While supply chain professionals are no strangers to evolving processes, it is now more imperative than ever to leverage next-gen technology to streamline manual tasks out of the supply chain workflow. AI-enhanced document automation can address labor shortages, increase competition, reduce costly data errors, and support the need to do more with less.
Mark Toffoli is a VP of Sales & Business Development at Conexiom and John Gunderson is a Senior Consultant at Dorn Group. They each have over 20 years of experience that they apply when helping companies embrace the automation imperative.
In this episode, Mark and John join hosts Scott Luton and Allison Giddens to discuss what they are seeing from companies working to leverage automation:
• What the automation imperative means in practice, and how it connects to other high priority objectives like securing talent and safeguarding the customer experience
• Four ways that AI-enhanced document automation is helping companies address their key pain points
• Common misconceptions about the potential impact of AI and automation on people’s careers
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Scott Luton (00:00:31):
Hey, hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Allison Giddens here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Allison, how you doing?
Allison Giddens (00:00:41):
I’m good. Happy Tuesday.
Scott Luton (00:00:43):
Happy Tuesday. I’ll tell you, we’ve got a big conversation and it’s great to have you back by proper demand. We had a great buzz episode yesterday. But today, Allison, big show lined up as we’re talking about the automation imperative for supply chain professionals. Really everyone, right? And we’re going to touch on some proven ways to leverage next generation technology to streamline manual tasks out of the supply chain workflow and a whole lot more. Allison, it should be a good show, huh?
Allison Giddens (00:01:10):
I’m excited. I got a sneak preview. I like it.
Scott Luton (00:01:13):
A sneak peek. OK. Excellent. Excellent. To all you folks, stay tuned as Mark Toffoli and John Gunderson will be joining us momentarily. And folks get ready because we want to hear from you as well. We’ve got a bunch of folks joined us from around the globe. And we want to get your perspective as we work through over the next hour long conversation.
Scott Luton (0:01:32):
Hey, speaking of, Allison, we got folks tuned in everywhere. We’ve, of course, we’ve got Josh Goody back with us from Seattle. He’s one of our stalwarts, right? We got, Clay —
Allison Giddens (00:01:43):
Good word. Good word.
Scott Luton (00:01:44):
Don’t ask me if that’s, a noun, a pronoun, an adjective or whatever.
Allison Giddens (00:01:48):
Oh, yes. No, it’s not that show.
Scott Luton (0:01:50):
Allison Giddens (0:01:50):
We’re not that show.
Scott Luton (00:01:50):
That’s right. Clay Phillips. Clay, the Diesel Phillips, because the engines are always running. Great to see you, Clay. John Peterson from Marietta, Georgia via LinkedIn.
Allison Giddens (00:02:00):
Right down the street from me.
Scott Luton (00:02:02):
That’s right. His ears may have been burning earlier.
Allison Giddens (0:02:05):
Scott Luton (0:02:05):
Let’s see here. Gary Wood tuned in from Victor, New York from LinkedIn. Great to see you. Hey, Marie Hirst is back with us, from the Atlanta area. Have you ever met Marie, Allison?
Allison Giddens (00:02:17):
No. I don’t think so.
Scott Luton (00:02:19):
She is a dynamo. I’ve had a good opportunity —
Allison Giddens (0:02:21):
Scott Luton (0:02:22):
— to sit down with her over recent years. And of course, Niles, if I think I said that right. Niles in Gorgeous, San Diego, California.
Allison Giddens (00:02:29):
I love San Diego.
Scott Luton (00:02:31):
Great to have you here.
Allison Giddens (0:02:32):
I love San Diego.
Scott Luton (0:02:33):
All right. Folks, we want to welcome everybody and all your perspective. We got to get big show teed up so you all keep the perspective coming in the cheap seats. Allison, are we ready to introduce quite a dynamic duo here today?
Allison Giddens (00:02:46):
Let’s do it. All right.
Scott Luton (00:02:48):
All right. With no further ado, I want to welcome in Mark Toffoli, vice President Sales with Conexiom, and John Gunderson, senior consultant with Dorn Group. Hey, hey. Mark, how you doing?
Mark Toffoli (00:03:03):
I’m very well. Thank you, Scott. Appreciate the nice intro.
Scott Luton (00:03:07):
You bet. Great to see you. I’ve really enjoyed our pre-show conversations. And John, how are you doing?
John Gunderson (00:03:11):
Doing great, Scott. Excited to join.
Scott Luton (00:03:14):
We — well, you know, we’re glad to have you both. Allison and I have been really excited about today’s conversation. John, we’re going to save. I know you and I have a quiet, a love for all things farmer’s market. We’ll have to save that to the next episode. But Mark, Allison, and John, what we want to start with as we have a little fun warmup question here is it hit my radar that our friends in the United Kingdom are celebrating National Donut Week this week. So, we’re just obligated, absolutely obligated to join in and celebrate with them. So, Mark, I want to start there. What is your favorite all-time donut and where do you get it?
Mark Toffoli (00:03:51):
So all-time favorite donut is got to be an old fashioned with that sour cream glaze. Unfortunately, I can’t eat them anymore because the wheat gets me, the gluten gets me. So, I found a pretty good substitute just about a mile away from here. There’s a gluten-free bakery that’s got some vanilla donuts with sprinkles on top. So, it’s a good second.
Allison Giddens (00:04:15):
Sprinkles make everything better.
Scott Luton (00:04:18):
They do Allison. I love that. And hey, before I go to John, folks, let us know if you’re a big donut fan, let us know in the comments. Where is your favorite go-to place is. All right. So, John, that’s going to be tough to beat what Mark said there, your thoughts.
John Gunderson (00:04:31):
Well, I love Long Johns. I guess probably because of the name, right? And I guess that’s why I got hooked on them as a kid. There’s a place right down the road from me here in Georgia, in Lawrenceville called Ray’s Donuts.
Scott Luton (00:04:47):
John Gunderson (00:04:47):
Walk to it and it’s on the other side of the fire station. So, you got to get in there early otherwise the firefighters will — a piece. But it’s —
Scott Luton (00:04:56):
As they should.
John Gunderson (00:04:57):
— great place. Great place.
Scott Luton (00:04:58):
Yes, it sounds like it. And as they should get the — their donuts first. Right, John?
John Gunderson (00:05:02):
Scott Luton (00:05:04):
All right. And by the way, before I come to you, Allison. Josh says, bear claws from Spudnut s in Richland, Washington. How about that? OK, you all keep the suggestions coming. All right, Allison, when it comes to donuts, because the U.K. is celebrating National Donut Week, your favorite go-to?
Allison Giddens (00:05:22):
No, wait. But did John say that he has to walk to the donut place? Did you say it’s walking distance? See something, then that means you’ll buy two donuts because you walked it off. No. I think —
Scott Luton (0:05:33):
I like how you think.
Allison Giddens (0:05:34):
Yes, I’m here for logic. No, I think that for me it would have to be kind of a traditional go-to would be those coffee roll donuts at, Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s got a little bit of cinnamon, got a little glaze. You don’t get ripped off. There’s no hole in it. So, you get like a full pastry.
Scott Luton (00:05:55):
Oh, Allison, I love that. OK, so folks —
Mark Toffoli (00:05:57):
All about the value.
Scott Luton (00:05:58):
What’s that Mark?
Allison Giddens (0:05:59):
Mark Toffoli (00:05:59):
It’s all about the value, right?
Scott Luton (00:06:01):
All about the value, that’s right.
Allison Giddens (0:06:02):
Scott Luton (0:06:03):
Well, hey, Mark, John, and Allison, we got a bunch of comments here. Let’s see here. Now, Cecile. Cecile, welcome to the show. Great to have you back.
Allison Giddens (0:06:10):
Scott Luton (0:06:10):
I’m with you. Krispy Kreme original donut right off the conveyor belt. That’s the go-to. Amanda says, chocolate frosted from Dunkin’ or Krispy Kream. Gary Wood says apple Fredericks from Tim Horton’s, that’s a good one. And finally, John Peterson tip tops sourdough on Cobb Parkway. OK. Fellow Atlanta there, John.
Scott Luton (0:06:31):
All right. So, now that we have everybody’s —
Allison Giddens (0:06:32):
What about you, Scott? Wait. We don’t have your favorite donut?
Scott Luton (00:06:34):
Oh, no. Plain, the original Krispy Kream right out of the oven. Right as it comes off the conveyor belt.
Allison Giddens (0:06:41):
Right out — yes.
Scott Luton (0:06:42):
Melt in the mouth.
Allison Giddens (0:06:42):
Yes, melting — there we go.
Scott Luton (0:06:44):
Man, as Clay says, hot sign only. Hot sign only. That’s right.
Allison Giddens (0:06:47):
Scott Luton (0:06:48):
It’s Krispy Kream. OG.
Mark Toffoli (00:06:49):
Can you try to get those bags of mini donuts when you go to the fair, right?
Scott Luton (00:06:53):
Right. Man, and that’s why you go to the fair these days, right? It’s for the cuisine and all the good food.
Scott Luton (0:07:00):
All right. So, we got a lot to get to here today. And man, thanks. All the folks are playing right along with their favorite donuts. You all keep them coming in. But I want to move over John, Mark, Allison to kind of while we’re all here. And I want to start by level setting a bit.
Scott Luton (0:07:14):
And John, I’m going to start with you. You know, you and Mark both have been out in the industry, doing big things for quite some time. We’ve got the two-decade rule here. We never spill anything with specificity over two decades. But you all have been doing big things for a while. You work with business leaders across the globe. You know, what are some of those top priorities you’re seeing right now from business leadership, John?
John Gunderson (00:07:34):
Well, I’d say the number one thing is — and we’re going to talk about it a lot today is it — it’s tied to labor, right? it’s really hard to get experienced labor to manage your supply chain properly. You got great people, but less experience as time goes on. And the need to automate as much as humanly possible is it every year it grows exponentially. So, how do you automate tasks that a human used to do in a way to make your supply chain more efficient? it’s been a problem my entire distribution career. All the stops I’ve been at, it’s a problem for everybody that I deal with today.
Scott Luton (00:08:14):
And John, when you say your entire distribution career, that has been — that’s a lot of experience you’ve had there, almost two decades. Is that right, John?
John Gunderson (00:08:21):
Yes, we — longer than two decades. I like how you, sort of, shortened that.
Scott Luton (00:08:26):
John Gunderson (00:08:27):
Scott Luton (00:08:29):
All right. That’s a good starting point, John.
Scott Luton (0:08:32):
Mark, let’s move over to you. I know you have been out on the business trail globally here lately. But tell us, what are business leaders prioritizing right now, Mark?
Mark Toffoli (00:08:41):
I think more than ever, they’re using customer experience as their North Star. So, if you look at, you know, whether you’re in a competitive industry or not, at the end of the day with all the disruptions that’s gone on the world around us, you’re one North Star if you set customer experience as that North Star of are we doing it right or wrong? That’s certainly been the big focus that I’ve been hearing.
Mark Toffoli (0:09:08):
And I guess the other one that I’ve been hearing a little bit of — more of lately is focus on compliance. So, are we complying with our internal policies? Are we complying with contractual requirements? Are we complying with regulation? And how are we tracking that? So, more effort going into that focus as well.
Scott Luton (00:09:29):
Well said, Mark. You know, I spent some time — Allison, I’m coming to you next for your quick commentary. But I spent some time last week on a fireside chat with an executive from a major retailer. And he’s really passionate about employ — improving the customer experience and the employee experience. And his quote was, “Basically if you do those things, more often than not, it’s great for the business.” So, Mark, great points there.
Scott Luton (0:09:50):
Allison, your thoughts on what we just heard from Mark and John?
Allison Giddens (00:09:54):
Yes. No, that resonates a lot with me. I’m — that’s what I’m hearing across the manufacturing sector. Especially the labor challenges, particularly, how can we do more or at least do the same with far fewer people? And then to the compliance topic, oh gosh, that’s — I — you’re singing my song. And the fascination I have with the compliance piece is as more and more layers of complexity to these compliance requirements and regulations, whether it’s internal or external from our customers, you’re layering things and it’s really hard to keep up with which ones — which pieces conflict with another.
Scott Luton (00:10:33):
Because they don’t all play nice in a sandbox sometimes. Allison, that’s like, excellent, excellent point. All right. So, what are we doing about all this? And that’s where, Mark, we’re going to circle back to you. The — where the automation imperative enters. We’ve had some fascinating conversations pre-show about some of the cool things you and the Conexiom team are doing out there with big companies, small companies, all points in between. But tell us more, Mark, about the automation imperative.
Mark Toffoli (00:10:59):
Well, as you know, as John mentioned in his opening comments that it’s difficult to get experienced staff. Hiring in general is really difficult in today’s market. And so, if you can’t hire and you have more demands than you have current staff for or are forecasting more demand than you have staff for. Let’s say you’re planning to grow your business then how do you fulfill those needs? And if you can’t hire to fulfill the needs, then you have an imperative to automate what you can so that people can do what can’t be automated.
Scott Luton (00:11:36):
Yes, yes. Very eloquent there. Supply chains’ Shakespeare is what we call that sometimes here, Mark. I love that. Empowering your —
Mark Toffoli (00:11:44):
Wow. That’s — I don’t know. I’m not sure. I think I’ll —
Allison Giddens (0:11:47):
Put that on the resume.
Mark Toffoli (0:11:47):
— caught up — not be able to live up to that now.
Scott Luton (00:11:50):
Well, good stuff. So, John, what would you add to the automation imperative as Mark just laid out there?
John Gunderson (00:11:56):
Yes, I think Mark really touched on it. You have to understand that the customer experience is changing, right? I mean, distribution and manufacturing used to be fairly simple when I first got started. I mean, I was taught that a distributor’s role was to take the big boxes that come in, put them on the shelf, and then ship them out in smaller boxes. That was our role.
John Gunderson (0:12:19):
So, you know, it was pretty easy — easier 20 years ago because you were the main delivery vehicle. You were also — you know, it was a more simple business. Well, today the customer expects seamless channel from the manufacturer all the way to the delivery point. They don’t really care who’s screwing up. If somebody’s screwing up, somebody’s going to hear about it. So, you have to automate some of the things that we’re, what I call manual tasks, you know.
John Gunderson (00:12:51):
And I’ve worked with Conexiom twice as a customer, in the distribution career and also with them since then. You’ve got to be able to automate things like orders that come in instead of taking it off an e-mail and retyping it into your ERP and then shipping it out. You’ve got to be able to seamlessly have those two things connect, the order from the customer to your ERP. Because every time that you make a mistake, enter in an order and one line — one number off a 24-item part number, you’re going to hear about it and it costs you money. So, I think it really is imperative that distributors and manufacturers seamlessly integrate the supply chain all the way to the end customer.
Scott Luton (00:13:38):
Well said, John. I just had some of my nightmare scenarios from my middle stamping days with some of those engineering reviews. Flashback between my ears. But you’re right.
Scott Luton (0:13:48):
And Allison, you know, expectations as Mark and John both are kind of speaking to, expectations have evolved in the — in years. Complexity has evolved. You know, empowering our people to do more valuable work has also evolved. Allison, your quick comments here.
Allison Giddens (00:14:04):
I think that the bar has been set a lot higher, right? For — I mean, customer expectations, it used to be one thing and, you know, you could tell your friends that you liked or you didn’t like a certain brand. And you know, eventually you just, kind of, there was brand loyalty to you. But now it’s social media and with word being able to spread so much quicker, that customer expectation is set a lot higher. There’s a great book called “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande. Atul Gawande, he’s a surgeon.
Allison Giddens (0:14:34):
And his whole point is, if we can learn to create these checklists that simplify the process, that we can get onto the harder stuff. And I think that’s really where the automation piece comes in. If we can learn to automate the no-brainer stuff, the stuff that trips us up and doesn’t allow us to work on the more complex stuff, then if we can learn the easy stuff, then it leaves our brain all that much more room and resources to be able to do the really, really tough stuff to set us apart from everybody else.
Scott Luton (00:15:02):
It really is all about the stuff, Allison. It’s all about the stuff, right?
Allison Giddens (00:15:07):
That’s technical actually. That’s a very technical term. Look it up.
Scott Luton (00:15:11):
All right. And — hey, Marianna, yes. Seamlessness is a very rare find. And we’re going to walk through some different examples here in a minute. So, thanks for being here today. All right. So, let’s talk about document processing and the management that’s required, empowering global supply chain forward because it can be a quite — a tidal wave. A massive tidal wave. And we’ve all heard the phrase supply chain is the details.
Scott Luton (0:15:36):
However, more and more companies are leveraging A.I. enhanced document automation which can address key points very successfully and effectively. And this is where we want to walk through some of these areas. We got four areas that can represent pain points in business that we want to walk through here. And John, I want to start with you with the labor environment. That’s kind of where you started your opening comments. Tell us more here.
John Gunderson (00:15:59):
Yes, I think, Scott, I’ll just add on what you just said and what Allison had said earlier I thought was really unique. You know, it’s becoming less about the personal relationship in this business and more about the transaction. So, in general, we don’t have to be best friends anymore, as long as I can get a good outcome in the transaction that I have.
John Gunderson (0:16:23):
So, that’s how the business is changing. I’m not saying that relationships aren’t still important, but the transaction, the seamless transaction is paramount and growing every day. So, in the labor environment, you really want to be able to automate tasks that can be done so that your human assets can be applied to things that are of true value.
John Gunderson (0:16:47):
So, for example, answering a phone to take an order. OK. Probably something that you want to automate as much as possible. Helping track down proof of delivery or invoices, statements. All things you want automate. The customer themselves wants to automate that themselves. They don’t want to call you anymore, in general, for those things. They want to be able to self-serve that. The benefit to you as a manufacturer and a distributor is you’re freeing new people up to really adding value instead of, hey, you want six of those, how can I help you troubleshoot a problem? That’s the way you got to think about it as a business.
Scott Luton (00:17:29):
John, I love that. And you’re so true. Going back about halfway through your response, Mark and Allison, I bet — I wonder if this resonates with you all. I text with my mom more perhaps than I talk with her because folks want to text. They want to send it in. They want to make it simple. And John, that’s dead on. That’s how society has evolved, right?
Scott Luton (0:17:49):
Mark, what else would you add when we talk about the labor environment?
Mark Toffoli (00:17:52):
Well, I mean, I think if — you know, to John’s point about transactional, I think it’s about trust. So, people want to trust their interactions and transactions. So, relationships were a great way to learn and earn trust. If you did business with people over a number of years, you got trust. But at the end of the day, when you look at all of the disruptions that have happened in our supply chain recently, trusting that what the outcome is going to be is a direct impact. And this probably leads into our next, you know, topic. But direct impact on customer experience because if the goods don’t arrive, the product can’t be built, or the product can’t be built, so it won’t ship. If it doesn’t ship, the customer’s never going to get it. So —
Scott Luton (00:18:37):
That’s right. And they will not be happy, Mark. Excellent point.
Scott Luton (0:18:42):
Allison, what else would you add when it comes to some of the comments that Mark and John have shared around the labor environment and what we want out there as customers and consumers and even team members?
Allison Giddens (00:18:52):
I feel you, John. There was a — there was an e-mail I sent yesterday asking for an order status for something I ordered online and the person responded, you can call us between the hours of this and this. I looked at my husband and I said, I’m not interested. I think I’ll just wait on it.
Scott Luton (00:19:09):
Oh, I love that, Allison. And you know, we learned so much, to your point, being consumers that we can apply it too as being practitioners. I love that.
Scott Luton (0:19:17):
All right. Let me share a couple quick comments before we move on to the enhanced competitive advantage. John says, hey, while end-to-end visibility was a quickly growing need pre-pandemic, it seems to have accelerated during and post-pandemic. Now, this visibility is less of a need and want, and more of a must-have table stakes. I’ll call it John, for a satisfying customer experience. Excellent point.
Scott Luton (0:19:39):
And then get this from Josh, talking about the automation imperative. I’m going to read this so we don’t cut off John and Mark. Between the economist, foreign affairs, and the reports shared on this show, I get an abundance of information that I used to be able to emphasize with suppliers. But automation for ordering has been a massive sanity and anxiety saver, especially since the beginning of COVID. Josh, excellent, excellent points there.
Scott Luton (0:20:05):
All right. So, Mark, let’s shift gears. Let’s talk about the enhanced competitive advantage. Mark.
Mark Toffoli (00:20:11):
Sure. So, if you think about industries in competitive environments where you’re not a sole source or, you know, a unique piece of IP or product specialty, what differentiates you from your competitors? Well, it’s the experience you can give your customers if you have. And the two biggest factors we hear about exceptional customer experience is on time in full when expected, right?
Mark Toffoli (0:20:43):
So, the — if you talk about the order entry process then it is speed and accuracy of getting that order into the system so that our fulfillment team have a chance of delivering. Now, one of our customers has automated their order entry process through our service. And they have automated their picking function through robotic factory. So, when a customer e-mails an order to them in roughly 84% of the cases, that order is picked and packed and ready for it to be picked up in under 15 minutes from when the sender pushed send on the order.
Mark Toffoli (0:21:28):
That is an exceptional customer experience. And they see when they deploy at that level that those customers are stickier and those customers tend to order more from them. So, if they were, you know, somewhere on that A, B, C, you know, supplier assessment, they — they’re moving up in the assessment and getting more of that wallet share.
Scott Luton (00:21:53):
Mark, I love that. And, you know, one of the things I gathered as I was doing my own due diligence is you all worked with a $2.5 billion global chemical company and you enabled them to stop manually processing 400,000 POs. I can only imagine how that helped the team and improve the customer experience.
Scott Luton (0:22:14):
One of the quick comments, before we move forward, the Anna McGovern is with us here today. Anna, I hope this finds you well. It’s been too long. She goes back to that trust that we were talking about earlier. And she says, and due to lack of trust, customer stockpile inventory and then destock leading to soft demand. This is why quick response and quickly — quick recovery is vital and resilience is key. Anna, wonderful. Thanks so much for being here.
Scott Luton (0:22:39):
All right. So, John, we’ve covered the first two key point — key pain points where companies are leveraging A.I. enhanced document automation and then some. Number three is reducing mistakes, including those costly data errors. John, tell us more.
John Gunderson (00:22:55):
Yes, I think this is where I think the math comes in, Scott. If you think about as a manufacturer or a distributor, what an error cost you. So, an item error, shipping error, a surprise that you deliver to the customer. A credit and a rebuild in this business is at least $250, right? You’ve got to pay someone to go through and correct that mistake with an unhappy customer.
John Gunderson (0:23:24):
So, the one credit and rebuild — and let’s say your average order size is 500 bucks or less, which it is for many people in this industry. Think about how many orders you got to have to make up for that credit and rebuild. And to add on what Mark said, you have surprised the customer. I mean, when you get fundamentally down to how you grow share as a manufacturer and a distributor, it — for me, it’s almost this simple. The least — if you deliver less surprises to your customer and problems than your competition, you’ll grow, right? You’ll grow above market.
John Gunderson (0:24:05):
And so, automating the manual mistakes and making sure that they’re not mistakes any longer is a key to grow and share on both sides of the aisle.
Mark Toffoli (00:24:16):
Yes. I want to layer in on that.
Scott Luton (0:24:18):
Mark Toffoli (0:24:18):
In fact, the Indian River Consulting Group led by Mike Marks did a study in collaboration with the Hardi distribution group. Hardi is a — an association in buying group of HVAC distributors. And they — in the study, they determined that a distributor in that competitive environment would — could expect that they would lose about 10% of their business in the year from existing customers to a competitor primarily due to what they call the service execution failure. Meaning, you know, it’s not a perfect order.
Mark Toffoli (0:25:03):
So, it happened enough times that their frustration led them to go somewhere else. So, if you want to talk about the winners and losers in that world, the winners are the ones who could protect against errors while still having capacity to take on new business.
Scott Luton (00:25:21):
Excellent point, Mark. And I appreciate that data-driven insights you shared there.
Scott Luton (0:25:26):
Allison, I’ll get you back in here. I want to go back to what John was saying earlier and what Mark is also speaking to. Generally speaking, surprises become a lot less fun after you reach — I don’t know, age 11 or 12. You know, birthday parties, we’ll save them for that navy. But Allison —
Mark Toffoli (00:25:42):
Scott Luton (00:25:43):
So, Allison, we don’t want to surprise customers, right? What else would you add to what you’ve heard there from John and Mark?
Allison Giddens (00:25:50):
Well, I think it, it does come down to the — that we’ve talked — we keep talking about this, the labor market, right? So, if we’ve already — many of us are already very short staffed. It’s not as though we see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel where, gosh, if we could just get past the next few years, the labor market’s going to open up. No, it’s not. We’ve got to figure out how to do more with less.
Allison Giddens (0:26:13):
So, if you think about the automation implications for not only helping with typos like today’s, you know, every day’s typos. If you think about the amount of work that our current workforce is doing now, and the burnout and the kind of — I mean, exhaustion, whether or not you’re working overtime, you’re wearing a lot of hats, chances are. So, with all these different human factors, ultimately help that automation implementation or the justification for a lot of this automation, because it’s not — these aren’t your everyday typos. These are — I anticipate, and I’m seeing it in my own business, everybody’s spread thin. So, you’re seeing a lot more mistakes when manual processes are involved. Things that really didn’t happen before.
Scott Luton (00:26:56):
That’s right. Well said, Allison. And for context, Allison leads a manufacturing organization that serves, amongst other industries, the aviation industry, where, man, if you don’t get it right, that’s life and death. So, excellent points there, Allison.
Allison Giddens (0:27:10):
Scott Luton (0:27:12):
All right. I’m circling back to Mark here. So, we’ve gone through the labor environment, we’ve gone through enhanced competitive advantage, reduces the mistakes, and all that leads to kind of points this last one maybe. Doing more with less but doing more proactively and less reactively. We got to, you know, wearing a cape is fun, but we can’t do that every day. Mark, tell us more.
Mark Toffoli (00:27:31):
Sure. Well, I mean, you know, I talked to people 20 years ago when I first started in this particular business, and they would talk in the supply chain side about place and chase. And I think today when I talk to leaders, you know, even five years ago, there would be conversations about, can we use automation to displace labor because we actually want to reduce our headcount.
Mark Toffoli (0:27:58):
I haven’t had a conversation about displacing labor in the market in several years now. People are fighting to keep quality talent in-house because the number of, let’s say — you know, we talked about at the beginning on compliance. They have contractual requirements from a customer to keep so much safety sock and so much of this and to produce reports on when things are going to be available. Well, those contractual requirements are there because it’s about the customer experience for that custom — for that contract who’s buying from them.
Mark Toffoli (00:28:36):
So, they put these requirements in to try to build safety net and trust boundaries around it. But that all takes people and time to do it. Even if it’s just the time to have your I.T. staff to program that report for you, it’s time they’re not doing something else.
Mark Toffoli (0:28:53):
So, there’s huge demand, like John said, on quality human resources that can do the things you need them to do. Training is part of it. Education is part of it. Experience is part of it. It’s also the attitude and desire that people want to work. And there’s, you know, we’re seeing with after the pandemic, a lot of people just went — works too much right now. I’m out. So, there’s a real crunch on being able to find how do we serve our customers and our markets in today’s world, given we’ve only got so many people and we can’t seem to find more.
Scott Luton (00:29:39):
Yes. Mark, I agree. The burnout factor is alive and well, unfortunately. And a lot of folks did, to your point, Mark, as we worked our way through the pandemic and dealt with a lot of other really tough factors, they said, enough. Enough, you know, I’m done. I want to do something else. And I would add to that, you know, our team members, the proverbial employee experience that is rapidly evolving as well. Us business leaders, we’ve got to account for that in our operations.
Scott Luton (0:30:08):
Let me take a couple comments. And I’m going to circle back, John and Allison, if you want to add anything else to this last doing more with less and it more proactively versus reactively. I want to start with, the John Wayne of supply chain. Jake Barr is here with us. He says, connected directed work is not only here, but is table stakes for making progress for the future. Excellent comment there, Jake. I want to go to — let’s see, Mariana. And she’s got a long comment, so I’m going to keep it in the sidebar. But she talks about a common seamlessness problem is that manufacturer and distributor have different naming conventions for the same skews. Excellent comment there, Mariana.
Scott Luton (0:30:49):
John, you’re nodding your head and saying, hallelujah. You want to add anything to that, John?
John Gunderson (00:30:55):
You know, I think that is a common problem. The one thing I would say that what Mark was talking about earlier, Scott, that I think is really important is automation —
Scott Luton (0:31:04):
John Gunderson (0:31:05):
— automation is really a barrier to exit. So, the more you can automate, the more you can make the transaction automated, the more a barrier to exit it is for your customers. So, think about it this way, I’m already hooked in a manufacturer to distributor to an end customer where the end customers put in an order in once and it goes seamlessly through the channel. The work that it takes to do that, maybe significant. Once that is done, that is a tremendous barrier to exit for the end customer. It’s a seamless transaction, you know, the barrier to exit used to be the relationship. Today, it’s the transaction.
Scott Luton (00:31:45):
Excellent points there, John and Mark. Allison.
Mark Toffoli (00:31:51):
Yes, I did like that.
Scott Luton (0:31:51):
Mark Toffoli (0:31:51):
I’m just going to come back on Joanna’s —
Scott Luton (0:31:53):
Mark Toffoli (0:31:53):
— comment. I’d say five years ago, the number one reason — I’d say no, the number two reason we saw challenges in getting transactions automated was the master data catalog issue where the buyer’s catalog was different than the seller’s catalog for the same item. So, you know, it was the Tower of Babel. They couldn’t talk. Fortunately, we’ve made a lot of progress in that area. Not through synchronization, but through translations to be able to translate A into B.
Scott Luton (00:32:31):
Yes, excellent point, Mark. The Rosetta Stone, we need the Rosetta Stone to work on some of these translations for us out across industry. I had to dive deep for that history reference. So, hopefully my history teacher will appreciate that.
Scott Luton (0:32:47):
Allison, I know you want to — I want to get your take here. We — your comments on the ground we’re covering with Mark and John and, you know, any misperceptions you’ve seen out there when it comes to automation, Allison.
Allison Giddens (00:33:01):
So — no, I wanted to speak really to that fourth point where Mark was talking about, you know, doing more with less and that being proactive. And I think really what the automation allows people to do is — think about it, it gives you an opportunity, right? It gives you the opportunity to do something different than what your competitors are doing.
Allison Giddens (0:33:20):
So, for example, we had a particular vendor who automates their process. And so, I get updates on, here’s what’s going on with your order, here’s when you’re going to see it. And all of a sudden, one day I got something that I didn’t like, the — instead of 5/12, the answer was 6/15. And I went, whoa, that’s a month later than I needed that thing. So, instead of just, kind of, letting that automation sit, all of a sudden, my vendor was reaching out to me with every other day updates as to where things were.
Allison Giddens (00:33:49):
And it got me thinking this conversation because had that person been tied up with manually entering orders or correcting a bunch of things that maybe somebody else did that they had to clean up. Now, that person is free to do the critical thinking piece, you know, to do the customer service piece. So, there’s — I think there’s definitely value added in the automation that maybe we kind of take for granted right now with the — with going back to the customer service.
Allison Giddens (0:34:18):
But I really was curious in — Mark, in your travels and I know you’ve been talking to a lot of different people over the past several weeks. What kind of — are there misconceptions that you find, are — you’re tackling with the auto automation implementation in general? Are there — I mean, because you know, if you think way back, if we all thought robots were going to take over everybody’s jobs, and obviously that’s not happening. So, what other misconceptions are you seeing in the marketplace that it — it’s — you’re hearing again and again?
Mark Toffoli (00:34:48):
I would say, you know, a couple of things. One — the number one misconception that’s out there is that there’s nothing that can be done to solve for this. That the status quo is the status quo, and we really — there’s nothing that can be done other than to, you know, dig in, work harder, and try to find a way past it. That probably the first misconception.
Mark Toffoli (00:35:15):
And to add into your, you know, your comment about your experience that you had about change in dates, procurement is one of the areas that we’ve seen the biggest uptick in request for assistance recently. So, if you think pre-pandemic, pre-supply chain disruption. If you placed an order with a supplier, you had a high expectation of fulfillment. The orders that fell out of that fulfillment cycle were fairly limited, and you could manage it through safety stock and still have good and not have too much cash tied up in inventory. OK?
Mark Toffoli (0:36:00):
Today, so much disruption is going on that you can’t count on that. Now, because the disruption has changed, the part of staffing hasn’t changed. It was never staffed to go check all of the statuses of all those orders. You just trusted it was going to happen. So, today you can’t trust it’s going to happen, but you don’t have staff and you can’t hire staff to go do it. Like college graduate, I want you to go through all of these e-mailed reports and look at the dates that are on the supplier’s report and then look at the dates that’s in our system and tell me if anything doesn’t match, and I want you to do that eight hours a day.
Allison Giddens (00:36:43):
Oh, my God. And oh, by the way, you have to remember some context that this supplier’s never on time. And this one is this — yes.
Mark Toffoli (00:36:49):
Allison Giddens (0:36:49):
Mark Toffoli (0:36:50):
Would you like to come work for us?
Scott Luton (00:36:51):
TPS reports is what I’m hearing there, Mark.
Allison Giddens (00:36:55):
Yes, we need covers on all your TPS reports.
Mark Toffoli (00:36:57):
So, one of the biggest used cases uptakes is, can you help us find a way to extract what’s in those e-mail documents and determine if it’s synchronized with my system and let me know if there’s a problem. Otherwise, just check the box and let it go.
Scott Luton (00:37:14):
Yes. Mark, you touch on, generally speaking, I think folks want as the employee experience, as the workforce out there has continued to involve in what they want. They want more meaningful purposeful work that adds value to the enterprise. And they want to know where they factor in there. And so, Mark, I love that example. Mark
Scott Luton (0:37:37):
And speaking of, I think you alluded to this example — and Mark, in just a second, we’re going to go around. We got a little extra time. So, I’m going to come to John and Allison for our final thought before we make sure everyone knows, Mark, what Conexiom does. And then we’re going to talk about some resources you brought up the table.
Scott Luton (0:37:53):
But I had a lot of fun in the pre-show getting to know you and your team better, Mark. And you, I think, you alluded to this example. You all worked with a four to a hundred company where you eliminated 3.8 million in manual data entry costs. And for the 6,000 customers, order processing went from hours and hours to less than five minutes. Holy cow.
Scott Luton (0:38:14):
Now, John, that’s what we want pretty much as customers these days, right? So, John, speak to that or give us your final thought here before we, kind of, start moving into wrap up mode.
John Gunderson (00:38:24):
Yes, I mean, we talked a little bit about it earlier, Scott. The more time you take away from your team is order takers and — than order making the better off you are. So, you know, if you can automate an order directly from the end customer into your system to the manufacturer, it is really breakthrough. And somebody mentioned it earlier in a comment. I mean, we’re in an — we’re in distribution, so you’ve got like really long part numbers with numbers and letters that sometimes are 24, 28 characters long with variations.
John Gunderson (0:39:05):
So, the amount of errors that happen, the longer you have to type grows, right? So, if you can — what I would call, automate that portion of the process, you’re really creating yourself a competitive advantage with the end customer and also your manufacturer partners as a distributor. But as a manufacturer, you want to work with distributors who can do that.
Scott Luton (00:39:29):
Yes, John, well said. And I’m going to blatantly steal your t-shirt as you just dropped on us here from order takers to order makers. Raise your hand. I’d much rather be an order maker, right? And create value and have the freedom to use my tribal knowledge and expertise I’ve gained, especially if I’ve been with the organization for quite some time to go the extra mile with the customer. And trust that we can automate a lot of the blocking and tackling that you and you — John and Mark both have spoken to here today.
Scott Luton (0:40:01):
All right. Allison, before we circle back to Mark and make sure everyone understands what Conexiom does, your final thoughts, Allison.
Allison Giddens (00:40:10):
You know, I’ll come back — it comes back to the labor market for sure. It comes down to the employees. And if you can, to John’s point, if you can tell someone in a job ad, you know, hey, you’re going to be taking down numbers and putting them in a system and, you know, OK. Is that job ad going to rise to the top or is a job ad of, you know, you’re the point of contact to help us problem solve. You’re the point of contact to, you know, help us represent the brand and those kinds of things. Because that’s, to your point, that’s what people want to do. People don’t want to sit here and type things in. I mean, I’ll gladly let the robots take one of that part of my job.
Scott Luton (00:40:49):
Well, and look at this, Marianna — Marcus, you were sharing that example of sitting down and looking through all that data tediously. Marianna says, that example from Mark sounds like my internship in 2010. We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all been there. I appreciate you sharing that.
Scott Luton (0:41:06):
All right. So, Mark, let’s do this. We’ve got some resources and we’re going to offer up in just a second. But first, I’d like to get real clear. You know, I think we’ve been, kind of, foreshadowing some of the things that Conexiom does here. But Mark, in a nutshell, tell us more about what Conexiom does for your customers.
Mark Toffoli (00:41:26):
Sure. Thank you. Conexiom takes trade transactions like customer purchase orders that you’re going to turn into a sales order in your business, or a supplier acknowledgement of — that they got your order and when they’re going to deliver it to you, or a supplier invoice. And it takes those transactions, typically delivered by e-mail and — as a PDF attached to an e-mail as the most common case. And we automate the processing of those into your system of record, typically your ERP system, but then sometimes it might be your CRM or your other order management system, without anyone having to touch them.
Mark Toffoli (0:42:06):
So, our customers, when successful, typically get to about an 80% touchless rate, whereabout 20% of those transactions have real business issues that someone needs to look at. So, the order isn’t going to arrive when expected then that’s going to cause me a delivery problem. So, I need to know about that. That’s not something I can do.
Mark Toffoli (00:42:30):
The — like the — Joanna mentioned, there’s a — there’s an item code on this order that I don’t know what it actually means. It doesn’t match anything in our system, so someone has to look at it. Those would be the exceptions. Now, that level of touchless list is a journey. You don’t usually start there. But as the systems learn over time, then you achieve those touchless levels as you go forward.
Scott Luton (0:42:58):
And I — now, I have a question for you. Was that clear how I explained that or did that sound like a bunch of gobbledygook?
Scott Luton (00:43:05):
Mark, I got to tell you, I’m not sure if anyone’s ever turned it around and asked me for my opinion on their take. It’s pretty clear to me, Mark, and especially with these examples we’ve walked through.
Scott Luton (0:43:16):
But John, what about you? You — you’ve dealt with, Mark and the Conexoim team. Was it pretty clear to you?
John Gunderson (00:43:22):
Yes, it was pretty clear to me. They have a good system of helping create those connections between the end customer to you and all the way through the channel. It is — sometimes takes a little bit of time depending on the end customer. But the value in doing it, once you have them hooked in, like we talked earlier, that’s a heck of a barrier to exit. It’s hard for them to leave you once they’re hooked in system to system.
Scott Luton (00:43:50):
That’s right. And it’s working well. Mark.
Mark Toffoli (00:43:53):
I’m going to come back, Scott, to your example from the case study that you looked at with global manufacturer. We have 6,000 other customers, placing orders through our system around the world. That — those orders are all orders that come by e-mail. So, this manufacturer had already deployed EDI and had a, you know, good high percentage of EDI of running in their business. They had already deployed an e-commerce website and they had literally tens of thousands of customers on their website around the world, but they still had a gap of those customers.
Mark Toffoli (0:44:29):
And here’s the business problem, it’s those customers that require a purchase order for their own internal business purpose. They have to go into that business system and create that purchase order. Those customers don’t want to do what they call dual entry. They don’t want to swivel chair and re-key it into your website if they’re ordering from you on a daily basis. And at the same point in time or even a weekly basis. And at the same point in time, they’re not either able or financially prepared to take on setting up an EDI connection.
Mark Toffoli (00:45:03):
So, for them, the easiest thing once they’ve created that P.O. was to hit send. And today send turns it typically into a PDF that arrives in somebody’s inbox as a purchase order coming by e-mail, or if it’s a supplier sending you an invoice that’s not EDI, it’s a PDF copy of that invoice showing up in your inbox. And — or that supplier acknowledgement coming into your inbox. And now somebody on your team has to receive it, place it on their screen and enter it. And that is a huge taker of time.
Scott Luton (00:45:41):
Yes, a big old-time suck. And we got to eliminate time stuck — time sucks for sure, as I — a former colleague used to refer to them as. And Allison, I’m going to get your final thought before we go into the resources here.
Scott Luton (0:45:54):
But Mark, my hunch in all of our conversations is you’re working — you and the team are working with organizations really across the maturity curve, right?
Mark Toffoli (0:46:04):
Scott Luton (0:46:04):
Folks are maybe earlier on in that journey and there’s some lower hanging fruit perhaps, and folks that are well along very mature organization and they’re more nuanced or savvier needs perhaps. Is that right, Mark?
Mark Toffoli (00:46:16):
Absolutely true. In fact, I was — last week, I was up traveling with a couple of my colleagues visiting some of our biggest customers. We were in a few different cities over in Europe last week. And our — what we learned is, you know, some of our customers that we’re just starting with, we’re looking at how do they hit the, you know, the 20% that do 80% of the challenge for their business that caused the most of the work. And, you know, it’s that several hundred to, let’s say, a thousand. Like in the case of that global manufacturer, the 20% was 6,000 customers. So, it took us about a year to roll that out for them.
Mark Toffoli (0:46:57):
But in some of these other customers, we’re talking 250 to 500 trading partners that we’re rolling out for them. And in the other ones are the ones that have already done that rollout and they’re very happy with what they’re doing. And now they’re looking at the 80% that do the 20%, that the long scale that’s left. And how do we take those on? And, you know, we’re really excited that we have an — a new A.I. solution that can take on the majority of that work for them.
Scott Luton (00:47:29):
That is exciting, Mark. Lot of good stuff. All right. Allison, I’ll share a couple comments here. CM [phonetic], great to have you here. She says, right. Double entry P.O. or anything. Who wants that? Yes. Those aren’t P.O.s those are P.U.s, CM [phonetic].
Allison Giddens (00:47:44):
That’s good. That’s good.
Scott Luton (00:47:46):
We try. Hey, Steve Green, appreciate that. Great insight. Thanks so much for presenting, he says. I really appreciate that.
Scott Luton (0:47:52):
All right. So, Allison, there’s always opportunity, right? There’s always opportunity no matter where you are across the maturity curve. Your final thought before we offer up these resources to the — our audience,
Allison Giddens (00:48:01):
These are really good talking points because it’s really — sometimes for me at least when I’m talking about these kind of automation topics, it’s hard to visualize. It’s hard to conceptualize, because if you don’t have an example kind of in your own environment, in your own framework that you’re used to, it’s hard to think. I mean, back to Mark’s point on a misconception of thinking, oh, there’s nothing that I can automate. You know what I mean? I was sitting in the beginning of this conversation trying to go through my head like, OK, what things could I automate that I’m not already? And I found my own mind blocks. My own, oh, well, that’s proprietary software.
Allison Giddens (0:48:34):
Well, there are pieces. And to Mark’s point, you don’t, overnight, become automated. Someone in the comments mentioned too that it’s a process, you know. Little bits here and there. So, if you’re better tomorrow than you were yesterday, then that’s an improvement. So, over time, I think that’s key. And yes, that’s been a really good conversation.
Scott Luton (00:48:54):
Love that, Allison. Incremental change for the better. All right.
Mark Toffoli (00:48:59):
We’re going to build on that with Allison. In fact, the other thing that we hear is people looking for that one magic bullet that’s going to solve all their problems. And, you know, it’s been 21 years now that I’ve been in this space, in this industry, and there is no one magic bullet. We’re not a magic bullet for all of it. We serve a specified need for those e-mail transactions.
Scott Luton (00:49:25):
Well, that’s a perfect segue, Mark.
Allison Giddens (0:49:27):
Which is it? Yes.
Scott Luton (0:49:28):
Allison Giddens (0:49:29):
Scott Luton (0:49:29):
Because we don’t want folks out there taking my word for it or Allison’s word for it, or even John’s word for it, who’s dealt with Mark and the team. We’ve got two resources here. First off, kick the tires. Hey, check out a demo with the Conexiom platform. See how it could impact your business. Mark, why should folks do that?
Mark Toffoli (00:49:46):
Well, you know, we don’t — like you said, we don’t want people to take our word for it. And in fact, it’s often really difficult and to imagine how this could work for you. And in fact, one of the things that we’ve learned is we don’t want to necessarily show you a demo that has been canned and prepared and you know, everything’s going to work. We want to take your examples, documents from your business and run them through our platform in a demo mode and let you evaluate for yourself whether this would be a good fit for you or not. We’re not looking to determine if it’s a fit, you know, if it’s a fit or not. We’re looking to facilitate that conversation.
Scott Luton (00:50:22):
Really appreciate that. And folks, your one click away, you can check the link out there and connect with Mark and the Conexoim team to check out your demo. And then secondly, I love calculators, Allison, John, and Mark. You can check out via the second link, the value calculator from the Conexiom team to see how much you could save, or even worse, how much doing nothing might cost your organization — organizations. So, check that out. And we’ve got the link here for you to do so.
Allison Giddens (00:50:55):
That calculator’s really cool too because I was playing with it. You could — you see the number of errors and you see the cost of personnel. And, oh yes, the correlation between some things. It’s kind of — it’s frightening. I mean, it’s good.
Scott Luton (00:51:09):
It’s frightening. I mean, it’s good. I love that, Allison.
Mark Toffoli (00:51:13):
It’s good in a haunted house kind of way, right?
Scott Luton (00:51:16):
What was that, Mark?
Mark Toffoli (00:51:17):
It’s good in a haunted house kind of way.
Allison Giddens (00:51:20):
Yes. It’s that meme with the guy with the little dog sitting on the fire all around him. Everything’s fine. It’s fine.
Scott Luton (00:51:26):
You know, we’re — all that is humorous and we get a good chuckle out of it. But the real universal truth that it presents is we’ve got to be honest with ourselves from a data-driven perspective of things we’d — active and deliberate decisions we make. And what they cost the business and those deliberate — deliberately made nondecisions we make and what that costs the business, right. And, it sounds like taking a demo with Mark and the team and checking out that value calculator might be some ways to tackle those gaps.
Scott Luton (0:51:59):
All right. So, John, if I can bring you back in, because you know, you’re — you know, again, again, you’ve got the voice of the customer here and that’s such a powerful thing on this kind of conversations. You would encourage folks to check out a demo? Is that where you start at one of your previous times working with Mark and the team?
John Gunderson (00:52:16):
Yes, yes. I would also say that the technology over time has changed. So, you know, I think one important thing to think about if you’re a channel partner in this is you’re in a constantly moving and evolving environment. So, every day you’re — the manufacturer is determining who they’re going to market with. They’re optimizing their distribution channel. They’re adding. They’re deleting. As a distributor, you’re adding and deleting every day, right? Manufacturer partners. The end customers changing who they buy from every day.
John Gunderson (0:52:50):
So, you have to automate. And once you start, it never ends because Monday is different than Wednesday and who you’re partnering with. So, I think that’s an important thing for people to realize. And you need partners that can help you adjust. Because when an end customer changes their ordering system, maybe they’re on Coupa and now they’re on Ariba. When the distributor changes their ERP, it never ever is static. It’s constantly evolving. So, that’s why you got to have good partners who will work with you through those changes.
Scott Luton (00:53:26):
Excellent point, John. It’s easy to partner on the easy days, the good days, the successful days. You see what folks and organizations are made up on those tougher of days.
Scott Luton (0:53:34):
All right. A couple last comments and we’re going to make sure folks know how to connect with John and Mark. And Allison, after we bid adieu to John and Mark, we’re going to get your key takeaway that folks got to take from this conversation. So, stay tuned for that.
Scott Luton (0:53:46):
OWA Lobby [phonetic], great to have you back with us here today. Says, interoperability of customer systems with those of suppliers could be a challenge automation but not insurmountable. Absolutely, OWA lobby [phonetic]. And Dr. La Griffin, hey, I appreciate this. She’s going to definitely check out the Conexiom program. Appreciate that and think great to have you here today.
Scott Luton (0:54:09):
All right. So, let’s do this. Mark, we — folks, I think folks got a good idea of where to — how to plug in and connect with you and the team. But what else would you add? So, Mark Toffoli, vice president of sales with Conexiom, how can folks connect with you, Mark?
Mark Toffoli (00:54:24):
Well, you can connect with me through LinkedIn. You can connect with me through e-mail. Reach out either one of those channels and I would look forward to the opportunity to connect with you personally. And I really appreciate the audience taking the time to hang out with us today. It was a good conversation.
Scott Luton (00:54:42):
Completely agree. And beyond, you know, if you want to connect with Mark beyond all the automation and business leadership to compare notes on, he can tell you about his wonderful trip meeting customers and prospects in Europe. And there are some good memories to be shared there, Mark. So, thanks for your time.
Scott Luton (0:55:00):
And John Gunderson, senior consultant with Dorn Group, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you.
John Gunderson (00:55:05):
I would basically just echo what Mark said. E-mail, LinkedIn, reach out if you have any questions. You can also find me at farmer’s markets in Georgia. So —
Scott Luton (00:55:21):
I love that. And, John, we’re going to meet up, whether it’s my neck of the woods, your neck of the woods, or somewhere else. I love this time of year as farmer’s markets are about to be real vibrant with locally grown produce. So, big thanks to John Gunderson. Thank you, John.
John Gunderson (00:55:35):
Scott Luton (00:55:37):
And Mark Toffoli, big thanks to you and your team here today. We will look forward to having you back again soon.
Mark Toffoli (00:55:43):
Thank you. The pleasure was ours.
Scott Luton (00:55:45):
You bet. All right, Mark, John, you all have a great rest of your day.
John Gunderson (00:55:49):
Scott Luton (00:55:55):
All right. Allison, that was a fun conversation.
Allison Giddens (0:55:58):
Scott Luton (0:55:58):
Very practical conversation.
Allison Giddens (0:56:00):
Yes, that’s a good word —
Scott Luton (0:56:01):
You know sometimes —
John Gunderson (00:56:01):
That’s a good word for it.
Scott Luton (00:56:02):
Yes. You know, sometimes — I don’t know about you, we have these conversations. They get really theoretical. Really, they’re over the altitude of a lot of — especially me, listening in, right?
Allison Giddens (0:56:14):
Scott Luton (0:56:15):
Making eyes grow back. I thought there was a lot of practicality in this conversation here today. And I want to share a couple things here before we get your key takeaway away. Let’s see. CM loved no siding back. I think she’s saying, no backsliding, basically, is what I think CM is saying. It’s never static. That’s right. Mariana says, barrier to exit, used to be the relationship, now it’s the Es of the transaction. Excellent point there, ma’am — Marianna.
Scott Luton (0:56:45):
All right. So, Allison, we covered a lot of ground.
Allison Giddens (0:56:49):
Scott Luton (0:56:49):
A lot of good stuff. A lot of — and stuff, I think it’s one of the terms of the day. But if —
Allison Giddens (0:56:53):
Scott Luton (0:56:54):
That’s right. Where’s my stuff?
Allison Giddens (00:56:55):
It’s very technical. Very — it actually stands — it’s abbreviation to something that I can’t pronounce.
Scott Luton (00:57:01):
OK. So, Allison, as a fellow practitioner, we’ve heard a lot of conversations here over the years. What is, if you had to, pull people to one thing they heard here from Mark and John today, that is a lot of good news and good stuff, what would that be, Allison?
Allison Giddens (00:57:19):
I think my, my super short summary is don’t get left behind. So, I think that a lot of this, it’s very — you know, it’s easy to say, oh, yes. I can — yes, I’ll automate stuff later. You know, I’ll put it on my 2025 budget, or, you know, I’ll keep watching this A.I. stuff, you know. I — stuff. See, see. But I think that the — this is the opportunity and it — whatever you end up automating, I — talking to a friend of mine, they said, it’s kind of like a drug where you automate something and then all of a sudden something else in your business, you’re like, oh, I did that over here. I could do it over here too. So, you know, I — and then you look at everyone else who’s remained manual and they’re struggling for lots of different reasons. So, it’s a matter of just don’t get left behind.
Scott Luton (00:58:11):
That’s right. That’s right. You know, take time, invest time in the conversations that we — that we’ve talked about here today, Allison, because it’s easy. I mean, you blink and you’re left behind. Out in the markets, out in the industry, out with your competitors.
Allison Giddens (00:58:25):
You got to differentiate yourself, right? I mean, we talked a lot about it. Is —
Scott Luton (0:58:28):
Allison Giddens (0:58:28):
— how do you give yourself the competitive advantage? Well, you got to step forward.
Scott Luton (0:58:34):
Allison Giddens (0:58:34):
You got to make those, kind of, maybe scary decisions.
Scott Luton (00:58:37):
That’s right. That’s right. And hey, don’t take our word for it though. Check out the resources we provided. Get with Mark and the Conexiom team. Take that demo, check out that value calculator. And hey, I know you’ll — regardless, beyond all of that, I know you’ll enjoy a conversation sitting down with Mark Toffoli and John Gunderson coming to a farmer’s market near you. Allison, thank you for joining me here today.
Allison Giddens (00:58:59):
Great to be here.
Scott Luton (00:59:01):
Looking forward to your next appearance already. And to the — all the folks and the audience, we know we couldn’t hit everybody’s comments today, but you all brought it. I really appreciate all that you all added to the table. You all connect with Allison, connect with Mark, connect with John. And whatever you do, to quote Allison, don’t get left behind.
Scott Luton (0:59:20):
And on that note, on behalf our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, thanks everybody behind the scenes, Katherine, Amanda, Chantel, and more. Scott Luton challenging you, hey, deeds not words. Take something you heard a dear — heard here today and put it in action. And whatever you do, do good, give forward, and be the change that’s needed. And 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.
Mark Toffoli is a VP of Sales & Business Development at Conexiom, the AI-enhanced leader in commercial document process automation. Mark has been with Conexiom for over 20 years. He brings deep expertise in B2B SaaS Sales, Operations, Leadership, Business Development, and Account Management. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn.
John Gunderson is a senior leader at Dorn Group with more than 20 years of experience leading category management, sales, marketing, pricing, analytics, and e-business with leading B2B distributors such as Crescent Electric Supply Company, HD Supply Power Solutions, White Cap Construction Supply, Wesco-Anixter, EIS-INC, and Modern Distribution Management. Connect with John on 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.
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.