Supply Chain Now Radio
Episode 247

Episode Summary

“Supply chain professionals know they should collaborate with their suppliers, but they don’t know how common it isn’t. I would estimate that fewer than a third of the companies we deal with actually have active embedded supplier projects as part of their culture. It’s an opportunity to thrive in an ever more competitive environment.”

– Rod Sherkin, President of ProPurchaser


Most companies recognize the importance of collaborating with suppliers. Collaboration can open the door to increased market share through innovation and reduced risk. But valuing collaboration and making it happen with the right suppliers are two very different things.

In his usual practical application-driven style, ProPurchaser President Rod Sherkin takes Supply Chain Now Radio host Scott Luton through three recommended steps for improving supplier collaboration. They include finding the right kind of suppliers, choosing appropriate projects and successfully carrying them out.

In addition to describing the three steps in further detail, Rod Sherkin provides advice such as:

  • It is rare that procurement knows as much about a supplier’s materials as the supplier themselves.
  • When selecting supplier collaboration partners, use this rule of thumb: select a supplier for whom your company represents at least 5% of revenue
  • Ask yourself whether each possible supplier collaboration partner is open to enough transparency to share information – and potentially savings

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] 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 technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Hey, good afternoon. Scott Luton here with you libeled Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. We’re excited to be continuing our Procurement Pros. series here today where we’re offering Supply chain leaders several new ideas and best practices. And today on today’s episode, we’re really talking about a proven three step process for stronger and more successful collaboration and innovation with your suppliers. And more on that in just a moment. Quick programing note, like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a variety of channels Apple podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, where we help you get podcasts from. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe to your messy thing. Let’s think a few of our sponsors that allow us to bring best practices and innovative ideas to you. Our audience. The Effective syndicate Verusen Supply chain Real Estate, dot com Ipix Atlanta and many more. You can check out each of our sponsors on the show notes of this episode, special guests here today. Let’s welcome in Rod Sherkin, president of Rod. How are you doing?


[00:01:32] Fine, Scott. How are you doing?


[00:01:34] Fantastic. Great to have you back. I had such a great time. Well, throughout the series, but in particular on that on the last episode. And we’re going to steal a best practice from the last episode. Are you ready?


[00:01:47] I sure am.


[00:01:50] Brooklyn. You know, there’s so much work and stress that goes on in Supply chain. It’s really important. Every once in a while, I kind of make it lighter or make it and enjoy ourselves. Right. So that’s where we’re gonna start today’s episode. We’re gonna continue what we called last time our Lightning Round. So in the last episode of this procurement pro series, we kind of went off topic a bit and posed some questions to you, our subject matter expert, that that gave our audience an opportunity to really get those Rod Sherkin better and Rod, as you might expect or maybe didn’t expect. We’ve gotten a ton of feedback around that, especially on your affinity for The Matrix.


[00:02:31] Really? I didn’t know that. No. Well, there must be some other Matrix fans out there that.


[00:02:38] Yes, you’re the super fan. You’re now the super fan of The Matrix. So we’re gonna continue with The Lightning Round on today’s episode. Now, to be fair, this may be the non lightning round. These aren’t quite as open as shut questions as we did last time. But but there’s some of my favorites. What I’ve gathered, we’ve done our intel on you in your background. So I’m looking forward to posing these to you. Sir, are you ready? OK. I sure am. All right. So first up, you hail from the beautiful city of Toronto. And I know you’re a passionate sports fan. So question for you. Toronto Blue Jays or Toronto Raptors?


[00:03:14] Well, the Raptors have certainly been more successful lately, but that shouldn’t be the criteria. It you know, in this camp, right? Yeah, they do. Yeah. It’s they’re not doing quite as well this year, but they still have a shot at it.


[00:03:30] You know, it’s you know, I’m going to say it’s a beautiful summer’s afternoon on a Sunday.


[00:03:35] I think I prefer the Blue Jays. I prefer baseball. It’s fun. And you know, on a cold fall night, like like winter’s night like we have tonight is probably a basketball game is a lot more fun to watch. I like them both. And I guess it’s slightly seasonal. So I don’t have a favorite. It just depends on the time of year.


[00:03:55] You’re flexible and nimble, but you’ve got a quick anecdote about the Blue Jays that no one else may know.


[00:04:03] Well, it’s kind of a riddle that’s great for cocktail parties.


[00:04:07] You say to someone you’re a sports aficionado, it the only major league team to ever be World Series champs three years in a row. And then everybody stretches you something because you get to watch your words. You can’t say who won the World Series. You just say who where. The World Series champs. And that’s the clue, because there was a strike in 94 and the Blue Jays, it won 92, 93. And by default, they were the World Series champs in 94. So they did not have that title for three years.


[00:04:43] So clearly they didn’t win it three times. So that’s how you can win a drink or two at a cocktail. That’s right.


[00:04:51] I do. Rod Sherkin had little marketing bone in his body. I like that. And of course, in 92, they beat our beloved Atlanta Braves. In heartbreaking fashion, but nevertheless, the great Blue Jays teams, well, we wished it didn’t have to do it, but somebody had to win.


[00:05:08] You understand it couldn’t be win, win. We tried for a win win, but sometimes it’s not.


[00:05:16] All right, though. You know, in our warm up session, I think our sports pre-thought went on about two hours. But for our listeners say we’re gonna move on from sports to music. So continuing are our lightning round or maybe our non-Latin around with Rod Sherkin. So now I understand that not only are you a big fan of music, but you’re a big believer that pianos and piano music have the ability to aid in the development of cognitive abilities. So you got to tell us more about that.


[00:05:45] Well, Stumm, a theory vote. My wife is an artist, and so she’s certainly a big on creativity and stimulating the right brain.


[00:05:58] And she did some research and she found that. I guess found a teacher. And the teacher’s theory and I think it’s true, is that if children learn to play piano young enough, say, 5, 6, 7, 8 years old, they learn to read both. Both clefts, the treble clef and the bass clef. Simultaneously, they actually the blade. The brain is plastic enough that they can parallel process the information and they’re actually taking it in at the same time. And that’s why adults who take up piano say once, you know, they’re over 18 or 19. They can still play piano and play quite well, but they can’t parallel process. So they because the brain stopped being plastic enough to do that. So the point was that whether your child winds up carrying on with piano or not, it it doesn’t matter as much as what’s happened to the brain, because once the brain can parallel process, it learns to do that. It can apply to other fields and it makes it easier for them to. It gives them advantage in some ways when they’re older, too. To be able to simultaneously take in parallel process other things. And we you know, everybody I mean, to almost tune to a fault. Now people are multi-tasking. Why people who play piano when they were young can have an advantage when it comes to multi-tasking and receiving information that way.


[00:07:26] Well, if you heard that Rod. That was the sound of seventeen thousand two hundred fifty four families across North America, simultaneously picking up the phone and scheduling piano lessons next.


[00:07:38] So based on lies, there it is. It’s fascinating. It really is. And I think it’s true, too. I don’t know if there are any definitive studies, but it certainly makes sense.


[00:07:49] And we’ve we’ve always felt it was a way to help help your your children develop their potential.


[00:07:57] All right. So moving from music and cognitive abilities development, let’s talk about a really neat little anecdote that I gleaned from some folks in your network. So I know that effectively tracking commodity pricing, of course, a big part of your product, the ProPurchaser platform. However, I understand that based on your research, that aluminum once upon a time was more valuable than gold. So you gonna tell us more about that?


[00:08:27] Well, you know, 200 years ago, before the advent of electricity and electrolysis, it was almost it was making aluminum was almost impossible.


[00:08:38] Only a few alchemists, you know, would know how to do it. Was that kind of an oak cult thing. And, you know, they’d worked for weeks and months and make a few ounces of aluminum and in only the very rich kings and kings or others. Noble people could even afford it. So having an aluminum spoon or fork or cutlery was considered the you know, the the ultimate status symbol, much more so than a gold or gold alloy. So it wasn’t until the ilic the modern methods were developed for making alumina, which is basically using a lot of electricity and an electrolysis.


[00:09:20] So you can strip away the the oxygen from the aluminum oxide and create the pure metal. So, yeah, aluminum at one time was rarer and more difficult and much more expensive than gold.


[00:09:32] And now as we use aluminum, it is a for too many folks. It is use one time and throw in a recycling bin or even worse, thought of garbage. Garbage can, right.


[00:09:44] It is almost disposable, certainly in use to me. It’s ubiquitous, used in car bodies and used wherever you need a strong, lightweight, non corroding metal that I can’t imagine. It’s hard to imagine not having aluminum in today’s economy.


[00:10:06] But their paths, aluminum, a gold path, certainly have to have inversed these days and we’ll see. One hundred years. Now, who knows? Maybe plastic grocery bags will be worth it.


[00:10:20] This rare? It’s very rare. Yeah.


[00:10:23] Okay. So we’ll appreciate you being a good sport and playing along with us on our lightning or as it were, our non lightning round, but really appreciate learning more and providing our audience a chance to learn more about you. Rod.


[00:10:38] So now we want to dove into the main topic. So today, as we’ve mentioned on our Procurement Pros series here on Supply Chain Now Radio, it’s going to be all about how to effectively collaborate and innovate with your suppliers. It’s it’s like looking for the lost fountain of youth. It’s a never ending quest for. For many companies, especially with just how fast the global market and the industries are changing. Right. We’re digesting change. At times it can seem minute by minute. So finding ways to really effectively collaborate to makes things easier.


[00:11:13] And of course, innovating new products, new ideas, a new improvement, ideas on current processes, new markets, you name it, are really important. So.


[00:11:21] So it’s Rod Rod, for starters. Do you believe that successful collaboration and innovation, especially innovation, I guess between buyers and suppliers are more important than ever before? And based on your answer, tell us why.


[00:11:36] I do. I think so, because it’s sticky to a competitive advantage to be able to go shehade a fair deal with the supplier. It’s kind of like let’s use the baseball analogy. You know, you’re at home plate, you’ve got the bat and that’s it. It doesn’t get you to first base if you actually want to hit a home run.


[00:11:54] If you want to be better than your competition, you’ve got to do more than just, you know, be a good bread and butter negotiator. He’s got to figure out how to make the pie bigger for both parties, how to how to embrace your suppliers knowledge and their enthusiasm and find better ways to consume what they make. And they can find better ways to supply you what you need. So that, again, both parties are better off. And it’s if you think about it, it’s almost you know, it’s very rare that you would know as much about the suppliers materials and the supplier. Would they would they have much more technical knowledge? They they get to see other materials or use other places. And so by not tapping into their knowledge, you’re you’re leaving a huge opportunity behind. And if your competitors are not leaving the opportunity behind to say, are tapping into their suppliers knowledge, figuring out how to work together, then they’re going to have the advantage. And in the end, you know, it could be as could be pretty dire. If they’re they’re more competitive than you are, then you may not be around. I think it’s it’s very, very important.


[00:13:09] Absolutely. Darwinian, almost. So, you know, the good news. So as we as you know, both know and our audience knows that the words collaboration or effective collaboration, in particular, an innovation which is unfortunately off overused, you know, that’s not something where you can buy off a shelf at your local Home Depot and implement into the organization.


[00:13:30] And then you got it. It’s a it’s a it’s a very deliberate, long standing journey.


[00:13:35] It is not easy to do is not hammer meets nail. But the good news is that you have a proven three step approach that really at least makes the path forward easier. Right.


[00:13:47] It structures it. And you’re right. If once you have structure, at least you can, you know, if you’re making progress. So it does make it easier that way. You can measure progress and hopefully succeed more often than you would without a structure.


[00:14:00] And we are if if we’re fans of anything beyond the Matrix, we’re big fans of structure, structure, birds and structure does in this day and age, whether you’re talking about innovation in collaboration with suppliers or or other continuous improvement projects or in a structure just provides these guideposts and it’s easier to break through even the hardest of challenges. A big fans of what you’re going to be sharing with the audience here today. So with structure in mind. Let’s talk about step 1 of this, this process Rod.


[00:14:33] Well, it’s a three step process. And the first step is to find the right kinds of suppliers. Then that’s probably at least half the work. And then once you’ve identified the right kinds of suppliers, then you need to find at least an initial project for each supplier that you’ve chosen to work with. You can have several in your pocket, but you you kind of homing on on one just to, you know, nothing succeeds like success. We’ll talk about that in a minute. And then once you’ve got the project. You’ve got to execute it. And that’s where Supply chain people are in a wonderful position because they’re the bridge between there. There were organizations and the suppliers organizations. So there’s some tricks, project management type tricks to make sure the project gets executed as well as you can with with the time you have. You may remember, but you know, everyone has a full time job. So whether you’re the supply chain professional or whether you’re the supplier, you worked for the supplier. Everyone on your team of the teams you’re going to form also have full time job. So there’s a bit of an art in this. You’ve got to kind of extract a little extra work from people. And the way to do that we’ll talk about is to make you a find the right kinds of suppliers and B, choose the right kinds of projects and then execute them in a way that everybody feels that they’re contributing and everybody feels satisfaction in the fact that you’re making progress.


[00:16:03] And you gave everyone kind of a foreshadowing of the three steps there. So let’s dove a little bit deeper. Ω know how to find the right kind of supplier. Step one.


[00:16:13] Well, the first thing you do is you create a long list of suppliers that’s a wheezed to do you.


[00:16:20] Clearly, you can go to your accounts payable department and find out, you know, where you’re spending all your money. You probably know it, but you know, you enlisted, solicit a little bit of help and list a little bit of help from finance and say you don’t get your top 10 suppliers from a financial point of view. The other thing you should consider are suppliers that are operationally import. They may not may not spent that much money with them, but they may have parts that are absolutely essential to keeping the line running or parts that maybe come from a long distance where we’re maybe you’ve got some supply chain issues. Maybe short shipping has been an issue and and they’re critical you they can shut the line down. So it’s a combination of financially important suppliers and operationally important suppliers. And so you you create a long list because you’re not really sure if they’re the kinds you wanted to do a project with. But there certainly if you could do a project, there would be either financial or operational benefit. And then. So once you’ve got that list, you need to pare it down. And there’s a few ways do that. One is you ask yourself, is your business financially important to them? In a rule of thumb, is are you 5 percent or more of their revenue? And sometimes it’s hard to know.


[00:17:36] But if they’re publicly traded, then you would that wouldn’t be hard to do. You can find it with the revenues. And you know what? You spend it. Even if they aren’t publicly traded, you can get a feel for, you know, their hundred million dollar company or their, you know, five hundred million dollar company. So, you know, if you’re half of 1 percent, it’s not too financially important. But once you’re up to two, three, four, five and certainly more than five, then you’re going to be in there, you know, in their top 20. So that’s the first thing you check to see if your business is important to them. The second thing is find out if affair with how they feel about working together on share the savings projects. Just ask sales rep. Hey, do you have any other customers where you do projects together, try to save money and share the savings and that if they are if if that’s part of their culture to work with their their customers and do these kinds of things, then that that means that that’s a good sign. If they’re not, then well, they may not be a good, good project partner. And most importantly, is does their pricing behavior or do they treat you fairly or do they embrace cost transparency? And that’s something that, you know, we’ve talked about before. You a nice.


[00:18:53] Yes. We’re going to circle back control, cost transparency, you’ve got some additional thoughts there, but that’s a really important component of this. The ideal supplier pricing behavior, right?


[00:19:05] Right. Do they do they play cost transparency all about playing fair? And, you know, are they the kind of supplier that will, in fact, share costs and be transparent about it so that you can, in fact, do share the savings projects? Few if you don’t know what the costs are, how it’s impossible to know what the savings are. So, yes, if they aren’t open to cost transparency, they’re it’s kind of a knockout punch. They’re probably not going to be a good, good partner. Then once you’ve pared down the long list, you don’t quite have the short list yet. Really important to a plant tour. Now, you know, you’ve made a start. You might have had 20 year long list and now you’re down to maybe eight and you maybe you want to wind up with Sheer for a kid, you know, can’t stretch your resources too much. So a plant tour, we’ve talked about plant tours before, you and I, with the idea of finding a good fit supplier. Well, part of that good fit. When you’re talking about touring projects would be are they the kind of supplier who you know, who wants who has the kind of culture? Not only are they efficient and are they a good fit for you? That’s what you’re gonna look for. But you can also look at whether or not there’s the kind of supplier who you think you can do a share of the savings project with. And when you meet their people and talk with their UPS production planners of under control people. You’ll you’ll get a really good feel of it, whether or not they’re the kind of people like to share ideas and they work in a culture that that would be open to this kind of these kinds of projects. And that’s how you get shortlist after you’ve done the tours. So that’s how you find the right kind of suppliers.


[00:20:41] I want to go back to our listeners. You Rod did a great podcast episode with us on this parliament about a month and some change the Rod. Well, we’ll put the link in the show notes. But you ran through the best seven or eight steps for conducting a successful plant tour into our listeners. That was that was episode number one, 72. And you can find that on our laboratory page. Supply Chain Now Radio.


[00:21:05] And we’ll also include it on the show notes. OK, so step one is you got to find the right kind of suppliers, which is really important these days. And then what does that lead to? For step 2, Otha, what we will write and get ahead of myself. You mentioned cost transparency and how important that was. And I know that you’ve got you. Over time, you’ve kind of proven out four big cornerstones for what makes up cost transparency, right?


[00:21:32] You know, we we could spend an hour talking about it, but quickly, a Reader’s Digest Birgit, no, we want to.


[00:21:40] I think that part of it is that the onus is on this supply chain professional procurement professional to to do what we call follow the golden rule of negotiations. And the golden rule of negotiations is you never enter a negotiation without first researching what’s happened to your suppliers costs. So, you know, you bubi bolt steel bolts just to make it simple and you pay a dollar, a bolt and the price of steels dropped 10 percent. So you go to your supplier and say, hey, last year the price was a hundred dollars a tonne. Now it’s only 720 a tonne. I going to pay a dollar anymore is fair. I think I pay you ninety five cents or ninety six or ninety four. And if supplier says you’re absolutely right, our costs are down, you know, we we can afford to reduce the price will still make our normal margins. Then you’ve got a customer who responds to cost transparency. That’s what the transparency is. You’re making the suppliers cost transparent and you’re then presenting this to them and their do they respond or not? I mean, some suppliers will say, hey, we were market based pricing. It doesn’t matter what our raw materials do. We’re still charging a buck for the bolt fact recharging. Go back three. We’ve taken a three percent increase. So if they’re intransigent and they don’t respond and they’re certainly not going to be the kind of supplier that you want to do to save a joint savings project with, because they’re they’re not they’re not playing fair.


[00:23:08] So that that’s kind of why this cost transparency acid test is so important, because you you can you can see very quickly whether or not they’re the kinds of suppliers who who will play fair and and are interested in finding deals that work for both parties. And then once you’ve been so you there were four cornerstones. The first one was this golden rule where you research the costs of an extension of that it should cost modeling the second rule. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just, you know, following steel and you buy corrugated packaging. All you need to really follow is paper. But if you buy something a little more complicated, like an electric motor, for example, then you need to track several different inputs, copper and steel and things like that. So you need to. The second cornerstone is to be able to do some simple shoot costs. Modeling it again. Does your supplier respond to it? The model says the price should be down 4 percent, you know. Are they willing to discuss it? The third thing you do, the four cornerstones is you work closely with your sales reps. If your sales reps will take this information that you’re showing, hey, the price of steel is down or the model shows the the electric motors down, will your sales rep kind of work with you almost become a champion for your cause? Will they take this information and explain to their management, hey, you know, I you know, I see their point.


[00:24:35] You know, what am I supposed to say to the customer? He has a point here or she has a point that the you know, it’s not fair for us to be charging this much. So if if they if they were are willing to take that that to the position and work with you and they become kind of advocates, if no champions for your cause internally, then that’s a really good sign for a culture that will work closely with you, because that kind of sharing, that kind of reasonableness is what’s important in joint projects. And then I was the fourth cornerstone is is kind of what we’re talking about now is once you’ve got us a situation where costs are transparent, your suppliers are responding fairly to the two, your requests, and you’re, of course, responding fairly their requests as well. You’ve got a relationship with a sales rep where they’re they’re kind of on your side, you know, everybody’s side. The fourth step is to make this supply chain enduring competitive advantage, which is really working together on collaborative projects, because you just take that relationship you’ve had with the sales rep and expand it. It’s not just buyer seller. You start bringing your engineers talking to talk to their engineers, Sheer operations, people talking to their Sheer production planners talking to theirs. And you you you’re actually putting in what we’re really talking about is entrenching the fourth cornerstone or laying the fourth cornerstone, which can happen after you’ve, you know, lead the first three first.


[00:26:11] So cost transparency and as you mentioned, that could be episodes and episodes all of its own. That’s really important stuff. But that’s a big part of finding the right kind suppliers, which is step one of this of this framework. OK, so moving from step one, then we’re moving to step two, which is what?


[00:26:30] Then we are going to select an initial project for each shortlisted supplier. So let’s say we’ve got four suppliers. You know, we’ve gone through it. We’ve done our homework and we’ve done the plant tours. And we found people with the oak cultures are thinking you can work with. So you select an initial project for each shortlisted supplier and you write down project objectives and deliverables.


[00:26:55] For example, here’s some examples. You know, reduce resin in part number one, two, three, four by 10 percent. So that’s the objective. And the deliverable could be achieve one hundred thousand dollar annual share savings that could you know, that would be something you would do with injection molded plastic partner. Or you might say another project might be increase on time shipping for the injection molded parts. You know, right now it’s 83 percent. We need it to be 98. And so that’s the objective. The deliverable could be to reduce the capital tied up in finished goods by 20 percent. Because if you have less short shipping, you don’t need as much safety stock. And maybe that’s for the kind of supplier who’s operationally important. That would be a better project than one is financially important, which might be the the risk and reduction. You could talk about reducing setup costs. It’s a game with objectional, the plastic supplier. Maybe there’s a way. It usually takes a lot of time and effort to change over unobjectionable to plastic machine, especially in masks. You know, the big the big, the big ones. So maybe there’s a way you can work together to reduce the number of setup. So you have kind of. This is the kind of work you’re doing yourself. You say, well, these are three projects. You probably pick these ideas up when you did your plant tour or you’re looking at, you know, you spend a million dollars on on these parts and, you know, a hundred thousand. This is not absurd if we can reduce the resin by 10 percent.


[00:28:31] But what you do is you choose one of them. Because remember, we were gonna choose an initial project. So you’ve got your list of projects, you choose one. And we’ll talk about how to choose that in a minute. But let’s say in this case, you will use the first one. We’ll Dewsbury the resin used by 10 percent and achieve a hundred thousand dollar annual savings. So the next thing you do is you frame each project as a draft for discussion proposal. So you break the project down into tasks. You you assign people to each task and you prepare a draft schedule. Now, this doesn’t have to be complicated and a lot of people think of Gantt charts and project management. But really, you just say, OK, I want to save 10 percent on these parts. I’m going to create some drawings. And I think Bob and Sander would do that. Takes two weeks. Again, this is draft for discussion. So, you know, you may take three weeks, but Bob and Sandra are the two people who know how to do it. And so you you write it all out. You then you would build prototypes, you would test prototypes, it you’d rework the prototype. So you the work you’re doing. And you know that if you’ve selected your suppliers and you’ve got a few projects for each one, then you select one of these projects that you you just you write down what you think needs to be done and then you call a meeting with your peers and you show it to them.


[00:29:54] You say, hey, here’s the seven steps and this is what I think it is. And Sandra says it doesn’t take two weeks to create drawings. It takes at least three. And oh, by the way, you forgot the last step, which is the final approval. So you want that to happen. You want your peers involved and you want to you know, the has a hundred thousand dollars we can share. You know, we can save here, celebrate. And they. Yeah. So everybody is going to be keen on it. They should be anyway. And so call the meeting and then you adjust it. Next thing you do is you call a joint meeting with both teams now and you show them the same the same list. And now because Bob worked for your company and Sander worked for theirs, and now you’ve got everybody in there saying this is pretty it or wait a second. And then you want them to change it. It sounds like this is a lot of work. It really isn’t. A lot of fun because you’ve got people, you know, sparking off each other and ideas. Now, what’s going to happen if you do this right, is that you’re going to wind up with a project you’re going to wind up with. You know, the people agreeing to it, that they’ve agreed to the time and then everybody’s kind of in it together.


[00:31:02] We’re gonna save a hundred thousand dollars. And you say, okay, let’s go. And then the next step is you personally manages project and you don’t really need a project. Management diploma to do this. You check with everyone regularly. You say, you know, once a week you phone them up. Hey, how’s it going? Even if you know everything’s fine? You still find out how it’s going because for two reasons. First of all, people know that the oh, your. You’re kind of watching. And if they’re kind of falling behind because remember, everybody has another job. They’re falling behind the Gates t0 Scott’s voting on Monday. He better get something out of this. And of course, you can. You know, you offer encouragement and help you remove obstacles. That’s a big thing. And project manager, you’ll find that people say, oh, I never got around to my boss. May be, you know, stay over time. And I had this other project. And so maybe there’s something you can do to remove an obstacle or maybe they’re waiting for information from a supplier. And so you’re you’ll find that you’ll spend a lot of time kind of greasing the skids and helping people get the information they need. And you’re juvera basically making sure the project stays on track and sometimes they don’t maybe have to back it off a week or two.


[00:32:10] But at least it’s structured. And you’ll you know, you can inform everyone and then, you know, you hold a joint meeting. When the project’s finished, you persent the draft report to the participants. Again, you don’t do anything without everybody kind of holding hands. Ask for feedback. You gain consensus on, you know, what the final version should be. Maybe you only saved 80000 or maybe save 120. But everybody kind of buys into the savings and buys into the conclusions and findings. You also conduct a short pause postmortem. We call them, you know, reduce successes and especially the lessons learned. You know, hey, next time we’re how can over promise and under deliver. Let’s say you only saves eighty thousand. We should be a bit more conservative on the next project. And then once that kind opens the door to having an open discussion about the next project. Well, let’s do that project on short shipping now. Let’s get that short shipping down to 2 percent instead of 15 where it is now. And the idea that everybody in the room, it’s both both teams. And if things have worked well and you’ve done your job, they’re going to be keen to do that. And of course, you publicly and generously share the credit and you thank everyone.


[00:33:22] So I know this is a very dense as I have been talking a lot here and reading it clearly from a from some slide, actually. But it’s not as difficult as it sounds.


[00:33:36] I know it works. And it is a lot of work. But if a hundred thousand dollars and what you’re really doing is you’re creating a mindset that this isn’t something we should shy away from. We can this is just the first of a continuous improvement culture we’re going to create between, you know, with both our companies participating. And it’s it’s a lot of fun, actually. It’s it’s very satisfying professionally.


[00:34:00] I’ve found any way to do this kind of blended step 2 and step three Rod that. And that’s fine. So I want to recap for our audience.


[00:34:10] Step one, finding the right kind of suppliers and Rod walk through. It’s one of best practices that will help any company find that and would touch on on cost transparency.


[00:34:21] An Rod touched on some of the four cornerstones that make beat up because it’s such an important component of a of the right type of supplier step to choosing that initial project for each short listed supplier and that Enron. I think that’s a really important step because the initial product you want to you don’t want to try to boil the ocean. Right. You want to you want to find a project that isn’t like Tom, your shoes. There’s a little bit of a stretch goal, but still you want to set up the team for a series of successes. So so choosing the right product in my life that you shared there is just because Gantt charts and project charters and all these are the tools which which, hey, look, they work well. But you don’t want. You don’t want overkill. You won’t. You want results. So keeping it simple, I think is what I heard you say is a really important, important component of step to choosing that initial project. And then step three that you just concluded, all is execute and, you know, don’t just lay the best plans, you know, execute and make sure where we’re monitoring, you know, we can work out the progress, holding folks accountable and then as a success is made. I think something that Hurley Sheer Rod that was really important because there’s often not enough of it, especially in production vernment does recognition, celebrate the wins, recognize the folks that really contributed, made it happen and and celebrate that prior to just simply moving to the next project, right?


[00:35:53] Absolutely. Make make it funny. You’re almost a little bit like a cheerleader. That I mean that the best way possible that you’re your job is to make sure everybody’s feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment and that everybody’s input was important.


[00:36:10] Created great framework, I believe, for really driving an effective collaboration and an especially innovation, because if you’re if you’re collaborating at a very high level, I would submit that it’s that innovation is easier to reach in practical, meaningful innovation is easier reach it. It almost comes with the territory.


[00:36:30] Now, I would think in many ways, at least in my experience, Rod. OK, so we’ve got three three steps, three frameworks. Next question is we kind of wrap up this this conversation here on this episode as we’re talking with Rod Sherkin on the proper procurement pro series right here own Supply Chain Now Radio sarod.


[00:36:48] If we had assembled these supply chain Jenny counsels sticking with that matrix theme that you the sage advisors, if we assembled them for this episode, they would be for tips that they would share with our listeners. Right. For advice for for driving these projects.


[00:37:06] What would those be well heeled saw? The old adage is nothing succeeds like success. So the trick is to start with you later to this cut in Europe to Leeroy, you start with a project that’s very likely to succeed even if it’s enough, you know, not the biggest dollar savings, even if it’s a modest project because you want the first one. That’s why you the initial project so important. You want it to to succeed because it’s a catalyst. It’ll kind of ignite a flame. We get everybody enthusiastic. What you’ve done one, hey, let’s do two or three. So choose something that is the most likely to succeed, even if it’s a modest project. Then once you’ve done that, this is a huge issue in a lot of supply chain people. You’re going to be out of your comfort zones. You’re just going to have to jump in. I mean, just jump in. You can learn something by reading about it or listening to podcasts, but you can only master something by actually doing it. And nothing substitutes for experience. So you’re gonna be nervous, especially the first time. But don’t worry about you’ll get over it.


[00:38:09] People will help you be surprised that everyone’s on your side. Yeah, this is it. You know, it’s not a contest or anything. Everybody wants to win. If you do this right, it’s everybody. Both, not just both companies, but everybody who’s participating will will benefit from it. So they’re gonna help you. So jump in and bump. You’ll screw up a little bit, but don’t worry about it. You’ll you’ll figure it out. You’ll get help. And then once you’ve done it the first time, it’ll be a lot easier the next time. So that’s the second thing. Jump in. The third thing is communicate, you know, communicate, communicate, communicate. You stay in touch with participants. They talked about calling at least once a week. You help and you encourage them. You never criticize. You remove obstacles in your job to be the person who’s exhibits grace under pressure. You know, things will screw up. Things will get. There’ll be pressure points being met because everybody’s doing this on top of their normal job. So there’s gonna be lots of times when people get squeezed. But if you’re the voice of reason and calm and cool, you’re cool.


[00:39:14] Cool hand, Luke all the time, grace under pressure, then then you’re going to go. It’s going to really stand you in good stead. Make sure projects are visible throughout the company. You circulate regular progress reports, you copy receipt, you copy senior management milestone events. And of course, you publicly celebrate the milestone events and you celebrate successes. And the fourth thing is you can’t be too modest. You spread the credit and the kudos around. There’s a saying in project management you can have either credit or results, choose the results of credit. Credit won’t be an issue alone that I think time I’m Hurley. And in the end, if you’re if this works and it should work, then everyone’s feeling a sense of accomplishment and they they’re proud of what they’ve done. You’re going to go a long way towards embedding supplier projects into your companies kind of mentality, into your companies. A continuous improvement efforts make it. You almost make it try to make it a budget item. Hey, we’re going to save a half a million dollars next year. We’ve got six projects all lined up and that that’s down the road a little bit. But imagine a world where, you know, senior management is your budget item. They’re looking at supply chain. They’re looking at you to have you add a you know, significantly to the bottom line. If you want to see that the senior management table, this is the way to do it. You you start saving noticeable money and you do it in a way that everyone participates and feels good about.


[00:40:51] I think that’s one of the common threads through all of these episodes that we’ve collaborated on is just how practical I think the insights that you Sheer are. And in this day and age where everyone wants to latest tool and technology and get in gadget and gizmo on their smartphones or.


[00:41:09] Within their management style, you know, moving something that simple but practical and yield results is arguably more valuable than ever before, right?


[00:41:20] Absolutely. And this is a competitive if you can figure out how to do this and, you know, engender enthusiasm and get everyone having fun and participating, you’re going to create a competitive advantage for your organization.


[00:41:33] You’re going to be the low cost producer out there and in these the global economy that we all live in. There’s the quick and the dead. And this is this is how you succeed. I don’t know.


[00:41:47] I mean, it’s if you don’t do things like this in your competition, to just repeat what I said before and your competitors are doing it and you’re not you’re you’re not going to survive too long. The good news is that this isn’t that common.


[00:42:01] Supply chain professionals know they should do this, but they don’t know how common it isn’t. Common practice, you see it. But I would say fewer than a third of the companies that we deal with are actually have active embedded supplier projects as part of their culture. So it’s an opportunity to an opportunity to not just. Do this but actually thrive in an ever more difficult to competitive environment.


[00:42:31] I like it. And go back to what you Sheer there as you’re wrapping. At long last, evidently a longtime saying they’ve never heard. You can have either credit or results. So keep that in mind as you’re planning your approach and probably more importantly, as you’re sharing the recognition and celebrating their results. So good stuff there.


[00:42:52] Rod really have enjoyed this this conversation here today.


[00:42:57] This episode has been all focused on how to drive effective and successful collaboration and innovation between buyers and suppliers and appreciate the three step framework you’ve shared as well as the sage advice from the Supply chain Jerai counsel. Thanks for sharing that as well. And looking forward to having you back probably in the new year as we get ready to tackle what’s going to be a big year for the global supply chain community as well as the procurement profession, right?


[00:43:28] Absolutely. Yep. Lots more to do.


[00:43:31] Well, we’ve been talking Rod Sherkin president of and a real quick Rod. We should at least make sure folks know, just in small nutshell, what does and where they can learn more information.


[00:43:46] Who will we help procurement professionals prepare for negotiation. So, for example, if you were trying to test your suppliers cost transparency disposition, you could use ProPurchaser to track, for example, the costs that are associated with what your supplier buys to make the products you make. So we a lot of the things we talk about, a lot of things you need to do, take time, take research. So what we try to do is is save time and effort, but making it easier for supply chain professionals to do the kinds of things they need to do to really make a difference to the bottom line. So an example would be we track suppliers costs and we do it easily. We allows our members can easily communicate what they’ve learned about the suppliers cost to their suppliers and Gates to sales reps and makes it easier to turn to sales reps and to advocate for your costs. So a lot of the things that that help grease the skids seem to allow you to be strategic with your suppliers and take advantage of collaboration and the savings that come with it. A lot of the work, the background work is easier to do. We try to make it easier for our members to get that done by doing a lot of the grunt work. They know the research and grunt work. They would have to do two to establish the transparency, for example.


[00:45:18] Absolutely. And as we always say, offers a free trial. I believe in and I heard you say about a dozen times, no one signs up without that, without taking the free jar. Right.


[00:45:30] We’ve never had anyone actually pay us for a membership unless they’ve proven to themselves that it was a good financial investment. And at the risk of sounding immodest of almost everybody, almost everybody pays for it the first time they use it. Either it fits or it doesn’t. If you have a use for it, then it’ll pay for itself very quickly. It’s not expensive. But I guess you need to find out for yourself if you have eas- for it. And that’s what the trials for.


[00:45:58] Terrific. And we’ll of course, we always feature a link to that and to the free trial on the show notes as well. So thank you so much, Rod. Hope you have a wonderful finish. In conclusion, to the year before we went Leibel, today’s episode you heard you were sharing just how busy y’all have been, which is great and to be expected. So I know you all have plans in store for Big 20:20, but thanks so much Rod for spend some time with us.


[00:46:22] My pleasure. Thanks for having me.


[00:46:24] Okay. To our audience we would chat and once again with Rod Sherkin, president of You can learn more information at that. You are ill or via the link we’ll put on the show notes. And as we wrap up here today, we would want to touch on just a few quick announcements of where we’re gonna be. And we always like to invite our audience to go out and check us out in person before we get to that quick calendar. If you heard anything on one of our past episodes or today’s episode and you can’t find what you’re looking for, be a Google. You can hit up our chief marketing officer at Amanda at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com and we’ll try to serve as a resource for you best as best we can.


[00:47:02] So these events are going to briefly walk through. You can find all the information at our events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. And things are kind of the weather not quiet. We’re just not on the road through the end of the year, which is a great thing.


[00:47:16] Still churning out a ton of content, especially from some of our previous events. But in January, the CSC MP Atlanta roundtable is getting together on the 15th where they’re going to be bringing in bringing in a representative from NASCAR track or they’re gonna be talking about some of the regulations that took place in twenty nineteen, an impact on your business and certainly on the transportation industry in 2020 and beyond. So that’s an open event. You can learn more at Atlanta CSC MP dot org in February. We’re moving out or we’re driving out to Las Vegas in February 4th to 6th as we attend and cover the reverse Logistics Association conference and expo out there in Vegas open to the public. It covers one of the most important, especially these days, and growing in importance aspects of the Indian supply chain that of the returns and reverse Logistics component. Learn more at our r.l a dot org. Of course, Madox is back in Atlanta in 2020. March 9th through 12th.


[00:48:18] We are gonna be streaming live from the event all four days and it is hosting the 2020 Linna Supply chain Awards on March 10th. The neat thing about mutex not only is it one of the largest. Clutching trade shows and all of North America folks misstates Mexico, Canada. Rod. Who knows? Rod may be in town as well, but it’s free to attend. Modoc Show dot com. MDX show dot com.


[00:48:43] And the Atlanta Supply chain Awards. Google and more there at Atlanta Supply chain Awards dot We’re really pleased to be featuring Christian phisher, President and CEO of Georgia-Pacific as our keynote at the awards program on March 10th. And then one final grant to note. We recently announced we’ll be covered. We’ll be broadcasting live from the first day of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, also known as Amy, the Atlanta 20:20 Lean Summit on May 4th, 2020. Some mark your calendars for that. As a lot of folks that are very passionate about manufacturing excellence and success and continuous improvement, especially lean. We’ll be in Atlanta that week in May. And you can learn more at A.M.E. dot org or on any of these events. You can learn more on the events tab. Once again at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. So big thanks to our featured guests here today. Rod. Sherkin present Really enjoyed his perspective around collaboration and innovation, especially from a practical standpoint to our listeners. Be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio. Find us an Apple podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, all the other leading sites where podcast can be found. Be sure to subscribe to geomancy thing on behalf of the entire team. Scott Luton here wishing you a wonderful week ahead and a very successful close to twenty nineteen. And we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks.

Featured Guests

Rod Sherkin is the founder and president of Prior to entering cyberspace, he was the senior executive responsible for supply chain for both Pillsbury and Ball Packaging, where, for 15 years, he honed his negotiating skills with suppliers. Rod has spent the last 20 years sharing what he learned with other procurement professionals. Learn more about the company here:


Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Connect with Rod on LinkedIn

Sign up for a free trial of

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn

Subscribe to Supply Chain Now Radio

SCNR to Broadcast Live at CSCMP Atlanta Roundtable Event

Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo

SCNR to Broadcast Live at MODEX 2020

SCNR to Broadcast Live at AME Atlanta 2020 Lean Summit

2020 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards

SCNR on YouTube

The Latest Issue of the Supply Chain Pulse

Check Out Our Sponsors

Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

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

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

Connect on :

Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

Connect on :

Vicki White


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.

Connect on :

Ben Harris


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.

Connect on :

Page Siplon

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).

Connect on :

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

Connect on :

Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

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.

Connect on :

Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www., 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).

Connect on :

Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

Connect on :

Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

Connect on :

Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

Connect on :

Allison Giddens

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.

Connect on :

Billy Taylor

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.

Connect on :

Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

Connect on :

Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

Connect on :

Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

Connect on :

Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

Connect on :

Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

Connect on :

Constantine Limberakis


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

Connect on :

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

Connect on :

Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

Connect on :

Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

Connect on :

Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

Connect on :

Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

Connect on :

Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

Connect on :

Greg White

Principal & CMO, 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.

Connect on :

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

Connect on :