Scott Luton welcomes Rod Sherkin, president and founder of ProPurchaser.com for the first of the new Procurement Pros Series.
[00:00:00] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
[00:00:30] Good afternoon, Scott Luton here with you of Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. Busy week here in the supply chain city. But I’ll tell you, we are really excited about today’s episode where we’re going be talking a lot about procurement, a vital element of the end to end supply chain. In fact, this is kicking off a new series, Procurement Pro’s series. We’ll see if the name kind of evolves a bit, but you’re in for a treat. We’re going to be interviewing a real supply chain procurement pro, Mr. Rod Churkin. And more on that in just a minute. A quick programming note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a variety of channels, Apple, podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify and wherever else you get your podcast. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe. So don’t miss anything. Supply Chain Now Radio radio is proudly brought to you by variety sponsors, including the effect of syndicate talent stream, VeriSign and supply chain real estate. Dot com and several other leading organizations. Be sure to check out the show notes to learn more about our valuable sponsors. OK, so let’s welcome in our featured guest today, Mr. Roger Cohen, president of Pro Purchaser dot com Ron.
[00:01:37] Hey, knowing your fine, Scott, how are you?
[00:01:39] I’m doing fantastic. It’s great to reconnect with you. I think this is a we’ve got a couple projects under our belt. And I always enjoy each of our our conversations as we pick your brain a bit and what’s going on and splashing.
[00:01:52] We are, too. All right. So on this first episode, I want to I want to take some time for our audience and afford our audience the opportunity to get, you know, get to know you a little bit better.
[00:02:04] So, Rod, for starters, tell us about where you’re from and maybe some of your favorite memories growing up.
[00:02:11] Well, I’m from Toronto, the home of the Raptors. That’s right. And NBA champs. We’re all very proud of the Raptors.
[00:02:20] But we didn’t always have a basketball team in Toronto. So we used to watch the NBA from afar and always had an American team for a favorite. But now I’ve got a Canadian team. So, yeah. Toronto based. Went to school here in Toronto. My favorite memories. Well, we used to play hockey in the winter ice hockey. And in those days it was a little colder than it is now. And remember, after school put my skates on every night and going up to the rink. All they had to do then was to just take a fire hose and spray the back of the school year heard. And before we knew it, we had an ice rink. And as one of the ice to go fishing with my dad. My dad was an avid fisherman. He was a baker. And so he was used to getting up at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning to get the east started and get the the, you know, the first loaves in the oven. So when we went fishing, he didn’t didn’t change his patterns. He used to drag me out of bed at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning. But they were great memories going up to creeks and rivers and, you know, learning how to fish. And I guess my more recently, I still fish usually out of a canoe in kind of remote areas of Canada, as you know, where I don’t have a lot of people here. But we get a lot of land. So if you go north of Toronto, not too far, two or three hours, you can kind of be in lakes and rivers. So I take my canoe up easily with a buddy or two and we do some fishing and camp. And so those are kind of my favorite memories.
[00:03:41] What kind of fish you catch these days?
[00:03:43] Well, I try to catch while I pick roll, but usually I went out with bass and that’s fine because they’re all good eatin. So. And so it’s interesting, you know, in the old days, you’d try to catch the biggest fish you could. And now the big fish, you throw them back because they’re the breeders and you’re supposed to throw the big ones back and the little ones and kind of catch the medium. So it’s getting tougher to find good fish to catch up like you’re a sustainable fisherman.
[00:04:08] Wow. I think the fish. Thanks a lot, though.
[00:04:16] All right. So let’s talk about school and formal education. Where do you go? You mentioned you went to school right there in Toronto.
[00:04:22] Where do you have the University of Toronto majored in engineering? I’m actually an industrial engineer by training. You know, first job at a school was with IBM here in Canada. I didn’t like it. Got into it and realized that I just didn’t want to be industrial engineer. I didn’t like being on the floor telling other people how to do their jobs. They first of all, I didn’t know how to do their jobs. They do it better than I did. And you certainly weren’t, you know, the favorite person in the factory when you went around telling people have been doing the same thing for 20 or 30 years. You know how to you know, how to build a machine better. So I got out of that. And my first real job, I guess, was that I enjoyed after a couple of years of IBM was with a big consulting firm, part of KPMG now.
[00:05:07] And I did a variety of projects there. But maybe five or six years into it, I wound up doing a job for Green Giant. This is before Pillsbury and Green Giant were actually merged and they became a client. And so after maybe two or three projects with them, they made me a job offer to become the director of materials management and salary giant at Green Giant.
[00:05:34] And what happened was the president of the company and it’s his long time ago. This is in the 80s, had just gone to a seminar put on by one of the consulting firms talking about this new concept of materials management. Now, we think we call a supply chain today, but it’s the same thing. But back then, the concept of combining production planning, inventory control, transportation, purchasing order felt that that was brand new people. You know, all those functions report into operations in those days. So breaking those functions out and having them report separately into the president as kind of an equal to the manufacturing of V.P. was was a new concept. They hired me. I was very fortunate to become the director of materials management. And I did that for about eight years eventually. It didn’t take long before Green Giant was kind of acquired by Pillsbury. So it became Pillsbury Green Giant. But I stayed in Pillsbury Green Giant here in Canada and worked my way up eventually to vice president. So let’s kind of how I got into supply chain through consulting and, you know, maybe one of the first formal positions ever created in Canada, that that was a supply chain, raw materials manage. It was with the Green Giant because of the present engine Ruzicka, who thought it was a good idea. My my. Good luck.
[00:07:00] Definitely. So let’s go back for a second, because you mentioned that first job where you’re kind of disengaged, mate, might be a might be an accurate statement.
[00:07:09] And, you know, if you think of if you look at any of the studies out there that analyze the workforce these days, a wide majority of employees or are disengaged. These days, they don’t like what they do. What was any big lessons learned during that early that basically your first job is what? Anything stick out?
[00:07:32] Well, I certainly think that’s a great question. First, I didn’t actually like it. It wasn’t intellectually challenging. I wasn’t creative job. I went into engineering because I’m pretty good at math and science and I didn’t know really what else to do. And so I was fairly quick to is only four years. And after four years, you could get a job. It wasn’t like getting a degree in psychology first and then deciding what you want to be. So it was a quick path to a job and really like school. My dad was okay. I knew I had to go to school, but it wasn’t my favorite place to be. So I took industrial engineering because I’ve always been interested in processes in factories and you know how things are made. But when I actually got into the job, I realized my job was very repetitive, very unimaginative, and basically watching somebody, you know, put a screw into a hole and then a lock washer and figuring out how to do that even smarter and better was just not my cup of tea. So I guess the lesson there was find something that actually excites you so that you actually enjoy going to work. And I certainly didn’t enjoy that. That was I guess the lesson I learned is be careful what you do for a living.
[00:08:46] What we were. So we were just talking about this, an earlier podcast with a member of our Atlanta community here. And we were talking about really following your passion and how important that is, not just in your career, but in the days, you know, in your schooling as you’re getting prepared to get into that, your career or industry or the business world, right.
[00:09:08] Right. And so if you if you don’t if you aren’t going to like industrial engineering, I guess the lesson learned there is we gonna choose a different path.
[00:09:16] Yes. So I have. So I thought, well, I’ll get into consulting because Lisa’s a variety of jobs. And I always figured that you had to be fairly creative to be a consultant. Nobody’s gonna hire you to do solve a problem for them unless they expect you to have good ideas.
[00:09:33] And I thought also that the peers, as you know, people I reported to my superiors would be people I could learn from. So and and it worked out really well. I had seven and a half years with the consulting firm and they were looking back at it. It was a really good move.
[00:09:49] Now, that’s what really teed you up for that for all of your years in supply chain, including set me on the path for what you do now at pro purchaser.
[00:09:59] In many ways, I’m absolutely because what pro purchaser does is takes obviously my experience as a 15 years and supply chain running departments and adds the consulting aspect because repurchase is more than just numbers and cyberspace. We actually work with our our members and it’s kind of mild consulting. And I guess if people have issues and questions, they know they can count on us to to at least talk to them about.
[00:10:26] And we’re gonna we’re gonna dive more la more into the pro purchaser platform towards the end of our conversation day, as you were kind of you described your your supply chain journey there and how you ended up serving as vice president, materials management for Pillsbury, Canada. That’s an incredible accomplishment in and of itself. When you think about some of the things your team was able to get done and what I’m sure was a very as as in most production environments, there’s there’s always something you can be doing putting out fires or taking care of customers or getting stuff done. What were some what was one of your team’s accomplishments that you looked back at and really proud of?
[00:11:07] I think there’s so many to choose from. I mean, that I’m proud of we didn’t we weren’t always heroes. We didn’t always succeed. But, you know, Canada as a as you know, is a really big country. And so transportation is a huge issue. So we have cities like Vancouver on the West Coast, and then you travel a thousand miles and you get to Edmonton and then you go another thousand miles, you get to Winnipeg and you know, when it picks fifteen hundred miles from Toronto and Montreal. So, you know, in 4000 mile stretch, we probably have one tenth the population of the United States.
[00:11:40] So figuring out how to keep transportation costs down is it was huge for us. And so the easiest way, of course, is to have one warehouse and ship from one where. Goes to all the customers. But the problem was that you. The lead times were two too long. So we had this challenge. We needed to be able to serve all the customers in a timely fashion. We wanted to keep the costs down for ourselves and also for our customers. We didn’t. So the first thing we did is we warehoused everywhere. So we had a warehouse in Winnipeg and a warehouse at Edmonton warehouse in Halifax. And it was extremely expensive. And we had not just stuff canned food like giant corn, but we also had frozen food like the Pillsbury products. And they actually we got into frozen vegetables back in a big way in the 80s. So this was very expensive warehousing. So one of our projects was to convince our customers on the frozen side because I was so expensive to warehouse and ship to to accept shipments directly from our one major warehouse in near Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit.
[00:12:47] And do it in a way that they could live with the lead time. So we made a deal with the railway. That’s when piggyback railway was starting. And we could. Nothing would take longer than five days, even Vancouver. Then we personally went out, met with all our customers, went out with our sales V.P. and said, look, we’re going to we’d like to close to where else in Vancouver. First reaction was, oh, you can’t do that.
[00:13:11] You know, we need we need stuff.
[00:13:13] The next day we said, well, let’s try it. We’ll ship directly from Toronto or from Windsor if it doesn’t work. We’re not going to shut the warehouse down or leave it open. And if it doesn’t work, you got it there. We did the same thing in Manitoba, in Winnipeg. We did the same thing in Toronto. And within six months, we were able to shut all the warehouses down our customer service levels. The order fill rates went up because, of course, one big warehouse is always better than having a bunch of small was much easier to keep your your inventory levels where they need to be. We just trained our customers to order a couple of days earlier than they normally would. It wasn’t a big deal, but we kind of nurtured that. And we did that all with our own staff at our central office. And we wound up saving about 30 percent of our distribution costs on frozen food product by doing that. And the customers never looked back. In fact, if you went to the customers today, I think they probably didn’t realize we even used to have a warehousing system across Canada. We learned to do without it.
[00:14:13] Wow, man, that was a huge project.
[00:14:16] Well, it took about six months. Yeah, it was a pretty big one. Yeah, it was. It was a good one, too. They didn’t always work out that well, but that one worked out well.
[00:14:23] So on that note, Rod, clearly that was a huge compliment. I think you said 30 percent of distribution cost is what the bottom line savings there is. That’s fantastic. So speaking of sometimes that where things didn’t go well, what’s looking back at your time there or just in general with all of your supply chain work? What’s one thing that you might would do different? Looking back?
[00:14:46] Looking back, I don’t think I’ve managed that kind of a personal thing. I didn’t think of training and bringing my staff along as much as I should have. It’s not that I was a glory hound, maybe a little bit, but it was more that I thought, well, if you know, this this project are just talking about, so, you know, V.P. of sales would go out with me and we would talk to the head buyer for some of these big grocery chains. And it never occurred to me to bring along, say, one of my managers, somebody, even if they didn’t do a lot of talking, at least they get to see how it works. So that when I left or if I wanted to get promoted, you know, I’d leave behind a legacy of well-trained, competent people. So if I look back, I don’t think I was inclusive enough. And with my team, I don’t think I gave people enough opportunity to develop.
[00:15:38] I tended to worry about getting things done right. And was kind of a little egocentric thinking, well, if it’s not better, do it myself or we’ll get done. Right. And looking back, that’s wrong. Elephant. You know, when you surround yourself with bright people, they may not get everything right the first time, but frankly, nobody does. But if you surround yourself with bright people and give them opportunities, then you wind up in a much better place. And of course, so do they. So that when I look back at my career, as you know, before it became an entrepreneur, that would be, I guess, biggest lesson. I think that’s the thing I would probably do differently if I had a chance to do it again.
[00:16:14] You know, we all have them right. Looking back, I think a reflection is so powerful. And I think these days there’s such a in this war for talent, Rod, that we’re in where it’s so tough to find the right talent. I think there’s even a bigger emphasis and a bigger welcome emphasis on developing the talent you do have. Right. So they can do more and more. Yeah. But I appreciate you taking taking the time to answer that question is always a tough question. I really appreciate taking it, taking a swing at it. So let’s switch gears now kind of over to the world of procurement, which is is become it seems like. Become so much more important and not use we’re relevant, but so much more vital. And it’s gotten so much more attention, it seems. Is that kind of been your observation as well?
[00:17:03] It’s so hard to have a perception. I mean, looking back at my career, I was probably got to know the procurement functions of maybe 10 companies or 15. You don’t.
[00:17:14] It’s hard to have a worldview. I I’m not the answer is I’m not really sure. Scott, it certainly feels that way. You know, this certainly when you when you talk with the associations, whether it’s, you know, ESM or Association for Supply Chain Management, they’re certainly in their opinion and they’re probably right. There is a growing awareness among senior management of the importance of supply chain. But I don’t know if I’m really qualified. I haven’t seen enough. I haven’t seen one hundred companies. So I really don’t know what it was like 20 years ago and what it’s like today. But certainly our ability to be better at our jobs as supply chain professionals has improved. And, you know, that’s clearly because the information we have access to is so much different. In fact, when I look back in the 80s when I was a negotiator or looked at my staff when they negotiated, we really didn’t know where to find information that would help us either agree or disagree with the sales reps. It was, you know, sales rep would come in and they’d say, oh, jeez, I’ve got to charge you more for the cans. This is with Green Giant. And they’d say, you know, it’s not us, it’s it’s it’s U.S. Steel.
[00:18:27] They’re raising the price, you know, a deal. And, you know, I always I’m not I’m not trying to. I believe we’re just trying to stay whole. We’re just trying to, you know, stay in business.
[00:18:39] And we really wish we didn’t have to do that. And we’d actually get letters. They’d actually remember the Continental can. They were selling us cans back then. They sent us the letter from their steel supplier showing what the increase was. And I have no reason to think that wasn’t true up here. It was a legitimate letter. So it was always they were trying to say it was never that they were trying to make more money or they were being greedy or their shareholders were pressuring them for higher returns, which probably was all true. It was that the boogey man was there was always their supplier raising the price on them and there was no way to really check it. And of course, that’s all changed. And maybe we’ll get into that. A lot has changed.
[00:19:20] And you come in 10 minutes ago just about the wealth of information and data that we have at our fingertips. It is just amazing. We did it. We had a conversation this week, a dedicated episode around the main planning and the wealth of attention is really in that space these days, which is really fueled by our ability to measure demand in such a a more of a known and quantifiable way than ever before. Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And similarly, in the procurement space, which we’re going to touch on, there is it’s just it’s incredible, this information age, we’re living in what’s at our fingertips. So if you could. So. So moving past kind of how hot or how relevant or how much more visible or how much more attention to procurement space to get. If she could speak to we’ve already kind of identified access to information as one of the biggest changes that has taken place to procurement space over the last couple of decades. But what else have you seen in terms of change in this in the procurement function?
[00:20:21] When I look back since 30 years, isn’t that it’s strange to talk that way, but I guess it’s true.
[00:20:28] I look at the people who were in procurement is going to say, I don’t want this to sound in any way that I’m, you know, saying saying mean things. But the people in procurement weren’t the people who were likely to become president of the company. It wasn’t paramount or supply chain or whatever we called it back then wasn’t a rung on the ladder of success. You know, the presidents of companies were never people who had gone through supply chain. That may have been marketers. They might have been financial people. They might have been even manufacturing people. But back then, it was almost a backwater. People wound up in purchasing because maybe they screwed up at their other job and they didn’t want to let him go. So we’ll put old John in purchasing or Sally. So it and people knew it. It was it wasn’t respected.
[00:21:21] It wasn’t. We’re kind of the go getters way. And it was kind of where you went out to pasture and that’s back in the 80s. Now, if I look now at a modern materials management or supply chain department, it’s not like that at all. First of all, most people are young and Internet savvy. It certainly isn’t a place anymore where people go to retire. It’s a place where people go to get things done. And it’s becoming a place where you can. Spend some time on your own. It can be a legitimate rung on the ladder to the top. So I think that’s kind of the biggest change I’ve seen is that it’s attracting bright, bright, intelligent people. People see it now as a career is being taught now in colleges and universities. The associations are with their designations are starting to gain respectability in the eyes of senior management. So you have if some young person came to me and said, hey, I’m not sure what I want to do. And I’d say, well, have you thought about supply chain?
[00:22:26] If you thought about learning how to negotiate? You thought about using. And it’s interesting. And now you can point to lots of success stories. And, you know, 20 or 30 years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to say that to people. You wouldn’t be able to say, well, you know, have you thought about being a purchaser? Well, no, I want to succeed. I want to be the president one day. Well, today you can be a supply chain professional and wind up the president, I think, anyway, where she couldn’t maybe 20 or 30 years, I believe.
[00:22:53] And I’ve heard keynote after keynote, practitioner after practitioner, business leader after business leader all talk about how this industry, the and supply chain industry competes for top talent in ways that it never has done before. Not that we didn’t have top talent in the industry and recent past decades, but that’s really interesting and welcome development to what’s going on in supply chain.
[00:23:19] Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. I agree.
[00:23:22] It really I mean, it makes everybody better. All right. So let’s talk about you. Aren’t you are already kind of spoken to this next question, as you are spoken to kind of not only how the workforce values the procurement function more today than before, but at the same time, organizations and leadership structures are valuing that function more today than in previous decades. Do you think that is the global business environment?
[00:23:52] One of the biggest reasons you think for that high margin, yes, global business environment increases competition because you’ve got to compete not just with your domestic competitors, but with international competitors. So that puts margin pressure on it becoming low cost producer uptime of manufacturers or distributors or even retailers. You’ve got to be low cost. One of the low cost providers or you just won’t be in business. So you look at a panel, say, for the average manufacturer, if you look at thought of it as a pie chart. The largest piece of pie would be what people what the company spends on stuff. They buy the raw materials and services and components and finished goods. In most manufacturing environments account for anywhere from a third to a half of the PNM. So if it’s one hundred million dollar company, they’re spending, you know, 30 to 50 million dollars on stuff that they have to procure. And so if you’re not doing that well, you’re you’re dead in the water. You can’t be a low cost producer. So I think, yeah, globalization is causing prices to drop. I mean, inflation has been tame for so long now. It’s because people are getting better and better at manufacturing things and distributing them and warehousing them and transporting them. And all of that means that you’ve got to be very, very good at keeping your costs down.
[00:25:18] Absolutely. All right. So shifting gears once more, I really, you know, given all of your experience and in doing it as a as a supply chain practitioner and leader and then, of course, all the time leading property TRACON, which has been a really neat platform to get to know Orient over the over the last year or so and all the organizations you’re helping by providing insights and data and in opportunities to add to the bottom line while you’re transparently kind of managing your supplier relationship, just a really interesting platform. But before we talk about properties, right, I really want to think about think about 2020 and beyond. Right. The what’s on the horizon? What do you think are, let’s say, three things that procurement professionals really need to be good at in the next few years ahead?
[00:26:09] Well, certainly they have to be quantitative. They have to be analytical and to be able to track and follow the cost trends for their suppliers, key inputs.
[00:26:19] And I’m talking about people who work in manufacturing environments or distributors or retailers. So you can’t kind of wait to be surprised when you find out the price of steel has gone up 20 percent and all of a sudden all your steel components are 10 percent higher than where before. You’ve kind of got to be on top of that and following it. And you need to you need to not only understand what’s happening to these raw materials that are affecting your suppliers costs, but you’ve also got to be able to quantify how the changes to their costs should affect your. Prices, because that’s how you need. I think you need to negotiate. Now you say, look, I recognize your, you know, plastic costs are up or your labor costs are up or you name it. I calculate that a 10 percent increase in plastic resin is a 7 percent increase in the part I buy. Is that right? And if it’s not right, it get into a dialogue with your suppliers so that you understand that only you’re tracking which way. It’s easy now. Nowadays with the internet, it’s pretty easy to track. Ninety nine percent of all the inputs into the modern economy.
[00:27:24] They because they’re mainly commodities, everything. If you look around, everything is either made out of wood or paper or plastic or steel or or or there’s energy, of course, and there’s transportation. But it’s all quantifiable now. So that’s not the challenge that challenges is keeping on top of it and then converting that knowledge into actionable information, which is, hey, mister supplier, I want you to remain whole. I’m not trying to skinnier margins. I’m not trying to, you know, make it. This isn’t a zero sum game. I’m not taking anything away. I want you to be whole. I want you to make money. I want you to be for us. My supply chain requires that you make money and that you’re healthy. But it also requires that I get things that absolutely the best price. And there’s got to be a way that we can both have what we want and here’s how we do it. So let’s come up with kind of a formula. You know, every time steel goes up 10 percent, I’ll give you a 6 percent more. Every time it goes down 10 percent, you knock six percent off. Is that fair? Does that cover your margins?
[00:28:22] So that’s that’s one I think maybe the key kind of trade or ability that supply chain professionals, those who negotiate pricing at least need to do to have they need to have this ability. They need to track the suppliers costs and be able convert those those numbers in to actual negotiating figures to be able to go to a supplier, understand enough about their cost structure. Have a good enough relationship with sales reps and whoever else in the organization they need to know and come up with ways that both parties can actually thrive. Nobody’s taking advantage of anyone else. So that’s the first thing following cost trends and converting those cost turns into which interim query sit right on that.
[00:29:02] You’re talking about both thriving and I think I’ve always thought of, you know, successful supplier customer relationships or even successful negotiation is just that. Both parties winning, right?
[00:29:17] Yeah, not everybody operates that way. And there are lots of cases of, you know, people who view it as like a tennis match. You can only make a point if the other side loses. But I kind of look at it more like a I don’t like a golf game. You know, someone else can make a birdie and you can make a par and you’re both how big that is. Right.
[00:29:38] So it’s it’s not a zero sum game. It’s not. It doesn’t have to be confrontational now. There’s lots of examples in real life where that happens. A lot of suppliers have a monopoly or a near monopoly. And maybe the sales reps, it’s not their fault. They’ve got marching orders from their boss. You know, get a 10 percent increase in their paycheck. Depends on it. And, you know, it’s it’s not it’s easy to talk about win win. And it’s not always as easy to implement it. Sometimes you have to be patient. Maybe you have to find your suppliers. Maybe you have to work with the sales rep, provide the sales rep with information and ammunition. That explains to the sales reps management why you you know, you’re so reluctant to take this increase, because the facts and the data show that actually there’s no reason for it is just a margin grab. And then once your sales rep can show that to their boss, all of a sudden the boss, first of all, understands the sales reps dilemma and also realizes that by insisting on this increase, when there’s no justification for it, it’s actually putting the company’s reputation at stake.
[00:30:39] And a smart senior manager will understand that, you know, we all live off our reputations. And you can’t if you sully a company’s reputation, if you come across as greedy and hypocritical and kind of. Because your position may be forced an increase. You get to do that for a limited amount of time because you’re going to sully the relation, the image of the company. And in the long run, that’s bad for business, bad for everyone’s business, because we we all need to protect our images and reputation. So, yeah, win win is great and maybe you don’t get it in the short run all the time, depending on the dynamics and the suppliers organization. But if you if you’re persistent and you use kind of logic and data to support your arguments and of course, give and take, when the costs go up, you’re actually going to pay more. So it’s not as if you’re being unreasonable, then most suppliers organizations eventually respond. And if they don’t, then that’s a real tell you you need to find a new supplier.
[00:31:39] So you are tackling before we went down that when Wynn Avenue, you were tackling the three things that you believe that procurement professionals really need to be good at in the years ahead. And no.
[00:31:53] You mentioned a person was, of course, following the cost trends for their suppliers, key inputs. You’d alluded to how how that so much more visible these days than in years past. What else do you think round out the top three?
[00:32:07] I think then once you’ve got that one, too. You’ve got your sources and you understand to do that. Then I think you’d take the emotion out of the negotiating you. I think you need to learn how to negotiate in writing. You communicate the data that you’ve gathered and your findings. You know this. Let’s use the stealing. Any of steels up 10 percent. I think a 6 percent increase for your passengers that say you’re buying steel fasteners is appropriate. You do it in writing. You give it to your sales rep. You ask the sales rep to present this to their management. They they in turn, they almost become maybe not an advocate for your cause, but they become an ally because you’re giving them information that helps them explain your position. SALES reps want to close. That’s how they get paid. If if price is an obstacle, then they’re going to want to remove it. So you’re if by arming them with this data in a logical, transparent way, doing that in writing, you’re actually helping your sales rep help himself or herself working with the management. So learning how to kind of, you know, you don’t need to kind of use of force your personality to convince anybody of anything. I think you kind of quietly and diligently do your research.
[00:33:16] You and then you then you learn how to do your negotiating writing. So that’s the second kind of trade, I think, or idea or or skill that someone needs. And then the third one is learn how to become a preferred customer. I think this idea that everything comes by getting concessions from the supplier is is only one sided. If you learn enough about your suppliers businesses and that maybe means you are doing a plant tour too and really getting into how they make their profit. And you know what? You know, what is it you can do to be a better customer? I used to ask sales reps to sometimes take, you know, set up plant tours and then you’d meet the operations people or engineers or production planning people. You ask a production planning person what you could do to be a better customer. I mean, they want to hug you. It just melts their hearts because there’s always stuff we’re doing that we don’t even realize and we’re the customer. So they’re not going to say, you know, stop doing it. But maybe upping your order, 10 percent fills a pallet up or maybe loosening a spec slightly instead of a tenth of the thatll make it a half instead of a half a tenth.
[00:34:22] Make it a tenth of a how that means working with your engineers because engineers tend to really take specs and being an engineer, I’m allowed to say that, but often they’re too tight. So eliciting a spec lots of times, all of a sudden they can run their machines faster. They’re scrap piles diminish, their quality goes up because they don’t know. They don’t have to reject as many finished parts. So learning to become a preferred customer. However, that is is a really important skill for the future because it’s the preferred customers with the relationships, the professional relationships, the win win relationships with their suppliers are the ones are going to be successful. They’re going to be the low cost producers because they’re going to have low cost producing suppliers and the whole supply chain will be sustainable and efficient. So those those are the three things, the following the cost trends, doing your negotiating and writing becoming objective is, I guess, what I’m trying to say.
[00:35:17] And then and then spend your time being empathetic, spend your time becoming the preferred customer and learning and having a much deeper relationship than just buyer seller like getting getting your people, your engineers, your operations, people working with your key prefers. Yeah, I can do with every supplier, but your preferred suppliers, the ones where you’re big dollars are being spent having that kind of broader relationship and having a back and forth kind of exchange of ideas and changes in behavior. That’s that’s where the gold is, I think, and that’s where the success is going to come in the future.
[00:35:50] I’m with you completely agree with you. I think you maybe to start with tech 80 20 approach and then far. What’s an 80 20? Is that where you’re 80 is located right in right now? Right. You know, maybe take a quick assessment of how strategic those relationships are and how much more can be done and gained by, you know, becoming that preferred customer and being willing to have some the conversations that that you don’t find in the other transactional relationships right now.
[00:36:17] You’re right. You can’t do with everyone of you. You need to wave to big purchasing department, but you do the old 80 20 and you’ll make Mr. Potato happy at same time.
[00:36:27] Yes. Yes.
[00:36:30] All right. So let’s switch gears here. We’re so pro purchaser. Dot.com is a group that we’ve collaborated a couple times and we’ve really come to enjoy working with you, Rod, and learning about how all the different ways that organizations are improving the bottom line, optimizing supply chain performance. Clearly helping the procurement folks out with pro purchaser platform automatically tracking you’re talking about your suppliers key inputs. I believe your platform that pro or helps track that easily and helps find opportunities at better pricing, especially primarily when the marketplace warrants it. Right.
[00:37:12] We’re arming negotiators. We can’t obviously do their job for them. It’s something everyone has to do. So we’ll say lumber prices are down. We don’t say to people, now go phone your pallet supplier and negotiate a better deal. We expect our members to understand that. So when people sign up what they’re really the they pick and choose a kind of a shopping cart. We call it a tracking bundle, love of materials that they want to track closely. And we have no say in that. Basically, people have to think about it themselves. And sometimes it requires some research. You have to think, well, I buy electric motors, I buy a lot of electric motors. Work goes into an electric motor. It’s not obvious. I mean, there’s a housing and there’s a rotor and there’s other things, intellect. But sometimes, you know what? What do you track, for example, if you buy a lot of electric motors? So once people once our members understand the raw materials that their suppliers need to buy to make the stuff that they’re buying, and then they pick and choose, then they put their tracking bundle together with those raw materials. And it’s a bit of work. It isn’t it is still a you just join pro purchaser and you’re automatically informed. No, you’ve got to actually think about things you buy. You’ve got to do the work. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to set it up properly. But once it’s set up and you start getting the automatic messages like every time a copper moves a significant amount.
[00:38:43] We certainly don’t send out news flashes every time a copper moves, but if it’s significant, it might might affect a transaction that you’re having. It might be significant enough to change a price of something you’re buying, especially if you’re buying a plumbing parts or wiring or cable things that have a lot of copper in it. Then you’ll get an email, but you’ll only get the email if you tell us that’s what you want. So a lot of people think that all you have to do is join anyway. I think it’s true with almost any professional Web site, you only get what you put into it. So if you’re willing to think about the things you buy and, you know, do the Prado thing, the 80 20 thing and, you know, don’t don’t track, you know, you might want to track corrugated packaging, but if you only spend 2 percent of your budget on copper, get it. Maybe you don’t want to do that. But if you do spend a lot of money on things made out of metals or made into plastics and you start tracking those, then a tool like pro purchaser can help you because it alert you to opportunities to reduce costs. And that’s it’s interesting. Just one quick thing. If steels come down quite dramatically since the tariffs went in about a year and a half ago, I think most people know that. So if you buy things made out of steel, your suppliers paying a lot less today than it was, say, a year and a half ago for the steel that he’s using.
[00:39:56] So let’s use fasteners, for example. So if you’re paying a dollar for a bolt year and a half ago, that’s when your supplier is paying a thousand dollars a tonne for steel. Now he’s paying eight hundred dollars a tonne for steel. And if you don’t call them, they’re not going to call you. They’re still going to be charging a buck. You can’t expect them to call. It’s not in their interest to call. In fact, you know, everyone’s in business to make all the money they can. And that’s just the nature of our system. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. So it’s really up to the supply chain professional to take the initiative and track the prices, because if you call a supplier and say, hey, how come you’re still charging me a dollar, a bolt, when do you know the price of steel down 20 percent, then they’ve then the sales reps got to be able to explain that. And that starts the ball rolling. You send them the graph, you show them the steels really down. The sales rep takes the graph to their boss and the jig is up. You know, of course, the cost is down. And now that, you know, they don’t want you to know this stuff, but once you know it, they can’t take it away. So once they once the jig is up and the senior management realizes that, OK, I take my hand out of the cookie jar. Their reaction is, is they tell the sales rep, go make a deal.
[00:41:05] Yo, knock it back down to 90 cents for that bolt and do it quickly, because the last thing we want is for other customers to phone us up because they they also realize the cost of steel is down. So they tend to that the supply chain professionals who can track that my experience to track their suppliers costs that a reasonable pay, an increase when it goes up, expect a decrease when it goes down and do it quietly. The ones who get the best deals because it’s in the suppliers interest to kind of contain it. They did. They it’s bad enough they got to give you the 90 cents bull. They don’t want to give everybody else 90 cents bull. So there’s a story and I’m not sure how many people know the story about the voice goes across the stream and the bears on the other side. I don’t believe I’ve heard that. Please. Gary. So it’s these two boys go, sir, out on a hike and they come to a creek and they’ve got a Ford the creek, so they take their running shoes off, put him over their shoulders halfway across the creek. They see a big bear on the other side. Holy smokes. They turn around and they run back and they get to the other side and they look back and the bear is coming at them. Well, one of the Boy Scouts sits down and start putting his running shoes on and the other boys go, says, Are you crazy?
[00:42:17] You would. You don’t waste time. You cannot run a bear. And the first scout says, I don’t have to outrun the bear. It’s just you.
[00:42:26] It’s kind of the same when you’re out there. I think in procurement, you don’t. The trick is to buy to have a better supply chain than your competitor, to have better pricing, to have obviously better suppliers, more profitable, more sustainable, reliable, robust suppliers. And of course, profitable suppliers have you know, you have to make a profit to do all those things. And that’s the trick. The trick is to be outrun the competition. And the way you do that is by finding the lowest cost producers and putting deals together that make sure that they win and you win and that you’re operating efficiently, that you’re ordering in the right quantities, that you’re not doing anything that is is wasteful. And you only can I think my experience, you only get to do that by treating your suppliers with respect and looking at the whole system. The whole supply chain is does matter who you know, whose team you’re on, you’re all really on one big supply chain team. And if you can work together to make it more and more efficient, then everybody’s going to win.
[00:43:24] It’s going to add to the competition. And it is about despite the boycott Boy Scout story, it’s all about nearby weather. So and also like how you put it with anything there.
[00:43:36] There are no easy buttons in supply chain. That old adage, you get out what you put into it.
[00:43:42] I mean that with the best tool and I think with with all the tools, that’s how it works. That’s true. Yeah. It can help you. They can. You can put alarm systems in. But in the end, you got to pay attention and you’ve got to, you know, take the arrow out of the quiver. You put the arrows in the quiver, but somebody has got gotta shoot the bow. And you can’t do that for people. People have to do that themselves.
[00:44:02] All right. So for folks that may be curious, obviously pro not Tom, is one way we can we can direct them at what? How else can our listeners get in touch with you about this tool platform?
[00:44:16] The easiest ways. So just go pro purchaser, dot com. There’s a contact me link there. Everyone in the organization gets to see it. If they want to talk to me directly, just say attention, Rod, our roadies. Sure can. And certainly this is a flood of people. I think I’ll be able to get to most of the e-mails we encourage. No one’s ever, ever joined our Web site, become a member of pro purchaser without a trial first, because you’ve got to prove to yourself that it works. Prove to your boss that it works because you get the budget for it. So that’s the other way to do is just go to pro purchaser dot com and fill out the, you know, the trial membership. There’s no credit card required. There’s no obligation. And if it if it works out great, and that’s kind of you know, and it does work for everyone. I am pro purchasers only really works if you buy physical things like raw materials. If you’re a services buyer, you’re not going to find it very useful if you’re strictly MRO, where most of what you’re paying for isn’t the raw material you’re paying for maybe a lubricant that has, you know, 10 cents worth of ingredients, but like 90 cents worth of technology in it, then that’s not going to be useful. So if they want to get a hold of us, it’s easy. Just go to the Web site and get hold of me personally that way, or they can just take out a trial and see if it works. Love that for themselves.
[00:45:38] I love a couple things there. Number one, being able to test it to see if it is for you. You can always do that with a lot of tools out there. And the number two, you can sign it with no credit card require. That is a that’s a great advantage.
[00:45:54] Yeah. So we’re after good fits. You know, if it doesn’t fit, if somebody if people don’t get very good value for their money, if doesn’t pay for itself the first time they use it, then we don’t get glowing referrals. And our business is actually based on glowing referrals. So we actually rather not have somebody sign up and go, oh geez, that didn’t work out because I won’t talk about this at conventions, at cocktail parties. We want enthusiastic members because that’s actually good for business.
[00:46:22] Well, good deal. Again, as Rod shared their property or dot.com, you can also reach out to their team there. So a call, as Rod mentioned, and I love having you. All right. I think I like your frank approach and been there, done that and, you know, picking your brain. I’ve learned a lot in the last hour or so and hopefully our audience has as well. But one of the big thanks to our featured guest today on Supply Chain Now Radio, Rod Churkin, president of Pro. Sir, dot com, thanks so much, Ron.
[00:46:54] My pleasure and thanks for having me. Look forward to maybe one day. Doing this again.
[00:46:58] Absolutely. To our audience. I want to invite you to come check out Supply Chain Now Radio in person. We’re going to be in a variety of industry events over the next few months as things keep back up, as folks are coming out of summer own, including some of the things we’re going to be at. We’re a proud media partner of the 2019 AIG SC AC supply chain and Quality Conference. Lots of acronyms there. But AIG is the Automotive Industry Action Group, SCA C is a South Carolina Automotive Council. So as you might imagine, the this September 12th and 13th event and beautiful North Charleston, South Carolina is all about the world of automotive. So we’re gonna be there broadcasting live sponsored by the Effect of Syndicate. And we’d love for you to join us. You can find out more information on our events page at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com, along with all the other events we’re gonna be at from the Georgia Manufacturing Summit to the Logistics CIO Forum in Austin, Texas, November 2. First year, we’re going to be in Vegas with the reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo and then back here in Atlanta with Moto X 2020 in March, along with which we’re really excited about the Mode X 2020 team is gonna be hosting our 2020 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards, which we’re really excited about in year two of that program.
[00:48:18] But regardless, you can learn more about all of these events at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com on our events page and we’d love to have you come out and join us in person. Big thanks again to our featured guest today. Hopefully our audience enjoyed it as much as I did. I always love talking with Rod Sherk and president of Pro Purchaser dot com. And lastly, as always, be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. You can find us from Apple podcasts and worthy wherever else you find your podcast app. Be sure to subscribe and review, but subscribe. You’ll miss anything on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team. This is Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful weekend or week ahead. Depends on when you catch this episode and we’re going to see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio.
Rod Sherkin is the founder and president of ProPurchaser.com. Prior to entering cyberspace, he was the senior executive responsible for supply chain for both Pillsbury and Ball Packaging, where, for 15 years, he honed his negotiating skills with suppliers. Rod has spent the last 20 years sharing what he learned with other procurement professionals. Learn more about the company here: www.ProPurchaser.com
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.