Scott Luton, Chris Barnes and Greg White welcome Mike Wasson, COO of Tosca for a conversation about supply chain sustainability.
[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.
[00:00:29] All right. Good morning, Scott Luton here with you. On Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. We are coming to you once again today from Vector Global Logistics, a company that’s providing world class Logistics services, all while deeply investing into the communities that they serve. Based in Atlanta, but with an international reach, the company is on the move. You can learn more at Vector Jill dot com. On 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 Heart Radio, you name it, wherever else you find your podcast. As always, love to have you subscribers who don’t miss a thing. Supply Chain Now Radio has also brought to you, Bob. Radio sponsors, including the Effective syndicate A Picks Atlanta, Verusen, Supplychainrealestate.com and several leading organizations. Be sure to check out the show notes to learn more about our valuable sponsors. OK, so let’s welcome in our co-host today Chris Barnes, co-host here of Supply Chain Now Radio and executive director with Apex Atlanta. Chris, how are you doing? Doing well, Scott, thank you. Great to have you back. We enjoyed the webinar. We did what last week was the best? It was. It was it was well, we got a lot of great feedback on W Mass, which, of course, is a hot, hot topic. Hot is is what’s powering the e-commerce world these days. It seems like on and I really enjoyed your perspective there.
[00:01:48] And Greg White co-hosts Supply Chain Now Radio and serial supply chain, tech entrepreneur and trusted advisor. Greg, how you doing? Hey, I’m doing great. Thank you. Good to have both of you all back from your world travels. And speaking of world travels. We’ll smoke them in our feature guest today, Mike Wasson, chief operations officer with Tosca. Mike, how are you doing? Doing very well, thank you. Great to have you. I know you had some travel on the front end, but you’re here in the beautiful Atlanta morning on the Mellish meter is really here. It is. I believe it’s right. It was nice and it was nice and cool this morning. And we’re all looking forward to a great football filled weekend. Right. Although you got some other things on on your calendar, which I know you’re looking forward to. But regardless, we’re glad you’re here today at Supply Chain Now Radio, where you’re going to be sharing a C leadership, best practices, Supply chain Management Insights and some really cool tips on how to become an employer of choice. So looking forward to that, Mike. Before we do that, though. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That’s we’re going to talk about some of the top things. I know. Yeah. And Supply chain now, I was supposed to be a like an old school. Now this just in. Yeah. So I got to we work work on that again.
[00:03:02] So Chris and Greg, your board has sound effects. You can use them. So you already paid for it. Yeah, right. Right. That’s why we paid. That’s right. That’s right. So you know what?
[00:03:14] We’d like to start it. The most of our shows is some things to keep on your radar from the world of Indian supply chain. So, Chris, what’s been on your radar here lately?
[00:03:25] What’s going to happen on Monday is the tariffs. I think that should be on everybody’s radar. But I mean, like China or not, you pay taxes or you buy anything. Right. That’s going to impact your budgets. I think it’ll be a little bit delayed effect. It doesn’t happen right over overnight like fuel prices, but things are going into effect. I’m looking at one hundred and twenty two page harmonized tariff schedule all at once, a listing all at once. And it’s very demanding. The very small, small. I shrink it to my screen, so I good to see it. It says page one. Now when things are going on there. So if you’re looking to buy a grand piano, that’s going to be hit with a 10 percent tariff. No way. Yeah. So. So get those while you can. The other one is the the artillery. So if you’re in the artillery market for weapons, make sure you get those guns. I’m not saying those types of things, though, which I always thought interesting. I’m not sure why we would buy that type of thing from a foreign country. But you know, that’s what’s going to happen. That’s what’s going to affect. So prices will go up.
[00:04:19] And are these predominantly China tariffs or.
[00:04:24] Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s across. It is. It’s it’s across the board with HD. Yes. But that’s they’re targeting specifically the primary source of these things.
[00:04:31] Wow. Well, you know, we’ve talked about tariffs a lot. You know, Chris, that whenever we have we’ll have away on the show. That’s his chosen topic, music and tariffs. That’s what he wants to talk about. So we do talk about it a lot. And I think, you know, one of the assertions we have always made is that corporations don’t pay taxes and they don’t pay tariffs. Right. Consumers do. So these these things add up. Right. And they will. As much as many companies are. Pledging not to allow it to impact their prices. Wal-Mart came out some weeks ago and said they’re going to hold off as long as they can. But boy, it really feels like it’s adding up, doesn’t it?
[00:05:14] Well, he even calls aside just the amount of additional complexity that it adds to supply chain practitioners lives, right? Cause no doubt we’ve got to figure out how to protect the bottom line with more and more constraints. All right. Yeah. So, you know, it’s it’s a no win situation. And yeah, know it’s a political topic. You know, if you’re in Supply chain, you know what’s coming Monday. So, Chris, thanks for pointing that out, because it is going to make for many folks, it’s going to make life more difficult. And for many consumers, it’s gonna make things more expensive.
[00:05:46] Well, and it’s already made it difficult for Supply chain professionals. They’ve been provisioning for this since the threats came. Good point. Right. And then when the first round of tariffs kicked in, I think a lot of people saw the writing on the wall. And then when the Chinese retaliated in the way that they did. I think, you know, it was pretty easy to predict and predict what was going to happen. I think companies started rerouting goods or hoarding.
[00:06:12] Yeah. If you listen to anything, first half of the year, we talked about them. I kept saying warehouse capacity is at a maximum in America. And that was because people were importing in advance of the tariffs. Yeah.
[00:06:24] Well, then the other thing we’ve talked about also earlier in the year, Chris and Greg, is the lack of of when you think about pricing and pricing parts. I used to be metal stamping. You know, we price parts and and we tie those parts a lot of times to the steel index. Right. If you have Gates, if it goes up, it goes down. But, you know, we’ve met with plane manufacturers over the last twelve months that weren’t didn’t have any clarity on their pricing strategy because they weren’t sure when the tariff were gonna stick, when they weren’t. Because, you know, they obviously those timeframes of changing a bit. So they were communicating one thing to customers in just a month later to go back and communicate some out. So no one wins with lack of clarity and with adding more complexity. So, you know, we’ll see how it all plays out. But it’s a tough thing to manage.
[00:07:10] And it’s interesting. It’s still it’s although it is April a political. It is still political because, you know, if you look at the actual regulations without watching television and having them tell you what’s going on, you’ll notice that certain products have been excluded from that kind of target specific. I think you have been given a waiver. Yes. Cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys and computer monitors and items of footwear. So you tell you tell me where the lobbyists are.
[00:07:35] Masterson Yeah, that’s a tough topic.
[00:07:39] Man Yeah, well, I mean, there’s a lot every one of those items you quoted has almost zero margin for the retailer. I mean, and, you know, they are loss leader type items. Mm hmm. And there’s not much room in them. Yeah, right. No one could absorb. No one could absorb the cost, the additional cost of a tariff on those kind of items.
[00:08:00] Well we were just talking I mean the last item you mentioned was footwear. We were just talking, what, a couple months ago I think on a show we were on, Chris, where, you know, unfortunately, the American footwear manufacturing scene has really seen some tough times in the last 20 years. And I cannot remember the exact numbers. But for them, it was the margin difference for footwear that’s made in an overseas versus what it sold for compared to what American manufacturers did with. I mean, it it was it’s substantial. Ours is just it’s mind blowing. And then if you think, you know, it’s it’s big, it’s three times that. But anyway, plenty of folks out there fighting a good fight. And there’s great American companies are still winning New Balance and a few others. But let’s shift gears, because I know we want to talk also, what’s atomic topic is, is the weather. All right.
[00:08:52] Yeah. So as if we didn’t have enough supply chain disruptions to plan and operate around. Right. When this airs, it’ll be it’ll be history. But right now, it’s news. You know, Hurricane Dorian is approaching Florida. Right. And has already substantially impacted the Virgin Islands and skimmed the north east northeast corner of Puerto Rico. It will go over the top of of the Bahamas and it looks like hit Florida, somewhere around Fort Myers, Melbourne, some area like that. It’s a very slow moving storm. So it’s going to create issues even after it lands and it’s supposed to be one of the most substantial storms to hit Florida in many, many years. So look, the there are all sorts of supply chain disruptions already occurring. So just on the way in here, I heard that flights to Florida are packed full because people are going down there to batten down the hatches. Right. Or to retrieve, you know, goods, cars, boats, whatever that they want to save from damage down there. And of course, outbound, ironically, I have a cousin who’s he who is training for, uh, to be a pilot in Vero Beach. Sunny and beautiful for Vero Beach. And he had to get a commercial, take it home, because they have to move all of the aircraft from flight safety in London to Dallas or wherever there are other facilities are to to keep him safe from the storm. So that’s that’s an issue. You know, an additionally, retailers and and support organizations are trying to position goods to be able to immediately help people recover and and also prepare. Yeah, right. I mean, I think many people have seen plywood going up on people’s windows. Right. So you’ve got to be able to predict that.
[00:10:56] So on that note, we should give a big shout out. Cathy Fulton, which has been on show a couple times. Big fans of Alan Aid. They’re doing an outstanding work leveraging corporate supply chain infrastructure and expertise and know how to address these natural disasters so you can check them out if you’re interested. They’re nonprofit. They do exceptional work. Alan RLA in Aid A I D dot org.
[00:11:21] If you’re interested in supporting some of those efforts, they’re already actually producing warnings and have been for a few days have probably helped people to, you know, to help people know how and and when and where to get it to. And we will undoubtedly experience that, as we almost always do in Atlanta. People come inland to Macon in Atlanta. Yes. You know, to wait out the storm. Yeah.
[00:11:42] So, yeah, I think to the central Florida, southern Georgia, you know, big agricultural community is going to be decimated, I think, again and again as we’re nearing harvest so that they’ve got crops in the field that they’re going to be trying to trying to get out, get harvested and get out out of the impacted area. It’s going to be tough on the farmers.
[00:12:04] Yeah, I think we. I think the last storm and you have to forgive me the name. But they called it a generational storm, meaning that it wiped out the means of production for an entire generation, for certain certain crops.
[00:12:18] Or you think Picard’s blueberries, blueberries. Right. Where it where it decimated the the the root struck.
[00:12:24] It actually took the plants. Oh. Yeah.
[00:12:27] Well, prayers and best wishes for sure. And we’ll see how that plays out. But Tom. But if you want to help again, Alan, a dot org is there. They’re doing great work. They are boots on the ground and they can use all the support alone, the people down there that they can get. Well, then it creates you know, Chris made the point.
[00:12:44] Appreciate that. It it creates a planning issue as well. Right. I mean, one more disruption. Undoubtedly, the port of Savannah, which over which the storm is supposed to go and Charleston to, you know, most utilized port ports on the East Coast these days. Right. So it seems like, you know, they’ll they’ll it undoubtedly shut down and those ships will have to circle at sea until they can come in. So it’s a it’s a really interesting situation. It’s something that here in the southeast we deal with pretty frequently. And it’s something, by the way, that companies are starting to feel out, figure out how to provision for in advance. And I think. I think companies and and the government and the aid agencies are much, much better at it than they used to be. Agreed.
[00:13:32] So changing gears before dive into my SO Malcolm and leader of our research team here at Supply Chain Now Radio sent me a quick note as you were making your points. And he said, Scott, get your stinking facts right. And he sent me a NPR link to the shoe manufacturing scene and this is what we’d reference a couple months ago. So thank you for that, Malcolm. So 9 percent of the shoes sold in the U.S. these days are imported, many from China, Vietnam and Indonesia. And if you look at the Siplon article and I’ll quote here for shoe factory job paying twelve dollars an hour, the actual cost of shoe making when adding benefits it grows is sixteen dollars an hour, compared with about three dollars an hour in China, which Mike Jepsen, head of global operations at Wolverine, wore. Rod was quoted saying that in Wolverine worldwide, which is easy for you to say, owns brands like Morrell, Sperry and Kids. And if you think that it goes on to say that cost quadrupled after wholesale and retail retail markup, so that balloons into a 50 dollar price difference between a pair made in the U.S. versus in China. So and we wonder why. You know, we’ve lost so much footwear manufacturing, amongst other things.
[00:14:43] It’s been a lot of it’s been a long time that a lot of shoes have been made in the states.
[00:14:47] Remember the good old days when they were made in Brazil when I was a kid? Right. I mean, it it has been so long. I mean, you know, if you think about how the cost structures have changed, it’s now too expensive to make. Not only to make shoes in the states, but to make them in South America. And instead, they’re being made in the Far East.
[00:15:05] So since 1990, according the article, again from NPR, since 1990, over 80 percent of the U.S. shoe manufacturing jobs have have evaporated.
[00:15:14] So but hey, let’s. But that’s three uppers, three bits of uplifting news in our show. So we have got we have got lots of good news like we have on each show. And it’s in the form of Mike Wasson, CEO with Tosca. So, Mike. Good morning again.
[00:15:32] Good morning. I’ve never Jenny top. That is good.
[00:15:34] Well, I can’t top that, actually, because as as Chris was talking about upcoming events and significant impact to our economy on Monday, I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind folks that Monday is also Labor Day. Right. And Labor Day celebrating the contribution that the workers have made to the economy in the United States, the strongest, best economy in the world. So we ought to take take a moment to recognize that that while we’re talking about all this bad news, remember to to thank the folks that that make your shoes. Get it done. I did state. Yeah. Because we we wouldn’t be where we are without the workers. And we certainly wouldn’t have the opportunity to build upon that we do today without the folks that that toiled for us in the past.
[00:16:20] Yeah, no doubt. A man. Absolutely. So we’re going to talk more about Tosca. Tosca is an intriguing company, changing industry by changing the way companies move perishables as well as as I think we’ve all coined it, a couple of us here at least. Incredibly innovative, supply chain super competitor. So we can learn more about Tosca in a minute. But Mike, I want to start with more about you and your background. So where’d you grow up?
[00:16:46] So I grew up in the Chicago land area. And it’s funny when people ask me, like, where’s home? It’s a little tough. We grew up in Chicago, moved away when I was, I guess, in eighth grade and then moved to Ohio, where my family still is. Then went back to Chicago for college, worked there for a few years, then moved in. And now, gosh, next week my wife and I celebrate our twenty third wedding anniversary. Congratulations. Thank you. And we are in our, I think, our 11th house now. So even my daughter has has lived in four different four different states. So it’s a little hard to kind of tie down to where you’re from because we have had the privilege of living in a lot of great cities. And
[00:17:39] The real estate industry loves the Wasson household.
[00:17:41] Yes. Yeah. The relocation real estate folks really like us.
[00:17:47] So we’ll talk about your college experience here in a second. But. But early on, I love asking. I’m always curious about early role models or early leadership lessons learned. What would you think about that? What it means in your journey? Anything.
[00:18:02] Stick out. But if I if I answer that question, should I ever be compelled to go interview for another job? I’m not going to be able to use this example, which I’m not, by the way, I love what we’re doing. But you know what? What if I make a note of that?
[00:18:20] Yes. Say that twice.
[00:18:21] One of my what I think was sort of a pivotal moment in my my young leadership career.
[00:18:28] I was working for a trucking company. And and on my third day of a what I think was a world class, 10 week very structured leadership training program. On the third day, my supervisor came in and threw a clipboard at me and said, get out on the dock. You know, one of the other guys called in sick. You’re your you need to be out there. And I can’t quote him exactly because there are words in there. Get your hind end. So. So I got all fired up and I was ready to go supervise this this group of 35 or so Teamsters. And and I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go be a supervisor. And I got out there and I and I went up to the guy that was, you know, my most immediate, direct report. And I was gonna tell him how to get things done. And he he put his arm around me and he was he was a little guy. So he reached up, put his arm around me and said, what’s your name again? I said, Mike, I’m your supervisor. He goes, Look, Mike got it. I understand. I appreciate that. But why don’t you go back in the office, get yourself a cup of coffee. I’ll take care of things I said. But no, I’m you. I’m your supervisor. I’ve got to I’ve got a supervisor. He goes, look, I’ve been doing this 35 years. Here’s what I need from you.
[00:19:45] Right. I need you to tell me when the trailers need to leave. To be on time. I need you to tell me what we have common, you know, so I can play in the capacity and make sure we’ve got room on the trucks. I need you to tell me, you know, just anything weird like that. Otherwise, I got this. I’m 35 years. Three days. Right. Let me do what I’m good at. You do what you’re good ahead and you focus on the planning part of it. And I’ll take care of it as I come. It makes a great point. So while I didn’t go sit in the office and drink coffee, I did focus my time and energy on the things where I could add value. I could add value by having a better plan and in longer lead time, better visibility to the loads come in and what time we needed to cut trailers to get him out a out of town and make on time service to the customer. And he could focus on loading the trucks efficiently and making sure the cube was fully utilized and making sure that the priority shipments were on the trailers and things like that. And I learned of really, really valuable lesson there about focusing on the things where you can add the greatest value and not overstepping, you know, staying within your your lane and letting the other folks that are really good at what they do. Be really good at what they do. So now I can’t ever go interview for another job again because that’s one of my one of my stories.
[00:21:09] You want to go to the arrows in the quiver?
[00:21:13] That is management, though, isn’t it? I mean, sometimes it’s sometimes it is removing roadblocks.
[00:21:18] It’s not directing necessarily taken away the constraints that that might prevent them from being the best they can be. Yeah. Hmm.
[00:21:25] So you talked about how you kind of grew up in the Chicago land area, moved to Ohio and then went back to Chicago for your formal education and college experience. Tell us about that. Where’d you get it?
[00:21:40] So I went to a very small school, Lewis University, which very, very few folks have heard of outside of the Chicago area. But it but a great, great school.
[00:21:50] You know, it was it was the right thing for me at the time. So it was largely commuters from from Chicago, maybe. Thirty hundred students, something like that. And it’s grown significantly. It’s actually transitioned into a really good school that’s regionally recognized.
[00:22:14] A lot more on campus versus commuter students now than there used to be. But, yeah. No. No football team. So. So I couldn’t root for football team. Had a pretty good baseball team and a pretty good basketball team at the time. But many went to school there. Great, great school. Great, great program, great education.
[00:22:37] And then really, I would say my continuing education beyond that has been through Apex through Apex certification in the the body of knowledge that they have to offer learning more about supply chain. And just a lot of on the job working with great leaders and managers through my career.
[00:22:56] So although no football team. Lewis University, they do have athletics, Chris or Greg. You’ll know what their mascot is.
[00:23:03] I know who does. Who would know? They just share the mascot with Dayton upon the flyers. Flyers. That’s right.
[00:23:10] That’s exactly right. Founded I can’t remember the year, but like 19 Boy Scouts looking at the website. Maybe like nineteen twenty four, something like that. As an aviation college and then grew and still has a tremendous aviation school there. Wow. What did you get your degree. So interestingly my degree is in marketing and it’s because when, when I went to school there was no supply chain was not a thing yet even operations management was not really in most schools. It was not a recognized program. Things like that were either part of business administration or marketing programs. And I chose marketing because I like I like to understand how people think about things. And actually, one of my favorite degrees today where I try to recruit from is a program called Industrial Psychology, which is really focused on how people think in the workplace, helping connect to the work that people do to their emotions. And they’re the things that they want to or things that they feel are important. So marketing at the time was was the right one for me.
[00:24:19] Well, and now you’re like up as a dangerous weapon. I mean, you’ve got Mark. I mean, we all know how important marketing is in the end. And then Supply chain industry these days mean it’s been a huge amount of dollars coming in. And a lot of companies are looking for marketing chops. And then, of course, the Mary, that side with your operational years of experience and you and your cert, you’re sort of vacations and apex involvement. I mean, really that kind of get your best of both worlds. So let’s switch gears a little bit. So I do want to speak in marketing. I do want to learn more, a lot more about Tosca. We have been here in the Atlanta area. We’ve been fortunate to rub elbows with the Tosca team, you know, going back for five years at least. Been great supporters of the Apex Atlanta chapter, Chris, and have hosted some of our events and and Company of the year here. The reason I said you all have been building quite a story and growing left and right. But at the core, what does Tosca do?
[00:25:16] So we are a reusable packaging company. Yet at our core, what we do, we believe we change the game when it comes to perishable food packaging. Folks, today, I think that there’s a lot of interest around taking single use packaging out of the eco system, taking plastic waste out of the eco system. So our company provides reusable packaging. It is plastic packaging, but it never goes to landfill it even when a crate or container becomes unusable. It’s lived its life. It gets, you know, for for some reason damaged in transit or something like that, 100 percent of it goes to to be recycled. And actually for Tosca, all of our containers, we grind them up and use them in new Tosca containers. So it really is a very closed system for now. But through that process, not only do we take corrugated out of landfill, we also improve the the protection of the commodities that are shipping. So we ship produce, eggs, meat, poultry, pork, all in our reusable containers. And it eliminates the waste that happens when it ships in a core Gates package because it’s a rigid reusable container. It eliminates a lot of the waste. It also is much more ergonomically friendly. And I’m I’m a huge fan of that. You know, all the containers are rigid. They have handles. They they work much better in an automated distribution environment because they are very standardized containers. So it eliminates labor waste, it eliminates food waste, it eliminates potentially injuries. It’s it is in most cases, it is a a merchandise, a whole shelf ready container. So in in the produce space, in the egg space, it can go from the truck straight to the shelf ready to sell, which means you don’t have to re handle things. You take, you know, box cutters out of out of the hands of those store employees.
[00:27:27] You take all the cardboard waste out of the equation as well as someone that has almost lost three fingers, working Winn-Dixie stocking shelves with a box cutter.
[00:27:37] We appreciate you as a former retailer, right? I thank you, too.
[00:27:41] Yeah, well, I think it’s a it’s a great side benefit, but the real benefit is that instead of spending time stocking the shelves, now your store associates, which are hard to come by, can can spend their time and their energy on more value added services for the customer, for the eggs go straight into the cooler. The the unique Tosca drop was. Means that you can sell right out of the container and then they move on to something else instead of hand stacking a dozen eggs at a time.
[00:28:10] I’ve seen those in Kroger stores. One of the few things that I am allowed to buy in a grocery store is eggs, eggs, milk and bread. That’s pretty what I want. Everything else which I’ll probably be buying as this storm approaches and I shop early and not get to this year.
[00:28:26] Any figures? But no, in some of our conversations and some of the events that you’ve spoken at, the breakage that are the norm that you’re protecting. I mean, bottom line savings, because more the product is hitting the shelves and is not being thrown out because it’s been damaged along the way, right? Yeah.
[00:28:45] I will not quote any figures because our our retail customers are very protective of that data. But but I do know that the particularly in eggs, where to a much more quantifiable loss across all retailers, something around 10 percent of eggs get damaged in transit. Some of them because the egg itself gets broken. In some cases when an egg breaks, it then leaks and contaminates other other things that makes them unsaleable. And by the way. So you say that’s one of the few things that you’re allowed to buy. But what’s the first thing you do when you go buy eggs? Right. Everybody opens it up and looks and makes sure that they’re not broken. Yeah. And when you find a broken egg, you put it back. Which means that that doesn’t eggs is not saleable anymore. So you don’t just lose one. You lose you potentially lose that. That doesn’t work or anything, at least. All right. If it if it leaks down. So if you think about that amount of waste and how many hundreds of millions of eggs get consumed, shell eggs in the United States now and in roughly 10 percent of them are being damaged in transit to retail. And our solution has cut that by significantly more than half. And again, retailers are a little protective of what that data is and how much their their waste is today. But it is it is an enormous saving.
[00:30:15] Moving the needle in a very meaningful way. All right. So your role.
[00:30:20] Yeah. And for the biggest free retailers in the country. All right. I mean, this this is impacting a huge portion of grocery retail.
[00:30:31] Tosca is not working with Luton Mercantile.
[00:30:33] And why not? Yeah. All right, guys, we will if we’re in it. He’s a very tough nut to crack. Well, the CEO Brantley runs a tight, tight ship. So she does not like seeing salespeople, breaks arms, legs. All right.
[00:30:48] So your role. So as chief operations officer now, you’ve been at Tosca for quite some time and I think you’ve been leading up Supply chain operations for quite some time. But tell us about what you do now for Tosca.
[00:31:00] Yeah. So coming up on five years with Tosca and it’s been a terrific five years, we’ve significantly grown the company. We’ve invested a lot of resources in new and better automation and new people as well. But yes, so my team is responsible for primarily for the Supply chain piece because we are a a reverse Logistics company when we ship our containers out. We need to make sure we get them back as well. So. So my team is responsible for the physical movement and then and then the other half is responsible for the sanitation, the the cleaning, the inspection, the repair of the containers to make sure that they are in good working order and food safe when they leave our our facility. And then all the different components of that around making sure that our employees are safe doing their job. We have, I think, the the most rigorous food safety program anywhere in the reusable packaging space, because we treat our containers as if they are direct food, contact, packaging. So our standards mean that when they come out the end of our wash line, you can eat off of the container.
[00:32:12] Have you eaten a container? Seems like it seems like everything would fall through.
[00:32:18] I’m just kidding. I I have not. But but but I have my word that you can.
[00:32:22] And we’ve got really rigorous testing in place to make sure that when they when they leave our facility, they are very clean, very sanitary, you know, disinfect it.
[00:32:33] And so that team, as well as the engineering team where we look at not just internal automation, but also working with our customers to try and improve their supply chains, trying to improve the flow of product through their distribution centers, how we can automate multiple package types. So reusable packaging would work as well on on their lines as single use one way corrugated packaging. So yeah, just a terrific team. That’s. Grown over the years. But I’m really proud of the work that they’ve done well.
[00:33:07] And, you know, you mentioned transportation of a minor two ago. I mean, that’s a lot of management back and forth and reverse Logistics and returns and then getting the inventory back into the system. You know, we had the good fortune and Chris Barnes, I think I think you were with us down a few years ago. We toured the Newnan, Georgia operation. Right. And where you were? I think you all hired a few veterans leading the operation down there at the time, at least. And just the clockwork and the cleanliness of of the of the facility and just the culture, which I know we’re gonna touch on the minute. I mean, you know, I think I’ve toured over 300 plants in my career. And and there’s such a huge difference when you’re walking the floor and you see the employees that are unfortunate teamone or disengage or are just not you know, they don’t love what they do. And then you go to the sites where folks are really engaged. You’re saying hello, you’re making they’re making eye contact. And so night and day and and it seems like the latter is really defines the test, the Tosca culture. Right.
[00:34:14] So, yes, it was on a roll there. Yeah. Yeah. That’s what stood out.
[00:34:20] And it’s been I won’t say two years ago, Chris, that we did that plant two, maybe three. Time flies. But it really stuck with us, especially all the different sites we’ve been at.
[00:34:30] Yeah. Tell you I would invite you back because we’re actually in the process. We we just announced a few days ago that the opening of our new Newton facility to try to say that newsreader our new Newton facility, we moved just on the other side of the highway to a to a brand new building, much more state of the art, similar equipment.
[00:34:53] We moved a lot of the pieces of automation over. But the one downside to the old facility is that it was in an old building and we had configured it over the years. We had, you know, taken down to mike walls and cut holes for conveyors to flow through so that the new space is bigger, brighter, much, much, much nicer space with parking lots and things like that that we didn’t have access to in the old space.
[00:35:16] You’re not sitting on your laurels. You’re not doing that. So I think, you know, this this solution, I think everybody can see it in their mind.
[00:35:25] Think about how many times you’ve seen a pallet or boxes, cardboard boxes in a retail store that are just being crushed in one under the weight of the other. And that sort of thing. And and then that’s the product that you’re about to purchase. Right. I think this give this should give consumers a lot more confidence in the product that they’re buying as well. I think it’s you know, it’s it protects a very delicate goods, something you want to consume that.
[00:35:51] And, you know, you want to check five egg cartons, you know, because I’ll know whenever I buy eggs especially, and we get our our groceries delivered now, which is is amazing. Talk about making life easier in the e-commerce age to our front porch, which is just it boggles my mind. That’s kind of where we are. But anyway, you’re no longer on the check. Six different cartons. Put them all back and dig into the crate to find the one where you got all twelve eggs. All right. Let’s talk. But I want stick with this culture piece, because one of the. And Chris, I want you to weigh in in a second. When I speak to the company of the year and some of the things we considered or APICS, one of our sponsors considered around that recognition. But Tosca top workplace award two years in a row now, which is pretty impressive. They’ve got some stringent requirements there. So but beyond the awards, Mike talked to some of the factors that makes Tosca. And in general, companies, what makes them employees of choice.
[00:36:55] So I think being an employer of choice is it’s being recognized by your employees.
[00:37:04] And being an employer of choice means different things to different people. So the recognition, the award means that we have connected our culture to our people. It doesn’t mean that it’s the right culture for everybody. Right. I think that’s really important. I don’t think we have the silver bullet to culture by any stretch. But but I think we do for our team and hopefully we continue to attract like minded people. And I think the the secret to our success is, is connecting the work that people do with the value that the company provides. Right. So whether whether you’re a supply chain playing or whether we’re you’re entering loads into the ERP system or a financial analyst where you’re working on pricing or a salesperson out in front of the customer, you have to understand the work. You do, and how that impacts eliminating food waste and eliminating inefficiencies in the supply chain and everything else that our mission and our vision stand for as a company. And I think, again, it means different things to different people. But if you can connect the individual work to the vision of the company, I think you create a winning culture. Yeah, no doubt. Agreed. Agreed.
[00:38:29] Chris Greg White, in the other comments on employer choice and on what he’s been sharing.
[00:38:35] I just think you know, I think it’s one of the first statements you made is well. Two of the first statements he made is one is Gates your designated by your employees? That’s big. I mean, I don’t think you can you should gloss over that. You didn’t, but I don’t think we should. Because that’s that’s takes a lot of effort on your employees part, too, to participate in that. And, you know, and the other is just the fact that you you are conscious of building a culture, that you’re conscious that it’s not perfect and that you identify that it is perfect for a type of person or someone with similar views. That’s really important, too. I mean, I think a lot of times when we talk philosophically about culture, we think, wow, that would be a great place to work. Right. I think it’s important to be realistic and practical about it and say that’s a great place to work. If I share those views. All right.
[00:39:36] Yeah. And I we joke a little bit about culture, right? I mean, having a ping pong table is not going to make you a great place to work or pizza party or pizza is going to get you a lot of votes, but it will get you a few votes, but it won’t make you necessarily a successful company. Yeah. There is a component to that being a great place to work. You have to know that there’s gonna be work to do. You know, the next day. Right. And we just we celebrated our sixtieth birthday this year. Really proud of that as well. So we’ve been being a great company to work for for 60 years now. And I think there’s a part of that as well. Right. Folks have to understand not just the contribution, but but also how they add value to the organization and how they connect to the bottom line. It’s so important that part of the culture is is also understanding that that we’re all here to do a job. Right. We have to do work. Putting a ping pong table in in is terrific to allow people to to maybe disconnect for a few minutes, blow off some steam, get ball off steam, build some camaraderie, some friendly competition. But you still have to go back to work and do the job at some point. Right. We’re at least on my team, especially the Supply chain team. We work 24 hours a day because our customers never stop the trucks, never stop moving. Our folks do work a lot from home. They work a lot of off hours on the weekends when when things are moving across the country on trucks, we’re still watching it are our sales service team. Likewise, when when a plant has an issue that they’re calling us and saying, hey, we need that truck here, you know, we’re we’re we’re running way more, we decided we are likely to get a call today from a customer that says, hey, I forgot to mention we’re going to work on Labor Day.
[00:41:31] Was it was the the Colombo. Right. One more thing. All right. One more thing.
[00:41:38] Mike, you were this ties back to what you started off with from your first experience working when the guys just, you know, the clipboard and the guys, you know, kind of talking about how, you know, just managers, part of their philosophy can either be managing processes or managing people. I think historically, American management has been focused on managing processes and not so much on managing or developing people and employees. So from my perspective, it sounds like that first experience that you talked talked about had an impact on how you manage it. I know you have a service background, so as that kind of your philosophy as a manager.
[00:42:14] Well, it is. I would say my my philosophy is there are three components to to just be an good manager and a good leader. But it’s the people. It’s the process and it’s the technology that supports those things. I don’t think you can focus exclusively on managing people without having a good process in place. To me, having a strong process allows for continuous improvement because then you can identify where there’s opportunities. I think having strong process in place allows individuals to focus on best practices and in innovation. And if you don’t have some kind of a process in place, you end up, you know, running amok a little bit. And I think that’s that then. Then people don’t feel very connected. Because they’re doing things differently than the person next to them, whether that person next to him is a Supply chain planner or a financial analyst or a production worker on the line. You have to have that framework for them to operate in. And then I think you have to have the technology to support that technology that gives you the visibility to the data. The key metrics in many cases, the technology to eliminate work that is not value added by human hands. In some cases it’s ergonomic and some in some cases it’s efficiency or speed. But but you have to have the technology to support the great people as well.
[00:43:40] Great point. All right. So let’s change gears a little bit here. All of us around the table brought our crystal balls and Tosca containers to the podcast today. And I want I’m going to pose this question, Mike, first. But Chris and Greg, you’ll feel free to weigh in with your bold predictions for 2020. But, Mike, what are you do when you think about next year, whether it’s related to Tosca or just the business world punching world in general? Any big, bad, bold predictions of his open?
[00:44:08] You going to ask him her? So I could just agree. You know, I think that the bold prediction for next year. Right. The transportation market has been a mess the past couple of years and that the current state of affairs with with the two things we talked about at the opening of the show, the tariffs that are going to go in place is going to shift the transportation market and the hurricane is going to shift the transportation market. Hurricanes consume a tremendous amount of trucking capacity because now all the trucks that were available are hauling generators and bottled water and plywood into the southeast, which takes capacity out of the rest of the market. They also they for for better or for worse, they do chase the dollars. And if they can make a little bit more haul plywood into Florida instead of hauling produce out of California or are pieces out of Newnan, Georgia, that they’re going to probably go chase that money where they can. So so it does create pretty significant disruption in the supply chain space. I think, secondly, going into next year, labor is going to continue to be an enormous challenge for that for the U.S.
[00:45:26] economy. We are near what’s considered full employment, right at like three point five, three point six percent unemployment, which which sort of means that everybody that wants a job has a job. There are still unemployed people out there. There are folks that have stopped looking that are not counted into that into that unemployment number. But it means that people have more choices now than they used to. Ironically, as we talk about it on on on Labor Day weekend, people have choices and they can walk out the door from Tosca or from anybody else today. And probably by this afternoon they can have a similar job which speak so much more to the culture of the company that they work for. We see people that will leave go across the street because they put a big sign out in front of the factory that says, you know, we’ll pay 50 cents an hour more, but I need that 50 cents. I’m going to go. But but they don’t consider the culture. They don’t consider the work climate. They may not consider the total compensation package, the benefits and the for one K in the tuition reimbursement and things like that.
[00:46:38] The commute. The commute. Vetlanta led by example. They’re across the street. Yeah, change much. But although in Atlanta and across the street could add a half an hour here. But I don’t think people think about that enough.
[00:46:51] I think they they see a couple more dollars and they go chase that because it’s real money in your pocket. But but they don’t they don’t look at the value that that the organization provides. I think that’s going to continue to be a challenge as companies look towards creating a better work environment for people. You know what ways to attract people that may not include just a dollar an hour.
[00:47:17] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:47:21] That’s those are some very accurate crystal ball observations. Their projections for 2020, man. Any agreement, disagreement from our panel?
[00:47:33] No. I mean, I think employment is a big issue. There’s seven point six million unfilled jobs right now and only six point five million jobs. Right. I think people are seriously considering. Malcolm sent me that.
[00:47:45] It was a. Can I ask, have you made that up?
[00:47:47] No, I knew this. I knew the seven point six. I did not know how many jobseekers that was there were, but I knew that there weren’t enough. And, you know, that’s presuming that there is a skills fit. Yeah.
[00:47:59] Right. So it’s not. Substantial problem. So I think it’s possible that it’s going to be mitigated. Which is my bold prediction for for next year is it’s possible it’s going to be mitigated by a short term recession, hopefully short term recession probably in Q3 and Q4. So I’m on a number of boards of directors, you may know.
[00:48:25] And, you know, there’s a lot of money, investment money on the sidelines. And a lot of the companies that I work with are being encouraged to do those type of deals before Q3, Q4 of next year.
[00:48:40] So, you know, it’s that particular thing becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? People things like tariffs, things like weather disruptions, things like tax and other conditions caused companies to pull back. When companies pull back, people pull back.
[00:49:01] And and the costs that we talked about early in the show are going to, you know, inevitably are going to hit consumers. So I think consumers could hunker down. This last recession that we experienced has to in my lifetime has the longest lingering effect that I have ever seen. I mean, we we’ve suffered pretty substantial recessions and in my lifetime.
[00:49:28] But this one has had the longest lasting effect. I mean, I think people have have referred back to what they call the Great Recession ever since and continue to today. So I think people are wary right now. And, you know, to some extent, I think that along with the lack of clarity in the marketplace is going to cause people to come. People and companies to pull back. And I don’t think that’s going to cause some sort of repercussions that the Great Recession.
[00:50:02] Right. It impacted how people consider homeownership forever. Forever. Right. And and with that change in homeownership versus, you know, short term rental, you choose to invest differently in durable goods. Right. All right. If you’re living in an apartment, instead of owning your own home, you might buy less expensive furniture. And you certainly have little need a lawn mower. You don’t need a lawn mower. You know, there’s no where to put the ping pong table right in your apartment. Right. Because you’re used utilizing community space. That’s why you need him at work. Yeah, well, you have to go to work and find it. By the way, we don’t have a ping pong table in our office, but we do have one in the common space. So, yeah.
[00:50:43] So we kind of best of both worlds. Yes. Well, I’m prepared to make some big, bold bets for 2020. The sun’s going to come up.
[00:50:52] The sun’s going to set taxes. How many are. Well, what three? Sixty five is what Carnac envelope is variable rate, but not a leap year. That’s right. The Braves play baseball.
[00:51:04] The Falcons will play football. You know, I’ll tell you one thing I’m not looking forward to is a pretty nasty presidential election. And you know that not and again, that’s that politics aside, that that’s going to happen. And, you know, I think I think the folks, American people, that workers may we need clarity when he positivity. And as we all know, with election years, we don’t get a lot of those things. So we’ll see how that plays out. But, Tom, I think the transportation comments in particular might be shared are interesting, especially in an in the current context. Right. But I want to switch gears now.
[00:51:43] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Yeah. I want Chris to swing for the fences. I want to hear. I want to hear what his prediction is.
[00:51:50] Come on, man.
[00:51:50] Tell us what you got. My prediction. You’re going to see a lot more micro warehousing going on in urban areas.
[00:51:57] No doubt. You know, we just talked to Accompany Salt Box, who is doing kind of micro production facilities. And I went and visited them earlier this week. And I can see that that being micro warehousing. And then there are all kinds of simple global and stored who are doing what I would call edge distribution, micro warehousing or fractional warehousing. Right. I agree with that. And that, you know, that is a key to Amazon’s capability to supplant U.P.S. and FedEx and the postal service. They now do more of their own shipping than the postal service does. Interesting by a good measure. And a lot of it is because of these delivery stations, their last mile stations that they put in place.
[00:52:49] Yeah. That’s the folks at Sauder are good friends of ours. We. We’ve done a little bit of business together, but they they shared office space with us. Wouldn’t when we connected the first time and realized they were. A couple floors below us, so we’ve kind of grown up together a little bit, and it is that I would call it kind of the Uber Uber vacation of warehousing and logistics services, right, where you don’t have to sign a long term lease. If you need 10000 square feet and a forklift driver for a month or two, there are companies that provide that service. That amount of kind of dynamic, nimble, Logistics space.
[00:53:29] I’m not just small companies. Yeah, right. I mean, one of the stories that Shawn Henry from Stanford told an old show told me was that I think it was Mobile, Alabama. Whirlpool wanted to position something like 12 refrigerators near a particular market because they had a significant demand there.
[00:53:49] So they were getting fractional warehouse space for that. So it’s not you know. My initial thought was it’s people selling tchotchkes on eBay or Amazon. Right. But it’s I mean, it’s every manner of company out there.
[00:54:03] I think look at Luton Mercantile Counties is big customers. There are a million Trotsky’s around Sarah. Yeah.
[00:54:09] Can you spell check for you still?
[00:54:13] John Henry, the Shawn Henry. Can you both of you. H o DSK way. Shawn Henry, as he was supposed to make an appearance just a month or so ago because they they they’ve they’ve exploded here lately. Right. They’ve had some investments. More and more companies have really seen the value of that flexible approach to warehousing. So what they have it back on to give a give up kind of a State of the union on what’s going on in store. All right. So let’s switch gears over to ACM. So obviously here in Atlanta, one of AFC and Key Channel Partners has been serving in the market for almost 60 years. One of our sponsors, Apex Atlanta and ACM, which was launched officially October of last year. Right. And there’s been some pretty exciting things going on in that space. So. So you might have served on the ACM board of directors for a couple of years now, and your role is changing. So tell us more about that.
[00:55:17] Yeah. So to be clear, I’ve only served on the ACM board for a year now. Prior it was fire. It was Apex. And and I served on the Apex Supply chain Counsel Board and the Apex Foundation board. And I think we might have been the apex, Elinda, in there at some point as well. But but I’ve been so privileged to work with Apex and now ACM for going on 10 years now. I served on the board for for the past five or six years, I think in officer positions and in board positions and just love where we’re going. I love the evolution from Apex to HCM. You know, Apex primarily focused on the individual, focused on certification and education of the individual supply chain worker. And there’s some bi need to fact check or 240000 some odd folks that have been certified by Apex, which is phenomenal, mostly by Chris Barnes.
[00:56:30] Many, many, many, many. Next.
[00:56:32] But when you think about how pervasive that is in the supply chain space. Right. Two hundred and forty some thousand people working in the supply chain space that have been through that apex body knowledge is terrific. HCM is a it is a very natural evolution, in my opinion, because a apex still exists in the apex certifications and the apex body of knowledge. Focusing on the individual is still there. It’s still strong. HCM, though, allows the organization to also focus on corporations. Right. So you’re you’re approaching learning kind of from both ends of the spectrum, right? The individual individual contributor, frontline supervisors, managers and professionals. But then also focusing on corporate learning, which allows companies to focus on more holistic supply chain programs differently than you did just building that knowledge base from the bottom up.
[00:57:31] So beyond what you’ve shared with other values, do you see that that ACM members or folks just generally speak industry associations, what else they bring to the table that helps advance the supply chain profession these days?
[00:57:46] Yeah, I think when we were talking about shoe manufacturing at the beginning, I can’t help but think about the newest HCM certification. Right? So it’s a new program called HCM Enterprise Certification. Which focuses on sustainable and ethical supply chains. In it, it is a an unbelievably deep dive into an organization to to understand. Are they sourcing, making, producing and planning things in an ethical fashion? So I think that’s going to be huge. That adds a tremendous amount of value because consumers now want to understand where their products were made and how they were made. And it was the the chicken in a cage or cage free and hand Hanford or, you know, things like that. And that that enterprise certification will help give people, I think, a higher degree of confidence that they’re buying a product that was produced, manufactured or sourced in a way that’s consistent with their own ideals.
[00:58:51] Yeah. We had Peter Boal staff on Supply Chain Now Radio episode 132 to talk about a lot about that new offering. It had a great time.
[00:59:01] He came to Atlanta, as a matter of fact, and he planned that trip, by the way, when I was out of town. I noticed.
[00:59:06] Well, you know, really interesting interview, but at Chris here, actually at San DIA here at King Plow. But I think that they really own something with that. Of course, the circular economy, which is getting a lot more attention these days, meaningful attention, and that AFSCME enterprise offering should be another successful rollout of a new product. So let’s talk about HCM. Twenty nine. Chris, did you win? OK. I HCM 29. Hey, I try to say equal opportunities. I’m trying to read the tea leaves here. ESPN 20 19, Las Vegas is coming up right around the corner. All right. Two to ex-wife. What are you gonna be there this year? I am. Okay. I am. And anything you’re looking most looking forward to?
[00:59:55] Well, so this year I am not presenting anything. I’ve sort of been on a year off a year, but but presenting it at the ACM conferences is terrific. But but this year, there’s just so much going on. But but I always look forward to those opportunities. I mean, aside from just the community. Right, connecting with with friends, that there are folks that I see once a year at conference and I consider them close friends. So really looking forward to that. Really looking forward to the learning sessions. I think you can get so much out of the time at conference. If you plan accordingly, you will have unbelievably full days. But you can learn things about leadership and management and in sustainability, and then you can go across the hall and learn about the Internet of Things and the technology side. So such a such a diverse offering through the ACM conference. I’m really looking forward to that. Absolutely.
[01:00:58] And the networking, get these things to your point, always gets overlooked. You know, I think a lot of attention and the splash is always made about the keynotes, which there’s some really neat keynote. ACM got the first female F 14 Tomcat pilot. And if you remember, we touched on this earlier podcast, Top Gun, the original movie. Those were 14 Tomcats, right? Like an iconic aircraft aircraft in the 70s and 80s, especially here in the states. And so that one and also the CNN will have to get Malcolm out the keynote. But my point my greater point being, you know, the keynotes and the sessions and the topics and the learning opportunities, which are immense, get a lot of buzz. But to your point, you know, reconnecting with folks in your network, that that, you know, relationships are so critical to making Indian supply chain happen. Right. Especially in the global era and a huge opportunity to stay connected with your network at these at these events such as AC in 2019. Yeah.
[01:01:58] Yeah. Not not just the the social aspect of it, but the best practice sharing and the the resource discussions that we have. Again, when I connect with folks there, it’s not uncommon. Six months later to pick up phone, say, hey, remember we’re talking about this thing or do you know somebody that does this right? It does create just a terrific network of resources for folks to reach out and draw Froome.
[01:02:26] Yeah. So right on cue, the two keynotes for Ace in 2019. FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN worldwide host or one knows who that is. And Carrie Laurens is the former lieutenant, first female 14 Tomcat pilot, which is really cool. Looking forward to those. So how can folks we’ve covered a lot of ground in the last hour or so. Mike, really appreciate you taking time out. How can folks reach out to you to learn more about Tosca?
[01:02:54] So the easiest way, Tosca, LTTE. Dot com. It is a and I think a terrific Web site that shares a lot about what we do and how we do it and really are our marketing team has done just a fantastic job of telling our story and sharing with folks the value that we provide in the supply chain. On that Web site, there is a an icon, a button to click to contact us.
[01:03:24] Now, if there are specific questions that you have or want to learn more about the company as a whole. Click on that button. It’ll go through our marketing group and they then pass it out to the right people to make sure we get a quick answer to you.
[01:03:38] Fantastic. Tosca deal in the subject because I like Mike.
[01:03:43] Right. That’s right. Be like Mike. Yeah. We’ve never seen that before. Yeah. Yeah. I’m a slim one right now. I’d appreciate it. Tosca LTTE dot com.
[01:03:53] And of course you can get more information about ACM and ACM dot org. Appreciate all that you’re doing beyond Tosca. What the contributions you’re making to the supply chain professional industry. Mike. Well, I appreciate it very much. Thank you. You bet. So we spent last hour with Mike Wallsten, chief operations officer with Tosca. I really enjoyed that conversation. We’ll make sure to published some of these links and resources in the show notes. But Chris and Greg, we’re going to wrap up today on some upcoming events, right. We’ve got a pretty active schedule kicking off in about two or three weeks. We’re hitting the road. We are so. Or the air, whichever it is. All right. So the intro to quick thing before we cover some of these events. Coming up, two quick things to share with our audience. Number one, if we if there’s anything today you heard that you can’t find information on, you can shoot us a note to connect at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. And we’ll try to do what we can to get you in your resources or ideas or answers to your questions. And then secondly, what we’re about to cover these events. You can find out all the links on our events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. OK. So first up, September 12th and 13th, we’re going to be in North Charleston, South Carolina, covering the 2019 AIG SCA Supply chain Equality Conference. Any guesses on those acronyms?
[01:05:12] I’ve got it down now just a month later.
[01:05:15] The Automotive Industry Action Group. I’m a South Carolina Automotive Council. All right. Again, led by future governor of South Carolina, Amy Hensley, who is the executor.
[01:05:27] I am advocating because it is an election season. She’s gonna have a PAC. We have a blank. She don’t have a PAC.
[01:05:33] But she has great people. She she chairs the FCIC, the SLA Automotive Council. She is, I think, kicking things off and field of his agenda. Some great. Yes. For all we’re doing.
[01:05:45] Bosch, Volvo, of course, a lot of the OEMs that that operate are going to be their BMW Mercedes. If one more IBM.
[01:05:57] Oh, yeah, IBM is going to be a guess force. Yeah. That’s right. We’re excited about that. And all sponsored by the Effective syndicate. Yeah. Good. Good people. Oh, Grover. Yeah. And then.
[01:06:08] So that’s in a few weeks. Can we live it hot in North Charleston, South Carolina. And then we’re gonna be come back to Atlanta October night for the Georgia manufacturing summit. About a thousand people coming out for that. We’re won’t be leaving trends of track and supply chain a panel session. Jay Smalls, who CEO of the GM. He’s got two great keynotes from P and G and Keith Keith cannot crank out the cars fast enough. That Telluride commercial at Super Bowl last year. Yeah, it’s a good looking rig. Yeah. I don’t wanna speak for Keith, but I was chatting with someone down there in West Point and every Telluride coming off the line. It’s already spoken for and is being sent to whoever ordered it. So good problem to have if you’re making good cars and a West Point. But October 9th is the Georgia Manufacturing Summit. You can learn more at Georgia manufacturing alliance dot com. And then what’s what’s what’s next up there, Greg? Well, we’re gonna go help Austin keep it weird.
[01:07:07] Two thousand nineteen EMT two thousand nineteen Logistics CIO Forum in Austin on November 7th and 8th. So about three hundred Logistics executives meeting with people who want to share ideas, sharing ideas with one another. So it’s a great opportunity to rub elbows with some some really sharp folks and some really forward looking companies.
[01:07:32] Supply chain tech, Logistics tech, freight tech. All that is huge topics down there in November 7th and 8th, 2019. And we’re going to be broadcasting a lot. Looking forward to that. Our next partnership with the great folks at Hefty. And then we’re gonna hit the holidays. The schedule flips and we’re in in February. We’ve just kicked off a new partnership with a reverse Logistics association.
[01:07:53] Might be there, Mike. Yeah, you all should also be there. Somebody from your Tony O. Oh. Tony, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Michael wrote.
[01:08:01] Yeah. He’s going to be back on the show once a month with a reverse Logistics series. We got him back. Scheduled late September. But we’re gonna broadcast live at the conference RLA conference, next blow in Vegas in February. And then, of course, Moto X. We’re talking about X before the show this morning, once the largest supply chain trade shows in the country. Moto X is coming back to Atlanta in March. And not only we can broadcast and live all four days of Mode X, but you’re hosting our 2020 Vetlanta Supply chain Awards, which we’re very excited about. Chris was out. It was only a board of directors last year, actually. Chris had the very difficult task of leading the judging process and I hope he does it again this year.
[01:08:41] I too. It made things easier for a lot of folks know we had we had probably over 40 nominations right.
[01:08:48] Last year in the first year. And we’re really excited about partnering with Moto X to do this at the Georgia World Congress Center on March 10th.
[01:08:57] I believe that Tuesday of that week may have an enticing announcement in the very near future in terms of a keynote for the Atlanta Supply chain Awards.
[01:09:04] Working on a huge keynote. We’ve got more work to do, but just teasing it. Yeah, it’s all. That’s all you get. I wouldn’t do a lot more than tease.
[01:09:12] I know you do. I know we’re not quite there yet, but I still have to check my calendar. Yeah. Well, we’re not saying you’re invited, Mike. I’ll be back with that, right? Yeah. Yes, a big good throw.
[01:09:24] But learn more about mode X and it’s free to attend mode X show dot com and no d e x shoko. Okay, so huge. Thanks again. I knew we’d enjoy this conversation. We’ve had Michael on the show previously. Really? Enjoy. Yeah. I think it’s really neat when you sit down with leaders from companies that get it right. I mean, and we let off, Mike, with your passionate statements around the folks that make it happen. Supply chain. Right. The people that are there, that are on the floor, that are there drive, driving, move and, you know, really work. Jimbo. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s a great it’s a great. It was a great note to begin with and it’s a great note to finish with. So thank you for what you do. Mike and CEO Tosca, big thanks to Greg Greg White. Chris Barnes. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:10:12] Round applause. Whichever one of us is a great conversation.
[01:10:18] Be sure to check out other upcoming events and replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. As we mentioned, you can choose a note to connect at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. We can help in any way. You can find us an Apple podcast. SoundCloud. All of the leading sites were podcasts can be found. Be sure to subscribe to your missing thing on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team. Scott Luton here wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead and we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio.
Michael Wasson, CSCP, is chief operations officer at Tosca, an industry leader and innovator, providing a comprehensive portfolio of reusable packaging and supply chain solutions across a diverse range of perishable food markets. In this role, he provides leadership and direction for a state-of-the-art supply chain network, providing unmatched service and lower costs to growers, suppliers and retailers. Wasson has more than 25 years of experience with other industry leaders, including Coca-Cola, DHL Express-USA, YRC Worldwide and Hammacher Schlemmer. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of directors for the Reusable Packaging Association, and also the Secretary / Treasurer for ASCM and serves on their board of directors. Learn more about Tosca here: https://www.toscaltd.com/
Chris Barnes is a supply chain guru, the APICS Coach, and the host of Supply Chain is Boring on Supply Chain Now. He holds a B.S., Industrial Engineering and Economics Minor, from Bradley University, an MBA in Industrial Psychology with Honors from the University of West Florida. He holds CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS, one of the few in the world. Barnes is a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education certificate courses. Barnes is a supply chain advocate, visionary, and frequent podcaster and blogger at www.APICS.Coach.com. Barnes has over 27 years of experience developing and managing multiple client, engineering consulting, strategic planning and operational improvement projects in supply chain management. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn and reach out to him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.