Some industries think they have it tough – and then there is retail. From constantly shifting consumer demand and intense competition to razor thin margins and a huge workforce, succeeding as a retail executive requires courage and conviction.
Scott Luton recently spoke with Marie Hurst, Vice President of Operations and Logistics with Bunzl Retail Services, a division of Bunzl Distribution North America. She has deep retail experience in transportation, process improvement, supply chain, and reverse logistics.
In this conversation, Marie and Scott talk about:
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Scott Luton (00:31):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. We have an outstanding episode, tee it up once again, as I’m speaking with a senior supply chain leader, doing big things in the warehousing transportation and trade compliance space. She’s also what I would call a friend of the show. Certainly a professional friend of mine, and I’m really tickled to be able to sit down and interview her for the first time here on supply chain now. So no with no further ado, wanna welcome in Marie Hurst, vice president operations and logistics with Benzel retail services, which is a division of Benzel distribution north America. Marie, how you doing?
Marie Hurst (01:09):
I’m great. Thanks for having me today. Scott,
Scott Luton (01:12):
You bet we were talking, you know, we shared a phone call as we were got connected by a mutual friend that we both think highly of mm-hmm <affirmative> a few years ago, Marty Parker is doing some big things at, at, uh, UGA and their supply chain program, but it’s the first time we’ve we’ve we’ve had you here on the show and I can’t wait to dive into your journey and your insights and expertise.
Marie Hurst (01:33):
Great. I’m looking forward to it.
Scott Luton (01:35):
So we’re not wasting time. Uh, but before we get into the heavy lifting, at least let’s get to know you a little bit better, Marie. So Hey, tell us, where did you grow up and, and give us a few anecdotes about your upbringing.
Marie Hurst (01:46):
Okay. Uh, so I’m originally from Western Massachusetts. So, um, whenever I say to somebody I’m from Massachusetts, they say, but you don’t have an accent. <laugh> I’m like, no guys, there’s Boston. And then there’s Western ma like the rest of Massachusetts. So I grew up there, um, the oldest of three girls and then I today have three girls. So <laugh> not that that means anything, but it’s right. Yeah. Um, so when I was a kid, my, you know, my parents were working class folks and you know, my mom took jobs. Like she was the bus monitor. She was the lunch lady and all that. Um, my dad actually worked for mobile chemical in plastics, so more of a manufacturing type job. He was a line worker. Um, and I had the benefit of being able to go to UGA.
Scott Luton (02:40):
Oh, did you okay, Marie?
Marie Hurst (02:42):
I’m sorry. Did UMass my bad. Oh,
Scott Luton (02:47):
I’m uncovering new things about you. I didn’t know.
Marie Hurst (02:50):
I’ve been in Georgia so long. Yeah. Um, mess. I’ve been in Georgia so long. Everything’s about Georgia go dogs. <laugh>
Scott Luton (02:57):
So you know your accent and, and, and now I’m reminded now after we spoke years ago, it is very neutral, very neutral. Mm-hmm <affirmative> our dear friend Kelly Barner here at supply chain now is from the Boston area. Um, um, I wanna say strawberry, Hill’s not strawberry hill. Uh, Sugarberry hill. Maybe. Does that sound familiar?
Marie Hurst (03:19):
Scott Luton (03:21):
Sure. No, I’m, I’m getting it wrong. Anyway. Her accent is much more like that. Boston accent. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but I’ve gotta ask you before, before we talk about maybe, uh, your time here in Georgia. So your parents and your dad being, uh, on the frontline, it sounds like of a mini manufacturing plant. Uh, did y’all have any, any, uh, times where you sat down, maybe he took you to the plant or, or he shared what he did day in and day out?
Marie Hurst (03:44):
Yeah, I mean, we, so he worked there and then my, one of my uncles actually worked there as well, and we had the chance to go in a couple of times now we were kids. So you didn’t get to really walk the floor, but you got to see, you know, from the side what was happening. Um, and you realize the culture and that type of business with the, you know, 24, 7 execution. And he did rotating shifts back in the day. So I remember you better be quiet when dad works third, cause he’s home sleeping during the day. And if you wake him up, there’s gonna be hell to pay <laugh>. So,
Scott Luton (04:20):
Uh, you know, I remember, uh, a couple of friends of mine when I, and for some reason in kindergarten or first grade, and I would go over to their ho uh, houses after school and we’d get a little bit loud. And to your point, you better not wake up, um, wake dad or mom up working at works. Third shift. So yes. Uh, those are some tough gigs. Yep. Now your mom, it sounds like she was very active in your academic journey, always volunteering, uh, uh, a bus. What was her bus?
Marie Hurst (04:49):
She did the bus monitor and she did lunch lady duties. Um, and then when my little sister, I have a little sister who’s 12 years younger when my little sister came along, my mom actually converted and started doing daycare,
Scott Luton (05:03):
Man. Okay. So yeah, whatever it sounds like, whatever she could do to, to kind of keep an eye on her three daughters. Is that right?
Marie Hurst (05:12):
Yep. Pretty much.
Scott Luton (05:14):
<laugh> so <laugh> so many questions. So on top, but, well, let’s talk about, um, so what brought you to Georgia? I wanna talk about your time in retail supply chain. Yeah. In a minute, but, but you’ve been in Georgia, as you mentioned a little while ago for quite some time. Yeah. Where did you, when did you first move to Georgia?
Marie Hurst (05:31):
So I was working for a retail division called FES that, that got bought out. It was part of the may department stores, which were out of St. Louis and got purchased by federated, which is Macy’s. Um, so I was in Connecticut and had it was, I was actually running the transportation department for the regional department store S and the scenario was, Hey, their central offices in Atlanta, you can take a severance or you can take a promotion. <laugh>
Scott Luton (06:05):
Wow. Options options. Huh?
Marie Hurst (06:07):
Yeah. So that was a tough conversation with my husband. He was, um, he does TV news. He’s a cameraman that goes around with the reporter really. Um, and he loves his job, but I, we always looked at it as, you know, what’s the career path and what he wants to do, what he loves to do. He would say you can’t do it anywhere, but you could, you could pretty much do it anywhere. I mean, it’s, it’s a very solid transferable skill set. Um, thank goodness. He didn’t go to CNN. Right. Because that has changed so much over the years. He’s actually with one of the local Atlanta stations.
Scott Luton (06:48):
That is so cool.
Marie Hurst (06:48):
Yeah. So we transferred, he was able to transfer and, you know, keep the same length of service and vacation and everything. So it worked out well. He still, he gave me a hard time for a couple years about, about moving to Atlanta and the difference between living in, at the time we were in Northern Connecticut and then dealing with the population here in Atlanta. Right. So
Scott Luton (07:15):
<laugh> well that, and probably, uh, the weather differences are, are probably pretty big too. At least he doesn’t have to worry about snow here as he is capturing that, that perfect shot. Right?
Marie Hurst (07:24):
Yeah. Yeah. That, that’s, it’s funny. It’s like, you’ve been at the dinner table because I’ll say, oh, I love Atlanta, Atlanta weather is great. There’s no snow. And he’ll say, yeah, you don’t have to stand outside when it’s 95 degrees
Scott Luton (07:36):
That, oh, well that, and, and trade offs, I guess, trade offs. Well, that’s fascinating. Uh, I’ve never had a chance to meet someone in, uh, in like that other than, um, some producers that weren’t the camera technicians. I mean, we’ll have to sit down and, and, uh, have a chat with your husband, but, um, so as you mentioned, you mentioned Macy’s you mentioned, um, was it Phil? What was the other uh Eileen’s yes. Eileen’s, mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, you spent a good bit of time within that Macy’s organization. That’s where you were when we first met. Yeah. Um, for our listeners mm-hmm <affirmative> that may not have spent time in retail supply chain, I’ll call it what, what’s one thing that might surprise people.
Marie Hurst (08:17):
So, um, I actually, I was thinking about that and there’s a couple of things that, that come to mind for me. So first thing I would say is there are a lot of, um, complete competing priorities. So often they’re conceptually counterintuitive to each other. So as an example, a lot of the product is planned and committed six months to a year ahead of, of actual delivery to the store because it’s, you know, you have to produce it. You have to get the, the raw materials. You have to make it in some other country. Often you have to plan that transit. You have to get it. If you were gonna do any kind of value added services and then get it to the store. Well, so a lot of that tends to be flowing year over year it’ll flow by the same or similar calendar. But then at the same time, the merchants are always trying to be attentive to trends and hot product, which means you may suddenly get a request to move multiple containers or truckloads of something from a place you’ve never covered before. And it’s gotta happen right away because some other retailers trying to get their hands on that same product and there’s X amount. So it it’s really, I think it can be, it’s a combination of we, this is what we do and oh my God, we gotta go do this.
Scott Luton (09:34):
<laugh> no, it’s, it’s interesting. I’m hearing a couple things there. Uh, and my all my retail experience was not in supply chain. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> back as I was coming through, uh, college and well high school and college, uh, as it was where I got the most of my retail experience. But the sequencing that you’re describing, cause it’s, you gotta plan so far out because of all the different things and the different suppliers, but also what’s interesting. I’ve never really thought about, and it makes perfect sense is the competition. There’s all, you know, there’s tons of competition to retail, but the retail supply chains are competing long before it even hits the stores. That that’s really something that I bet if a lot of our listeners hadn’t stopped to think about yet. It’s fascinating,
Marie Hurst (10:12):
Marie. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. And then the other thing that I was thinking about I felt was worth raising is, you know, returns and reverse logistics are a big piece of retail and have always been even prior to how we’ve seen so much growth with online shopping over the past several years. I mean, retailers generally try to have a return agreement with the vendors up front as part of the purchase order and the agreements that they have with those vendors, but they can’t always negotiate that. So often after you see something on a clearance rack, it’s been marked down two or three times that will have to go back to logistics to deal with. Right. Generally you’re trying to liquidate it. Some of it’ll end up in an off price store in the us or shipped overseas. You really don’t wanna throw it in a dumpster. You wanna find some end of life reuse wherever possible.
Scott Luton (11:04):
Yes. And you know, to that point, uh, there’s a ton of innovation taking place in what, uh, Tony Sheroda with the, uh, reverse logistics association, uh, one of our dear friends and, and mm-hmm <affirmative> and content partners, he’s called, uh, the dark side of supply chain. Cause it doesn’t get as much visibility. Uh, the great news there though, the good news is, is, is that aspect cause of e-commerce cause of, of, uh, consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions. We’re seeing a lot of innovation on that reverse side is that, will you see that as well?
Marie Hurst (11:35):
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Especially things that are re you know, it’s a customer return and it’s re saleable. Right, right. Because you can build some of that into your, your mega center logic where you can put it in a location that’s close to where you’re gonna ship again and not put it back with its brothers in the original location. Right. Because you know, it’s gonna turn and why put it away if I’m gonna be able to ship it again.
Scott Luton (11:59):
Well, and, and the whole re economy, uh, gosh, I’ve seen all kinds of projections in terms of market size. And that’s a great thing. You know, we, um, I’ve shared this with our listeners before last, uh, holiday season. I got my kids a, um, a, um, remanufacture, Nintendo, we, and of course they don’t make those anymore. It was probably, I don’t know, 12 years old and they loved it. Yeah. And that, that’s a really cool, uh, cool dynamic taking place. Uh, I bet you could talk retail supply chain till the cow, the proverbial cows came home and that there’s so much there, but I wanna get into, uh, Marie, unless is it okay to move to what you’re up to now?
Marie Hurst (12:34):
Scott Luton (12:36):
So, uh, I have been way back when I first came to Atlanta, uh, I did a little bit of business with Benzel and I think it was out on the, um, the west side of Metro Atlanta. And I’ve been into a couple of the facilities, um, there, but tell us
Marie Hurst (12:53):
Scott Luton (12:54):
I think so. Yeah. I think so, Maria and that was, that was three kids ago and my three kids have killed my memory. Uh, but I’m pretty sure Lithia Springs. Um, so, but level setting with our listeners, tell us about buns of retail services and what the organization does.
Marie Hurst (13:09):
Yeah, sure. So, so Benzel globe, and then I’m gonna say globally, because we do have presence in other countries as well. The Lithia Springs building is part of another division. Benzel does a lot of distribution for a lot of different markets. So there are divisions that manage grocery supplies. There are divisions that manage case goods only for some of the retailers. Um, we do our own fleet in a lot of those divisions. So we’re doing our own deliveries from our local warehouse and we’re doing a run like every Thursday, they do the run down to Savannah or whatever as example, and they build out their roots like that bun retail services is a little bit different in that we’re doing a lot more of the, the smaller or niche or value added services type services for our retail, uh, partners. Um, so most of what we’re doing is distribution.
Marie Hurst (14:07):
So about 90% of what we’re doing is just the actual distribution of you want a case of bags. You want a vest for your employee. You want a pack of pens and a couple of batteries. Um, we also have a subdivision within retail services that does designs, packaging, and visual displays. Um, and then we have material consolidation. So that would be an example would be if you have a new store and you don’t wanna just spam that location with all the supplies, from the different display companies and, and, um, cleaning supplies and so forth, we can actually do a service where we will consolidate it all, build out pallets and then release it to you in time for your setup, for your opening.
Scott Luton (15:03):
Okay. A, a lot, you make it sound so easy and we all know it is not easy. Is it Marie?
Marie Hurst (15:09):
No, not at all. <laugh>
Scott Luton (15:12):
Well, so let’s, let’s focus in on more on more of your role. So, uh, VP operations and logistics. Yep. Uh, tell us where do you spend and what do you, you know, what makes up your, uh, day to day alcohol, even though I’m sure each day is different. And what is your favorite aspect to your role
Marie Hurst (15:28):
Mm-hmm <affirmative>? So, um, I spend, I spend about half my time on the road because I have about eight different locations around the country that I’m attentive to more than some of the others. Um, the bigger ones or the ones undergoing change would be probably the, the most important for my time on the road. But then we’ve also got some locations overseas that we service at three, three PLS. Um, and I have a local transportation group in Chicago that manages that in partnership with a corporate group in St. Louis. Um, and then I have a couple of engineers that are working with me because we’re trying to do a lot of work on continuous improvement and growing our facilities to be more efficient. Uh, I think everybody has noticed that there’s a lot of challenges with labor and the cost of labor continues to go up.
Marie Hurst (16:26):
Um, so we’re trying to be really thoughtful and methodical about the way we lay out the buildings where we can put in, um, sorters, we’re looking at pick cards. I think you’re doing something with six rivers. We’re actually talking to six rivers, um, to see, you know, whether we can do a pilot with them for some of our pick pack areas and a couple of our buildings. Um, it, it it’s really, it’s, you know, distribution is down and dirty, but how can you make it more effective and efficient? And I think what’s interesting to me with non retail is you’re trying to do things and your margins, you gotta be really thoughtful about your margins because you’re, you’re, you don’t have the markup that you have on retail to cover some of your sins. So you’re just, you gotta be, you gotta execute,
Scott Luton (17:17):
Gotta execute that’s right. No Willy nilly allowed. Right. Um, uh, so speaking of, I, I love your emphasis on the team member and the colleagues and the employees at, at ex that employee experience is, is I think one of the silver linings of what we’ve seen and all gone through in the last couple years. And I think I saw on social as I was doing my homework on you. Uh, Marie Hurst, I promised I wasn’t lurking <laugh>, uh, to try do little homework is, uh, you know, emphasis on safety mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and making sure we’re taking care. I love that that has come back to the forefront and, and, and, um, in recent years. So it sounds like that’s a big part of the culture too.
Marie Hurst (17:55):
Yeah. Yeah. Um, that’s one of the things that I really enjoy with this organization is there’s a very robust safety culture and what you’re referring to as we did the caterpillar safety training module, which was great. I brought my team members from around the country and we sat for a few days, went through that training with the caterpillar people, and then had some of our own operational discussions about what are our best practices, what are our standards, et cetera. And, you know, for me, it’s not about having a safety moment, which is a catch phrase these days is what’s your safety momentum.
Scott Luton (18:31):
I love that. Uh, we got an 86 safety moment and make it about the momentum and the bigger picture and, and, uh, what really stays front of mind, which will, which I’m assuming. And, and I’ll defer to you, but how can we prevent situations from even happening that then we gotta react to make sure folks are, are safe. So, right. Um, I love that emphasis, uh, on, on taking care of the team. Um, what else do you love about your role? And then I wanna talk a little more about your culture.
Marie Hurst (19:00):
Okay. Um, what I love about my role is that I have some really strong team members with me. Um, we are vocal and open and we, you know, bring things to the surface. Uh, it is not a political, I try not to lead a political sphere. Right. I don’t want you to tell me what you think I want to hear. I wanna know what, tell me what you’re thinking. Let’s talk it through. I might still be right, but I might not. Right. And let’s air it out. Let’s, let’s get the best of everybody’s ideas and try and, you know, percolate the best solution. Um, I think that the leadership team with bun retail services does that for the most part. I mean, we all have days where we just, we Def go back to, it’s easier just to agree and not right, but we have a lot of good, robust conversation and we’re all focused on how do we continue to drive the business and service the customers.
Scott Luton (20:04):
Um, so speaking of that culture that clearly, uh, you’re, um, um, helping to maintain, helping to lead and still, um, what else? So I love the non-political culture. Uh, uh, you know, I think a lot of us can probably relate to, uh, at least one organization. I know I’ve, I’ve been in a couple that were heavily political and it’s so stifling, it’s so stifling to new ideas, it’s stifling because you’ve gotta kind of figure out how to navigate a minefield cause of just the sheer politics. And I am so thankful, uh, that that is not what we’re building here at supply chain now by a very, um, with all deliberation. Right. But what else do you love about the culture at bun?
Marie Hurst (20:50):
So something that I found interesting when I first started working there is, you know, I came from Macy’s and it, it was so big, you know, 130,000 employees, something, you know, significant, um, and had been centralized across the board. Um, this is very different in that bun acquires companies and there is corporate oversight, but they have kept a lot of those different divisions to themselves. So the benefit of that is that you have a culture where you have more ability to have your voice heard or to, to be impactful because you’re not going up five levels. Right. I report to the division head, he reports to the north America CEO who reports to the corporate CEO in London.
Scott Luton (21:45):
So it’s, it’s almost kinda like that, that, uh, the, the, the benefits of like local ownership, um, you know, uh, and, and it also sounds like, and, and please correct me if I’m wrong that as bun has made these acquisitions, they protected the, um, you know, the individual personalities, cultures brands, and, and, um, you know, uh, helped empower and, and really leverage, uh, that locally owned, uh, leadership ownership. Is that, is that accurate?
Marie Hurst (22:15):
Yeah, they, they call it the entrepreneurial spirit.
Scott Luton (22:18):
Okay. Hey, I love that. Uh, as, as a fellow entrepreneur, I know exactly you’re, you’re speaking my language. Yep. Um, so let’s shift gears a bit. So I wanna shift from bun, cause I know there’s a lot more, we’re just scratching the surface with, with what you and, and the, and bun and its various divisions do day in, day out. But I wanna talk kind of you as, um, as, as, uh, your leadership style. And I think one of the things that as I was doing, my homework seems to be really important to you is, is volunteering in that, in that service mm-hmm <affirmative> um, so you volunteered your time in a variety of charitable initiatives, uh, central night shelter year up mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, and some others what’s been your favorite or one of your favorite volunteer experiences. And what’s, what’s your why?
Marie Hurst (23:05):
So, I mean, I like them all for different reasons. I think that the night shelter really resonated with me the most it’s the men’s night shelter in Atlanta. Um, I think that a lot of times when people think about night shelters, they’re thinking about women and children, which is extremely important, um, we don’t necessarily think about the men. And so that central night shelter takes care of that subgroup that doesn’t always get BEC for righteous reasons. Doesn’t always get included in the main shelters. Um, I supported it initially. It was part of the church group activities and I fell into it because it hits me on a couple of levels. It hits me because I grew up and we didn’t have a lot. So I understand what that’s like to, to be trying to decide where to put your dime. Right. Um, that’s, that’s important to me.
Marie Hurst (23:58):
Um, and then the other thing that it really helps me with is a lot of those guys are hard working. They’re trying to do right by themselves. And they just they’re stuck in a situation where they, they can’t afford a house or they can’t, you know, they have to make choices. They, that some of them are working. They just don’t have a living wage. Some of them have other situations and they’re, that’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re homeless. But I feel like it helps you personalize and not just broad brush. Right. Because I think a lot of times in life, we just say that bucket is X mm-hmm <affirmative>. And to me being on the front line with those types of situations helps you differentiate and be compassionate and it helps you, you know, reflect on yourself and, and how you are as a person.
Scott Luton (24:50):
Yeah. I love that. Uh, you know, if I think about, uh, the cultures, uh, and the leaders that I would wanna work for, uh, and I think back through some of my favorite folks I’ve ever worked with, or before that entrepreneurial spirit spirit, which you, uh, referenced earlier, but that comp that really authentic, compassionate leadership, that folks that can really, um, empathy is a, is a true, um, uh, skill set. Right, right. Um, so I love that and, and it, it crystallizes your why. Um, so growing up, uh, y’all had to make some sacrifices. It sounds like Marie.
Marie Hurst (25:24):
Scott Luton (25:27):
Um, alright, so let’s shift gears once again. Uh, so to our listeners that, uh, you wanna be like, Marie, you wanna, you know, uh, be successful in supply chain, move up into the senior levels of leadership, uh, what you’re already hearing. I think Marie’s already shared, uh, some important advice and tools and tips, but I, I wanna be very intentional with the question here. So folks that do wanna break into supply chain, maybe they’re, they’re still matriculating through their programs at UGA are otherwise or UMass maybe. Yep. Um, and they wanna break in with both feet and move into the senior levels. What would be your advice, Marie?
Marie Hurst (26:03):
Um, I would say look for any internship opportunities, look for summer jobs. Um, I would say once you get your foot in the door somewhere, try to be the one that stands out because you take things that other people don’t wanna do. I would say that a lot of times in my career, I have been able to advance or, um, take a new role or be noticed because there were five of us trying to go for, for this one role. And then we found out that this other role, four of them are like, eh, and I said, I’ll do it, I’ll do it. And then it got to the point in my career where, because I had said, I’ll do it and I didn’t always wanna do it, but I learned something every time I did it, um, where they started coming to me and saying, Hey, can you, we want you to come do this. Um, and that, to me becoming well rounded is critical to rising up because you have to know enough about enough to be able to supervise it all.
Scott Luton (27:06):
So, um, I, I love that. I, I think folks at raise their hand, you know, volunteer, blessed our to volunteers. I’ve, I’ve heard, uh, it said, uh, you know, folks that are willing to take on the, the projects initiatives that, that other folks don’t wanna touch with a 10 foot pole. Uh, I love that advice, but let me ask you kind of lemme play devil’s advocate for a second. Okay. Um, uh, at the same time, finding that voice, uh, kind of going back to, Hey, tell me, don’t tell me what I want to hear. Mm-hmm <affirmative> tell me what, what you wanna share. Yep. So, so when you’re volunteering and raising your hand and taking on these things, other folks don’t want to do, what about those moments that you’ve had? I’m sure you’ve had where you’ve had to kind of draw a line in the sand yep. And kinda lay out, you know, um, you know, and be heard. Right. Any, any, any experiences come to mind there?
Marie Hurst (27:58):
Um, yeah. There’s definitely been a couple of times where I jumped deep into something and was like, wow, this is, this is ugly and painful. <laugh>
Scott Luton (28:06):
<laugh> and you got the scars to prove it. Right.
Marie Hurst (28:08):
You got the scars to prove it. And, you know, it’s, I think that’s interesting too, because one thing we don’t tend to focus on is teaching people how to fail.
Scott Luton (28:17):
Right. Yeah. Abso and, and, and I would take it a step further is it’s okay. You know, and even, even in a, in a, um, you know, in a, in, um, I don’t know if this makes sense, but like a real execution environment, like a manufacturing plant where, you know, you’re not on a product development side, you might be in operations where failure can mean a lot worse, uh, consequences and repercussions, but still, I, I, I completely agree with you, you know, failure, um, love to get your take. I think the most, the highest performing cultures that, that really are truly innovative in a, in a real, uh, action oriented manner are those that, um, that tolerate and maybe even encourage failure much more than others. Would you agree with that, Marie?
Marie Hurst (29:05):
Yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s critical because if I’m not allowed to fail, then I’m less likely to try. Now the other piece, I would say there though is when I fail, I need to learn from that failure.
Scott Luton (29:17):
That’s right. 1, 1, 1 more quick follow up question related to, um, your advice here. And we kind of talked about this in a different vein pre-show, but, but the ability to call time out mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, I think, uh, when I think about some of my most complex projects or initiatives that either I’ve led or been part of, um, oftentimes especially as a team with folks from different walks of life, or they’ve got their own data in different spreadsheets, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, uh, some of the most valuable meetings or, or days is when we call time out and we’ve level set and we’ve kind of removed the fluff and, and really kind of reprioritized on what’s important.
Marie Hurst (29:54):
Scott Luton (29:55):
Know, sometimes it can be painful and it can be awkward or uncomfortable to call that timeout and be that person. Yep. But it is Ely critical speak to that a a minute, if you would, Marie.
Marie Hurst (30:06):
Yeah, sure. So it, that actually resonates with me for something that happened this week. Um, and I won’t get into that, but one of the good things that I got outta Macy’s is I got trained as a six Sigma black belt. And I think key to, to the training of being a black belt is how do you, how do you document what a process is and where your defect points are and what are your priorities and how do you support that with data, not emotion, right? So a lot of times when I’m counter to somebody on how to solve something up here, we’ll say, um, I, I try to bring it back to wait, hold on. <laugh> what are we actually trying to get to? Right? Because you can throw five other problems at me, but if that’s not gonna solve what we’re really trying to accomplish here, then we’re just getting ourselves off into tangents and we’re not actually gonna make progress. So let’s stop. Let’s whiteboard it. I love a whiteboard <laugh> and I’ll, and I’ll take a picture. So I, you know, somebody else walks in and erases it. I’ve got it.
Scott Luton (31:08):
<laugh> I love that. And Maria, I gotta tell you, we, we are kindred spirits. Um, and, and where I see it spill over, cause I lean six Sigma has been part of my journey as well. Um, where I see it spill over and where I really think it’s universal is with, on my customer service calls as a consumer mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, uh, the last couple years our appliances got worn out, I was on more calls for more replacement parts, and I hopefully I’ll ever be on the next couple years. Yep. But just getting to, Hey, what part number are we talking about? Give me some dates, you know, gimme specific data points so that we’re not just all nodding our head when we really don’t understand, you know, uh, where a different partners come from. So, um, I’m with you, I’m with
Marie Hurst (31:48):
You, is that, and then it’s, who’s actually gonna take the steps, the initiative to get some of these things done, sign, put names next to who’s doing what and dates. Right.
Scott Luton (31:57):
Love it. I love it, Marie. Yeah. Uh, we may be cousins. Maybe we might have been separat at some point <laugh>. Um, okay. So I wanna switch gears as we kind of come down the, the home stretch here. Yep. Um, now that we’ve kind of, you’ve given our Lister some advice for folks that wanna really achieve, um, let’s broaden out, let’s look at the, the global supply chain ecosystem. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, you know, kind of the current state of things. What’s one or two things, items, trends, news, really, whatever that you’re tracking more than others right now.
Marie Hurst (32:27):
Yeah. So from a pain point perspective, I think the, the challenges related to product shortages items shortages, right? Because we’re doing some project work and it’s, you know, you’re waiting for a part to come in. We’re trying we’re we did narrow aisle racking in my building in Reno, and we are putting the, the magnets to stop the equipment at the end of the aisle for safety. Um, and then you’re, you’re waiting for the magnets cuz they’re on back order. <laugh> all right. So it’s that type of stuff. Um, I still have my oven com microwave combo died in on Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be in, in January then it was supposed to be in, in may. Now it’s supposed to be in, in July it’s wow. Same thing as what you were talking about, like what’s going on. Um, so I think that that to me is, is gonna be an ongoing concern.
Marie Hurst (33:20):
Um, then from a creativeness and fun perspective, it’s really about things like what can six river systems do for us so that we can get some efficiencies, um, looking at some of the different options for goods to person pick modules and how might that come into play in some of our facilities and refining standard practices, like some of the back to basics. Some, I think that there’s a, a lot, you know, we went to mod X and there was just, you’re just awestruck. You don’t know where to look because right. There’s something cool to do everything. Right. The, the automated floor washer <laugh> that can, it’s like a Roomba for a warehouse, right? Like there’s, there’s something everywhere. So it’s really figuring out which of those things are gonna give us the best bang and then explaining why we need the money to go do it. <laugh>
Scott Luton (34:14):
I love it. It it’s like, uh, the greatest show on earth for supply chain, uh, at mod eggs. Right. Yep. Um, so let’s um, uh, going back to your first point, you made just to kind of illustrate, you know, we’re all familiar with the product delays and the longer lead times mm-hmm <affirmative> even, I was reading the other day Tootsie role. Yeah. Tootsie rolls. I don’t think there’s been an interruption in the manufacturing of Tootsie roles in history. Right. But they are, if they didn’t shut the production line, they were really close to having do that. And that, that, that, to me, that was a signal of just, you know, we all, we all read about it in headlines every day, but man, it is just everywhere. Yep. Um, alright. So, uh, let’s talk about Eureka moments. Uh, okay. So that touch a role moment was a bit of a Eureka moment for me. Right. <laugh> yeah. Even the things maybe that we take the most, uh, the things we take the most grained for, um, you know, the candy aisle, the, the convenience, uh, store, what have you mm-hmm <affirmative> but what’s been for you, what’s been one of your stronger Eureka moments here lately.
Marie Hurst (35:19):
Um, I think one of the things that comes to mind for me is, so we, we have seen a lot of challenges with warehouse space and I don’t think there’s a short term solution and you can go out in any of these markets. You can see that there’s a lot of they’re building warehouses, um, to try and accommodate the needs because we’ve done so much to try to pull product into the us earlier and et cetera. And we’ve got all these retailers who had things that came late, that they now have to store until the next peak season. Um, but something that, that is interesting for me to watch that resonates with me personally, is the push to move from plastic to paper, which is appropriate from a sustainability perspective, right. Takes up a lot more space. So we have, when we have the PA the plastics like the grocery sex, right. You can have a thousand of those in one box. If you do paper bags, you’re looking at eight times the space mm. For the same number of bags,
Scott Luton (36:28):
Competing priorities. Um, yeah. I think you mentioned that on the front end. Yeah. Um, you know, that’s just a great example. Um, but I, I do love, um, I, I collect, uh, it’s so funny. Um, uh, last week I had two events, two in-person events for the first time in a very long time. And I actually came home with paper bags. Mm-hmm <affirmative> cause I got room service on a couple of occasions and they use these sturdiest. I might sound like a big nerd Marie, but bear with me, they use the sturdiest huge paper bags for like a small sandwich mm-hmm <affirmative> and I could not, I just couldn’t throw it away. And I used to work in a grocery store and, and bagged plenty of things. I came home with them, you know? Um, but back to, you know, those trade offs, those competing priorities, right. It is, it is such a reality. Right. Uh, it seems like every hour, every day and some decisions we’ve gotta make as, as organizational leaders. Right,
Marie Hurst (37:22):
Scott Luton (37:24):
Right. Um, so what, um, I wanna make sure folks know, uh, how they can connect with you, Marie I’ve really enjoyed following you and, and interacting with you on social. So folks make sure you’re, you’re connected with Marie and, and you follow her on LinkedIn. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I enjoy that content there, but how can folks Marie learn more about you and bun?
Marie Hurst (37:46):
So I would say to your point, um, try to connect with me on LinkedIn. And then, um, Benzel distribution has a website and Benzel services. Benzel retail services is actually launching a website this week it’s Benzel services.com. Um, and that will actually tell potential customers about the different service levels that we offer and the different customer bases that we’re targeting. We’re already servicing. Um, there’s actually a little chat bot, which is connected to a live salesperson really during, during the day, during the week, obviously, you know, with some limitations cuz he has to sleep, but, um, they, they actually, um, sent it internally out yesterday.
Scott Luton (38:28):
Love it. Uh, I love it. Um, well, Hey, uh, Maria, I’m so glad I appreciate as busy as are in the team and everything you got, uh, cooking, uh, thanks so much for taking some time out to, uh, to share your, your expertise and your, your journey with our listeners. Uh, so we’ll have to have you back maybe later in the year, as we’re reflecting on the year, that was, it continues a trend, uh, fascinating times to being supply chain, right?
Marie Hurst (38:54):
Yes, very much so. Hopefully when we talk again, I’ll actually have that oven
Scott Luton (38:58):
<laugh> and you’ve put it use. I love that. <laugh> uh, we’ve been chatting with Marie hue, vice president operations and logistics with Benzel retail services. As you can check out their new website. Of course that’s a division of Benzel distribution, north America, Marie, always a pleasure. Thanks so much. We look forward to reconnecting soon.
Marie Hurst (39:17):
Scott Luton (39:18):
Cut. You bet. All right, listeners, hopefully enjoyed, uh, this, uh, time with Marie as much as I have chalk full of practical. Been there, done that perspective, uh, both in her early in the journey and what she’s doing now, which I find fascinating and a ton of advice, not just with when I asked her about advice for, uh, folks that wanna, uh, really achieve in supply chain. But I think the whole conversation was full of practical advice. So, uh, but Hey, uh, make sure you connect with her, make sure you find supply chain now wherever you get your podcast from and whatever you do, uh, 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 that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Marie Hurst is currently Vice President of Operations & Logistics for Bunzl Retail Services. She is responsible for multiple BRS warehouse locations and 3PLs, as well as global transportation and trade compliance. Prior to Bunzl, Marie worked for Macy’s Department Stores for 25 years. During her time at Macy’s, she held a variety of roles in retail supply chain, including omni-channel distribution, transportation, reverse logistics, finance, project management, vendor management and item-level RFID. Her track record of driving improvements and focusing on strategic priorities allowed her to take on broader and more complex roles throughout her career to date. Connect with Marie on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
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.
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
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.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
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.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
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Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
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Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
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The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.