Dial P for Procurement
Episode 19

It is unrealistic to have a pass or fail [sustainability] audit; we're giving suppliers an incentive to lie. But if we're very honest with them and we say, ‘We understand passing everything with a Green or Grade A compliant result today is not possible. Let's try to meet 75%. Be very honest with us as to what your challenges are. And then let's work together step by step to implement corrective action plans over time.’ Then the supplier can relax a little bit, feel more open, and communicate better. More understanding and communication is win-win for everyone.

-Jeffrey Goldstein, Founder & President of ONWARD Global

Episode Summary

The distance between the United States is far, and that statement remains true whether you are describing geography, culture, or business practices. But how much of what we have been led to believe about the country with the world’s second largest economy is true and how much is hype?

We decided to ask someone who is there, making a living bridging the gaps in supply chains and understanding between Chinese companies and their Western customers.

In this week’s Dial P for Procurement interview, Kelly Barner is joined by Jeffrey Goldstein, Founder & President of ONWARD Global. More important than his title though, is his location. Jeffrey has been based in Shanghai, China for the last 12 years. He works with international startups, brands, and retailers, serving as their on-the-ground representation in China, managing their sourcing, manufacturing, and ethical compliance.

In this interview, Kelly asks Jeffrey frank questions about:

  • How companies have partnered with firms based in China over the last couple of years despite the strict travel restrictions imposed as part of China’s ‘Zero COVID’ policy
  • Whether commonly held notions of what a ‘business relationship’ means in the West versus China are compatible
  • Procurement investments in digital transformation – have they improved interactions with Chinese suppliers?
  • The risks Western companies may be creating for themselves if they push Chinese suppliers too hard on price

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

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

Kelly Barner (00:32):

Hi everybody. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of dial P for procurement today, I have a video interview for you that I think you’re really going to enjoy quick programming note, or we get started though effective this year. Dial P now has all of its own dedicated RSS feeds. So any platform or service that you use to consume your podcast content on we are there. So please make sure to subscribe if you feel so moved, offer us a review that will help other people find us and bring new people into the conversation. So without further delay, I would like to introduce a guest that I’m very excited to have met and to have brought to you for this conversation today, I’m joined by Jeffrey Goldstein, who is the founder and president of onward global. So hi Jeff, thank you so much for being here with me today.

Jeffrey Goldstein (01:17):

Thank you so much, Kelly. I’ve been following you and enjoying your content for a while now, and it’s an honor to be here with now,

Kelly Barner (01:23):

Speaking of here in this virtual world, any of us could be anywhere, but where you are is gonna be an important basis of our conversation today. So why don’t I have you start by providing a brief description of what you do and as I teased where you are right now? Sure.

Jeffrey Goldstein (01:39):

Well, I’m calling in, uh, it’s your morning in the us. I’m calling in 12 hours ahead of you from Shanghai, China. I’ve been based in China for 12 years, and I own a company called onward global, where I work with international startups, brands, retailers, and helping represent them here in China, managing their sourcing, manufac, actioning, and ethical compliance.

Kelly Barner (02:06):

So clearly we’re gonna have an incredibly relevant conversation for anybody in procurement supply chain, but just a few curiosity type things before we get into the business stuff. What is daily life in China? Like for somebody I’ve certainly never traveled there? Um, what is something about daily life that you could share with those? Who’ve never traveled to that part of the world?

Jeffrey Goldstein (02:26):

Sure. Daily life in many parts of China moves quick. And I think the reason for that is for how fast things have really developed here and how fast they’re continuing to develop. So cities in China are usually categorized by tier one, tier two and or three, and those are defined by their level of development and in a tier one city like Shanghai or Beijing that has between 15 to 25 million people. There’s a very cosmopolitan, uh, city in Shanghai where I am very similar to New York London in terms of, uh, you know, it’s hustle and bustle. In the meantime in tier three cities, which, uh, you have a very similar but different hustle and bustle. These are growing cities with populations of five to 10 million people with major your manufacturing hubs around them. Many of which literally when I first came to China, 10, 12 years ago were dirt roads and now are aligned with movie theaters and Starbucks. It’s quite incredible.

Kelly Barner (03:33):

Um, now if we, we stay for just one more question on sort of the personal side of things, what is something social or cultural that, that you find interesting that you can share about life in China? Um, that the rest of us might not know.

Jeffrey Goldstein (03:49):

Sure. You know, I think it’s hard sometimes to realize, and to remember that Chinese civilization dates back more than 3,500 years and China, uh, civilization has had a huge influence throughout east Asia. And so while we may know that things like gun powder and the compass and paper and silk all originated from China, I think a lot of people don’t realize that Chinese cultural philosophies also originated from China dating back more, more than 2,500 years ago. And these cultural philosophies such as Confucianism, for example, still plays a very deep role in China and east Asian culture, uh, and are very, very different than, uh, American and Western culture. And so that’s obviously very important to, to recognize and to appreciate when trying to understand this part of the world.

Kelly Barner (04:43):

No, absolutely. And, and those things do tend to run deep. Right? I can even speak from my perspective, if I think just in the us scope, I’m obviously in Boston, we consider ourselves, you know, from an American standpoint where the history comes from when we talk to colleagues in Europe, you know, they laugh at the newness of our, our history, right? Because comparatively it’s so much younger. Now when you jump to where you are in China, you’re talking about a completely different scope and scale of time and, and all of that ends up being carried by, by everybody sort of, as you said, culturally, there are these enormous factors that, that, um, certainly I’m sure it’s interesting. And I’m sure some of them come into be business as well as being part of personal life.

Jeffrey Goldstein (05:23):

Absolutely.

Kelly Barner (05:24):

So one of the interesting things that you’re gonna take us through today is sort of like a doing business in China, 1 0 1, uh, China is in the business news a lot and certainly even professionals, whether they’re in procurement supply chain or otherwise based in Europe and the us have first, second, third tier supply partners that may be based in China. Um, but given our distance, we probably over generalize a little bit. So China is a massive place from your perspective with boots on the ground. Is there one China or is it more geographically broken down or even as you just mentioned, are we better off thinking of it in terms of development tiers?

Jeffrey Goldstein (06:06):

Sure. Great question. And China’s made up of 22 different provinces and has 56 different ethnicities, meaning that just within China, there are hundreds of different languages and traditions throughout the country. And as I mentioned, a few questions before it’s also categorized and broken up really by tier one, tier two and tier three cities. So the level of consumer sophistication, qualified employees, infrastructure, labor cost all really differs throughout the country from a sourcing and procurement aspect. It’s important to note that most exported consumer goods that are manufactured in China and exported to the us come from four provinces on the Eastern coast of China. And these have incredibly well developed supply chains, healthy competition between factories, a wide variety of raw material availability. And four out of five of the largest ports in the world are located in these four provinces. So it’s a very big and diverse country, but if you know where and how to look, uh, you certainly have an advantage

Kelly Barner (07:19):

Now. And, and that brings us to our next question. So I was going to ask you, what should the typical business person, even beyond procurement and supply chain know about China? It sounds like to start with knowing of something a little bit more specifically about where you’re sourcing. So digging a little bit deeper than just China, as a whole thinking about province, think of about maybe what port is nearest by, what is something else that we should potentially learn to educate ourselves if we have a, a first or NT supplier in China? You

Jeffrey Goldstein (07:50):

Know, I think some of the perceptions that people have about sourcing or manufacturing in China is, you know, the first perceptions may be is cheap product cheap quality, a concern over ethical compliance within the supply chain. And the thought that my gosh, China’s so far away, how am I ever supposed to really control my supply chain or ensure transparency or to really know who I’m working with? I think these are all quite outdated. I always tell my clients or companies that I work with that the Chinese supply chain today is so developed and sophisticated that we, you can develop and manufacture anything at scale. If you start with professional sourcing, uh, and good sourcing in, in China requires time, and it requires resources to identify qualified factories, to physically vet them and to establish relations with them at different levels of management hierarchy. And I say that because Chinese culture is very relationship driven. So the vetting process of suppliers and understanding a supplier’s real capabilities, intentions, and commitments oftentimes comes during, or even after that relationship building process. Um, and that can be very frustra trading for companies, but if you have the time and the resources and the understanding, anything is possible here,

Kelly Barner (09:20):

Well, and let’s stay with that because we’ve talked a little bit about the role that history and innovation and different types of philosophies have on modern Chinese culture. But let’s talk a little bit about modern Chinese business culture. Certain, as I mentioned, China is often in the news. Uh, you can’t be in the news a lot and have it always be good news. You talked about the relationship aspect. What are some of the other business cultural or potentially even issues with political tie-ins that people need to be aware of if they’re doing business in China?

Jeffrey Goldstein (09:54):

Sure. Well, I think from a political aspect, the elephant in the room, right, is the trade war. Yeah. And so I’m, I’m gonna be giving an answer to this, but reminding listeners that I represent and I work with us companies and us buyers, not Chinese suppliers, but us importers who are today paying an additional 7, 15, 20 5% tariff have really, really been impacted. And the thinking is that this would incentivize them to diversify where they source from. What many of these companies have learned though, the last few years for better or worse is that they’re so simply just no place to go, at least not immediately. Yeah. There are not many other countries. There may not be other countries out there that have as diverse, efficient, large and competitive as supply chain is China. So it’s going to take time in the meantime, Chinese factories who are selling products to U us importers, and many of whom have helped or been forced to absorb that extra tariff from their customers. They’re trying very hard to replace their us customers some more successful than others. So if you talk to a us importer or Chinese factory about what’s going on these days, they’re both feeling a lot out of pain and it’s a half, half a trillion dollar supply chain under severe economic and political stress and how this is all gonna play out in the next few years that’s anybody’s guess.

Kelly Barner (11:32):

And that is where it’s so important for us not to be hold into some of these outdated ideas. Right? You talked about some of the ways that we might think about it. I can even think in my own experience, you know, I’ll I’ll date myself. Oh my goodness. Before cloud technology, um, we would talk about low cost country sourcing. We would talk about either outsourcing or offshoring, depending on how precise you want it to be now working with companies in China companies in, as you said, Asia, it’s now just sourcing, right? It’s no longer as we don’t need to be as specific because as you said, there aren’t really any alternatives. So it’s not like we’re saying, okay, I could E either buy this component or have this process conducted here or do it in a low cost country. China is kind of the place to have these things done. And as you said, it, it’s going to take time and a commitment on the part of companies, if they really do wanna be able to source from other parts of the world. Yeah. Now fully.

Jeffrey Goldstein (12:29):

Yeah. Fully agree.

Kelly Barner (12:30):

When, when I think about, certainly I’m sitting here in Massachusetts, China does seem incredibly far away and over the last few years, travel of all kinds has been restricted. What are the advantages? And certainly I’m, I’m asking you this, knowing that you are the boots on the ground, what are the advantages for us based or Europe based or north American based companies working with someone who boots on the ground when they know that they’re going to be sourcing products or components or materials in China?

Jeffrey Goldstein (12:59):

Sure. I mean the most immediate advantage of having someone on the ground is that Skyper emails don’t always do justice, or don’t always do the job and trying to communicate timely or sensitive challenges and opportunities across, across the world. So by having someone who can immediately be on site for you at a supplier on behalf of headquarter, that can really help expedite negotiations, understanding the root cause of challenges, helping implement corrective action plans, things of that sort, um, that has an immediate, uh, positive impact on your, your operation. Taking that a step further. There’s the reality that suppliers tend to operate better when they know that they can be held accountable. Right? So when a supplier knows that there’s someone here on the ground that can come inspect them or audit them at any time, they’ll usually perform better. And that’s especially the case when a supplier that the person that boots on the ground here on behalf of headquarter has decision making power and reports directly to senior management at headquarter, and has the power. If a supplier is not performing well to call up the COO and say, Hey, listen, these guys aren’t complying. I’m here in China. I have capabilities to source other vendors. How do you want to proceed? So that alone just elevates the level of performance and accountability that your suppliers may have. Yeah.

Kelly Barner (14:26):

Now one other 1, 0, 1 question I wanna ask you, you know, you’ve talked about expediting things. You’ve talked about having someone on the ground to address things immediately, but earlier you talked about sort of this relationship building aspect. And I know from my own experience of working with teams in very different parts of the world, that our concept of time is not always something that necessarily translates. You know, two Americans will get a, in a room and say, okay, you’re either my friend, you’re a potential friend. You’re my enemy. You’re a potential enemy. We’re gonna figure it out pretty quick and get right down to business. But when we bring in the cultural considerations and the expectations around building relationship, potentially also building trust, can you talk a little bit around some of maybe the speed of decision differences or the investment of time in building relationship expectations that might differ between Asia and the west?

Jeffrey Goldstein (15:21):

Sure. That’s a great question. I mean, I mentioned before peeling an onion, if you talk to a lot of buyers or procurement people who spend time sourcing or in vendor, supplier management in China, they’ll use the phrase, peeling, an onion to get down to the bottom of things and sometimes two step forward, one step back, um, you know, it’s, the culture is different. The language is different. Yeah. And, um, you know, Americans tend to view the world intend to make decisions and tend to think of things in very black and white yes or no. And in China, I think over most of Asia, at least east Asia, they navigate in this gray zone, uh, where yes. May not always mean, yes. I mean, in some cultures saying no to your ball, to your customer saying no to a power of authority as disrespectful. Um, so certainly understanding your supplier’s capabilities, intentions, and commitments that that can certainly take time. And that’s why I mentioned, you know, it’s important to take a professional approach to sourcing because the buyers and the individuals who just go online, find a company and place an order. Those are very often the companies that you hear about, uh, being shipped junk and, you know, uh, having the China horror story, which we’ve all heard of.

Kelly Barner (16:48):

So you can sort of help double translate, right. Obviously there’s, in some cases, a language barrier, depending on, you know, how much English is spoken on the ground, but you can also sort of culturally translate where maybe everybody heard no. Or maybe everybody heard. Yes. But based on your experience, you can say, just letting you know, that was a no, that means, yes, that was a yes. That means no, that’s a, yes. That means maybe, um, having all of those factors at play. I see where that’s almost even the difference between boots on the ground and boots on the ground for 12 years. Right. Because you can be boots on the ground and immediately be in a factory or a facility, but you’re steeped in the culture. At this point, you can pick up some of the nuances,

Jeffrey Goldstein (17:28):

Right. That’s right. And you know, the, the other thing that’s interesting, and this is actually something that I find my clients and headquarters may not always feel the same, but, you know, look at the, a lot of the time, the supplier is not always at fault, right? A lot of the time it’s the procurement corporate procurement office or headquarters or the design team that is communicating things in an inefficient manner or departments within headquarter and the corporate structure aren’t communicating well. Um, so a big part of it in my work is I represent headquarter and managing suppliers and the supply chain, but sometimes it’s also calling headquarter and saying, Hey, let’s and guys, or gals, you know, the way we’re communicating this a supplier, they don’t understand it. Uh, or I’m American. I read English just fine, but I don’t even understand it. So it’s also bridging the gap on both ends, you know?

Kelly Barner (18:24):

Okay. Now I, out of curiosity and I keep thinking of follow up questions to ask you in 12 years, digital technology, digital business has changed a ton. I wonder if in some ways our increasing reliance and dependence upon digital as our means of information storage and communication has actually created as many potential risks. Um, and this is completely global, not in China or not just in Asia, but where, where you, you do have all of the relationship and the nuance stripped out of a message when everything is being transmitted through system APIs or system generated emails. Is there a role that digital technology plays in this where it’s either maybe increased the complexity or increased some of the misunderstandings, or is there an opportunity for us to improve the way we use digital technology to actually alleviate some of those misunderstandings?

Jeffrey Goldstein (19:20):

That’s a good question. I think, you know, just like the logistics industry right now has been making huge transformations and changes in how they’re implementing tech. You know, it’s crazy to think that just a few years ago, the logistics industry was still relying so much on just paper stamps that’s right. And pens. And I think at a sourcing level, at least in product development and purchase order placement and communication, there has not been a lot of tech advancements, um, at least on a ground level in procurement between, um, Chi between the us and China. But those are certainly things that yeah. You know, I’d look forward to utilizing if they were out there.

Kelly Barner (20:04):

Yeah. And that’s, and that’s an interesting thought for me to take back to a procurement and sourcing community because, you know, spoiler a lot, we think we’re doing pretty great. So clearly there are still opportunities for us to continue to improve. And maybe it has to do with, you know, we have some conversations internally around, oh, what is the supplier experience? How easy is it to onboard suppliers? How easy is it for them to get information or have transparency into what’s happening that suggests to that there’s still an opportunity, especially multiple tiers into the supply chain for us to improve the flow of information and the sophistication that we’re able to bring to bear. So that suppliers in China are actually benefiting from it and know what we want.

Jeffrey Goldstein (20:45):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the other thing to consider that a lot of Americans, or, you know, foreign companies don’t realize a lot of apps and websites do not work here in China. Um, I’d say half the applications that we use in America on a daily basis do not work here in China. Okay. Um, so that, that’s another thing to consider is how viable are they for Chinese suppliers to really utilize and, and take advantage of?

Kelly Barner (21:11):

Absolutely. Um, so I wanna dig a little bit deeper beyond the 1 0 1. Um, and think about what it’s really like for professionals and companies to do business with China, from afar. You know, we’ve talked about the fact that you can be boots on the ground. You’re a established, you fully understand what’s going on there, but like everything else over the last few years COVID has played a huge role in terms of how companies in, in these two areas of the world work together. Um, can you give me a sense of where are things now around in and out travel restrictions and how is that maybe, you know, put it in the context of the, the changes and the shifts that you’ve seen over the last couple of years?

Jeffrey Goldstein (21:52):

Sure. I mean, China has had a very strict, uh, zero COVID policy for the last two years. And you know, it it’s ironic because this is obviously where this whole thing started and grew. Uh, but since China contained it two years ago through their very strict policies and methods, we really have been zero COVID in China. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone in China, who’s gotten COVID the last two years. Um, and they’ve been able to achieve that by having very strict travel restrictions and obviously keeping their borders closed. Uh, so it’s very difficult for corporate for anyone to, to travel to China today, other than very senior corporate executives or family members that meet very specific requirements. Um, unfortunately I really don’t see borders opening up this year and maybe even going into 2023. Mm.

Kelly Barner (22:54):

Now, to what extent prior to all of this would high level corporate executives have been traveling to China to either meet with supplier leadership teams or visit facilities. So I guess I’m trying to get a sense of how much of a fall off is this really,

Jeffrey Goldstein (23:08):

Uh, it’s interesting I’m mean usually, you know, it depends on the size of the company, right? Um, a 5 million company who’s purchasing 5 million versus 75 million, you know, will differ. But usually, and I always recommend my clients that come out here a few times a year at minimum, uh, to visit their factories and to understand where their production is taking place to build relations with owners. Like I said, China’s very relationship driven. So the, the time spent at dinner and having drinks with a factory owner oftentimes is just as important, uh, for the long term relationship as the time spent, you know, in an office at the factory.

Kelly Barner (23:49):

Now let’s talk then about some of the risks and let’s actually stay with that relationship piece. Uh, because I think when I was initially thinking about asking you about risks, my brain instantly goes to operational, but given some of the concerns, given some of the supply chain and securities, we’ve all been dealing with, um, I’ve heard people say, you know, now’s not a good time to make new friends where you do have existing relationships. Those are absolutely mission critical, and you wanna protect them. What are the risks that start to fester and grow around maybe the breakdown of those relationships, because you can’t sit at the dinner table face to face.

Jeffrey Goldstein (24:27):

Yeah. Great question. I mean, I think there’s two primary risks right now that north American companies ought to be focused on trying to minimize one of those risks is happening from suppliers simply just knowing that their customers can’t travel here and that their customers don’t have as much oversight. And so this is creating an opportunity for suppliers to consider subcontracting and they benefit from this by reducing their overhead and saving costs by manufacturing and unauthorized locations. And if they do this, the risk to buyers is not only the non-compliance with the social responsibility commitments that they’ve made to their customers, but when their purchase orders and production is really broken up into different subcontracted facility, the higher chance of quality defect and inconsistency, another very important risk that’s happening is that over 20 years of buyers negotiating lower and lower costs from their suppliers, many suppliers today just simply aren’t sustainably profitable.

Jeffrey Goldstein (25:41):

Okay. I’d say that the average Chinese supplier that selling a, a good product between the price of three to $10 to their customer, their customer being a us importer, they’re making an average of three to 5% gross margin. And so the financial risk is high for them. If they’re unable to operate with a certain level of confi consistency. And so when suppliers find cells in that situation, they may start considering how do I cut corners? Yeah. And they cut corners by changing material, by changing a process or by, you know, changing some other level of, or aspect of integrity. And if buyers don’t have a good relationship or a good communication with their buyers, with their suppliers, I mean, they may be finding that out simply just too late.

Kelly Barner (26:33):

Yeah. Now, even in north America, we’re seeing a lot of suppliers start to push back because labor shortages, fuel costs are up raw material costs are up and we are constantly getting phone calls and emails from these suppliers saying, I can no longer come through on the rate that we’ve contracted because of a, B and C given what you had said about in not all cases, but some they’re not being a lot of viable alternatives ready today to take this volume from China, I’m being interested in your thoughts, why a Chinese supplier pressed on margin would find a way to subcontract versus going back to their customer and saying, you know, you read the newspaper. I can’t hold that rate anymore. Here’s detailed math. Um, is it the interaction with the companies in the different parts of world? Is it the sense that subcontracting really is the fastest, best way to do it? Why would Chinese suppliers push down as opposed to pushing up, which is what we’re seeing in the west?

Jeffrey Goldstein (27:33):

Sure. Certainly. I think suppliers try. Right. And, um, you know, China, like I said, they have such a developed chain and there’s so many factories that the first response a buyer gives is, look, you can’t meet my price on this. I’m gonna go find another factory. Okay. And that, that’s kind of the unfortunate situation today. Um, you know, it’s interesting before 2008 USA was the market. The, that factories just, you know, you walked in as an American, they would just, they would love you. You’re an American buyer. There’s no market in the world that, that, uh, can compare to the us after the 2008 financial crisis. A lot of north American companies, a lot of foreign companies either went bankrupt or were delayed in their payments and that true down the supply chain. And that was the first lesson that Chinese suppliers, uh, really learned. And with COVID now, um, you know, and the trade war and buyers, just continuing to push. And as they would say, maybe crush their suppliers, negotiating with their suppliers. They they’re looking for alternative options right now. Certainly just like American companies are looking for alternative places to manufacture Chinese factories are looking for alternative buyers.

Kelly Barner (28:54):

So right now we’re in a little bit of a, you know, you gotta dance with the one who brung you kind of situation. Right, right. China’s gotta deal with us because we’ve been their customers for so long. We feel compelled to do business with them because we can’t find ready alternative sources. Um, is there a way that you can mediate, not just the specific situation of, you know, is this factory compliant, you know, is the information getting back and forth, but is there a way for you to mediate sort of the understanding of some of these relational issues around, okay. American company, you need to understand, you may threaten to go to another factory, but you’re, you’re causing other things to happen. And Hey, Chinese supplier, we know you’re just trying to do what you have to do in order to keep your rates the same, but can you see where you’re creating problems for this Western country? Are those some of the kinds of conversations that you get involved in?

Jeffrey Goldstein (29:47):

Yeah. I mean, that, that’s a great, that’s a great question. And, you know, as, as we said before, sometimes part of my job is communicating back to headquarter, pushing back on headquarter a little bit training headquarter. Yeah. And so, you know, sometimes when, even one of my clients or when a buyer is really negotiating hard with a factory, we gotta say, Hey, listen, you know, if we’re really gonna negotiate this hard or reduce their price this much, yes. We’re gonna be getting a better cost right now. But that means down the line, they may be jeopardizing or set sacrificing some of the quality. And so down the road, instead of inspecting a production order twice, we may have to go do four rounds of inspections. Okay. At the end of the day, that’s just as costly as a accepting a slightly li uh, higher cost upfront.

Jeffrey Goldstein (30:38):

Right? Yeah. Um, so those are, there’s certainly the give and take. And a lot of the time it is educating headquarter and buyers as to how to think about it. I mean, the challenge that I have sometimes, and I think that suppliers have as well is, you know, especially when you work with the bigger corporations and retailers, a lot of the time the buying office and the ethical compliance office are inv very different parts of the building, you know, maybe for a strategic reason. So when you talk to a buyer about, Hey, listen, it’s very hard to make this product for $6, especially when I’m trying to implement all these corrective action plans and ethical compliant programs. The buyer says, look, I’m a buyer. Don’t talk to me about that. And then when you have that conversation with ethical sourcing director, they’re like, look, I don’t deal with buying. Just make sure you implement the corrective action plans. Yeah. So, like you said, it’s, it’s gotta be a give and take and a balancing act if you will.

Kelly Barner (31:34):

Yeah. Now, so often in the west, uh, these end things end up getting monitored or visibility is created through regulation, right. We tend to say, okay, there’s some new law and now we’re required to do this reporting, or now we’re required to whatever the frequency of, of inspections is. Do you see Western companies bearing the cost of proving their regulatory compliance? Or is that something that ends up also getting pushed off on suppliers? Um, that there’s either a cost in terms of, you know, literally having to pay some kind of fee to proof that they’re compliant or even the cost of distracting their team from doing some kind of primary operational thing in order to sit down with you and your team and answer questions, what does the overhead look like on the supplier and when, and regulations increase in the west?

Jeffrey Goldstein (32:26):

Sure. You know, it’s interesting because before I was in sourcing, I was actually an ethical compliance and social compliance manager, an auditor. Uh, so I’ve seen both sides of it. And I learned that, you know, there’s an unfortunate reality, uh, in the supply chain today. And especially in those 150 page corporate guidebooks that so many companies have

Kelly Barner (32:54):

The nice glossy ones.

Jeffrey Goldstein (32:56):

That’s right. Yeah. That, you know, the math just doesn’t add up in trying to get that a or green social compliance audit report, and still trying to make a $5 50 cents backpack. The math just doesn’t add up. And so I remember when I was in that position as an ethical compliance manager here in China, a lot, it was me understanding both sides of it. And, you know, working to educate not only the factory, but also headquarter sometimes and saying, look, if we’re just gonna have a black and white pass or fail audit, it’s unrealistic. We’re giving suppliers the incentive to lie. But if we’re very honest with them and we say, look, we understand passing everything with a green or grade a compliant, you know, result today is not possible. Let’s try to meet 75%. Be very honest with us as to what your challenges are. And then let’s work together step by step to try to input meant those corrective action plans over a certain period of time. Then the factory can kind of, or the supplier can relax a little bit, feel more open, um, you know, and, and communicate better. And the more understanding and communication there is, right. And so win-win for everyone. Well,

Kelly Barner (34:16):

One of the things that really strikes me as interesting, and I’ve had this thought a few different times during our conversation is that as much as I came to this sort of anticipating, okay, let’s talk about differences. There are some very key similarities to what you are talking about to what we’re even hearing from north American suppliers. So for instance, the issue of on time payment or reasonably timed payment, especially as companies try to do more business with small suppliers that becomes, uh, far more critical to those suppliers dependent on that cashflow. So that is certainly a topic that resonates. We’ve heard that a lot of times, but even this idea around the pressures created either by regulation or by truthfully consumer expectations, you know, things like environmental, social, and governance, like supplier diversity, there’s the expectation of what they wanna see in that nice glossy report.

Kelly Barner (35:07):

And then there’s the poor team of people tasked with not only trying to hit the expectations, but prove that the expectations have been hit. It actually sounds there’s a lot more similarities. Yes, you may be a whole lot further away and there are language barriers and time barriers and cultural barriers, but it’s really sort of the same set of challenges that, you know, you are feeling that we are attempting to work through locally. Um, and it’s interesting, even when you talk about, you know, it was a lesson learned for Chinese suppliers, that payment might be an issue that has been a huge cry in north America, Western Europe, even Latin America, depending where people have manufacturing facilities on time, payment of suppliers is an enormous issue. So clearly there are, as you said, just like the ethical compliance office and the procurement office might be far away.

Kelly Barner (36:00):

We also, haven’t seen finance in a little while, so they’re working towards their metrics. They’re trying to protect their own working capital, but there are implications into the supply chain. Um, now I know you mentioned that a lot of your work is educating headquarters about either dynamics or shoes or conditions on the ground, and that’s very specific to their situation. But if there are companies here in north America, Western Europe, who don’t have someone like you on the ground, educating them specifically and need to bolster their general education, what is a way for Western companies to increase their understanding, not only of how things work culturally and operationally, what the opportunities are, but also maybe how some of their processes and policies are making it difficult for them to leverage maximum value from suppliers that are in Asia.

Jeffrey Goldstein (36:51):

Sure. Well, if a company is already, already sourcing in manufacturing in China and they have they’re, they have no, I’ve been in China for two years to meet with their suppliers and they have the resources and capability to hire someone, even if it’s just for a short term period to go verify things on their behalf. Yeah. I would strongly suggest that, um, if they don’t have the resources or if that’s not something they’d like to consider, I just being very proactive in keeping in touch with your suppliers is so important. You know, the, the horror stories emerge when buyers just place an order and then they just cross their fingers and hope that 60, 90 days later, the shipment’s gonna be on time. Right. Um, so, you know, we have social, we, we use Skype, all the suppliers use Skype. So just being proactive and trying to get weekly updates from them and, uh, really being partners with them to, to understand what the challenges are and, and working together to, to resolve those, uh, issues. If you’re a company that is starting from scratch and you know, nothing about China and you want, wanna learn about it, there’s tons of resources out there on LinkedIn. There’s great books, documentaries, and I’d be glad to follow up with you and, you know, provide a list that you can share with anyone as a future follow up. Yeah.

Kelly Barner (38:13):

Um, so you’ve shared some best practices and, and think that’s interesting. And it, it reminds me of a, a saying that I heard back from consulting days, hope is not a strategy, right? That is, that is not how things should work. Um, and I appreciate all of those recommendations and best practices. Now, if people wanna take you up on your offer to share what you know, or make recommendations of other resources, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Jeffrey Goldstein (38:38):

Sure. The audience can learn more about onward global and the services I provide@onwardglobaldotcomonwardglobal.com. Uh, they can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I think you’ll be sharing, uh, a, a link on that with listeners and, um, they can contact me at Jeffrey onward, global.com.

Kelly Barner (39:02):

Well, Jeff, thank you so much for spending this time in your late evening. Um, I, I think it’s good for us to realize the similarities, but it’s also good for us to be aware of what we need to be doing from afar, especially when we can’t have boots on the ground. So I appreciate you sharing your time and expertise with us.

Jeffrey Goldstein (39:19):

Sure. My pleasure. Thank you so much, Kelly,

Kelly Barner (39:21):

And to everybody in the dial P either listening or watching audience, thank you also for your time and interest, but don’t let the conversation start here. If you have questions, additional thoughts, things that you wanna share, please, on social media, please share a review of this particular podcast. And as I said earlier, make sure you subscribe so that like this fascinating interview, you don’t miss any future content on that note. Thank you for joining us for dial P for procurement here on supply chain. Now I hope you all have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro (39:53):

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

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Jeffrey Goldstein is owner of Onward Global, an independent contracting practice providing international start-ups, brands and retailers a “Man on the Ground” service managing and scaling their sourcing, manufacturing, and compliance in Asia. Based in China 12 years, Jeffrey helps clients build strategic supplier partnerships and optimized supply-chains there as well as Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India. This has included the identification and training of 300+ factories, overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement, and developing dozens of innovative consumer and industrial goods successfully launched at retail. Prior to starting Onward Global in 2017, Jeffrey directed global operations for a leading US sporting goods company servicing customers such as Columbia Sportswear, Target, Walmart and Dell. He received an MBA from Tongji University in Shanghai (’16) and a BA from the University of Denver (’08). Connect with Jeffrey on LinkedIn.

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Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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