Dial P regulars know that when you ‘dial p’ you get procurement – usually. But sometimes, p is for payments and credit card processing. Keeping in mind that one company’s payments become another company’s cash flow is absolutely critical in today’s hyperconnected supply ecosystems. All procurement professionals need to know how multiple forms of invoicing and payment work – and how they can support all suppliers’ desire to get paid sooner.
In this month’s episode of Dial P for Procurement, Kelly Barner and Scott Luton are joined by Jim Luff, Marketing Manager at Chosen Payments, and Kris Lance, Senior Director at Una. They answered all of our questions about how payment processing works, including credit card payments, chargebacks, and contactless payments.
During a conversation recorded live with the full participation of the Supply Chain Now ‘skybox’ audience, Jim and Kris answer questions such as:
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Scott Luton (00:00:32):
Hey. Hey. Good afternoon. Good morning. Good evening. Good night, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Kelly Barner with you here on a Dial P for Procurement episode right here on Supply Chain Now. Kelly, how are you doing this morning?
Kelly Barner (00:00:44):
I’m doing well, Scott. We actually have a really fun, different session for people today. It continues to be all about the P. Today’s not about P for procurement though. It’s not about P for purchasing even. Today, we were doing payments and credit card processing and who doesn’t like payments.
Scott Luton (00:01:01):
You know, it’s revolutionized global business, right? Everyone these days, everyone, regardless of size, certainly if you’re in supply chain, the transactions make global business move forward. And a lot of those are payments processing, credit card payment processing, you name it. And we’ve got a thought leader in that regard here today to answer all of your questions.
Scott Luton (00:01:24):
Really, I think we’re breaking up the conversation, Kelly, in two main veins, you know, how payment processing works and the power of payments in an episode written by the one and only Anne Rice of supply chain, Global Supply Chain Procurement, Kelly Barner. We should note, Kelly, that, of course the P for procurement is presented jointly by Supply Chain Now and are our dear friends at Buyers Meeting Point. And, we’ve been wrapping up a home run quarter with our friends at Una, right?
Kelly Barner (00:01:53):
We absolutely have been and very much following in the theme of what we’ve been talking about is that, you know, you can’t have a good experience on one side of the fence and not have one on the other side. And, I think this topic of payments kind of brings everything together because at the end of the day, global business hinges on that capital flowing from one set of hands to another.
Scott Luton (00:02:12):
That’s right. Excellent point there. So, of course, if you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us wherever you get your podcast from and subscribe. But most importantly, we want to hear from you today in the moment. This is live. This is not recorded. You can pinch us, but we’re right here, live in the flesh, talking with you. We want to hear from you as we chat through our conversation with our two awesome guests, Jim and Kris, which we’ll introduce here momentarily.
Scott Luton (00:02:36):
But hey, really quick, Kelly, as we see folks in our cheap seats, in our sky boxes as we’ve renamed it, we see two of our favorites, right? Let’s go ahead and call out two of our favorites. Azaleah is with us, a new resident of the great State of Tennessee. She says, “Supply Chain Now Fam! Excited to be here for Dial P.” She had a change in schedule last week.
Scott Luton (00:02:58):
Hey, Azaleah, congrats on your new professional opportunity. We look forward to big things continuing to come from you. And, Kelly, one of our favorite, you’re talking about perspective that’s dropped in the sky boxes. Azaleah is one of the best, right?
Kelly Barner (00:03:13):
She definitely is. And, I’m glad you were able to be here this week, Azaleah, glad your schedule interfered with whatever was happening last week and not interfering with you being here with us today. You would have been missed.
Scott Luton (00:03:22):
Always, she’s always missed. And, she says she has acquired some experience lately. We’re going to have to check back in with her.
Scott Luton (00:03:29):
Keivan is with this once again as he has coined the new abnormal that we’re all working through. Keivan, I hope this finds you wherever you are and you continue to do big things in global supply chain.
Scott Luton (00:03:43):
Peter Matheka is here with us. He’s bringing the gun show to the livestream via LinkedIn. Hey Peter, let us know where you’re tuned in from and thanks for joining us here today. We look forward to your POV.
Scott Luton (00:03:55):
Okay. So –
Kelly Barner (00:03:56):
Actually, hold on Scott, really quick speaking of Peter, in absentia shout out [inaudible] RSVP regrets from Peter Bolle, all night and all day. So, this is, Peter as you’re listening on demand, we already miss you, buddy. But I know you’ll enjoy it on replay.
Scott Luton (00:04:13):
Yes, he is here in spirit, undoubtedly.
Kelly Barner (00:04:15)):
Yes, he is.
Scott Luton (00:04:15):
Especially on any conversation that’s dominated by procurement. So, all the best to our dear friend, Peter Bolle. Okay. Kelly, are we ready to introduce our dear guests here?
Kelly Barner (00:04:28):
I don’t think the question is, are we ready? I think the question is, is our audience ready? Today’s going to be a wild one. If you’re not already, please sit down, move hot beverages and sharp objects to a safe distance away. Just hold onto your hats because this hour is going to be something else.
Scott Luton (00:04:43):
Oh, we’re going to have a lot of fun. We’ve got some colorful personalities, and that’s what makes the world go round. So y’all stay tune or more –
Kelly Barner (00:04:49):
Scott Luton (00:04:49):
That is right.
Kelly Barner (00:04:51):
Scott Luton (00:04:52):
One more shout out. TSquared is with us. TSquared holds down the fort for us on YouTube. Thanks so much for being here. He says, “Looking forward to the nourishment.” I have enjoyed your comments here lately, TSquared.
Scott Luton (00:05:03):
Okay. So with no further ado, we want to –
Kelly Barner (00:05:06):
Let’s do it.
Scott Luton (00:05:07):
Yeah. Let’s bring in our featured guests today. We’re going to be welcoming Jim Luff, Marketing Manager at Chosen Payments, and Kris Lance, repeat guest, Senior Director at Una. Hello, hello, Jim and Kris, how are we doing today?
Kris Lance (00:05:22):
Kelly Barner (00:05:22):
Jim Luff (00:05:22):
Doing great. Thanks for having me on your show today. Really appreciate it.
Scott Luton (00:05:25):
So, Jim, you had us all in stitches and appreciate as you’re sharing some of your experiences and I wish we had three or four hours with both of y’all here today to get them all out there, but nevertheless, a pleasure to have you here and thanks for making time as busy as y’all are.
Scott Luton (00:05:40):
So, we’ve got a ton of stuff to get into. And, hello, Michael Hills, back with us. He was with us yesterday on the bus. So, Michael, great to have you back. We’re going to dive right in. So, upfront, Kelly, you know, we like to have a lot of fun with this lightning round that isn’t always enlightening style, but that’s okay. We’re going to pick and choose some of our best stories and some of our best questions here. And I want to start with you, Jim. So, pray tell, we hear that you spent some time as part of your career journey as a luxury limousine driver. Now, with that said, we know you can’t tell all the stories, you’ve got a lot of good ones, you shared some early on, but give us an anecdote or two from that stop in your career.
Jim Luff (00:06:19):
Sure. You know, I spent 30 years in the limousine business, and I actually got into it quite by accident. I had a friend of mine who called me one day and said, “Hey, can you – would you be willing to drive a limousine on Friday night, a privately-owned limousine? And, I need somebody to drive somebody in and this is a private limo.” And I said, “Okay.” And, I went to pick the limousine up from her office. It was an accounting office. I had no idea that later that night I would be driving the legendary country, western singer, Merle Haggard.
Scott Luton (00:06:53):
Jim Luff (00:06:54):
So, I became Merle Haggard’s regular driver on a, you know, driving a private limousine. And that of course led to Buck Owens. I hail from Bakersfield, California, which is known as Nashville West. So, in my career, I’ve driven people like Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis; the list goes on and on. If their country, they’ve been here to Bakersfield and I’ve driven them and –
Scott Luton (00:07:21):
The streets of Bakersfield driven by Jim Luff.
Jim Luff (00:07:24):
There you go. There you go. So –
Scott Luton (00:07:26):
Well, you know really quick, Jim –
Jim Luff (00:07:28):
Yeah. That was the great solid Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam.
Scott Luton (00:07:30):
You’re right. And, a lot of folks may not know, I didn’t know really until I watched a couple of documentaries on Buck Owens. His legend far surpasses his time on Hee Haw, where maybe the nation saw him. He was an absolute legend when it comes to country and western music.
Jim Luff (00:07:47):
Yes. And, and here in town, in Bakersfield, he built a venue called Buck Owens Crystal Palace. And it is like a miniature version of the Grand Ole Opry located here. So, it’s been closed since COVID started, but rumor has it as of last night that they’re planning on reopening in November, but it really gave me the opportunity to do and see a lot and have one-on-one conversations with celebrities that was fantastic.
Scott Luton (00:08:18):
I love it. Okay. I’ve got to ask you one more question, and then I’ll promise I’m coming to you, Kris. And, by the way, Crystal says, yes, Jim has the best stories. I believe it. Hey, Crystal.
Kelly Barner (00:08:26):
Scott Luton (00:08:27):
I believe it. We miss you and the dog. But, Jim, did you ever convey any big time wrestling stars like Rick Flair, you know, the 13-time heavyweight champion the world?
Jim Luff (00:08:38):
I did not personally, but I had a contract with the WWE to drive all of their wrestlers when they came to my town to be performing at the local arena. But I would like to share my best story and I’m sure that everybody listening knows Bob Hope. I got the honor to drive Bob Hope, which I grew up as a child watching Bob Hope on TV and entertaining our troops. And, he was really kind of an idol to me. So, to be able to drive him was fantastic. But as we were returning to the airport from his speaking engagement, he repeatedly asked me if I could make him a Brandy Alexander. Well, folks, I don’t know what goes in a Brandy Alexander. So, even if I had all the ingredients, I probably wouldn’t make it for him and we’re [inaudible]. We were in a limousine.
Jim Luff (00:09:25):
So, there was no way for me to make it, but he must have asked me this about six times in the span of a 15-minute drive. And, I’m thinking my hero, my idol, he’s just lost it. He’s mushed. And, we pulled up to the plane, his private plane, and he looked at his wife and he said, “Hey, did you get the check from those people from my speaking engagement?” And, I thought, well, Bob, you remembered the most important thing about why you came to Bakersfield, California. So, that’s my best story of driving celebrities, and having that moment with someone really famous.
Scott Luton (00:10:02):
Legendary. The legendary Bob Hope and Bob Hope clearly gets what he wants in demand, tell ya. Jim, thanks so much for sharing some of the stories from 30 years, gosh, in the limousine industry. We’ll have to have you back on and dive in a little deeper in some other things that you couldn’t share here today.
Scott Luton (00:10:16):
Kris Lance, great to have – we love our repeat guests. And, we got a ton of feedback on your last couple of appearances here. Let’s talk about any big time experiences, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, Kris Lance.
Kris Lance (00:10:31):
You know, every morning, I look in the mirror and I talk to myself. I don’t know if that counts, but –
Kelly Barner (00:10:36):
I thought you were going to say Anthony.
Scott Luton (00:10:37):
In our book, it does.
Kris Lance (00:10:38):
Yeah, no, all joking aside. I don’t think I’ve actually I spoke or connected with any A-list, you know, celebrities, but there are two instances, ‘cause I grew up on the Connecticut/New York line, and so there were two instances. I remember being in New York with my dad after a Knicks game, leaving Madison Square Garden, I walked past Spike Lee, which was just cool. We didn’t talk or anything, just walked right past each other. And then, the other time was at a very nice hotel, downtown New York City, it was Mike Tyson and I saw him, Jim, getting out of a limo. I don’t know if it was yours or not, but the large crowd and the face tat gave it away. That’s about it for me. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:11:18):
You know, Mike Tyson. Man, back in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, when he was coming out to that ring, it was an energy that I’ve seen very few times when it comes to sports, and, of course, Spike Lee, iconic. We’re watching his latest documentary on HBO Max now. I’ll just add one more and, Kelly, I’ll promise I’ll throw the baton over to you. Is Mike – I had a chance to sit down with Mike a few weeks ago, virtually, and you never know what you get when you interview folks that are, you know, wildly successful, but I’ll tell you all, Mike was the same guy and, no, I’m not on a first term basis. Mike was the same guy that you see him on anything on TV. He was just the same in a small private interview session. And, that authenticity is going to stick with me for a long time. So, that’s always cool when you meet someone that’s doing good work out in front of the world and they’re just a fellow human. So, with that said, Kelly, we’ve got two, between Jim and Kris, we’ve got an outstanding conversation teed up here today, right? Really quick Crystal, remind us the name of your dog. That was the star –
Kelly Barner (00:12:19):
Scott Luton (00:12:20):
Kelly Barner (00:12:20):
Louie is the VP of snuggles.
Scott Luton (00:12:22):
That’s right. Okay. All right. Kelly, take it away.
Kelly Barner (00:12:24):
Okay. So, Kris, your own personal little lightning round here. First question. Can you drive a limo?
Kris Lance (00:12:32):
I want to say yes, but I haven’t attempted it. I’ll have to ask Jim. Like, is there a big difference between a sedan?
Jim Luff (00:12:38):
You can do it. You can do it.
Kris Lance (00:12:39):
All right. Sure. Yeah, absolutely.
Jim Luff (00:12:42):
But it’s just too much wider turn, just a wider turn.
Kelly Barner (00:12:44):
Second question. Have you ever had a Brandy Alexander?
Kris Lance (00:12:48):
I don’t know what that is. So, I can’t say that I have, not that I recall.
Jim Luff (00:12:52):
That’s two of us.
Kris Lance (00:12:53):
Yeah. Okay. So, third question, in all seriousness. So, you’ve been with us or Una has been with us for multiple episodes now. We know Una is a group purchasing organization. We know Jim is in the community on the provider side. He’s with Chosen Payments. Just for folks that have either never worked with the GPO or maybe just don’t know Una and are coming to this conversation. How would you characterize the larger context in which Una and companies like Chosen Payments and folks like Jim worked together? Give us just sort of like the lay of the land so people understand the dynamic between your organizations.
Kris Lance (00:13:28):
Yeah. So, Chosen Payments and Una, we work together essentially to bring unparalleled value, right? So, we’re aggregating spend, looking at very specific service levels. What makes sense for Chosen Payments? What makes sense for our members? And then, our two entities or our two companies work together to shoulder all of that work, so essentially the members don’t have to. They can say, “Hey, what’s the offering?” And, we can essentially present Chosen Payments and Una’s best foot forward on a regular and consistent basis. And, it does extend beyond, you know, just lower pricing where payments and fees and things like that, which Jim will definitely do a good job hitting on that I’m sure, so.
Kelly Barner (00:14:04):
Awesome. So, basically Chosen Payments is one of the companies that your buy-side members would get the opportunity to work with us as part of Una.
Kris Lance (00:14:13):
Absolutely. You got it.
Kelly Barner (00:14:14):
Okay. Awesome. So, then in that case, Jim, we’ve talked about the value of the dollar, the important of payments to people receiving them and also people making them. Give us a really quick rundown on sort of the basics of payment processing in the context of corporate procurement supply chain.
Jim Luff (00:14:36):
Sure. Boy, that’s broad, Kelly. That’s really broad.
Kelly Barner (00:14:41):
Okay. But you’ve got 60 seconds.
Scott Luton (00:14:42):
If anyone can tackle it, Jim Luff can. I promise you.
Kelly Barner (00:14:45):
Jim Luff (00:14:46):
Sixty seconds. There are five parties involved in every transaction, all right. And, to begin with, I have some credit cards laid out. I’m going to put my finger over my number so you don’t see it. But this is a Wells Fargo Visa. So that would be party number one. They issued the card to me. Party number two is you, the merchant. You were accepting my car. Party number three is a part that most people don’t know of known as the acquiring bank. Now, as merchants, and Kelly and Scott, you both talked about this, we want to get our money fast and there’s really no effective way to do that when you have Wells Fargo out there, you have Union Bank out there, you have Capital One. So, the acquiring bank agrees to basically put up a short-term loan for, say, Union Bank. So, Union Bank, I own this card and I do a transaction for $5,000.
Jim Luff (00:15:45):
Well, an acquiring bank, the largest in the world is called First Data. First data is going to immediately put the $5,000 into the merchant bank account overnight. Chosen Payments is going to be in the middle as kind of a traffic cop between the buyer, the merchant, the funding bank, and the card issuer, and then we’re right in the middle. So, now, Wells Fargo owes First Data that $5,000. So, over the course of the next few days, First Data is going to go to Wells Fargo and they’re going to say, “Hey, you know, we advanced a $5,000 on behalf of Jim Luff to ABC merchant and we need to get that money back.”
Jim Luff (00:16:28):
So, that’s really how it all moves. But I really wanted to stress here that the funding bank or the acquiring bank is the most important key component in the transaction because if you don’t have somebody to give you the money upfront overnight and literally if you’re with chosen payments under the Una plan, if you run transactions by 5 o’clock today, we guarantee the money’s in your bank account by 7 o’clock in the morning. The only way we can do that is to have an acquiring bank loan that money. So, that’s a quick high-end version of how credit card processing works behind the scenes.
Kelly Barner (00:17:06):
And, it’s sort of like, I mean, we use the phrase supply chain finance, right. Companies look for all kinds of different ways to ensure that their suppliers of all different sizes have the liquidity and access to cash that they need. And so, something like this might be part of a supply chain finance program that somebody would put in place just to make those payments, transactions, processes faster and easier and get that money out to suppliers.
Scott Luton (00:17:30):
Right. And, that’s really that cycle, right. Condensing that cycle is so important regardless of the size of business. Hey, really quick before Jim, you were going to add something else. I should recognize Michael Hill. I just learned something about Michael Hill. He played keyboards in a show band back in the day, and he agrees that Jim has the best stories. There’s a championship belt for you, Jim, somewhere.
Jim Luff (00:17:50):
Thank you, Michael.
Scott Luton (00:17:52):
Nurf is back with us. Nurf, appreciate you. Your sense of humor is always, but your expertise in supply chain, great to have you here, Nurf. Okay. So, Jim, you’re going to add something else as we are talking about condensing these cycles, right?
Jim Luff (00:18:05):
Yes. Because you know, Kelly was talking specifically about cash flow and the movement of it. So, 10 years ago, a credit card processor was probably just that. They process credit cards. Today, we have evolved to a point where we’re involved in a lot of other things that make money move faster, including ACH processing. That is an automated clearing house process. And, in the past we used to speak of that as wiring money. I’ll wire you the money. It worked good if you were from another country and needed to move money fast. But the same concept has been adapted through the automated clearing house that let’s say, Kelly, I want to pay you money but I need you to have it today, not tomorrow. I need you to have it today. So, I can generate an ACH or automated clearing house payment to you from my bank account directly into yours. That’s another service that Chosen Payments provides.
Jim Luff (00:19:08):
But the really cool thing that we’ve implemented within the past three years is digital invoicing and digital payments. So, in the past, we all know that when we wanted to get paid and we had one of our customers set up on billing terms that you are periodically running statements in a month. Some companies do it every Friday, some do it once a month, whatever your thing is, but you know this. Number one, you’re going to spend a lot of money on paper. You’re going to spend a lot of money on ink. You’re going to spend a lot of money on postage, and then you’re going to sit and wait and wait and wait until the customer does what they call AP day. And, maybe they cut checks every Friday. Maybe, they only do it once a month. Well, by switching to a digital invoicing system, which we offer, you eliminate all that because the ink is going to be printed on the end of the receiver who’s getting the invoice, but really there isn’t even any reason to print the invoice anymore. And we embed right in the center of an invoice, click here to pay now.
Scott Luton (00:20:11):
Jim Luff (00:20:11):
This causes the money, Kelly, to move 40-60% faster in payments. Because if you think about this, all of you that are listening right now, when we get an email, a work email, it is considered an action item. I don’t care what it is. If it’s a work email, you’re taking some kind of action. And, if you’re like me, you want to be done with it. You want to get this email –
Scott Luton (00:20:38):
Jim Luff (00:20:39):
And you’re going to address whatever it is and be done. Now, you have the ability to click a button and pay that invoice. I guarantee you people are going to pay faster because they want to be done with the email. So, you know, whether you attach a bank account to that payment or you attach a credit card to that payment, we’re seeing more and more people attach their American Express to it, because let’s face it American Express has the coolest gifts and gadget for points, hotel stays, airlines, et cetera. So, you know, we really, as a credit card processor have evolved into much bigger areas that allow companies to move money faster.
Scott Luton (00:21:17):
Hey, really quick, I bet Am Ex should add a night in Bakersfield on the town with Jim Luff to that list of awards. That’d be the top of the list. And, by the way, Kelly, Amanda has looked up Brandy Alexander, which Jim was talking about earlier, cognac, crème de cacao, [inaudible] how you said it. I don’t know. Maybe not. A heavy cream is what we’re after there. And, we should say hello to our dear mutual friend, Katherine McCleery. Katherine –
Kelly Barner (00:21:40):
Scott Luton (00:21:41):
I hope this finds you very well. Okay. So, Kelly, Jim’s really dropping a lot of knowledge on us here today. Where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (00:21:50):
So, I think my last question for Jim, and actually first a note to the audience. So, Jim, we have a lot of really famous people that watched Dial P every month. So, I would just like to extend the offer that any of you famous folks watching Dial P that have been in Jim’s limo, if any of you would like to offer us Jim’s stories, we will be collecting those through the livestream. And, we’ll also take them after the end. So, anytime, no limitations on that, you just reach out.
Scott Luton (00:22:16):
Kelly Barner (00:22:18):
Last question around the basics of credit card processing. We’ve kind of talked in the abstract. You know, I love the overview of how the money moves and all the players. But just to give us a sense, you don’t have to name company names, but what are the types of companies that would work with Chosen Payments? So, if I have someone in enterprise procurement, which of their suppliers might be companies that are working with Chosen Payments to expedite those funds?
Jim Luff (00:22:45):
Well, my easiest answer to that would be all, but I will be more specific that Chosen Payments, we really try not to be, you know, marketing to the masses and trying to get, you know, Bob and Joe that have convenience stores on the corner of their neighborhood because those aren’t profitable for us.
Jim Luff (00:23:10):
So, we work with very specific niche industries, and one of them is associations such as Una. We find that, in this particular case, the sheer volume of members that Una has allows us to apply a lower discount. And I would like to talk about rates before we go, but we can negotiate rates on behalf of our members. But it’s just like, I know that Una, if I want to get, I don’t know, let’s say I want to get reams cases of paper. The paper I buy and the more other people buying paper through Una sources, the lower the rate is going to be, very same concept for us.
Jim Luff (00:23:54):
So, we serve industries where we know that there’s a lot of blank, whatever it is. And, consequently, let me go back and say that Chosen Payments was my credit card processor during the limousine and Chosen Payments has approximately 10,000 limo companies that they process credit cards for.
Scott Luton (00:24:15):
Plus [inaudible] Jim, is that right?
Jim Luff (00:24:19):
Yes. And so, limousine is one. Another really kind of odd but there’s a lot of them is funeral care providers that means cemeteries, funeral homes, cremation facilities. And then from there, we get into a whole subset of caskets sellers, body bags sellers, embalming fluid. So, it’s a very, very large industry. I got to tell you my first convention in the funeral industry, I probably looked like a gear in the headlights.
Scott Luton (00:24:55):
Well, you know, Jim, it sounds like a niche industry, but at the same time it’s like toilet paper, right. And, we all know how big that’s been here in recent years. Everyone has that that other bookend event in their life, right, so naturally it’s going to be big business, Jim.
Jim Luff (00:25:11):
Yes. And so, we do jewelry stores. But we really – I mean, our real niche is working with associations that have lots of members and it’s a whole lot easier to go and find somebody like Kris and sit down and make a partnership with him and then let Kris and Crystal sell our product on behalf of us. So, then they come back and say, “Oh, you know, we have 45 members that want to use you today.” So, it’s an easier sell that way, but we really do deliver a service that is vital, including credit card processing, ACH payments, merchant service loans, contactless payments, digital invoicing, so much.
Scott Luton (00:25:56):
Options, options, options. Okay. You mentioned Kris. Kelly, I know we want to pull Kris’s expertise in here too.
Kelly Barner (00:26:01):
Scott Luton (00:26:02):
Kris Lance (00:26:02):
I was just going to jump in there real quick too because those two items that Jim just mentioned that’s actually been, especially the last 18 months, that’s been probably the largest area of inquiry we’ve had. It’s been digital payments and contactless payments, which I kind of remember pre-COVID being able to walk up with your phone or walk up with your wallet and just place things. And I was like, “Oh, that’s, that’s cool, right.” But once COVID hit, or once we got through there, we’re still getting out of this pandemic, it’s everywhere. And, it’s almost like a new standard now. Even some of the vendors, just from our internal processes, our invoices are coming over in a very digital form, click here, pay, and then it’ll open up, and it’s do you want do an ACH? Do you want to sign here at a card? And so, I see the value internally for us and more and more business or businesses are really starting to access the contactless payments and the digital payments as well.
Jim Luff (00:26:49):
Just Real quick, real quick. Seventy contactless payments went up 71% during the pandemic.
Kris Lance (00:27:02):
Kelly Barner (00:27:03):
Scott Luton (00:27:03):
Wow. Seven one. Okay. So, Nurf, by the way, we’re talking national pepperoni pizza day yesterday on the buzz. Nurf says, “Hey, I’m sending a bunch of pizzas to a secluded island for the ultra-rich. Can you help me with the financing on that?” Hey, Nurf.
Kelly Barner (00:27:18):
Nobody could drive the pizza over.
Scott Luton (00:27:19):
That’s right. Nurf’s in the (27:21), man.
Jim Luff (00:27:21):
[Inaudible] island. [inaudible] driving the islands.
Scott Luton (00:27:21):
I’ve got a couple of great questions from Azaleah, but I want to make sure, Kelly, and then we’ve got a bunch of work through, but Azaleah we’re going to try and circle back to that here just momentarily. All right. So, Kelly, a lot of information. I’m a little bit slower than all three of y’all. So, I’m still processing, no pun intended, but where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (00:27:41):
So, next – one follow-up for Kris. I actually think this is an important point for us to make because people that think they know what a GPO is and what it offers them and what they should look to it for may have actually been really surprised over the last 18 months to find out that something like payments processing was available, right. People think of the typical indirect spend product and service categories as being associated with the GPO. From your perspective, and Crystal, you’re also welcome to chime in, I know you’re here with us. This notion of becoming part of a member community, which I know is the way that you talk about it, you really have an opportunity to become sort of a first tier set of resources because a lot of things changed over the last 18 months in ways that people had to figure out how to handle it overnight and they didn’t necessarily know they needed these things.
Kelly Barner (00:28:29):
So, do you find that as member companies at Una discover new needs, they would turn to you and say, “Hey, Kris, I have this new business problem. We’ve never needed to satisfy this before.” Is this something you ever hear? I mean, I have to think it must be very rewarding for you to be able to say, “Yeah, we have all of these other partnerships that maybe didn’t bring you to own it but that you can benefit from now that you’re here.” Is that a conversation you end up having?
Kris Lance (00:29:01):
Yeah, absolutely. Because, you know, again, we’re not necessarily the experts in all of these different categories, but we do have the network to tap into those experts whether it be through vendors and Jim himself as an expert, right, or whether it’s tapping into other members and seeing what they’re doing, how they’re defining success and how they’re exceeding their own internal expectation.
Kris Lance (00:29:20):
So, you know, we’ve seen as obscure asks, “Hey, what’s your COVID policy supposed to be?” And it’s like, “Well, that’s a little different. You know, what state are you in?” But, yeah, a lot of times a lot of members will come to us and say, “What are other businesses in our industry doing? Where can you help?” And, you know, interestingly enough credit card processing, we’re really talking about fractions of pennies that add up to very, very large sums. So, a lot of times, you know, a lot of businesses, they tend to look at it, that’s too much to tackle. You know, insert Chosen Payments. You don’t have to tackle that. That’s why they’re here. That’s part of their value add.
Scott Luton (00:30:00):
That’s excellent point. You know, it brings them on, Kelly. You know, no one wants to major in the minors as the old phrase goes. However, as Kris just points out, those minors can add up quickly where it’s a massive opportunity, right?
Kelly Barner (00:30:12):
Absolutely. Kris, any other categories of spend or I should say products or services that were sort of surprise areas of focus or increased interest either over the last 18 months, let’s say, or even now indications that you’re starting to see going forward as we go back to this? I forgot what was it, new normal, Scott? How did Nurf –
Scott Luton (00:30:32):
The new abnormal is what –
Kelly Barner (00:30:33):
Scott Luton (00:30:33):
Keivan has as a themed.
Kris Lance (00:30:37):
I think the biggest thing that I’ve noticed, and I don’t know if it’s maybe [inaudible] play or just everybody’s turning over any rock possible, but there are more and more very, very large organizations reaching out, even using this as, you know, a tentative price check, and then looking at some of these savings like, wow. So, GPOs actually can benefit a 2 to 5 to $10 billion organization. Yes, absolutely. We can, right?
Kris Lance (00:31:05):
But typically, you know, before COVID, when the bottom line wasn’t necessarily as important as the top that was very different conversation, whereas, now it’s yes. Please help. You know, I need to look at all of these categories and, you know, specifically in plastics, right, with the cost of resin and oil and gas. You know, everybody’s looking to be as creative as possible. So, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve noticed as far as a temperature change in some of the businesses we’re working with.
Kelly Barner (00:31:32):
Yeah. And, it’s those wise companies. I mean, I came up through procurement in retail and we always used to have this expression that if you watch the pennies, the dollars will manage themselves, right? And so, just being a big company, just having a lot of money doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch those pennies, especially if they’re distributed across however many transactions you’re processing, your payments coming in or going out. It’s always an opportunity.
Kris Lance (00:31:55):
Scott Luton (00:31:56):
All right. So, we’ve got some great questions from Azaleah. I want to go ahead and post one of these that I could, Kelly. Going back to Jim, really quick. Azaleah is asking about Chosen Payments retention. Do you often work with associations 10 years, 10 plus years, or do you jump to the current business that kind of rank as trends shape associations? Can you speak to this a little bit?
Jim Luff (00:32:17):
Sure. So, our retention rate currently runs at about 90%.
Scott Luton (00:32:23):
Jim Luff (00:32:24):
So, we don’t lose people very often. And, I can tell you that our association with the national limousine association began 10 years ago and has been – you know, we went from sponsoring a meeting to now being more of a $35,000 main corporate sponsor. So, we like those relationships to grow and develop and to become stronger. We’re very selective in the industries that we go out and choose preferring instead to continue developing relationships that are existing as opposed to mass marketing outside of what we’ve already built.
Scott Luton (00:33:01):
Love that. I really appreciate the great question and your response there, Jim. Really quick, Peter Bolle, all night and all day, is back with us once again, and Michael Hill. Thank you for asking this question. We have too many acronyms, the GPO, group purchasing organization, right. So, Michael, thanks for asking that question and keeping us on our toes there. Great to have you. Okay. Kelly, where are we at? I’m keeping count, but where are we at now? Where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (00:33:27):
So, we’re actually going to start talking about the power of payments themselves. We’re going for literally as many pays as we can get into this hour as humanly possible.
Scott Luton (00:33:35):
Well, hey, really quick. When you said that, did anyone else – that He-Man with the sword, I have the power come to mind? ‘Cause that’s what the second half of the livestream is going to be about, right, Kelly? Yes, Jim.
Kelly Barner (00:33:46):
Scott Luton (00:33:46):
That’s right. He’s wielding Excalibur there, folks. All right. So, the power of payments, Kelly.
Kelly Barner (00:33:53):
The power of payments. Jim, given that you are working with the companies that most of the folks in corporate procurement would think of as suppliers, what is it that happens to your customers when large companies take too long to pay them for products and service that has already been, not only invoice, but in some cases delivered?
Jim Luff (00:34:14):
I’m so glad that you asked that because so many people, so many smaller businesses don’t really see how important that is and the direct negative impact it has to their bottom line. So, as you’re aware, we are in a constant state of inflation. So, what you paid for gas last month is probably not what you’re paying for gas this month, the same as meat and every other product that you buy. So, let’s just talk on really small terms that you did an invoice for $50 and a company takes 90 days to pay that bill. Well, when they do pay that and you actually received the check, the money is worth less value. It has less buying power because even if you did a $50 transaction and $20 of that was going to be your net profit, that same $20, 90 days later, will not buy you as much as it would have 30 days ago or 60 days ago.
Jim Luff (00:35:18):
So, getting paid promptly is really a very important part of running your business. Along that same line, Kelly, you know, I see people say, “Well, you know, I don’t want to accept credit cards for payments because I have to pay a percentage of it.” Well, I guarantee you, depending on who your credit card processor is, I know that for Una the rate for visa transactions is negotiated down to, I believe it’s like 1.5% of the transaction. For a merchant using Square or PayPal, they’re paying 3.5% flat. And so, that money is gone, but I guarantee you that if you take a payment 90 days late and they did put it on a credit card, and even though it costs you 1.4%, you’re still ahead of the game.
Kelly Barner (00:36:09):
Yeah. So, it’s a time value of money, right? You talked about inflation. You’ve waited that amount of time. You’ve had to either pay the people to perform the service or pay for the materials, the inventory that went out for you to fulfill the offer. So, it’s the difference if I’m getting it right between working with a payments processor to help bridge that time partially by compressing it and partially by working through the financing and then just playing, being smart about how much you actually pay for those digital payment services.
Jim Luff (00:36:40):
Right. And, I mean, every business is a little different and every business will have to evaluate it from themselves. One thing that we do as a service for Una members is we’ll say, give us your last two months of credit card processing statements. We want to look at actual transactions. And then, we’ll tell you, had you been with us in the same two months? And, in theory did the same exact transactions, here’s how much it would have cost you to use us through Una or whoever you’re currently using. And actually, I’m going to say we’re so strong on that, that we have this crazy offer. I think it’s crazy anyway, that if for some reason we can’t beat an Una member’s current rates, we pay that member $500 on [inaudible] cash.
Scott Luton (00:37:32):
Wow. That is a crazy offer.
Jim Luff (00:37:33):
[Inaudible] no gimmicks. It’s just what we do. I’ve been with the company for six years and that’s only happened one time in six years. So, we’re pretty confident about that. But, you know, I think that many merchants and I would say, Kelly, that along these lines of where you’re leading the viewers, I wish we could do it by show of hands right now how many people have actually looked at their credit card processing statement in detail in the last year.
Scott Luton (00:38:01):
So, Jim, we can. So, folks in the sky boxes put a one in a quick comment and send it and we’re going to take a tally of who’s done that. And, by the way, as Azaleah is enjoying the points you’re making. She says I know a lot of restaurants and businesses in her hometown that will not accept credit card because they won’t pay the fees. But that inconvenience draws many young customers away because in her follow-up point after COVID-19 I felt like I used cash even less than before. And then, one other quick comment, Michael Hill, back to GPO. He says, “I love TLAs!” Three-letter acronym. I hadn’t looked that one up, Michael. So, nice job there. But that’s true.
Jim Luff (00:38:40):
Did I throw one out?
Scott Luton (00:38:41):
Jim Luff (00:38:42):
Did I throw one out? Did [inaudible] the acronym?
Scott Luton (00:38:45):
No. We were talking GPO a minute ago. So, three letter acronyms.
Jim Luff (00:38:49):
I had to ask them what that was too.
Scott Luton (00:38:53):
Good things come in three’s.
Jim Luff (00:38:55):
I have to ask them. Are you Una? Are you Yuna?
Kelly Barner (00:38:57):
Jim Luff (00:38:58):
What are you?
Scott Luton (00:39:00):
Hold on a sec. We have got majesty with us in the sky boxes, Phil Ideson, Art of Procurement, is with us. He says, “I was just in Europe – many retail businesses are now refusing to accept cash and are card only – I imagine this is coming to the US soon.” Nurf says, “I only use chocolate-filled golden coins to pay for my stuff.” But, you know, to that point though, less cash usage is that kind of y’all’s experience, this panel’s experienced. Are you all using cash less too?
Kelly Barner (00:39:30):
Jim Luff (00:39:30):
Kris Lance (00:39:31):
I feel like I am, but I actually prefer cash. That’s just a personal preference, right. But what I’m seeing more and more though, it’s not even just the simplicity. It’s just the speed, being able to get in and out and go. And then, I agree with what Phil has to say though. I think that will be coming to the US very soon.
Scott Luton (00:39:48):
Agreed. Agreed. Okay. And we’ll get back to a couple of comments in a second. Kelly, I know I’m going to ask Kris about Una here in a second. But what else? What else? Well, we have Jim here and we’re all learning – I think we’re getting a certification in credit card and payments processing with these two. What else would you like to ask for before I post a couple of questions at Kris?
Kelly Barner (00:40:06):
Sure. For both of you guys, I actually have a few questions about how understanding whether it’s the benefits of belonging to a GPO or it’s the benefits of having a payments processor. You know, large enterprises are so focused on starting to work with small businesses, hubs zone-based businesses. We need to be very aware of how our operational procedures and systems and processes affect these suppliers. So, Jim, starting with you, is there something as, you know, too small? Is there a supplier that you would consider too small to benefit from being part of Chosen Payments? You know, how might we think about that if we work for a large company and we’re trying to help small localized hubs zone-based businesses into our enterprise network? We’re sort of the sweet spot that we should be thinking.
Jim Luff (00:40:57):
You know, for us, and that is a good question that we do have merchants that we turn away, that we just say, you know, we really can’t help you because the volume level is too low for us to really – as Kris mentioned earlier, we’re talking about pennies on the transaction. So, for us merchants that are typically generating less than 25,000 in a month in credit card transactions, they’re not ideal candidates for us. And, there’s a high likelihood that we would be no better or worse than their current provider. So, it’s not, you know – I guess that would be our breaking point for small businesses.
Kelly Barner (00:41:36):
Sure. Do you ever have companies that try to connect you, sort of provide you as a solution to their suppliers? I can actually see the advantage of that to a company finding out that Chosen Payments exists, not necessarily needing it themselves, but saying to suppliers, “Hey, look, this is going to make it easier for you to send us this digital invoice where I can just hit the button and pay it.” Do you ever end up having relationships that way?
Jim Luff (00:42:01):
Yes. And, I can tell you we do track that as well. You had asked me about retention earlier, and I can tell you that our growth rate, we attribute a growth rate monthly of 8% to direct referrals that come from our partners that require no marketing effort on my part. They’re basically just dropped into our lap and call us and say, “Hey, we were referred by blank,” and, you know, that does happen.
Kelly Barner (00:42:33):
Kris, were you going to jump in there? I didn’t want to talk over you.
Kris Lance (00:42:36):
Well, no, I was going to say, but that’s kind of what Jim was saying is, you know, there may be unfortunately, right, you know, merchants or, you know, groups or entities that may be too small. But going back to his path forward is, if you can find other like-minded or like similar businesses and you can approach in Una, we can start creating or forming these groups to position it to where it does make sense, you know, for Chosen Payments and they’ll be able to receive that same or similar types of value.
Jim Luff (00:43:04):
That’s very true. And, I appreciate you bringing that up because I miss that. That if we have – if Una delivers 20 merchant to us that are all at the $25,000 level, then it becomes a different game because it gives us more negotiating power with the card brands, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, to say, “Hey, you know, we’re representing 419 people here.” And, it gives us clout where, you know, if I bring one merchant, went to Visa and MasterCard and tried to negotiate it, it would be amusing to them.
Scott Luton (00:43:39):
Right. Kind of means of scale. And folks, Jim, I’d love for you to be negotiating our contracts. Do you do any contract negotiating? But it’d be quite a lucrative opportunity for you.
Jim Luff (00:43:49):
Yeah. I don’t do those myself, but we do have contract negotiators in the house.
Scott Luton (00:43:54):
I bet Jim can bring the hammer. I got to share a couple of quick comments here. Azaleah says she only pays in bubble money. If you have any Spongebob fans out there. Peter says, “Cash back credit cards are where it’s at.” We had two folks respond to you in particular, Jim, when you we talk about auditing their payments. So, Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman’s back with us. Dr. Bompensa-Zimmerman. She says, “Yes. I look at my statements and rarely use cash. My credit score/report is important to my financial health.” And, also Peter says, “I go over my credit card statements all the time.”
Scott Luton (00:44:30):
So, a lot of other comments, I can’t get to quite right now. But, Kris, I want to, as we kind of turning the home stretch of today’s livestream, you know, one of the big takeaways I think we’re all going to have here, especially if you look back at our last three livestreams, is just the resources and the experts like Jim Luff and so many different areas that Una brings to the table. So, talk a little more about the feedback y’all get from your clients in this regard.
Kris Lance (00:44:58):
Well, so here’s the thing. I think a more and more pricing, while it’s still important, it’s not the only focus any longer. But I’ll also say that your response times, transparency, service levels, those are almost no longer viewed as value add. It’s almost like an expectation. You have, you know, a ridiculous response time or poor customer service levels. You know, members will just leave immediately. So, those are expectations.
Kris Lance (00:45:25):
But what I’m seeing more and more being requested and is not so much an expectation yet is it’s the ability to integrate into current processes or current systems. And, that’s where I think that Chosen Payments really comes to deliver because they actually look to fill that gap. And they’re very transparent with it. Like, no, we can’t do that, but here’s what we can do. Here’s the value that we’ll bring. Here’s the value that you’ll see in just one year, two years, three years, and how that compounds, and they’re really good at providing that education in a way that doesn’t almost come off as disparaging, right? Because again, we’re not experts, but we’re responsible and accountable for all of these very large dollars. And so, Jim and Chosen Payments, again, that’s one of their sweet spots, but that would be what I say is becoming more and more close to an expectation, but the ability to integrate into current processes or systems.
Scott Luton (00:46:15):
Excellent point. Any follow up to that, Jim.
Jim Luff (00:46:17):
Yeah. You know, Kris reminded me of a story that, while the story is three years old, it still has so much emotional impact to me that I carry it with me today. We received a call in our tech support center, which is 24/7, 365 days a year. We received a call from a panic merchant. It was Thanksgiving Day. She had a store in a mall, a clothing store. The next day was Black Friday. She said that her cash register, her integrated cash register that ran credit cards through the cash register was broken. And, she had been trying to call, I’m not going to say the name of the cash register company, but it was really their problem, not our problem. But she called and said, you know, tomorrow’s Black Friday. And, I mean, as you can imagine for a retailer three years ago, Black Friday was everything for them as far as significant income. And, she was unable to run credit cards. So, on Thanksgiving Day, our techs worked for three to four hours with her and had her system up and running when she opened at 5 o’clock in the morning for Black Friday. And, I think that when choosing a credit card processor, you know what Kris is talking about, customer service is so important. It’s not just about the rates. It’s not just about what we do, but it’s about how we do it and when we do it, and for us, it’s 24/7, 365.
Scott Luton (00:47:42):
You know, Jim, to that point, I can imagine that that month had y’all not done that certain bills for that retailer would have gone unpaid whether it’s for the family behind the business or the business itself. So, that’s such an important lesson or a story for you to share and I really appreciate you doing just that.
Scott Luton (00:47:59):
So, Kelly, when Jim mentioned he had a story, Jim, I had my popcorn and diet Coke ready to go for some more [inaudible] stories, but, man, you threw me for a loop with a one that kind of tugs at your heart. Kelly, we got a few more minutes with Kris and Jim here. Before we’re going to ask the question how we can connect our folks with them, what else would you have to say?
Kelly Barner (00:48:19):
So, I actually want to ask Kris a question, very similar to the one that I asked Jim about working with smaller companies. You know, being part of a GPO, group purchasing organization, does not necessarily create an issue so that if a company were to say to its suppliers, “Hey, listen, you know, we feel like your rates are high. Let’s work together to understand your costs.” Do you have member companies that are reaching into what, at least in procurement, we would call tier two where they say, “Okay, I’m a member of Una, but I think these strategic suppliers of mine should also be part of Una because it both directly and indirectly helps reduce my costs.” Do you have that kind of same situation where, you know, Jim and I talked about other people referring in?
Kris Lance (00:49:05):
We do, we do. I mean, in short, yeah. We definitely do. I had a really good thought at the beginning of this, but I lost it listening to it, to the rest of your question there. But no, we definitely do. What I would say is – there’s my thought. I think the world right now has kind of had enough of change management. So, what I’ve noticed is a lot of people taking notes on, “Oh, wow. Okay. So, that’s an option. Let me circle back.” I mean, it’s as often right now where someone will say, “Hey, I’m interested in credit card processing.” We’ll go ahead and we’ll capture that information and bring it back to them. And it’s like, here’s the information, you’re ready for the conversation. And it’s, “Actually, no, because now I need help with this, this, this, this, it’s moved to the front of the line,” which is in procurement that’s kind of just another Tuesday, right. But at the same time, that’s where I think that down the road, some of the success stories that we are seeing through Chosen Payments will actually go into more of those vendor supplier type relationships. Yeah.
Kelly Barner (00:49:59):
Yeah. And, Jim, the one other topic we knew we had too much to get to today, but the one other topic that we didn’t get to that I do want to make sure everybody in the audience has an opportunity to benefit from your expertise on is chargebacks. So, this is back to sort of you’re educating us. What are chargebacks and how do they work and why should the people that have joined us today sort of understand that?
Jim Luff (00:50:25):
Great question and it goes again to customer service. Whoever your credit card processor is, you want to ask them if they offer chargeback assistance. It can be very complicated, but let’s start with what a chargeback is. A chargeback is basically when a card holder disputes a charge on their statement. The number of reasons for chargebacks vary from defective product to, we’ve seen as ridiculous as the hostess didn’t smile when she presented the check. I mean, people do chargebacks for all types of reasons, but the really bad part about this is any one of us on this call, any one of us that’s listening to this call, can initiate a chargeback for any reason and just call American Express and say, you know, I don’t want to pay for that. And what happens now is they take it off the bill immediately. You’re issued an immediate credit while it’s being investigated.
Jim Luff (00:51:25):
On the flip side of that, if you’re a merchant, you have the money removed from your account the same exact day, and the money is put into let’s call it a theoretical bucket, and we’re going to hold it in that bucket until American Express or Discover or MasterCard or whoever decides whether Kelly’s right or I’m right as the merchant. And then, whoever is right is going to get the money back permanently. So, Kelly could get something from American Express that says the credit has now been made permanent, or, I, as the merchant could get it.
Jim Luff (00:51:55):
Now, there are a couple of things that I want to make sure that I really mentioned with chargebacks. Number one, always respond to them. Never ever ignored them. Even if you concede to it, if the customer says, “You know, I ordered a dark blue and I got a light blue,” and you don’t want to fight with it. You want to just say, okay, you can have your money back and keep the light blue product. It’s fine. But you need to write back and say that I acknowledge it. Because if you don’t, what it appears to Visa or American Express is that you got caught doing something wrong, and you’re not going to acknowledge it by writing a letter and saying this is why I did it. You’re just going to ignore it. You get five or 10 of those, and they’ll kick you off the program. And, you won’t be able to take credit cards from anybody regardless of who your processor is. It’s called a NACHA list. And, I don’t really remember what that stands for, but it stands for you don’t get to take credit cards as a merchant.
Scot Luton (00:52:51):
It stands for don’t do it.
Kelly Barner (00:52:53):
Don’t do that.
Jim Luff (00:52:54):
Don’t do it. And, the other thing I want to wrap up with there is that if you get a chargeback, the first thing that you should do is contact your credit card processor and tell them that you have a chargeback. In most cases, we would be contacting you first and saying, “Hey, Scott, we see you have a chargeback coming through for a transaction last Friday. What do you know about this?” And then, we go to work defending you, just like an attorney would. And, we’ll tell you, we need this, we need that.
Jim Luff (00:53:15):
And, you know, today, most merchants don’t know since March of 2016, you don’t even have to get a signature on a credit card transaction anymore. It’s not required. Most merchants still do it. But we would ask you if you have a signature, send it. If you have a copy of the order form, send it. If the order came by email, send us the email correspondence. And then, we basically began a defense for you and we present it to Visa and say, our merchant did this, this, this, and this, and they’re entitled to the money. And, I’m going to tell you, we win nine out of 10 chargebacks.
Kris Lance (00:53:56):
Can I ask a quick question?
Jim Luff (00:53:58):
Kris Lance (00:53:59):
That’s a lot of work. Who would primarily be responsible for that? Does that just kind of fall to who? Who handles that if they don’t have Chosen Payments for assistance?
Jim Luff (00:54:11):
So, most credit card processors do have a chargeback department where they have people that are, you know, I’m not going to say they’re lawyers but I’m going to say they’re pretty apt at gathering evidence and presenting evidence in a logical way. And, while I personally don’t work in the chargeback department of Chosen Payments, I guarantee every time a limo company gets a chargeback, Jim Luff is roped into it. And, they say, “You know, take a look at this. Tell us what your thoughts are.” And, you know, in some cases I have to just say, well, you know, that’s not one we can win. But in most of them, I mean, most chargebacks are fraud. Most chargebacks, the number one cause of a chargeback is somebody saying, “Hey, I have a charge on my bill. I didn’t get the goods. I never purchased [inaudible].”
Scott Luton (00:54:57):
Yeah. Buyers are more so I’m sure. Well, I hate to end the conversation here. There’s so much more we want to get into, but we’ll have to have you both back. In the meantime though, Kelly, I want to make sure folks in our community in the sky boxes and beyond knows how to get in touch both with Jim and Kris. Jim, let’s start with you. How can folks connect with you and Chosen Payments?
Jim Luff (00:55:16):
So, if you want to connect with me, my email address is jim.luff, that’s L-U-F as in Frank, F as in Frank, @chosenpayments.com, or I’ve got a super cool phone number to give you, which is 855-4, 855 then number 4, chosen. 855-4 chosen.
Scott Luton (00:55:37):
Man, I thought we were getting – I was bracing for quite a creative flow number there, but we’ll go with 4 chosen. Thanks so much, Jim. I love the creative, colorful, the stories, you know. We got to all the heavy lifting, but I really admired what else you brought to the table here toda. Kris Lance, our dear friends at Una, we’ve enjoyed this last three month stretch here of highlighting y’all [inaudible] leadership and some of the folks in your ecosystem. How can folks connect with you and Una?
Kris Lance (00:56:07):
So, if it’s me, you can find me on LinkedIn, Kris with a K, Kris Lance. Or, you know, my email, my direct email is kris, so K-R-I-S, @una.com. I’m being inundated right now with a lot of businesses needing some help. So, you know, hit me up on LinkedIn if it’s just more conversational. And then, you know, for just general strategy assistance, or, “Hey, tell me more about Jim and Chosen payments,” you can just go to una.com, sign up for free, and we can schedule a time to connect there.
Jim Luff (00:56:35):
I got to throw in real quick that Kris’s partner, Crystal, who’s on the call right now. Crystal also hails from Bakersfield, California.
Kelly Barner (00:56:42):
Scott Luton (00:56:44):
That’s right. And, by extension Louie, one of the executives at Una. So, big thanks to you both, Jim Luff with Chosen Payments and Kris Lance with Una. Thank you so much for your time.
Kelly Barner (00:56:55):
Thank you, guys.
Scott Luton (00:56:55):
We look forward to reconnecting soon.
Kris Lance (00:56:57):
Thank you, pleasure.
Jim Luff (00:56:58):
Thank you for having us on.
Scott Luton (00:57:00):
Wow. That was a rock and roll to steal a term from –
Kelly Barner (00:57:02):
That was a fast hour.
Scott Luton (00:57:04):
Yeah, it was a fast hour. And, I think, you know, we had a lot to cover in an hour, but I think there was something there for everybody, right? I mean, even charge – I mean, from chargebacks, which of course retail is a big player there too, just how payments processing, some of the opportunities for no matter how big or how small or, you know, all points. Some of the opportunities there from the expertise that Jim and Kris was sharing and, of course, way back at the front, the stories were wonderful.
Scott Luton (00:57:31):
And that’s just, I can assure you, Kelly and I can both assure all of y’all, that’s just scraping the tip of the iceberg.
Kelly Barner (00:57:37):
Not even. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:57:39):
So, all right. Well, so Kelly, we’re going to be signing off here in just a second. Thanks to all the wonderful comments so we couldn’t get everybody today. I think I wanted to just call something out really quick, see here if I can go back to way back up here. Peter was giving Rhonda a high five because Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman, who’s a regular here with us in our conversations, was giving away mental healthcare sessions for truckers last week as part of National –
Kelly Barner (00:58:07):
Scott Luton (00:58:07):
Truck Driver Appreciation Week. And, if that’s not giving for, doing good and being the change, then I’m not sure what is. So big thanks for that, Rhonda. And thanks for calling out, Peter. Okay. Kelly, your favorite part, your favorite part from this conversation with Jim and Kris today.
Kelly Barner (00:58:25):
Okay. So, this is for you as Azaleah. I think as corporate procurement gets into working with a more diverse group of suppliers, that’s location, its ownership structure, it’s the size. If there is any aspect of business that someone says, well, how does that work? And, you think imagination. You’re not doing a good job managing the potential. You’re not doing a good job managing relationships, right. You may work for a large company and think we don’t need payment processing. But if you don’t understand how it’s affecting your suppliers, if you don’t understand how it impacts them to not pay invoices on time, please pay your invoices on time, it’s a mistake and it’s going to end up doing brand damage. It could disrupt your supply chain. So, I would say we have an opportunity and a responsibility to educate ourselves. Nothing can be left up to imagination. We need to know how it works.
Scott Luton (00:59:19):
I love that. I’m just going to ask you, Kelly. That imagination was that Towelie from South Park?
Kelly Barner (00:59:24):
Scott Luton (00:59:25):
Was that – Spongebob.
Kelly Barner (00:59:27):
That’s when you’re paying for bills with your bubble money, Azaleah. Imagination.
Scott Luton (00:59:31):
Oh, gosh. We could have so much fun. That sounds like your impersonations may be as effective as mine, Kelly. I don’t know. But, hey, folks, enjoyed a great conversation, love the leadership that Una has got going. We’ve had some wonderful guests.
Kelly Barner (00:59:44):
Scott Luton (00:59:45):
Jim is a – man, he’s a dynamo. We’ll have to have him back on with us soon. Kelly, of course, how can folks connect with you and the Buyers Meeting Point Dial P team?
Kelly Barner (00:59:56):
Easy to find on LinkedIn. Kelly Barner. If there’s a lot of red, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Buyers Meeting Point is mine as well. Of course, checkout Art of Procurement on website, LinkedIn, Twitter, all of those places. If you’re looking for interesting thoughts about any aspect of procurement, we are where you’ll find them.
Scott Luton (00:60:12):
That is right. And, hey, you’re going to find us here right here every month. The third Tuesday of the month is Dial P for Procurement day on Supply Chain Now. So, Dial peers come join, bring your POV and really appreciate all the comments that were dropped in here today. On that note, big thanks, Kelly Barner. Thanks to Clay and Allie and Amanda and Jade, everyone behind the scenes to help make production happen. Folks, hopefully you enjoyed the conversation as much as I have. If you do one thing though, hey, be like Rhonda, do good, give for, be the change that’s needed. On that note, we’ll see next time right back here on Dial P via Supply Chain Now. Thanks. Goodbye.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now Community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Jim Luff spent 30 years as the CEO of The Limousine Scene, a California based passenger transportation company. Upon his retirement from the company in 2015 he joined Chosen Payments as the Marketing Manager. Chosen Payments was the credit card processor for his business. At the time of his retirement, he had 71 employees and 38 vehicles. Jim is actively involved in his community and serves as president of two organizations that serve special needs children. He is also the immediate past chairman of the Ambassador committee of his local Chamber of Commerce. Jim is a frequent speaker at trade shows across the country on behalf of Chosen Payments. Connect with Jim on LinkedIn.
Kris Lance is the Senior Director at Una, a Group Purchasing Organization focused on indirect spend management for businesses and non-acute healthcare. Kris leads business development and guides company-wide growth and operational initiatives. He focuses on repositioning the perception of GPOs from a transactional function to a strategic partner in procurement success. Kris earned his Business Administration degree from Harding University and has nearly a decade of leadership experience across multiple industries. Connect with Kris on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.