Scott Luton (02:07):
Great. Great to see you. And Scott Wolfer, welcome to Supply Chain Now. How you doing?
Scott Wolfer (02:12):
I’m good. Good to be here. Good to be here.
Scott Luton (02:14):
Well. All right. So, we were talking, Greg, lots of football in the pre-show. And that just spilled right over in addition to your good-looking shirt, spilled right over into our live conversation here today, and that’s going to spill right over into our fun warmup question that I bet all three of you all are going to have some really good answers. Are you all ready to go?
Scott Wolfer (02:34):
Scott Luton (02:34):
All right. So, Scott, we kind of threw you out there a little bit. We talked about your grand tailgate you’ve been hosting in a while, you and your brother, there in Kansas City. Kansas City hosts Chicago this coming weekend. So, here’s a question. So, today folks, is National Pepperoni Pizza Day, it’s National Fried Rice Day, it’s National Queso Day, and it’s National Rum Punch Day, for some that might be what they use on certain game days. So, here’s the fun warm question. With football back in full swing, Shannon, the Chicago Bears, they’re going to get better. The Chiefs continue to keep on rolling. So, the question is, what’s one food — and Scott Wolfer, I’m going to start with you. What’s one food that’s required at tailgate you host?
Scott Wolfer (03:20):
Oh, wings are always there. Wings you can’t go wrong.
Scott Luton (03:24):
Is there a certain flavor?
Scott Wolfer (03:27):
Charred? I’m with the group — a big group, and so we have all the flavors. One of their — so, the wings is one thing that you have to have. But one thing I do love is a little bit of sliced brisket.
Scott Luton (03:39):
Greg White (03:40):
There you go.
Scott Luton (03:41):
— man. OK.
Scott Wolfer (03:42):
Some of the gals also.
Scott Luton (03:45):
OK, Scott, thank you very much. My stomach is now rumbling.
Scott Luton (03:49):
Shannon Vaillancourt, what would you — if you’re hosting the big old tailgate, what’s got to be there?
Shannon Vaillancourt (03:53):
I’d say besides what Scott said, coming from the Midwest, we’d of course have some Chicago style hotdogs —
Greg White (03:58):
There we go.
Scott Luton (03:59):
Man, that sounds delicious to me. I love a good hotdog. Although, Greg, I’m coming to you next. For me, I love Chicago. I love any hotdog, let’s face it. But I like mine with mustard, coleslaw, and Tabasco. That’s my hotdog of choice. Greg White, you go to — you’ve been going to Chief’s games for a long time. You’ve got — I — I’ve been with you. Talk about the layout you all have got. What’s one food that you can’t separate from your Chief’s football experience?
Greg White (04:24):
Burnt ends invented in Kansas City. They wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Kansas City. So, have to have burnt ends. I’m just going to let every — I’m just going to leave that out there for our global guests and let them Google and figure out what burnt ends are. I’m not going to explain it.
Scott Luton (04:40):
Oh, yes. You know, I was just watching one last comment. We’re going to get a couple of folks from the cheap seats. And folks, we want to hear from you throughout the hour. And I was just watching a YouTube episode with Myron Mixon, who is based here in Georgia, and he was showing us how to cook brisket. According to him, in six hours, which is really fast, but I’ll save that for another day. Catherine says, hey, if you’re in, in the ATL lemon pepper leading flavor for those wings.
Scott Wolfer (05:05):
Scott Luton (05:06):
Tracy, growing up in Texas, you better have barbecue. I think we’ve got barbecue well covered. This user who must ha from the Cincinnati or Midwest —
Greg White (05:14):
Got to Cincinnati.
Scott Luton (05:15):
— Skyline Chili. I wonder if that is Shannon. Let’s see here. T Squared — the other Shannon. Shannon C. T Squared says, bring on the nourishment, both supply chain management and tailgate. And of course, Tracy loves some burnt ends as well. OK.
Greg White (05:27):
Why do I imagine Tyrone having — T Squared having exactly the same accent you do. Just the way that he says, own embarrassment.
Scott Luton (05:38):
That’s a good point. We’re going to have him on it eventually and —
Greg White (05:41):
Scott Luton (05:41):
— to that. All right. So — and that was Shannon C. talking about Skyline Chili.
Scott Luton (05:47):
All right. So, let’s shift gears while we’re here. We got a big topic here today. And what we want to do here, Scott, Shannon, and Greg, you know, there’s not enough context in this world we live in. So, we want to start with providing some of that context for our global audience here. So, Scott, I want to start as we level set, tell us a little bit about Power Sales and Advertising, and what you all do.
Scott Wolfer (06:08):
Power Sales, we’re a stocking distributor specializing in one-off dropship, the nuts and bolts of the businesses to pick, pack and ship, process all the shipments. The majority of our customer service is premier incentives. Industry through, we handle the fulfillment of the retail for them. We sell consumer products often found in Home Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, and such.
Scott Luton (06:35):
OK. So, you got some retail heavyweights there that you all got to deliver on. So, we’ll probably touch on that throughout today’s conversation. I appreciate that, Scott. And you’re based in Kansas, right? You are.
Scott Wolfer (06:47):
Scott Luton (06:47):
Scott Wolfer (06:47):
We’re next to Kansas, right in the heart of America.
Scott Luton (06:50):
I love that. You’ve got some kindred spirits here. Greg, of course grew up there, and I spent two years with the world’s most dominant air force right there in Wichita, Kansas. All right. Thank you, Scott.
Scott Luton (07:02):
Shannon Vaillancourt, a lot of folks you’ve been with us, as Greg mentioned on the front end, you know, for years now. So — but for our new audience members, tell us what RateLinx does in a nutshell.
Shannon Vaillancourt (07:12):
All what we do is we help companies like Power Sales make their shipping process and really drive a lot of efficiencies there. I think that’s really it in a nutshell. It’s — for us it’s about efficiencies and trying to automate the manual, you know, that way you get rid of the mistakes. And you just make it more consistent and quick and easy for companies like Power Sales to do what they do.
Scott Luton (07:36):
Man. Greg, that is music to my ears. It can really just be that simple, Greg.
Greg White (07:40):
I mean, it can, if you’ve built good enough technology and you’ve been doing it long enough, which we know Shannon has, right? So, what I love about your viewpoint, Shannon, is you focus on the so what. The end goal, right? Not the how you do it, but the what it means more than the what it does. And that, you know, that’s a great perspective to have when you’re talking to a technology company by the way.
Scott Luton (08:02):
That’s right. And Shannon, I have not — I think we have been collaborating for three or four years. Shannon doesn’t get rattled, folks. So, you can tell, you’re — Shannon that his car’s on fire. He doesn’t get rattled and —
Greg White (08:14):
He might be rattled now, Scott. We’ll never know.
Scott Luton (08:16):
Greg White (08:17):
Scott Luton (08:18):
As he shared in our pre-show, he can take some of those head coaches out there.
Greg White (08:21):
When you asked him about the Bears — yes. When you asked him about the Bears, he seemed a little rattled about it.
Scott Luton (08:26):
Well, I am —
Greg White (08:28):
You have to know him for a long time.
Scott Luton (08:29):
Shannon Vaillancourt (08:30):
That would be more sad.
Scott Luton (08:31):
More sad. Hey, that’s better —
Shannon Vaillancourt (08:33):
It’s like they had —
Scott Luton (08:35):
All you Chicago Bearers fans out there beyond just Shannon, there’s better times ahead. We’ll see.
Scott Luton (08:39):
All right. So, now we’ve kind of level set. I want to dive in a little bit differ — deeper, Scott, with some of your operations and a little more about your business. What you all have been experiencing. So, let’s start — because I think it’d be helpful for our audience to know that the scale and mix. Tell us about the scale and mix of your transportation operations, Scott.
Scott Wolfer (08:56):
So, we ship ground shipments, truck shipments, we ship a little bit of everything. Somewhere between 5,000 to 8,000 packages a day to single packages drop ship to single customers. And during our busy season that’s coming up, we’ll be shipping between probably 8,000 to 15,000 a day, with making around 25,000 to 30,000. Filling in people’s credit card rewards, stuff like that. Getting them their Christmas presents. We’ll ship anything from a T.V., to an iPad, to a camping chair, fishing poles. You name it, we got it.
Scott Wolfer (09:35):
And we’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve been doing this since over 11 years now — or actually, you know, 12 years now. I started out packing, and on the front line packing the packages. And the growth we’ve had is over these 11 years is crazy. But we’re more efficient. We keep — continue to grow. We’re continuing to look to expand. To see what we can do better. How we can ship packages, pack faster, become more efficient. And that’s part of the reason why we came to Shannon and RateLinx since we –it was time to move on to a bigger and better shipping software that can accommodate us.
Scott Luton (10:17):
Well, Scott, you red my mind. We’re going to dive into that in just a minute because I think there’s a lot of information that can help folks out there. I want to pause just a second before I go further with Scott Wolfer. Greg, that is one good looking hat that Scott Wolfer is wearing and as he shared with us in the pre-show because Scott mentioned he started in the front line, that T-shirt, I think, was designed by someone in the warehouse, right, Scott?
Scott Wolfer (10:40):
Yes. Seth Gifford, our shipping manager designed them.
Scott Luton (10:42):
All right. So, Seth, you’re going to get some phone calls. We got to get some merch, so —
Scott Wolfer (10:48):
Scott Luton (10:49):
But kidding aside, Greg, I love stories that touch on the front line. That’s where — that — when we talk about going to the Gemba, that’s where the value is created. And I love that Scott’s story started there, Greg, your quick thought.
Greg White (10:59):
Yes, well, I mean it’s a hundred percent about that. You know, we talk about this a ton. All the promises that you make as a retailer, a shipper of any kind. any kind of company that sells B-to-B or B-to-C make any of those promises you want. The only thing that delivers on those promises is delivering on those promises.
Scott Luton (11:18):
That’s right. That is right. And those promises get, as Scott pointed out, it gets a lot trickier as we move into the peak season where they go from 5,000 to 8,000 packages a day to 8,000 to 15,000 packages a day. We’re going to talk more about what enables that in a second. But hey, before you implemented a new TMS solution, Scott Wolfer, what were some of the shipping inefficiencies and challenges that your — you and your team we’re experiencing?
Scott Wolfer (11:43):
We’re running on some shipping speed. Maybe the — just the customer service part to where if something happened, we needed to reach out, we need to figure this out now. It would take a lot of time to get a resolution. Here, we’ll get things a lot faster. I know efficiency on our packing side, running our batch printing is where we’d have a hundred of the same item going to a hundred different customers. We type it in our computer and it may take five minutes, 10 minutes to print.
Scott Wolfer (12:12):
Here with ship RateLinx, we’ve sped that up times five. Multi-line orders, one thing. A big thing is we used to have to hand type in our non-packers and things we just slap the label on. We have to type in every weight and dim [phonetic] if it was more than one. Now, we don’t have to do that at all. We don’t — we just scan the product and we have that information. It’s huge for us.
Scott Luton (12:35):
Oh, I bet. And Shannon, I’m going to come to you next. Really quick, Greg, what adds to how big that is, because we were talking — I think, one of the last shows Shannon joined us all the errors. I can’t remember the ratio. How many keystrokes you could expect —
Greg White (12:48):
Scott Luton (12:49):
OK. For every nine keystrokes, you’d expect an error. So, imagine eliminating so many keystrokes, Greg. I mean, that’s an instant equalizer, huh?
Greg White (12:59):
Yes. Well, it feels like a lot more than one out of nine, doesn’t it? When you’re experiencing it. But yes, it, that’s an incredible risk. And it — part of what this makes me think about is it’s possible to outgrow a technology. Scott, you said you were using technology before, right?
Scott Wolfer (13:15):
Greg White (13:16):
So, I think one of the things that there was anything I was be on the lookout for out there is that a technology that can be both simple to use in your early stages when your processes or maybe even your business altogether is relatively immature. But a technology that can mature as the company grows is incredibly valuable because you just feel like — sorry if this brings up a painful memory, Scott, you just feel like you just threw away a bunch of money if you have to change technology. So, having something that can grow with you is really, really critical. And, you know, make that assessment part of your evaluation process when you’re looking at it any kind of solution frankly, but especially technologies.
Scott Luton (14:00):
Agreed. Very well said, Greg.
Scott Luton (14:03):
OK. Shannon, bringing you into the conversation. Back in the conversation. Scott Wolfer just shared a lot of challenges that he and the team were experiencing prior to implementing and that next chapter technology for their team. And when you hear that, I bet going through you — between your ears, there’s lots of customer conversations, is that right?
Shannon Vaillancourt (14:21):
Oh, yes. I mean, you know, we — when I was in Kansas City with Scott and the team there, and we walked through the warehouse, I mean, I saw what — I see — I saw a lot of familiar stuff. And it’s just the inefficiency. I’m watching the packer and I’m like, hey, why are you having to type that in? Why are you having to click that? And why is it taking so long? And some of the stuff I was told. I’m like, this — that makes no sense. I’m like, that’s not — I don’t think that’s the real reason.
Shannon Vaillancourt (14:52):
And that’s what I find across the board where really some people when they go put in their TMS system, what we see is it’s not necessarily that they outgrow it, it’s that they finally realize that the gaps that they never really closed are becoming a problem. More and more of a problem. And I think that’s where Power Sales really fell into that category. Just like a lot of other customers, the system that they had was, you know, fine, it just couldn’t do that little extra 10% to do that automation that our sales really needed. Why is that person having to key that in?
Shannon Vaillancourt (15:32):
So, now all of a sudden, our sales volume goes up, that extra 10 seconds, 15 seconds gets amplified. And then it might’ve been fine in the beginning because they didn’t have the volumes, but as their volumes increased, that’s where those little bitty inefficiencies that the other provider just couldn’t close that gap on becomes amplified. And that’s what I see a lot of. And that’s why the way that we put everything together for us is make sure we close that last, you know, 10% gap.
Shannon Vaillancourt (16:06):
You know, I always likened it to like an ice cream sundae where it’s — everyone goes out, they get the ice cream and they put the hot fudge on it and they’re like, I’m done. And it’s, yes, you are until you want sprinkles, or you want some nuts on it, or you want some caramel because you’re just tired of the vanilla and the hot fudge.
Scott Luton (16:26):
Homemade whipped cream, Shannon.
Shannon Vaillancourt (16:28):
Yes, it’s going to be good for a while, right? But then eventually you’re going to want that little bit extra and that’s what we’re able to deliver. And I think that’s where a company like Power Sales was a perfect example. And a lot of that was because of their complexity. They had three, I would say almost four kind of unique processes that you guys had there, Scott, that we had to handle with —
Scott Wolfer (16:51):
Shannon Vaillancourt (16:51):
— one solution and know that, oh, I’m doing the singles. I’m doing the batch. I’m doing the multis. And then, I’m doing the automated with the RF gun. Just print on the — on that Wi-Fi printer that’s out there in the warehouse. So, it’s like you guys were like four installs in one kind of —
Scott Wolfer (17:11):
Scott Luton (17:12):
So, Greg, quick question then I get you a comment on what you just hear there — heard there from Shannon. Shannon was talking about those questions he was asked and as he was touring that that warehouse. How many minutes do you think Shannon needs to spend in a warehouse before he comes to a quick assessment, Greg?
Greg White (17:29):
Scott Luton (17:31):
Greg White (17:32):
I mean, I feel like, you know — well, I mean, I’ve had a lot of warehouse tours and once you’ve been through them a number of times, they all sound the same. Well, over here, trucks back up and stuff comes out the doors — through the doors and then we put it up on the shelves. And then when people want it, we pull it down off the shelves, and we ship it out these doors over here. I’m like, every time. Wow. Has anyone else thought of this?
Greg White (17:55):
So, but there are a lot of nuances that are unique. Usually what I’ve found — and Shannon, I’d love to get your feedback on this. What I’ve found is a lot of those nuances are because of accommodations of staff or process technology or, you know, or some sort of honestly almost flaw in the business. And when you do an assessment for a new technology like this, you assess all those things and somebody like Shannon can identify those things in minutes as opposed to, you know, kid fresh off the campus in Chicago from one of the big four accounting firms.
Greg White (18:32):
So — I mean, do you find that? I’m curious, Shannon. Do you find that any, you know, it’s often kind of an accommodation of something unique about the company, not about even the business toward the —
Shannon Vaillancourt (18:41):
I mean, Power Sales does some stuff that I’ve never seen before. And I’m like, why do you do that? You know, help me understand that one. And it was the batch. The batch one threw me. And they’re like, well, we — you know, we looked at it and we’re more efficient doing it this way. We actually analyzed it and this is more efficient. And it’s like, wow.
Shannon Vaillancourt (19:03):
And you know, there — it makes sense after you understand their product, their business. It totally makes sense. And then, you know, like with the singles, they were doing fishing poles that day is what I noticed, and it just, you know, they had — the person had a box full of fishing poles. So, it’s — everyone’s getting one. It doesn’t matter which one goes to, it’s the same fishing pole, it’s going out the door. So, yes, how do you drive that as quickly as possible? So, it’s like they set up these unique processes based on their business, which was kind of cool. And then all I do is I watch the people because that’s the, you know, again, with every process that you map out, every time a person touches it, you have a chance of an error.
Shannon Vaillancourt (19:48):
So, I’m watching them and it’s like, what are you doing? Are you actually having to key something in? Are you having to read a screen because that’s like, you know, why are you doing that? And some of it is part of the process. There’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s like, why does a person put it in the box? Well, because it won’t walk into the box by itself. So, like I can’t do anything about that one. But why are they touching the screen? Why are they reading this? Why are they touching the keyboard? Why are they touching a mouse? And it was because I put it on the scale, but I have to then click a button for it to read the scale. And I’m like, that seems kind of stupid. How about we make that just work for you? And they’re like, yes, that would be fantastic. So, it’s just those little things that’s amazing times 15,000 times a day, how much time you can gain very quickly?
Scott Luton (20:37):
Very well said, and enabling the team to be more successful, right? Making their days easier. And of course, going back upstream to what you or Greg, one of you mentioned. I think it was your ice cream sundae. And Scott, I’ll come back to you in just a second for some more benefits. But Shannon, you’re talking about the ice cream sundae. Well, yes, you may not want the sprinkles and the ice cream and all the new accoutrements, but your customers might and you better be in position to deliver. And it sounds like Scott and his team are more than in that position ready to make it happen, are making it happen.
Scott Luton (21:10):
All right. Really quick, Shannon. I love how — because you and Scott both really painted, I think, along with Greg, a wonderful visual for folks that they can probably relate, especially if they’re in warehouse operations. And by the way, Greg, I’m going to get you to use that accent again in a future show. I like that.
Scott Luton (21:28):
But, Shannon, anything else that we didn’t —
Greg White (21:29):
I’d be a natural.
Scott Luton (21:31):
— that we didn’t touch on? There’s a great Eddie Griffith episode where Barney Fife makes a certain voice and Gabriel Powell [phonetic] is just a name and said, do that, do that accent again. It’s a great scene.
Scott Luton (21:41):
All right. So, Shannon, anything else in terms of challenges integration or shipping challenges that we didn’t touch on that you think are really important to call out here before I go back to Scott?
Shannon Vaillancourt (21:50):
You know — I mean, I think it just comes down to finishing, getting to the bottom of everything, not just leaving it as is. And I think that’s where we did the install, they were up and running live, and then we stayed on it for a number of weeks afterwards just to make sure there wasn’t anything else. And you know, a couple of things always come up. And, you know, that’s where you finally — that’s that final piece where now this thing fits like a glove and they get, you know, as much efficiency and value out of this solution, as possible. And I think that’s really the other benefit that you get with us that makes us a little unique.
Scott Luton (22:29):
Well said. All right. So, Scott Wolfer, I’m bringing you back in. Let’s talk about outcomes, benefits, results. I think we’ve already — we’ve touched on a couple of these. But what else — what are some of the other benefits you and your team have been really seeing and feeling and experiencing from the ShipLinx TMS?
Scott Wolfer (22:46):
A lot of efficiency. You know, here at Power Sales, we pride ourselves on getting packages out the door in a timely manner. That’s what has helped us grow. It’s trying to stay within a two-day window of you order something, we’re shipping it out. A lot of places that do stuff like us can’t do that. And it starts at the top with Dave and all the guys, where they show pride and they come out to the warehouse. And then the guys on the line, they want to make — hit Dave’s numbers and hit the two-day window even if we’re getting this. And so, one of the big things is the report. Giving us a report of what we ship today, how much we shipped, what type of box we ship, all that stuff. And we’re working on that reporting now with them so we can get that automated.
Scott Wolfer (23:39):
So, we’re seeing that daily number. Everybody’s seeing that so we can take some pride in our packaging, in our production out there because that really does. It just — we’re a family business that’s just grown tremendously over time and it really reflects out there in the guys working and what they want. And being to see a visual of that, it’s a big thing. It’s a big thing for them. So that helps.
Scott Wolfer (24:05):
And then also, like he was mentioned, the batch part is we came up with that a couple years ago because we have — we’ll have tons and tons of orders of people ordering the same thing. We’ll run a special program or something and we’ll have 500 and stuff. Well, cutting that in a time to where we don’t have to spend 20 minutes, 30 minutes printing out labels, and that can be done in five minutes and given to somebody that’s picked that product, and now they’re just slapping labels on there, that speeds up the process tremendously which is a great, great thing for us.
Scott Wolfer (24:44):
And then the biggest thing, once again, having to hand type in those multi-line orders. I had two non-packers that typing in 15, 12, 10. Think about that. Doing that a hundred times a day, 165 times, whatever, it’s — it adds up. And so, you’ll see the numbers increase, the efficiency increase, and our shipping rates increase. So, that’s what it’s all about is getting better, growing. Finding something that we can grow with and this is what we found.
Scott Luton (25:14):
Love it. All right. So, Greg, I’m going to get you a comment. Before I do, you’re — Scott Wolfer, you’re talking about Dave. I’m assuming Dave is out there making promises to your customers. Is that right, Scott?
Scott Wolfer (25:25):
Oh, yes. Sorry, Dave’s the owner of the company. I just kind of blew him out there.
Scott Luton (25:30):
And the team wants to have his back and be able to per — you know, execute on what he’s committing to them. That makes perfect sense, Scott. Love it.
Scott Wolfer (25:36):
And the whole sales team.
Scott Luton (25:38):
Scott Wolfer (25:38):
The whole —
Scott Luton (25:39):
OK. All right. So Greg, by my account, Scott Wolfer was talking about reporting. I’m adding Scott’s last name just for clarification, right. Me and him, our accents are so alike, me and Scott Wolfer. No, I’m kidding. All right. So, reporting batch order optimization and eliminating those keystrokes, which is probably my favorite. These fat fingers are mine, if one error in nine keystrokes is like the average, I’m at like one in four, I’m sure. But Greg, what’d you hear there?
Greg White (26:08):
I heard upwards of 10 errors. I mean, you got to figure how many keystrokes are there in keying in a line item? Oh my gosh. Just, the pain of that and the potential for those keystroke errors, right? But I mean there is so much opportunity for it. I mean, when you think about it from that perspective, you just see there’s just wasted time because even if they catch their own error, they have to go back and fix it, right? Eight, nine times.
Greg White (26:36):
So, being able to eliminate that is incredibly valuable. It gives everybody much better job satisfaction. The customers are much more satisfied, everything happens faster, right? You cut down on labor costs frankly because you’re not spending time making mistakes, but you also pay for. And you know, and you can up your throughput as well, so.
Scott Luton (26:58):
All around, winner, winner, chicken dinner. At Shannon Vaillancourt, what — before we move into Microsoft Dynamics 365 and what you see there. Any comment you want to make on those outcomes and those powerful results, those practical results that Scott was talking on?
Shannon Vaillancourt (27:14):
I mean that was — you know, we were sitting there. We were — so we were sitting there in the conference room having barbecue, after having the tour at Joe’s. Yes, what was it, Scott? Do you remember?
Scott Wolfer (27:26):
Yes, we had Joe’s or Arthur Bryant’s that. Whatever was next to the hotel that we stayed at.
Greg White (27:34):
Scott Wolfer (27:35):
I think it was — I think, isn’t it?
Shannon Vaillancourt (27:37):
It was — whatever it was, it was —
Greg White (27:38):
Well, wait did you say in Kansas City, Missouri or on the Kansas side?
Shannon Vaillancourt (27:42):
We were like 10 minutes from their office.
Scott Wolfer (27:46):
I want to say it was Arthur Rye. Well, no, I —
Scott Luton (27:49):
This requires we’re all in market —
Scott Wolfer (27:51):
They’re all of it. They’re all of it.
Scott Luton (27:53):
— and visit an analysis and taste test. So, we’re —
Greg White (27:55):
I’ll be doing that on Sunday. Scott. I — we — Scott and I will confirm the source of the product and report back to Shannon.
Shannon Vaillancourt (28:06):
Whatever it was, it was really good. And really what we talked about there in that meeting was these types of outcomes are what they wanted. And at the end of the day, the biggest thing that they needed and that they really wanted was just support. Good support. And that’s where all of our support’s right here, I mean, it’s right outside my office here in Scottsdale. And that way they get the quick turnaround.
Shannon Vaillancourt (28:29):
I mean, you know, this is a mission critical application for our customers. They can’t ship, they can’t invoice their customers, they can’t make money. IT’S a bad, bad thing if this doesn’t work well. So, that’s why not only just being able to get hold of someone, but making sure that the system is reliable, uptime. I mean, you know, it’s like how much have they gained on that, you know? That’s a little harder one to measure, I think, because that would come up from time to time and you just don’t know until it happens that, oh, yes, this was way faster to get an answer on something than it was before. So, I mean, that — that’s the other part that I think was incredibly important to Power Sales.
Scott Luton (29:13):
That aftercare, that support which is so critical. And then moving back on the front end, which I heard here from you and Scott. And Greg, we’ve touched on this in earlier episodes with Shannon and his team, is getting to know the business, asking the right questions upfront. So, you know, so we know what we’re doing and we can move faster, more effectively or more effectively faster, I think somewhat the same.
Scott Luton (29:36):
All right. So, Shannon, let’s talk about — oh, Greg, any, any quick comment before I move on to dynamics, Microsoft Dynamics?
Greg White (29:44):
I think we’ve covered it.
Scott Luton (29:45):
OK, good, good, good. We slathered it on like — is Arthur Branch that barbecue sauce by the way?
Greg White (29:50):
Scott Luton (29:51):
Greg White (29:52):
We’re talking Midwestern barbecue. It’s a rub.
Scott Luton (29:55):
OK. My bad. My bad.
Greg White (29:56):
Barbecue sauce is for amateurs. At least, that’s what I would place it. That’s good.
Scott Luton (30:00):
Oh man, that hurts me in the heart. OK. All right.
Greg White (30:03):
I — it’s a Kansas —
Scott Luton (30:06):
It’s a deal.
Greg White (30:07):
— it’s a very barbecue thing. Kansas City barbecue, we’ll send it.
Scott Luton (30:10):
All right. All right. So, Shannon, let’s talk about when it comes to optimizing Microsoft Dynamics 365, how can working with a powerful robust TMS do just that?
Shannon Vaillancourt (30:23):
You know, what we found is the way that we’re able to process not only just the small parcel shipments but also the freight shipments and give them the correct process based on the mode of freight along with how they have their warehouse set up, how they’re running their business, is where we found that we can really optimize that whole shipping process with MD 365. You know, because otherwise what we’re finding is they were kind of stuck with a certain way because of how D 365 worked or how you had to do the packing slips in there and things like that.
Shannon Vaillancourt (31:01):
So, you know, Power Sales is kind of a microcosm of everybody out there. Like I said, they were like four installs in one. And that’s what we’ve been seeing across the board with other D 365 customers is they’re doing — it’s like a portion of them is, you know, it’s very, very similar to Power Sales and how they do stuff. They just don’t have quite the variety that Power Sales does.
Shannon Vaillancourt (31:26):
So, it — again, it’s just the usual, man. Getting to know how they’re doing things. Why are you doing it that way? And then not putting in a system to fit into a bad process, make the process just a little bit better and it’s just driving the efficiency. Get rid of the manual touch. That’s what I’ve been taught forever and ever, get rid of the manual touch. Back in the early ’90s when I was installing these systems myself, in the good old days, that’s who we watched for, man. That’s why that whole, you know, every nine keystrokes a person makes an error because that was what we were doing, was eliminating the keystrokes. Because you think about back then, back then, how did they transfer information between systems? Was — this is how they did and that’s why they used the term sneaker net. You would take it from one place to another, little stuff like that, so.
Scott Luton (32:16):
Shannon, we’re going to have to get your — you sit down and write a book about those early days. Sneaker net, I love that. So, let’s do this. So, Scott, I want to touch on something because Shannon’s mentioned fishing poles. And Scott, you were talking about some of the different products.
Scott Wolfer (32:30):
Scott Luton (32:31):
Just a wide assortment. Not to put you on spot, but illustrate that between fishing pole. What else do you ship out to kind of to talk about?
Scott Wolfer (32:40):
So, I mean we can ship out — we’ve got bath towels out there that we’ll ship out. We’ve got a ton of tools, power tools. And these are all — we’ll go from re — we’ll go from a box that product that you’ll put in an envelope, all types of electronics. You name it, we got it. To — we have many fridges, and workout equipment.
Scott Wolfer (33:02):
We really try to just provide for all our customers as much as we can. Just like I said, we’re kind of a drop — one-off drop ship customer. So, we’re fulfilling orders. We’re trying to get the customer’s website full of product that they have or want to offer as it was explained to me one time, like, if somebody can use their credit card points to buy some clothes, or they can buy a car, or they can go on a trip. Or hey, they might mirror the website and pick five things from us and we’ll ship them out. And it gives all the type of variety. And the thing is about us is we’re always growing and we’re always changing. And what might ship in March may not be the same as what’s shipping in — are in December because the weather, the time people are ordering coolers, fire pits, all that stuff.
Scott Wolfer (33:56):
And so, we really needed something that would help. Hey, Shannon, we need to add this to our list here in two weeks. This — we’re doing this now. Can we make this change? And can we do this? And the team’s been great to work with too, so.
Scott Luton (34:11):
Love it. Love it. OK. Man. Greg, I’m going to pull you back in here. Scott — clearly, at least to me, Scott loves what he does and there is a can-do — man, if ever — if all other team members like Scott, there’s this can-do attitude that what do you need? We’re going to make it happen. I love that. Greg, what else did you observe as Scott was talking about their growth and complexity and —
Greg White (34:34):
When you talk about the market, they’re in premier and incentive, these people have earned what they’re getting shipped to them, right? They had a hell of a sales quarter or year or something like that, or they’ve racked up a bunch of credit card points and they’re buying it on their Amex site or wherever, right. And you know, or it’s a gift with purchase kind of thing. And all of those are critical to the identity of the company that is expecting Power Sales to deliver this stuff, right?
Greg White (35:04):
So, there is nothing that’s more of a bummer than ordering something that you’re getting because you accomplished something big and it being late, broken, slow to arrive, whatever, right? So, it’s — there’s a lot of psychology in this that impacts the brand identity of the company that Power Sales is fulfilling for. So, it’s a really it important thing and that they wreck one, Scott, that you recognize that and that you guys work so hard to make sure you fulfill against that promise, both actually fulfilling the goods, but just generally trying to do it in the right way is critical.
Greg White (35:40):
But it’s also really complex because sometimes these are while supplies last kind of things, and limited time only and all that sort of thing. So, there’s a lot of complexity that goes along with that. I learned something, so far. Really. And that’s that there — yes, I mean there are good reasons for some of these processes sometime offline. I want to — I still want to understand this batch thing, guys. So, we’ll — offline.
Scott Luton (36:07):
You got to see. OK. We’re going to make a trip. And Scott —
Greg White (36:11):
Well, OK, so Arthur Bryant, Joe’s, Arrowhead and Power Sales.
Scott Luton (36:17):
Yes. And Shannon’s —
Greg White (36:18):
That’s what I’m doing this weekend.
Scott Wolfer (36:19):
Scott Luton (36:20):
I’ll be there, sir.
Scott Luton (36:19):
And Shannon’s stories from back in the ’90s because there’s a lot more there that Shannon’s not letting on. All right. Greg, I like how you think as always. And really quick shout out. Bill Stankevich [phonetic], holding down the fort in Savannah, making things happen. I agree with you Bill, great speakers today. And I love the dynamic between Shannon and Scott. I’ll tell you before we share some resources, make sure folks know how to connect with you. Scott, I love your — your just — your disposition. Your passion for what you do. What — when you think about everywhere you’ve been and then you think about where you are today and where you’re hit, what is one thing you’re most excited about Scott Wolfer?
Scott Wolfer (36:57):
The future to see where this company goes, where we go. Like I said, I started out on the packing line. Now I have my hands in so many different pots. It’s exciting. It’s in the opportunity. The growth. Knowing that you can be somewhere — like I said, this company has been pride — pride their selves off being a family driven business. And you can tell out in the warehouse the growth from it being small to where we’re at now. Now, we’ve just expanded and got another warehouse. Who knows where the future’s going to uphold for us. And it’s really endless opportunities.
Scott Wolfer (37:33):
So — and to see that for other guys out in every position, whether you’re a customer service or — and you see it, the passion from everybody, whether customer service or you’re packing a package or you’re putting that package from the front dock so we can ship it out. You see people take pride in what they’re doing. And it really reflects around everybody else because we’ve all been to a company. I’ve worked with some people and it’s — to work with a negative and an environment that doesn’t bring positive and that this company takes care of. So, that’s one thing that I like to look forward to, is just the future of where we’re going. What we’re doing. Like I said, Shannon, on his, what — why we signed up with him is because we might call him here in three weeks.
Scott Wolfer (38:22):
I mean, since the start of when — I’ve started working with Denise, we — I’ve added at least five things from what we originally planned because that’s just the way the flow goes. And it’s awesome. And just a little insight on that batch printing part on more stuff that it saves. So, originally when we would — we’d go and we’d have to package a package. It would start it back when we had a warehouse in our — in the caves over in Lenexa. And then you’d have to go up to the desk, and this is when we had to key in all the — no matter what, every non-packer had to get keyed in. Then we moved on —
Scott Luton (39:02):
Right. So, you eliminated all those keystrokes?
Scott Wolfer (39:04):
Yes. Then we moved on and we were like, all right, we’re updated. We’re going on now. Now, all we have to do is scan every box and looked away. Well then, we started getting on. OK. Well, how can we improve this? Well, instead of — if I have a hundred or 500 of the same items, and I have a guy that’s going to picket in D 365 in our system, and all those products are picked, why do I have to scan that product 500 times when all I should have to do is click, scan the wave, and click OK. And as soon as that happens, it starts processing those orders for you. And that alone is a gig change.
Scott Luton (39:49):
Love it. All right, Greg. He heard your question and stood and delivered. I love that.
Greg White (39:54):
Scott Luton (39:55):
Yes. Yes. Man.
Greg White (39:57):
It makes my thumb hurt just to think about scanning something for over a time, right?
Scott Luton (40:02):
All right. So, Shannon, what a great story. And I appreciate you and Scott being here today. But folks, they brought some resources. So, Shannon, not only are we got a link — I believe our team’s going to drop in the cheap seats in the comments, or you can learn more about RateLinx and its integrations. I love this tagline. Simple, scalable, powerful. It’s like the $6 million man, that old TV show back in the day, right, Greg?
Greg White (40:29):
I barely remember it, Scott. Yes, I know. Yes.
Scott Luton (40:32):
Lee Majors. Although I like Lee Majors more than the fall guy. The fall guy was my show back in the ’80s. OK. But beyond the integrations, because they’re — a ton of those. You all check those out. We have got Shannon, this case study where you all helped a Fortune 100 save millions, millions of dollars. Really quick blurb about this, Shannon. Why should folks check it out?
Shannon Vaillancourt (40:57):
I mean, it’s the usual. Again, just — these are hard for me because it’s like — to me, it was pretty obvious. We just eliminate the manual, let the computer do most of the work to uncover all this stuff, because you can’t do this by hand. It’s too much. Way too much. And I think that’s the — that’s probably the difference with us is we do automate a lot of things to make it more efficient, whether it’s on the shipping side or on the freight audit side. We’re going to get to the bottom of it and clean it up and automate it. And then that’s how you’re going to squeeze everything out of it every single time.
Shannon Vaillancourt (41:31):
You know, that’s what the automation brings you is consistency. Otherwise, if it’s manual, you’re going to catch it sometimes. And then if you’re not having a great day, you’re not going to catch it that day. It’s just how it goes. We’re human, unfortunately.
Scott Luton (41:44):
That unfortunately comment is interesting about Shannon.
Shannon Vaillancourt (41:49):
A little bit sorry, I guess, about today. Right, Greg?
Greg White (41:51):
Scott Luton (41:52):
83,000 labor hours saved from that used case. And of course, what Scott Wolfer was talking about — I mean, I — he was talking about how many, how many hours and how much easier they — their days have gotten, a number of different ways but including all those, man, tens, hundreds of thousands of keystrokes that were just eliminated. Man, that’s what I’m talking about.
Scott Luton (42:14):
OK. Greg, your quick comment. I want to make sure folks can connect with Scott and Shannon in just a second. And you know what, let’s go ahead and do that. That way, I’m going to, like, I’m going to circle back. I’m going to get your golden key takeaway, Greg White.
Greg White (42:25):
Oh, here we go.
Scott Luton (42:25):
No, no pressure or anything. Scott Wolfer, again, really appreciate you taking time out. As busy as you and your team clearly are growing. I love how you have shared you all’s story, especially as you have clearly partnered with a technology that can help you deliver on all those big promises and expectations that you or your customers have out there. So, we look forward to having you back and get an update on what’s going on. But how can folks connect with you, Scott Wolfer, with Power Sales and Advertising Inc.?
Scott Wolfer (42:52):
You can check out our website. It’s to say, kc.com, and it’ll have all of the information that we have out there.
Scott Luton (43:00):
Awesome. And we can come and connect and get your barbecue insights at a Chief’s game —
Scott Wolfer (43:06):
Scott Luton (43:06):
— as well, right?
Scott Wolfer (43:10):
I’ll be in section G, come on out. We’re going to have a big old tailgate out there today.
Scott Luton (43:16):
I love that. Greg White, did you know — Shannon, you too, that that’s the first time — we always like to connect our global audience with all of our guests. That’s the first time Greg White that you can find me at has not been linked in. It’s not been a URL. It’s find me in Lot G. I’m telling you a spot. I love that, Greg.
Greg White (43:35):
I love it too because that’s the lot right next to where we go. We’ll be right by, like, post F 23 Scott Wolfer. So, it’ll be a short, short run.
Scott Wolfer (43:46):
Right. Yes, that’s right across the way.
Greg White (43:48):
I would like you to meet my friends from Wichita because I think they put on a pretty decent spread and maybe you guys ought to join these shindigs together.
Scott Luton (43:58):
Man. OK. All right. So, Shannon Vaillancourt, I feel like — I feel, kind of, like left out. Like — and I need a map of your head and —
Greg White (44:06):
You’ll have your chance.
Scott Luton (44:07):
That’s right, Greg. So, Shannon, let’s make sure folks — hey, so, I want to invite you to come in and walk through their warehouse, or you name it, or maybe some golf tips. How can folks connect with you and the RateLinx team want to move.
Shannon Vaillancourt (44:20):
Get me on LinkedIn, go to our website, ratelinx.com, probably the best way to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to connect with people and see how we can help.
Scott Luton (44:30):
Awesome. Wonderful. Great to see you again, Shannon. And congrats on you all — your team’s continued success. So, Scott Wolfer with Power Sales and Advertising. Thank you, Scott, for your time.
Scott Wolfer (44:41):
Yes, sir. Appreciate it.
Scott Luton (44:42):
We look forward to having you back. And of course, Shannon Vaillancourt, President with RateLinx. Great to have you back, Shannon. But you all two don’t go anywhere. Shannon — and then again, Shannon, the Bears are going to get better. That’s my crystal ball. OK. The Bears are going to get better. Does that sound good?
Shannon Vaillancourt (44:55):
Oh, my gosh. I hope so.
Scott Luton (44:57):
Always a pleasure to have you back. Greg, before we wrap up today, this great practical conversation. If you think back through Scott’s outstanding story of growth and success and getting ready for that next big chapter, right? Which I love that component of Scott’s story, and of course Shannon’s take beyond what they did with Scott’s organization but in general. This is what they do. I love — that’s one element that Shannon added at the end. What is one thing folks got to keep front and center from this conversation? Greg White.
Greg White (45:31):
Yes, it’s impossible to limit it to one. As you can imagine, the first thing they got to remember is, yes, the Bears will get better after this weekend, just not this weekend. Just not — please don’t get better this weekend. No, you know what this makes me think about is a couple of things. One, everybody, this is lesson number one. If you want a really good relationship and to create a great integration between your company and a technology or service provider like RateLinx, apply them with Kansas City Barbecue. One.
Greg White (46:06):
All right. Two is — and this is no joke. Two is that what Scott and Shannon did in identifying scenarios. that is something to do in the evaluation process. Think of your most painful processes and put them in front of those technology providers that want your business and figure out if they can answer it.
Greg White (46:27):
I mean, you know, Shannon can. We watched him do it. We’ve watched him do it for three years now. I mean, nothing is hard — even hard for him or the technology, right. Because you know what, this is another beautiful thing that I love about tech entrepreneurs is when they have something that they just keep getting the question on, they just build it into the technology.
Scott Luton (46:45):
Greg White (46:46):
And then the answer is right there. Just tell me you got the problem. I flipped the switch. We solve it. But that evaluation that I was talking about at the beginning of the show of can this technology scale with your business? Ask them your toughest problems. Ask them about the problems that you think you might have, and listen carefully to what their answer is for it. If they’re solving it or they’re asking you more questions and in order to solve it, that’s great. If they say something like a remedy that’s an old CRM system before Salesforce disrupted everything. Like a remedy salesman said to me once, oh, this got so close to physical violence. Every time we asked a question about something unique in our business, we wanted a solution to. The answer was your solution, your way. Or yet — or, yes, we can do that.
Greg White (47:41):
I want you — I want to tell you, as a former and reformed tech salesman, yes, we can do that, means no, we don’t do that yet, but we can someday or with some configuration. Yes, we do, that is the answer that you want. OK. But more importantly, just talk about those tough problems. Those things that are foremost in your mind are also those things that are going to make you most successful early in the engagement with a new solution and technology provider. And that creates the belief that this thing can work among your people, all of your people. The people operating it. The people impacted by it, and the people who paid good, good money for it.
Scott Luton (48:21):
Well said. And I love that, Greg. Always a pleasure to knock out these conversations. Well, folks — hey, big thanks for you all joining us. Big thanks to Shannon and Scott both appreciate — I really appreciate you all story here today. Lots of universal takeaways regardless. And as, Kanisha [phonetic] says, Kansas City, you just leave the barbecue sauce behind. Enjoy the game folks. Love that. Great to have you here, Kanisha.
Scott Luton (48:46):
Greg, always a pleasure. Hey, big thanks to all the folks behind the scenes, Amanda, Catherine, Shannon C., and Tracy helping to facilitate and make today’s production happen. But whatever you do, folks, thanks for being here. Take a kernel of truth. Take something from Scott and Shannon of what they shared here today, and Greg as well. Put it action. Deeds, not words. And with that said, make sure you connect with Shannon, the RateLinx team, and of course, the Power Sales and Advertising Inc. team would drop those URLs in the chat. Scott Luton challenging you do good, to give forward and to be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see 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.
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.
Scott Wolfer is a distribution industry troubleshooter and innovator with extensive expertise in warehouse operations, customer service, and transportation management. He’s a tech-savvy professional committed to optimizing processes, reducing shipping costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction. Scott leverages his cross-functional acumen to drive efficiency and innovation and transforms challenges into opportunities in the demanding distribution industry.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
Principal & CMO, 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.
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.