Although no one expected it, the war in Ukraine is now approaching the end of its fourth month. Refugees continue to flee the country and calls for weaponry persist. President Zelenskyy and his leadership team are hanging tough, advocating for their citizens, and requesting as much military assistance as they can get from the rest of the world.
But now the war in Ukraine is starting to claim casualties on foreign shores… not in the form of refugees, but in a hunger crisis of global proportions.
Before the war, Ukraine was the 4th largest exporter of grain in the world. Now, 20 metric tonnes of grain are sitting in silos as hunger increases worldwide and the next crop not only has no place to go – if it can’t be sold, there won’t be funds to pay for next year’s harvest.
In this Dial P crossover podcast episode, Kelly Barner considers the diplomatic, humanitarian, and logistics issues that have to be overcome to get the grain out of Ukraine:
• Rail and sea options that all seem to have more negatives than positives
• Countries and organizations like the United Nations that are getting involved in an effort to stave off famines
• Bad actors in the region that the Western world may be tempted to deal with in order to prevent mass starvation
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 (00:32):
By now. I think most of the world is familiar with the Ukrainian flag. When displayed correctly is a thick, horizontal band of blue over an equally sized band of gold. It represents the bright blue skies of Ukraine over its wide open fields of grain. Now, Ukraine, depending on the source that you look at is either the fourth or fifth largest exporter of grain in the world behind Russia, Canada, the United States and France. When you combine Ukraine’s exports with Russia’s, you get about 30% of the world’s wheat. One quarter of the world’s barley and three quarters of the world’s sunflower oil. Now this grain primarily goes to north Africa, the middle east and Asia, and it ends up in countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Lebanon. They are still producing grain despite the ongoing war. And in fact, they had a better recent growing season than many of the other regions in the world.
Kelly Barner (01:46):
The problem is they can’t get it out of their country. I’m Kelly Barner, the owner of buyer’s meeting point a partner at art of procurement and your host for dial P here on supply chain. Now I’m constantly scanning the news for interesting complex articles to discuss. And of course, I read all of this to figure out what we can learn. I have a quick favor to ask we’re building out dial P for procurements independent following. So if you listen to today’s podcast and you like what you hear, I’m gonna ask you for a review, maybe a few stars alike, a share. I’m always grateful for your interest and attention. Thank you so much for listening in all right now, where was I before the war? 90% of Ukraine’s exports left their country via deep ports on the black sea. This included their grain. Now, however Russia is blockading their ports, although they’re denying it and blaming sanctions on behalf of the west.
Kelly Barner (03:00):
So the big question that we’re faced with is how do we get all of this grain out of the Ukraine? Many of the people in this listing audience are procurement or supply chain professionals. This feels like the perfect problem for us to try and solve, but it’s unbelievably complicated as I’m gonna take you through today. Now the Ukrainians themselves are very realistic about this. The government currently estimates that they expect less than half of the current harvest to actually make it out of the country. There have already been some reports contested naturally that Russia has stolen some of the grain being stored in Ukraine, creating the temptation for desperate nations to do business with Russia, undermining the west sanctions in order to feed hungry populations. Now like this point, there are a number of very delicate trade offs and difficult decisions that we’re gonna talk through today.
Kelly Barner (04:05):
And I’m gonna walk you through three specific, but interrelated challenges. We’re going to talk about desperate food insecurity. We’re going to talk about complex logistics challenges. And lastly, we’re going to talk about the pressure of time. There really is no luxury to stop and think here. So let’s start with the food insecurity piece. This is a supply chain problem of the highest order and potentially a humanitarian crisis. Global food insecurity was already high because of the pandemic and unrelated weather events. Now the inability to get all of this grain out of Ukraine is exacerbating that situation and actually making it quite dire. According to the United nations world food program, they estimate that at any given time, the world has a 10 week wheat supply on hand. That’s where we are today. 10 weeks, nothing more. Historically the world food program has gotten 40% of its wheat from Ukraine alone.
Kelly Barner (05:20):
So this is a problem that they are monitoring very closely and are very familiar with in January of 2022, a full month before Russia invaded Ukraine. The United nations warned that 41 million people in 43 countries were teetering on the very edge of famine. That number is up from 27 million just two years ago. Add to that the fact that global food prices are surging and you have a real problem on your hands. In fact, in March of 2022 global food prices hit an all time high. Now the United nations is looking at this problem across countries, but individual countries are dealing with it as well in mid-May India took the step of banning exports of wheat because they are having shortages within their own borders. They’re not really a big exporter of wheat traditionally, but that’s one more thing. Putting additional pressure on an already taxed system.
Kelly Barner (06:37):
Today, there are between 20 and 30 million metric, tons of grain sitting in Ukraine and a number of different groups are trying to figure out how they can get a corridor cleared to export that grain out to the world. Now we talk about grain and we’ve talked about sunflower oil, but wheat is a very unique crop. And we talked about the fact that just under a third of the world, supply comes from Russia and Ukraine alone. There was recently an interesting article about this in the wall street journal, it was titled a solution to the wheat shortage, genetically modified crops, and it was written by a North Dakota state Senator and actually a former wheat farmer named Terry WOSK. He pointed out that wheat farming is a laggard process compared to other crops. Genetic modification has made it possible for crops like soybeans and corn to significantly increase their yield by land use.
Kelly Barner (07:46):
And so economics are directing farmers away from wheat to other more profitable crops because the wheat industry won’t commercialize genetic modification. There are less sources of wheat and less abundant sources of wheat worldwide, which in its own way, creates more of a dependency on areas like Russia and Ukraine, where is farmed plentifully. Now logistics plays a huge part in this challenge, and we’re not just talking about one channel, both land and sea are ways that we can potentially get this grain out of Ukraine. The roads are largely jammed up. And even if they weren’t the volume that we’re talking about 20 to 30 million metric tons, this isn’t something that you’re taking out via OTR freight, right? We’re talking about enormous quantities that need to travel predominantly via train or cargo vessels. Now, one of the land routes that has been proposed is to go via Poland or Romania to reach port cities.
Kelly Barner (09:02):
If Romania is chosen, the wheat would be taken via rail to ports on the Danu river, and then it would be loaded onto barges to go to Stan, to the black sea. Now it could also go Overland through Poland, but here’s one of the interesting things. And this is where we start to run into really interesting supply chain quirks Poland’s rail gauge is not the same as what they use in Ukraine. Ukraine uses a wider gauge of rail. So there is a 16 to 30 day wait time for moving the grain from one container to another at the Polish border. Even if that weren’t an issue and they were somehow able to make all of these transfers and get across land and load it into barges and get it to port cities, Romania and Poland’s ports are not truly equipped to export the large volumes of grain that need to be moved very quickly out of the Ukraine.
Kelly Barner (10:07):
And yet, despite the challenges, there are some positives and reasons that these options are still being discussed. Both Romania and Poland are countries that are friendly to the west. Sounds simple, but it’s incredibly important as you’ll see, as we start to talk about some of the other alternatives and while they do have this non-compatible rail issue, that’s not the only challenge. It’s also slow and costly and the ports may not work out. So basically what these countries have going for them is that they’re friendly to us. And they’re there now from there, believe it or not, the options actually kind of go downhill. The next land option that’s been discussed is via Belarus to Lithuania. It’s been discussed to come up with a northward grain quarter through Belarus, to Lithuanian ports out on the Baltic sea. But like with Poland and Romania, there are both positive and negatives to this option on the positive side, Belarus and Lithuania both use the same wider gauge rail that Ukraine uses.
Kelly Barner (11:17):
So that cuts down significantly on the delays because you don’t have to transition the wheat from one type of vehicle to another. But then we come to the negatives Belarusian president Alexander Lucas Shanko is allied with Putin. In fact, he allowed the Russian military to cross through his country to get to Ukraine. Some in the Biden administration are actually proposing a six month waiver of sanctions on Belarus, potash fertilizer industry in exchange for a rail corridor. So that should be a second red flag. If the United States already has sanctions against Belarus, they’ve clearly done something that we need to be concerned about in addition to their president, just plain being friendly with Putin. Now, potash is a key ingredient in fertilizer and Belarus is one of the main sources of this worldwide in December of 2021, relatively fr frequently sanctions were imposed by the United States for quote blatant disregard for international norms and the wellbeing of its own citizens among Belarus leadership.
Kelly Barner (12:36):
At that same time, Lithuania that we would need to partner with Belarus to make this route possible, cut off belarus’s access to their ports. This is sort of like making a deal with the devil. Russia has beaten the only place for Belarus to sell their potash since the sanctions were put in place. And so even if it was an uneasy friendship, it was sort of the only option that they had now, ironically, the fact that these sanctions are in place preventing Belarus from exporting, their potash has actually been contributing to the food insecurity troubles. We just talked about by creating fertilizer shortages that are very disconcerting. So what we have is a big messy circle. Now water is also an option. What if there were a way to reopen Ukraine’s ports? Now Ukraine themselves has deliberately sunk ships and put mines in the water. So there would be some safety related cleanup that would need to be done, but Russia is also blockading those ports.
Kelly Barner (13:43):
So it’s not as if we can just clean out the waters and open these ports, Turkey and Russia have had discussions about reopening Ukraine’s ports on the black sea. And if you remember from our initial opening to this conversation, Turkey is one of the countries that is most dependent on Russian and Ukrainian agricultural exports. So they absolutely have skin in this game. So Turkey and Russia are discussing what they can read, what they can do to reopen Ukraine’s ports, to which Ukraine said, excuse me, was anyone going to invite us to this conversation, Turkey and Russia thought they were just gonna sort this out on their own without actually bringing Ukraine to the table. Both the Ukraine and the United States have agreed that Keve should be involved in any discussions involving reopening the Ukrainian ports because the United nations and their world food program is so dependent upon grain from this part of the world.
Kelly Barner (14:49):
They have also tried to broker negotiations to get odesa’s ports reopened, but every time they bring it up, Russia, of course insists on having sanctions lifted. So that’s been a no go so far. Now we’ve talked about food insecurity and we’ve talked about logistics, but if you remember, time is also not on the world’s side here. Ukrainian silos are largely already full with the grain. They have not been able to export. The next harvest is about to begin and there is nowhere to put it further complicating things is the fact that Ukrainian farmers typically count on the proceeds from this year’s full harvest to finance their next planting. So if that cash flow is interrupted because they an can’t export, what’s already in the silos and they can’t take the new harvest and put it into already full silos. They’re not going to have the resources to plant the next crop.
Kelly Barner (15:54):
If we thought we were facing a disruption. Now wait until next year rolls around. Now, when I think about this challenge in the big picture, one of the first stories we can relate to in the United States is the baby formula shortage. As of late may nationwide out of stock rates were over 70%. That is absolutely horrifying if you are a parent or certainly if you were an infant, but let’s put that in context. According to the most recent us census, 6% of the us population is age five and under if we assume a roughly even distribution, that means a little over 1% of the us population is a formula consuming age and therefore has been affected directly by the baby formula shortage. Now let’s give them credit. They may be the most sympathetic and the most adorable 1% in the country, but they are still 1%.
Kelly Barner (17:04):
Now compare that to the impact numbers based on Ukrainian grain, one example, Lebanon, they get 80% of their wheat from Ukraine, the entire country. That’s far more than 1% of the population. And of course we remember the United nations warning about 41 million people in 43 countries balanced on the edge of famine. There are no questions that there are diplomatic challenges here. We’re talking about weighing sanctions and bargaining against bad actors, abusing their people. We’re basically being forced to weigh the impact of potential famine and a multi-year food supply disruption to worldwide grain supplies against presumably justified sanctions being placed against Belarus and Russia, which is the worst evil. What do you change in exchange for what kind of return? And there are also logistical challenges. We have ports, we have barges, we have rail, there are friendly countries and unfriendly countries. The 20 metric tons currently stuck in Ukraine is enough to fill 400 massive cargo vessels.
Kelly Barner (18:31):
That’s where we get to this idea of over the road freight, simply not being enough. And even if it were somehow possible to magically open back up the ports in Odesa the ports in the Baltic, the ports and the black sea, and bring in those 400 massive ships. You can’t bring them in all at the same time and time here is the scariest resource of all. This brings me back to one of my central philosophies. When I look at supply chain or anything else, nothing that is simple is real and nothing that is real is simple. And boy is this situation real, and it is becoming more urgent by the day. This is an example of a situation where everyone world leaders, diplomats, supply chain, professionals, non-governmental organization, everyone needs to come together to try to figure out a solution fast. That’s my point of view.
Kelly Barner (19:38):
This is a very complex issue. Like all of the issues we cover here on dial P and I’m sure people listening in hold differing opinions or have additional facts to offer up, bring those into the conversation. I always ask as much as I’m grateful to you for listening to dial P or watching in on any of my video interviews or live streams. The biggest thing I want is for you to not just listen complex issues, require collaborative solutions, join the conversation and let me know what you think let’s work together to figure out the best solution. Because if there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s going to take all of us until next time. I’m Kelly Barner. And I’m your host here on dial P for procurement on supply chain. Now, thank you so much for listening in and have a great rest of your day.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of dial P for procurement and for being an active part of the supply chain. Now community, please check out all of our shows and firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.