Supply Chain Now
Episode 1041

I refuse to think that supplier diversity is the supplier diversity manager's job alone. We have to work as a whole organization to make these programs successful.

- Aylin Basom, CEO of supplier.io

Episode Summary

“Supplier diversity managers need to speak the language of business. They need to talk about connections with key initiatives and financial outcomes.”

– Lois Eichacker, Vice President of Customer Success at supplier.io

 

Supplier diversity professionals have good reason to celebrate in 2022. Companies clearly see a connection between supplier diversity and workplace culture. The recognize that their commitment to supplier diversity is also an investment in the employee experience.

The 2022 State of Supplier Diversity Report received the highest level of annual participation since it was first run in 2017. Over 200 companies of different sizes and industries shared their current status, best practices, operational challenges, and vision for the future. They see evidence that the good news is real but also recognize that there is still work to be done.

In this Dial P crossover episode, Aylin Basom, CEO of supplier.io., and Lois Eichacker, Vice President of Customer Success at supplier.io, joined Kelly Barner and Scott Luton to share the most compelling findings from this year’s report and interact with the exceptional Dial P audience.

They took this opportunity to comment on the report’s three key findings, putting them into context and making them actionable for all organizations:

• Corporate buy in for supplier diversity is stronger than ever, with the most effective programs truly and meaningfully engaging their executive leadership teams

• Challenges remain between the vision of supplier diversity and the operational reality, but best practices have emerged that significantly increase support below the C-level

• Ensuring that quantitative measurement not only happens, but is made as easy and efficient as possible, helps supplier diversity managers focus their efforts where they are most needed

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Dial P for Procurement, a show focused on today’s biggest spend, 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.

Scott Luton (00:31):

Hey. Hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Kelly Barner here with you on Supply Chain Now. Kelly, how are you doing?

Kelly Barner (00:38):

I’m doing great, Scott. How are you?

Scott Luton (00:40):

We are doing wonderful. We have a big, big show teed up here today. And I don’t know what the weather is like up in the Boston area, but it is gorgeous, a little bit brisk here in Metro Atlanta. But it is gorgeous and we’re very grateful for that, right?

Kelly Barner (00:53):

We are. In fact, we had our first snow of the season just over 24 hours ago, and that’s now officially gone. So, we’re back to sort of normal November looking.

Scott Luton (01:01):

Okay. Breaking records. All right. Well, everybody, welcome to today’s livestream. Hey, it’s a special Dial P for Procurement here today. We’ve got a big show lined up focused on key developments and insights on the state of supplier diversity report. So, this is back by popular demand. Kelly, you know, we featured a launch of this intriguing research report last year, and it was fascinating. This is the fifth year for the report, and it’s the largest data sample yet as executives from across industry have provided their insights and weighed in. So, Kelly, question, do you expect we’ll learn something new here today?

Kelly Barner (01:38):

Oh, there’s no question. And, obviously, I’m biased on this front. I love both books and movies. And you know how the movie is always better when it’s based on a book? That’s my own point of view. We’ve also done a lot of livestreams, and I just think that the depth that you get in a report-based livestream is second to none. So, we are definitely going to learn some good new things.

Scott Luton (01:58):

I am with you. I’m with you. We really enjoyed the pre-show conversations with our featured guests here, two dynamos, so stay tuned. We’re going to bring our guests on in just a minute, but a couple things, we’ll say hello to a few folks first. Joseph tuned in from Windsor, Canada.

 

Kelly Barner (02:13):

Hi, Joe.

Scott Luton (02:13):

Joe, hope this finds you well. Great to have you. We look forward to your perspective here today. One of our faves, the supply chain and procurement illustrator.

Kelly Barner (02:22):

That’s right. And you are first ever live drawing. He’s the Bob Ross of Dial P.

Scott Luton (02:27):

Oh, I love that. And I heard a double R there, Kelly, in drawing. It’s like the Boston pronunciation. But hey, Jeff, hope this finds you well. Andy is tuned in via LinkedIn. Andy, let’s know where you’re tuned in from. Looking forward to your perspective here. Justin, hello to you. Good morning. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. Okay.

 

Scott Luton (02:48):

So, Kelly, before we bring on our guests here today, a couple quick programming notes. If you enjoy today’s conversation, hey, be sure to find us wherever you get your podcast, Dial P for Procurement. If you love all things procurement, you can’t miss that, it drops weekly. And Supply Chain Now, of course, it’s a twofer, it’s a BOGO. Subscribers don’t miss a thing, money back guarantee. But check it out. You won’t regret that you did. Okay. So, Kelly, are we ready to introduce our guests here today?

Kelly Barner (03:17):

We are definitely ready.

Scott Luton (03:18):

All right. So, with no further ado, I want to bring in our featured guests, Aylin Basom, CEO of Supplier.io, and Lois Eichacker, Vice-President of Customer Success at Supplier.io. Hey, hey. Aylin, how are you doing?

Aylin Basom (03:32):

Hi. Wonderful. Hi, Scott. Hi, Kelly. It’s fantastic to be here today. Thank you for having Lois and I to join this great discussion.

Scott Luton (03:39):

You bet. And, Lois, how are you?

Lois Eichacker (03:42):

I am doing well. Thank you.

Scott Luton (03:44):

Well, Kelly and I are tickled to have you both. We’re really looking forward to diving into this year’s report. Before we get there, Kelly, we got a couple quick questions to get to know Lois and Aylin a little better. Are you ready?

Aylin Basom (03:55):

Absolutely.

Scott Luton (03:57):

All right. So, Aylin, I want to start with you. You’ve been traveling a lot – I’m very jealous there – talking about supplier diversity and this report, so tell us some of the things that you heard. How’s it been resonating with the market? How have groups been responding, Aylin?

Aylin Basom (04:11):

Yeah. Absolutely. Yes, we have been talking a lot and have been traveling a lot. It’s really nice to share our state of supply diversity report. It’s been so fantastic to just get the feedback, but also share our findings. A lot of interesting, a lot of engaged conversations with our customers as well as our partners and in the industry. And for those of you that are dialing in that might not be familiar with this report, it’s a part of us partnering with the corporations across industries committed to advancing supplier diversity. We put this report out every year. To Scott’s point earlier, this is our fifth year, which is so exciting.

 

Aylin Basom (05:01):

And the report is really designed to identify these key trends and metrics and storylines really impacting the supplier diversity community to really help those leaders identify areas of either opportunities or focus in their program. So, we certainly receive a positive response to this kind of information. We wanted to provide an actionable insight, not just talk about the trends, but really information that they can do something with. So, it’s been extremely exciting.

 

Aylin Basom (05:40):

From the Supplier.io perspective, our mission is really to provide that supplier diversity management solution, help organizations with workforce demographics doing economic impacts, and really help companies find these certified diverse suppliers increase their diverse spend. And truthfully, this mission is very important to me as well, very personal as being a woman foreign CEO who’s been in the tech space for the last 16 years. I’m originally from Turkey. And the fact that we can have a open dialogue about how we’re all doing in supplier diversity and what we can learn from each other to improve and really make a positive impact has been so fantastic.

Scott Luton (06:31):

Wow. I love that. And, Kelly, gosh, ton of passion and purpose and practicality there. Kelly, your quick comment, I’m going to go to Lois next.

Kelly Barner (06:39):

You know what? I think it is that combination of sort of getting a read on what’s happening, but then figuring out, and so what now? That’s really the power of the data and the findings that we’re going to go through today.

Scott Luton (06:51):

Agreed. Very nice, Kelly. All right. So, Lois, talking about passion, I’ve really enjoyed our preshow conversations. Part of your background is helping women-owned businesses get VC backing. So, what are some of the unique challenges there that these business owners face?

Lois Eichacker (07:07):

Hi, Scott, and thank you for that question. And I think it’s an important question and is a great add-on to the supplier diversity discussion we’re getting ready to have. And the reason why is that, if you talk to a diverse supplier and ask what are your two biggest challenges. They’re going to say – not necessarily in this order – number one, contracts; number two, access to capital. And so, in the last 20 years I’ve been in business, working with supplier diversity professionals across hundreds of different companies, I have really personally witnessed some of the successes that the supplier diversity profession has had on that access to contracts problem. And would love to see the same professionals take on the access to capital problem that corporate or the venture capital community has not found a way to solve.

Lois Eichacker (07:56):

And so, first, just for anyone who doesn’t know, I want to just kind of give a quick overview of the problem. When we talk about the problem, we start with 42 percent of the businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, 51 percent of the population are women. And then, you kind of marry that against the fact that a mere 2.4 percent of the venture capital money, $300 billion actually that’s invested in venture backed companies, actually makes its way to women-led companies. The even sadder part of this already sad story is that this number has not moved at all since I was working directly with high growth women-owned businesses in the early 2000s. So, sad story, but I have a proposed solution or a solution for us to consider anyway.

Scott Luton (08:43):

Okay. We love solutions around here, by the way. Lois, and that is.

Lois Eichacker (08:48):

So, I’d love to see the supplier diversity professionals that are successfully tackling this access to contracts, access or target, and take a look at and deal with the access to capital problem. And, you know, one of the ways that they can do that is by looking at the corporate venture funds that are sitting in their companies. So, there’s over $300 billion sitting in these corporate venture company funds that are within corporations that’s either being invested or already invested in companies. And there are 4,000 venture firms across the world. And so, if we can get these funds to become part of the diversity strategy where there are corporations, and if we can get those fund managers to be intentional about how they direct those investments [inaudible] huge impact on what is one of the major problems here.

Scott Luton (09:41):

I love that.

Kelly Barner (09:41):

I think it’s a really important observation, Lois, and it’s something that goes right to the heart of the overall procurement value proposition. Because so many times people will say, “How can I become a customer of choice to my suppliers?” And I always say the same thing, “Pay them on time.” But if you’re trying to grow a business, you need more than that. So, there certainly are supply chain finance programs that can be done. I love your call to VC funds. But, basically, what you’re pointing out is that while companies may think about just specifically focusing on supplier diversity within procurement, this is actually a much larger business opportunity, a very strategic one that every single person in the company can play a role to address.

Scott Luton (10:27):

Yes. Yes. Okay. What a great starting point. Really quick, Kelly, I want to share a comment and say hello to a few more folks, and we’re going to dive into some outstanding research. So, Jeff, I think is hitting one of the points that both Lois and Aylin spoke to, “Cashflow constraints for sure are a major challenge to growing diverse suppliers.” Thank you for that, Jeff. And going back, we’ve got Christina from Fort Lauderdale, the Sunshine State. I love that, Christina. Looking forward to your perspective. Anthony Mims from Atlanta. A fellow Air Force veteran, good to see you, Anthony. Jonathan tuned in from Detroit. Bill tuned in from up in your neck of the woods there, Kelly, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Paula in Charlotte, the Queen City. Great to see you, Paula. Michael from Orlando, Justin from Dallas, a lot of folks from around the country. Great to have you. Hey, we’d love for y’all to weigh in on what you hear from these three business leaders here. So, Kelly, where are we going next with Aylin and Lois?

Kelly Barner (11:26):

So, now we’re actually going to focus on the findings of the report. And there are three key findings that emerged this year. But before we dig into the details, I want to give both of you an opportunity just to sort of give us what’s the lay of the land? What’s sort of the overarching message that you take away from the report? So, Aylin, let me start with you. What would you say is sort of the 30,000 foot level read on what this year’s report tells us?

Aylin Basom (11:53):

Yeah. Great question. So, we’ll definitely get into more details on the findings. But the fact that, one, there is some positive news, we are certainly making positive strides in the industry. We have lot more engagement from the executive teams. No longer of the days that companies are doing this as a kind of a check in the box. Supplier diversity is very important, very much aligned with the work culture and values. So, we certainly see that. But we also see definitely that we have more work to do as it relates to maybe the how is answered now, but – I’m sorry – maybe we actually answered why we need to have supplier diversity now.

Scott Luton (12:42):

Start with why, one of our favorite approaches, Aylin.

Aylin Basom (12:44):

That’s right. But then, now we need to work more on the how piece. How do we make these programs successful? How do we make sure that we have the right budget, right staffing, right tool in place, and right measurements and goal setting to ensure that the programs are successful? So, certainly, those are some of the kind of the high levels and look forward to kind of diving in.

Kelly Barner (13:11):

Excellent. No, I think, absolutely, we’re going to have an opportunity to go into more of those as we go through the conversation. But, absolutely, we’re in a good place. There’s more work to do, which is good, because I personally love my job. And so, we don’t want to just accept where we’ve reached. We want to keep pushing.

 

Kelly Barner (13:29):

Now, Lois, let me ask you the same question, and I know your perspective will be important today because you spend so much face time with the heads of procurement, with the supplier diversity managers carrying this out. From sort of a boots on the ground perspective, what’s your overall read on the report?

Lois Eichacker (13:48):

So, my read on the report is it’s an exciting time for supplier diversity. So, again, it’s taken 50 years to get here, but they’re finally in the spotlight, and for the first time being regarded as truly strategic corporate initiatives in a broad way. But the other thing I’ll say, and it’s reflected in the report, is the shift didn’t happen gradually over time. You know, it was kind of almost literally overnight on May 25, 2020 and was accelerated and exacerbated by COVID supply chain issues. So, what that means is that many of the programs that up until then were struggling with getting funding and tools and staffing were, all of a sudden, asked to deliver on these supplier diversity goals that they really weren’t positioned to.

 

Lois Eichacker (00:14:36):

So, of course, the automotive industry group and the companies that have been doing this for years, the veterans that can do this in their sleep, but there’s a big knowledge gap that we’re seeing. A huge knowledge gap in those companies that are just starting programs post-2020 or programs that have been in existence but did not have that executive engagement, tools, budget, et cetera. So, big knowledge gap that we’re really working with, with some of those programs to close.

Scott Luton (15:04):

Kelly, really quick, I think one of the things that Lois touched on there is, as much pain and turmoil that we’ve gone through throughout the pandemic and the post-pandemic, some of these silver linings that have really reinvented how business is done, those are some of our favorite takeaways from all the heartache of the last three years. You know, that’s some good news there.

Kelly Barner (15:25):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And further on that point of good news, Aylin, you sort of touched upon it in your overview, we do, in fact, start with a good news finding in this report that, especially at the executive level, the buy-in – I believe the number was 81 percent – of executive teams are actively engaged with these supplier diversity programs. If you can find me 81 percent of any group, of any people, anywhere that agree about anything, I’m impressed. And the fact that that 81 is here, I take as hugely inspiring and affirming. And so, I’d be interested to get more on your perspective on that. So, what is it that inspires these executives so much? What are the connections that they see to the type of workforce culture they’re trying to build? And how does supplier diversity come into that?

Aylin Basom (16:18):

Great question. You are right, so first of all, that executive engagement is extremely important. Now, we’re not only looking at CEOs to actually board and engage the leaders across the organizations, that’s certainly a positive news. And we’re seeing more and more organizations are saying that supplier diversity is how they do business, how they operate as a company. They see supplier diversity as a core to who they are. And I mentioned kind of earlier that it’s aligned with the values and culture, not only for their employees as a company, but also aligned with the values and culture of their customers. And that’s extremely important that, actually, the diverse suppliers that they are investing in has the representation of their customers as well.

Aylin Basom (17:14):

So, we’ve seen over 80 percent of the companies are saying that they’re actually seeing this as a part of their social responsibility. We love seeing that. But it’s also exciting to see the positive business impact that organization see, 63 percent actually say that the supplier diversity not only improves their supply chain competitiveness, which is extremely important, especially in this day of age, what we’re going through. And then, almost 50 percent also reports that they’ve significantly seen an enhancement in their brand image. So, again, it’s the social responsibility – extremely important – alignment with value and cultures of your employees as well as your customers. But improving that supply chain competitiveness is a very, very big piece as well that they have been seeing. And it’s very, very positive from the business impact perspective.

Scott Luton (18:15):

Hey, Kelly, right before you continue here, I want to share this. TSquared kind of echoes what Aylin’s saying in some way. And by the way, TSquared holds down the forth for us on YouTube. Thank you for that. He says, “It’s about time that the issue of supplier diversity and supplier pooling is being discussed at the front as part of corporate strategy. A diverse supplier base can definitely mitigate supplier risk.” Kelly, love that.

Kelly Barner (18:37):

Absolutely. And TSquared is one of our regulars. He’s a fixture here at Supply Chain Now. So, I’m thrilled that he’s joined us for this session. And, actually, it’s interesting because I agree. And even within larger procurement, there’s always been a debate about, Does procurement have a seat at the table? Should procurement have a seat at the table? Do they have a seat at the table? Right now, I would say supplier diversity is standing on the table. It’s sort of my perspective.

 

Kelly Barner (19:06):

And, Lois, I would be interested to hear from your perspective, given this groundswell of support and the wholehearted buy-in at the executive level, what has that meant for the supplier diversity managers and programs themselves? What does that engagement and enthusiasm allow them to accomplish?

Lois Eichacker (19:24):

So, I think one of the things that we see that’s really been a great shift has been supplier diversity professionals are being seen and their programs are being seen as strategic initiative. And companies are buying into the fact that supplier diversity, you know, can be directly linked to important things that are important for the overall success of the company. So, they can see supplier diversity linked to their revenue drivers, other key strategic initiatives, and, in fact, being able to achieve overall desired financial outcomes. So, that has been probably the most compelling thing that has really struck in supplier diversity programs, and made their conversations with executives so much different than what we’ve seen in the past.

Lois Eichacker (20:11):

And I’ll touch on just one other way that we seen this engagement shift and become more impactful. It’s actually an example from one of our customers that’s been able to really effectively engage and utilize that engagement and using it to move from engagement to action. And so, it’s actually, LaTisha Brandon who leads the DE&I efforts at the Container Store, committee or a team of one, I’ll say. And she was able to convert that executive engagement she had with the CMO and CEO and act as supplier diversity council that’s actually shared by the CMO. And that includes representatives from the senior teams of every team that touches and manages contracts. So, she’s able to, at this time, evolve from a team of one, have a program that was shared accountability and responsibility across the organization. And that’s something that I don’t think you maybe would’ve seen happen before this level of engagement was achieved.

Scott Luton (21:16):

Hey, team of one. Hey, hang in there. Reinforcements are coming, right, Kelly? Reinforcements are coming.

Kelly Barner (21:21):

They are coming. And I just have to say off point, this is not a promotional deal, I love the Container Store. I’m such an organizational —

 

Lois Eichacker (21:29):

[Inaudible].

 

Kelly Barner (21:31):

Okay. Thank you. Okay. But I think, you know, you talk about the example of LaTisha, and I know she has shared her story, which is so important because we all need to hear from the people doing this work. But she’s really a translator from enthusiasm into action. If you don’t have all of those LaTisha’s out there that are just as driven and just as focused and know the target that they’re trying to hit, we talk about this being an important moment, but in the grand scheme of things, if we’re not careful, it will be a moment.

 

Kelly Barner (22:05):

And so, in order to make this sustainable, it actually serves as a great transition to the second key finding of the report, and that’s about maybe a little bit of a disconnect between all of the enthusiasm at the executive level and either a lack of clarity or education or resources or direction at the operational level. So, Aylin, I’m going to come back to you, just to get sort of your overview of this observation. It’s maybe not as exciting as the first one, but in some ways it’s actually more important because this is the groundwork that we need to be focused on doing.

Aylin Basom (22:41):

Yeah. Absolutely. From the perspective of, listen, executive – yes – buy-in is extremely important. Yes, they have to be the one who’s setting the vision, and goals, and measurements, and accountability within the organization. Right now, we are seeing two-third of companies still say that they do not hold managers accountable by including supplier diversity metrics as a part of performance reviews. That’s important. I mean, what measures gets done, right? That’s what we believe in and that’s extremely important for companies to have that. So, again, the executive leader buy-in is important, but also measurement and setting goals is very important.

 

Aylin Basom (23:26):

So, we also have been talking a lot as I’m discussing with different corporations, one of the big things is executive leaders also should invest in the program to be successful. Just buy-in is not important. That’s what I was kind of mentioning earlier about, you know, the staffing, the tooling, and investment in the people. So, we just talked about LaTisha being one person, and Scott is like, “Wait. People are coming and the help is coming.” Absolutely. That has to be the systems, the processes, the training and creating awareness within the organization is definitely an area that we have to make sure that that’s driving a change from the top down.

 

Aylin Basom (24:11):

And then, truthfully, the second finding that we’ve had, is, again, the measurement and tracking continues to be a big problem for the program success. And one of the reasons why we may be seeing this problem is also because how manual supplier diversity management still is for many organizations, unfortunately. Manual to collect information, during the supplier onboarding, we’ve seen that, and half of the companies are still manually reaching out to suppliers as needed. And that definitely is hard for those programs to be successful.

 

Aylin Basom (24:54):

And then, the other thing that we’ve seen as a key finding was, if you are learning, if the supplier is diverse or not during onboarding, that’s very reactive. Not really thoughtfully planned out. And so, we’ve been doing a lot of kind of a consulting around that too. And another concerning thing is, again, from the measurement perspective, is, we’ve seen 26 percent of the company still says that they are tracking supply diversity on an Excel. That’s not scalable.

 

Kelly Barner (25:33):

Procurement.

 

Aylin Basom (25:35):

Right. Exactly. I know. But that kind of a managing and tracking is not going to be scalable. And so, luckily, that’s kind of the things that we do. As part of the organization and our mission, we work with organizations bringing data and technology to really help them and scale. So, another thing that I’m going to suggest, one of the things that we’re seeing a lot, and this is relative to our key finding around measurement and tracking where we see a big success, we have to give supplier diversity and procurement leaders time to actually source these diverse suppliers.

 

Aylin Basom (06:23):

So, the best in class companies, what I’ve seen on the road talking, like I said, with as many organizations as possible, what works and what doesn’t, it works when they actually look at their upcoming renewals, upcoming contracts, and really finding ways to infuse those minority businesses. And giving time for those supplier diversity and procurement leaders to be able to source those suppliers instead of making a last minute. And, again, this is part of the measurement, it’s part of the tracking, and it’s part of actually putting programs in place to ensure the success of these supplier diversity programs.

Scott Luton (27:04):

I love that. Kelly, why don’t you respond to that, and then throw it back to me for a couple quick comments, and then we’ll get Lois’s take.

Kelly Barner (27:09):

No, I will definitely do that. And I think the big thing that comes to mind for me, Aylin, is that everything you’ve just described is very real, but it’s also not a supplier diversity problem. It’s a procurement problem. And I love the fact that we have Jo Yacura with us here today. He is the data quality guru. So, Jo, I’ve been listening. I’ve learned everything you’ve said. Everyone has a data problem, right? There’s companies that know they have data problems and there’s companies that have data problems. And then, yes, Excel spreadsheets – come on, guys. Come on, with the Excel spreadsheets. We do need to be scalable. It does need to be trackable. But savings tracking, which is different, but it’s a related capability, it has been a problem since there was one procurement person working on a railroad someplace in the U.S. West. So, all of these problems, again, the solutions to them are both the path forward on supplier diversity, but also the solution to the pressing problems that procurement teams are facing as a whole.

Scott Luton (28:10):

So well said, Kelly. Excel is like the duct tape of the global supply chain or procurement, what have you.

 

Kelly Barner (28:15):

Unfortunately.

Scott Luton (28:17):

All right. A couple quick things here, and we’re going to try to circle back. I want to give folks in the cheap seats, in the sky boxes a chance. Jason poses a great question – and, Jason, we may not get to this today. Our team, our guests from Supplier.io will get all the questions and comments, maybe it tees up for a nice cup of coffee after today’s session. Jason says, “Hey, how long does the panel think it’ll take for supplier diversity to have prominence in EMEA then APAC?” So, we’ll try to get a quick take there. So, thank you for that question. Sheena, love this. She says, “I love this discussion, supplier diversity not only mitigates risk, but it can also support the local economy.” Very well said. And then, finally, Jeff says, “D&I as well as the overall ESG focus for most large companies has indeed placed diversity in local (lower carbon) options front and center, aligning both the environmental and business goals on the same level.” Very nice, Jeff. Okay. So, y’all keep the comments coming. Again, we may not get to all of them here today, but we’ll make sure that the great team over at Supplier.io can maybe have a chance to speak to many of these questions and comments that come in.

 

Scott Luton (29:24):

Kelly, so much to get to, we’re only halfway through. Where are we going next with our panel?

Kelly Barner (29:28):

So, actually, Lois, I’m going to come to you and ask for maybe some best practices and advice around some of the things that we just talked about with Aylin. So, just naming a few that really jump out at me, there’s the inclusion of specific performance objectives in executive performance measures, there’s the question about reporting, there’s the question about timing, there’s the question about supplier onboarding. For the companies that you worked with that you see making real headway and that are really succeeding, what are some of the best practices that are allowing them to advance at the operational level?

Lois Eichacker (30:04):

So, one of the ways that you can look at this in terms of what’s really important to get anything done is in terms of having the appropriate goals in place and being intentional about how those are set. Being intentional about goal setting is critical because that’s what is going to lead the direction of the supplier diversity and determine how much buy-in that comes with that. And so, it’s important for us to get where we want to get by CEOs, have goals, communicate them across the organization, communicate them externally. If we can get them to and, of course, get it tied to compensation is kind of the gold standard.

 

Lois Eichacker (30:46):

But I think some of the other things that we see that are kind of important to driving the success, particularly at other levels of the organization, is, kind of moving past the goals. The goals are critical and important. But looking at the goals around the activities and things that those people need to do in order for the success for the supplier diversity program that you want to even happen.

 

Lois Eichacker (31:11):

And so, again, we’ve got another great customer who did something or is doing something that I think that is really good, which is putting goals around those specific activities. And they got to be realistic. You know, when you’re talking to the boots on the ground, which is where the work gets done, you’re not going to motivate them if you give them a goal that they don’t think is possible to achieve. They’ll just move on to the next thing. So, this particular customer put in very realistic goals around those activities. Such things as number of RFPs include diverse suppliers, total number of diverse suppliers included in RFPs, number of counseling sessions or kind of consulting sessions that are held by the sourcing folks with prospective diverse suppliers that are really promising to educate them ahead of time about the RFP process.

Lois Eichacker (32:03):

And one of the things that I think is sometimes overlooked, the sessions and coaching sessions that are held with the diverse suppliers that are currently in-house or currently using, but that are facing performance problems. So, again, I think we focus a lot of our energy on getting diverse suppliers into the house. And it’s really as critical to make sure that we’re supporting them in their success once they’re there. So, those sorts of things. And, you know, incentivizing that day-to-day actions and activities, those don’t happen. You know, we’re never going to get to the larger overall organizational goals.

Kelly Barner (32:40):

Absolutely. No, I think that’s incredibly important. And I think in some ways that idea of having realistic goals, they have to be very clear and they have to be realistic. In some ways it almost flies in the face of the enthusiasm that we’ve been talking about because sometimes the enthusiasm says to us shoot for the moon. And, of course, we are still shooting for the moon. We’re just making a couple of little stops along the way, because if you don’t get those incremental improvements that can be demonstrated, then everybody else is like, “What moon are you talking about? You got to bring everybody with us.”

Lois Eichacker (33:16):

I think it’s really important, the goal, we can all have one. But if you haven’t defined a path to get there, all everyone is doing is wishing on that star. You know, have a realistic path how to get there if you want to achieve it.

Scott Luton (33:29):

I’m sorry.

Lois Eichacker (33:30):

And I think it’s motivating to have goals I really think I can meet. I think that is more motivating to me than we need 15 percent diverse spend by next year.

Scott Luton (33:41):

I love the points being made here, but I got to go back to that moon analogy, Kelly. I don’t know about y’all parents here, but all I could think about when you said stops along the way is, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” coming from the backseat.

Kelly Barner (33:53):

“I need to use the bathroom on the way to the moon.”

Scott Luton (33:57):

Oh, gosh. Hey, really quick, I want to recognize so much coming in and we can’t get to all of it. But, hey, the one and only Kim Winter from Dubai, “Enjoying the supply diversity report discussion and the panel diversity.” Love that. Hey, you mentioned Phil Ideson, he’s with us here today. Phil, hope this finds you well. “The challenge for procurement as well is how to make diverse supplier involvement and sourcing exercise more than a check the box.” Pencil whipping exercise, great point there. Enrique is with us, really enjoying the discussion. Great to see you, Enrique. And, Anita – one final comment – Anita says, “Accountability from the top down. We can’t do it all alone or keep one person or group accountable for diversity. Most organizations have creative thinkers that can engage diverse organizations in many ways, some in which procurement may not even think of.” Anita, two thumbs up. That is an excellent comment. Kelly?

Kelly Barner (34:51):

No, I think it’s a fantastic point. And, Anita, I don’t know exactly your position, but I have a feeling, and it actually makes me think of where we’re going with this conversation. We’ve talked about executives, we’ve talked about procurement, we’ve talked about sourcing managers. Who we have not talked about is the supplier diversity manager. And let me tell you, as much as the enthusiasm and the excitement is all there, these folks are working so hard with Excel spreadsheets in a decentralized decision making structure. If we were all sitting in a conference hall right now, instead of joining from homes and offices, I would say every supplier diversity manager or director that is in this room right now, please stand up so that we can recognize you and recognize the challenges that you’ve overcome and the hard work that you’re putting in every day. Every single one of you, in some ways, is a team of one, we are coming. We’re on our way to help. And so, if we’ve talked about leadership vision and boots on the ground, Lois, let’s talk about the feet in the boots for just a minute. What are the challenges or the day-to-day realities? What’s making today’s supplier diversity manager’s job harder or easier? What is going on within their specific role right now?

Lois Eichacker (36:14):

So, what’s going on in their role right now? We’re seeing a dramatic change. I think what’s been happening is that there was lack of kind of alignment between what they’re doing and trying to achieve in kind of the executive level. And a disconnect on what was trying to be achieved and what was needed to support that person with the feet in the boots on the ground, what they need to do. And so, now that they’ve got that engagement – we talked about a knowledge gap earlier – now that you’ve got that engagement intentional and deliberate about how you leverage that.

 

Lois Eichacker (36:51):

And so, the thing that Aylin touched on, we’ve got so many of these folks are mired down in manual task and pivot tables, and all of those sorts of things that are just not strategic. They take a ton of time but are not strategic. So, it’s really important that they get these tools that are out there. They don’t even cost that much. There are tools that are out there that can do all of this. And so, that is imperative to get the supplier diversity managers the time that they need to work on this alignment issue, which is real. If you have realistic goals and achieve them, you’ve got to have alignment with the executive level.

 

Lois Eichacker (37:30):

And so, in doing that, they need to change the language, some of them that they speak. Speak the language of business. Talk about that connection with the key initiatives of the company, the key business drivers of the company, the financial outcomes that supplier diversity can help them achieve. And a great example that we’re seeing of this is for some of the successful supplier diversity programs that are out there, they are able to coordinate with their sales folks and have their supply [inaudible] –

Kelly Barner (38:01):

That’s really smart.

Lois Eichacker (38:03):

… success, so that’s a business differentiator, a competitive differentiator during the sales process. So, lots of angles, seeing people doing a lot of creative things to the point that I think one of the comments that were made, you know, supplier diversity has got to be creative, and we’re seeing them be creative because there are a million angles that all of which need to be attacked to successfully get where we want to go.

Kelly Barner (38:27):

Yeah. Absolutely. And there is no traditional career path into or through supplier diversity. If there is a book that says how to be a supplier diversity manager, I’ve not come across it.

Scott Luton (38:41):

I got it right back here, Kelly. It’s right behind me.

Kelly Barner (38:42):

Can I borrow it? Are you done reading it? But all of these teams of one, I mean, it’s the ultimate example of entrepreneurship. You have somebody internally. Especially we talked earlier about there’s very mature programs that have been out there, in some cases, for decades. But there is such an enormous growth of brand new programs, and they’re all going through that maturity process. And that supplier diversity manager is owning that and building it out as a brand new framework and capability for the company. And so, there are educational challenges in addition to time and bandwidth and resources and influence and all of that.

Lois Eichacker (39:21):

One other thing that’s really important, you talked about there’s so many new programs and then there are the programs that have been out there for 50 years. This industry is just unreal in terms of the way that you will see people within companies that are fierce competitors in the marketplace come together and collaborate on supplier diversity. And they will reach a lifeline, if you got a question, if you are looking for a diverse supplier in an area that you’re having difficulty, you can get a lot of support from the supplier diversity managers at other companies. And it really is look one, look all, supporting the greater good that you see, that you just don’t see in other areas within companies. So, lots of opportunities to get help out there.

Kelly Barner (40:09):

No, there certainly are opportunities to get help. And, Aylin, we talked a little bit earlier about data. But for anything that you really do want to scale, whether it’s one person or a relatively small team of people leading it, you do need to know all of the details that support this passion program within so many companies. And so, I’m pretty convinced that there’s nothing that exists without a digital component anymore. And so, beyond Excel – please, beyond Excel – what are the opportunities that exist to make measurable progress, to measure that progress, to track what good it’s doing, whether for the local community or for a larger geography working with different communities? How can we scale and reinforce these programs by using the digital capabilities that are available to us?

Aylin Basom (41:01):

Yeah. Great question. So, a couple of things. Number one thing that we actually heard from all these companies across industries, the number one problem companies report that they can’t still find diverse suppliers. They don’t know how to find it. And that’s a very big thing. Like, you don’t have a diverse supply and diversity program. Whether, you’re a supply and diversity manager or procurement, you need to be able to find these suppliers. And so, this is something that we try to help organizations a lot. We have over 2 million dual suppliers in our database that are certified. And so, getting access to credible accurate data is absolutely critical to any program.

Aylin Basom (41:49):

So, think of this as almost like a foundation. That they have to have good data, need accurate diversity data to really know where they’re at today first. And speaking of kind of what they can do, most of the time companies come to us and say, “Okay. I have thousands of suppliers before I can set goals. Before I can do anything, I need to understand what does my diverse supplier spend looks like even? And they want to be able to actually kind of learn where they’re starting from. So, they will give us kind of the data and we will actually enrich them and we will be able to tell them and say, “Okay. Here’s your diverse spend,” for them to be able to set goals for the future.

 

Aylin Basom (42:34):

And then, the second thing that both customers with companies within our industry has been asking us is around, “Okay. So, now I know where I’m at, but I want to be able to find these diverse suppliers. And I want to be able to expand that diverse spend.” So, the second thing is around the technology and data perspective, again, for them to be able to have a place where they can go in and almost sift and sort. Like, be able to say, “I’m looking for a facilities management company that is woman-owned, that is in Chicago, and this zip code.” That kind of, again, tooling and process is going to help for programs to be successful, as well as that access to that kind of a data.

 

Aylin Basom (43:18):

And then, the third thing that we’ve been hearing a lot is around, “Okay. So, now I know where I’m at. Now, I know how to find them. But I really want to be able to set realistic goals.” Lowe’s talked about that a little bit earlier. For that, there’s two things that we’ve been hearing a lot. They want to know benchmarking. They want to be able to actually understand for their industry where the benchmarks are. And so, this is something that we worked on a lot to be able to give organizations – again, the actionable insight is an extremely important word for us, and we live by that – so we wanted to be able to show that benchmarks for their industry. But, also, ability to know where they’re at compared to their industry and where the areas for improvements are. So, again, setting goals is one thing, but setting goals based on data, like the achievable measurable goals is extremely important.

 

Aylin Basom (44:24):

And then, the last but not least, you mentioned in your question around a lot of companies are actually reporting their program results now publicly, and we do this economic impact and reports and you’ll be amazed. The companies, some of them are utilizing internally as well as with their executive team and their board, but also some of them are actually sharing it publicly and saying, “This is something that we believe in. We’re going to continue to invest in it. And here’s the economic impact that we’re actually seeing more we invest.” So, that sets a very high bar to ensure that you have accurate data as the foundation of your program because you’re publicly actually stating. And that’s kind of where we help, and I think that’s extremely important.

Scott Luton (45:20):

Love that. Massive cost for bad data is kind of also what you’re implying, which is so much truth there. Kelly, your quick response and then we’re going to finish with a flurry of lots of resources and some advice. Kelly, your thoughts first, though?

Kelly Barner (45:34):

Actually I’m going to defer to Lois. Did you want to jump in?

Lois Eichacker (45:37):

You know, I did. I think there’s one thing that’s really important that we haven’t touched on yet, and that is, if we’re going to hit these aggressive goals that are out there, we’re not going to be able to do more of what we’ve done because you’re just not going to achieve 500 percent return on just running faster. And technology and tools that we talked about that can automate some of the manual tasks, but even that alone doesn’t get us to the need to be able to keep up with the speed of business. Supplier diversity has got to keep up with the speed of business. It is going to get where we need to go, and that’s is going to be the thing, too, that’s going to make it sustainable. So, we’ve got to put the tools directly in the hands of the people that are the decision makers at the time they need to make the decision. And so, once those tools are kind of in a separate part of the organization or got to go ask somebody, you’re not going to hit the mark. I just wanted to submit that.

Scott Luton (46:33):

Let’s not fool ourselves, right? Let’s not fool ourselves. What great comments from both you, Aylin and Lois. Jason, going back to data, “Data integrity is critical.” Excellent point there. Bill, big comment here, but lots of resources there. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts —

Kelly Barner (46:52):

Go Massachusetts.

Scott Luton (46:53):

Dawn, you’re talking about the books. Dawn says Hacking Supplier Diversity by Scott A. Vowels, PhD that’s out there. And then, Kristin offers up Supplier Diversity for Dummies by Kathey Porter. Great read there. So, thank y’all very much for dropping that comments.

Kelly Barner (47:09):

We have a very high standard for our audience members here at Dial P. They’re well read. They’re well connected. They’re getting their jobs done.

Scott Luton (47:17):

Oh, man. I get a certification, Aylin and Lois, every time I sit down with Kelly and all of her friends. Okay. So, let’s do this, I want to kind of circle back with you both. One of the last questions we want to pose to you is about getting more advice. So, Lois, I’m going to start with you, what advice would you give to supplier diversity programs who want to make the most out of this moment and set themselves up for success in 2023?

Lois Eichacker (47:42):

So, the first thing I would say is set realistic goals based on where you currently are. Benchmarking is great. It will let you know what the potential for your program is, but set realistic goals. You know, that’s the first way to set yourself up for success is to set a goal you can never achieve. So, I think that’s first. Then, celebrate the small wins that your team is having. You really want to keep them motivated. So, celebrate those, celebrate diverse suppliers that you’re currently using that are successful, and showcase those. And as importantly, showcase the internal stakeholders, whether they be sourcing managers, vendor managers, stakeholders in the business that are supporting, and work with those vendors. So, start really showcasing and build enthusiasm around the people that are supporting your program internally. The last thing I would say is be intentional and deliberate. You know, you got limited time. It’s important that you spend it in the areas and places and in the conversations where you’re going to deliver the most impact. You don’t have time to waste.

Scott Luton (48:40):

Love that, Lois. Man, urgency, be deliberate, be intentional, all that, and celebrate small wins. That gets overlooked so often in so many aspects of global business. Aylin, what else would you add to that? When you talk about advice, and for folks that really want to do big things, get different results, not just business as usual, what advice would you offer?

Aylin Basom (49:01):

Yeah, absolutely. And I agree 100 percent with everything Lois said. We have an incredible opportunity to make a both positive and social impact by investing in diverse suppliers. That’s very important. Clearly, what we’ve talked about since from the beginning is that, building the business on why companies should invest in it is not the problem now. But we are seeing people and companies are recognizing that the supplier diversity is a key driver in, again, supply chain competitiveness. We talked about diverse and inclusive workforce and sustainable procurement, positive impact, and brand image. So, now, companies, again, need to really spend that time on how we’re going to make these programs successful. And to be able to do that, we discussed executive buy-in is very important, yes. But at the same time as important, right measurement, right tracking, process, technology to be able to really support and scale your program.

Aylin Basom (50:08):

So, I strongly suggest that you learn your industry benchmark, we talked about that, and then Lois mentioned that, yes. But at the same time, make sure you set achievable goals, so that’s extremely important. And then, today’s world, the talent you need to hire and retain cares about what you do, cares about this, and your current and future customers cares about this. So, again, a successful program is going to really require you to train and communicate the strategy to the entire company. I refuse to think that the supplier diversity is the supplier diversity manager’s job alone. Supplier diversity, and, Kelly, you mentioned earlier too, this is a procurement. This is a procurement challenge. This is a supplier diversity management challenge. And we have to work as a whole organization to make these programs successful and to make sure that all buyers, direct and indirect, take a part in this as well.

 

Aylin Basom (51:14):

And then, last but not least, most successful programs have very integrated processes. We mentioned depth earlier, and focusing on the data-driven actionable insight decisions in your plan. Demonstrate at all times how you’ll keep people accountable. And then, last but not least, always have a detailed expected result. I’m, you know, leading an organization. I talk about this all the time for our company as well that we have to measure, we have to detail our expected results, and we have to have the accountability there. And so, I would strongly recommend for your programs to be successful, have those in place.

Scott Luton (51:57):

Well said. And, Kelly, I’m going to get your quick comment before we make sure folks know how to connect with Aylin and Lois. But, hey, not only do your team members and customers care about it, to Aylin’s point, but more and more they’re expecting it. And that’s a great movement and trend that we’re seeing too. Kelly, your quick comment on Lois’s and Aylin’s advice here today.

Kelly Barner (52:16):

Well, I have good news, Scott. I know this is one of your favorite parts of any livestream. I just found my t-shirt-ism. I found it. Aylin, refuse to accept that supplier diversity is the supplier diversity manager’s job. And, again, just like with the challenges we talked about that are procurements challenges and everyone in operations challenges, this is the same thing too. And you can take out the word or the phrase supplier diversity and put in risk, you can put in sustainability. And so, this type of program, a really effective entrenched supplier diversity program has to be looked at as being just as all-encompassing as risk management, as sustainability, as any of these things that contribute, not just to operational effectiveness, but brand value in the marketplace. And so, I think everyone needs to own, in a slightly different way, the vision as well as those realistic goals, Lois, that you talked about setting.

Scott Luton (53:17):

Well said. Okay. I want to do this, there’s a great report, folks. Aylin and Lois already brought it today, a lot of good stuff in the last hour, but there’s more. Y’all can download this report, the 2022 State of Supplier Diversity Report from our friends at Supplier.io. And the link is right there in the comments. And it’s easy, I downloaded it earlier this week. Great read, chock full of the data points, which is one of my favorite things. And I love how you laid it out too. It’s easy to read and follow. You want to turn to the next page. You want to turn to the next page. So, I love that y’all keep doing great work. All right. Lois, I want to start with you, how can folks connect with you and learn more and maybe even have a cup of coffee?

Lois Eichacker (54:01):

Well, probably easiest to connect with me through LinkedIn. So, that would be the preferred channel and love to have coffee.

Scott Luton (54:08):

Just that easy. So much to talk about. And by the way, not only do we get great advice from Aylin and Lois and Kelly, the comments are full with things that we’ll have to add to next year’s State of Supply Diversity Report, perhaps. Aylin, same question, how can folks connect with you?

Aylin Basom (54:23):

Yeah, you can connect with me through LinkedIn. You can always go on our website, not just for me, but also as an organization. We would love to hear from you. And then, the third thing is, if you want my email address, it’s aylin.basom@supplier.io, so that’s easy. And our website is www.supplier.io. So, it’s very easy to find us and we’d love to connect with you, answer your questions, and help support your success.

Scott Luton (54:47):

Oh, love that. Kelly, big thanks to our wonderful guests here today. They hit it out of the park as expected, right?

Kelly Barner (54:54):

Oh, we would take nothing less.

Scott Luton (54:56):

Well, hey, thank you so much, Aylin Basom, CEO of Supplier.io, and Lois Eichacker, Vice President of Customer Success as well. We love what y’all brought today. There’s so much to learn and thank you for taking time to share it.

Aylin Basom (55:08):

Thank you, Scott.

 

Lois Eichacker (55:09):

Thank you Kelly. Appreciate having us.

Scott Luton (55:13):

We will talk with you soon. Thank you so much. Man, Aylin and Lois. Now, Kelly, we promised folks it was going to be one heck of a one-two punch. That was a jam packed hour. So, you already shared your t-shirt-ism from us, which I love. I refuse to believe that too. But what else? You know, folks, we covered so much ground and, folks, we dropped not only how to connect with Aylin and Lois in the comments, but we also dropped an easy one click link so you can download that report. Check that out. It’s a must see data and leadership guidance and a lot more. If you also refuse to set the current state of supplier diversity, make sure you check that out. But, hey, Kelly, what should folks keep on the radar from the last hour? What were some of your favorite takeaways?

Kelly Barner (55:59):

So, I think the big thing that people should keep in mind is that what we discussed over the last hour, as much ground as we covered – and we covered a lot of ground in terms of making supplier diversity programs work in the big picture – that was maybe the first three pages of the report. There is so much else in there and it’s fascinating. So, for instance, I remember Jason Roberts asked that question about moving into different regions of the world. Global supplier diversity is an early days kind of movement. But year over year, the progress is really inspiring. And so, there are nuanced challenges that have to be overcome. What’s diversity in North America is not the same as what’s diversity in EMEA or in Europe. Every region has its own makeup. But there is information about globalization in there as well as how it’s spreading.

Kelly Barner (56:48):

There is just so much to think about. And, certainly, I know Lois and Aylin and the rest of the Supplier.io team are happy to discuss, I’m happy to discuss as well, this report really is – of course, now I know there’s at least two books about supplier diversity that I’m going to put right at the top of my reading list. In addition to those, though, this report is required reading because it is so data-driven. And I think that for many organizations it’s sort of the last piece of the puzzle. They know this is the right thing to do. They know it is good for them. They know it is good for the customers and the communities that they work with. But having that hard data foundation, you simply can’t move forward without that in any business setting. So, take a look through the entire report and then reach out to any of us, the whole team at Supplier.io or any of us involved in the livestream today.

Scott Luton (57:38):

Well said. Yeah, all about the outcomes. It’s not just the right thing to do. It impacts the business. It impacts the ecosystem with tons of value. So, y’all check that out. Big thanks to all the great feedback we got today. Bill and Kristin and Emmanuel – Emmanuel, I saw you had some great questions asked. Of course, all of our partners here will get those and, hopefully, we can have some conversations after today. Because you heard Kelly say, she’s happy to discuss. Lois and Aylin are happy to discuss. Hey, we’re all happy to discuss this stuff. This is a great development and great shift in how business is done. And these are steps we’ve got to take. So, Kelly, big thanks. Thanks for your key takeaways, your t-shirt-isms, how you navigate the conversation. Folks can find Dial P for Procurement wherever they get their podcast from. A new episode drops every –

Kelly Barner (58:28):

Thursday, including today and Thanksgiving. So, you’ll have something a little extra to be thankful for. And then, this episode itself will be the Thursday after. So, plenty of opportunities. There is no statute of limitations on asking questions about this content. Whenever and wherever you find it, please reach out to somebody if you have a question.

Scott Luton (58:46):

Lean in. Lean in. Take action. Deeds not words. Hey, folks, thanks for joining us here today. Really enjoyed. Kelly, loved the conversation and appreciate all that you did. Big thanks, Aylin and Lois, the whole team over at Supplier.io for helping to facilitate these conversations. Data and steps you got to take. Big thanks to all the comments we got. I can’t wait to go back and look at them and have some post-show conversations. But, folks, whatever you do, you got to take action. Deeds not words. That’s the name of the game. So, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change. And with that said, see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now and Dial P for Procurement. Have a great weekend everybody.

Intro/Outro (59:26):

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 events at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you follow Dial P for 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 for Procurement.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Aylin Basom is the Chief Executive Officer of supplier.io, pioneer and market leading SaaS supplier diversity management platform, helping companies track diverse supplier spend, grow the program and measure through inclusion tracker and economic impact reports. Aylin has over 15 years of experience in technology, working with global customers, building high-performing teams and delivering SaaS solutions to companies across industries and markets. Aylin has served in various executive leadership roles driving significant revenue growth from both direct and indirect channels. She has extensive industry knowledge and a proven track record for leading growth oriented business strategy and great customer experiences. Prior to supplier.io, Aylin was the Chief Customer Officer of Americas at Infor. Infor is an enterprise software company, with $3.2 billion revenue, 18,000 employees, and owned by Koch Industries. She is passionate about ensuring the very best experience for customers: from their earliest interactions with products and people, through achieving maximum value of their investment. She is an advocate for diversity and a leader that inspires, encourages, and supports diverse teams which results in business growth, creativity, and innovation. She is often asked to speak at National Diversity Council and Tech Inclusion conferences. She has been selected as Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech 2020 and 2021 and Member of Young President’s Organization (YPO). Aylin holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Texas Tech University and Strategic Leadership Certification from Harvard University. Connect with Aylin on LinkedIn.

Lois Eichacker is Vice President of Customer Success at supplier.io, the leading SaaS provider of solutions that enable companies to manage, optimize, and scale their supplier diversity programs. Prior to joining supplier.io, Lois was responsible for the Emerging Business Program for the largest regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, where she provided strategic consulting, financing and fundraising advice to high-growth, women-owned businesses. Before that, Lois was a consultant at Keane Consulting Group, a strategy firm that specializes in profitability improvement with a strong emphasis on data analytics. Before that she spent 10 years at BP Amoco working in corporate finance, subsidiary investment analysis, and in an operating role in the Natural Gas Group with bottom line responsibility. Lois holds a BBA in finance from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She serves as a Director on the University of Iowa Center For Advancement Board and is a member of the Advisory Board at the Tippie College of Business. Connect with Lois on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about Dial P for Procurement

Subscribe to Dial P for Procurement

The Supplier.io State of Supplier Diversity Report

Check Out Our Sponsors

Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

Connect on :

Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

Connect on :

Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

Connect on :

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

Connect on :

Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

Connect on :

Greg White

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.

Connect on :

Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

Connect on :

Karin Bursa

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.

Connect on :

Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

Connect on :

Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

Connect on :

Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

Connect on :

Jeff Miller

Host

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.

Connect on :

Amanda Luton

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.

Connect on :

Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

Connect on :

Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

Connect on :

Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

Connect on :

Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

Connect on :

Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

Connect on :

Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

Connect on :

Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

Connect on :

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

Connect on :

Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

Connect on :

Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

Connect on :

Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

Connect on :

Demo Perez

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.

Connect on :

Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

Connect on :

Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

Connect on :

Alex Bramley

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.

Connect on :