Although digital transformation is a central focus of most business conversations, many companies still struggle to demonstrate a return on their investment. To drive innovation and get beyond first rung business challenges, they also need a mature, adaptable implementation methodology. Leonardo De Araujo is a Partner at Beyond Technologies, where he puts his SAP solutions expertise to work helping companies compete in today’s competitive marketplace. Listen in as he joins host Kevin L. Jackson to talk about common implementation challenges and how companies can get beyond them by working with a trusted partner.
Welcome to Digital Transformers, the show that connects you with what you need to build, manage, and operate your digital supply chain. Join your host in a timely discussion on new and future business models with industry leading executives. The show will reveal global customer expectations, real world deployment challenges, and the value of advanced business technologies, like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process engineering. And now, we bring you Digital Transformers.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:33):
Hello everyone. Kevin Jackson, host of Digital Transformers. And today we’re going to talk about digital transformation when it comes to ERP, a very important aspect of just about any organization. And I’m here with Leonardo De Araujo. Is that correct, Leonardo? I did that good?
Leonardo De Araujo (00:59):
You did a good job. Yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:01):
Thank you very much. And I guess you’re up in Montreal today, is that correct?
Leonardo De Araujo (01:07):
Correct. Montreal, Canada.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:10):
Well, I tell you, digital transformation is old rage. And ERP along with supply chain really became a very important part of everybody’s vernacular over the past few years. I guess, you have done a lot to help people get over this recent hump. So, you are with Beyond Technologies, is that correct?
Leonardo De Araujo (01:41):
Kevin L. Jackson (01:42):
So, tell us a bit about your company and what do you do?
Leonardo De Araujo (01:48):
Yeah. So, Beyond Technologies was founded in 2005, 13 years now – 13? – 18 years now.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:59):
Wow. How time flies, huh?
Leonardo De Araujo (02:02):
Time flies, yeah. I got caught up in that. So, we’re founded in 2005, it was a group of ex-SAP professionals decided to join forces and help customers go through SAP transformation projects. With time, we became SAP partners. Later, we even became SAP customers. And today, we’re over 430 employees in five countries. We are in Canada, U.S., France, South Africa, and Morocco.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:33):
Wow. You’ve grown very quickly. So, what is your role there at Beyond Technologies? You said you are all ex-SAP-pers?
Leonardo De Araujo (02:45):
Yeah. We’re all hands-on. My role at Beyond is a CTO and also CISO, Chief Information Security Officer. But on the practical side, on the operations, really, I run the TCS, the Technical Consulting Service. All the technical folks, the technical consultants are under my organization. So, the developers pretty much are all with me.
Kevin L. Jackson (03:16):
Well, how did you get to Beyond Technologies? I guess more important is, how did you get an SAP that prepared you for your role there at Beyond Technologies? Are you native from Canada?
Leonardo De Araujo (03:37):
Yeah. So, if you’re ready for a little journey here, I started working with SAP a very long time ago, in ’97 In Brazil. I’m originally from Brazil. And I studied business management. I was a logistics transportation analyst and executive. I was buying transportation services. And that company decided to implement SAP and they brought me in as a business analyst. With time, I got into the functional role, configuring the transportation module and sales and distribution. But I had always an interest on the technical side, so I got my hands dirty into the technical, into the coding, and I did a transition. And by the time Beyond Technologies was formed, I was already playing the role of architect because I could be on both functional and technical side, and that was quite valuable for projects.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:32):
I tell you, you touched on one of my fantasies. I still have a fantasy- a lifelong fantasy to go to Rio de Janeiro for Mardi Gras – carnival, I guess that’s the best way to say it.
Leonardo De Araujo (04:47):
There is only one risk, if you go, you maybe not coming back because that is a nice place to be.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:55):
Well, I’m going to have to talk to you more about that off camera. So, you’ve been doing SAP and ERP for a very long time that has prepared you well for your current role. So, you have been with Beyond Technologies from its very beginning?
Leonardo De Araujo (05:17):
Yeah. I was one of the founders.
Kevin L. Jackson (05:20):
So, what was your business model?
Leonardo De Araujo (05:23):
Projects that were taking a very long time. And we’re thinking things could be simpler, things could be linear, things could be more, it’ll be faster. So, we came in and the very first project we took in as Beyond Technologies, we implemented across the board from HR, finance, procurement, production, transportation for a mining company. And we’re able to do that in a fraction of a cost of the typical implementation projects. So, we kind of distinguished ourselves at that point from other consulting practices because we wanted to be nimble with a different approach. And I think we will have probably the opportunity to talk about methodology because we come up with a different way of looking at implementation to try to drive value above all.
Kevin L. Jackson (06:14):
So, I guess you do focus on companies that already deployed SAP or do you help companies that, basically, don’t have ERP or other ERP products and services, like greenfield companies?
Leonardo De Araujo (06:35):
Yeah. Actually, we’re present in both sides. So, we call the custom base of SAP customers that are running. They’re in very different levels of advancement in their journey. They’re either beginning having problems, they’re needing upgrades or migrations, they need help, or new functionality they need to bring in. But we have also the privilege to work with greenfield. So, we are a reseller and a channel partner of SAP, so we’re selling to customers that are reaching the level where they need a software like SAP. And then, we participate in RFP cycles. We position SAP against other software. We win – thankfully more often than not. But we go to the cycle, positioning SAP, and then we go to the cycle implementing and driving value for new customers, and it’s very different. And I make that distinction because customers that we see often run SAP, they know SAP, they are educated, and they have already a footprint. The other one is the white canvas, it’s the art of possible and they’re starting from zero. So, they have to educate. They have to bring value quickly. But it’s very satisfying because we get net new customers.
Kevin L. Jackson (07:56):
So, I guess you deliver a lot of different types of value to your customers. But one of the most recent, you know, trends over the past few years is this digital transformation. Many people may call it just a buzzword. But from your customer’s point of view, do they ever come to you and say, “We just want to digitally transform. Tell us what that means.” Well, tell us what does that mean to your customers and to you?
Leonardo De Araujo (08:31):
Yeah. It’s funny you ask that because it’s so true and it’s so vast put in this umbrella of digital transformation. But what does it really mean? And we see clearly a common denominator that customers struggle to have return on investment. They struggle to drive innovation. They tend to get stuck with problems of day to day and technicalities and customers that went through the first hump of putting that ERP in place, and then – oh, my God – just to maintain it. It’s heavy. So, I think drive value support growth. Because at the end, you cannot lose sight. You put an ERP in place to support a business to run. So, the business cannot be affected by IT. It has to be supported by IT. it has to be supported by the tools you’re putting in place. I think that is where the value is. And the transformation comes in when we start really ripping benefit from all that investment.
Kevin L. Jackson (09:35):
So, part of digital transformation is actually understanding data and how to leverage it and how to use it, both within the organization and with the customers and business partners. And ERP really plays an important role in that. What is the journey from, you know, paper and pencil to a digitally transformed organization?
Leonardo De Araujo (10:12):
Yeah. In our methodology to not lose sight of the value that we want to drive and return on that investment, we adopt something that I think touches what you just said, that is a capability map exercise. We wanted to evaluate by line of operations in a [inaudible] company, Where is the customer? Is the customer, still, process not documented, not followed, not structured? Or is it documented and structured but not followed? Is it supported by tools? It is world class? So, defining that, we do it by domain. And what we find often is nobody is an expert in everything. Nobody’s a beginner in anything. So, in some areas, customers are super, super mature. In some areas, less. But understanding where they are, you can drive and you can draw the line where do you want to go from.
Leonardo De Araujo (11:15):
It’s not realistic to get somebody that is on pen and paper and implement a super, super sophisticated replenishment process that is AI driven. Maybe it’s too much for that customer in one jump. Maybe you’re going to have to plan a couple of incremental steps. But the expectations are there for areas where the maturity is there too. So, you got to go even within the customer, do the assessment to see where the customer is in the different domains.
Kevin L. Jackson (11:47):
Yeah. It sounds like you kind of become a trusted advisor to the customer. But even as you said before that you actually compare and contrast other products and services, so you’ll really deliver a consultative service. So, please explain your relationship with SAP. You said you are a reseller and you all come from SAP. While you are SAP partner, what is unique about SAP and their capabilities? I mean, they’ve been around for a long time, of course, but that doesn’t mean they’re right for every customer.
Leonardo De Araujo (12:35):
Yeah. So, SAP came into my life, into my career, in ’97, and I was privileged to be dealing with SAP because I got to learn and discover it. We’re really ambassadors of the product because we understand the case capability. And I think if there’s anybody that could bring into light some challenges of projects – and it’s not SAP projects. I’m saying projects – it is due to the scope of what you’re trying to put in place. So, I think if you look at trying to accomplish things and look at functionality net and maturity of a product, nothing compares to SAP. And I’m super happy to be a professional in that domain, helping customers take the most out of that.
Leonardo De Araujo (13:27):
So, we started working in SAP as independent or consultancy in other consulting firms. And we decided to join forces and build a practice. And we’re doing that, working as a team, helping customers implement and drive value. At one point we said, we are reaching our maturity, reaching a point where we should become channel partner, a value added reseller and start reselling on top. So, that changes the game out completely because you’re not doing only the implementation, you engage much earlier in lead generations, sales cycles, positioning, sales, and so on. But it was the natural evolution for us, and we went through that path. That has been a while and is successful. What happened eight years now is that – no. Even more, nine years, is that we decided to walk the talk and stop saying that “SAP is the best product for you, Mr. Customer.” Well, why not run it as a customer ourselves?
Leonardo De Araujo (14:40):
So, in 2015, we embarked in the very first SAP ERP offer, SAP ERP SaaS offer, that is business by design, but we quickly grew over the capabilities of the platform. And SAP invested a lot on S/4HANA Cloud, public. So, we’ve been running S/4HANA public Cloud, the flagship of SAP since 2017. And it’s interesting because yesterday I was doing the analysis with a friend. We say that the best scenario is when a customer is running an ERP SaaS and the company that you’re paying for is innovating for you, and you’re just getting the innovation automatically, it is an end state. For us, it’s our reality. We’ve gone through 20 upgrades since 2017. So, we are partners and we are SAP customers. And we’re super happy with it.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:44):
So, you brought up S/4HANA, I mean, that in and of itself was a huge transition for SAP taking this traditionally on-premise application. And now, telling everyone, “Okay. We’re going to deliver it from the Cloud.” And this is when people were very much afraid of the Cloud. So, tell us a bit more about your journey as you went into S/4HANA. How did SAP guide you? And I guess by extension, how does it help you guide your customers through this digital transformation journey to the Cloud?
Leonardo De Araujo (16:37):
Yeah. I think the transition to Cloud, it has been for SAP disruptive because it was addressing many different things, from subscription model, from commercial models, to product, to SaaS, to hyperscalers. There’s so many things that, I think, customers had a little bit of hard time understanding. And that’s our role to kind of help educate. And I think with time, the message is definitely getting there. But for us, us as customers – and that’s my role of the CTO from the very beginning of the company – we said, “We’re not even going to try to run servers if we don’t need to. We’re not going to be managing applications if we don’t need to. We need to be consultants. We need to focus on our business.”
Leonardo De Araujo (17:36):
So, for example, we adopted Google Workspace [inaudible] repair get-go. We were Cloud first for everything. So, when we came up with S/4HANA Cloud, public, we’re naturally a good fit. And I’m not trying to customize anything. Give me something out of the box and I’ll run with that. So, it was easier for us. But for our customers, as you’re saying at the beginning, that challenge definitely is there. There’s this discussion of, “Where is my data?” “Oh, not at the data center. It’s hosted somewhere. Where is it?” And they’re not hurdles that they make things difficult. It’s education.
Leonardo De Araujo (18:20):
We were discussing ten years ago with customers saying, “Don’t run the data center on your data center in the building. Abstract that and get infrastructure as a service and use hyperscalers.” At the time there was resistance. The resistance is not the same today. Now, we’re saying let them manage the system for you on top. The message is passing easier. The discussion of multi-tenancy is another level. So, it’s a journey. But I think looking back ten years, customers are definitely getting the message. And why would you have resources on your team managing a system or running operating servers if you don’t need to?
Kevin L. Jackson (19:10):
You know, you brought up one thing, you said your company itself was using S/4HANA in public Cloud and you were using Google. But there are many companies that by plan or by accident wind up consuming services from multiple clouds. And they may still keep a data center, so they get into this multi-cloud or hybrid IT environment. And I guess with ERP, since you’re working with many partners as well, this becomes an issue. So, what about S/4HANA in this hybrid environment? How does that work?
Leonardo De Araujo (20:03):
I think the way of looking at this is the options are there. I think there is a vision for, ideally, customers should look at first, to see if there is a SaaS ERP that does everything they need completely, multi-tenant. They’ll be the cheapest. They’ll be the quickest. It will not be a fit for most customers but it is a reflex, I think, everybody would look to. And then, what is my option after that? I can maybe have that on my own tenant. I have more freedom, but let SAP run that. Well, you still wanted to run on your own premise. You still could do it today. I think the options exist. And that reflection – I’m talking about SAP only – happens for all the other systems that you may have.
Leonardo De Araujo (20:55):
So, yeah, this multi-cloud scenario, it’s one of the challenges today because, a very long time ago when we’re dealing with R3, that was the only thing you had. All the modules are inside. Now, you’re talking about very highly integrated systems across internet and this multi-cloud reality is probably where we, on a technical side, spend quite a bit of time helping customers and guiding them.
Kevin L. Jackson (21:29):
So, what’s your recommendation to companies that are dealing with this where ERP digital transformation is through the front windshield, not in the rear view mirror, where they’re trying to think about their options? Should we jump into the Cloud? Should we do this or should we not?
Leonardo De Araujo (21:56):
Yeah. We’ve developed this methodology for implementation. And one of the things around this methodology is to make sure that everything around a project is tied up to a business driver. So, at the very beginning – very important – take a step back and what is the problem I’m trying to address? And then, the discussions, technically, if I go cloud, no cloud, I do this, I build this solution, I use this standard, all tied up to a point to one of this. If they don’t tie it up to one of those, maybe we’re spending time discussing the wrong thing. So, I think the discussion of the cloud is definitely a valid one. It is important that we take this step back and think a little bit long term. And in this thinking of long term, tied up everything around business drivers, I want to make sure that I can continue growing, I am very efficient in these areas, in these areas, in these areas, I guess helps a lot frame what you need to accomplish.
Kevin L. Jackson (23:05):
Wow. I mean, you are wealth of knowledge. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about this journey because it’s very important to just about every organization, be it small or large. So, as we come to a close here, how could the audience learn more about Beyond Technologies and the value that you really do deliver?
Leonardo De Araujo (23:36):
Yeah. Sure. So, you can check on our website, beyondtechnologies.com. And there, you can branch into our tweet feed, Facebook, LinkedIn. We post regularly white papers. We have one case where we just rolled out a customer on the public Cloud from SAP in ten weeks. So, imagine from the very beginning, project starts, you start transacting on it, ten weeks. Now, there are customers, they’re not even finishing the discovery phase in that timeframe when we did the whole project. And, also, looking at our industry expertise because we’re very focused on retail, but some other industries too. So, there are quite a few white papers and blogs available to talk about our approach, some success stories, and the areas of coverage. But reach out to us. We’re definitely there to help.
Kevin L. Jackson (24:39):
Well, thank you very much. Are you on LinkedIn? Somebody may want to reach out directly to you? Is that the best way?
Leonardo De Araujo (24:49):
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Provide links —
Kevin L. Jackson (24:52):
We’ll provide those links.
Leonardo De Araujo (24:53):
Yeah, sure. Please do.
Kevin L. Jackson (24:55):
Okay. Well, thank you, Leonardo, for the time and the vision that you provide.
Leonardo De Araujo (25:05):
Kevin L. Jackson (25:06):
So, in closing, I would like to wish everyone a safe and prosperous and transformational future. So, we will have our next SAP interview to delve even further into the value of digital transformation with SAP. So, we’ll see you next time on Digital Transformers. Thank you very much.
Thank you for supporting Digital Transformers and for being a part of our global Supply Chain Now community. Please check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you subscribe to Digital Transformers anywhere you listen to or view the show. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Digital Transformers.
Leonardo De Araujo specializes in the implementation, optimization, support and upgrade of SAP solutions, Leonardo De Araujo has over 17 years of experience as an information technology specialist. During his career, Leonardo carried out several mandates calling on his SAP solutions expertise. With his considerable technical experience and his vast business knowledge, he advises our clients on the technology solutions adapted to their needs in order to maximize their profitability. In 2009, he was awarded the SAP Mentor Certification. He regularly delivers speeches for the ASUG (America’s SAP Users’ Group) and the SAP TechED conference (SAP’s annual technology event). Beyond Technologies is a professional service firm, specialized in SAP solution integration and business process optimization. Founded by a team of experienced consultants with over 15 years of integrated business management system experience, we know how to leverage SAP to improve and streamline business processes in order to deliver real and sustainable business benefits. We offer intelligent, practical and innovative solutions that give our clients a competitive edge and are designed to meet their needs, priorities and budgets. Connect with Leonardo on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.