Supply Chain Now
Episode 1225

Human resources is the core backbone of every activity we do. Strengthening the public health supply chain requires qualified human resources. One of our roles is to ensure that these colleagues that are working in the public health supply chain have the right skills to perform their duties in an efficient way.

-Alvaro Lopes

Episode Summary

Between them, Alvaro Lopes and Scott Dubin have almost 40 years of experience managing projects that involve complex logistical considerations and nuances.

Lopes is a Private Sector Engagement Program & Solution support lead with VillageReach, a non-profit global health innovator that builds responsive primary healthcare systems that deliver health products and services to the most-under-reached. Dubin, meanwhile, serves as a Supply Chain, Private Sector Engagement Advisor with The Global Fund, one of the largest financiers of public health projects in the world.

In this episode of Supply Chain Now, as part of the Supply Chain Leadership Across Africa series, the duo reflect on the variables and challenges that define their workloads on a daily basis – as you can imagine, they encounter a tremendous variety of scenarios and stakeholders from many corners of the world.

During the conversation, Lopes and Dubin touch on several specific topics. This includes:

  • Coordinating public and private sector stakeholders to ensure health products reach everyone.
  • The importance of human resources and plugging gaps in countries’ supply chain expertise.
  • The role of logistics outsourcing in the public health sphere.
  • What partners can do (government, private, donors, and implementing partners) to make outsourced logistics successful in Africa

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, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Kevin, how you doing?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:42):

Hey, man. I’m trying to get into the spirit. OK. We were out doing some decorating and it’s getting cold and I don’t like cold but, you know, you got to deal with it.

Scott Luton (00:55):

That’s right. It’s part of getting into the holiday spirit. As you mentioned, great food, interesting weather sometimes, but decorations, family, friends, kindred spirits, all that’s part of it. Speaking of, Kevin, we’ve got — speaking of kindred spirits, we’ve got some great friends back with us here today, because on today’s episode we’re continuing our popular supply chain leadership across Africa series.

 

Scott Luton (01:19):

Now, Kevin, as you may know, we’ve been conducting this series for several years now, focused on the innovation, brilliance, and leadership that can be found throughout the 54 countries across the continent of Africa. And we’re pleased today to conduct our episode in partnership, as I mentioned, our friends are back with us, VillageReach a powerful nonprofit that is transforming healthcare delivery to reach everyone. In fact, their critical work enables access to quality healthcare. Kevin, get this, 70 million people.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (01:49):

Wow

 

Scott Luton (01:49):

Folks, you can — wow, is right. You can learn more at villagereach.org. And then one other thing, Kevin, I want to get your take here. Outstanding show. We’re going to be focusing more on how the private sector is currently providing logistics resources and support really across Africa and opportunities that are — that lie ahead. So, Kevin should be a great discussion, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (02:11):

Right. Absolutely. The thing that I’m really impressed is across the entire continent is the innovation from a technology point of view, they’re really leapfrogging the rest of the world. And I’m really excited to learn more about VillageReach and how they are delivering healthcare across the entire —

Scott Luton (02:35):

That’s right. I am, too. And of course, with great partners like The Global Fund. So, that — on that note, let me go ahead and introduce our two panelists, rock and roll stars here today, up first Alvaro Lopes who leverages more than 18 years of supply chain and leadership experience in the private and NGO sectors, including at companies such as Unilever. All to do big things at VillageReach, where he serves as private sector engagement program and solution support lead. And he celebrates 10 years at VillageReach come April, 2024. Welcome, Alvaro, and congratulations, my friend.

Alvaro Lopes (03:13):

Thank you. Thank you so much, Scott. That was briefly my C.V. Day. Thank you.

Scott Luton (03:21):

Well, great to have you here, and can’t wait to pick your brain and learn a lot more about the cool things, the important things you’re doing there. So, Alvaro, you’ve also brought great friends, doing big things in the industry along with the VillageReach team. Scott Dubin brings more than 20 years of experience to the table with tons of focus and expertise in logistics, in particular. He currently serves as a supply chain private sector engagement advisor with the Global Fund. Scott, welcome.

Scott Dubin (03:48):

Thank you. Great to join you, Scott and Kevin, as well as Alvaro.

Scott Luton (03:52):

Absolutely. I — we’ve got a great story to share today and some really important topics. So, welcome to you both Alvaro and Scott. So, Kevin, where we want to start with our two guests is we want to get to know him a little better. We’ve done a little homework, we’ve done a little snooping, gathering some market intel, Kevin.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (04:07):

Yes.

 

Scott Luton (04:07):

And what we understand, Alvaro, we’ll start with you, is you’ve got quite a passion for farming and raising animals. So, tell us more about that.

Alvaro Lopes (04:16):

Interesting. Yes, I was born in a countryside of Mozambique. So, my family, my mother, she farmed a little bit of animals inside the side of our house, like, in the yards. So, grew up with me saying that one day I need to really grow my own animals where I can also look at the health side of growing them so I can have health meat in my table.

Scott Luton (04:45):

So, what — Alvaro, what is — what was one of your favorite animals, I guess, to raise there in the countryside of Mozambique?

Alvaro Lopes (04:55):

Well, I love growing pigs, especially because when they give birth, it’s like 12 of them. So, it’s a —

 

Kevin L. Jackson (05:06):

Wow.

 

Alvaro Lopes (05:06):

Yes, it’s a —

 

Scott Luton (05:07):

Package deal.

 

Alvaro Lopes (05:08):

— high productive.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

Alvaro Lopes (05:11):

It’s a win-win. I feed them and they feed me, so it’s a win-win.

Scott Luton (05:15):

That’s great. Such as life is. I love that. Well, Kevin, that kind of takes me to —

 

Kevin L. Jackson (05:19):

It’s that circle of life.

 

Scott Luton (05:20):

Yes, yes. You beat me to it, Kevin. And I’m just going to ask before I move over to Scott. Kevin, have you ever tried your hand at farming or raising any animals?

Kevin L. Jackson (05:28):

No, but my uncle actually raised pigs.

 

Scott Luton (05:32):

OK.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (05:32):

I lived up in New Jersey and I used to visit him. They’re not — the only reason I visited him because he would pick a pig and put it in a big pit and cook it for celebrations. That was some of the best spoon.

Scott Luton (05:44):

That sounds — we’re going to have to get Alvaro and maybe your uncle, Kevin, to swap some recipes and get back to us so we can maybe try them all out together.

Kevin L. Jackson (05:53):

Yes, that would be fun.

Scott Luton (05:55):

Alvaro, thank you for sharing.

Kevin L. Jackson (05:56):

I’m always in when it’s food.

Scott Luton (05:58):

Right. Me and you both, Kevin. Me and you both. And Alvaro, as I mentioned, we’ll also maybe next time you come with us, bring — you need to bring some of those farming best practices because I am awful at it, but we’ll save that for, maybe, our next conversation.

 

Scott Luton (06:11):

Scott, I got a special question for you as well. Kevin and I both have daughters like you do. I’m curious, Scott, what is one of your favorite activities to do when you get a chance to spend some time with your daughters?

Scott Dubin (06:25):

Yes, great question. I’m actually traveling for work at the moment and it is always tough to be away from them. And so, I think about the things that we will be able to do when I get home, but always — it’s exciting to be in situations with your kids when they have oh wow moments and as they experience their things. And one of the big ones since we moved to Switzerland, where we’re now based, is we found a theme park called the Europa-Park, which just located in Germany and it’s one of Europe’s largest theme parks. So, it’s very similar to Disney in terms of its size and the style of it. It’s quite amazing.

 

Scott Dubin (06:56):

And so, we went when we first moved and my kids at the time were two and four, and I thought we were just going to go maybe once a year and it turned into five times a year, after that we’ve been doing for the last three years.

 

Scott Dubin (07:08):

So pretty much 15 times we’ve been there. And for those of us who maybe grew up in the States and at Disney World, I don’t think we went that often in our entire life. So, they get to go all the time. But interestingly, they have that kind of, oh wow, look every time. And as they grow taller, they can do more things and appreciate different types of rides and shows and whatnot. So, really every time we go, it’s a fun experience to see them enjoy themselves. So, I would recommend if you’re coming through Europe and near Germany to make your way to Europa-Park.

Scott Luton (07:40):

Europa-Park.

 

Scott Dubin (07:41):

Yes.

 

Scott Luton (07:41):

We’re going to add that to our list. Kevin, quick question, are you a thrill rod enthusiast, because Scott mentioned those theme parks?

Kevin L. Jackson (07:50):

You know, I actually do enjoy the rollercoasters. And you always — now you want to go and look at the tallest ones, these big metal monstrosities, but the scariest one I’ve ever ridden was like old wooden rollercoaster on a beach down near Virginia Beach. And those old ones are rickety and they saying you feel like you’re going to die around every corner.

Scott Luton (08:19):

What is fun about that Scott, Alvaro and Kevin? What is fun about that? I used to love those throw rides earlier, but not nearly as much later in life. So — and, Scott, you shaking your head.

Scott Dubin (08:30):

Yes, I know. I hold the backpacks on my way —

Kevin L. Jackson (08:34):

You hold the backpacks.

Scott Dubin (08:35):

Rollercoaster is — the problem is the little one I was getting big enough where she also wants to go. So there’s an odd number and occasionally get forced to join in on what would not be considered a large rollercoaster by Kevin standards. But even for me, the sort of intermediate rollercoaster is still a bit much. But sometimes I get forced on that and then I need about 20 minutes of recovery, need to get my bearings again. I normally take a pass as I can.

Kevin L. Jackson (09:00):

Just as an aside, it’s my daughter that grabs me to take me on the rollercoasters.

Scott Luton (09:06):

It comes full circle.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (09:07):

So, watch out. It’s coming.

Scott Dubin (09:07):

Exactly. Exactly. I need to start practicing.

Scott Luton (09:11):

Well, we got to get the work folks. Really, Alvaro and Scott good to get to know you a little bit better here, but we’ve got a lot of important stuff to walk through. And I want to keep adding some context to the conversation. Kevin and I both do. And so, Alvaro, for the folks out there that may be unfamiliar with VillageReach, if you would, Alvaro, tell us about what the organization does and your role there.

Alvaro Lopes (09:31):

Thank you for the question. So, VillageReach is nonprofit organization funded in 2000. Primarily focus was to work with the government to strengthen the supply chain of EPI. EPI is a vaccination program that each country implements over diseases that have preventive vaccines. And then we grew up into the entire supply chain of medicines, including medical products. We also started working in the area of data collection and data management improvements all related to, as you put in the beginning, to transform healthcare delivery to reach everyone.

 

Alvaro Lopes (10:24):

And we’ve been quite successful in the countries where we operate. We have projects in the supply chain field, we have projects in the technology area, we have our own platform to capture vaccinations at the health facility. But all this has been co-product with the government where we operate, with the mindset of at the end, once the solution is tested, proved, scaled, we should transition it to the government for them to be on managers of their own solutions. Yes, yes.

Scott Luton (11:07):

And, Alvaro, tell us about — so, I admire that mission. You know, we’ve been fortunate to rub elbows with folks from VillageReach in the earlier shows and programming. And the outcome — the sheer outcomes we talked about, 70 million folks depending on a lot of what you all do so they can have healthcare. Tell us, with you being such a supply chain practitioner, that’s got to be a wonderful thing for a group like VillageReach to leverage. What do you do in your role there?

Alvaro Lopes (11:31):

So, I’ve played many roles in the organization. So recently I got this role of private sector engagement program, a solution support lead. So, we have a — in different countries we operate, we have a lot of solutions that are private sector centric. Like I was saying, we have supply chain solution in Mozambique which uses private sector transporters. We have a health center by phone which uses MNOs. So, different programs in different countries, there are private sector centric.

 

Alvaro Lopes (12:05):

So, my role is to ensure that all these programs have its own private sector engagement strategy and at the same time the integrated book plan. And to ensure that all these programs and private sector entities that are liaising to support the Ministry of Health have tools, contracts, service level agreements, all the necessary tools to be able to deliver the quality solution to the healthcare systems in the countries we operate.

Scott Luton (12:37):

Man, what a noble mission. Before I shift over to Scott and learn more about the global fund, Kevin, quick comment there on what Alvaro was sharing.

Kevin L. Jackson (12:44):

Well, I really appreciate the way they are approaching this in a scalable manner. Something that you can learn, improve and basically expand across the entire continent in order to provide this real valuable resource. I like the thought process.

Scott Luton (13:06):

Right, I’m with you. And as Alvaro was describing, I can only imagine all the coordination that’s got to take place across the ecosystem to get all the partners together as we build meaningful sustainable programs to help those out there get access to healthcare amongst other things.

 

Scott Luton (13:22):

So — all right. So. Scott Dubin, tell us —

Kevin L. Jackson (13:25):

Yes, it’s so difficult across the continent.

Scott Luton (13:27):

Right. Oh, yes —

 

Kevin L. Jackson (13:29):

Absolutely.

 

Scott Luton (13:31):

Yes, yes, yes. And to that point, there’s something that’s coming up in a lot of these shows as we focus on supply chain leadership across Africa. There’s a lot of folks around the world, they think of Africa and they think of one country, but there’s 54 countries with all sorts of different rules and governments and needs and that is really important that’s shared out there and we have these conversations with that context.

 

Scott Luton (13:52):

So, Scott, Scott Dubin, tell us about the Global Fund, what it does, and your role there.

Scott Dubin (13:57):

Yes, absolutely. And the Global Fund is likely not familiar to most, even my own family. I’d have to explain to them where I work when I joined, and it wouldn’t have been the first time. But the Global Fund is one of the largest financiers of public health projects in the world. The focus at the Global fund is on HIV, malaria and TB. And it was started in 2002, so a little over 20 years. Just to give a sense of the scale, it operates in 140 countries.

 

Scott Dubin (14:26):

And when I say, operate, in terms of we provide funding into 140 countries, but we do not have offices on the ground. We have roughly $4 billion of spend per year and that’s broken down into $2 billion of health products. And we have technical assistance, as well as about $150 million of that would be in terms of logistics services for products that are procured by the Global Fund for our partners, which are governments.

 

Scott Dubin (14:53):

We typically are a country led organization. The money goes to what we call principal recipients, which are essentially are implementers and often those principal recipients are governments or disease focused agencies within the governments. And about 70% of the $4 billion a year that I mentioned would be spent in Africa.

Scott Luton (15:12):

  1. Wow. The scale of that, I can only imagine the impact you all are making. And again, that just adds — I told you all, to our listeners out there, a lot of kindred spirits here. And gosh, between Alvaro and Scott and their organizations, they’re changing lives, saving lives and making for a much brighter future. And that’s some of the great news that we can find and have found time and time again across the continent of Africa. To Kevin’s point, because of all the innovation that — and the talent and the know-how.

 

Scott Luton (15:43):

So — all right. So, let’s shift gears. Kevin, I want — I think we want to —

 

Kevin L. Jackson (15:47):

I think it’s —

 

Scott Luton (15:47):

— talk more about the private sector and what they’re doing, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (15:50):

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s important to note though that the continent has, like, 1.4 billion people. I mean — and that’s like almost 18% of the entire world’s total population. So, it’s really important to have this type of engagement between the public sector and the private sector.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (16:14):

So, Scott — I mean, could you maybe expand a little bit on how the private sector is being engaged across the continent to provide this in-country supply chain logistics? I mean, there are so many borders across the continent, and the different currencies, and different laws. This could — just customs alone could be a nightmare.

Scott Dubin (16:42):

Yes, it is a very complicated environment to work in. And I think what we see, especially referring to the public health side of the logistics where we operate, and VillageReach as well, is that there tends to be a lot more arts than science and some of the work that we do compared to those who are operating in the Europe and the U.S. and so on. We certainly could use more science than we currently have. But there is an art to it because of the level of complexity that you don’t have at other places. The uncertainty of things, the lack of consistency with certain things.

 

Scott Dubin (17:14):

Yes, the constraints and variables are quite significant, but also what makes it an enjoyable sector to work in. But the private sector is one — is — has been supporting the work of public health supply chains, you know, for a number of decades and that has continued over time. And the support coming to the public health sector is a result of the private sector being engaged in other industries within Africa and establishing infrastructure.

 

Scott Dubin (17:44):

And so, we tend to heavily rely on warehousing and distribution services from the private sector. But beyond that, I mean, the private sector has invested in Africa in terms of infrastructure. So, we also benefit from ports, seaports and airports that have been developed by the private sector. The technology and innovation which is brought in from the private sector. We have seen real significant improvements in management information systems that are established even within the government sector, government warehousing and so on. We utilize the private sector for capacity building and training and utilize the technology and innovation that comes from the private sector.

 

Scott Dubin (18:23):

I had spent time on a project that I led in Malawi, utilizing the drones from the private sector to deliver cargo and collect lab samples in Malawi. And so, there’s ways the private sector has really benefited the work that we’ve done beyond just the warehousing and distribution, which we typically talked about within our sector. But there’s many other areas where investment and know-how technology has really benefited the work that we all do and that the governments need to support their public health supply chains.

Kevin L. Jackson (18:53):

Wow. That’s amazing that the private sectors jumped in so much. Alvaro, why is this such a need for leveraging these private sector services to strengthen the supply chain? Where are the governments in it?

Alvaro Lopes (19:10):

Thank you, Kevin. I think it’s a matter of doing what you are best positioning to do. So, Minister of Health are best positioned to take care of the patients [phonetic]. Meanwhile, supply chain should be left to the private sector because they possess significant expertise and resources that can be utilized to strengthen public health supply chains. If we leverage these attributes, we cannot only (INAUDIBLE) the efficiency and effectiveness of the supply chains, but also unlock and up donor funding, hereby increasing private sector revenue. This is the other angle of all this.

 

Alvaro Lopes (19:51):

Additionally, we can consider that this is an opportunity for the private sector to actually contribute to the wellbeing of their customers, because if they support the public health supply chain, these are their customers. So, they’ll be seen as their brand being one of the contributors to the health wellbeing of the people that they serve.

Kevin L. Jackson (20:18):

Sounds like a symbiotic partnership.

Alvaro Lopes (20:21):

Exactly.

Scott Luton (20:22):

I like that word, symbiotic, Kevin. Symbiosis, I think, is one of the versions. It brings serenity to my mind. Hey, Alvaro, I want to touch on two quick follow-ups. Would you agree in other conversations I’ve had, whether it was there in Cape Town when I visited back in June, when the conversations there at conferences or a lot of these shows across Africa, across all the countries, we’re still developing and building the workforce, the professional workforce when it comes to the supply chain management space. Do you see that as that work continues, that’s one more reason why we’ve got to leverage the private sector services and leverage more private sector services to meet the need and continue building out the capacity which Scott mentioned. Do you see all that tied together, Alvaro?

Alvaro Lopes (21:11):

Yes, definitely. I mean, human resources is the core backbone of every activities we do. To strengthen this public health supply chain, it requires a qualified human resources. And this is one of the roles of the tied [phonetic] partners, is to actually ensure that these folks, these colleagues that are working in the public health supply chain have the right skills to perform their duties on their efficient way.

Scott Luton (21:43):

Well said, Alvaro. The human factor is still alive and well even in this highly technology driven business world we’re in. And of course we can’t develop workforce overnight. It’s going to take time and that’s why we need more. It’s impressive.

 

Scott Luton (21:58):

Scott, as you were kind of laying out all the different ways of private sector is involved, but we still need more. I’m going to give you — before I move over to the evolution of logistics outsourcing. Scott, do you want to comment there on any of those topics workforce? How that ties into what the private sectors do? Any quick comment before I move forward?

Scott Dubin (22:15):

Yes, I would say that for the private sector and supply chain, it’s where a lot of the expertise are held. As Alvaro pointed out. The core competency of governments and ministries of health who we engage isn’t really running warehousing and distribution. It is a challenge for them. They don’t have the bandwidth, the expertise available to them to operate, typically operate — I don’t want to pay with the broad brush, but typically operate the level that the private sector would be able to. And it’s just not — it’s an under-invested area within governments.

 

Alvaro Lopes (22:46):

And as the, what we call programmatic needs, the needs — the health needs of a country evolve quickly. The supply chain which will support that public health, those public health needs doesn’t often move with as much speeds and can’t keep up with the needs. And so, you see a gap there. And so, often we are trying to either solve that gap through technical assistance and for governments to improve their operations, which always struggle with the HR component of it. Finding the right people, training them and having the right resources available to them, separate from having the systems and processes in place. And working towards making a shift towards the private sector. And working with governments to see the benefits and to be able to engage with the private sector as needed to obtain their services.

Scott Luton (23:30):

Wonderful. And we’re going to talk about all the — for some of these next steps, both — all of you are talking about. We’re going to talk about some things that’s got to happen in the conversation in just a moment.

 

Scott Luton (23:39):

Kevin. All right. Really quick, one of your favorite topics to talk about before I talk evolution with Scott and Alvaro. The human component, it’s tough to — it’s impossible, maybe, to digitally transform without the human factor, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (23:54):

Yes, I think, the humans are always critical in any process. And as we leverage more and more technology, it’s all about being able to have humans work seamlessly with the technology. I mean one of the newest terms is cobot, right? Where you have robots and humans working together to jointly accomplish goals. And this is across every industry, especially in healthcare like the da Vinci robot where you have the doctor during non-invasive surgery, leveraging all this advanced technology. So, when you’re leading this type of initiatives, you need to have leverage both sides.

Scott Luton (24:45):

It’s remarkable. Remarkable the speed of the pace of the innovations across technology that’s taking place right now. And who knows, we may have to get one of those cobots to pitch for my Atlanta Braves. We’re having a hard time finding a good pitcher these days, but hey, all in due time.

 

Scott Luton (25:02):

All right. So, Scott and Alvaro, I want to shift gears. I want to talk about the evolution of what you see that when it comes to the evolution of logistics outsourcing as we, you know, in the future and as we can hopefully grow that capacity and help more folks. Scott, how do you see that evolution playing out?

Scott Dubin (25:18):

Yes, it’s a great question because I would take it with — from two sides. One in terms of the users of the private sector and then the providers themselves. And we often are supporting users which are the governments, the ministries of health. As Alvaro was mentioning, we’re talking about their capacity to run their own supply chains and it really isn’t their core competency. But we see there can be hesitancies to move towards the private sector. And there’s a number of reasons for this and there’s — these are things that we need to address. And how we see it happening in the future, is more and more the work that is being done by governments in regards to supply chain would transfer over to the private sector.

 

Scott Dubin (26:00):

But for that to happen, I think in the future we’re seeing the users of it better understand their own needs, right? This has been a challenge for what maybe is taken for granted in some places in terms of just knowing your performance of your own supply chain, the cost of your own supply chain.

 

Scott Dubin (26:15):

And if you don’t have that kind of basic information, it’s very hard to look at an outsourcing option. Say it’s a good way to go because you can’t say how much money you’ll save or what better performance you will receive. And if you are not set up to contract with the private sector, then there’s a hesitancy to do that.

 

Scott Dubin (26:33):

So, I see in the future we have to be able to improve the ability to contract and manage those contracts. But again, governments are different than, you know, private organizations when it comes to outsourcing their logistics. They have limited level of expert and technical know-how. So, I see in the future that the level of effort and the technical know-how are required to engage with providers will decrease. And for those who maybe aren’t familiar with Africa, and it’s not to paint it with the broad brush, but the services received and the level of sophistication of the private sector in terms of logistics providers varies quite a bit. And as a result, it can take quite a bit to engage with them and be a customer for their services.

 

Scott Dubin (27:16):

And we see the future where just more delivery points are being required. So, in the public health space you may have been limited to deliveries to health facilities, which in some countries number in the thousands of health facilities. It’s quite a large feat to deliver it all health facilities. But on top of that we have started to look at making it more patient-centric and having deliveries to more locations that are convenient to them. So, whether it be to stores in their area or even their homes or to pharmacies that they’re accessing anyway that they don’t have to go to the health facility. That increases the number of delivery points. And so, it changes what the future will look like in terms of the need for logistical support.

 

Scott Dubin (28:02):

And then on the provider end, really, I see the trend will be here — I’d say here because I’m in Africa at the moment, but really increasing their value offering to customers, incorporating more advanced systems than technologies into their services. We see a lot of companies offer these services in the U.S. and Europe and so on, but not necessarily trickling down here into all areas. They might be in some countries or they might be for some sectors but not necessarily in the public health space.

 

Scott Dubin (28:32):

We see increased ability to reach the last mile is what we see happening into the future. Right now things are very focused on more long haul delivery or major cities, but in the public health space our customers are all over the country and in rural settings and they are harder to reach. And so, we also — I would say my last thought on where I see the future would be around not typical 3PL providers as we engage with now, not just warehousing and distribution 3PLs and 2PLs. but the likes of e-commerce providers who have their own independent system or pharmacy networks who have their system and products as being distributed through those existing systems as how we see things potentially shaping up in the future.

Scott Luton (29:14):

Scott, very helpful. You paint a wonderful visual of what lies ahead.

 

Scott Luton (29:19):

Alvaro, I’d love to get your take on how you see the evolution of logistics outsourcing taking place moving forward.

Alvaro Lopes (29:25):

Thank you. Scott said does [phonetic]. I’ll just add a few points there. I think I see — I would say that the future looks bright to me in a sense that there’ll be more evidence of proven good results in the countries where they’re already testing the private sector use in solving these supply chain issues. So there’ll be more and more evidence, there’ll be more and more sharing between countries which will make much appealing for other countries to adopt outsourcing.

 

Alvaro Lopes (30:00):

And I also see the use of artificial intelligence playing quite an important role into all this supply chain and the approach we’re using to solve our supply chain problems in the future. Looking at other angle, I would say in the future I see more relationship between governments and private sector and being technical assistance will be much into the role of supporting these two partners to come up with solutions that are really going to help solving public health supply chain issues in remote areas. And I also see more use of innovative ways of looking at the resilience of supply chain, the use of drones in the areas where they are natural disasters. We know some parts of Africa used to get floods like Mozambique. So, I see in the future different types of solutions coming up to solve these whole issues, especially in the resilience side of the supply chain company of one [phonetic].

Scott Luton (31:16):

Well said, Alvaro. And, yes — Kevin, I’m going to bring you in before I move on next —

 

Kevin L. Jackson (31:22):

Yes.

 

Scott Luton (31:22):

— with one of the next questions I’m going to ask Scott and Alvaro to talk about some of the things that’s got to happen for us to realize this future that they both are painting. But, Kevin, I’m going to get you to weigh in here. My hunch is that just like we’ve seen tons of successful experimentation with drone delivery because of the rural areas and the infrastructure challenges we have and drone delivery is really — it’s incredible proven ground across Africa. We’ve seen Alvaro mentioned A.I. And no telling the innovations as A.I. has applied more and more to meet and grow this capacity and to serve more people. I bet there’s going to be all sorts of artificial intelligence innovation coming out of Africa in the years ahead. But Kevin, your thoughts there?

Kevin L. Jackson (32:04):

Well, you’re absolutely right about machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of them are going to improve processes. But another area that I think is underappreciated is the rapid use and expansion of space-based services, geospatial data and information that’s coming from space is going to be critical to operating across the wide swath of the continent. Being able to see where you’re having drought or be able to measure the nutrients remotely, and leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to select and direct resources into those areas. The — and all of this will support healthcare, nutrition, being able to get food, being able to understand exactly the nature of what’s happening with climate and how that’s affecting healthcare. So, all of these are — really, Africa is the frontline of leveraging these advanced uses of technology.

Scott Luton (33:19):

Well said, Kevin. And Alvaro and Scott, one thing I didn’t share with you all, Kevin’s talking my love language now. He knows I’m a big old space nerd and he spent some time working at NASA. So, we — I love how he works in the space angle in these supply chain conversations. It really is fascinating. So good stuff there, Kevin.

 

Scott Luton (33:38):

  1. So, Scott and Alvaro, we’ve — both of you all were talking in future terms, right? Kind of, where and how things are going to evolve, from logistics to the need to how we’re going to fulfill a bigger mission in the years ahead. So, for all of that to happen and more let’s talk about what’s needed to get there. And we want to focus on four angles here. Alvaro, I want to start with you. You were just talking about government a second ago, specifically when it comes to government, what do they need to do differently, Alvaro?

Alvaro Lopes (34:07):

So, in my opinion, I think governments needs to start looking at private sector as partners instead of customers because currently it’s a relationship where you just have a contract, you deliver service and you get paid and that’s all. So, I think there is a need to ship this mindset and look — government needs to start looking at private sector as partners so they can both develop solutions that are going to solve healthcare problem — healthcare issues in the countries where they operate.

 

Alvaro Lopes (34:47):

And also, when it comes to policy, governments need to improve their policies to accommodate private sector wishes and needs because it’s a win-win. I mean, private sector has the expertise and assets and the public sector has the needs, the funding. So, I think it’s win-win where these two needs to start looking at each other as partners because this is what happens. They look at each other as just customers, transactional relationship, instead of long-term partnership where they both look at together to solve the — a common problem over.

Scott Luton (35:30):

Well said, Alvaro. And by taking that latter approach you’re talking about, that’s how we get through the greater challenges of our time, right? That’s where we had the strength as an ecosystem or as a coalition, as a partnership to push through some of these challenges known and unknown. That’s around the corner. Well said, Alvaro.

 

Scott Luton (35:47):

Scott, the private sector, what’s their role in order to realize as future you are painting?

Scott Dubin (35:53):

Well, it’s a little bit of a chicken and egg situation because if I kind of give you the situation that we see in many countries, is — tends to be — always the very formal markets or not a very mature market when it comes to logistics providers. So, you might have a, you know, many number of 2PL providers, you know, owner operators, very small outfits as well as 3PL providers. And for a lot of the work that we see happening, contracting tends to come through a larger entity to the local firms, and therefore their revenue generation from these services tends to be a bit smaller, which then results in them not spending as much or being able to spend as much on investments and technologies and systems and so on.

 

Scott Dubin (36:38):

And so, what we’d like to see is more investment and services offered from the private sector to be able to realize, kind of, the future state that we have been talking about. But at the same time, they want to ensure they have the demand there to make those investments. We see that happening, you know, in spots here and there, but I think it’s really important that providers essentially evolve a little bit further to meet the needs of government and international organizations, both in terms of the consistency of delivery, but the quality of those services that are delivered in terms of efficiency and visibility, digitization, just the user experience. And I would say there is a lot of room for improvement there.

 

Scott Dubin (37:22):

And with that, we would see I think a quicker shift from governments moving towards the private sector because it would — more value would be realized from those activities. It would be easier to engage as a result of having improved systems and technologies throughout the entire process. All from when a quote is issued back to a customer, to the digitization of the paperwork, the billing process, and in there the tracking process I should have mentioned. You know, if that becomes a much more seamless experience, it’ll really increase the value offering from the private sector. And so, we really want to see the increase in service quality and advancements from the logistics sector to have that pull from the government to move their services — their activities, rather, over to those types of services.

Scott Luton (38:13):

Yes. Scott, good stuff there. Kevin, I’ll check in with you real quick. What Scott — what I heard Scott sharing, at least, is making it easier to do business from soup to nuts, right? End to end. Some folks say that word is dead, that phrase is dead. I don’t. I’m going to cling to that probably until my end. I don’t know. But, Kevin, weigh in. He also mentioned that we’re leveraging that heavily to streamline and to make it easier to do business. Your thoughts, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (38:39):

Yes, really it all comes down to information and data. Being able to collect the data, being able to share the data. And actually, be able to leverage the data in order to improve the processes. And data is really, as they say, the new oil, but it drives supply chain. Visibility into the supply chain is what some advanced technology is doing. I mean, when you think about digital transformation in supply chain, it’s really all about the data.

Scott Luton (39:12):

Excellent point. And I — it’s either Alvaro or Scott earlier that mentioned if you don’t have all the data, it’s tough to make outsourcing decisions or manage supply chain, you have to do that. We don’t have the equation built out as someone put on one of our earlier shows. Inform leaders make informed decisions. And it’s just so critical whether you’re in supply chain or any other part of business. Good stuff there, Kevin.

 

Scott Luton (39:35):

  1. Scott, I want to stick with you. We’re going to talk about donors and implementers. Scott, you’re going to speak to donors. What should donors be doing?

Scott Dubin (39:43):

Well, I would look at it both in terms of looking at the providers of these services, thinking about them and thinking about the customer, and obviously the interaction between the two. I think the donors tend to overlook their impact on the market itself. Work in public health supply chains, that’s a pretty niche area and sometimes we’re the largest customer of some of these logistic services because of the sheer amounts of products that we bring into countries. And the health of the market is what’s going to support the governments in their efforts down the road. And if we don’t leave a healthy market, it will be challenging for governments to engage with the private sector.

 

Scott Dubin (40:21):

And so, I think for us that translates into being thoughtful about our spend. And I say our spend is also we utilize principal recipients, implementers. How does our spend affect the health of the market? Are we too concentrated with one or two providers and not spreading the workout as much as we should be? Are we not having contract durations that are long enough to allow firms to make the investments that they need to be? Sometimes in the donor world that the contracting periods tend to be shorter than the private sector would like to see.

 

Scott Dubin (40:56):

So, where we can do longer contracts such as, I think, the maximum we see in our funding cycles will be three years. If we take advantage of that time period, it would allow firms to offer services because they’re willing to make that investment if they can see the return on their investment. And for the customers, the governments that we support is being able for us to help prepare them to manage the outsourcing process from the beginning to the end. And really take a view of what are the challenges or holistic view, what are the challenges that governments face when it comes to outsourcing? We can’t solely convince them just by saying it’s a great idea. We have to know the pain points they have.

 

Scott Dubin (41:36):

And as I was mentioning earlier, you know, governments will not necessarily have the technical know-how in outsourcing, right? We have made a lot of efforts in the donor community in terms of helping governments improve their operations related to their own warehousing and distribution. Be a shift to change what type of technical support we provide to governments, supporting the technical trainings around outsourcing. Because these are different types of people, different types of skill. The LOE might not be there as well. It might take a lot more people than they have to manage the outsourcing aspects of it. The information systems that they have, you have to be able to connect into private providers in order for this to work more seamlessly. How do they manage financially? Government budgets tend to not come in smoothly and so there may be challenges with private providers being willing to work with governments because payments aren’t coming as consistently as they would with private sector customers if you will.

 

Scott Dubin (42:31):

I think, additionally, government toners really need to familiarize their selves. What systems and technologies are coming out that make this process much easier, that reduce the LOE and the technical know-how required to engage. There are ways we just don’t see them as much in our sector. And I’ll give you the example is, you know, I think about when I first started doing my taxes and it was complicated, and I’m doing it by paper versus, you know, whatever software you use now just, kind of, guides you through the entire process. So, you need less technical know-how, you need less level of effort.

 

Scott Dubin (43:04):

And so, there is — in many industries, this is what happens. It just seems in ours, well it happens in other areas of logistics. It hasn’t translated so much into public health supply chains. So, what we’d really like to see is — I would like to see, and I think donors need to pay attention to is both the customer side and the provider side, and somewhere in the middle is how they interact. There’s a lot of friction in the transaction of even trying to find providers within various countries in Africa. You can’t just Google who are the transporters in this country? Who are warehouse providers and be able to engage. So, there’s some friction in the system that I think we could also participate in supporting its removal to enhance the uptake of these types of services.

Scott Luton (43:47):

Good stuff there, Scott. A lot to unpack, a lot to dissect, Kevin. One of the things he landed on though is reducing the friction amongst all the parties and the platforms, the technologies, you name it, right? Kevin, how important is that, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (44:01):

Yes. Yes, it’s critical. And unfortunately, the healthcare industry has been known as a laggard when it comes to adopting technology. And the — and because of this they become one of the biggest targets when it comes to cybercrime, and things like identity theft. So, it’s really important as everyone relies upon healthcare and the need to leverage more information technology is to protect that data and information. So, I mean, Scott and Alvaro, they have a real challenge ahead of them.

Scott Luton (44:44):

That’s right. And that’s why we need more folks to jump into the mission. But we’re going to get to that in just a second. But we’ve been talking about for all these next steps to happen and for us to be able to take the art of the possible, put it in a headlock and execute on it. We’ve been talking about what is needed, right, from four angles. So, Alvaro shared a bit about the government. Scott shared about the private sector and donors.

 

Scott Luton (45:05):

And Alvaro the fourth here, the fourth point is the implementer’s role. So, tell us what should they be doing for us again to realize the art of the possible?

Alvaro Lopes (45:14):

Thank you. So, implementers are doing — are quite doing a good job. So, they need to keep doing the job that they’re doing, which is supporting the Ministry of Health in the country where they operate. But there is one important thing that needs to be highlighted is the alignment of priorities. So, the priorities of the implementers need to be aligned with the governments they serve. Because if your priorities are not aligned, we see a lot of solutions and programs that are implemented. Once the donor funding finish, that solution is forgotten. So, the country will be going back to its old system, which is easier for them to manage. So, aligning priorities of implementers with the government — with those of the government, it’s a crucial point there.

 

Alvaro Lopes (46:09):

Also, I think it’s very important when it comes to solving problems of a certain population. We need to give the opportunity for those governments to be in the drive seat when it comes — to develop that particular solution. If we have them in the drive seat, that means it will be much easier for them to adopt when the donor funding is not there. And also, while the programs are being implemented with donor funding, I think there is a need to start from the beginning, discussing with those governments they serve about the potentiality of them being self-funded after the donor funding is gone.

 

Alvaro Lopes (46:56):

The other angle I think is that also the implementers should always be a place, a three-way contract of the private sector, public sector because it will always require someone to be the watcher or will be supervising this relationship. Being like an independent consultant will be actually controlling and supporting both of them to go along together and drive the solution over.

Scott Luton (47:33):

Excellent points there. I’m going to pull out is that alignment of priorities is so important, whether it’s what we’re talking about here or elsewhere across industry, that’s what’s going to make it sustainable. And that’s one of the great points you were making, Alvaro. And I believe when you were talking about in the driver’s seat, that local decision making is really important now for us, another great call out.

 

Scott Luton (47:53):

All right. So, we’ve kind of talked — we’ve kind of surrounded a lot of the next —

Kevin L. Jackson (47:56):

Important to have that context.

Scott Luton (47:58):

What’s that Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (47:59):

It’s really important to have that context, that local context.

Scott Luton (48:03):

Excellent point. That’s right. Context, we can’t get enough of it in this fast-paced world we live in. That’s a great call out too, Kevin.

 

Scott Luton (48:11):

All right. Speaking of great callouts, so I really appreciate what Alvaro and Scott and their organizations are doing. But to our audience, as you heard it here, there’s room for a lot more help. So, if you’re in position to contribute resources to the critical mission that VillageReach is on, we invite you to do just that. As we mentioned on the front end, their efforts enable access to quality healthcare for 70 million people, but there’s more work to be done. So, join in the mission. You can learn more at villagereach.org.

 

Scott Luton (48:43):

And Kevin, before we get Scott and Alvaro to tell us how folks can connect with them. One of my favorite quotes that you’ve shared a couple of years ago now is how you’re challenging folks to be consequential, make your life consequential. I’ll tell you of the words that come shortlist of words that come to my mind for this mission that Scott and Alvaro are supporting and leading and facilitating. Man, this is some really consequential work that’s helping millions of people. Your quick thoughts, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (49:13):

Well, the focus and dedication is really commendable. You’re right about doing — being consequential and being able to support and help the healthcare address, the healthcare of 1.5 billion people on this earth is just amazing.

Scott Luton (49:29):

Agreed. Agreed. All right. So, let’s do this. I bet some of our listeners want to connect with you, exchange notes, hopefully jump into the mission. We’ll see. That’s certainly our aim. So, Alvaro Lopes with VillageReach, how can folks connect with you?

Alvaro Lopes (49:47):

So — well, I think the best way would be through LinkedIn, my page, which is Alvaro Lopes, that should be the easiest way. But we also have resources like Outsource Resource Center, which is also on LinkedIn and it’s a webpage. We have a resource center where we share knowledge between countries in Africa to share best practices and the — with the objective of doing advocacy for more countries to adopt outsourcing into their public health supply chain. As you said, also through the VillageReach website, you can always reach us and who gets all the help you need and more information on the topic.

Scott Luton (50:32):

Love that, Alvaro. I love the resources you all putting out there for folks. Beyond the great work you’re doing, resources to help governments and other parties navigate this environment and meet and surpass the need hopefully. So, again, connect with Alvaro on LinkedIn. That’ll be in the episode notes and learn more at villagereach.org.

 

Scott Luton (50:50):

Scott, Scott Dubin, really have enjoyed your perspective here as well. Appreciate what the Global Fund is doing. How can folks connect with you and your team?

Scott Dubin (50:58):

Yes, I really appreciate folks to reach out through LinkedIn, and I think many people look at the problems we’re discussing, kind of, the specific problems or elements of the — of these problems and have really interesting solutions and it — it’s going to take all perspectives to make the improvements we need. So, I always enjoy engaging with people who can contribute to that. So, yes, I welcome communication on LinkedIn, so look forward to that.

Scott Luton (51:23):

Wonderful. Scott Dubin, Alvaro Lopes really have enjoyed your perspective here today. But Kevin, before we wrap here, what’s been one of your favorite takeaways from today’s conversation? Just one. I got 37 on my end but —

Kevin L. Jackson (51:41):

The public — I really think the most important aspect of this is the public-private partnership. I mean, that is one of the hardest things to put in place and they’ve been doing this for quite a while. And they’ve been successful, and they seem to be really taking it to the next step. So, I think that’s the most important takeaway, you know, the public-private partnership is critical to lifting us all.

Scott Luton (52:14):

That’s right. That is right. And Kevin, I really appreciate your coziness [phonetic] of this show with you here today. Your great work over at “Digital Transformers.” Folks should check you out there. That’s a very popular podcast series, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (52:25):

Oh, yes. I really have enjoyed it. We’ve had a great year. And you were talking about space earlier, we’re going to end the year with CS satellite show where we’re going to talk about how low earth orbit and medium earth orbit satellites are really driving improvements with respect to bandwidth and accessibility on the internet. And one of the areas that they’re really focused on is providing this coverage across rural Africa. So, you may be very interested. It could support a lot of the information needs when it comes to healthcare and supply chain management.

Scott Luton (53:10):

Love that, Kevin. Man, I really wish I paid more attention to physics and advanced math classes back in college. But hey, it is what it is at this point. Good stuff, Kevin. Folks, check out “Digital Transformers with Kevin L. Jackson” wherever you get your podcasts from. Big thanks to our guests here today as we start wrap. Alvaro Lopes with VillageReach, 10 years — your 10-year anniversary is coming up in April, 2024. I really appreciate your great work, Alvaro.

Alvaro Lopes (53:36):

Thank you so much. Thank you, the audience. Thank you, all the organizers. I think this was an extraordinary session. Thank you.

Scott Luton (53:47):

I agree. Powered by the really outcomes driven work you are doing together and that’s so important. And hey, next time you come back, we’re going to — I’m going to get some best practices for farming and raising animals. So, stay tuned for that, Alvaro, but appreciate what you do there.

 

Alvaro Lopes (54:02):

No worries.

 

Scott Luton (54:04):

Scott Dubin with the Global Fund, I really have enjoyed you as well here today and your perspective and expertise. So, thanks for joining us.

Scott Dubin (54:12):

Yes, thank you for having me. It was an enjoyable discussion with the topic that I enjoyed discussing. It was great speaking with you and Kevin and Alvaro. And I look forward to continuing discussion. Alvaro and I work together pretty frequently, so these are the challenges we’re always facing. So, this conversation will continue with Alvaro and I hope with some of your listeners who reach out. It will be good to expand the dialogue.

Scott Luton (54:35):

Outstanding, Scott. Plenty of conversations, but more importantly, you all both are taking actions that fuel outcomes, you and your respective organizations. And that is so important because, Kevin, we talk about deeds not words, right? Enough of lips service leadership. Get out and do something. That’s where I’m going to end it here. So, Kevin, I really appreciate your time. As always, look forward to those upcoming episodes at “Digital Transformers.” Thank you for joining us, Kevin.

Kevin L. Jackson (55:00):

No, thank you very much for the opportunity and thank you Scott and Alvaro for all the information. I mean, your mission is really heart-lifting.

Scott Luton (55:10):

Yes, agreed. Agreed. All right. So, to our listeners out there, folks, take one thing that was discussed here today. Lots of crossover. No matter, almost — no matter what industry or sector you’re in, take one thing to Alvaro or Scott or Kevin shared, put it in action, share it with your teammates. They’re going to love it. Share it with your organizations, your leadership. Check out villagereach.org. Jump into the mission if you can help support. But whatever you do, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And on that note, we’ll see next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (55:50):

Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.

Featured Guests

Alvaro Lopes, With a background in planning and management, Alvaro Lopes is a Private Sector Engagement Program & Solution support lead with VillageReach, where he is in charge of ensuring that all private sector-centric programs and solutions have its PSE strategies and its integrated work plan. He has over 18 years of experience in the private sector and NGO sectors supply chains where he re-designed and implemented supply chain systems with a focus on underserved populations. Prior to VillageReach, he worked for several years with private sector companies including Unilever as the Supply Chain Manager, as a Supply Chain Director for PSI, and Rio Tinto mining as the procurement manager. Alvaro holds a diploma in planning and management. He is married and a dad of 5 kids. Connect with Alvaro on LinkedIn.

Scott Dubin is a Supply Chain, Private Sector Engagement Advisor with The Global Fund, where he creates innovative logistical solutions to ensure the uninterrupted supply of vital health supplies around the world. With a consistent focus in logistics, Scott has 20 years of experience designing, implementing, and managing humanitarian, development, and diplomatic projects in a host of complex environments across the world. In these roles, he has worked on behalf of NGOs, private companies, and the U.S. government. Scott holds a B.A. Business Administration and MSc. International business. He is married and a dad to two little girls. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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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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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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Allison Giddens

Host

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

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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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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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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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Greg White

Principal & Host

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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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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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 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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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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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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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

Director, Customer Experience

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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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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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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