On June 2nd, Dial P released an episode explaining how Unilever CEO Alan Jope may have been ‘losing the plot’ by putting his company’s social mission before fundamental business practices. Unilever had asked each of its 400 brands to tie a social or environmental mission into their branding and marketing efforts, a mandate that delivered mixed results in a difficult year.
In 2022, the company failed to acquire GSK’s healthcare division after three attempts, saw its stock value fall 25 percent from where it was in 2019, and raised prices by 12.5 percent as consumers switched to less expensive store brands. When activist investor Nelson Peltz took a seat on the Unilever board in July, the writing was on the wall. Social agenda notwithstanding, Unilever was underperforming.
In this Dial P Updated Classic, Kelly Barner brings the Unilever story up to date and considers what may be next for the consumer brands giant.
Kelly Barner (00:00):
Hi there. This is Kelly Barner, your host for Dial P here on supply Chain. Now, have you ever noticed that as soon as a public figure declares their intent to fight on the battle is quickly determined for them? We have a great example of that in this week’s Dial P updated classic. On June 2nd, we released an episode about Unilever’s CEO Alan job, among other executives losing the plot by putting a company’s social mission. Before fundamental business practices under Joe’s direction, Unilever had asked each of its 400 brands to tie a social or environmental mission into their branding and marketing efforts, a mandate that delivered mixed results in an already difficult year. In January, Unilever failed to acquire GS K’s healthcare division for the third time. They had several spotty quarters of performance, a stock price that was lagging the rest of the market down 25% from the high scene in 2019, and calls from Wall Street for cost cutting and asset divestment.
Kelly Barner (01:20):
Unilever raised prices by 12 and a half percent over the course of the year as their sales volumes fell with consumers switching their demand to less expensive store brands. On July 20th, activist investor Nelson Peltz took a seat on the Unilever board. His reputation with consumer goods companies like Monda Lees International and Proctor and Gamble proceeded him. The writing was on the wall social agenda, not withstanding, Unilever was underperforming. On September 21st, while speaking before Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City, Alan Jo said, we will not back down on this agenda referring to their social activism efforts. And so you know what that means? Yep. Five days later on September 26th, Alan Jo gave his notice to the Unilever board and announced publicly that he would step down from the company effective December 31st, 2023. Unilever is by no means the only organization going through this type of turmoil right now. In some ways, they were ahead of the turbulence that is now being felt by ESG investment funds. All companies want to be good citizens, but you can’t help anyone if you can’t stay in business. It will be interesting to see who Unilever selects as their new ceo. The latest news on this story simply reported that Nelson Peltz was vetting candidates with that last piece of the update here is losing the plot, social mission versus business fundamentals. A Dial P updated classic
Welcome to Dial P for procurement. A show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders. Give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value. And now it’s time to dial P for procurement.
Kelly Barner (03:51):
Hi there, this is Kelly Barner. Can I ask you a quick question? When you go to the grocery store, what drives your product purchase decisions? Is it simply your preference of product? Is it the cost? And that’s something we’re all concerned about with inflation, right? Maybe you have some sort of nutritional or dietary requirement that steers your choice. It’s probably not, in most cases a social mission, but maybe I’m wrong. Unilever, a 56 billion consumer brands company based in the UK is trying to take a mission led approach to increasing their market share. Every single one, all 400 of the company’s brands has to have a social or environmental mission. Now, I’m gonna give you a couple of three letter acronyms. TLAs, we like to call them in procurement, ESG and csr. So ESG is environmental, social and governance initiatives. Think sustainability is supplier diversity, CSR is corporate social responsibility.
Kelly Barner (05:05):
That’s sort of the older way of putting it that’s been phased out as ESG has become more popular. Now, what will be interesting to see as much as corporations and in some cases shareholders or investors are interested in seeing measurable advances in these ESG initiatives, to what extent will consumers connect with them? As I said at the start of the podcast, my name’s Kelly Barner. I’m the owner of Buyer’s Meeting Point and a partner at Art of Procurement. I’m also your host for Dial P here on supply chain now. Now for entertainment, some people binge watch Yellowstone or learn dances so they can try to become TikTok stars. Me, I watch business. It’s the best sport we have. And when we we dig into these stories, the facts are always more interesting than the hype, and not only that, they have more to teach us.
Kelly Barner (06:05):
Now, before I get back to this week’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask. We’re building out dial piece, independent social media following. So I would love to get a review from you, maybe a few stars, a thumbs up, a like maybe share this podcast with someone that you know that you think would enjoy listening. We’re grateful for your interest and your attention, so thank you for giving us your time in listening in. All right. Now, where were we? I recently read two adjacent stories in the Wall Street Journal that made me stop and think. The first one was, does Your Mayo need a mission statement? And it was published on May 20th. As I teased earlier, this is based on a mandate from Unilever CEO Alan Jo, who has ordered each of the company’s brands to come up with a social or environmental mission to be tied into their branding and marketing.
Kelly Barner (07:04):
Now, the stakes are high. The brands have been told that if they can’t find a good fit mission, they may be divested. Now this has become an existential operational challenge for these brands. So here are a few examples of the ones that we know have already come to market. ActX is a deodorant body spray. Now they’re traditional marketing approaches tended to focus on masculinity and partying, and they moved from that to an ad campaign that supported guys who were anxious, skinny and depressed. In an effort to be more affirming and inclusive, it did not work. It seems like it was too big of a pivot, and it positioned the product next to negative associations. Even if it was trying to be inclusive of some of these very real challenges, acts fairly quickly changed path and went back to their traditional approach. Now, the feature of this story, the question about your mayonnaise needing a social mission, Hellmann’s mayonnaise has chosen the fight against food waste as their social mission.
Kelly Barner (08:18):
They even had a Super Bowl commercial that featured former NFL player and coach Jared Mayo get it, Mayo as well as Pete Davidson from Saturday Night Live, they paid $6.5 million for a 62nd spot focused almost entirely around tackling people so that they would not waste food. Manny’s didn’t really appear in the commercial. The creative agency, Wonderman Thompson, that worked on the campaign with them actually has a feature about it on their website, and they say no one wants to be scolded or guilted into changing their behaviors. So Hellmanns needed to reframe the no food waste purpose into an inspiring message that got Americans to act. We leaned into the emotional uplift undercurrent that we were observing in culture to reframe the conversation from being a food waster to a food saver with Hells. Now, if you haven’t seen the commercial Superbowl ads are easy to find on YouTube.
Kelly Barner (09:22):
It’s absolutely hysterical and well worth 60 seconds, especially knowing it costs 6.5 million. It’s hysterical and entertaining, and we get the point about not wasting food. But what is this commercial for? Mayonnaise doesn’t really make much of an appearance. Now, another food based example comes from the brand. No, they make shelf stable mixes and sauces. Their social mission is encouraging customers to incorporate plant-based foods in their diet. They have partnered with Sedexo and World Wildlife Fund to conduct research talking about the impact that these sorts of changes could lead to. If consumers embrace them at scale, they use that report to certainly generate press, and they’re encouraging consumers to include more sweet potatoes, spinach, seaweed, and cacti in their diet. Now with this example, just like with Hellmann’s mayonnaise, I’m not entirely sure how me attempting to trick my family into eating seaweed is going to sell more of Nora’s product.
Kelly Barner (10:31):
Personally, I love mayonnaise, especially in a really nice chicken salad, but I’m not sure a peripheral ad campaign is ultimately going to drive my brand choice. When we think about how competitive this market is, does the risk of these companies losing the plot outweigh the impact they can have in terms of their social mission? I think this is a very challenging question that certainly the brands that Unilever are facing right now, especially we as we go into an economic downturn, but that many consumers and other companies will be faced with as well. What is ultimately driving the decisions that cause you to spend?
Kelly Barner (11:17):
CPG Margins typically run between 20 and 35% depending on the product category. So those margins aren’t retail thin, but they’re not huge. The competition is intense and consumers are brand fickle. It’s very easy to switch brands and it’s even easier and potentially more advantageous to do it in cost conscious times like we’re in today. In addition to the competition between these products, private label, think store brand, these products are more popular than ever. They are better marketed all the time, and they are both lower cost. That’s an advantage to the consumer and higher margin. There’s an advantage to the retailer. Now, it’s not to say that this approach can’t work. Alan job, I think rightly holds up Dove as a positive example of how a socially mission driven brand can work. They had a wildly successful ad campaign that visually embraced all women body types and shapes and associated the Dove skincare line with that.
Kelly Barner (12:32):
Peter Dart, who’s the lead at Dove’s ad firm, talked about how Dove organically and smartly developed this purpose. So listen organically and smartly, not forced, not mandated, certainly not under threat of divestiture. It was a natural messaging that worked well with the product and a good fit for the consumer. Maybe most importantly, it didn’t have an operational cost impact. It was simply the way that they chose to market the product. They didn’t actually have to change the way they functioned as a company in order to remain aligned with it. So that’s one way that companies are trying to elevate the role of social activism. But I told you this idea occurred to me when I heard two different articles right near each other. Let’s consider the other article for a very different example. One that I actually think ties to the same idea at the heart of the success experienced by Dove, also in the Wall Street Journal on May 20th was an article titled Old Navy made Clothing Sizes for Everyone.
Kelly Barner (13:45):
It backfired. So Old Navy, which is owned by Gap, wanted to be more inclusive of women’s body types and sizes. So there’s your mission driven connection to the same sort of attitude and approach that Dove took. In August of 2021, they rolled out women’s clothing sizes from zero to 30 in the numbered range, the corresponded to extra small up to four x. They also brought in mannequins to represent the diversity of body types. They were selling clothes for the company heralded this as one of the most important changes in retail clothing, one that they anticipated would change their industry well into the future. But since I’ve already read you the title of the article, you know, spoiler alert too late, it was a complete failure. Now, here’s a quote from the article that I think gets to the heart of this tension between the good that companies are trying to do and the challenges that it creates.
Kelly Barner (14:52):
Shoppers said, old Navy’s message of inclusivity resonated with them, but it is sometimes outweighed by the frustration of not being able to find their size end. So here’s the reality. You can’t support a brand you agree with if they don’t have what you want to buy in stock. Even though Old Navy had done research, they didn’t get the allocation of sizes quite right and they very quickly sold out of the middle range of sizes, the sizes that they were traditionally known for selling. It was such a disruptive failure that it led to a management shakeup at the company. Now, I made the point earlier that Dove’s campaign did not add to their operating costs. The same cannot be said of Old Navy’s inclusive sizing. It did add manufacturing costs. I’ve already mentioned that they had to invest in order to do that research into the distribution of sizes, but they also researched women’s body image trends to make sure that they understand the psyche they were trying to plug into with this change in product offering.
Kelly Barner (16:03):
But even beyond that, the company had to redesign some of their clothing to adjust the placement of pockets, darts, et cetera. All of those details that have to be placed right for women’s clothing to fit and look right across such a wide range of sizes. Now, the other perhaps uncomfortable reality of this challenge is that the much larger clothing simply required more cloth, and that added to the cost. Now, companies that are trying to foster body positivity, and of course we do want to be inclusive, they may not wanna talk about that, but it is a manufacturing reality that more thread, more cloth, more time on the machines. When you’re running a very efficient lean business, any difference is going to affect the production line and it also created some challenges in store. So one of the major concerns was how they were gonna distribute this additional cost.
Kelly Barner (17:09):
Were they going to have the larger sizes cost more, which is what retailers typically do. It’s one of the reasons that you’ll see a plus size department separate from whatever the conventional range of sizes department is called, maybe misses in some stores. They physically keep them separate, both for the convenience of shoppers and also so that you don’t necessarily see different price tags for the same item in different sizes side by side. Now, that was one of the things that Old Navy changed. Not only did they expand their range of sizes and redesign some of the product they did away with their plus size section and brought all of the the clothing together into one section, so it potentially created a negative PR problem. If they charged different prices for the different sizes of garments, did it look like they were penalizing their larger customers?
Kelly Barner (18:04):
Now, when you have these clothes hanging side by side, you’re consumer is either faced with paying a higher price for the same size garment they always bought, or customers at the larger end of the range being bothered by the fact that they’re being charged to X percent more for the same garment. Both Unilever and Old Navy are trying to do good, but here’s where you can never get beyond the business fundamentals. So let’s take a look at some of their financial results. In Unilever’s case, their share price and sales growth have lagged behind competitors like Nestle, L’Oreal and Proctor and Gamble. Old Navy, as I mentioned, which is owned by Gap, is the most profitable, the highest sales of all of their clothing divisions. So Gap and Banana Republic are dependent upon Old Navy sales numbers to meet their own. Unfortunately, when they announced their Q1 2022 results on May 26th, old Navy’s sales had flagged substantially and these execution challenges took down the ceo.
Kelly Barner (19:17):
In addition to that, old Navy’s poor performance dragged down the whole company, but as we know, none of this happens in a vacuum. All of this is happening also against the backdrop of inflation where consumers are making the decision simply to purchase less. Now, there are multiple sources of risk that can come from a social mission led approach to brand development. One certainly is it distracts you from operational fundamentals, and we’ve already talked about that, but there are two others that I think we should consider. One is the difference between consumer perception and consumer action, and the other is simply the economic challenge. So let’s talk about consumer perception. A research group called the Trafalgar Group recently ran a study where they asked two consumers, how likely are you to stop using a product or a service of a company that openly advocates for a political agenda You disagree with?
Kelly Barner (20:19):
87% of people said they were likely to switch products, 13% said not. Now, I’m well aware of the fact that we’re talking about social and environmental activism versus political agendas, but who’s to say what is perceived as a political agenda? Now the interesting thing here is that one of the consumer brands most associated with social agendas is Ben and Jerry’s. And it’s funny because I live in the Boston area and every year or so we will make a trip up to Stove, Vermont, and while we’re there, we have a tendency to stop in at the Ben and Jerry’s factory because how do you keep driving and not stop for ice cream, even if it is November in Vermont and there’s a tour with a video and they talk about the fact that Unilever purchased the Ben and Jerry’s brand in order to allow their sense of social mission and activism to be infused through the company’s other products.
Kelly Barner (21:22):
Now, I used to think this was hysterical. I don’t think this was supposed to be the comedic part of the video, but I always thought it was ironic because when you compare the size of little Ben and Jerry’s to enormous global Unilever, how on earth is Ben and Jerry’s going to affect all of these brands? Well, clearly I was wrong because the executive team led by the CEO’s own words is now trying to copy some of the success that Ben and Jerry’s has had in this area. And yet sometimes Ben and Jerry, whose acquisition agreement with Unilever protects their right to choose the social causes and political causes they wanna get behind. Sometimes it has gotten Ben and Jerry’s as well as Unilever into trouble. Here’s another example. Axios recently released their Axios Harris poll. It’s an annual survey that gauges the reputations of the most visible brands in the country.
Kelly Barner (22:26):
What they do is they compare brand popularity by political affiliation, which is interesting. But the most interesting thing to me are the companies that are widely seen as reputable by both ends of the political spectrum. Some of the examples of companies that have done a very good job with this, trader Joe’s, Wegmans and the grocery chain, he heb, they focus their mission and outreach on local communities, not national issues. So not only do they get the benefit of acting locally and staying out of trouble, that’s not necessarily gonna help them sell more groceries. They reinforce their connection to the consumer. It’s in the consumer’s community where their activism bears fruit. So that’s sort of the consumer perception versus consumer action does the way a customer sees your brand and your brand identity and the causes that you choose to support actually make them spend more.
Kelly Barner (23:34):
But there is this economic challenge that’s running as a thread through everything we discuss today, retailers are facing real challenges because consumers are facing real challenges. Here’s one last Wall Street Journal article that I wanna touch on, and this one actually is more recent. It’s from Saturday, May 28th. It’s titled, shoppers Are Fretting, stores are Listening. Now, old Navy manages their own retail locations. Unilever does not. So their relationship with the two sets of customers is going to be different. How well they understand those customers and are able to tie what those customers want and need into pricing production. And yes, social and environmental causes is important. Here are some examples of successful consumer connection given the economic situation we’re in from that article, Walmart has scrapped their original advertising plans and they are now refocusing their ad messaging around value rather than having product that’s on trend.
Kelly Barner (24:47):
They understand they have a value conscious customer and they want that to be saturated in their messaging. One of Unilever’s competitors, Proctor and Gamble also is taking an interesting approach. They are marketing a new dish soap bottle that is designed to save customers money by making sure they can get every single drop of soap out of that container. Another product where they’re taking the same cost conscious approach, they’re marketing a cold water version of Tide detergent because it is cheaper and more efficient to wash clothes on a cold cycle. Now, this isn’t to say that mission driven brands won’t work. We talked about Dove’s, incredibly successful body image campaign. Ben and Jerry’s has gotten a lot of traction. Even companies like Tom’s Shoes where you buy one thing and they take some of the profit and use it to do good in some other part of the world, it can work, but nothing, absolutely nothing.
Kelly Barner (25:54):
Substitutes for efficient product development, consistent innovation and reliable customer experience. This is becoming more and more true as ESG programs themselves are changing. They are becoming increasingly metric driven as more external insight is focused on them. So the question for company leadership is, which set of metrics are you going to work to? Are you going to focus first and foremost on your carbon footprint and supplier diversity spend, or are you focused on margins? Same store sales and share price? Companies naturally want to be good corporate citizens, but the old saying is true. The road to hell is in fact paved with good intentions and you can’t help anyone if you’re not in business anymore. Your ability to execute well is ultimately what buys you the liberty to pursue those social and environmental missions that are important to your company and your team. But first, things have to come first.
Kelly Barner (27:06):
That’s my point of view anyway, and I can appreciate that everyone listening may have a wide range of perspectives on this topic. So first of all, thank you for listening to this episode of Dial P, but please don’t just listen, join the conversation, bring alternate points, flat out disagree, but let me know what you think, let’s talk about it and work together to figure out the best solution. Until next time, I’m Kelly Barner here on Dial P for procurement on supply chain. Now. I thank you for your time and interest and I hope you have a great rest of your day. We’ll see you back here next time.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Dial P four procurement and for being an active part of the supply chain now community. Please check out all of our shows and email@example.com. Make sure you follow Dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of Dial P four. Procurement.
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.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
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 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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.