Did you know that in the transportation, logistics, and infrastructure industry, women are hired 40% of the time for entry-level positions – but only 16% for management, VP, and C-suite roles? Diversity in the supply chain industry is changing – but not quickly enough. Luckily, leaders like SAP’s Darcy MacClaren and Jenny Patzlaff of the University of Wisconsin E-business Consortium have key insights that can help us accelerate inclusivity and maximize innovation. In this episode, host Scott Luton sits down with Darcy and Jenny to hear more about their career trajectories and to get their perspectives on how to bring more women into the industry and support them throughout successful careers. Tune in to learn more about unconscious bias, the difference between mentorship and sponsorship, what men can do to support a more gender-inclusive workplace, common supply chain misconceptions, and more.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges, and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:31):
Hey. Good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s episode. You’re in for a treat. On today’s show, we’re going to be touching on a variety of topics facing global supply chain from the immense value of diversity, to just how the pandemic has changed the current and future state of supply chain. So, stay tuned for I promise this is going to be an intriguing and informative conversation. So, with that, I want to introduce our special guests here today, our esteemed panel. We have Darcy MacClaren, Senior Vice President Digital Supply Chain, North America for SAP. Darcy, how are you doing?
Darcy MacClaren (01:06):
I’m doing great, Scott. Thanks for having me on today.
Scott Luton (01:08):
You bet. We’ve really enjoyed our pre-show conversations. And joining you is Jenny Patzlaff, Supply Chain Management Practice Director for the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium. Jenny, how are you doing?
Jenny Patzlaff (01:21):
I’m great, Scott. How are you?
Scott Luton (01:22):
I’m doing wonderful. Go, Badgers, right?
Jenny Patzlaff (01:24):
Go, Badgers. On Wisconsin.
Scott Luton (01:27):
Well, great to have you back. We’ve got so much to tackle here today. I really have enjoyed all the conversations leading up to today’s episode. So, I want to start with this – and, Darcy, I want to start with you – we like getting a sense of the journey and your personal story, your background especially how you were able to become a supply chain leader. Listeners love that. So, Darcy, tell us about yourself a little bit.
Darcy MacClaren (01:50):
Well, it was interesting, especially when I talk with early talent, they always think that you had this whole big blueprint laid out and this vision that you went off and, you know, you kind of go through life and it’s a journey. So, how did I end up here? Well, right now, in my role as Senior Vice President of North America Digital Supply Chain, I just have the privilege of working with hundreds of companies on their supply chain transformation. And how I got here was actually interesting, because I have a liberal arts background and I majored in economics with a minor in art history, which really, you know, that was all about traveling the globe to see masterpieces.
Scott Luton (02:30):
Darcy, hey, really quick if I can. I love that. I think we all believe global supply chain needs more folks, not just from the engineering majors. We need folks from all walks of life to bring that perspective. Right?
Darcy MacClaren (02:45):
Exactly. Exactly. And that’s what I did. But I thought I was going to work for my congressmen and I was going to take Washington by storm, but I didn’t. In fact, I ended up working for Hewlett Packard, which is a fantastic company, and they paid for my MBA. And it was when I was getting my MBA and studying about operations research, I just fell in love with constraint-based planning, with linear programming, and the beauty of mathematics to solve problems within an organization. And from Hewlett Packard, I left that fantastic organization after several years, it was a great early place to start working for a global company like that, I got into software and I started out in ERP. And the migration and the transformation of supply chain, I was recruited by a very innovative planning and scheduling company. And it was at that point that I realized I’d rather plan the battle than count the debt up after, which is what I viewed ERP doing. So, that was my first foray into it.
Darcy MacClaren (03:48):
And when you work for a small, innovative software company, you really have to get your hands dirty across all aspects of the organization. So, you really have to understand, you know, if it’s a linear program that you’re selling through supply chain optimization or planning and scheduling, it gives you great insight into really understanding it. And it was from that small boutique company that actually ended up today, that application, sits in the oracle company that I went through. And I started working for very innovative supply chain companies across all areas of supply chain that really ERP companies were not at the time addressing. So, my career spans with planning and scheduling, transportation, PLM, all the way across every aspect.
Darcy MacClaren (04:35):
And I was recruited to SAP about 10 years ago after building and scaling small companies to come to SAP. And what SAP does is they’re designed to operate, really, encapsulate everything from designing your product manufacturing, to logistics, to everything. So, it was really starting out early on with a technology company, going into software, really finding an area that I really had a passion for. And then, landing at a company such as SAP, where I’ve been working for smaller supply chain companies. And sometimes I look in the room and see I was the most senior person there. I came to SAP really for senior leadership for a larger global organization that I could continue to learn from. So, long answer to a question, but that’s how I ended up in supply chain.
Scott Luton (05:22):
I love it. And, you know, if you try to plan everything out, it’s not going to work as beautifully as what you just laid out there. And by the way, you mentioned the beauty of the math behind solving some of our global challenges. I’ll have to be trained by both of you. I’m not known for a mathematician skills. But, hey, I digress. I appreciate you sharing, Darcy, and giving us all a chance to get to know you a little better. Jenny, same question for you. Can you talk about your journey and what led to the upper echelons of leadership across supply chain?
Jenny Patzlaff (05:52):
Sure. So, similar to Darcy, I didn’t start out in supply chain. So, I did grow up in Wisconsin in the Milwaukee area. I went to the University of Wisconsin for my undergrad. And I graduated from the School of Business with a Degree in Marketing. So, from there, I went to Target Corporation. And when I went to Target, I thought I’d be doing merchandising and buying. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to be the buyer of movies and watch all these DVDs.” By the way, who has DVDs anymore? So, I’m glad that didn’t work out. But it was a place where I knew I could grow and find a lot of different opportunities, which I really did. So, I spent 17 years at Target.
Jenny Patzlaff 06:28):
Quick story early on that probably got me into supply chain, I worked in the college and pro apparel area. And just to date myself, it was when the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl. So, I got to see demand planning. You know, what is the Boston market going to do now that the Patriots have finally won a Super Bowl? I got to see supply because what you do is, when the Super Bowl is played, there’s literally these smaller t-shirt manufacturers or screen printers onsite in these different locations. And based on who wins that’s who starts up their manufacturing operations, so seeing that piece of it. And then, using courier to get the product to the store, because you have to be first to market. People want to wake up the next morning, go out and buy their Super Bowl shirt. So, I really got to see the very fast pieces of logistics.
Jenny Patzlaff (07:17):
So, through that, I developed into a lot of different bridge roles in the company. So, really, I would market my team to other parts of the organization, to suppliers outside the organization, I did some training opportunity, got to know the global trade area, got to work with technology teams, data teams, and really played a lot of bridge roles. And I think it was those bridging between areas that really got me in really appreciating supply chain.
Jenny Patzlaff (07:44):
From there, I moved back to Wisconsin. I worked for RateLinx for three years. I know you know some folks there as well, Scott. I got to know some other supply chains. So, I learned a lot about retail supply chain, but really didn’t know the manufacturing supply chain and all of these different companies, and where they were based, and how their operations worked. And I got to learn a lot more about that from a logistics technology perspective.
Jenny Patzlaff (08:07):
And then, just earlier this year, I got the opportunity to learn about even more supply chains working back at my alma mater at the University of Wisconsin. And unlike a lot of my partners here that work with the students, I’m really working with supply chain professionals in peer learning communities. So, we really advance what we call the Wisconsin idea, and that’s that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundary of the classroom. So, it’s really great to take those experiences I’ve had learning up, meeting and learning these nearly 90 member companies that we work with, and really encouraging these peer learning sessions where I still get to keep a pulse on supply chain while doing that continuous learning that I love.
Scott Luton (08:44):
Gosh. So much there how both of y’all have opened this interview. Two quick thoughts, Jenny, first off blessed are the bridge builders, whether it’s supply chain or elsewhere. And then, secondly, you’re basically saying in so many words that supply chain makes the Super Bowl happen. Is that right, Jenny?
Jenny Patzlaff (09:00):
That’s what I took out of it. Right.
Scott Luton (09:02):
Okay. All right. Awesome. Well, now that we’ve got a chance to get to know both of y’all a lot better, we appreciate that. We’ll have to have you back because there’s so many stories from both of your journeys that we’re not going to able to get to here today. But I want to switch gears and we’ll talk more about real diversity in industry. So, Darcy, I want to start with you here. As we all have acknowledged right here in all kinds of conversations, it’s a wonderful time to be in supply chain, to be in global supply chain. And there are more and more – thankfully – opportunities for all, including women. And we’ve spoken about that a little bit more. We still have lots more work to do, of course. But, Darcy, speak to that, why is it a great time to be in supply chain and what are you seeing in terms of opportunities for all?
Darcy MacClaren (09:45):
It’s such a great time because, first of all, visibility is now even my grandmother knows what supply chain is. So, not just business company are talking about it, heads of state are, because as the Biden Administration Executive Order, countries are worried about it. In fact, I participated in the G7, Canada was making recommendations to the G7 [inaudible] supply chain. So, it’s important because it’s important to us, as consumers, as companies, and as countries. So, I almost feel personally that I have a mission here to make the world a better place and make sure that everybody gets what they want for their holiday. I personally want to help be a part of that solution.
Darcy MacClaren (10:25):
But it’s also a great time because there are so many jobs and really cool jobs for people to do. There are technology jobs. There are data scientists jobs. There’s jobs for everybody of every type of what you like to do, of your educational background. There’s all these great jobs that we just have to decide what we want to do.
Darcy MacClaren (10:47):
And the only thing that I absolutely see happening is where are they grooming our future CEOs from. Well, if you ask Annette Clayton, if you ask Beth Ford, CEOs of two great companies, Land O’Lakes and Schneider Electric, they’ll say they’re recruiting them from supply chain. And why is that? Well, it’s because the visibility that one has when you’re in a supply chain role is cross department, cross company, cross globe. So, you get great insight into running the company.
Darcy MacClaren (11:17):
So, it’s a great time to join supply chain because of the opportunities, because of the importance of it, and what it can mean to your career. And specifically for women, whether they have the background or not, it’s a great place to land in a company because of the growth potential to get to senior levels.
Scott Luton (11:37):
I love that. Darcy, you got me ready to run through the wall back behind me. That’s a wonderful answer in terms of why it’s a great time to be in supply chain. So, Jenny, that’s a high bar, but if anyone can take a pole vault and leap over it, what would you add to Darcy’s answer there?
Jenny Patzlaff (11:53):
Yeah. There’s not much to add. It really is that exact time to be in and around supply chain, so much going on, so much visibility, so many opportunities. Like you were saying, Darcy, I don’t know of any company that’s not looking for supply chain talent right now. And when I think about some of the peer learning forums we’ve had, that’s what our members are talking about is supply chain talent. How do I recruit talent? How do I retain my talent? So, those are very important, specifically thinking about being a woman in supply chain, are really just offering diverse perspectives. This is a perfect time to jump in with the diverse perspective because we need new ideas in supply chain.
Jenny Patzlaff (12:31):
So, what’s gotten us here in terms of cost cutting, and just in time, that paradigm shift is changing. And so, it won’t be what we’ve done in the past. It will be how are we adjusting and changing going forward. So, the more diverse ideas you have in your business that are coming to the table and bringing their perspectives, the better off you are to really prepare yourself for the years to come.
Scott Luton (12:53):
Well said. And as great as it is for supply chain during these times, if you’re an assumption, it is a rocky road because we’re challenging all assumptions right now, as we should be. And you kind of speak to that a little bit there, Jenny, in your answer.
Scott Luton (13:06):
I want to shift gears a bit, because as we all acknowledge, we’ve got a long way to go. There’s no finish line in this work to not only continue to, not just fine tune, but transform global supply chain while also providing more and more opportunities for folks across all walks of life. So, question back for you, Darcy. Why do you think we don’t have more women today in supply chain leadership roles and careers in general?
Darcy MacClaren (13:35):
It’s a really tough question and I get asked that question every day. Because, first of all, from the SAP perspective, we actually hire more than 50 percent women. We’re hiring now because we’re aware of it, of the importance of it, and what we need to do. And I think specifically in supply chain, why there are fewer women and that we have to really look to other areas, it has to start early in education, that they may not go into those roles. Which is why programs like STEM are so important to get women into the fields that tend to lead to supply chain. But, also, what we’re trying to do is to go to look for characteristics that would blend to the characteristics that you need in supply chain. It’s very analytical. It’s problem-solving. It’s being collaborative. All those creative, get it done attitude, all those things lead to being good supply chain professionals. So, we look for those to get them in.
Darcy MacClaren (14:27):
But what I think is important is once we get them in, it’s proper mentoring, sponsoring, coaching. And what we found, particularly during COVID, is we lost a lot of women in upper and senior levels of management. And it was because of the responsibility and the burden that fell more heavily on women than men, and more heavily on women of color, that we were losing people. So, we need to be sensitive of the fact that what do we need to do at these levels regarding flexible work hours, rights, sponsorship, to make sure once we get them, we’re mentoring to keep these talented women in role.
Darcy MacClaren (15:10):
And that’s the thing SAP is working on and also bringing back people. Or women are opting out not to progress in their career because they have all they can handle right now. So, we have to work with women to make sure we’re taking some responsibility off and working in the way they need us to work with progress, flexibility, so that they can continue on their career. It’s a tough problem, but we’re trying to do that as we can in SAP. And I know other companies are as well.
Scott Luton (15:37):
And I love the big bold moves, like to your point, hiring more than 50 percent. Acknowledging the gap, addressing gathering data around, and then taking meaningful and big action. Jenny, same question to you, what do you see in terms of why we don’t have more women, especially in leadership and in the profession in general?
Jenny Patzlaff (15:56):
Yeah. I think I must have copied and pasted my answer from Darcy at some point, because I have all of those same words for me as well when I was reflecting on this question. We have a pipeline problem is exactly what it is. So, I highly recommend, if anyone hasn’t read the McKinsey and LeanIn Women in the Workplace study that comes out every year, and has done with hundreds of companies and thousands of women, definitely give that a full read. It is helpful as a leader. It is helpful as an HR professional. It’s helpful to build some of that empathy if you’re not understanding where these problems are coming from.
Jenny Patzlaff (16:30):
So, just looking at the transportation, logistics, and infrastructure industry, women are hired at 40 percent entry level. But when you look through that pipeline going to management, VP, and C-suite, it gets down to only 16 percent. And it’s a lot of those reasons that Darcy was talking about.
Jenny Patzlaff (16:47):
Another one I’d add, it’s a self-fulfilling problem, is representation. So, if I don’t see a leader at the top that I can see myself aspiring to be like, it’s harder for me to see myself working into that role. I think flexibility, like you said, Darcy, is huge, because if we’re asking our teams to flex outside of 8:00 to 5:00 in terms of when they work, we should also be okay that they’re going to flex within that 8:00 to 5:00 for things with their personal life. And that’s that balance that people really need. And like you said, it’s that flexibility at home, too, making sure that people have those options and that flexibility with some of their home responsibilities as well.
Jenny Patzlaff (17:24):
I think the last piece is, really, women not giving themselves enough grace. You know, I think there’s a lot of burden to feel perfect, feel like you need to be perfect, feel like you have to have everything put together. And no one’s perfect and it’s okay. And so, giving ourselves that grace when we’re in those moments and feeling burnt out and feel like we have all these burdens to really say, “Am I putting these burdens on myself? And how do I let go of some of those things to really focus on what’s most important, whether it’s my professional life or my personal life?”
Scott Luton (17:56):
I love that. A lot of good answers in y’all’s responses there. Let’s move over then to some best practices that we’ve seen out there. You know, the tried and true, the stuff that’s really driving meaningful action for organizations that have really made big strides when it comes to having more diversity in their supply chain organization. So, what have you seen leaders out there doing, Darcy, specifically?
Darcy MacClaren (18:20):
Yeah. Well, this is a scenario that SAP has really focused on. And it all starts with educating your employee base about why diversity is important. Some folks don’t understand it, but I think Jenny said it earlier, diverse teams perform better. That’s a fact. Diverse opinions are good. But you really need to have people understand that. And the other thing is, sometimes you don’t even know you have a bias. So, it’s educating people on unconscious bias that you don’t even realize that you have for a person.
Darcy MacClaren (18:54):
And then, we’ve talked about it starts with recruiting, and really getting your recruiters to look in other areas that they haven’t traditionally done. But at the end of the day, when it comes down to the actual hiring manager, make sure they really look for these other alternative folks. So, that’s what I have seen in best practices. And then, finally, once they’re in, really making sure that the right sponsorship, training, check-ins are done in the organization. And if you do that, you bring them in right, you sponsor them through the organization, you make sure they have the right checkpoints at the top, that’s how you see you get a diverse organization.
Scott Luton (19:34):
I like it. I like it, Darcy. Starting with why is such a powerful, simple concept. But, also, you mentioned that unconscious bias. I made the mistake of getting into a discussion around that notion, especially when it hit me like a ton of bricks and I realized what I had in my blind spot, as we all do as humans.
Darcy MacClaren (19:54):
We do. I even realized I had blind spots. I had no idea that I don’t walk in somebody else’s shoes. I had no idea. It was eye opening to me when we brought speakers in that, “Oh, my goodness. I’m looking in the mirror and I have blind spots too.” So, everybody does, you just don’t realize it. You just don’t realize it.
Scott Luton (20:14):
I’m with you. So, listeners, if this is the first time you’ve heard of unconscious bias, really, Google it, read up on it, because we all do, in my opinion, as humans. And it manifests itself in how we lead and how we work with others and how we hire, as Darcy mentioned, and you name it. Okay.
Scott Luton (20:34):
So, Jenny, same question, you know, what are some of the good things you’re seeing folks really move the needle when it comes to making sure we have healthy, and growing, and increasing diversity in our supply chains?
Jenny Patzlaff (20:46):
Yeah. Just to stay on unconscious bias, I mean, that’s such a critical piece of it. And if anyone tells you they don’t have unconscious bias, that’s already a sign they do. Of course, they don’t know they have it. Like Darcy said, it’s unconscious. But you have to be aware of those, and be checking those, and be open with peers of yours and leaders of yours to have those conversations. Because we all need help checking them. We’re not aware of them.
Jenny Patzlaff (21:11):
I think sponsorship, like Darcy brought up, was another great point. I think a lot of companies do a great job with mentoring, which is there’s someone a level up and you meet with them for coffee or a quick Zoom chat, and that checks the box. But that’s very different than sponsorship. Sponsorship is really who am I pulling up with me? Who am I going to vouch for? And, also, by giving them that tough love feedback that they need to really achieve their full potential. That’s very different than just a good job mentoring relationship. It’s really about how are you vouching for people.
Jenny Patzlaff (21:43):
I think, again, representation is a huge piece of it as well. I saw a recent interview with Michelle Gass, CEO of Kohl’s, one of our member companies, and just all the work that she’s done to really pull people up that ladder with her. And she’s very focused on that gender equality within a lot of what she does within her organization. So, those are a couple of things that I’ve seen successful companies do.
Darcy MacClaren (22:08):
Let me add to what Jenny just said here, because it’s very relevant about pulling women up. What the studies show is that women will not go for a job unless almost 85 or 90 percent of the criteria of the next job. Men, 10 percent, I’m ready for this. And so, knowing that, and what’s interesting is when we discussed this internally, most men don’t realize women do not go to the job until they’re almost fully capable of doing that next job. But the whole point is, you should stretch yourself and it should be a comfortable stretch. But sometimes we have to nudge women a little bit to go for that job. You can do it. You are ready. If you are a 100 percent ready, that would not be the next job. So, that’s another thing to be aware of. We have to sometimes, really, give women a push a little bit to say, “No. You got this. You’ve really got this.” And it’s something that, you know, you don’t necessarily have to do for a man.
Scott Luton (23:00):
Great point. I’ve seen that before that’s why I try out for offensive tackle at the collegiate level. I was not cut out for that, Scott. But I want to switch gears for a second as we kind of be prepared to move to the next topic. And I want both of y’all, if you would – and Jenny, I’ll come back to you – focus on the men that are listening to this audience. What one piece of advice would you have for them and what they can do to help create a more inclusive workplace?
Jenny Patzlaff (23:29):
Oh, one piece. That’s a tough one. The one I’d say is really giving candid feedback to your female employees. And I’ve seen that personally. I think there’s a desire to maybe try to be nice to your female employees and you don’t want to upset anyone. But it’s what Kim Scott calls radical candor. And it’s that combination of when you challenge directly and you care personally. And so, if you really care about someone, you care about their career and you care about their development, if you’re presenting a message to help them grow, they’ll receive it in that way. But don’t hold back that critical feedback that will help someone grow, and evolve, and stretch, because you’re trying to protect them. You’re actually limiting their full potential. So, that would maybe be one piece that I’d give.
Scott Luton (24:17):
Love it, Jenny. Darcy, same question for you. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer up men that really want to help create a more –
Darcy MacClaren (24:24):
Jenny, that was great. I had a conversation with a male colleague, I said, “I’m going to tell her. She didn’t show up for the interview professionally dressed. She was not ready.” She was in an interview for a senior level push and she looked like she just rolled out of bed. And the senior exec said, “Well, I’m not going to tell her that.” I said, “Would you tell a guy, ‘Hey, you need a haircut. You’re going to get an interview.'” You would. But you didn’t tell her she didn’t look right for the job. She didn’t look like she cared for the interview. And, yes, you need to tell someone that.
Darcy MacClaren (24:52):
But the one piece of advice that I would give is, sponsor a woman. Really sponsor, which means you’re putting your name, your career on the line for somebody that you think is ready for the next step. In order to get comfortable with that, that means you have to work with that person so that you can say, “I’m putting my reputation on the line for this person.” But you really need to sponsor a woman for the organization, especially if it’s a woman of any size and scale. And that would be my number one advice is to just sponsor a woman or women through the process.
Scott Luton (25:26):
I love that. And the gauntlet has been thrown down. So, folks, listen to the advice. Take action and help us move the needle. And beyond that, you know, diversity and inclusion. We’ve heard a lot of feedback around there’s so much attention on diversity that even if you move the needle, you still have to make sure that the environment is inclusive for all parties, everyone. And that can be a whole separate set of activities. So, I really appreciate, Jenny and Darcy, what y’all have shared here when it comes to making progress creating opportunities for all.
Jenny Patzlaff (26:01):
Yeah. Actually, Scott, if I can offer up two resources, too, for men. One is the Catalyst Organization. That’s great with advocating for women in the workplace. And they have a program called MARC, Men Advocating Real Change. So, you can get a weekly newsletter. So, if it’s something that you just want to have in the back of your head or just have those reminders, MARC, M-A-R-C, is a great organization. Another one through the Lean In Company – really big fan of Lean In Circles – they have a kind of male advocate program called Lean In Together. And they even have sponsorship with the NBA that’s talking about how do men help support women in all different industries and walks of life. So, I definitely recommend checking out those two resources.
Scott Luton (26:41):
Wonderful. I love that, Jenny. I appreciate you sharing. Listeners, take note of that. Let’s shift over. You know, it goes without saying, these last couple of years we’ve seen many of the traditional challenges. And we’ve seen a whole slew of new unique, never seen it before challenges. And that’s really created quite a tumultuous time beyond the pandemic, especially in global supply chain. So, it’s also impacted the future of supply chains, not just the current state. So, Darcy, I will come back to you here. How has COVID impacted the work in these changes and the impacts of the pandemic? How has that impacted the work of a supply chain professional each and every day?
Darcy MacClaren (27:27):
First of all, everyone is overworked and understaffed with what has to be done. I’ll quote the senior head of logistics at the Keurig Dr. Pepper Organizations said, in his 30 years in the business, he’s never had to pay more for his materials, can’t get his stuff out of the ports, has nobody to drive a forklift, every constraint, and yet they still have to somehow get through their day and they do it. So, it’s really put a burden on supply chain professionals, and it’s really shifted in how they need to look at stuff. The demand is a little bit difficult to predict. And shortages are very problematic. And the employee shortages are problematic.
Darcy MacClaren (28:16):
And depending on the level of technology that you have to solve these problems, to run scenarios, to get how connected you are, it depends on how hard your job is. Because if you’re not connected, it’s very hard to get insights to do what you need to do to service your customers. So, it’s impacted everybody, whether you’re designing products, manufacturing them, you’re in logistics, or customer service across the entire supply chain, it’s been effective.
Darcy MacClaren (28:44):
But that said, I will say that we’ve had incredible supply chain stories. If you look at what Moderna, Pfizer, J and J has done in developing, manufacturing, and delivering vaccine to a global world, it has been amazing what we’ve been able to do with technology and those phenomenal companies to do what they’ve done. That’s all supply chain. That’s all supply chain, and collaboration, and being connected that have done that. So, I could go on and on, but I won’t because I know Jenny has some things to say. I’ll stop there. But it’s across the board, it’s been affected in good ways. So, in good ways it’s stretching us in ways we didn’t think were possible. And using technology like we hadn’t used it before, very exciting.
Scott Luton (29:28):
I’m with you. And that is some of the good news. And there are silver linings in every cloud, and this has been a tough one for so many people. There’s so many people hurting with loss and other challenges across the globe. But we’ve learned so much. We’ve innovated in a truly practical manner. And have found new ways of meeting the consumer where they are. Lots of good stories there. So, Darcy, thank you for sharing. Jenny, what would be your take here?
Jenny Patzlaff (29:59):
Yeah. When I think about a lot of our member conversations that we’ve been having at the UW E-Business Consortium, that’s what a lot of it has been. You know, one person even joked, “Man, it seems like in 2020, we had the demand spikes and the shortages and this perfect storm. We’ve had everything but locusts.” And then, I had to remind her, “We actually did have locusts because we had the 17 year cicadas on top of everything else going on in supply chain.” So, yeah, it’s been crazy. And so, again, literally to your point, Darcy, it’s been a burnout time for everyone.
Jenny Patzlaff (30:29):
So, we literally took one of our meetings, and instead of talking about business best practices, we talked about burnout. And we brought in leadership experts and we had very candid, small conversations, and had different supply chain leaders speak to what were they learning, how are they empathizing with their team, and how are they helping everyone get through this period. So, that’s really been a key piece of it.
Jenny Patzlaff (30:52):
Like I said before, we’re moving from that just in time to just in case. And so, you’re also doing this paradigm shift while you’re trying to work through the day-to-day to say, what is my new normal going to be and what do I need to do differently? And so, lots of different ways about it. But, really, again, in our conversations, that’s the main thing that people are taking away, is that, we’re all in this together. We’re all having these same challenges. And we’re all learning from each other. So, it’s an exciting time to be in supply chain. And I think people are hoping that that light at the end of the tunnel is coming sooner and faster.
Scott Luton (31:29):
Right. And it’s not a train, as the old analogy goes.
Jenny Patzlaff (31:31):
And it’s not a train.
Scott Luton (31:32):
One other thing, and I want to circle back as you were defining things earlier, Darcy. But really quick, it also has accelerated everything. I think I was at an SAP event earlier this year where one of the Walmart executives talked about how they took six months, I think was the expression, “Six months of digital transformation and did it in six weeks.” And I think there’s a lot of organizations that can raise their hand and probably feel the same challenge and a sense of accomplishment. But, Darcy, what is meant when we talk about a resilient supply chain, what does that mean? And how does that impact this whole discussion about what practitioners and organizations are going through right now?
Darcy MacClaren (32:12):
Yeah. Well, we start with the definition of resilient. It’s having some sort of disruption. And then, being able to bring it back to the state it was before the disruption or to an even better state. So, that’s what resilience is all about. And to be a resilient supply chain, you really need four key components. The first one is agility. And agility is all about being able to react. Well, actually, anticipate, react, respond in a quick manner across your whole organization. Which means, you’ve got to get out of the silos of your organization and react holistically as a company. Then, it’s all about being productive, and productivity starts with industry 4.0 in the factory, but really needs to take it through your entire organization. So, you put all that intelligence through manufacturing, through logistics, out to your customers.
Darcy MacClaren (33:09):
And then, it’s about digitalization, which means you need the third thing is being connected. And we operate in a connected world. And for those that are connected to everybody in your ecosystem, which is all your customers, your suppliers, your logistics service providers, all your manufacturer, contract manufacturers. All your things being connected. And then, the final one is sustainability. And everything has to be sustainable, whether your raw materials, your contracting from sustainable, how you manufacture products in a sustainable way, how they act in the field. Are they sustainable? Are they sustainable products? Are you shipping in a sustainable way? Those are kind of the four factors I think in having a resilient supply chain.
Scott Luton (33:56):
I love frameworks, Darcy, so thank you for giving that framework today. I love that. Good things coming forward for sure. Jenny, what would you add to that, whether it’s the definition of resilient supply chains or how it’s impacting the path forward?
Jenny Patzlaff (34:08):
Yeah. A couple of things. It’s really about weathering the storm. And so, I think the statistic I’ve heard now is that there’ll be some type of disruption in your business every 3.7 years. So, let’s hope we don’t have another pandemic in 3.7 years. But will it be some other type of recession? Will it be some other type of natural disaster? And how are you ready for that next thing that’s unanticipated and be ready for that? And I think Darcy laid out some great points there.
Jenny Patzlaff (34:35):
We also talked earlier about resiliency also implies more personally and professionally to your development. And how are you resilient in your career? So, like we talked about, it’s a great time to be in supply chain. Both Darcy and I didn’t think we’d start out in supply chain and yet through different experiences, hurdles, opportunities, we’ve been resilient in what that career path looked like for us. And we’ve changed as we’ve gone.
Jenny Patzlaff (34:58):
And then, the third thing that Darcy reminded me of was, resiliency in academia. And so, as we’re learning these things in industry, how does that come back to what we’re teaching in academia? And that becomes a core part of what I like to do is we’re working with these industry partners. And then, I get to share back across campus some of what we’re hearing. I’m just speaking here at the University of Wisconsin just a few months ago, we launched a computer data and information sciences area. So, really bringing together other disciplines and evolving that to help build that resiliency in the next generation of folks coming through our programs.
Scott Luton (35:33):
I love that. Just making the future even brighter and stronger and smarter. And great ideas are not going to just come from folks in the trenches now, the practitioners out there. But it’s the folks that are coming up and matriculating through our systems, like our great schools, like the University of Wisconsin. So, I love that. I love the sharing notion there. Okay.
Scott Luton (35:56):
Marcy – Darcy – my apologies. I had a best friend in high school named Marcy. And I’ve gotten that wrong three times now. But, Darcy, anything else to add around resilience or anti-fragile or you name it before we move into one of our favorite questions, major misconceptions? Your last word there, Darcy.
Darcy MacClaren (36:14):
No. I think between Jenny and I, we’ve kind of covered the resilience, which is so important, because disruptions are going to continue. We have to assume that. And so, we have to have a way of being able to react to those. So, no, I’m all set.
Scott Luton (36:30):
All set. Wonderful.
Darcy MacClaren (36:31):
Misconception, is that what you want [inaudible]? About misconception?
Scott Luton (36:35):
Yeah. Let me tee this up a little bit, because as we were going through some of our planning sessions, I think this was our favorite question at Garner, perhaps the most discussion. And Darcy and Jenny, I tell you, if we had been recording an earlier conversation, we have a blockbuster for Hollywood based on what y’all both shared your earlier. So, Darcy, question here for you, what are some of the major misconceptions around supply chain dynamics that exist in the market?
Darcy MacClaren (37:01):
Well, it’s so funny because you never used to hear about it and people never used to understand what I did, and now everybody’s saying it. So, true story, this week I was listening to a Boston channel and it actually said, “Coming up next, we’re going to try to tell you how to solve the supply chain issues for the holidays.” And I’m like, “I’ve got to listen to this. I need to know how to sell this.” And it came back and I waited after the commercials and it said, “Shop in stores.” It’s like, okay, because you can’t order things online, you may have problems. So, it’s like I don’t think that’s quite going to help us.
Darcy MacClaren (37:34):
But a couple of misconceptions that I have, first of all, people think COVID caused supply chain issues. It did not. The supply chain was too tight before COVID, inventories were too tight, people were single sourcing. It was all about cost optimization. Anytime we had a disruption, and you could name it, whether it was Brexit, whether it was freezing temperatures in Texas. We had one recently with the Suez Canal. It was too tight. What COVID did was highlight it globally that it did exist. But it didn’t cause the supply chain issues. It just highlighted what we already had.
Darcy MacClaren (38:11):
The other thing, I think, was people didn’t realize the misconception is how connected we are. When we had the ship stuck in the Suez Canal, people didn’t realize, “Well, why would that affect me?” Well, it does big time. Because anything going into Europe has to go through the Suez Canal. So, people didn’t understand why everything that happens in the world we’re globally connected. It will ultimately affect you, whether there’s rain, problems in south America, whether there’s fires in Germany. We’re so connected globally that, yes, these all affect us.
Darcy MacClaren (38:46):
And the other thing is, is that, it’s a short-term fix. It is not. There are absolutely things we can do short-term but, really, readying the supply chain to be resilient is a long term fix. You must start now and you must do what you can do now. But the transformation is going to take a little bit longer but it really does need to happen. And I can go on because I know Jenny also has some too. She probably wants to add to my list of misconceptions.
Scott Luton (39:13):
Absolutely. You know, and to piggyback on just one thing you shared, it takes a massive symphony, to your point, about it being so interconnected. There’s so many different players that make global supply chain happen. You can’t just pinpoint this and then it’s going to be utopia. And I believe more and more consumers and new practitioners are learning that, sometimes the hard way, but we’ve got some big opportunities there. All right.
Scott Luton (39:38):
So, Jenny, same question, one of our favorite questions, those major misconceptions out there around supply chain dynamics out in the market, what would be your take?
Jenny Patzlaff (39:46):
Yeah. I really liked what you said, Scott, about the symphony. I actually played oboe in a fun part of my life and so I understand and appreciate that musicality part of it. And I do think that’s still a misconception that I, as a practitioner in supply chain, can solve the problem in my silo. And to your point, it has to be with your suppliers, with your third party logistics providers, with your upstream sales and operations planning teams. So, I think understanding and really appreciating how broad you have to look and collaborate to solve the problem is still maybe a misconception.
Jenny Patzlaff (40:20):
The other one I’d say is that, I think, people assume it’s the supply problem and that’s certainly part of it. But it’s also a demand problem. So, all of the demand for traveling, and for services, and restaurants, all of that went into stuff. And so, people are buying a lot more stuff. And at the end of the day, supply chain is about balancing supply and demand. And so, when I have these supply problems, some of which due to COVID, some of which, to Darcy’s point, not due to COVID, and I’ve increased my demand, wow, that’s just a recipe for exactly what we’re experiencing now. So, thinking about that, it’s not just that supply problem, but really understanding what your demand is and how your demand has been shifting and getting those back in alignment.
Scott Luton (41:00):
Well said. And we need more oboe players clearly in global supply chains. So, thank you for sharing that Jenny. Darcy, going back to your response, you also talked about for some of these systemic issues that we’re seeing causing so many headaches, our ports, for example. It’s been said that our ports here in the States are six to ten years behind how ports operate elsewhere around the globe. And those types of things aren’t going to be fixed by sitting in a SWAT team of consultants, and a week later, tada. And so, that’s some of the heavy lifting related to some of these big headaches that have been percolating to your point, as you and Jenny both are implying and sharing long before the pandemic. So, I appreciate both of your perspectives around these major misconceptions.
Darcy MacClaren (41:52):
Scott, just for that point, I think what North America didn’t realize is we were so viewing ourselves. We did not realize in a lot of areas, other global regions, surpassed us in their abilities. Ports was one of them. Manufacturing automation is another one. We don’t even realize what they’re doing in Europe and in Asia regarding plant and factory automation. So, I think one of the things that’s kind of highlighted in certain areas, we’re ahead of everybody, there’s no question. In other areas, we could learn from other geographic regions in order to be better, to be more advanced from use of technology, clearly.
Scott Luton (42:27):
Completely agree. And then, Jenny, I’d welcome your thoughts here. But I’ll just add, one of the busiest, most successful airports in the world is here in Atlanta. And we’ve interviewed them a couple of times, especially their freight leaders. And they brought in folks from other parts of the globe to help them better automate and create freight and cargo systems. So, to perfectly illustrate your point, Darcy, that’s the beautiful thing about global supply chain, there’s a ton of sharing of breakthrough moments, innovations. Kind of, Jenny, what you were talking about earlier, that sounds like a key MO when it comes to the Consortium, right?
Jenny Patzlaff (43:03):
Yeah. That’s exactly it. A lot of the fun that I have with the Consortium is watching leaders from other industries learn from each other. So, maybe I sell apparel, and maybe I sell hard consumer goods, and maybe I’m even in insurance, but I have an indirect supply chain that I’m monitoring and I can still be learning from all these other partners. And in some ways that’s easier, because now we’re not talking about collusion or things that are too close to the vest. But by hearing about how someone else is approaching it in another industry, it’s giving me ideas for how I want to approach it for mine. So, that’s certainly a piece that I really liked what our members share with each other here at the Consortium.
Scott Luton (43:43):
One of my favorite parts, you get practitioners together, breaking bread around the table and talk shop, and you never know that a market Intel or practice exchange that’s so critical that would take place. I hate to leave this major misconceptions because there’s so much there, and I really have enjoyed both of your responses there. But as we start to close today’s session, as we circle back around opportunities for all, in particular women, which has been part of this conversation here, and, Darcy, coming back to you, if you had one piece of advice that you’d want to leave with women that are listening to this conversation right here, those that really want to strive up to the upper rungs of organizational leadership by both of you, what would be that advice to them?
Darcy MacClaren (44:29):
Yeah. So, you always make us pick one, Scott, and one is really hard to do because I have a whole bunch of them. First of all, it’s get in the field. But if I had one as a supply chain professional executive, as you go up in your career, I think the one advice I would get is try to simplify things for folks to understand what you’re trying to do. Because I think part of the problem is the ability to concisely and simply explain the situation without having to take a lot. If you can do that as supply chain professional, you are going to rise to the ranks. Because I know that’s one thing that I have issues with, is, there is net it out, simplify it. That skillset is huge in this area to simply explain the issue. The resolution that you’re trying to do will take you far. And there’s a bunch of other ones I have, but that’s my one.
Scott Luton (45:23):
Darcy, hey, as we established earlier – and we’re recording this session so we’re releasing it a few weeks later- today’s a bonus day, so I’m going to go to Jenny next, but I’d love to have another one if you’ve got some. This is good stuff. Jenny, same question.
Jenny Patzlaff (45:38):
The same as Darcy, I actually like that you’re having us prioritize, Scott. I think we need to do more prioritization in supply chain. So, if I had to prioritize one, thinking specifically about women wanting to advance their careers or really anyone in this point right now in their careers, build a network. And so, in some ways that can be your personal board of directors and who is helping mentor you, sponsor you, can give you that candid feedback that you need. In other cases, it can be peers and just a safe space for you to share what’s going on, share your fears, share that I don’t feel good enough. And have that group of people that can help build you up and remind you of those great strengths you have, that you should be delivering the other parts of the organization.
Jenny Patzlaff (46:22):
So, especially with COVID and social distancing, I think this is a perfect time to redo and rebuild your network around what do you need both professionally and personally, and making sure you get that in whatever form is most helpful for you.
Scott Luton (46:37):
I love that, Jenny. You know, as the one and only Harvey Mackay said, “You got to dig your well before you’re thirsty.” And it’s so true. It kind of speaks to what you’re talking about there. Okay. Darcy and Jenny, this has been really good. I’m glad we captured this conversation here today so we can share it with our global audience here at Supply Chain Now. But I want to give you the chance, how can folks best connect with you? Darcy, I’ll start with you. There’s so much good stuff between you and, of course, the SAP Enterprise. I love the events that you all have invested in here over the last 18 months to really help folks connect as we’ve all established is so important. And you’ve made many of those free to attend. That’s been some of the things that we’ve lauded organizations here at Supply Chain Now, because that’s a ton of work, big platforms, a lot of elbow grease invested in that. And I love how you made it easier for folks to connect. But how can folks connect with you, Darcy?
Darcy MacClaren (47:32):
Yeah. The best way is just use LinkedIn, Darcy MacClaren, SAP. That goes right to my SAP email. So, feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn.
Scott Luton (47:43):
It’s just that easy, Darcy. I love it.
Darcy MacClaren (47:45):
Just that easy.
Scott Luton (47:46):
Simple, just like a piece of advice. You’ve got to keep things simple in today’s environment. Jenny, the same question, how can folks connect with you?
Jenny Patzlaff (47:54):
Yeah. I’ll try to keep it just about as simple with LinkedIn, right? So, just find me on LinkedIn, Jenny Patzlaff. You’ll see the bright red badge or logo behind me on LinkedIn. If you are interested in learning more about being a member of the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium and what we do, our website is uwebc.wisc.edu.
Scott Luton (48:15):
I love it. Okay. Well, I hate to bring this conversation to a close. I’ve had a blast learning from both of your perspectives and your experiences and your journeys. We’ll have to have you back really soon. Big thanks to Darcy McLaren, Senior Vice President Digital Supply Chain, North America for SAP.
Darcy MacClaren (48:32):
Thank you. And thank you for having me on, Scott. And, Jenny, a pleasure to be on this with you.
Scott Luton (48:35):
You bet. We really enjoyed it, Darcy. And her good friend, Jenny Patzlaff, Supply Chain Management Practice Director for the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium. Jenny, thanks so much.
Jenny Patzlaff (48:46):
Thanks so much, Scott. I really appreciate it. Darcy, I really appreciate the invite. Great to work with you again.
Scott Luton (48:52):
All right. Well, folks, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. Jam packed, I think, with lots of practical insights, actionable insights, and, of course, lots of great stories. I love great storytellers. We had two of them here today.
Scott Luton (49:05):
If you like conversations like this, be sure to check us out, Supply Chain Now, wherever you get your podcasts from. Subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode. On behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton signing off just for now. Challenging you to do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
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.
Darcy MacClaren is the Senior Vice President, Digital Supply Chain, North America for SAP and has been with SAP for almost ten years in various leadership role. With an emphasis on customer success, she is responsible for driving Digital Supply Chain sales including the go-to-market strategy, and overseeing core operations in pipeline development, demand management, and revenue growth. She is a strategic global leader who has spent 30 years growing, differentiating, and improving businesses through technology transformation with a focus on supply chain. Darcy is committed to guiding organizations in how to transform their companies through innovative technology and next generation business processes . She is passionate about collaborating with and empowering companies to elevate the strategic value delivered to their ecosystem focused on helping companies to build resilient and agile supply chains. She is the founder of Women in Supply Chain Network with is dedicated to improved diversity in the supply field and since its inception in 2020 grown to over 500 members. Before joining SAP, held several senior supply chain leadership positions at companies such as Blue Yonder, Infor, G-Log, (acquired by Oracle), and Hewlett Packard. Darcy graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, with a bachelor’s of arts degree. She has an MBA from SUNY at Buffalo. Connect with Darcy on LinkedIn.
Jenny Patzlaff is an experienced cross-functional team leader and 20+ year supply chain veteran. She is currently the Supply Chain Management Practice Director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison E-Business Consortium (UWEBC), where she develops collaborative learning forums among the nearly 90 member companies in the consortium. Jenny spent 17 years at Target Corporation in various supply chain roles including Inventory Management, International & Domestic Logistics, Global Trade Compliance, Data Product Management, and Supply Chain Program Management. She then moved back to Wisconsin as Director of Strategic Initiatives for RateLinx, a logistics software development company where she helped customers reduce freight costs and improve Ship, Track and Pay data visibility. She returned to her alma mater at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Spring 2021. Jenny graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA in Marketing and minor in International Business. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt, and Licensed Customs Broker. She has a passion for data transparency, solving supply chain problems, and promoting a team culture of collaboration and continuous learning. Connect with Jenny 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.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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.