Supply Chain Now
Episode 1174

I expect that we'll be spending a lot more time listening to the insights from the data and the metadata behind it and helping our customers get ahead of the decisions they don't even know they need to make yet.

- James Brochu, General Manager, supply chain division at Pivotree

Episode Summary

Supply chain professionals are constantly asked to do more with less and provide point solutions for point problems. Supply chains serve as a starting point for digital transformation in times of economic instability and continued disruption, but is it possible to control complexity and cut costs at the same time?

In this livestream-based episode, James Brochu, General Manager for the supply chain division at Pivotree, and Chad Hooker, SVP of Global Channel & Alliances at Fluent Commerce, join hosts Scott Luton and Greg White to explore the relationship between business, consumers, and technology.

James and Chad share their perspective on a number of ways supply chain teams are doing more with less:

• Why now is a good time for companies to re-evaluate their supply chain technology platforms’ ability mitigate risk and reduce IT capital spend

• How supply chain leaders are building integrated ecosystems to drive operational excellence and deliver transformative outcomes

• Ways that being nimble leads to resilience and improves outcomes, as well as the ability to scale and transform over time

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

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 (00:00:32):

Hey, hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Gregory, how we doing today?

Scott Luton (00:00:42):

I’m doing quite well. I am wearing a collared shirt to show respect for our guests, but denim to show my general rejection of societal norms.

Scott Luton (00:00:52):

Now that is an opening, folks, and I was just about to say, hey, that’s one good looking shirt, Greg.

Greg White (00:00:59):

Thank you. We used that in our family. By the way, I can’t remember what show we – or something we – friend that we stole this from. When the kids were young, we would say knocking to respect your privacy, but coming in any way to reinforce my authority.

Scott Luton (00:01:16):

Okay, we’re going to have to dive deeper.

Greg White (00:01:18):

It’s a great parenting technique. You’re welcome, folks.

Scott Luton (00:01:19):

It sounds like it. Parenting 101, next week, 11:00 AM. Join us.

Greg White (00:01:24):

Supply chain parenting.

Scott Luton (00:01:25):

Hey, we could learn a thing or two. But, you know, I’ve got to represent the first place, Atlanta Braves. We’ve got about two weeks or so to the season, two and a half weeks or so. And, man, this playoffs, this expanded playoffs is going to be something else. So we’ll see what, how much damage Atlanta can do in the playoffs. But nevertheless, Greg –

Greg White (00:01:43):

You think there’s anyone that can take them out? Seriously. I mean, barring an actual slump, I’m –

Scott Luton (00:01:48):

Hey, man, I’m worried. I’m worried about that middle relief in general.

Greg White (00:01:52):

So do I.

Scott Luton (00:01:52):

That’s right. We’ll see how it goes, so knock on wood. But what I’m not worried about Greg is more quality conversations today with leaders that are out there making it happen, doing big things. We got two more here today, especially helping organizations to do more with less and doing it well, especially from a supply chain perspective. Greg, it should be quite the conversation, huh?

Greg White (00:02:16):

Yeah, it sure as heck will. I mean, it’s like entrepreneur week, like how do we enable companies to be better this week? So –

Scott Luton (00:02:24):

That’s right.

Greg White (00:02:25):

Really, I’m looking forward to this, how we enable these companies. You know, Scott, you know how I feel. Maybe you all know how I feel, but you can promise whatever you want in your marketing. You can drive sales however you want, but none of that matters if you don’t deliver.

Scott Luton (00:02:44):

That’s right. That’s right.

Greg White (00:02:46):

So that’s what supply chain is all about, is delivering on the brand promise that you make to your customer.

Scott Luton (00:02:54):

Well said. And we’re going to be talking a lot of that execution, that magical execution that allows companies to deliver on that brand promise. And, folks, get ready. Beyond our guests and the brilliance you’re going to hear from them and from Greg, we want to hear from you too, so drop your comments in the chat throughout the next hour. This is live as we are about 95% of the time it feels like. But, Greg, we got to get to work.

Greg White (00:03:15):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:03:16):

Let’s see here. I want to welcome in our two distinguished guests today. One’s a repeat guest. We had a lot of fun with Jim Brochu, general manager supply chain with Pivotree, a few weeks back on a podcast with Constantine, old Dino. And Jim is joined by Chad Hooker, senior vice President, Global Channel and Alliances with Fluent Commerce. Hey, hey, Jim, welcome back.

Jim Brochu (00:03:38):

Hey, Scott, thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (00:03:40):

You bet. Great to have you back. And, Chad, you’re bringing friends and know-how I’ve been there, done that leaders. Chad, great to meet you here today.

Chad Hooker (00:03:46):

Yeah, appreciate it, guys. Thanks for letting me join. It’s always good to hang out with my buddy, Jim, so really great to make new friends.

Greg White (00:03:52):

Welcome aboard. Yeah, good to have you.

Scott Luton (00:03:54):

That is right. So, folks, we’re going to make everybody hungry for starters before we get into supply chain, a lot of talk about supply chain here today. We’re going to make folks hungry because it is international chocolate day, international chocolate day. Now, did you know its roots, chocolates roots can be traced back some 4000 years ago in present day Mexico, and of course it’s loved the world round. You might like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, whatever. I love all of it, except white chocolate. Not a big fan of white chocolate. But nevertheless, with that said, and gentlemen, I’m going to start with you, right? As I mentioned, we’re going to make folks hungry. What is one of your favorite chocolate food stuffs?

Jim Brochu (00:04:34):

Yeah, so my favorite chocolate food, first of all, I’ll start off by saying it’s my wife’s birthday, so I kind of selected this one based on a bigger birthday and me traveling. So I’ve got to name her so I get some credibility when I get back home. But my wife is actually from Germany and both my kids are dual citizens, U.S. and German. And my wife introduced me to these chocolate cakes, their cake with orange filling and chocolate on top.

Greg White (00:04:57):

Oh, yeah.

Jim Brochu (00:04:59):

Cakes. And to be honest, my wife has to order them special from Germany. She’ll buy them a few boxes at a time and they’re really hard to get, but she has to actually hide them in my house now because if I find them, it’s not that I eat one or two, boxes gone in a couple minutes because they’re just that good.

Scott Luton (00:05:15):

Man. Okay. You got to hide that inventory, Jim. Okay, I hear you.

Greg White (00:05:17):

What town is she from? Because there are some of those that are – they have a very unique recipe in certain cities in Germany.

Jim Brochu (00:05:24):

Yeah, she’s from Regensburg, just northeast from Munich.

Greg White (00:05:28):

Yeah, of course.

Scott Luton (00:05:29):

And what’s her first name? Let’s all wish her happy birthday. What’s her first name?

Jim Brochu (00:05:32):

Yeah. So I’m going to make her mad. It’s Marlene, but it’s actually – it’s German. So it’s pronounced Marlena.

Greg White (00:05:35):

Oh, yeah. Happy birthday, Marlena.

Jim Brochu (00:05:39):

One way and she hates it. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:05:41):

Happy birthday, Marlena, wherever you are. I hope you have a nice dinner tonight or later this weekend. Okay.

Greg White (00:05:48):

There’s a song about her, isn’t there? It’s like 1, 2, 3, Marlena, something like that.

Jim Brochu (00:05:52):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:05:51):

I think, yeah, we’re going to look that up. Chad Hooker. All right, so Jim set the bar pretty high, right?

Greg White (00:05:58):

Chad, you better mention your wife now.

Scott Luton (00:05:59):

Right. So, Chad, tell us your favorite chocolate food stuff.

Chad Hooker (00:06:04):

Yeah, well I was either thinking like, you know, Jim and I are extremely blessed because I’m just going to name the wife as well, but meaning that we’ve got amazing spouses that we’ve been able to share our wives with, or we’re just both trained very well. I don’t know which one it is, but same for me. But mine’s on the custom side. My wife – we’re from Texas originally. Myself, Amarillo, her Dallas. And she makes an amazing Texas sheet cake, because not a super complex, I would say on her repertoire, but it’s definitely my favorite. And she absolutely smashes it every time. In fact, she made it – she made it again for recently for a fans’ football party that we were at. So everybody dove in and it was so good that most people were not even wanting to put ice cream with it. They were taking it just the chocolate cake and passing [inaudible].

Scott Luton (00:06:49):

Wow. That says something ’cause à la mode makes any cake. But, Greg, that’s going to be – between Jim and Chad, that’s going to be tough to top. Greg, what’s your favorite chocolate food stuff?

Greg White (00:07:02):

Well, first, can I acknowledge his hometown because I’m from Liberal Kansas and the only thing to see in Liberal Kansas – or my family’s from liberal Kansas – is the lights of Amarillo. So we look over the horizon at the lights. There’s not a tree between Amarillo and Liberal Kansas. Not one. So howdy, neighbor. I’m going to have to say, there’s a particular ice cream store in the Midwest called Braums, and they have a chocolate marshmallow ice cream. It is the best ice cream you will ever eat in your life. So, I love it. The marshmallow somehow really makes the chocolate even that much better.

Scott Luton (00:07:38):

Okay. Nice.

Greg White (00:07:39):

And having grown up with a mom who was a chocolate and ice cream freak, I got plenty of it. And in fact, I just went and visit her in Wichita last week. I think she’s lost and ate, to Jim’s point, I ate one whole container of her chocolate marshmallow ice cream.

Scott Luton (00:07:58):

Okay. From Braums. Love it.

Greg White (00:07:59):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:08:00):

All right. I’m just going to add to discussion. Y’all have already knocked it out, but Little Debbie’s. I grew up with every version of Little Debbie from, you know, the brownies used not be cosmic brownies. That’s a new little twist. Back in the day, they had chopped walnuts on them, and I bet we ate those by the package. Right? I think they came [inaudible].

Greg White (00:08:16):

Were they iced back then?

Scott Luton (00:08:18):

Yeah. Fudge on top of that –

Greg White (00:08:19):

But no sprinkles or whatever.

Scott Luton (00:08:21):

Oh, no, no.

Greg White (00:08:21):

It’s in cosmic.

Scott Luton (00:08:22):

No. Now is where the cosmic comes from. So I’m a little, you know, fudge rounds, the brownies, the Swiss cake rolls, Star Crunch. Don’t sleep on Star Crunch. But not so much anymore as an adult. It doesn’t really fit.

Greg White (00:08:35):

Not a Moon Pie fan.

Scott Luton (00:08:36):

No, no, no, no.

Greg White (00:08:37):

Sorry, not to stereotype Southerners, but –

Scott Luton (00:08:40):

Right. Hey.

Greg White (00:08:40):

I’ve got to say I’m a little surprised.

Scott Luton (00:08:41):

Thank you, Greg. Thank you, Greg. All right, folks. We’ve had a little fun talking about all kinds of delicious food stuff, chocolate stuff. I should just add in, Amanda says, “Fanny Farmers’ chocolate covered s’mores bites, now an obsession in our house.” Don’t let our secrets out, Amanda. You can find that at Costco, but don’t pick one up because you’ll go back for like three more bags and that’s not good either. All right. We got to get to work, folks. We got a lot of good stuff to get into, Jim and Chad and their teams. But as I mentioned on the front end, they’re doing big things out in the industry. So what I want to start though. You know, let’s level set. There’s not enough context in this world, right? So I want to first level set, and we’ll start with Jim. For the three people out there that haven’t heard of Pivotree, what does Pivotree do in a nutshell?

Jim Brochu (00:09:25):

Yeah, Scott. So essentially like when a customer wants to find, buy or get a product that they want and they want to get it when and how they want, that’s a frictionless commerce experience, right? And in a nutshell, Pivotree is really working on leading the charge into frictionless. We do that by just combining the right people, right, talented people, data insights and supply chain execution technology, including the one that we brought Chad on here to talk about today, into meaningful experiences. And we do that for more than 250 major global brands, right. But it’s more than just business for us. It’s a passion. And we got into this space because frankly, our customers were struggling to leverage their business technologies in value added ways. And we think there’s a real opportunity should be of service there.

Scott Luton (00:10:10):

Love that. Jim, love frictionless. And I love when big time organizations bring some of their key partners to these conversations. And, Chad, that brings us to you. So for the handful of folks that may not know about Fluent Commerce and your award-winning organization, as I see Forrester recently named you as a strong performer, tell us what Fluent Commerce does.

Chad Hooker (00:10:28):

Yeah, so thanks. Despite our name, Fluent Commerce, we’re actually not a commerce platform. We’re a distributed order management platform operating in commerce and supply chain. And you may ask what’s a distributed order management. We basically see ourselves as a being either the backend of commerce, either that B2B, B2C experience, or the front end of supply chain from an inventory and planning. So we tip the fence on both sides of those worlds from a, like, feature function tech, how we do it, what we do effectively, and we look at bringing in all sources of supply all across the network, whether that’s warehouses, stores, 3PLs, dropship vendors, wherever, wherever that inventory sits, be able to bring in that inventory at scale, put an availability picture on top of that so that you can express that out to whatever selling channel might be out there. And then to – I think we were talking a little bit earlier about the promises that you make to customers. That’s what we’re doing. We’re making those promises as when and where and how are you going to be able to get that material. We then make that promise and that that service itself up to could be a sales rep, standing in front in their customer’s office with a tablet in their hand making an order. It could be somebody either from a B2B or a B2C experience on the web, mobile, whatever. Once they’ve identified what they want, then they add and create that order, we’re then orchestrating that order and fulfillment back out to all those sources of supply that I mentioned, and then communicating that back out to the customer as well as internally, if there’s problems, if there’s errors, if there’s things that need to be addressed. And then once that item gets there, should the customer not be a hundred percent satisfied or doesn’t fit the bill, then we then orchestrate the return, getting that item back into stock, return it to the vendor, disposal, whatever.

Chad Hooker (00:12:07):

And so, we offer – we’re a global brand, headquartered in Australia, got sales operations and customers and APAC, EMEA as well as the Americas. So –

Scott Luton (00:12:16):

Okay.

Chad Hooker (00:12:16):

We do everything for those of us in global world to be up at all hours of the day to be talking to the teams and, yeah, we get the honor of working with Jim and his team as they’re doing the implementations for us out there in the field and helping us innovate and drive new things out there for our joint customers.

Scott Luton (00:12:33):

Chad, I love that. Appreciate it. Greg, when you think about Pivotree and Fluent Commerce and how they’re partnering together, moving mountains, what comes to your mind?

Greg White (00:12:43):

Well, you had me at frictionless, you know that, Scott. Look, the expectation of B2B is the same as the expectation of B2C these days. I want to know whether you got it. I want it to be easy to buy. I want you to get it to me on time. Right? It ain’t that hard, is it, Chad? But it’s good to see this available for B2B and B2C environment because there are a lot of challenges out there. I was just thinking about the ability to see whether you have it how a couple three years ago that was a differentiator. Now it’s table stakes, right?

Scott Luton (00:13:16):

Right.

Greg White (00:13:17):

Speed to confirm the order, right? All of that. All of those things that used to be differentiators are now table stakes. And to be able to facilitate that, gosh, we haven’t said this in a long time, right? The kind of solutions that are ABA, what I call ABA, anyone but Amazon that’ll enable you to compete with a juggernaut like that. They’re freeing, literally freeing. And empowering the companies that want to control their own destiny. That to me that’s the critical link here.

Scott Luton (00:13:50):

And you’re right. We have not said ABA in a long time. That just took me back, that took me back to our release of days.

Greg White (00:13:56):

Yeah, probably pre-pandemic.

Scott Luton (00:13:58):

Probably so. Probably so. Okay. So, folks, if you can’t tell, there’s a ton of expertise on today’s conversation. I’m just going to add one more thing before we pick Jim and Chad’s brain in terms of what leaders are struggling with out there because you’ve gotten a kind of sense of who Jim and Chad are, right, and the organizations and what they do. But what you don’t know that we found out in the green room is that Chad and his family are in the motocross and supercross and they ride motorcycles, right? And Jim, of course, is now a certified Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. So what that means is they can, if you mess with them, they’ll ride you down and beat you up. So don’t mess with Chad and Jim. Okay, folks?

Greg White (00:14:37):

Don’t plug on Superman’s cape.

Scott Luton (00:14:39):

Right, right, right. We had a lot of fun with that Jim Croce song. All right. So let’s get into – a little more context on the front end, right? Tons of organizations are struggling, tons of leaders are struggling. You know, Greg, you made a great point there that we’ve talked about a lot about. While visibility is table stakes, plenty of organizations are still struggling with that. So where I want to start with, Jim, is what are, in your perspective with the conversations you’re having out there with customers and partners and out in the market, what are business leaders out in the industry struggling with right now?

Jim Brochu (00:15:09):

Yeah. I’ll answer that. But first I’ve got to a highlight, Scott, you just painted a very dividend image in my head of me rolling up in my jiu-jitsu gate on the back of Chad’s motorcycle.

Greg White (00:15:19):

There you go. Jumping off. Man, that’s an action picture.

Jim Brochu (00:15:19):

[Inaudible] image at this point. But, no, I think that the question of what business leaders are struggling with, it’s not really a new question. I don’t think the problem points are really new either, right guys? So everybody in supply chain recently lived the reality of kind of the what now generation supply chain, right, where disruption wasn’t an exception, it was the norm and global business wasn’t ready for it. And everybody kind of paid the price, right? Everything – demand was volatile. Talent and labor was kind of hard to get, still is hard to get in some places, and costs were going up. Last time, we were on your podcast, I took what has maybe a controversial stance that I think global supply chain has kind of reached a relatively stable place, but that it was really painful to get here. And given that the US is kind of right now battling Hurricane Lee, I think the analogy that I like right now is people aren’t sure if we’re in the eye of the storm or if we’re just getting ready to prepare for the next one. But either way, I think we’re at a really pivotal point for supply chain organizations where they need to make the right investments in agile and resilient supply chains so that they can be ready for the next storm or the tail end of this, right?

Scott Luton (00:16:31):

Yes.

Jim Brochu (00:16:32):

And, I think Chad and his team over at Fluent Commerce are a great example of applied technology and architecture that enables companies to become more agile and resilient by design and gives them more flexibility once those winds start to blow.

Scott Luton (00:16:47):

Jim, well said. Really quick, Greg, your quick response. I like that storm analogy. Your quick response to what Jim just shared there, Greg.

Greg White (00:16:54):

Yeah. Well, I mean, Jim, you have to remember, we’re in supply chain. So unless it’s a storm or unless it’s a catastrophe, we don’t even think of it as disruption, but it’s happening all the time. I think that’s important for the casual observer or supply chain enthusiast to understand is there’s never not some sort of disruption going on. It’s just a matter of whether it’s a catastrophic disruption or one that can’t be predicted. So, understand that Jim and Chad, Scott and I have high pain tolerance in this regard, but it is something that is a risk every single day of your business. So you have to be aware of that. And of course, agility is critical for that. And resilience just means you don’t fall over when the wind blows.

Scott Luton (00:17:39):

Oh, well said. All right. Chad, let’s – man, we’re getting out the gate strong here. Chad, what are you seeing business leaders out there struggling with?

Chad Hooker (00:17:46):

I’m struggling with right now. You know, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Jim over the years, and this is the first time that it’s come to mind of like a dumb and dumber kind of vibe with him on the back of the motorcycle and his jiu-jitsu.

Greg White (00:17:58):

I like that even more than a dirt bike, a mini bike, yeah.

Chad Hooker (00:18:04):

Yeah. That one’s a new one for me, but, and that’ll be a tough one to get out but, you know, as Jim mentioned, right? I mean, everything that’s happened over the last few years, exposed cracks and systems and processes and a lot of those cracks and systems and processes were built into systems that are 30 years old with lots of assumptions baked in over time out of what was going on during the time that those assumptions were being baked in, and as you mentioned, like when it tipped over strong and nobody wants to get caught in that again. So we’re seeing a lot of folks wanting to – wanting and trying to figure out what’s out there, tech-wise, process-wise, bringing in, you know, folks like Jim and his team to come help sort out what is new and what can be addressed. And we’re seeing a lot of those try to figure that out because they might’ve spent, you know, tens of tens, thousands, hundreds, thousands, millions of dollars in these systems over time. So it’s hard to just do a quick pivot and turn on those. So they’re looking for ways that they can get good innovation at a reasonable cost and be able to do and innovate without having to do large scale wholesale replacements. And because, you know, the – and also looking at those systems that they have, it’s hard for them to find talent that can do it.

Chad Hooker (00:19:14):

It’s hard to find budget to get that done. So, you know, we’re constantly trying to figure out ways that our tech and how we can help them augment and change and innovate and be ready and be nimble, such that those, you know, 30-year-old systems of concrete poured over don’t have to pivot on a dime again.

Scott Luton (00:19:31):

Chad, yes, we’re going to dive a lot more into the need for being nimble later in the show. But, Greg, out of all that Chad shared there, what’s one thing that folks got to really take away here?

Greg White (00:19:41):

Well, I mean, we did. We hit an inflection point with old technology, and, Chad, to your point, and old viewpoints on supply chain, Scott, we see it every day. People, I don’t know what to say, whining about the fact that we didn’t have visibility for 30 years and then celebrating that we have visibility in certain industries when that visibility has been available for literally decades in other industries and is table stakes not differentiation, right? The execution aspect that we’re talking about here is what’s really critical. Take that visibility and turn it into action and – or turn it into comfort in the supply chain. Because one of the most important misnomers of supply chain is that it’s a cost saving exercise. It’s a risk balancing exercise. And cost is just one of the risks in supply chain. Resiliency, agility, speed, you know, reliability, however you want to call it, all of those things are critical and it’s a constant balancing act. Here comes my favorite terms, Scott. Ready?

Scott Luton (00:20:43):

Ready. You got me earlier.

Greg White (00:20:45):

[Inaudible] analytics. It is the biggest puzzle on the planet, supply chain is. It is really an ecosystem where butterfly flaps its wings over here, tidal wave hits Tokyo kind of thing, right? So you’ve got to understand that while, as we said, we are all sitting here maybe a little bit cavalier about the risks that we face every day, because that level of risk has become so ingrained in our being that we just accept it as the norm. But there are real catastrophic risks out there threatening supply chains every day and building that stability and agility in is so critical. And did I mention frictionlessness?

Scott Luton (00:21:26):

That’s the place to be.

Greg White (00:21:29):

I just love that. I just think that the generations that are coming into supply chain and those of us who are enlightened enough to recognize that supply chain has to change, which clearly, Chad, you and Jim are, we’ve recognized that the easier it is, the better it goes. Right?

Scott Luton (00:21:46):

Yes. All right. So you got me choked up earlier, Greg. You’re making – your comments were just hitting me in my heart. You got me choked up a little bit. All right, so let’s talk about re-evaluation. Well, hang on really quick. Let’s say a little bit. Hey, Gino, great to see you. And, hey, red 19, red 19, bet the farm on red 19. Hello, Gino, tuned in from Vegas.

Greg White (00:22:09):

Nineteen is black, red 18.

Scott Luton (00:22:10):

Set red 18. Safe travels to you.

Greg White (00:22:13):

[Inaudible] that I know.

Scott Luton (00:22:14):

All right. So re-evaluation, re-evaluating your current supply chain technology platforms. A lot of organizations are doing that just now. As Greg and Chad pointed out the dinosaurs of the years past, can they take you where we need to go now? I don’t know. So mitigating risk, reducing IT capital spend, trying to do more with less. So, Chad, I want to start with you here. What are you seeing leading or leading organizations doing in this regard?

Chad Hooker (00:22:41):

You know, I think expand a little bit on what Greg was saying, right? It’s, you know, cost is a part of that, that risk equation. And we’re definitely seeing folks, you know the term that we use quite often is sweat out those investments a little bit longer. Maybe it’s sweat out the investment in the old legacy ERP they had, maybe it’s a sweat out the old legacy commerce platform that they had and be able to not have to just drop and then start all over and jump back into massive three, four-year ERP or massive monolithic commerce implement re-platforming. But find ways to innovate around that. And so, you know, I guess one of the things that we’ve seen, we started seeing customers come to us saying, “Look,” you know how Greg was saying like, “We’ve got an inventory problem.” And I would say now, like that inventory, that fulfillment inventory, that’s the new battleground of experience because you’ve got an inventory problem, you’ve got a visibility problem, you have a customer experience problem. And so, we started seeing customers come to us saying, hey, we’ve got this – we’ve got an inventory problem, we’ve got it scattered all over. We don’t have a good way of harmonizing that, providing that availability out so that we can effectively be selling.

Chad Hooker (00:23:42):

And by the time that all of those bits of inventory make its way back into some old monolithic ERP system, being able to get all of that synthesized and then pushed out, now that data’s a lie. Life’s moved on. You’re promising against things that are likely not there because things change by the time that that data passed around. And so, you know, in those situations, people live kind of in two different worlds. They either live offensively where they create lots of safety stock and they’re worried things change, and then they’re sitting on stock that they’re holding back. Or you live defensively, I guess maybe, and you live in fear that you’re overselling. And where we started seeing customers come to us is that surprisingly, especially on the B2B side, we were seeing people saying that that like upwards of 25% of cancellations which is a massive amount because of overselling and not being able to actually fulfill that promise.

Chad Hooker (00:24:29):

So not only did you blow it with that customer at that time, but you’re not going to get them back. If they’re having to shop, [inaudible] move around. So, you know, for us, we saw this need created what we call big inventory where we can mass that – have massive amount of data, be able to synthesize that, process it efficiently, and then put an availability picture on it so that we can push it out, and that’s just kind of one of the ways that we’ve seen like customers asking us, say we’ve got a very specific problem, how can we solve that very specific problem and then start building tomorrow while on that and then start innovating and retiring other bits of the tech out there in the ecosystem that tipped over in those last few years.

Scott Luton (00:25:08):

Yes. Hey, really quick, you touched on the importance of inventory visibility and the whole world needs that, except if your name is Marlena and you’re trying to hide chocolate and not give folks visibility into your chocolate inventory, I believe. All right. But, Jim, let’s keep [inaudible]

Greg White (00:25:25):

I wonder if Chad has a solution that could help her with that. Only Jim and Chad would still be friends if he did that.

Scott Luton (00:25:31):

So Jim, I’ll get you to piggyback on some of the things that Chad shared there, then we’re going to circle back and get Greg’s comments. But, Jim, same question, doing more with less, what are you seeing folks do?

Jim Brochu (00:25:43):

Yeah. I mean, I think Chad hit the nail on the head relative to inventory visibility and the need for control, control of inventory and operations. But I think, Greg, you were heading in a really nice direction talking about how it needs to be easy, right, intuitive part of your DNA and I think that’s really the difference, right? The difference between good and good enough is massive. It’s huge. And I think the pivotal point that most organizations aren’t focusing on, another area that Craig touched on, is getting insights and visibility when they need it, which is generally before things start to go off the rails, but also having tools in their tool set, light fluence inventory controls with multiple strategies. You can deploy inventory point solutions to point problems, having those available and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, right? I think all too often if you have good analytics, you identify. I need a three-year ERP project; it’s going to cost me $5 million and it’s going to get me this little incremental improvement.

Jim Brochu (00:26:41):

I think that most IT organizations are starting to think quite differently about their business, right? They’re thinking, hey, I need real-time visibility into – inventory is one component – but actually into my operations and those things and the traditional model of massive data lakes with KPIs that my business tells me what they are that’s struggling a little bit to keep up with the pace of change, right? They want to know things like, how is my store operations running right now? Are my orders overloading? Are my orders being promised to one warehouse and I’m going to have a labor or an overtime cost issue this week? And I won’t know it until after I get the bill, right? So I think organizations are struggling to get down to those practical questions from real operational data. And I think that’s one of the major areas that I see them focusing right now.

Jim Brochu (00:27:27):

Now again, that visibility, that level of modeling and control, it’s only helpful if you have a lever that can impact, right? And that’s why Pivotree is focused on the visibility and the suite of applications that can impact supply chain problems wherever they live. And Fluent OMS and their inventory modules are a major part of that strategy because they’re so easy to implement. They have such robust strategies. If today I need to focus on markdown avoidance because I’ve got a bunch of snow shovels and summers coming, I can shift and do that, and if I’ve got other strategies that I need to apply tomorrow, I can do that as well based on what my business and my data and KPIs are telling me. I think that’s we’re seeing a lot of organizations focusing right now. And, Greg, you said it right. Industries like automotive manufacturing have had deep analytics and KPIs and end-to-end visibility for a long time.

Jim Brochu (00:28:17):

Organizations or companies like retail, a lot of B2B companies, especially if they’re trying to go direct to consumer, they don’t have the KPIs or the access to the data. And frankly, they don’t know what good looks like from what we’d be measuring and they’re making it up as they go along. We want to help them jump the queue there and know what they should be monitoring when it’s on or off and what to do about it.

Scott Luton (00:28:39):

Okay, man. A big theme there, Jim, again, was the critical need to be nimble amongst other things you shared there, Jim. Greg, they referenced some things you should – you said several times and Chad and Jim’s response, your thoughts about doing more with less, Greg.

Greg White (00:28:58):

Well, the first, the first thought I have is if you’re listening to this recorded, rewind this section and go back to the start of what Chad was saying, and listen to that over and over and over again. Because the enun– the thing that gets clearly enunciated here from my perspective, is that the legacy archaic solutions of yesteryear are not going to get you there. And that’s absolutely been proven. First of all, they were, as Jim just spoke to, they were engineered in a time when we had a dearth of data, when we had low expectations, we had no specialization in supply chain. And it was things like batch, overnight processes of data. So by the end of the day, the inventory you’re looking at is yesterday’s inventory, not counting what was sold today, things like that, right? Then you have min maxes and some of these ancient techniques, and you have to realize these, most of these ERP technologies still have Fortran code. I don’t even know what Fortran code is, but I know that it’s from the ‘50s, and that’s all you need to know.

Greg White (00:30:06):

So what we’re seeing is, and there’s so much to address, which is why I said rewind, but there’s so much to address. But the things that jumped out at me was people are starting to sort of kernelize their transactional systems, because that’s what they’re good at. ERPs are really finance systems with a few shallow branches off to the side that attack some specialty areas. And then if you can kernelize those systems and just kind of isolate them and use them for the data processing and transaction processing that they’re so good at, and then feed that data to more timely and frankly, modern and deep solutions, just the way Jim talks about it, so matter-of-factly, I think that’s one of the areas you want to listen to. Again, that description that he said just so matter-of-factly, as if it is just something you do every day, that’s the difference between these types of solutions, these specialized supply chain solutions and ERP solutions. Please, please, please, please buy ERP.

Scott Luton (00:31:07):

Yes.

Greg White (00:31:07):

From ERP vendors. Buy supply chain technologies from supply chain technology vendors, right? It’s worth it to go that deep, right? ERPs are, or a mile wide and an inch deep, these kinds of technologies that we’re talking about today are a mile deep. And you can layer them right and companies are doing it over and over and over again. You can layer them right on top of that ERP, and I can’t remember Chad or Jim who made this point – don’t feel compelled to pull out that ERP, just kernelize it to what it does best and stack specialized technologies on top of it to solve those problems.

Scott Luton (00:31:44):

Well said. Man, tons of passion and been there, done that, know-how, on today’s, and we’re halfway through. So, Chad, we’re going to have to hit that throttle and pick up the pace a little bit. We got a lot more to get through here today talking about a lot of groups out there, a lot of leading groups out there, supply chain leaders building integrated ecosystems to drive operational excellence, good old OpEx, and transformative outcomes, results. Otherwise, why do you do it? So, Jim, we’ll start with you. What are you seeing along these lines?

Jim Brochu (00:32:12):

Yeah. Before I get to that, I just want to be fully transparent. I didn’t ask him to make the comment. Keith is on Pivotree team. He is one of my retail executives, so he is got the real lived in experience. So thanks, Keith. It’s a good, good comment. So I think, Greg, when we talk about the ecosystems approach, you kind of hit on a concept, right, layering in solutions, kind of going back to the sheet cake that Chad’s wife mentioned earlier, right?

Greg White (00:32:36):

More of that, yes.

Jim Brochu (00:32:37):

But it’s a good analogy because if your need right now is a really deep, rich, chocolatey, satisfying sheet cake, and you don’t want the ice cream, don’t get the ice cream, you don’t need the ice cream. But with these smaller point solutions, what you’re able to do is add the ice cream when you want the ice cream, you need the ice cream, add the sprinkles, add the chocolate sauce. Whereas with an ERP, you’re right, Greg, it’s kind of an off the shelf. You know, you go to Dairy Queen and they hand you a thing and it’s got all this stuff on it, but it’s never going to beat the homemade sheet cake for quality, depth and those things, right? And here’s the thing. I really believe in this ecosystem model, this open integrated systems model, and the analogy I like to use is essentially two great cities, Boston and New York, right?

Jim Brochu (00:33:17):

They’re both wonderful places to be, both fantastic cities. But in New York, if you know the destination, you can get there, right? It’s easy because, you know, it’s really easy because it’s set up in a grid system, well set up and very easy to get from A to B, whereas in Boston, sometimes you can see your destination and you can’t get there, right? I think these legacy architectures are a lot like Boston. You can see your destination, but you’ve got to pay back all this technical bet that you’ve built over years, decades, sometimes even multiple decades, depending on the organization before you can even start doing what you’re doing. I think the modern ecosystem really is moving in the direction of intentional architecture that makes it a lot easier to get around and navigate to where you need to be, right? So it’s really an infrastructural approach to a traditional problem.

Jim Brochu (00:34:05):

And then, I hate to be a broken record, but the danger with this distributed approach for deep capabilities is loss of visibility, right? Because you’re no longer necessarily relying on one data platform, one system like a traditional ERP to do everything. Companies can’t lose sight of getting that visibility in a composable world. And a composable architecture is that well-planned city, but the visibility is really the planning and the orchestration that happens to make sure that the snowplows are running, the buses are on time, all that stuff, right?

Scott Luton (00:34:38):

Orchestration. And y’all can’t see this, but behind the scenes – and Amanda and Catherine, thanks for helping to make the show happen today. Amanda says, “That chocolate cake analogy, chef’s kiss, Jim.” So she loved that, where you started with a sheet cake. All right, I’m going to get Greg to weigh in just a second. But, Chad, speak to this ecosystem and what folks – how folks are leveraging that out there.

Chad Hooker (00:34:57):

Oh, yeah, for sure. I think while we did all agree that, you know, Jim’s got the best hair in supply chain, we’ve all been through many cycles of this, and I feel like we’re kind of in the same parallel universe we were like in the ‘90s, 2000 commerce, where the commerce platforms at that time were a drop of all kinds of capabilities, just like the ERP, right? And in commerce, a commerce platform was content search, PIM, card checkout, had the whole kit, all of that that was broken down. And now we’re seeing that on the supply chain side and being able, just as you said that, that being able to layer in and put the – build that ecosystem with intent, I think using – well, using Jim’s word, purpose built for your needs, not what the ERP vendor said you needed to do a mile wide and an inch deep kind of thing.

Chad Hooker (00:35:43):

And I think for the commerce side of the world, what started out on what was turned mock was kind of a design principle or a design philosophy amongst systems where if a system adhered to microservices, API-First cloud and headless as a principle, that gave customers the ability to compose those ecosystems of intent. And it gave – and then it gives the them the ability to identify what they need. And we see that next kind of, next rev of innovation from a mock and composable that lived in the commerce world now floating back in the supply chain world. And I think, you know, as Jim has mentioned, I think what I’ve always said in this is that for us being a mock platform, being able to adhere to those principles and be able to provide our piece into that ecosystem, we still need strong folks like Jim and his team that know the industry, know the platforms, know the customers, so that they can pull this together and build that ecosystem of intent versus just the ERP or the monolithic commerce platform that got dropped.

Scott Luton (00:36:44):

All right. Ecosystem of intent. I love how you put that there, Chad. Greg, weigh in on what – we’ve talked about these ecosystems that Jim and Chad are talking about and how that’s being leveraged here in 2023 and beyond. Your thoughts, Greg.

Greg White (00:36:58):

Yeah, I want to address something that’s being subtly implied here, and that is that this is about the way that Jim and Chad are talking about this. This is about a people, a process and a technology change. And it is enablement of better processes and uplifting of your people with technology, right? This is not – nobody’s pointing and saying technology is the solution here. It’s this collection of data gathering, of data management, of solution and outcome production that is tied to the business processes and the people that support your business to be effective. And I think that’s an important thing to say here.

Greg White (00:37:40):

When we talk about an ecosystem, I think we have to think about it from that perspective. And it’s easy to get lost in it when you’re just sort of listening to this while doing the treadmill. Steve Kevan [inaudible]. He’s going to be doing –

Scott Luton (00:37:55):

He’s listening

Greg White (00:37:56):

Old Memory Mathema, or whoever else is out there exercising while you do this. I want to make sure that we do highlight that because nobody is here saying, “Just plug this junk in and magic happen,” right? What we’re saying is this is a powerful augmentation and a powerful level of enablement of the processes, the sound processes, business methodologies and people and skills that you need to apply to make your business more effective. But what it does provide – I’m going to go right back to the F-word –what it does provide is that frictionless capability to enhance those processes and enhance and accelerate those outcomes.

Scott Luton (00:38:37):

And goodness knows, supply chain retail, we all need less friction in our lives, both at the office and at home, right?

Greg White (00:38:44):

We all need more F-word in our lives.

Scott Luton (00:38:47):

Right.

Greg White (00:38:47):

Actually, probably people in retail probably don’t need more F-word in their lives. I have a feeling –

Scott Luton (00:38:52):

I agree with you.

Greg White (00:38:53):

From experience that you need plenty of them.

Scott Luton (00:38:55):

All right. So we’re going to now shift gears and we’re going to go through three specific areas of a couple of finer point on parts of this conversation. So we’re going to start, Chad, with composability and, of course, being nimble, the importance of composability, and I feel like there’s a word beyond nimble. I want to say something like nimble to you, but that’s not a word. There’s got to be something there. But anyway, talk to us more about how important those two things are.

Chad Hooker (00:39:22):

Yeah. Well, maybe, I’ll take the end of what you were saying, and the last few letters. How about agility? Maybe that –

Scott Luton (00:39:28):

We’ll go with.

Chad Hooker (00:39:30):

No, but like, you know, I think just as we were saying is that, that there was never a customer that fit the mold exactly of the large systems, right? And so, then customers were only left with a choice of build a hundred percent from scratch or over buy on a ton of tech they didn’t need in the composable world because of the friction – we’re going to keep using that one – but because of the friction that was put on the buyers of that software and the implementation teams trying to force fit that we, landed at the world of composability. And it really gives, really gives brands, manufacturers, retailers, the options to build that ecosystem of intent. And whenever you have those pieces that are composed and are separate from each other, you can innovate and make change that doesn’t break across all bounds. And you get away from kind of those traditional mindsets of, well, we’re going to plan for a year and then we’re going to develop for a year and then we’re going to test for a year. And then, everything that we put in is all going to be out of date because the business has changed since it took us so long to get there. Being able to have those disparate areas of responsibility gives you the ability to innovate and grow and change and adapt to what’s going on in the market and not have to get back into that long cycle of the hamster wheel of getting tech out in the ecosystem.

Scott Luton (00:40:50):

All right. So, Greg, I want to get your comment here, and I love that innovate, change – innovate, grow, change, adapt – four key phases of any business. Greg, weigh into what Chad talked about there.

Greg White (00:41:00):

Yeah. Well, I mean, I hate to sound cliche, but it it’s so true. And especially now adapt or die, right? I mean, that’s how we’ve survived, people. So, I mean, I think we should just consider that a mantra. And I think, and I agree – by the way, Jim, I agree with your original precept that there is much, much more stability in supply chain than there was during the great societal disruption, right, caused by our response to COVID, of basically shutting down the entire labor force on an entire planet all at once. I mean, there’s no way for that not to be disruptive, and there’s also no way for that not to be lingering, but we are, at least in the state of Georgia, we are back to full. And by that, I mean very full employment. We have more jobs open than we have people to fill them in this. At the same time, we have an incredible generational transformation going on as baby boomers continue to leave the workforce and did an even greater measure than they were before the pandemic, which was 10,000 a day, by a measure of 3.1 extra million people leaving the workforce in 2021.

Greg White (00:42:15):

We continue to see that and it is accelerating this notion of the way that we do things like innovate and the way that we do things like conduct processes within companies because look, let’s face it, gen X, Y, and Z were all brought up to expect technology to do technology things. And where it seems like we went, and I don’t know if you guys are seeing the ripple effects of this, but it seems like we went from, we actually denied the abilities of technology for I believe decades because we were saving jobs of people who wanted to do the dark, dirty, dangerous, and dull jobs. And now nobody wants those jobs. It’s been proven over and over again as people stay away in droves from jobs like that. And not just jobs like that, but even just segments of jobs that they know can be done by a technology so that they can use what is a human being’s greatest attribute, which is critical thinking with inadequate data, with high stakes decision. So I think we’re going to start to see this acceleration that you’ve both talked about continue to accelerate, and the companies that don’t innovate and adapt will die.

Scott Luton (00:43:30):

All right. Finishing on an optimistic note there, Greg.

Greg White (00:42:34):

It’s just real, man.

Scott Luton (00:43:35):

Yeah, I’m with you. I’m with you. Hey, really quick, and for the sake of time, I want to move us ahead to this next point about – going back to what Jim said, the difference between good and good enough. It’s still between my ears. So the need for best in breed supply chain execution platforms. We’re going to touch on this via two main topics here. Starting, Chad, with order management system, OMS, few take – what’s your take there on the need for companies to really embrace the right platform there from an OMS standpoint?

Chad Hooker (00:44:04):

Yeah, and I think – yeah, it’s a good question. I think, and this kind of encapsulates a little bit, I guess maybe of what we’ve talked about in that some folks may say, “Yeah, hey, my ERP does order management.” Yeah. And to some extent that’s true. It understands inventory. It has customers. It understands how to or where orders are shipped from, but it was never- those – as we’ve talked about, those systems were never designed for the need of agility, speed, and adaptation, or they were never designed for the kind of the chattiness or the speed of which consumer or your customers would be coming after you from a digital perspective versus just maybe an EDI or a fax coming in, whatever, right? And so, all that kind of broke down. And then, some folks might say, I guess, from a best of brief perspective, my commerce platform does order management, and to some extent that’s true.

Chad Hooker (00:44:52):

You can call in maybe a call center and somebody goes into the commerce platform and can change the ship date or cancel an order. Yeah, that’s managing an order, but that’s not distributor or management it. And you might be able to get away with say, managing, you know, 10 or so locations from an inventory perspective. But once it grows out beside that, you can no longer just use, well, what’s the closest ship node to the customer to send it to. You’ve got to be able to make better intelligent decisions on the availability and on the promise. And without having a true platform made to do that, you’re just never going to be able to make those kinds of bets on what you can do with your customers and be able to serve them in the way that they want to be served.

Scott Luton (00:45:30):

Yes. Technically, I could pitch for the Braves in the playoffs, but that’s probably not what you’ll –

Greg White (00:45:35):

You have an arm.

Scott Luton (00:45:36):

Your point. That’s right. All right. So, Jim, let’s keep that conversation going, best in breed supply chain execution platforms. Let’s talk about warehouse management systems, WMS. Your thoughts, Jim?

Jim Brochu (00:45:46):

Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked so much about composability and kind of this agility concept, but when I look at traditional warehouse management, the capabilities are way behind most of the other areas of supply chain execution, right, way behind order management and others. In order to solve a point problem in a warehouse, right, on most platforms, which is almost all the platforms, you either need to upgrade, which is not an upgrade, it’s a massive, massive IT project or it’s a rip and replace, right? And the ability to stitch in composable solutions that more modern capability, it’s existed a little bit in other domains for a while. Warehousing is definitely lagging and we think that’s a big opportunity space.

Jim Brochu (00:46:26):

So Pivotree has actually reimagined the warehouse as a set of discrete microservices that went together, is a complete warehouse platform, but when separate is discrete capabilities. And if you can imagine, like if you’re an automotive spare parts company and B2B and you want to light up a new direct to consumer channel and the barrier to just opening up a new channel is that you need to implement an entirely new warehouse management platform that’s capable of shipping parcel because you can only support full truckload and pallets, right? That’s a massive cost to run effectively and experiment for your business, right? It’s crazy. And we see a better solution where, hey, you might be able to leverage our waving and our outbound pick and pack microservices discreetly to put that right on top of your platform, get to market more quickly, test the theory.

Jim Brochu (00:47:14):

And our other bet is honestly you’re going to like those so much that you’re going to want to light up the rest of the microservices to support the rest of your business. Right? And the benefit you get there is you don’t enter a multi-year capital intensive project. You get to market more quickly, and if it doesn’t work, you pull them out, right? It’s a much easier lighter model and a better way of doing business. And that’s Pivotree WMS and I wanna highlight that this is a platform. Our team has been supporting warehouses for major brands, 3PL, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, and B2B for over a decade now. We’ve taken all those learnings and distilled them into best of breed microservices that can do everything that the big guys, the Manhattan Shade can do. We can do it better. We can do it in smaller chunks and we can do it quicker – more quickly.

Scott Luton (00:48:01):

Love that. And, Greg, I’m going to bring you in on the next point. I’d love to get you weigh in there on one of the things Jim’s talking about making smart bets but let’s move on for the sake of time to supply chain and execution visibility, right? Specifically, leveraging control tower. Jim, speak to us about that.

Jim Brochu (00:48:18):

Yeah, this is another example of Pivotree putting our money where our mouth is. We were working on platforms like Fluent, like Pivotree’s WMS, and what we saw was all of the reporting and analytics were trailing projects that either they didn’t happen or they delivered subpar results, right. Businesses measuring things that were sales the next day and other things. So we took it upon ourselves to build a best of breed analytics platform that takes your real-time data from your operational systems, crunches the numbers, and takes industry experts like Keith who commented earlier to present you with retail click and collect store warehouse metrics that are meaningful to drive your business, right?

Jim Brochu (00:48:56):

So if we see that you’re picking and packing is too slow, those metrics are at the point that you consume them, they’re presented by your analytics platform right in the WMS. If you are implementing a click and collect solution because you want to enter a new market in a smaller geo on Fluent order management, you need to know how that’s going. You need to know how that’s going while you’re doing it, not after you’ve run the project and after you’ve made a bunch of customers mad who launched them onto Facebook, right? So that’s what we’re aimed at. And I would say we’re seeing some success there because we picked the right technologies and frankly, we picked the right partnership who are doing supply chain execution well, partners like Fluent Commerce.

Scott Luton (00:49:35):

All right. So, Greg, give me your brisk, brisk reaction to that and then we’re going to paint a bright future because there’s a lot of big things that come between these two organizations. Your comment there, Greg.

Greg White (00:49:46):

Composability is the key. I mean, look, you have one problem at a time. You often can’t see through that to the next problem until you’ve solved it. And very often it starts with something really transactional and really simple, which is why WMS is the largest selling technology in supply chain technology, right? There are many, many more WMS sales of technology than any other product in supply chains. But that’s what makes that as a hurdle is what has stalled so many companies from getting it. Honestly, that was a little bit of a revelation, Jim, to think of it that way. That big lift of that gigantic technology that is really only operates within the four walls of the warehouse is the big lift to getting companies to the ability to get online or e-commerce or whatever you want to call it.

Greg White (00:50:37):

And the other thing is that there is this universal notion whenever you implement technology, solve the smallest, most proximate, most painful solution first. Because what I’ve experienced in, Scott, thousands and thousands of technology implementations is you might try to sell them a big old solution, but all they still really care about, and frankly, we’ve all learned the hard way if we’ve sold technology, all they really want to pay for is solving that problem that gives them the most pain today. So if you can deliver it that way, that’s beneficial to both the client and to the technology company to have less overhead for supporting a customer for one single problem. You get them past that problem, they mature a bit in their operations or their ability to evolve, and you take them to the next one. You solve that piece at a time until you get them to a composed solution.

Scott Luton (00:51:33):

Well said. Well said. And what I’m buying is Chad driving that ATV and Jim on the back ready to kick some butt. We’re going to have to an image. Next time y’all join us, we’re going to have an image of – an image shared.

Greg White (00:51:45):

Actually, you got a [inaudible] of ninja sword, too, right now –

Scott Luton (00:51:46):

Yes.

Greg White (00:51:48):

On the right – that’s not the right reference. But ninja sword is pretty cool.

Scott Luton (00:51:51):

Right.

Greg White (00:51:52):

[Inaudible]

Scott Luton (00:51:53):

Talking about things are pretty cool, Greg, perfect segue. Because all the cool things y’all done already together, Jim and Chad, in your respective organizations, I think there’s some big news on the horizon for where Pivotree and Fluent Commerce where they’re going next to address some of those opportunities that Greg just shared. So let’s start with you, Chad. Simple question, what’s next?

Chad Hooker (00:52:14):

Yeah, so I think the SaaS organization and built on innovation, we’ve got quite a bit on the horizon. A few things that I’m most, I’d say, interested and exciting sits in a couple of different, a couple of different buckets. You know, if we look at, say, like the backend coming to the front end, we, from a back backend perspective, Fluent event-based architecture. So that means it’s churning, it’s doing it thing, and it’s generating lots of data about what’s going on. And that could be the basics of item inventory order, but it also captures a lot about intent, about around inventory and about the asks of inventory and then other things. And so, what we’ve been, what kind of on the horizon for that is now that we’ve, you know, got this massive amount of data, being able to share that out to other technology partners that can really synthesize that data from a 10 and so forth.

Chad Hooker (00:52:58):

But also on the product side, being able to use machine learning to optimize things, say like maybe sourcing logic or maybe even those that, that safety stock that we talked about a minute ago. We could look into that, the intent as well as those demand signals to alert or correct those safety stocks to reduce foliage of the markdowns I think that Greg was speaking about. And for us, selfishly, we have some really joint amazing clients with Pivotree that are really doing some amazing stuff. So we’re doing some really cool innovation with them around AI and the ML and really driving the ball forward there. And then on the selling side, I talked about like how we were able to like take the inventory ingestion, processing and surfacing. And what we’re finding is, it’s like one of those things that if you didn’t know that there, if you didn’t know you could do it, you didn’t know there was a need.

Chad Hooker (00:53:40):

And once we were able to bring that kind of data forward, we’re starting to see quite a bit of uses of that really correct, say correct in real time inventory information so that you can see and realize that further up from the selling channel, so maybe in search, so you’re actually returning search results that you actually have inventory merchandising, personalizing, you’re recommending an item that you actually have, or even being able to surface all that all the way back out to even like Google Ads and something like that so that you’re promoting the items that you actually have in stock and not getting that a really, starting off a really bad experience with the customer by advertising something that they click through on and they can’t have. It’s like I said, subsequently for me, there’s a lot of cool things on the horizon, a lot of fun stuff that we’re doing with Pivotree and a space that I love. So it’s like I said, it’s an exciting time for all of us.

Scott Luton (00:54:26):

Awesome. And none of that’s probably powered by four trends, my hunch to Greg’s earlier comment. All right. So, Jim, tell us, comment. I mean, that’s quite a picture Chad just painted and we’re right up against our time here, but your comment on the bright future head.

Jim Brochu (00:54:41):

So I’ll talk a little bit more about the how than the what, right? So Pivotree has gotten to the level of trust that we have with our customers and the level of technology capability that we have and the partners that we have by listening to our customers, right? By having conversations, understanding their real-world needs, seeing what’s coming in the industry. One of the interesting things that’s falling out of our visibility platform is we’re now able to listen directly to our customer’s business models and their data itself, right, and let that inform the problems that we pull forward and go to solve.

Jim Brochu (00:55:16):

So I expect that we’ll be spending a lot more time listening not just to our customers, although that’s still going to be a critical part of what we do, but listening to the insights from the data and the metadata behind it and helping our customers get ahead of the decisions they don’t even know they need to make yet, right? We’re going to continue framing that within a broader strategy. And, Greg, you know that on the head, right, we can’t do that without having the right people, having the right processes, and fundamentally the technology’s a major part of that equation with platforms like Fluent order management, like Pivotree WMS, like our control tower and a dozen other platforms that embed AI, ML and other things in them.

Jim Brochu (00:55:50):

We’re really excited about the future for our customers in the aggregate and this data and customer-driven world.

Scott Luton (00:55:57):

Well said. As you were talking, you and Chad both, really, a thought that comes to mind, someone a lot smarter than me once said give me good news fast and bad news faster. And to be able to have access to those meaningful metrics and data points as you’re talking about being able to make better decisions faster. That’s a big part of this game. Greg, before we make sure folks know how to connect with Jim and with Chad in terms of what’s next or in terms of what we’ve covered this last hour, if folks had to focus in, it’s a lot to choose from, but on one thing, Greg, what do folks have to leave this conversation thinking front and center?

Greg White (00:56:32):

You don’t need a new ERP to radically improve your supply chain performance. In fact, ERP is your – is the last solution you should be looking for to do that. This kind of specialized solutions, and especially those that are composable like this, can get you there cost effectively, rapidly. And yet you can have the comfort that you’ll have a complete solution to well thought out – in a well thought out manner to complete problems over time.

Scott Luton (00:57:02):

Well said, well said. We’re going to put all that on the back of a t-shirt, Greg, and sell a whole bunch of them.

Greg White (00:57:06):

Better be a double XL.

Scott Luton (00:57:08):

Okay. Really quick, folks. Jim, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you and the Pivotree team.

Jim Brochu (00:57:15):

Yeah. So with me directly, I am on LinkedIn, James Brochu. You can also see our URL in my little tagline there, pivotree.com, james.brochu@pivotree.com. You can reach out directly, and our website is pivotree.com. You can reach out and learn a little bit more about our technology and our solutions there as well.

Scott Luton (00:57:32):

It is just that easy and I bet we’ll drop the links in the chat as well so you’re one click away from connecting with Jim and Pivotree. We certainly encourage you to do that. Chad, Chad with Fluent Commerce, how can folks connect with you?

Chad Hooker (00:57:45):

Yeah, similar mechanism, definitely LinkedIn. I spend a lot of time there these days, it seems, and then chad.hooker@fluentcommerce.com, and definitely fluentcommerce.com, you know, obviously our website, got a lot of great content. Our marketing teams matches it. They put a lot of good thought leadership out there, so definitely get out there and check it out.

Scott Luton (00:58:01):

Love that. We’ve dropped those links in the chat. Y’all connect with Jim and Chad and I think we’ve got an upcoming event where, folks, you can learn a lot more. And you know what? It even features the appearance of Keith, who made an appearance earlier today. So we’ve got Monica with Psycho Bunny, Keith from Privotree, and John from Fluent Commerce joining us on October 11th at 12 noon. And we will have that link. We’ll probably be dropping that link as well in the chat. Y’all come on and join us for another full conversation with folks that are making supply chain happen, bot like they did in the ‘50s, but as they are doing in the maybe 2030s for future, right, future stuff.

Scott Luton (00:58:40):

All right. Greg, man, what a conversation. I really enjoyed you and Jim and Chad diving in, chopping this up. There’s, I mean, ton of know-how, ton of doing things different, and a ton of passion for getting the outcomes that brands and companies are depending on to be brought to, especially to their customers. So big thanks to all of y’all folks for joining us here today. I know we couldn’t get everybody’s comments. We had a lot to get through, a lot of good stuff, so many. I got about 17 pages of notes. Greg, I don’t know about you.

Greg White (00:59:11):

No, you’ve added four pages since the pandemic.

Scott Luton (00:59:17):

And who’s counting note? Who’s counting?

Greg White (00:59:17):

And are we writing bigger or is that just inflation?

Scott Luton (00:59:20):

I don’t know. But we also uncovered why I lost all that money in Vegas because it’s not red 19, it’s black 19. We’ll save that for another day. Big thanks to Jim Brochu, general manager of Supply Chain with Pivotree. Jim, thanks so much for joining us.

Jim Brochu (00:59:33):

Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (00:59:34):

You bet. Until next time. And then Chad Hooker, senior vice president, Global Channel and Alliances with Fluent Commerce, also doing big things out there. Chad, a pleasure to have you here today.

Chad Hooker (00:59:44):

Absolutely. Thanks, fellas.

Scott Luton (00:59:46):

All right, folks. Greg, always a pleasure to knock out this with you.

Greg White (00:59:49):

Likewise.

Scott Luton (00:59:49):

Big thanks, Catherine and Amanda, all the folks behind the scenes to help make today’s show happen. Most importantly, thanks to all of our audience, our global audience, the smartest audience and all of the world. Hey, do something. Challenge on you now. Jim, Chad, Greg dropped a lot of great knowledge and best practices out there. It’s time to do something with it. Deeds not words. On behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton, challenging you, do good, give forward, be the change that is needed. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.

Intro/Outro (01:00:20):

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.

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Featured Guests

Jim Brochu, an accomplished and dedicated supply chain professional, is currently serving as the General Manager for the supply chain division at Pivotree. With a rich background in this field, Jim leads the consulting operations, heads the engineering team responsible for innovative supply chain solutions, and spearheads the company’s go-to-market strategies. Throughout his career, Jim has earned a reputation for his expertise in architecting and overseeing intricate, high-impact enterprise supply chain IT and business projects that deliver immediate value to clients. His track record boasts numerous successful implementations of complex retail and B2B solutions, solidifying his position as a trusted leader in the industry. Before co-founding Bridge Solutions Group, a company later acquired by Pivotree in 2021, Jim played pivotal roles as a Marketing Leader and Applications Architect in two boutique supply chain IT firms, contributing significantly to their growth and success. Academically, Jim earned a Masters in Supply Chain from Rutgers University, laying the foundation for his impressive professional journey. Outside of his professional accomplishments, Jim is an avid practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, having attained the esteemed Brown Belt rank and competing in prestigious National Competitions. Through his extensive experience, remarkable leadership, and passion for continuous improvement, Jim Brochu remains an influential figure in the supply chain industry, leaving a lasting impact on the businesses and individuals he serves. Connect with Jim on LinkedIn.

Chad Hooker is a digital commerce and OMS expert with more than 18 years of experience in sales and delivery of enterprise software. Chad heads up the team that looks after Fluent Commerce’s partners globally. The team focus is a joint success with the Fluent Commerce Technology and Solution Partner network across EMEA, North America, and APAC. “Partner First” for Chad means that whether talking about product, project delivery or go to market; our partners and the ease of working with us are our main priority. Fun fact, Chad has been a power sports junkie since he was 5 years old. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Greg White

Principal & Host

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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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Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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.

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From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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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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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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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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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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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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Allison Giddens

Host

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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Billy Taylor

Host

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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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Greg White

Principal & Host

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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Tyler Ward

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!

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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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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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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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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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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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Katherine Hintz

Creative Manager & Executive Producer

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.

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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