Supply Chain Now
Episode 1147

If we can get supply chain management right, we can really save lives.

-Tiwonge Mkandwire

Episode Summary

Supply chain management is a crucial aspect of saving lives, as it ensures the efficient flow of essential goods and services. Nowhere is this more evident and more evolving than on the continent of Africa. In this first episode of a three-part series, Scott Luton is reporting from the annual SAPICS Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, learning from the supply chain professionals in attendance and their inspiring supply chain missions. The discussions range from the importance of dialogue in problem-solving, people understanding their purpose, and strengthening the supply chain workforce in specific African countries to AI and its effect on the supply chain, improvements for data visibility, and integrating various supply chain strategies at different levels. Listen in to the transformative supply chain projects and the strategic partnerships taking place all over the continent.

Featured guests:

Tiwonge Mkandwire & Olivier Dafawe – Village Reach

Dominique Zwinkels & Kofi Nyame – People that Deliver

Azuka Okeke- Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain. Now the voice of global supply Chain Supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from Those Making Global Business Happen right here on Supply Chain now.

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey everybody. Scott Luton with Supply Chain. Now I’m here at Safe Pick’s annual conference 2023 in lovely, beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. I’m joined as we kick off our, our conference coverage. I’m joined by a good old friend of ours, TGE <inaudible>, with Village Reach and Tangay. You’ve brought your colleague Olivier Daal. Olier. How are you doing?

Olivier Dafawe (00:53):

Great. Very excited to be here. We are too. And Tangia, great to see you again.

Tiwonge Mkandwire (00:57):

It’s good to see you. And it’s nice to see you face to face. Last time we had this conversation, it was in a box. Oh, no

Scott Luton (01:03):

Kidding. We gotta break the boxes. Break the boxes, absolutely. And the silos and all that good stuff. Exactly. All right, so we’re gonna, we’re gonna jump right in today. So, uh, I wanna ask you both, you both have spent a lot of time in this space is critical intersection where healthcare and supply chain intersect, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we got a lot to learn from you both. Um, but what’s one thing, <inaudible>, let’s start with you. What’s one thing that you wish more global business leaders knew about healthcare supply chain?

Tiwonge Mkandwire (01:27):

I think, you know, specifically for me, it’s, it’s really the opportunities that exist for, um, businesses, for different types of service providers in the public health space. You know, we had a workshop yesterday where we had great minds from all over the world looking at different aspects of public healthcare. And we came to all agree that, you know what, there are ways in which the public sector, the private sector, can play together in a way that’s beneficial for both. Yes. And I wish more entities knew that that’s actually real.

Scott Luton (01:55):

I’m with you. And it’s critical that, that, that happens, right? Cause that’s how, where it comes innovation. And we can serve more folks. Uh, you know, who, who doesn’t need healthcare? We all do, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, it’s a great starting point. Uh, what would you add, Olivier? What do more folks need to know?

Olivier Dafawe (02:08):

Yeah, I had that. Now, the private sector, uh, players are trusting the governments, the community of donors into making things work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> for the last decade or two decades, actually, the private sector has been very resistant to, you know, work with the, with the public sector because of various issue. Right. And now we are addressing those issue from the get go. And that is really breaking the mistrust and, and really decreasing the risk for them. And therefore they’re more willing to sit, dance, and co-create together. I love that. So, yeah. So we gotta break those old assumptions mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh Right. Cause lots of things have changed. It sounds like. Uh, uh, those in healthcare and public and private have, have recognized some of those things that had to change and to make it, and, and, uh, to break the rules. So we’re more inviting for more folks from across all industries to, to play. Right.

Olivier Dafawe (03:14):

And actually, one of the, at the positive, one positive outcome from the pandemic is that it’s possible mm-hmm. <affirmative> for responding to the, for the pandemic, it was the private sector and the public health sector. The community of the, the donor community working hands in hands and making it happen. Yes. And the, it is providing covid vaccine Yes. Throughout.

Scott Luton (03:44):

Yes. It’s critical.

Tiwonge Mkandwire (03:45):

And, you know, just to add onto that. Yeah, please. I think what was exciting for me about that was it wasn’t an isolated thing where one country was able to bridge that, um, to build that bridge. It was across the whole world. So, you know, organizations, people were collaborating at a global level, regional level, country level, and sometimes even, you know, below the national levels in the countries. So it, it really was exciting for us in the public health space that, look, it can happen across all of these things. Yep. And we need to make sure we harness those lessons that we make that normal. It needs to be our day to day and not just because we were dealing with a crisis.

Scott Luton (04:21):

Yes. I, I fill in my bones what you just shared there, tga, cuz it’s gotta stick. We gotta remember these lessons we learned. Uh, so let’s, let’s shift gears here. Um, TGE, actually, you both are gonna be speaking here today at the conference. Got a jam packed. A lot of great sessions. So share with us, uh, for your keynote. What’s one of your main themes that you’ll be talking about that you wanna convey?

Tiwonge Mkandwire (04:42):

Great. So I am on a panel where we are discussing the, the relaunch of what’s called the Interagency Supply Group. And this is basically where some of the bigger donors in this space, you know, US government, the global fund, some of the UN agencies, they get together so that they can talk, make sure that they’re actually meeting the real needs that are out there, and that they’re getting the synergies from the investments that are coming. A lot of them are, you know, tax, um, tax dollars. What’s exciting for me is for the first time they’re looking to bring in the broader, um, community. So bring in what we call implementing partners. So not-for-profit organizations like our own, that do the work together with governments. And I think for me, what is exciting about that is what Olivier said earlier, it creates an opportunity for us to co-create the right solutions. It’s not just about, oh, looking at this, you know, the problem from here, and then it gets passed down. It’s us sitting down and saying, Hey, this is the world we are in. These are the issues that we need to address. How do we make the best use of these resources to fix these problems?

Scott Luton (05:52):

I love that. And I love where you started your response there. We gotta bring the executors. Uh, they, they gotta be, you know, uh, how this stuff gets done. They gotta be part of the conversation holistically. Uh, Olivier, how about you? You’re speaking I think tomorrow. Yeah. What, what’s your main theme?

Olivier Dafawe (06:07):

So the, the panel I’m on is to this discuss the role of one solution that issues have been involved in ex testing and evaluating if the use of drone, um, will help address the equity gap that we see. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So tomorrow will be speaking about for the last decade, we have been successful at generating the evidence of the positive impact of integrating drone as an additional mode of transportation right. To supply chain and how it benefits the supply chain performance health outcome as far as, um, for the sector that we are, um, into and understanding the true cost of operating a drone network at scale. Yeah. And now that’s done. The next big question is how can we make the use of drone affordable Yes. Affordable in low and middle income countries? And this is where the public-private partnership and the development of multi-sectorial market development is gonna be necessary. So we are gonna really focus on, on that, uh, shift of, of our approach from a monos sectorial to a multi-sectorial market development.

Scott Luton (07:39):

I love that. Uh, in my ears, what I hear there is democratizing the use of drone, uh, at scale, uh, where it can benefit so many folks. Um, alright, so I wanna shift gears again. So, you know, I’m a big fan of, of Village Reach, noble Mission. Y’all own, uh, we’ve had a great chance of, had lot, lots of conversations prior to today, but for our handful of listeners that may have not have missed, you know, they may have missed those earlier episodes. Tge talk to us about, uh, what Village Reach does in a nutshell. And then we’re gonna talk about this exciting program, kind of that Olivier already, uh, touched on a minute ago about drones. So tell us about Village Reach.

Tiwonge Mkandwire (08:14):

So, village Reach, uh, we are, um, you know, an organization that’s looking at making sure that healthcare services are available for everyone regardless of who they are, where they are. Um, and it looks at, you know, how do we use technology to make sure that Primary Healthcare services are available and going forward? We, we are actually spending a lot of time right now thinking through how do we better understand the needs of the people? How do we streamline those feedback loops that help us very quickly understand these are the issues, this is where the issues are, so that we can design systems that respond to that. So we look at that holistically from both the service delivery, private, uh, primary healthcare delivery, but also from a supply chain perspective. How do we build supply chains that are people-centered by understanding what they need and making sure that we are responding to that, getting products to the people. I

Scott Luton (09:08):

Love that Towan gay and that, and that teases us up. Great. So Olivia, I wanna bring you in here and talk to us about, uh, drones for health. You were kind of elaborating some on that earlier, but that’s one of the critical new initiatives at Village Reach, right?

Olivier Dafawe (09:20):

Yeah. And making sure that the products are available to all the people mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all the people, even the hardest to reach the remote communities. And so that’s where the value proposition of the utilization of drone transport, drone transport via drone really comes, it’s by enabling the public health supply chain to reach those community that are isolated. And for the last, well almost decade, village Rich has worked in Dia, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and really evaluate the benefits of integrating that drone transport as an additional mode of transportation. And, um, like I mentioned, this is it. We we have many partners. Military is only one of them who has generated the evidence. Sure. So there’s no, no question about can drone really help reach those unreachable, right. And fill up this inequity gap is equity gap. And, um, now it’s all about let’s bring all this demand that is so far be segmented, segmented across multiple sector, but drone is just a mode of transportation, right? It’s a mean to an end. And we need to aggregate that demand across all the different sector and test different costing models, business costing models, in order to really find the type of model that will enable the sustainable use of drone in the health sector, in the affordability of that new and transformative technology.

Scott Luton (11:14):

That’s, I think that’s a critical thing, making it a, a system, a sustainable system optimized where all, all shareholders can be served no matter where they are. Right. That’s what I’m hearing here. Very exciting. Uh, and that’s just, that’s just a portion of all the great work that village, uh, reaches doing. All right. So I gotta shift gears. We, we don’t have enough time today. We can spend all hours of the day and dive into all the cool things you’re doing, but I do wanna touch on this products, the People podcast. Your four episodes deep, really cool, uh, really have enjoyed, uh, seeing it continue to blossom. So Tge, uh, and, and folks, by the way, any of our listeners out there, you can find products for people wherever you get your podcasts. That’s almost obligatory statement in podcast conversations these days. But what’s one of your favorite moments from the first four episodes?

Tiwonge Mkandwire (12:00):

Whew. There were so many of, you know, my favorite moments. I think for me, what was most, most exciting is talking to, um, a community healthcare worker who’s in Malawi, where I’m from, incidentally. And he was talking about just very simple things that we can do to improve data visibility so that we can really build this integrated supply chain that ties in this strategy work, you know, at the donor government level, um, that ties in the technology that’s being brought in. And ultimately it’s about making sure that we have the footprint on the ground, we can get the data from the people, right, in people’s homes with something as simple as a cell phone. You know, you get the data out there, you create, can easily create a demand sensing supply chain that addresses those needs. I think what was, I mean, and none of that is really new. It’s not like it’s new technologies, it’s new processes, but it was a reminder of the impact of what supply chain can do. You know, supply chain management. If we, if we can get that right, we can really save lives. And I think for me, it was a real reminder about why we do everything that we do on a day-to-day basis.

Scott Luton (13:14):

Tge, what a powerful statement you’ve shared. Uh, there’s a reason why I’ve got a tge tattoo in my left arm. <laugh>, that statement right there. Supply chain can save lives, especially when we get it right. We can save more lives to paraphrase. Um, alright, so I wanna switch gears. This is a perfect segue, man. We’re like, I think we’re second cousins at this point. You can read my mind. So that was, to me is very inspiring. So Olivia, I wanna bring you back in. I know we’re still early in the conference, right? But what’s been one of the most inspiring conversations or nuggets, or maybe challenges, uh, from a moment here so far, Olivier?

Olivier Dafawe (13:50):

Yeah. Um, I’m really hopeful with what I saw yesterday where you had stake stakeholders from governments, stakeholders from donors, stakeholders from private company, transport company, uh, um, inventory management companies and so on. Implementing partner, sitting together and talking to each other about what works, what doesn’t work, where the room for improvement. So that, for me, seeing this happening is, uh, give me hope. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that’s, I mean, like you said, we, we still early on, but just that it’s already, um, for me a success.

Scott Luton (14:37):

Yeah. I’m with you. If the dialogue isn’t happening, you know, nothing gets solved with a simple conversation, but nothing gets solved without it, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I love that observation so far, Olivier. All right. Twana, you’ve already given us an inspiring, um, uh, message, but I want go back to the, well, one more time. What’s been one of your favorite moments thus far?

Tiwonge Mkandwire (14:57):

It wa it happened an hour ago on the morning panel where they were talking about artificial intelligence and supply chain. Um, and, you know, talking, there was a question like, what will AI kill us? <laugh>, <laugh>, I believe there’s a whole lot of conversation out there. Uh, but I think for me, the takeaway was, you know, if, if we don’t actually embrace ai, especially in the different phases of supply chain, the planning, uh, the sourcing and everything else, we are losing an opportunity to actually once again save lives. If we just take the planning, for instance, if we can use AI to, to use the data, there’s like so much data out there, but it can help us to just, you know, get better at how we actually make the right decisions near real time decisions to actually, you know, get back to the business of saving lives. So it won’t kill us, but it can allow us to save

Scott Luton (15:52):

Lives. Twan absolutely. Better decisions, faster teams, more confident, uh, empowering the team. There’s so, the interplay of technology and, and the human factor is fascinating right now. Um, okay. I hate to bring this conversation to end. This is, I love the vibe I’m getting here, and, but the good news is there’s a lot more conversations and action that’s gonna come out of the conference, uh, this year. So let’s make sure folks know how to reach both of you and Village Reach. So, uh, Towan Gay, uh, let’s see here. Re right, <laugh>, goodness gracious, I’ve been known to get my kids’ names wrong, to be fair. Uh, but how can folks connect with you twang?

Tiwonge Mkandwire (16:30):

So, I am on LinkedIn, tier one game. It’s easy to find, if you can spell it. Um, also if you, you know, as you said, the podcast, uh, products to people on wherever you get your podcast and you get to hear my voice again and many others.

Scott Luton (16:45):

Wonderful. With and Village Reach. Village reach.org, right? Yeah. Twan Gay. Wonderful. All right. So Olivier, great to meet you here today. I love what you’re doing with Village Reach and of course this, uh, drones for Health program, which is gonna be game changing, right? Tell us how we can connect with you.

Olivier Dafawe (17:02):

Yeah, I’m two ways. There is personal where just go on LinkedIn, alleviate the fa and you’ll find me there. Or just go to Search Outsource Transport Resource Center. That’s a center that’s recently been launched, and this is really focusing on partnership between the private and the public sector bringing together. Um, and so if you are interested into how does it work and, um, experience about outsource outsourcing to the private sector, that’s a great, uh, great side to go. So outsource resource center,

Scott Luton (17:49):

Um, just Google that and you’ll find it. Appreciate your time and consideration of being here today, but thank you for what you’re doing to really make the world a much better place. Uh, so Tge and Olivier, great to have you here today. Thank you for having us here. You bet. My pleasure. All right, folks. So if we enjoy this conversation as much as I have, man, what a great start. Uh, but hey, check out all of our, uh, coverage from the Safe Fix annual conference 2023 at Supply Chain. Now, of course, wherever you get your podcast from, uh, don’t forget about products to people, and stay tuned for a lot more coverage. That comes everybody. Scott Luton with Supply Chain. Now I’m here with you at the Saex Annual Conference, 2023 in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. I’m joined for this episode with Kofi nme and Dominique z Winkles, both with people that delivered Kofi. How you doing?

Kofi Nyame (18:44):

Doing great. How are you doing,

Scott Luton (18:45):

Scott? Wonderful. Great to have you here today. And you’re joined by an old friend, kind of of supply chain now It’s Dominique’s Winkles. Do, uh, Dominique, how are you doing? I’m doing great, thank you. And we’re gonna fill you in on exactly why, uh, she’s part of the og uh, crowd at supply chain now. But I’m gonna start. So Kofi, you, uh, now serve as chair of people that deliver an organization we’re big fans of. Um, so tell us, uh, for a few handful of listeners that may not know out there, tell us about the organization’s mission.

Kofi Nyame (19:14):

Thank you, Scott. So, the people that deliver is all about people, and it’s all about delivery of logistics for the healthcare systems that we have, and the mission of people that deliver focuses on developing a competent workforce, developing a resource for workforce and a motivated workforce that would be available both in the public and private sector to ensure that the products that we have to provide healthcare are available. A lot of times we will look at the supply chain system from the perspective of providing the commodity, but who is behind it? Who is ensuring that the proper certification is done, the proper planning is done, the logistics are done, cetera, cetera. Whether it’s a doctor, whether is a pharmacist versus a logistician, they need to possess the requisite competencies mm-hmm. That are needed to be able to do it. So people that deliver sets out to convene, to coordinate and to advocate for proper professionalization of that service. Those who are in that role should have the proper competencies. The system must recognize them, the professional accord needs to be given to them. The organization needs to ensure that the positions are recognized and the positions are adequately resourced to be able to provide the services that are need

Scott Luton (20:34):

Coffee. That is a, that’s a huge mission, and it’s hugely critical to get to drive those health outcomes for every, for all parties, all shareholders. As you, uh, touched on earlier, and we’re gonna talk more about in a second. So Dominique, yes. I want you to follow up to that, uh, that, uh, noble mission that people that delivers on. What would you add? And then I’m gonna ask you about a major win here in a minute.

Dominique Zwinkels (20:55):

Okay. So, um, I would add that, so people that deliver, we are the global technical leader, uh, if in human resources for supply chain management for low and middle income countries. Um, and so as the global technical leader, we have developed a lot of, uh, very foundational, um, approaches, methodologies, resources, tools to help build that qualified and empowered supply chain workforce. Um, and I think the very, the, the, the one framework I wanna speak about right now is this supply chain management professionalization framework. It’s really the first, its kind, um, it aligns, um, basically a career pathway education and professional opportunities for, for those working for those professionals working in health supply chain management. Um, it’s a way for countries to start thinking about building that body of professionals in their country. And basically, I, um, I just, uh, came back from a, or I just came from Rwanda, where we had a meeting with the East African community, six countries. Yes. All of them have, um, basically signed a roadmap in which, in which they are basically saying they will professionalize the health supply chain management worker in their countries. Uh, and there therefore, you know, enacting legislation where there will become a standard in those countries. And that’s just, for me, that’s like the biggest win. That’s

Scott Luton (22:25):

Like the operationalization of the mission, right? That’s

Dominique Zwinkels (22:27):

Right. Exactly.

Scott Luton (22:28):

And you’re reading my mind, I was gonna ask you about, uh, the latest and greatest win that is a massive win, six countries. It’s

Dominique Zwinkels (22:34):

A massive win for us. Okay. Absolutely. But I have more wins. Okay,

Scott Luton (22:38):

Let me, well before you do, before you share another win, that’s great. Yeah. Uh, we’re all in this for the wins real outcomes, right? Real action, real outcomes. But this phrase, you, so when me and you and Greg White and Jenny Froom got together, it’s probably been two and two years, maybe two and a half years now, you shared this phrase, no product, no program, and it really stopped us in our tracks because I don’t know about you, Kofi, I’m a big fan of simplicity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? And if that phrase doesn’t simply put so many things the right way and, and get to why we do what we do, I’m not sure what does, you have to check your pulse if, if that doesn’t speak to you. So, but, but there’s more wins. There’s more wins. So if you had one more win you wanted to share, Dominique, before I go back to Cofi, what would that be?

Dominique Zwinkels (23:23):

Yeah, I just, I, I, I was thinking about this question whereby when I started almost eight years ago in 2016, right? Um, my second day I had a board meeting and basically I was tasked with figuring out a sunset strategy for people that deliver. And basically I said, no, <laugh> and I forged, forged. And now we’re eight years later. And I just want to say that, you know, I’ve been able to, um, sustain a global community that’s working together to really, uh, provide a recognition to this issue of, of the, the need to develop a qualified and empowered health supply chain workforce. Um, and so I just wanted to mention that. Like, I think that’s, for me a huge

Scott Luton (24:08):

Way fulfilling. It’s gratifying.

Dominique Zwinkels (24:09):

Yeah. It is gratifying. Yeah, exactly.

Scott Luton (24:11):

And to be able to work with people and professionals and leaders like Kofi. I wanna bring you back into the conversation, Kofi. Cause uh, I wanna quote something you shared as you were coming on as chair of people that deliver. You talked about, uh, how much of a priority you wanna, uh, put, um, a priority focus on developing closer ties with the private sector to build the human resource capacity to deliver health products and related services for better health outcomes. Correct. So there’s lots of different ways that, uh, lots of different things that go into making that happen. But if there’s one thing that you would point out that has to change, what would that be? Kofi,

Kofi Nyame (24:50):

You’re right, Scott. There’s a lot that can be done and a lot that should be done. One is too small, but yes. Let’s try and do one. I think the first thing that we need to really focus on is trust. How do we build trust between the public sector and the private sector? How do we ensure that the public sector can trust the private sector to play a role in their healthcare system? It is documented that about 75% of the population in lower and middle income countries actually seek private healthcare from the private sector. Public sector has the overall governance, overall responsibility to ensure that healthcare is delivered. However, if we want to build competent workforce, we need to learn from the private sector. The private sector needs to understand the public sector. But if we don’t trust the private sector, if we don’t have the regulatory system, the framework that allows us to work together, then we cannot necessarily benefit from what we, the private sector knows. And the private sector cannot also play their role as they should in there. And it’s not just about the pro provision of commodities, right? It’s also about provision of healthcare services. We need to be able to collaborate and work together. The one thing that we need to build on is building the trust in each other. The two systems needs to work together for the population to get the healthcare that they need. Mm.

Scott Luton (26:15):

I’m a big believer, you gotta look at the silver linings of the horrible pandemic we’ve all gotten through together, right? Mm-hmm. But we gotta, we gotta take those lessons learned to heart so it drives action and ultimately drives these outcomes that you both are speaking towards. Um, alright. So Dominique, yeah. What would you add to that? That the power of trust and, and you know, if you wanna maybe share your one thing that needs to happen and then we’ll make sure folks know how to connect with you both.

Dominique Zwinkels (26:40):

Yeah, so I was just gonna say that, um, we need to then build leadership capabilities. I mean, one of the goals of professionalization is building that talent pool of leaders that can lead this, these efforts in country. And, um, one of the programs that we are coordinating currently, it’s called the step 2.0 Strategic Training Executive Program. It’s in its second generation. Um, and we’re basically where we are using traditional learning with on-the-job training to really build skills and supply chain managers, um, when you think about communication, project management, um, you know, uh, problem solving, right? So it’s those soft skills that need to be developed, but all within, like leadership and change management. Yes. Um, and so I, I just feel like that’s something that we need to really dedicate a lot of resources to.

Scott Luton (27:32):

Yes, let’s professionalize the workforce, but make sure they’re equipped with the tools and know how to get stuff done. Yeah. Right?

Dominique Zwinkels (27:39):

Yeah,

Scott Luton (27:39):

Exactly. And to save lives, drive he better health outcomes and a lot more what a noble, incredibly noble and critical mission that people that deliver is part of. So let’s make sure folks that are listening at home and, and, and I thank you both for your time. I know this is a really brief conversation around a really, some really important topics, but we gotta start somewhere as we spread the awareness. So, uh, Kofi Nami, the new chair of people that deliver, I say new, but you’re probably, what, six months in now? Is that roughly, roughly, yes. Is that roughly?

Kofi Nyame (28:10):

Is it still new? Four,

Scott Luton (28:10):

Four months. So, so we can strike new, yeah.

Kofi Nyame (28:13):

New <laugh>. So how

Scott Luton (28:15):

Can folks connect with you? All the great things you’re doing?

Kofi Nyame (28:17):

Usual places. You can find me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn as, uh, COFI in, um, very happy to discuss, very happy to touch base and talk about how do we professionalize this space and ensure that we have the competent and motivated workforce to deliver the health outcomes that we need.

Scott Luton (28:34):

I love that coffee. I really love what you do there because you, you, you, you, you’ve said a critical word there several times, motivated workforce, right? They gotta not, not just, um, get a job, but get a good job that, that, that they want to jump outta bed and, and make things happen every day. We all need that. Don need that. All need that. All right. So Dominique Winkles part of the OG here at Supply Chain. Now’s so happy to

Dominique Zwinkels (28:58):

Hear that.

Scott Luton (28:59):

<laugh>, no product, no program. We’re gonna get t-shirts one day, but really appreciate what you’re, what all, all of your leadership here, both of you. So Dominique <affirmative>, how can folks connect with you, but and equally as important, how can they support what’s going on at people that deliver?

Dominique Zwinkels (29:15):

Yeah, so they first of all go to www dot people, dot people that deliver.org. That’s our website. Um, we also on Twitter and LinkedIn. So follow us on that because one of the things that people can do is really amplify our advocacy messaging. And that’s on LinkedIn and Twitter. And so if you can just amplify that, that’d be fantastic. All of our resources, technical materials are on our website. So using those to implement certain projects at country level, that’s also where we need a lot of help, um, organizations that are interested in joining our coalition. You know, we are always looking for new members, uh, that are willing to either financially support us, technically support us. Um, and then I think the last one is that last year we had, um, our very first conference, okay, the PTD Global in Daba. So the people that deliver global in Daba, uh, first conference in Africa focused on human resource for supply chain management for low and middle income countries. Were gonna have the second one in Thailand in March of 2024.

Scott Luton (30:20):

Wow.

Dominique Zwinkels (30:21):

Well, so, um, going global. Yes, going global. Um, last year we had, you know, over 250 participants from 40 countries, um, just showing how there’s still such an, uh, a need to discuss this, this, this area of work. Um, but also, you know, of course people are just so interested in networking and learning from each other. So

Scott Luton (30:41):

Networking and learning mm-hmm. <affirmative> and doing with a purpose. And that’s what I’m hearing here today. Yeah. Um, alright. Big thanks to you both again, Kofi nme. Thank you Scott. Wonderful to meet you. Great to have you here. Congrats on, uh, serving as chair of people that deliver what an organization. And Dominic Winkle’s, executive director with people that deliver. Great to see you finally in person. That’s right. And thank you for what you do as well. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Scott. You bet. All right. So folks, continue our coverage here at the Saex Annual Conference, 2023 in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Stay tuned for a lot more conversations just like this, that are gonna inspire you and, and hopefully cause you to, to jump in and take action. Support these critical organizations doing big things. Hey everybody. Scott Luton with Supply Chain. Now here at Safe Picks annual conference 2023 in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. I’m joined by a wonderful repeat guest that we had so much fun with last time. Azua kk, how are you doing Azua?

Azuka Okeke (31:45):

I’m fine. And thank you Scott, for having me here. You

Scott Luton (31:48):

Bet. We had such a great time. Yes. When you, you joined me and Jenny Froom, maybe Greg White may have been a part of that. I can’t remember, but I was about a year and some change ago if I had to guess. Yes,

Azuka Okeke (31:59):

Yes,

Scott Luton (31:59):

Yes. And you’ve continued to move mountains since, haven’t you?

Azuka Okeke (32:03):

It’s been a great journey, if I can say that. I don’t know about moving mountains, but it’s been great. Thank you.

Scott Luton (32:08):

Well, we’re gonna dive into some of that. Uh, and I wanna start with this. So you serve as CEO of the Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management. Tell us about the organization’s mission. Zuka,

Azuka Okeke (32:20):

Thank you. To make it easy for you, a e esm, because that’s a mouthful. Ah, okay. Alright. A esm. Um, we were set up in 2020 Yes. With the mission to be the leading resource platform, um, for, um, government in Nigeria to access supply chain expertise, financing, innovation, and, uh, whatever capabilities that are available in the ecosystem to make, um, health delivery work. That’s our mission.

Scott Luton (32:50):

So what out of all of that, and, and, and I really wish we had three or four hours a day. Next time we will, we’re gonna book it azua. But out of all of that, what’s one of your favorite aspects of that mission?

Azuka Okeke (33:02):

Oh, it has been a, a fantastic journey working with the Nigerian government because when we came on board, one thing that was lacking was, um, there was no real institution within the government to take on supply chain solutions. There was a lot of expectations from partners, though no agencies like usa, bmg F um, and, and Gavi for government to take on ownership, but there was no institution. So we prioritize building the institution within the health system that can operate wrong to adopt whatever policies or strategies that were required to move it to the point of impact. So one key policy change that we enabled the country to deliver was the, we call it the marriage ppp Okay. Marriage, public private partnership. Okay. And it’s really to strengthen relationship between the health government and local pharma. Ah, it was all to drive, uh, purchase of medicines, essential medicines, um, for the achievement of the universal health coverage goal.

Azuka Okeke (34:05):

It has been fantastic because to date, um, we have seen worked with four states in Nigeria. Okay. Um, and, um, and you can see approximately a state has done business with local manufacturers to 2 million a year. Yes. So if you can see that, um, 37 states in Nigeria, that’s a 74 million Wow. Business Okay. In a year. And for us is, uh, we are working with four states. We see that scale, and it’s been a fantastic journey. It has enabled pharma companies to, uh, last year they said it has increased their revenue by 5%. Okay. In profit, that’s 15 companies. So imagine the impact of that in Nigeria. So it’s, it’s big. It’s not about having the policies, is that the government institution can take it on and move it to the point of impact and the economic growth.

Scott Luton (34:51):

Yes. All right. So let me for what I heard there. Uh, so two, two big things. Number one, you, you, you mentioned on the front end of your response how government expected a lot from supply chain, but didn’t exactly know how it worked and couldn’t support it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and couldn’t understand it. So some of y’all’s work really impacted that to, um, to demystify chain management, which I love that. And then the second thing you touched on with big impact, you mentioned, um, uh, how there’s a bottom line impact and, and when we can make a bottom line impact, a lot of times we can drive great outcomes for, for more folks. Uh, but, but helping the healthcare system to connect and better understand the pharma side of the equation. Right. And getting them closer to being on the same side of the table. So again, we can more, we can find more efficiencies, drive bigger outcomes, and for the private side of companies, which you mentioned, drive bigger profits so we can, we can serve more folks. Right. Definitely. All right. So I want to keep going down this trend. So it, what else? Um, all of that is transformative Yeah. That you’ve shared. Is there anything else? Cause I know you’ve done this for quite some time. You, you’ve, you’ve, uh, been, been, you and your team have been involved in a lot of different projects. Any other supply chain transformation project in Nigeria or elsewhere comes to your mind that you really, you point at that and say, man, that’s exactly why I do what I do.

Azuka Okeke (36:15):

Thank you. Thank you. So, I mean, even for government to do business with pharma, because you need to look at the credibility of that. One of the things that we had to prioritize was that whole institutional approach. Mm. Having the right strategy. So when we came on board, the government had, um, just, uh, developed what they call the national health supply chain strategy, 2021 to 2025. But like so many African countries, it could become a book, a record or whatever on the table collecting dust. Mm. What we did was to help them, they called us to say, we wanna put this to life, but they didn’t know how to implement the strategy. Yeah.

Scott Luton (36:53):

Operationalize it.

Azuka Okeke (36:54):

Anyone can interpret a strategy anywhere they like. So what what we had to do was help them move into a model. So we developed, we helped the country develop a blueprint Yes. For the strategy. And that was what they were able to hand over to states to say, now you have a strategy. And the strategy said something every state, because Nigeria is like 37 STA countries. Yes. <laugh>, every state in Nigeria should set up a, an agency like a hub. Yes. That can run supply chain business. Health is business. So that’s the key in Nigeria. Move away from donor dependency Yes. And start generating income. So for me, that has been a significant, um, work that every other thing has layered on. We work with P T D for instance, they came up with the health, um, supply.

Scott Luton (37:47):

I’m sorry, that’s people that deliver just

Azuka Okeke (37:49):

To connect the dots. Right. People that deliver. Yes. Yes. I mean, they came up with this fantastic, um, framework for professionalization. You can’t run that framework or nothing, but because Nigeria has that strategy and there was a missing link, how do we professionalize? It was a clear way to just block that having a strategy is fundamental, but implementing strategy is the key. Mm. So being able to work with Nigeria to move from document to action Yes. With measurable impact. That is one thing we’ve done. And I can sleep tomorrow and say, <laugh>, it’s not all been talk. Oh, it’s been action

Scott Luton (38:29):

Zuka. I love it. And, and I love, I love you. Um, how you paint that picture. Yes. Because I bet anyone listening to this conversation or viewing a conversation, they can see the dust collecting on those old strategies. We build it, you put it away, but then you’ve got that big old gap between the strategy and to your point, what’s going on and how can we help people implement these great ideas and these well Beth laid plans. So I love that. Uh, and, and then one last thing you mentioned is how you worked and, and helped these 37 states across the country, the country of Nigeria, to really move, make, start to make that shift from donor dependency to generating revenue so they can really create some independence operationally and otherwise, right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, all right. I wish we had a lot more time. <laugh>, next time Azua. We’re gonna have to, uh, book six hours. <laugh>. Um, alright, let’s talk about strengthening the supply chain workforce. So this is gonna be a big theme, I think, of all of our conversations here at Safe PIX 2023. So when it comes to strengthening the supply chain workforce locally in Nigeria and, and elsewhere across, uh, the continent of Africa, what is one thing, I know there’s a lot more, but what’s one thing you’d like to call out that’s gotta be done?

Azuka Okeke (39:42):

It’s important to ask the question to government who is gonna do the work? Um, and then, um, if you say who will do the work, how will they do the work? How will we measure the impact? If you head on what, what has happened over time? Because we started health supply chain in Nigeria as an emergency solution humanitarian. Um, the PEPFAR funds the president emergency funds from Bush, uh, George, president George Bush in those days. But we continued in that way, just training workforce and not being clear. How does that fit into the grand scheme of things? Right. So one thing that we, we we emphasized to government was you tell us who we do the work, inaugurate them into a team, maybe don’t think unit, but after a while, move from team to unit after a while, begin to make sure that there is a clear organogram responsibility, job descriptions, so that you can be accountable for everything you do. So that must be done. Government must set up a clear team, inaugurate them and mandate them. So they’re not doing multiple things. You train someone, they move here, and you can’t hold on and you can’t hold them accountable. Yes. So accountability is key. Mm-hmm. Very important.

Scott Luton (40:59):

Accountability is incredibly important. You know, set it and then expect it. Yes. Right. Um, and yet, and the simple questions can be the most powerful ones who <laugh>.

Azuka Okeke (41:10):

Yeah. Who, and one of who’s gonna do this, one of the things we also said was not just tell me who we need a work plan. We need a budget, we need clear measurable. What are you, what are your objectives for the, this period of time? So that’s what we do in Nigeria or every state. Before we bring in any investment from any donor, you must show us who they must have it, what plan? They must have a budget. You the commissioner, must sign it and approve it. Your budget, you will fund it mm-hmm. <affirmative> so that you build that workforce on the premise that they are going somewhere. You say, in the next two years, you’re going to impact availability of medicines, you’re going to reduce wastage, you’re going to put in visibility systems. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we will hold your accountable. The training is an enabler. Sure. Not just train you from nothing. Right.

Scott Luton (41:54):

Well, plus people, all of us want to know what we’re working towards and the, and the greater plan. And, and we wanna know where we, everyone wants to know where they fit in.

Azuka Okeke (42:03):

Exactly.

Scott Luton (42:04):

It, it helps make the work more gratifying and more informed. And

Azuka Okeke (42:09):

It’s a journey.

Scott Luton (42:10):

Yes. Agreed. Mm-hmm. Um, all right. So let’s talk about, um, one thing if you look at, of the supply chain ecosystem across the continent of Africa, I think 46 countries mm-hmm. If I’ve got that right. Makeup, the country of Africa or the continent of Africa, A lot of folks, a lot of folks, just like in fact, we were talking about earlier today, you know, in the US there’s 50 states and each of those 50 states, like I’m from the state of Georgia, we’ve got like 3000 counties in the state of Georgia. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it feels like, and, and so the point there is it’s such a collection of all different types of people and customs and, and cultures and preferences and all that, all that stuff. Um, so when you think about the supply chain eco ecosystem across the continent of Africa, what’s one thing you wish more folks knew about it?

Azuka Okeke (43:01):

The actors in the supply chain ecosystem in Africa, there are, um, just like every other place, there are three key actors. Mm. And the important thing is because of the supply chain maturity in Africa, which in most countries is quite rudimentary. Mm. Um, you find that the actors define supply chain differently. So you have the public sector, you have the private sector players. Yeah. And then you have the academia. Most times we seem to ignore the role of the academia, the those that are to do the research and innovation. So when we started working, we realized that the three actors were speaking a totally different supply chain language, and we yet expect them to coerce. Mm. So one of the things that must be done is that clear understanding of the role of all the actors and the way they define supply chain. If you bring government to this swix, they’ll be totally lost.

Azuka Okeke (43:58):

Right. The way they define supply chain is about decision making stakeholders and the boom, they don’t do the logistics, they make decisions. So the logistics solutions here are what they’re supposed to outsource. Right? Right. Right. So if you are doing such an event, you must accommodate the different actors. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now they academia, they are completely oblivious of what is happening. <laugh>, I am telling you, I was shocked when I started engaging the ac. Number one, when we started working in Nigeria, there was no university in Nigeria. We had, um, up to 67 universities, not one providing supply chain master’s degree. Wow. Okay. And when I said, they said, what is supply chain? Mm. You think they know, they are not aware. But I’m glad that as Satna up to seven have masters. So it is that making sure everyone is carried along because supply chain is not just about the solutions we’re bringing to the table. Yes. The viability of the actors.

Scott Luton (44:59):

Yes. You know, I’m, I’m, I’m really, I dunno about you, but when I hear people brave enough to ask that question, what is supply chain? I am so glad, and I bet you are too, because once you understand that the gap in knowledge is out there, you can do something about it. Right. Um, and, and so whoever the brave individual was in those early conversations, what is this? You speak up supply chain, what is this? That’s, that’s, that’s a beautiful thing. Beautiful part of the, the dialogue. Um, all right. So let’s talk about, um, I know con we’re early on in conference, right? This is like day two. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> depends on how you, how you categorize Sunday. So what is one of the most inspiring moments? One of the most inspiring things you’ve heard here thus far at Saex 23?

Azuka Okeke (45:44):

I joined the session yesterday. Um, it was about design thinking. I was like, okay, I keep hearing this very, uh, you know, these buzz words, cool words. I’m like, so that when I go back, I’ll start using it design thinking. So I joined the session and, um, and they were trying to define it, but one thing that caught my attention, um, the presenta presenter said, design thinking is for wicked problems. It’s not for every problem in your company, right? Um, um, pro business problems you solve with business solutions, your strategies, but design thinking is for wicked problems. And I’m like, what’s wicked problems? He said, there are problems that are multidimensional that you need to actually overhaul, and you are focusing on the client, you know, and that means that you need to really rethink your strategy. And he doesn’t have one solution because he’s not one problem, like trying to tackle poverty, trying to tackle health. Mm-hmm. So I realized I was in a weaker problem situation. I didn’t know that <laugh> cause health, really, you can do so much. I mean, if you can imagine the investment, yes. According to countries like Nigeria and Africa as a whole, yet we’re still, it’s as if we’re not meeting the, um, sustainable development goals. So really it helped, it gave me clarity that it is really a wicked problem. We’re trying to solve some,

Scott Luton (47:06):

A wicked problem we’re trying to solve.

Azuka Okeke (47:09):

Goodness gracious. We need design thinking. <laugh>. Yeah.

Scott Luton (47:11):

<laugh>. Yes. All right. So Azua, yes. I really appreciate and admire all that you do. Uh, I, it’s great to finally meet you in person for the first time since your last appearance with us, how can more folks connect with you and the, um, I know you gave me an acronym, but I’m, I’m gonna read

Azuka Okeke (47:29):

Esm.

Scott Luton (47:29):

Yeah. So ARC ESM is how y’all refer to Yes. The Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management. How can folks connect with you and learn more about that?

Azuka Okeke (47:39):

The easiest way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn at zuki A N O K K. So, um, um, and then on Twitter, the same handle, Zuki, n o, um, she can just get Zuki, Z U K Y. Okay. N as in nurse. Yeah. And then O k K O k e K E at Zuki. N O K K. She just connect with me there, then we’re on. Yes,

Scott Luton (48:04):

<laugh>, then we’re on and off to the races. I love that. Azua, I really appreciate, you know, uh, I appreciate your action as, as eloquent, uh, as your brilliance is. I love your action, and, and it’s great to connect with you here today and share some of that with our global audience and supply chain now. Thank you. So thanks so much. Thank you

Azuka Okeke (48:22):

So much, and glad to have.

Scott Luton (48:23):

You bet. All right. So folks, hopefully you enjoyed this conversation as much as I have with azua, O K K. Make sure you connect and follow her via LinkedIn and Twitter, and I promise you, you will. Uh, you’ll be missing out if you don’t. But whatever you do, it’s about deeds, not words. Be like Azua, do something about these wicked problems that she, uh, talked about here today. We all have them, uh, but it’s all about what we do, we’re doing about ’em. But whatever you do, uh, stay tuned as we continue our coverage of Saex 2023 here in lovely Cape Town, South Africa, uh, Scott Luden challenging. You do good. Give forward and be the change. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Apache now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (49:04):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our programming@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.

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Featured Guests

Tiwonge Mkandawire is the Supply Chain Global Technical Team Lead for VillageReach. She works on Last Mile Supply Chain systems strengthening with a focus community health systems strengthening. Tiwonge has over 14 years’ experience in healthcare supply chain and pharmaceutical strengthening and management in Africa. Her core areas of expertise include supply chain strategy and leadership development, supply chain workforce assessments and development, strategic partnerships and sustainable governance. Prior to joining VillageReach, Tiwonge spent five years with USAID South Africa as a Supply Chain Specialist and later Health Systems Strengthening Team Lead from 2016 to 2021. In these roles, she provided strategic, technical, administrative and financial directions for the USAID’s Supply Chain portfolio. She led USAID’s Health Systems Strengthening team in the PEPFAR interagency as well as coordination with the South African National Department of Health, Global Fund and other stakeholders. Tiwonge held various roles focused on Monitoring and Evaluation, Leadership Development and Government under the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) and Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) programs under Management Sciences for Health. Tiwonge holds a Master of Public Health. Master of Science; Pharmacy and a Bachelor of Pharmacy Rhodes University. Connect with Tiwonge on LinkedIn.

Olivier Dafawe Ph. D. is the Director, Private Sector Engagement Partnerships Lead; Drones for Health solution Lead; Founder & Facilitator, UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group for Village Reach.  Olivier has extensive experience designing and implementing programs to improve health care delivery at the last mile, with a particular focus on immunization supply chains. With a PhD in biomedical sciences and five years of experience with the HIV Vaccine Trial Network, his programmatic expertise is paired with a scientific understanding of vaccine development that would position him well for coordination between different COVAX pillar technical working groups and sub-groups. As Director of Health Systems at VillageReach, Olivier has led supply chain design exercises in five countries, working closely with ministries of health and local partners. He founded the UAV for Payload Delivery Working Group in 2016. In addition, Olivier brings a civil society perspective to Gavi’s Immunization Supply Chain Steering Committee (iSC2). Connect with Olivier on LinkedIn. 

Dominique Zwinkels is the Executive Manager of the People that Deliver Initiative (PtD). She is an international development professional with 23 years of experience in managing programs with a focus on health supply chain management, livelihood, food security and nutrition. Since 2016 Dominique has been responsible for the management and overall performance of PtD, a broad coalition of governments and international, regional and national organizations working together to raise the profile of the health supply chain workforce as a key strategic area of health systems. Prior to PtD she worked for ten years on the HIV/AIDS supply chain for John Snow International (JSI) at the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), which procured and delivered essential lifesaving medicines and related commodities to HIV/AIDS programs around the world.

Dominique also has experience working with multilateral development agencies; the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. She has both an MBA in International Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Dutch. As a native of The Netherlands and having lived in Latin America (Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela) and Washington, DC, she is now based at UNICEF Supply Division.

Mr. Francis Aboagye-Nyame aka Kofi Nyame is the Program Director of the $169 million Medicines, Technologies and Pharmaceutical Services Program (MTaPS), a five-year USAID funded contract for strengthening pharmaceutical systems in low- and middle-income countries’ (LMICs), implemented by a consortium of partners led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH). In this role, he provides strategic vision and leadership, and collaborates closely with USAID, country governments, implementing agencies, and partners on pharmaceutical systems strengthening activities, to meet the goals of the program. He is also a member of the Leadership Team of MSH. Previously, he was the Program Director of the USAID funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program and guided the $244 million program’s efforts to strengthen pharmaceutical systems by providing direction to 350+ multi-disciplinary technical and managerial staff worldwide. A thought leader on pharmaceutical management with over 25 years of experience, he has specialized expertise in health and PSS, in particular, quality assurance, pharmaceutical financing, capacity building, leadership and organizational development, regulatory affairs, medicines policy, strategic planning, and M&E. Previously, he held senior leadership and management positions on the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS), Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) Project, and RPM Plus programs, including Technical Deputy Director and then Program Director of the $229 million SPS program. During his time with SCMS, he provided support and oversaw project implementation in Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, and Tanzania. On the RPM Plus program, he served as the project lead on Namibia’s pharmaceutical sector strengthening project under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.Mr. Aboagye-Nyame has direct knowledge of country challenges—prior to joining MSH, he spent over 10 years with Ghana’s MOH, serving as a Deputy Program Manager of the Ghana National Drugs Program that sought to promote rational drug use, strengthen quality assurance of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical systems, improve the financing of drugs, and improve systems for procurement, storage, and distribution of drugs, and as Head of the MOH Procurement Unit, where he oversaw the institutionalization of the ministry’s procurement management system and was responsible for managing the procurement of goods, works and services for the Ghana Ministry of Health. Mr. Aboagye-Nyame is a pharmacist who holds an MSc. in Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control and an MBA in Finance. He is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, a fellow of the West Africa Postgraduate college of Pharmacists and a fellow of the Ghana College of Pharmacists. He has a passion for music, web design and development. Connect with Kofi on LinkedIn. 

Azuka Okeke is the Chief Executive Officer of ARC_ESC. She oversees supply chain transformation projects in Nigeria and has also supported other African countries in strengthening their health systems. She is best known for her expertise in engaging governments and development partners, supporting them to prioritize and invest in health supply chain programmes in Africa. Her work has improved financial investments by the Federal and State governments in Nigeria and co-investments worth over $8,000,000 (Eight Million US Dollars) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, and GAVI. Azuka is well known for the role she plays as a Thought Partner and Advisor to National Ministries of Health in Africa. Beyond government engagements, she has successfully facilitated Public-Private Partnerships for innovative health financing through platforms such as the World Economic Forum and recently ARC. Currently, she has pioneered the set-up of a first of its kind Membership Platform for the private sector in Nigeria through which private corporates and individual experts have contributed about $700,000 (Seven Hundred Thousand US Dollars) to public health programmes within the past four years. Her ambition is to provide governments and partners with a pragmatic framework for sustainability and country ownership for supply chain delivery. Her most recent aspiration is in advocating for human capital development in Africa and championing a collaboration with MIT Boston, Zaragoza Logistics Centre, Spain, and six local universities in Nigeria to set-up a Pan-African Centre of Excellence for Supply Chain Management. Azuka is extraordinarily talented in coordinating and managing high performing teams to deliver quality sustainable programmes and is a proud Canon Collins Scholarship recipient (2011- 2013); Commonwealth Scholar (2013); and member of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacist. She has served as a Board of Director for ARC in South Africa and is now an Executive Director for ARC_ESC. She also serves at the global level as a Programme Committee Member for the Global Health Supply Chain Summit. Connect with Azuka on LinkedIn.

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Founder, CEO, & Host

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Amanda Luton

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.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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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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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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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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Tyler Ward

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!

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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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Greg White

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.

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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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