TEKTOK
Episode 759

Episode Summary

As we are heading into the 2021 holiday season, we are still living in a world full of supply chain disruptions. Earlier this week, we hit a new record. Between Long Beach and Los Angeles, there were more than 100 ships carrying over a half a million shipping containers stuck off the coast of Southern California. It’s clear the pandemic created a cascading disruption that has impacted supply chains at their most vulnerable points. As supply chain constraints abound new opportunities emerge. Join us in this TEKTOK episode on Supply Chain Now, as supply chain expert, Dr. Glenn Richey with Auburn University explains consumer issues ahead of the 2021 holidays and busy shopping season.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain podcast, where we will help you eliminate the noise and focus on the information and inspiration that you need to transform your business, impact, supply chain success, and enable you to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Join your TEKTOK host, Karin Bursa, the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise and the scars to prove it, Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Join the conversation, share your insights, and learn how to harness technology innovations to drive tangible business results. Buckle up, it’s time for TEKTOK, powered by Supply Chain Now.

Karin Bursa (01:13):

Welcome back supply chain movers and shakers. Karin Bursa here and I’m your host for TEKTOK, the Digital Supply Chain podcast. Thanks for tuning in today. We are heading quickly into the 2021 holiday season. And, guess what? We’re still living in a world of supply chain disruptions. Earlier this week, we hit a new record. Between Long Beach and Los Angeles, there were more than 100 cargo ships carrying over a half a million shipping containers just stuck off the Southern Coast of California. Now, this is a complex and network, if you will, that normally sees less than 20 ships anchored, waiting to be unloaded and here we sit at well over a hundred. That backlog is simply staggering. The Los Angeles Port had its busiest September on record and Long Beach is going to process, get ready for this, more than 9 million containers by the end of 2021. That’s a new record for sure. And, one, they’re probably not in a hurry to break.

Karin Bursa (02:27):

In addition to that, if you look on the East Coast of United States, you’re going to find another backlog in the Port of Savannah, not as severe, but somewhere between 20 and 30 ships waiting to be unloaded. That’s another 80,000 containers waiting, just waiting, filled with your Christmas goodies. So, it’s clear that these next several weeks and months are going to continue to be volatile. And, then it’s going to take us well beyond the 2021 holiday season to truly recover. So, with us today, we’ve got an expert. We’re going to talk about what’s disrupting the 2021 holiday season with Dr. Glenn Richey and he is with Auburn University, the Harbert College of Business in the Department of Supply Chain Management. Dr. Richey, thank you for joining us today. And, I must say, War Eagle.

Dr. Glenn Richey (03:21):

War Eagle. Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here today.

Karin Bursa (03:25):

Yeah. So, you’ve got a really great point of view on a number of factors that are contributing to the disruption. But before we get there, I do want to say just a couple of things about Auburn’s education program and supply chain, because it’s very well-regarded on a global basis and has been for a number of years. Now, I went to Auburn. We didn’t have a supply chain discipline at that time. Great operations, research, great finance, but supply chain really is still young when it comes to college education programs and Auburn’s got one of the best ones out there. So, in addition to what Auburn is doing in these areas, Dr. Richard, tell us what you’re doing. What are you focused on right now as it applies to the supply chain performance?

Dr. Glenn Richey (04:16):

Yeah. I have a couple of hats that I wear here at Auburn that all interface with supply chain overall. One thing that I do is I’m the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Business Logistics, which is I suppose the top logistics journal in the world. So, we’re very pleased to be the home for the journal. And, the university has committed, you know, resources towards supporting it. So, it’s been very helpful, and Dr. Beth Davis and I are very pleased with the direction of the journal’s going. So, of course, I’m the department head here, so I kind of lead up the administrative role. And, as Harbert Eminent Scholar, I also do a pretty significant amount of research. And, recently those things have looked at kind of a transition from kind of an optimization view to a more responsiveness view.

Dr. Glenn Richey (04:58):

I’ve also done some recent work looking at technology, adoption of blockchain and aspects that of technology that would actually allow for more transparency. And, probably the most focused question they are right now is, you know, what do you show and what do you not show? So, those are kind of the things that we’re looking at. We’ve got a faculty here of about 17 people leading the program that’s had great growth from about 180 students, seven years ago, to 525 today in our undergraduate programs. So, we need more folks out there trained in supply chain management. So, if people have students that they’d like to send us or would like to join our online masters, we’d love to have them.

Karin Bursa (05:39):

Yeah. Hey, congratulations on that growth. That’s really impressive. And even before the pandemic, we had a talent shortage. We were facing a crisis around talent and I know we’ll dive into that. This is one of the constraints we’re managing right now, but congratulations on the growth of the program and your continued leadership. One thing I have always admired about Auburn is that combination of research and education. And now, you’ve got the other aspect of also running a publication, a thought leadership in the marketplace. So, I imagine you’re pretty busy most days. Thanks for spending some time with us.

Dr. Glenn Richey (06:19):

Yeah, yeah. It’s a little underwater sometimes, but no, it’s great work and it’s great to be able to help young people find their way into a fantastic field. And, one of the things that helps a lot is we do have a center for supply chain innovation here that’s run by Dr. Brian Gibson. And, that really allows the students and the researchers to interact directly with business, which makes us a bit different than other disciplines.

Karin Bursa (06:43):

Absolutely, absolutely. Well, so Dr. Richey, we’ve got this current environment, right. We’re heading into the holiday season and we’ve got record volume. We’ve got shortages in workers. We’ve got equipment that’s in the wrong place. We’ve got a general global shortage of containers because equipment is in the wrong place, shortage of truck drivers, and just a general lack of synchronization in moving goods. Is the COVID-19 pandemic completely to blame for these disruptions or is there more?

Dr. Glenn Richey (07:22):

Well, I think that, you know, it’s a number of things and obviously that COVID-19 created kind of a cascading disruption across different countries. And, you know, as we talk about things being systemized or synchronized, as you put it, when you have a section or a section of the economy go down, when you have a note of the supply chain decide that the workers can’t come to work for a week, a month, it trickles down across the entire supply chain. We saw a lot of similar type disruption issues when we started to discuss the issues with tariffs. The Trump administration came out and was talking to China and other countries about tariffs. And, there were worries and concern certainly about disruption there. So, that’s really where we started to see things shift, but in my mind that it really has a lot to do with this focus on efficiency and trying to be as lean as possible. So, those moves by industry, by manufacturing were the things that made us more vulnerable to what ended up happening with the pandemic. And so, yeah, we put ourselves a bit at risk and that’s where we are today.

Karin Bursa (08:31):

Yeah. That’s a very real fact of our businesses is that we have worked very hard to be lean and to design supply chains for efficiency, as the number one factor, right, efficiency. In fact, a recent study I saw said that 60% of supply chains have been designed for just that to operate on a cost efficiency basis, not agility and not resiliency, which are the two things we’re talking about on a daily basis, right, the ability to plan and replan and to mitigate risk as well. Is this a problem then, Dr. Richey, of our own making?

Dr. Glenn Richey (09:12):

Yeah. I think it is. You know, there are a lot of people that can be blamed for how we got into this situation. I mean, I guess we could go all the way back to the ‘80s and blamed Deming and Juran and the just-in-time situation. But, no, I mean, we’ve seen a lot of different entities involved in making things tough and certainly trying to go as lean as we possibly could. And, when we stay systemized and allow products to move in a regular pattern, right, a regular flow, then we don’t end up with these bulk situations that are like pushing a bowling ball through a garden hose. And, that’s kind of, you know, what we see at the ports today is that big bulk amount of containers of product of ships that are just mired there until we can work through the system.

Karin Bursa (09:57):

Yeah, yeah. That is a really good point. So, one of the things that we’re hearing about in general is slow production or a lack of supply. And, obviously in the United States, you also mentioned those trade relations with China, right? So, we have a lot of moving parts throughout our global networks. What caused the production facilities to close overseas and were they slow to come back online or, you know, was it our demand signal? I mean, what came to play in really getting that production and distribution engine moving once again?

Dr. Glenn Richey (10:32):

Yeah. I mean, the answer is yes, it was all of those things.

Karin Bursa (10:35):

All of the above. Yes.

Dr. Glenn Richey (10:37):

But we saw early on Chinese manufacturers and raw material sources go down to protect the workers. And so, those facilities went down for a significant amount of time, which, you know, adds delivery deadline to every industry that they’re involved in. We saw raw material companies come back online before manufacturers. And, in other instances, we saw manufacturers come online before they had the raw materials, which again, cause them to go back offline when they can’t produce the product. So, those are tough things on the manufacturing side. But at the same time, we had other signals up market, telling customers run out and get your toilet paper before they run out. And, now we seem to be telling people run out and buy your Christmas presents while they’re still on boats offshore. And so, we’ve got to get all of those things together. Good advice for customers. Good advice from experts to manufacturers and other components of the supply chain.

Karin Bursa (11:31):

Yeah. Absolutely. And, we are hearing that. We are hearing by it now, right, and that you’re not going to see the sales or the discounts that you might normally see during the holiday shopping season. So, we’re hearing that, you know, on nightly news. I’m getting it on the radio and it’s certainly in every supply chain publication that I’m reading.

Karin Bursa (11:51):

I shared some staggering statistics though about the number of cargo ships that are anchored, waiting for their time to be unloaded. If we focus on Southern California, and I know our listeners are fully aware that that Southern California Ports, you know, they’re closest to those Asian exporters. So, that’s the quickest route and that’s why we see the backups on the west coast so frequently. Those are staggering numbers. You know, a hundred cargo ships, better than a half a million containers just waiting. You know, why are the cargo ships taking so long to get their port time? And, our ships just getting so large. Is there limited equipment to unload them? You know, give us a little insight into that, Glenn.

Dr. Glenn Richey (12:44):

Yeah. I mean, the gridlock situation is the main thing to blame, but there are all other kinds of issues that are involved. And, certainly when you look at Southern California, those boats are, there are a bunch of them out there, there’s a heavy flow of them coming through, but there’s also a space issue. There’s not enough space for the containers that are coming off. There’s not space for containers that are empty that need to be there to unload from warehouses and then onto the ships. And so, yeah, it’s just absolute gridlock. And so, we’re trying to find some ways to loosen that system up and get those things through. I’ve heard, you know, things as crazy as stacking containers too high on city streets to try to add some flexibility in this situation. I heard yesterday that there are about 2,000 empty containers headed by land to Southern California because the carriers need them. And, the port’s reaction is we don’t have space for them. So, it’s an interesting work of puzzle to try to get all these different things together and in place.

Dr. Glenn Richey (13:46):

There really may be some other suppliers and other industries that can help along this way. You know, if you think about companies that build pipes and that type of thing have pretty sizable yards, where they store these things outside, perhaps some of those businesses to find an opportunity to make a little money and add a little flexibility to the system. But we’ll just have to wait and see. And, obviously, there’s been some issues in Southern California with management labor, not being on the same page. You know, it seems like we’re moving in the right direction there at least for the time period, but it’s a tough thing. It’s a tough question.

Dr. Glenn Richey (14:20):

I’m hopeful that they can find some flexibility, but, you know, it doesn’t help to unload ships as fast as possible if you have no location to put the containers. I also should point out that, you know, the infrastructure, especially where the port links to the rail system and to the trucking system is pretty fragile in Southern California. It’s pretty rigid. So, it’s tough to get product out of Southern California. And, I do have people say, well, why don’t you go through the Panama Canal, where there are costs to that. Their delay is caused by that. It’s probably also important for your listeners to realize that, you know, China uses the United States as a land bridge. So, a number of those containers that are out there in Southern California are going to hit trucks, run to the Eastern Seaboard and then get back on boats and go to Europe. Hopefully, over time we’ll see that lesson as China builds their one road policy and continues to build infrastructure towards Europe from their Western coast, but our Western side of the country. So, we’ll see. But, yeah, they’ll going to be lots of trucks on the road for quite some time.

Karin Bursa (15:24):

Let’s talk about that for just a minute, because the U.S. has been experiencing a decline in truck drivers for more than a decade, maybe even longer, but certainly well before the COVID pandemic hit. We’ve been seeing a continuing decline in the number of skilled truckers. Why has the pandemic really exasperated this? Is it a situation where volume has simply increased or is it a situation where skilled drivers are opting out?

Dr. Glenn Richey (15:59):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The volume has increased and we’re seeing some truck drivers shift to other industries. We’re seeing less truck drivers come into the field. We spend a good bit of time talking to our trucking partners. We have several very, very strong companies here that support the university. And, it’s a combination of trying to get the labor and trying to get the equipment up and running. I know people are thinking about, well, we don’t see many cars on these car lots. That’s because of the chip issue and the manufacturers cannot get the chips to get the cars produced, but we can’t get vehicles either. So, we have, you know, one partner business a year that tried to buy 20 new trucks at the beginning of the year. And, they still don’t have half of those vehicles. And, at the same time, if you can’t get the chips for the cars, you can’t get them to repair the truck. So, there’s an equipment issue and there’s a kind of a finite amount of vehicles that we can use.

Dr. Glenn Richey (16:52):

But, you know, we haven’t done a great job over the years of recruiting people into the truck and field, and we really need to be doing better work. It is a satisfying career. It can be a career where you make six figures. And so, we are seeing groups like the Alabama Trucking Association go out to trade schools and encourage some of these people that are in trade schools to consider making that shift to transportation. It is a good job. It’s a tough job, right, and it can require you to be away from your family. So, it does take a certain type of individual that’s willing to do those kinds of things. But while we really do need more folks in the area and seeing some of the innovative approaches now to get people interested in truck driving is really kind of wild.

Dr. Glenn Richey (17:36):

Santa Rosa, Florida is using their, going in in their prison rehabilitation program, getting truck drivers out of the prison. So, you know, there’s probably an opportunity for some of those people to come back and benefit society with their help. So, who knows what other types of innovation we may be able to find? Then, again, smaller trucking lines are at times, you know, have their drivers picked away by larger trucking lots. So, the free market kind of causes that to happen and that’s a tough situation. Not to mention that now we also see manufacturers that are raising salaries. And so, if you can make more money with the manufacturer and stay in town, why would you be an over the road truck driver driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles?

Karin Bursa (18:18):

Yeah. So, you hit on a number of things there from labor to some of the parts and repair and equipment constraints. Let’s talk about some of those supply shortages for just a minute. You know, in the past several months, we have seen shortages on just about everything, but certainly you mentioned toilet paper a minute ago. But we think about, you know, chicken, ketchup packages. Who thought we would ever have a shortage of ketchup packages, right? And, of course, you know, building products, plastics that are used in many, many different types of products, including automotive. And then, of course the semiconductor, which we’ve heard a lot about because of its limiting impact on the automotive sector in general. And, of course, those semiconductor chips are in anything from toys to computers, mobile phones, even ventilators, which we want to make sure are readily available, and, of course, automobiles. What’s happening in this area? Again, was this a response to a diminished demand signal and it’s taking time to build backup or were there other factors that contributed to this?

Dr. Glenn Richey (19:31):

Yeah. That’s an interesting point that you bring up. You know, we kind of saw a situation where experts like me came out and said, “Oh, this is going to kill the economy. The economy is going to stop. It’s going to at least slow down.” And, it did slow down a bit. Right? But the pick backup was, was quite rapid. And, I guess when we say stay at home, you know, the virus is out there. You know, we think, well, people won’t be going to retailers, but in reality we’ve been making this transition to e-commerce and people really jumped on e-commerce and so the path adjusted.

Dr. Glenn Richey (20:04):

The interesting thing with the chip manufacturing situation is it’s a lot easier to sell a million chips to Apple or a cell phone company than to go and negotiate with one of our automotive manufacturers in the United States. And, those companies realize that it’s easier to make that happen. And so, that’s where they go first to make the initial sale. There are opportunities to do some allocation, I guess, and make sure, you know, your different partners get the product or get the components that are needed, but it’s been tough because the choppy demand. So, we signaled that there wasn’t going to be demand and there was, and now they seem to be taking the products to the power players. And, there’s a lot of power play going on in the supply chain today with major companies going out and renting out entire ships, right, and kind of drawing in their specific inventory first. And, we haven’t talked about that a lot in the research, but I can tell you in the 1980s it was a big focus of negotiations, power plays along companies. And, I expect we’ll see that come back to the research with some of the things we see going on in the country right now.

Karin Bursa (21:11):

Yeah, yeah. Lots of good points there. You mentioned a minute ago, you know, some panic buying, right? So that people are stocking their pantries or forward buying from a business perspective, certain materials and certainly consumable goods as well. When I think about this, it’s a classic case, or could be a classic case in the future of us creating almost a global bullwhip effect. Do you think that’s going to happen or do you think we’re smart enough to kind of dampen those spikes in demand?

Dr. Glenn Richey (21:46):

Yeah. I definitely think it’s going to happen. It certainly looks that way. To give you a little example, I went down to our local Walmart here just to have a look around and see how things were going in terms of their supply. And, as you’d expect, there’s some spots on the shelf that are empty here and there, a lot of that has to do with not being able to get packaging and those types of things that you’ve mentioned related to plastics and such. But the thing that they had plenty of was bicycles and the bicycles not only spilled over from the toy area into the garden area but as I was out there poking around looking at all of these things, a couple of the employees said, please buy one. We have two containers of them behind the store.

Dr. Glenn Richey (22:30):

So, you know, Walmart has said, this is where we need to be. Let’s buy it all now instead of extending it out across time. And, I expect we’re going to see a lot of players do that type of thing. I’ll be honest. I’m on a couple of different radio shows pretty frequently. And, one of them is in New Orleans, WWL. And, I do what I can to not talk about certain products that may be running low because it does trigger people to go out and buy. And, in that community, we saw all kinds of different things go out of stock. You understand how people react to toilet paper or bottle of water, especially in hurricane crisis situations and those types of things, but you don’t expect them to run out of pork sausage, right. And, that’s a staple in New Orleans, [inaudible] and pork sausage and these things. You need to have those things in stock, but all of those disruptions that we’ve talked about earlier today certainly had an impact on the production of that product.

Karin Bursa (23:23):

And so, let’s talk for just a minute with the conversation around your observations at Walmart. You know, when we think about the retailers, the traditional retailers as well as e-commerce, there’s a lot of concern around the holiday season, in just them hitting the revenue numbers. You know, some retailers really count on that holiday season to get in the black for their annual performance as well. But I understand that retailers like Walmart, Costco, Ikea, Home Depot, many, many others, they’re chartering their own ships, right, to bringing goods. Is this going to help? Aren’t they just going to face the same gridlock that we’re seeing in the ports, or is there some mysterious port dedicated to these retailers that we need to know about?

Dr. Glenn Richey (24:14):

Yeah. They’re still going to battle the same delays, the queuing situation. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re able to expedite around some of that, but I doubt it. Then again, if they can actually get the product on the ship and secure that space, they may speed up the time of international transit. I was looking at kind of across the board industries and thinking about international transit than it was, those numbers before the pandemic. We’re running 11, 12 days, something like that. And, now I see a number of industries saying we’re at 60 days and that type of thing. And, when you start talking about computer monitors or furniture, now we’re talking about six months, right? And so, yeah, companies like Ikea obviously see that as a major issue for them and anything they can do to secure space is what they’re going to try to do.

Karin Bursa (25:02):

Yeah. Absolutely. I’m hearing that as well very consistently that that transport times are anywhere from six to eight times historic transport, which is just crazy, especially for highly seasonal items and seasonal buying like you would do for the holiday season. So, we may see some great discounts come January on goods.

Dr. Glenn Richey (25:24):

It could be a really big Valentine’s Day.

Karin Bursa (25:28):

It could be a really big the Valentine’s Day. Yes, absolutely. So, Dr. Richey, as you know my focus here on TEKTOK is largely around the digital supply chain, right? Using technology to help improve the physical supply chain operations. Is it possible to automate? Are there automation opportunities that you were seeing that are going to help mitigate some of these bottlenecks?

Dr. Glenn Richey (25:54):

Well, I mean, I guess yes and no would be the answer. Certainly, there are things that we can do specifically at the ports that we could replicate from other ports around the world that could help systemize what we’re doing, could reduce some of the human error, could speed up processes a bit. You know, any of your viewers, your listeners will take a trip to Rotterdam and look at the magnificent automation that exists at that port. Those are things that we could potentially do with the right funding going to the right places. So, hopefully we’ll see some of those things happen. I do think that as we think about this bullwhip effect issue that we’re dealing with, that we were just speaking of a moment ago, probably there are ways to go into some of the machine learning in terms of our forecasting and smooth some of those things out.

Dr. Glenn Richey (26:43):

We’ll have to take it a little bit out of the hands of the people that have dealt with all of this risk over the last several months and allow them to think, okay, maybe we can go a little lighter on some of some of these issues. But there are also, I guess, some places where we could use materials handling equipment and that type of thing that’d be automated within facilities because we haven’t really talked about warehousing distribution centers. But typically this time of year companies like Abercrombie & Fitch are out there hiring an entire additional workforce to handle peak demand, and that’s where we’re headed. So, you know, if there’s an opportunity to use some robotics to fill some of those spots, robotics attached to detect systems, data systems then that would be a good assistance as well. Yeah. They’re big moves. It’s going to have to make big changes and certainly you can’t drop a full warehouse in right now and expect it to be up and running for the holiday season.

Dr. Glenn Richey (27:34):

I do think when we talk about retailing and warehousing in the holiday season, there’s a little thing that we’ve done to ourselves that we probably should recognize. You know, people think about retailers. They don’t typically think that retailers are warehousing and they really are. Maybe, they’re fancy warehousing. And, I’m sure the folks at Ann Taylor are saying, we’re not a warehouse, right? We’re a lot nicer than that. But in reality those retailers existed in marketplaces to be a place that had safety stock for your home, right? So, you could go to the retailer and pick up what you needed and hopefully they’d have it in inventory. And, over the years we’ve seen the number of retailers reduce and a lot of their business move to e-commerce.

Dr. Glenn Richey (28:12):

So, we’ve really moved our safety stock as customers out of our cities and onto the web. And so, that’s added that situation where maybe we don’t have as much flexibility as we think we do. The other side of those things is we move the storage into your home, right? And so, instead of buying a four-pack of toilet paper, you buy a 48 and it becomes an end table or a piece of furniture in the house that takes so much space. And so, those are real world supply chain issues that maybe we don’t see in front of us as consumers, but our choices have kind of caused those things to shift in a different location.

Karin Bursa (28:47):

Yeah. Those are great examples. And, you know, personally, I blame Costco and Sam’s Club for kind of, you know, greasing the skids, if you will, because when you buy products there, you’re always buying it in a much larger pantry size than you would at your local groceries. But, I totally agree. I mean, even in the grocery industry where you can buy online and get curbside pickup, you know, it’s transitioning many of our grocery stores into more and more of that kind of warehouse feel to them as well.

Karin Bursa (29:20):

When we think about COVID and some of the impact, is there a silver lining? So, one McKinsey report that I read, this is six months into COVID, it indicated, Dr. Richey, that we had transformed, digital transformation had accelerated at that point, in that six month window, to really what would have taken a good four years to achieve. So, as we’re now kind of month 20 in this process and dealing with, you know, a multitude or cascading disruptions as you’ve put it, is there a silver lining for supply chain?

Dr. Glenn Richey (30:01):

Yeah. I mean, I think there is. I think one of the places we could start is that I think two years ago most people didn’t really know what the supply chain was and they weren’t mentioning it around the dinner table and every politician and news agency out there wasn’t talking about it every single day. So, people know what the supply chain is now. They’re getting a feel for what it is. And so, hopefully, they can understand a little bit of the complexity and the delivery mechanism to get something from overseas to their front door. It has been truly amazing. People that are now shopping online that we didn’t expect would be shopping online. You know, the things that they’re buying are amazing. Like you said, grocery, I mean, it wasn’t that long ago when we were trying to get people to shop online for groceries and company like web companies, like Webvan, were going out of this.

Karin Bursa (30:49):

I was a big fan way back when. I was an early adopter.

Dr. Glenn Richey (30:50):

Yeah. So, yeah, the time has come and it really had a pretty serious impact on the way we interface with the customer. And, of course, in those interactions, we collect a lot of data and hopefully that data allows us to do a better job in making decisions and forecast in getting the right products to the right people at the right time. Yeah. Those have been big shifts and big transitions. I think that the fact that we need to upgrade our infrastructure in this country to help support supply chain processes is front and center. And, it’s nice to hear politicians talking about it finally in a pretty serious way. And so, hopefully over time, we’ll see that kind of disruption adjusted.

Dr. Glenn Richey (31:30):

You know, there’s a philosophy out there that is in economics that’s called creative destruction. Most people that spend time reading on economics and business have heard that, and you can even see that in The Economist, in the special section. And, the creative destruction recommends that when we see these disaster situations like war, we kind of destroy the processes and the mechanisms of what we use to go to business, to go to market, and we rebuild them. And so, the old Southern saying if it ain’t broke, don’t fix, really is if it ain’t broke, you should break it so that you can make it better. And so, I do think we see some of that going on, you know, new innovations, changes. What we were able to do to get those vaccines out across the country and the world was absolutely fascinating and really quite amazing. And, I was a big doubter on what we were going to be able to do and just the way people pulled together was great. So, yeah, I do think we’ll see a lot of changes, a lot of adjustments. I hope we see new sourcing strategies, which reduce some of the risks there that allow for a global partner, you know, a distance partner, but also may allow for another partner that’s nearshore or even domestic and maybe some collection of three different types of sources would make sense. Of course, every time you add another more complexity.

Karin Bursa (32:48):

More complexity, absolutely. But closer and closer to market, you know, makes a difference as well, and I do believe as the focus. So, supply chain, I agree, has taken center stage and it’s fantastic. You know, at our dinner table we’ve talked supply chain for years, but I’m not sure my family and friends really understood it until they couldn’t get toilet paper or some other basic needs that suddenly you could just see their aha moment around that. So, I think there’ve been a lot of teachable moments. And, I think that, as you said earlier, you know, some of our challenges are of our own making because we have strived for so many years to become leaner and leaner and increasingly efficient in how we produce, source, move goods. Resilience isn’t necessarily a low cost business strategy, right? So, we may need to multi-source or to, you know, to replenish and seize them differently than we bring goods in at the beginning of the season. So, I do think that there’s lots and lots of interesting opportunities still to be solved and addressed in the years and decades to come. Tell me a little bit, Dr. Richey, about, you know, some of this content is just so good and so tangible. How are your students responding? Are there a teachable moments? Has it made it a little more exciting for them or more tangible for them in the process?

Dr. Glenn Richey (34:21):

Yeah. It’s a great time to be teaching supply chain because it’s all right in front of us. One of the more interesting things is that I used a couple of different simulations in class where the students basically run a supply chain, run entities in the supply chain that compete against each other. And, over the years, you know, a lot of focus was on let’s get the costs down, let’s try to hit, you know, maybe a few stock outs, and, you know, let’s get the inventory very lean and try to get a very accurate. And, I will say over the last three semesters, as we dealt with the pandemic, the student’s philosophy in those instances have changed, and they’re looking for more safety stock, more backup. And so, those things are kind of naturally happening which is really interesting coming out of a system approach where we were really focused on optimization, really focused on just-in-time inventory and that type of thing. And, at the same time, companies like Toyota, who really got the just-in-time approach going, are taking steps away from the just-in-time approach to go back to kind of a more risk management approach to inventory and processes.

Dr. Glenn Richey (35:28):

So, seeing that happen at the student level and kind of happened organically has been really fascinating. You know, the internship approach has changed as well for students. We thought that we were going to have just a dead period for internships than we first got into the first summer of the pandemic, and we actually didn’t. The numbers upheld. A lot of the internships were from home, right. But the students were doing a lot of data analysis and working with Excel. And so, those things are things that now these students have probably stronger skills than they did just because the pandemic changed the nature of their education.

Karin Bursa (36:04):

Yeah. That’s a really good point. You know, with my perspective coming from the software industry around supply chain, we certainly have been seeing more and more data scientists as a part of that operations research team and that combination of how do we visualize, right, the plans that have been evaluated and how do we present multiple scenarios. So, I do think that there’s this wonderful kind of inner meshing of supply chain discipline with data science, with business analytics, and with finance, right, all coming together. And, by the way, don’t forget about marketing, right? So, marketing is one, you know, the discipline that stimulating demand or differentiating products in a market, but it’s really bringing all these facets together that I think is a wonderful time to be in business. And, from my perspective, the business is supply chain, right, unless you’re a services entity. If you’ve got product that you’re making, moving, delivering, and bring into market, whether it’s a component or a finished goods, there’s a supply chain around that. So, I think that we’ve got some interesting challenges and opportunities in front of us.

Dr. Glenn Richey (37:23):

Yes, we do. We really do. It’s a great time to be involved in the supply chain. It’s also a tough time to be involved in the supply chain. But I guess those things also mean job security for most of us, right?

Karin Bursa (37:34):

They do definitely. Yeah. I think that there’s definitely good job security. Speaking of jobs and placement, how’s the placement rate for Auburn graduates coming out with supply chain degree?

Dr. Glenn Richey (37:45):

Yeah. The placement rate has been very strong, you know, we’ve seen it continue to grow in terms of salary and those types of things. I think talk to Alex Ritenbaugh, who’s down in our office that handles placement and relationships with businesses. And, I think we’re seeing kind of a conversion rate from internships that run somewhere near 80%.

Karin Bursa (38:08):

Wow.

Dr. Glenn Richey (38:09):

And, so our students, you know, go out on the summer of their junior year, typically get an internship and a good number of them, I would say, a majority of them actually come back from that internship with a job offer. So, placement is strong. Lots of our students get multiple offers. And so, yeah, we need more folks in the field. And, part of that is the reason that we rolled out this masters of supply chain management over the last year. And so, we’ve got to the kind of our inaugural classes here. And, you know, we work with industry to design a 10-course sequence that hopefully gets the future employee as ready to go as they possibly can. And, so far, we’ve got a nice group of students in there, and they’re already getting questions and opportunities from companies like Mercer, from companies like Georgia Pacific. So, pretty exciting stuff to see happen.

Karin Bursa (39:01):

Yeah. That’s fantastic. Is that a one year a one-year program or is it –

Dr. Glenn Richey (39:04):

Yeah. It’s 10 classes, so you can take them in the sequence that you like. Most students will take three at a time. You can break them off and take three and get a certificate if you don’t want to go for the full master’s program. And, we also have it so that it interacts where you can get a double degree with our MBA as well. And, all of those were set up where you can do them here on campus, which is always the best place to be, right, or –

Karin Bursa (39:27):

It is. Always the best place to be.

Dr. Glenn Richey (39:29):

Or online, right? And so, those degrees, all of them are also available online. We have kind of a matrix structure that works quite well.

Karin Bursa (39:37):

Okay. Great. Well, Dr. Glenn Richey with Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business. We really appreciate you spending some time with us today. I think you’ve actually given me some ideas of some other topics we may want to invite you back to discuss in the future as well. If I could ask you, Glenn, what one thing do you want our listeners to take away from today’s conversation?

Dr. Glenn Richey (40:00):

Yeah. I mean, I think that the important thing for people to recognize is that we have a system that can get shipping out right and can cause disruptions. And, we need to find ways to build contingency planning into that system. And, until we have that done, we’re probably still going to see these types of things pop up in different areas. But, you know, I have a mentor that used to say, it ain’t no hill for a climber. And so, we’ll get there. Supply chain executive, supply chain workers, people, professionals, always step up to the task. And, it may take us a little bit to get everything ironed out, but we’ll get it there.

Karin Bursa (40:37):

Yep. I agree with you. I think the one thing that I have enjoyed so much in my career in supply chain is that, at heart, supply chain personnel are problem solvers. I mean, they are there, you know, solve problems, whether it’s an efficiency problem or a service problem, or even a production problem in the mix. So, I love that where they can really look at a problem from several different angles and come up with some possible outcomes.

Karin Bursa (41:06):

Dr. Glenn Richey with Auburn University. Thanks for sharing your insights today on what’s disrupting our 2021 holiday season. If our listeners want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Dr. Glenn Richey (41:17):

Yeah. I’m easy to find. You could search Glenn Richey on Google and I’ll pop right up. But, my email address is richey@auburn.edu. And so, really easy to shoot me an email, would be happy to interface with your folks and continue the discussion.

Karin Bursa (41:33):

Great. Thank you so much for joining us today. And, I hope that these insights are going to help our listeners navigate their 2021 holiday season. And, at a minimum, you’re going to have some great content to discuss at your next holiday parties. So, I don’t want to see you guys out there on jet skis, going from container ship to container ship, thinking you’re going to do your holiday shopping. Just hold tight. The goods are coming and we’ll get through this next series of supply chain disruptions.

Karin Bursa (42:02):

To find out more about supply chain and a number of different areas of digital content, please check out supplychainnow.com. While you’re there, look into TEKTOK, that’s T-E-K-T-O-K, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. On TEKTOK, our goal is to help you eliminate the noise and focus in on the information and inspiration you need to replace risky inventory with valuable information. We’re going to see you next time here on TEKTOK.

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Featured Guests

Dr. Glenn Richey is Harbert Eminent Scholar and Chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management at Auburn University. He leads the Harbert College of Business’s highly respected supply chain management group with emphasis placed on education, research, and service to industry. He is currently the Co-EIC of the Journal of Business Logistics. Dr. Richey engages in industry-based supply chain strategy and international business research and enjoys building research and student relationships between academia and practice. Since 2003, Dr. Richey has published 90+ peer-reviewed research articles and taught supply chain and international business courses in 26 countries on six continents. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Richey worked for a decade in managerial positions including procurement, sales, retail consulting, and logistics/supply chain operations for Scott Paper and Genuine Parts Company. He continues work in these areas through research, consulting, and expert opinion. Connect with Glenn on LinkedIn.

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Karin Bursa

Host, TEKTOK

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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.

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Joshua Miranda

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Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Jamin Alvidrez

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jada Carson

Marketing Coordinator

Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back!  She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator.  Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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