Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 259

Listen as Scott and Greg welcome Felton E. Lewis IIII to the Supply Chain Now Studio in Atlanta, GA.

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting Life Supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

 

[00:00:29] Hey, good morning, Scott Luton. Back with you here. Liveline Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. On this episode, we’re gonna be down in on the ever evolving world of Supply chain technology and we’re gonna be spending time gaining insights from industry practicioner that spent several decades in the trenches making it happen. So stay tuned. You’re not going to want to miss our guests perspective here today. Quick programing note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find a replays on a variety of channels Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, wherever else you get your podcast from. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe so you’ll miss anything. Let’s think a few of our sponsors for allowing us to bring these best practices and insights to you. Our audience. The Effective syndicate. Talentstream Vector Global Logistics. Verusen or verusen you? And many more. You can check out each of our sponsors on the show notes of this episode. All right. Let’s welcome in my fearless co-host here today. Greg White serial supply chain, tech entrepreneur, kronic disruptor and very highly trusted advisor. Greg, how you doing? I’m doing great. How are you doing? We’re doing fantastic. This is officially our first live episode of 20/20, the new year. Yeah. And as one of our previous episodes, we kind of talked about some of the projects were up to some of them. Yeah, a few others are still under wraps. So no, as much as I loved hanging out with a family there in the holidays, we were could need a vacation relegation. Well, more more important. I couldn’t wait to get back and start jumping into the new year. On these things, we’ve got cooking. So how about yourself? Holidays.

 

[00:02:09] Yeah, good. So, you know, all of our kids are virtually grown. So we’re having to it’s like going back to being a young couple. We’re traveling around to make sure we get to everybody. So it’s kind of fun. It was really good, really good time. We both got to get to the coast.

 

[00:02:26] Yes. So that was nice. Coincidentally wound up in the same town. Did knocked out seven episodes are down there now. Yes. We should have. Right.

 

[00:02:36] So we’re kicking off this year with a great guest. You know, we we’ve had the opportunity of speaking with Felt Lewis a couple different times on some previous conversations. And I think our audience is really going to walk away with some some insights, some different ways of thinking about things, some of the current challenges across the Supply chain landscape and do so in a way that they’re going to enjoy the conversation. Yes. So welcome in Felton Lewis, Principal Worldwide Alliances and Business Development with New Man hatoum film. Excellent. Good morning and Happy New Year. Happy New Year to you as well. Glad you’re here. Is busy. And you keep several full plates. So thanks for carving out some time and spend with us. And we’re gonna start before we dove into our Felt Lewis featured interview. Greg, I know we’ve got some things cooking up from the Supply Chain Now Radio newsdesk and surely I can’t wait to hear what Felton has to say.

 

[00:03:32] It sound off on this. So interesting couple of topics here. I’m going to start with this one, because it’s really relevant to what we’re about to talk about and talk about frequently returns. So CBRE has just published something in the last few days that says that the total of E just e commerce returns could reach forty one point six billion dollars and of one hundred and thirty eight billion in e-commerce sales. So that’s a pretty substantial portion of returns. And not to date this episode, but we’re right around National Returns Day. So we’ve we’ve gotten to see a little bit of the flavor of that. And there are still returns to come. I happen to know. I’m sure you all still have returns that need to go. But we’ll be making a Costco run fairly shortly for provisions and to take a few things back. But you know, that particularly, you know, one of the things that they point out is that it’s particularly rough on the apparel industry because that product has such a short shelf life. Right. It loses 20 to 50 percent of its value in 16 weeks. I mean, you know, these warm shirts aren’t going to be necessary for that much longer here in Georgia. So those. Kind of things start to impact profitability as well as as Logistics and all of that sort of thing, and it’s a constant topic that we talk about. It’s something that I think new mine, right, really helps to impact, which is preventing returns. And we talk about it a lot with our friend Tony Serota and the Retail Logistics Association. And and I think you’ve been to a couple of other shows where, you know, this was this was a really big topic.

 

[00:05:28] You know, one things we’ve talked about in some of his previous shows is the need, despite how the consumers were all being trained well over how we kimbap things, how we can return things. Now, there’s perhaps no greater time for consumers to be educated in how they can make better selections so that we have less returns. Right.

 

[00:05:51] Yeah. When you make something free, easy and open, you generally will get a lot more of it.

 

[00:05:55] And I tend to think that’s the battle online retailers have. It’s true is just the number of returns coming back. Typically, people are turning the dressing room, right? That’s the new fitting room. Yeah. And I buy two or three items because I’m not quite for sure if this brand size is going to be a six for a woman or an eight for a woman or a ten. So two or three and two are likely to come back.

 

[00:06:16] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s right. And that’s been a that’s been an issue for some years. There’s a term for it. I think it’s called bracketing or something like that. Is that right. Yeah. Brilliant. By the way, strategy that I had never thought of and something that we need to be able to confront and and preempt, I think, because, look, it’s a hassle. Even though you can do it as a consumer, I don’t know how everyone feels. But even though you can’t do it, it’s still a hassle to bring in three ski jackets and decide you like this color in this size and then take two of them back. I have a feeling people a lot of people wind up keeping some of that stuff. You know, you get a headset maybe for your podcast and it doesn’t work, but you don’t bother to return it, right?

 

[00:07:00] I don’t know who does that time element to.

 

[00:07:05] I mean, you have to drive to the. Yes, exactly. That’s right.

 

[00:07:08] And it call and sometimes it costs something to return in a shipping back and whatnot. So. All right. So one more thing. This we can hardly call news, but I think this is a particularly good. This is a particularly particularly good article. So I’m going to call out the the site and also the the author here. Thank you. Yeah. And I’m I’m trying to get my game on first quarter. Still first quarter. That’s right. Poor inventory management weighs down the apparel industry. Now, if that isn’t the most obvious statement ever. I don’t know what it is, but because that is a constant and common problem. I come from retail from a long time back. You have been in retail for a long time. And any short lifecycle product, regardless of what it is, has risk, but particularly the way that the apparel industry operates creates risk. So this is a article on Supply chain Dove. We’ll put we’ll put a link in the show, notes by Emma Cosgrave. And I think she did a great job of describing the issue here. But, you know, basically what they’re saying is that Moody’s, which is an analyst group for the market, is predicting a 20 percent dip in operating income among department stores, which are heavily reliant on apparel businesses rather than a 15 percent. And inventory management is a critical aspect of that.

 

[00:08:40] So, you know, I think the floors. It’s interesting. I read the article and from somebody who’s been in the industry, there’s one thing that I would say over the top of this that is important is that it’s as much of a problem from tactical Technical. Inventory management is the means by which merchants having been one, I can say merchants are motivated, are measured. Ah, and the expectations of what they should deliver, you know, they talk here about 20 to 50 percent markdowns and we saw that in the prior article as well. But that’s a that’s commonly part of what you try to what you try to do because you’re trying to cover a line. You want to make sure that people get the shirts that they want. And, you know, you’re going to have to buy some shirts that they don’t to get those. And and it’s part of the the way that things are done. But the data today, the technology today, you know, the customer indicators that you can get, I think can start to turn the tide here. And they better. Yeah. Yeah. Because I’m kind of a clotheshorse. Yeah. And and I like I want to be able to get the stuff I want. And there are dozens of retailers at risk of going bank. Because of just the poor way that they manage inventories.

 

[00:10:02] Well, if we can get better at the 80. All right. 20 is always going to be challenging, right? But they’re end to end. And even in the apparel industry, if we can get better the 80, which there are opportunities, yeah, everyone would be better off and we’ll have a lot less unusable returns that come back that ultimately either hit the landfill or get burned as we’ve learned or what have you usable or unusable.

 

[00:10:22] Right. I mean, it’s costly for a retailer to do it. And by the time they get them back. Yes. Sometimes they whether they are tattered and worn or they’re not, they could be out of fashion and. Right. That’s almost as bad. Right. We need to figure out what to do with them when they come back. But we need to I think we need to do a better job on the front end of the process to make sure that we don’t create so many returns. And that requires process re-engineering because my motivations, my bonuses and what not as a merchant, they were the things that motivated me to Ryder the things I did even in that consumer packaged goods industry.

 

[00:10:59] If I go back to the 80s, we’d run a forecast. Great system would run all week and it would tell us how much inventory would need to have on the show for eight weeks. Yeah. The next day after the forecast ran, it was inaccurate. Accurate? Yeah. So how can you respond to these demand curves? And I think today we just are armed to give merchants a lot more data. Yes, a lot more information. The voice of the customer, if you, you know, subscribe to product reviews, that’s some good insights. What I enjoy about reading product reviews is that they actually are passionate folks that will tell you what’s wrong with your product. I’ll tell you how to assemble a product. They’ll tell you what engineering steps you need to take to improve your product. But you’re going to have a listening ear to then. And you got to give it back to the merchant. My personal opinion is people want to help reduce returns, but you got to give the information and the tools that they can have meaningful conversation. So to your point, when you’re a merchandiser, can you sit down with your suppliers and have an in-depth conversation about what the return rates? Where were the issues, what it customers say? Yeah, whole new opportunity for us in moving forward in 2020.

 

[00:12:01] Yeah. And the data exists today to forecast the customer, to forecast the customer’s actions. In 80s you had a lot more excuses. They looked at last year and said last year it’s going to be the same as as a year plus 10 percent or I like that.

 

[00:12:13] Right now you can see that people want, you know, these crazy look in blue shirts or whatever. Right.

 

[00:12:19] You get more data. Yeah, you get more data is a step. Yeah, that’s right. I mean, it really is.

 

[00:12:25] So. So clearly returns tip of the tongue with the nude. I think everyone’s talking about the return season that we’re in. What else is macaloon?

 

[00:12:35] And I think we look at I think we got to acknowledge that tariffs had some impact on this. People were piling in inventories. That’s a temporary impact for this year. But still, that’s it. It’s tears in a bucket, if you think of it that way. It’s you know, they were gonna have way too much inventory anyway. They just have way too much in way, way too much because of tariffs. So I think we have to acknowledge that it’s a systemic problem and it’s not a tactical goal or policy problem. And then that’s how we solve it. So that’s really it. I mean, that’s really it from the news standpoint. No. Go ahead. Finish your thought.

 

[00:13:13] Quick, come in on terrorists. I think it changes the input costs of the product. And then you have these retailers that says, well, maybe I want to be less dependent on China. Someone changed my sourcing guidelines. I’m going to go maybe to Vietnam. Michael Coors moved 80 percent of some of their products in China over because it impacts of supply chain. In our time, you introduce risk and vulnerability. Well, we’ve got to mitigate that.

 

[00:13:37] Yeah. And that’s costly, too. Absolutely. Well, it also some of the unknowns. You make these changes and you find different suppliers and sources. Well, there’s always some unknown to come with that. So after you move the operation, you got other curveballs in the fire as you got put out. One of the thing about the tariffs, which we continue to see as we’ve got the phase one trade deal that the White House says that they’ll be signing January 1st, China decided not to implement tariffs on hundreds of other products. We’ve talked earlier on the show about the other deyton that’s been broken and that that continues to take place as relates to the trade war. You know, as someone that we all need more good news, it’s good for everybody that the tensions at least seem to be, even though there’s still plenty work to be done. The tensions are are being ratcheted down a bit as it related to a trade war between the U.S. and China. That that continues. Yeah, right. Yeah, I agree. Good news that we all can use there. All right. So, Greg, real excited about, again, talking with Felton Lewis. If our audience hasn’t already gathered, he’s been there and done that in many different ways. It’s exciting. Yes. And when we had the you know, Felton I met years ago at a tooth a year ago at a Vetlanta of. That which we’re both passionate about, serving that community. But we didn’t get a chance to really talk shop until probably six months or so ago. Right. And we had a convert. You know, we’re all passionate supply chain. And and we had a great and lively conversation by phone. And Greg and I said, we’ve got to get him out. Yeah. So hopefully our audience enjoys it as much as we have. So. Want to bring back Felt Lewis with Newman. So Felton before we talk shop. Okay. Let’s get to know you better. And one of our favorite questions we like start with is where did you grow up and give us some of those early childhood memories as it relates to hobbies or role models or what have you.

 

[00:15:39] Excellent. Thank you, gentlemen. You have to have a just an opening comment. I’m a fan of what you guys are doing with Supply Chain Now Radio. Me and Scott had a conversation yesterday and I kept thinking of using this platform for retailers to educate their suppliers and possibly on new compliance guidelines. Bryan, it’s great if I change something in my supply chain and I want to get that message out. Maybe I should invite my suppliers to listen in to a podcast. And also all retailers are investing in technology, something that’s customer facing technology. And I think of Home Depot in a great job that they’ve done here in Atlanta on their mobile application. You can now look at your phone and find a yeah. An item in a location for an item. Maybe getting some of those new enhancements out through a broadcast like this would at least let the consumer become more aware of new capabilities. So I just want to say I thank you guys all idea an outstanding job. Appreciate them. Where did I grew up? So Battle Creek, Michigan, is my home still? How do we get to Battle Creek, Michigan? Was a question I asked once to my dad when he was born in New Orleans, joined the U.S. Air Force when he was 17. I took him to a base, Air Force base called for Custer. My mother was born in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Her mother, grandmother moved to Battle Creek. Rumor has it, my mother like my father’s voice. And then it turned into a conversation in a day. Fifty seven years later, they’re still married.

 

[00:17:04] Supposed to really liked his voice? Yes.

 

[00:17:08] I had two brothers, Jason and Eric and two sisters. Come on in, Camille. Wow. But that’s how I got most of them. Where are they? Yeah. Still based in Valkyrie. Are they really? And have a brother and queues outside in Detroit. But they stay close to home. I got tired of shoveling snow and I wanted to go somewhere else. I hear you. Yeah. Just real quick. Both York PA educate. How far is Battle Creek from Detroit? Roughly about 120 miles. Search for miles. All right.

 

[00:17:39] They’re also in Battle Creek, Michigan, which is interesting from a supply chain point of view. All your big automakers are in Detroit, but allow your component manufacturers to Denzel Denzel’s. So the world are in Battle Creek, Michigan, so that for customer base. My dad used to work in is now being converted over to a parts manufacturing component parts. And you only have a short run to the jury. Hmm.

 

[00:18:02] Hmm, hmm. Well, I’ve heard a lot about the revitalization that’s going on in Detroit. In fact, we may be up there for automotive related card show in in April or May. And, you know, the association ran sometimes when we get out and rub elbows with folks from Detroit or chapter from Detroit. It’s really cool to hear some of the some of the things that they’re doing. The city’s doing, private groups are doing to revitalize an iconic American city. So hopefully your wealth to have your brother own as a correspondent. Yes. Here we go. UPS on the ground.

 

[00:18:39] You know, I think what you learned going through any city that is basically driven by one industry, you tend to learn that you probably can’t handicap yourself that way in the future. So there’s a lot of new upstarts. There’s watch companies now there in Detroit doing manufacturing. So to me, it’s just amazing that you learned from the past and you don’t become totally dependent. Battle Creek was pretty much a serial company. Yeah. Hundreds of serial companies came up in the early 90s, hundreds. It was like the gold mine. And then at some point you have to say, OK, how can I have a diverse workforce? And I just have them all tucked in the cereal or are ready to eat cereal space.

 

[00:19:16] I’m with you, sir. As you know, I’m very thankful for that. By the way, I’m a huge cereal fan.

 

[00:19:21] Yeah, big Battle Creek fan as you’re growing up in Battle Creek, Michigan.

 

[00:19:26] Where did you spend your time and or how do you spend it with a lot of time I spent in Battle Creek. Was that from an occupation point of view growing up? Okay. Yeah, it’s been a lot of time with a guy named Bill Barrett that always introduced well, he introduced me to Tennessee, bought me my first tennis racket, but I knew nothing about tennis and it was like the first year I couldn’t even win a game. Then I went to set. Then he stopped coming to pick me up. Right. But I was a tennis fan. I love basketball. My dad played college basketball. Junior college championship. Awesome. He also had a chance to go to UMass and play with Julius Servin. He took care of his family and I keep saying, Dad, we could have been on campus. I mean, it would’ve been cool to hang out in UMass, right? My mother’s shadow or Jay of orbit? Yeah. My mother’s story is why I was giving birth to you and you had a hematoma on your head. Your dad was out in a basketball game.

 

[00:20:21] He wasn’t there. So it sounds like my dad. Well.

 

[00:20:27] So you’re alluding to a variety of people in your life. When you look back and you think from a role model standpoint, he did. Where’s your mom?

 

[00:20:37] First go to definitely after I graduated high school. I had a chance to live with my great grandmother, Josie King. And that was an amazing experience. She was probably 87 at the time. She grew up in Fort Gibson, Mississippi, and being able to hear her tell her story of going through what a slavery experience was. And cotton is not heavy, but it tears your nails and your hands. We used to have these fireside chats where I would like brush your hair and I would just listen to the stories about growing up in Fort Gibson. And I wish I’d have been able to push record back then and give that conversation to my son. Chance my son film 5 and kairi. I’m also my grandfather, the late Dr. Filani Lewis, junior chancellor of education for the state of New York in the 70s. He taught me something very important about relationships. He said, Son, before you take a dollar out of a relationship, make sure you put a dollar in what else you’re going to write a relationship, bad check. And I think I’ve applied that lesson. I tried to apply it with customers, invest in the customer first, where we partners software providers that were, you know, aligning with trying to invest in the relationship. My mother, Geraldine, she taught me, I think, empathy growing up. We had two adult foster care homes. So she raised one family, me, my brothers and sisters. And I’ve had an extended family. Right.

 

[00:21:59] So she what she took on that mother role for young adults that had disabilities or mental challenges. So growing up was a big family. That’s very interesting. And also, I give my father felt Lee Lewis, the fourth he’s felt and he lost the third. My granddad was felony Lewis the second. My granddad threatened me when he was alive. He said, what are you gonna name your son? I said, I don’t know. He said, let me help you out if you don’t n._f._l. He’ll be curse for life. But I give it up to my dad. Felton and Lewis, the third. I think he taught me entrepreneurship at a very young age, and I think back about being a servant leader.

 

[00:22:39] And it was not abnormal to see my dad in front of a congregation with 75000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome speaking. He dedicated his life to Jehovah, and he’s been an elder in that. But I just think I said good early lessons learned from him. If the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. in the morning sun, let’s get up and drop some groceries off. And I think some of that stayed with me as well. Mm hmm.

 

[00:23:02] That’s fantastic. So much there. We could dove into that. There’s so much of your interest perspective we want to get to as well. So let’s shift gears a little bit and let’s let’s get a better sense of your professional journey. And we’re gonna get to know some of your key takeaways from 2019, some other stuff. But let’s let’s give folks an opportunity to kind of get a feel for your background. Sheer. So leading up to your current role, new mine, kind of walk us through your career.

 

[00:23:30] It’s been a long right. And also I’ll try to finish a comment about working in a veteran space as well. But I believe Dad started pulling out Social Security benefits when I was 10, so I think I got 43 years in. I should be retired, but dad was. He went to western Michigan to learn accounting. And at the age of 12, he told me how to write journal entries, how to file a quarterly an annual tax returns, all in exchange for Swin Varsity Bike. Wow. Which I thought was a good deal, but. Well, I think that was a little abuse Suzanne. But no, just kidding.

 

[00:24:04] In high school accounting as abuse. Yeah, I’m right there with you in high school.

 

[00:24:09] Dad had an item in store and I kind of manage that. Then he had a grocery store, kind of like a Costco back in the late 70s, 80s, where he would buy truckloads of items and try to sell it at 10 percent off to the congregation or whatever high school. I think that’s when I took a dip into technology. There was a technology program instead of going to school for six hours a day.

 

[00:24:32] I got enrolled in a technology program, taught up underneath for learned up underneath. Joe Rod I. And that was just basic computer program and RPG programing. Computer operations. And I finished that year program in about three months and they were like, what are we gonna do with them? So I went over to post and worked as an intern and computer operations from near.

 

[00:24:55] And that was give us a just a rough 1983. OK, so you’re into computers and and technology. Yeah, early. Definitely. Yeah. And in your career, too, which I’m sure is a great I mean, a lot of us I think I got involved in technology much later in life, you know. So they had that opportunity early in your career.

 

[00:25:15] You didn’t have much from an academic point of view and school back then. You may have had a computer math class and that was about as close as you got to computers. Whereas the vocational programs and the technology program program I got into it was system thirty six computers. Back then we were doing COBOL and debugging programs and learning data entry. And at that point I said, Man, I really like this stuff. I really like computers. I really like systems. I really like trying to figure out what went wrong. Ultimately, I took a run after high school. I saw an ad in the paper and I see it for four hundred ninety five dollars. You can learn to be a car salesman. So when I was 17, after I graduated, I I went for that 400 ninety five dollar offer. And they hired four people and they only needed to. And I quickly figured out that too many people want to buy a Buick Park Avenue. Not not too many 60 year olds want to buy a Park Avenue from a young guy. Yeah. So I went to the right. I went to the owner. Mr. Davis, is it Mr. Davis? I said, I think I have a way that I can make this work. What profit do you need out of the vehicle? He gave me a number. I said, let’s sell cars at 3 percent over invoice. This is 1984. We’ll show him the invoice.

 

[00:26:24] We’ll market up 3 percent. I sold seven cars. And then I learned about politics. The sales rep said he’d been there for 15 years. Didn’t like the fact that I had a lot of people come in and say, who’s that 3 percent guy? And actually, I got fired from that because the V.P. of sales didn’t wanna lose his sales force. Yeah. So I learned about politics in Texas. But now everybody knows what invoices for. It’s a little bit a little bit ahead of my time from there. Fast forward got into Clerks. This is 1986. So a couple of years out of school. And the first project that I can really remember was trying to take these very bulky product manuals, build a material guides and convert them into an electronic database. So I managed a team of about six data entry operators and we were trying to make it easier for people to look up apart from there. I got into an opportunity with catalogs. They had a similar set of issues they were having in their stock room. And my very first lesson learned with technology was don’t design without understanding your user community. So is a project called Kamps Kellogg Automate IT maintenance planning system that was deployed in a union environment. And the one thing that we forgot to think through was none of the people who were the users could read. That’s hard for technology.

 

[00:27:38] Yeah. And I need you to key in something. And this is at the iconic Kelloggs Company. Yes. World class cereal manufacturer, amongst other things. But it was their maintenance people.

 

[00:27:49] Yeah, it was the maintenance people. All union people. They were responsible for rolling stock. Anything that moved transporters like live trucks. But most of these people were farmers and they quit school in 8th grade because they were farmers. And nobody asks the question, can you read? So it took them about a year and a half to turn it around. I came up with some easy ways to reach out to the system and get them at least turn on the screen. And then they got confidence in the system. Then after that, they started policing themselves, which is a wonderful thing that. Yeah, in a in a union environment. So fast forward to Kellogg’s. Spent about eight years manufacturing, distribution, Logistics operations, Cleveland Consulting, who one of your guests spoke about last week. They came in and told us we need to be closer to our customers. So we built relationships with Logistics providers. I knew our warehouse management system pretty well, had a chance to train all the folks from Jerai storage core G ATX and also Excel Logistics on our W-M s and order management system. I took a ride down the corporate Logistics and the rewrite of our warehouse management system with a packet software provider started working with Oracle on a new ERP implementation. This is ninety five.

 

[00:28:58] And from there I kind of just begin to build that building block called implementing technology. From there, Kellogg’s left. Join a startup company, yantra from Kellogg’s to start up. Yes. Seventeen thousand people to 100. I was employee number one hundred. OK. Scared to death. Then what was going to happen?

 

[00:29:17] But the v.p.’s services Sandeep Yeom and I kind of fell in love with Sandeep. When I did, I was interviewing with him. He said remember one thing? We never let a client fail and that’s stuck with me through the interview that stuck with me through my stint in professional services, software sales alliances.

 

[00:29:35] You remember that one. Don’t let the client fail despite themselves. Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot. Other clients EFT. Was this your for other than some of the ventures your dad had growing up? Was this your first traditional startup environment? Yes. After college. Kelly UPS. And this was Clark? Or was the jontron? Not your answer.

 

[00:29:53] Based in Boston. Acton, Mass. They’ve died. Yello car was our leader. He. Came from Memphis, number one sales rep. They rolled out IWM mass product first and before we started using these terms called distributed order management, yantra rolled it out in 2002, Best Buy Circuit City.

 

[00:30:11] I worked at Circuit City for about three and a half years and I did one thing I’ve learned and I think you guys can relate to this if you stay in a pocket long enough. Everything kind of circles back. Yeah, it does. In the 80s we called it monographs and I’m reading Tompkins monographs on Saturday on second shift to stay fresh. And now we call it whitepapers. All right. And then it was like channel. There’s omni channel. There’s this channel. There’s unified commerce. Yeah, it’s just commerce. And how do you engage with the customers?

 

[00:30:37] Somebody quote that I’ve been saying it ever years. It is just commerce. It’s not omni channel. It’s not multi-channel. It’s just commerce. This is just another way of delivering. Right. Yeah, you’re right. It does come back around.

 

[00:30:50] Yeah. Trident successful acts in 2005 to AT&T Sterling Commerce was the opcode. It purchased us. They exited IBM in 2010. I started moving from the services side of the house working with FedEx and clients like Eaton. And then I started moving into sales and software sales. And it’s hard to change your stripes if you care about the client, you care about your client, regardless if you’ve got a sales quota or not. And left IBM in 2013 and kind of started going down.

 

[00:31:19] This track of building alliances or business development helped a couple of business partners, IBM business partners reach status, which just meant they had a better relationship with IBM. Two thousand and fourteen. I got recruited over to eBay Enterprise, eBay, the parent eBay Enterprise, also known as GSI Commerce was a fulfillment arm free bay enterprise.

 

[00:31:41] That group now is called radio. And as you work with. Okay. It didn’t happen to work with Gregor Purdie or Stefan wights over there, did you? I worked in alliances, so. OK, OK.

 

[00:31:54] That whole Leinberger would have been on the I.T. side. Stefan? He’s just an evangelist. Worldwide evangelist. Yeah.

 

[00:32:04] The bengi, the learning I picked up from eBay Enterprise was this is the time everybody’s saying let’s do buy online pickup in-store ship from store, ship to store. This is a true is dated 2014. There was 1.1 billion dollars of orders that we shipped to stores. Sounds pretty good. There were thirty five percent of those orders that were picked decline because the store associate could not find the item. And they’re sending us a daily feed of what they believe they have. But as you know, retail inventory is not really accurate. You do an inventory, then it kind of degrades from there. Yep. Eight hundred thousand canceled orders, about 100 million dollars just of loss opportunity because we can’t find the inventory. I did a recent report to show you that not really too much has changed on LinkedIn. I was trying to find an X-Box series to controller for my son Chance. Do good in school. I’ll get the series to controller. They went through four or five different retailers, documented the experience. Everything that they showed was online. When I got to the store, they couldn’t find it. Whether that was Walmart, GameStop, eventually Microsoft, I said, well, let’s think strategically over five guys. Hamburger, I can’t find this series to controller. Yeah. And my mind said, well, Microsoft probably has a store in Linux. That was the same day that Trump was here.

 

[00:33:18] So another hour and 45 to go. But they had the series to controller. And it’s just finally that the sixth store, fifth physical is you too. And they cancel the order as I was in route to the store up and Linux, because that is a low inventory threshold. Yeah, that says if I don’t really know if I have it, just cancel the order. And I was freaking out at this point. I was like, come on, man, because you’re committed at this point.

 

[00:33:43] Yeah, I got light traffic and. Yeah, well, yeah, it seems like we’ve talked about it.

 

[00:33:47] It’s been awhile. But as more and more of the easily recognizable big brands, brick and mortar trying to catch up to the Amazon. Right. And try to take market share. You know, we ordered a P.C. for a team member about a year or so ago and we purchased it with this major retailer because it was close to where she lived and she could drive two miles away, walk in. It was already the transaction is already taking care of and leave. Right? Right. Well, she gets there and then they don’t have it to. Then I’ve got to go down a customer service path. We find out we got charged twice for something I didn’t even have in it in the day. Problem number one is still a problem once she doesn’t have a P.C. that works right during customer service that hold just really bad experience. Now that same retailer over the last year my wife has as is used her for some of the kids, things has come a long way and it seems like whichhas experiences are. But your experience with their control or my experience with the P.C., seems like these brick and mortar folks are starting to wrap their heads around. How to better get better at the convenience factor. But we still got a ways to go with it. What’s been your recent experiences, Greg, with all the non Amazon players?

 

[00:35:09] I I think I must have had really good luck because I I consistently particularly with Best Buy, but I will consistently order it online at Wal-Mart, too. Come and go pick it up in-store. I’m really leery when I see only two left or three, sometimes even only seven left or whatever whenever the number goes red on their side. But I’ve been. I mean, maybe we’re just in the right area where they’re doing it, but it is very hit and miss. I mean, look, you know, these stores, these companies are still using elderly methods to manage a lot of this.

 

[00:35:50] I think consumers got a little wiser this Black Friday. I went into mass buying Douglasville, also in Austell, and I found out that everybody was doing buy online pickup in store, but they weren’t trying to pick it up on Black Friday.

 

[00:36:03] They were picking up the order the next week when there was no traffic. So if you walked into a Best Buy store, there were hundreds of t.v.’s lined up with the sticker also.

 

[00:36:11] Right? Also, yeah. And to our listeners, it’s interesting. Austell and Douglasville are kind of on the west side of the metro Atlanta area right there. Okay. So and just one last question about the controller. How long ago was that the five store?

 

[00:36:28] It was released November 2nd and everything was on preorder. Oh, just a few months ago this year. Oh, yeah. Yeah, well. So even when I went to Walmart, it was so interesting, I kind of dove into consulting mode. So I’m sitting there with the store. So Sheer, I’m trying to sort out what happened. I bet you’re good at that. She was like, you know what happened? I said, I think I know what happened to somebody. Cycle counted the inventory of the wrong SKU and they already had the barcode for the new X-Box series to control. It had even came in yet and that’s how they got five and inventory. GameStop, a little different problem. All those orders that showed his inventory available were allocated for pre sale. And then that’s when I started thinking, well, wait a second, if the Microsoft hasn’t ship the product yet, let me start it. Microsoft then finally got smart after about six ourjourney, trying to find a series to controller. What what is so special about this series to controller? Just more if you x11 euro. Yeah, if you can you can kind of like take the tabs off. There’s more precision. It’s it’s it’s important. It’s game. Same cause of the platform almost which makes D&D a little heartburn. Right.

 

[00:37:33] $179 and then six and a half hours of sleep. But if you get all A’s as a good day. Oh yeah, that’s true.

 

[00:37:41] So I want to get to new mine. Sherkin what the company does and where you spend your time there. I’d love to. There’s so much I think with the conversations we’ve had. We can make this easily a five hour journey series, but for the sake time, let’s talk about new mine and what the company specialize in, how they’re helping, what problems are solving, and then where you spend your time with the company. Yeah.

 

[00:38:04] So I join New Mine back around September of 2018. Prior to that, I had hoped another startup company launch in order management technology and the role was building alliances and partnerships and company was Investa. But I met the new mine team probably about four years ago, and I known that they were really helpful in helping companies make good technology decisions. So if you needed an order management system or w warehouse management system or an e-commerce platform, I was aware of them in industry that wouldn’t start off the selection criteria. Bring in the right vendor, scheduled the right demos, look at your strategy and see what is the best solution. Customer ultimately picks the the product for them. Benue Mine was known for helping companies implement technology. Now GDR founder, he coined a term chief returns officer as the brand of the product because that didn’t ever that never existed. There’s no roll call. Chief Returns Officer and I work with kind of speaks to the things that you can do to begin to tee returns reduction initiative. I report in Mark Lightbody, who’s a partner at the firm. He had 30, 40 years in retail.

 

[00:39:15] Our CEO Mark Holm says twenty third years in retail. So you’re on a lot of the industry folks that can least help a client understand what not to do. Sometimes you need implementing software. You can have a team of folks that says McDonald’s, may I take your order, please? Or you can have a group of folks that say, why do you want to do that? Have you thought through that? Do you really want to do buy online pickup in store first or do you want to do ship from store? If you do buy online pickup in-store, first in your inventory is not correct. You’re going to have a bad experience, right. So a new mine with the launch of chief returns officer. We started working with a couple of pilot customers back around 2017. They drove a lot of design thinking into the product. And this well, 2019 was the. You’re what I call broad adoption, where we brought in not only apparel customers, but office supply retailers just spilling out across industry, whether it’s retail or or what have you.

 

[00:40:08] It’s not just one sector.

 

[00:40:09] Definitely. And you may have a small return rate overall, but if you’re a billion dollar company, that’s still phoner Mandela opportunity. So we base our economic analysis as if we can reduce returns by one million dollars. That adds a half a million in cash to better in most of these online retailers easly are approaching 100, 200, 300 million online. And there’s an opportunity to really significantly enhance.

 

[00:40:36] But they’re losing half of the money. In returns, know what you’re saying?

 

[00:40:43] I wouldn’t say that using half of the money returns. I will say without a process, without technology, it’s unknown. What we’re really losing, because in some use cases, an item comes back, it goes right to liquidation. Maybe we should call that item open stock and try to sell it and get 90 percent of the value. Right. There’s a lot of. If you look at this chart that I put in the first page of this document.

 

[00:41:06] So to our listeners real quick. Felton 1, the things he brought in was a returns reduction playbook, which is really cool. And this is kind of a discovery God meant for folks to kind of self-diagnose right where things are today and their organizations when it comes returns. Right.

 

[00:41:22] Questions that you can tax yourself. I just want to point to this returns ecosystem. So if you look at the makeup of all the companies in their returns phase, you have great companies like Navar and return early and happy returns that are making it easier on the experience side. I can drop off an item. I don’t even need to put it in a box, drop it off at a happy returns bar. They’ll send it back. Same thing with Amazon and Kohl’s. And then you have the reverse Logistics companies that are managing returns alpha males as a group that works at a lot of retailers to take the item that has makeup on it. Now cosmetics on it. Now perfume smells on it now and restore it back to first quality status. And then you have your return disposition. That ecosystem is very strong and vibrant because you’re trying to find the best way to get some recovery, acid recovery. All right. And I think what the team at New Mind did was kind of identify this whitespace call. What are we doing to reduce returns? So SAS base, artificial intelligence, machine learning. I think sometimes people are scared of the word artificial intelligence level. It’s spooky, but I’ll give you a use case when you watch a movie scan on Netflix and you watch a movie on Netflix and I watch a movie on Netflix. The pictures of what they present to us are all different because they know what felt and clicks on. They know it’s got clicks on, you know, when you click on. That’s artificial intelligence and machine learning. Yeah, I learned what you like and then I introduced more of it. So what we’ve tried to do at New Mine is build a very pragmatic use of artificial intelligence, specifically around how can you reduce returns. It requires a lot of integration with systems, reviews, transactional data that’s in the order management system, call center data, UPS sourcing data.

 

[00:43:01] So it is definitely an opportunity. ulich. The reduction of returns to me is is the it’s the most impactful thing we can do in regard to returns. We need to figure out why people return. You’re right. Right. And then prevent that that incident from occurring. So they don’t have to return. It’s the same thing we were talking about with the ski jackets or whatever. Right. You brought up a great point.

 

[00:43:30] What is the reason for the return? Now, if Miura you go take your item to be returned, Scott, we give them the receipt. Given the item, they may ask for I.D. And we’re not really trying to hear 15 questions in a survey right now.

 

[00:43:42] Right? Just give me my money. Put it back on the issue issuing card.

 

[00:43:46] But if you follow up with the customer after a week or so, after I just want to do an informal survey and we get back on track as many times as you guys have ordered a big ticket item. How many times has someone called you after the fact to say, Scott, is that working is or is that working? Just think through that.

 

[00:44:03] A handful. Sweetwater is the company. I think they sell us some of this kind of equipment and musical equipment, but they almost never find anyone that I get if you ever return.

 

[00:44:15] How many people ever called you to say, why did you bring that back to the store? I had a great experience overstock stage in the home and be so bothered. I think a California king bad California king mattress. They didn’t have one of the items, so I had to send it back. Overstock called me and said, Film, don’t worry about the IMF process. Don’t worry about the label. We’re gonna have Fed ex pick it up. They’re going to put on the label and just leave it outside and almost dropped out the chair.

 

[00:44:40] I said, man, I repeat that, right? Are you kidding? And this it’s amazing.

 

[00:44:46] So so clearly Newman is about lessening returns. Right. And and improving those processes, the reverse Logistics processes, the whole how we’ve got to process the war grounds themselves. Right. Let’s talk about where you spend your time with an organization. If I heard you say alliance building, which is Soane, you know, that might sound cliche to some folks. But in the Supply chain community these days, when folks are looking for resources and just can’t find them, this the folks are really good at cross-pollinating and connecting the dots and as you put it, served as a resource for others, whether they’re clients or network colleagues or suppliers, what have you, other technology companies.

 

[00:45:30] Because these companies are so niche now, they do one thing, maybe one thing for one industry and you’ve got an integration is is huge.

 

[00:45:39] Yeah. Have to you have to complement the existing systems that they already have. You can’t come in a rip, replace their order management, so you have to learn how to integrate with order management, how to integrate with e-commerce, highly integrated point of sale. But where I spend the majority of my time is really evangelizing that you can reduce return some heavy on LinkedIn, moderating panels around returns. Reduction key is to help clients build the business case that you can’t do something to reduce returns. That’s key and there’s that there’s a financial benefit to it that sometimes not well understood. I think when you’re in a startup world, you play a little bit of every band instrument there is. You’re some days you’re serving where the need is greater and that’s marketing. And then some days is just, you know, trying to get in front of customers and then building relationships. So what I like about working with New Mine is you’re not pigeonholed into one area. I’ve worked for larger organizations where just stay in your lane. Don’t look left or right. You’ve got blinders on. Just go sail. I think the ability to really help customers and stay with them through that journey, not just during the sale, but during implementation and getting their feedback on how to build a better product is pretty unique.

 

[00:46:50] Love it. Let’s shift gears and let’s talk more. So. We just wrapped up a great year for many, a really bad year for others. I’m not thinking immediately at the transportation in this area. I mean, holy cow, what a rough year for over 800 trucking companies. But let’s let’s talk about whether it’s retail or whether it’s around the broader industry. What were some of your key takeaways, lessons learned from twenty nineteen?

 

[00:47:16] Belton Yeah, I think there’s still uncertainty in the environment as it relates to regulations and tariffs. I think data is becoming an issue, right? Whether you have a breach or whether you’re taking my data and using it, I think that’s going to still have a regulatory conversation that’s happening. And then sustainability is going to continue to drive the discussion. What are we doing with the items that are coming back? Should we drop them off in landfill substance? More than 64 billion of a Pirro’s return annually. In addition to the high amounts of returns, 50 billion of dead inventory annually and returns in dead inventory contribute to 50 million tons of textile waste. That was quoted by just the couch, the founder of Luxon Finch, who’s trying to address the food issue. Talking to Dale and Zach Rogers, who are on the academic side. Dale teaches at Colorado State. Zach at Arizona. Think I got that vise versa. Zach teaches at Arizona and Dale teaches at Colorado State. But the net of it is they’re doing all this information on pulling together what’s happening with the return. Once you bring it back, we’ve studied it. It’s emotive. People touch it, return before it’s actually, you know, getting a disposition status or moving it along to labor. So as your e-commerce online sales grow your square footage, the number of resources that are touching product grows as well. And to me, it just seems like if 30, 40 percent of your revenue is leaking out the back door, you might put a senior leader in place to say, hey, let’s stop and let’s let’s try to slow that down a little bit.

 

[00:48:45] You know, and what we’ve what we’ve been seeing with cover, this is and you’ve got up. Tauro is one of the companies on the U.S. ecosystem you got laid out. Niche industries are cropping up to address reverse Logistics, not Tauro, clearly Supply chain have covered their work with groups like IKEA to get better at minut, not just minimize omniverse Logistics and returns, but also those that come back get better at processing them, get better. As you’re talking about with the with the clothing retailer, how you want to get the sense out of the perfume so they can’t it can’t hit back, hit the shelf again and not risk the brand. Yeah, a lot of companies light up tourer that are popping up to address this burgeoning is already important, but it’s only gonna get more important as it relates to, you know, overall supply chain mark reverse Logistics and returns.

 

[00:49:38] That whole ecosystem is needed, right? It’s like an extended team of folks working. You mentioned National Returns Day before we went on air, but yesterday there was a press release with this group called the Retail Value Chain Federation and that was headed up by Kym’s and Blanky. But New Mine is sponsoring that group and we’re building out a product returns council where we’ll get retailers together and we’ll talk about ways that returns prevention reduction handling resolution. The goal is just to have that old fashioned face to face conversation. What are you doing? What am I doing? How can I learn from you?

 

[00:50:14] How can we learn together that there are VLA? I get the acronym Maureen Harvey ARV’s CFS or Randy Victor, Charlie Frame dot com. And they’ve got a big event coming up in Florida. I believe. Yes, in a few months now, right? Yeah.

 

[00:50:28] There’s a spring conference and a fall conference. We sponsor the design think workshop. And also this new product returns council.

 

[00:50:37] So any before I switch gears and kind of go broader. Can I get you weigh in on a couple of industry trends that you’re tracking more than others? Anything else from 2019 that really sticks out that we want to hit rock with?

 

[00:50:51] Yeah, I think the metrics that are in returns needs to be kind of looked at as well. So once you tell the CEO what something is costing him, he or she will pay attention. But we don’t bowell that information off on the total costs of doing returns. And one of the things that we’re looking forward at launching as a new KPI is what does your keep score? Keep score is the inverse of what is your return rate. So if I buy forehands and I send them all back, well, and I have a high keep score because it’s not in my closet. It’s not on my head. Right. In apparel, what is your keep score on woman’s appear? A woman in blouses, woman dresses. What is your keep score by brand? And when you’re having these conversations, it’s not necessarily what we sell. What we should where we deliver is what they keep. And I think that’s hopefully a metric I look forward to. Maybe one day on our earnings call, someone says, hey, what’s your keep score? It’ll take a minute. But yeah, I’m looking forward to that being a metric that drives how well are we selling products that people want and they keep what is a keep score at sales?

 

[00:51:52] I mean, we always called that net. Am I right? Is that net sales? Essentially, it’s what’s left out there in the marketplace that you’ve sold after people have returned the junk they don’t want.

 

[00:52:02] Greene and inverts where they look at in a positive light like that. I think if you say returns as a negative and I want to really deal with a negative, but if you say, you know, what does our keep score and we’re raising our keep score, we’re doing things to keep our, you know, keep people in the garment they bought.

 

[00:52:20] Well, you know, one other thing I heard as you shared, this keeps score metric that you expect to be more prevalent is getting more specific and not instead of having one large bucket for blouses or one large bucket for shoes, dollar a dress that drilling down in Tucson, Ariz. hierarchy. Yeah, various specific categories. So we can really identify what the what the 20 is. Yes, the 80 keep score. Okay. So that’s on our radar. For what? Look for 2020. Yeah. All right. So let’s shift gears now. Make sure Tony Sciarrotta knows. I would love to Keith going down the 2019 path. I think we’re going to look back on 2014 as to be one of these years that taught us so much. But nevertheless, we’ll bring you back for a second episode. Let’s go broader now. Let’s talk about what other know, two or three industry trends that you’re tracking more than others right now.

 

[00:53:15] I think the one that captures my attention is this notion of the voice of the customer. I think that voice is getting a little bit more powerful when people can dictate what they want you to do and when you want an item to arrive. For example, I live out in Billerica. It’s a gated community and there’s a lot of Amazon trucks showing up and U.P.S. trucks and a lot of trucks showing up at it in the day. Nobody ever asks me, what did I want that item to arrive if I’m traveling Monday through Friday? You don’t need to drop it off. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. You could drop it off Friday when I return. So the ability maybe to change our mindset as it relates to giving the customer the option to tell you when they wanted to. Arrive. That to me is maybe more tactical. What is still strikes me like the voice of the customers powerful enough to start dictating those things. You know, I have all these little sticky notes on your door telling you to go track down FedEx or u._p._s. Yeah. Changing the mindset in a call center, I think is a great opportunity as well. Something I’m looking forward to. The Overstock example proved to me that you can take an inbound call center and when it’s quiet you can reach out and say, OK, where am I? High value customers that are returning items. Let me have a conversation with them. I think what I’ve learned in 2019 that’s amazing about Amazon. If we order an item from Amazon and they hear in their year too many times that this item is causing a defect, they can push one button.

 

[00:54:38] The customer service rep can push one button and stop you from selling that item. You have to pull it down off the website. That’s empowerment, right? When I when I talk to a customer service rep, I’m trying to prevent a return. I’m saying I just placed the order. You’re telling me that it’s already went to the warehouse in his fullfill jet? I worked in warehousing and I had to go dig out the trailer, bring it back to the dock, but the seal and pull out product and fish it out. I don’t want to cause a return. I’m telling you, if you could pick up the phone and call your DC insists, change that item. We can starve, offer, return. So I think broader is just the economy to me could be in a recession in the manufacturing segment. If you look at jobs that got cut out of manufacturing, it’s about 600000 for 2019. And to me, I think we’re losing that manufacturing edge. And in the U.S., I think I grew up around manufacturing. We all may have had the ability to learn that process of plan, source, make, deliver. I’m fearful that the new kids don’t really care about Supply chain and they like the Google Alphabet, right? Yeah, it’s it’s something else. So how do we get young people back interested in the supply chain up to me and something that we’ve got to start working on?

 

[00:55:50] Absolutely huge opportunity. And you know, not the Picadilly by it. We all don’t know. We don’t know. And, you know, just like my three kids are unaware of an industry or a career profession or what have you. They’re not going to go down that path. They’re not even going to understand they like it or not. So the awareness work that some groups are doing. We need a lot more of that to your point, so that we do open up as many are present as many doors of opportunity to folks in in elementary school. Right? Not not it’s not even about college. Name about how school is moving upstream to get to it and expose children to different careers. And hopefully great point, overcoming some of the assumptions that they may know for good or for worse, for better or for worse. Learn from their parents. Yeah, because we’ve seen a lot of studies about manufacturing where a lot of parents which are the primary consultant sector kids, right? Right. Parents have certain preconceived notions around the manufacturing industry and what jobs are available and how lucrative they are. Well, if they’re inaccurate, the kids are still going to learn from their from their parents assumptions. So we’ve got a lot of work to do there. Great point. Greg White. I mean, based on what Felton’s Sheer there, what’s what sticks out in your mind?

 

[00:57:12] Well, I think that the you know, the incoming generations. Right. I think that’s really important. I think we’ve had shows where we’ve talked about how well fit millennials in particular. But some of these in incoming generations into the workforce are for supply chain because they’re used to and they demand that transparency. It’s not just to eliminate returns. It’s to it’s to validate the ethicality and the sustainability of your supply chain. And I think that’s important. I think we all want that. We just weren’t very programed to ask for it. This has all been evolving on our watch right now.

 

[00:57:53] But I make connection with industry is just something that I’m fortunate because even at Kelloggs, the VPN Logistics Don Scott had a relationship with Don Bowersox, who was well known in the Michigan State and Michigan State. He actually came to the warehouse. We gave him tours. When I went to Georgia Tech, worked on my MBA, we did a residence over in Brussels and Munich, Munich just lift me up because I kept thinking, I understand Supply chain is Kelloggs has taught me. And then I went over to Munich and I was just blown away. When people order a car on Monday and you give it to him next Monday and there’s no wasted Tarji. Right, seven days to deliver. And I’m like these guys in the U.S. have 9 million cars.

 

[00:58:32] They’re producing their guessin into colors and there’s some in the rental market. And that’s why we got 45, 50 percent depreciation. I get it now. But those residences in Brussels, Asia-Pac in Latin America just helped me kind of you know, for years I thought we all compete with each other. Then Mercedes and BMW is sitting down talking about how they can collaborate on their. Why change? Now, if I get U.P.S. and FedEx in a room, they’re using the same W-M software, I can’t get them in a row, right? Right. We compete. And I tend to think that notion of who do you compete with, everyone is not potentially a competitor. Today they could be a customer and a competitor.

 

[00:59:10] Well, this ecosystem. Right. These people compete with one another. But I think that I think people fear that less than they used to. And they shouldn’t fear it less. I mean, look, there’s nothing new under the sun. And I think that I think that companies can learn a lot from one another without disadvantaging each other. So.

 

[00:59:32] All right. So I know in our past conversations, Newmont is very active in the industry event, trade show circuit. You know, keynote and host panels and whatnot. How can how can folks reach out and connect with you and new mine and learn more based on some things you’ve shared?

 

[00:59:49] Definitely. My email address is FCL at New Mine dot com. A.W., Am I indeed.com? Our Web site Newsvine dot com and two upcoming events. I look forward to attending the human zoo.

 

[01:00:03] I call it National Retail Federation 800. How it will engages. And there’s 25000 people. Would a tour guide pass for two or three days to go check out the cage? Yeah, I think we’re a different animal because we’re trying to reduce returns.

 

[01:00:18] So I encourage folks to stop by our booth in a start up zone 71 14. Also, that RV S.F. will be at that conference. We’re sponsoring that conference. We just launched a product returns count. So I encourage retailers to take a strong look at allocating one or two people to join us. Returns Reduction Movement. We’re crawlin year 2020. The year returns reduction, but it takes an enormous amount of mindsets and people and different folks to kind of move the needle. It’s not just a group. It’s not the distribution centers problem because returns are coming back. They didn’t set the 30 day policy. Yeah, right. It’s not. E-commerce is problem because they’re selling products that people are returning. You’ve got to get all these people to huddle up together. And we believe that if we can just work on the economic opportunity and say there is money out there, hopefully we’ll get a couple more people to say, yep. As we have gone down the path. Yep.

 

[01:01:12] Good deal. Booth 71 14 at NRF. And of course, the big show. Huge. The big show in the Javits Center. Yeah, but this has been Greene. Again, I wish we could we could had a booking episode, but we’ll have to have you back as we as we progressed through 2020. This is, as you put it, the year returns. And hopefully what I’m hoping for is that just like we’ve talked about on numerous shows now, as we’ve learned from the folks. No, like Tony Shroder and RLJ and Felton Lewis and and what new mine is doing? The onus at some point in time, consumers. I’m hoping asset that the onus to control returns and and to minimize some of the waste.

 

[01:01:55] Let’s oh, most of them you know, maybe we should take a picture of your profile. So before you put three items in a cart. All right. We have a picture of you. We know your DNA profile fit wise. And we’re gonna suggest to you before we send some items to you that you’re gonna send back, let’s spend a 30 more seconds trying to get the fit right. All right.

 

[01:02:17] And then given where there are vehicles that they can help with that today, I’m not sure how they obviously haven’t been broadly implemented 3D. I think keep score on a consumer would be good, too. Yes. Right. Why not? Why not score the consumer? I mean, you know, the companies do that today. They know whether you’re a good or you whether you’re a desirable or undesirable.

 

[01:02:38] Many, right. Turns you out of prime time and returns at Best Buy you. You may lose some privileges.

 

[01:02:43] All that’s happening, too, isn’t it? I mean, Amazon is doing that. If you return too much, you can get kicked out.

 

[01:02:48] And as we all know, for folks that that don’t return a lot, we’re paying for the folks who are not subsidizing it. So, so much dove into. But Felton, as I thought, we really enjoyed having you here. Hopefully our audience appreciate your perspective as much as we did. I like your kind of agnostic voice to the entire approach to sharing. So we’ll have you back later on in the year. So big thanks to Felt Lewis with new mom. Happy New Year. Happy New Year to you, too, Jenny. Thanks. All right. So, Greg, we talked about some of the industry events that new minds can be at. Yeah. And our schedules about the kick off here in a couple weeks. So what comes up first?

 

[01:03:25] Well, we’re gonna be at the CSC MPE Atlanta roundtable. That’s January 15th, correct? That’s right. Lanta see SCMP dot org.

 

[01:03:35] Sounds funny in this microphone today. Sheer. Shrimpy. So that’s gonna be good.

 

[01:03:43] They’re going to have somebody from narced track there. Right. And that’s gonna be a good session. Getting some big giant heads in Supply chain together, talking all about the.

 

[01:03:54] The transportation regulation activity and what it means for your business in 2010 open to the public. Yeah. Vetlanta SC Competes work.

 

[01:04:01] Yep. And then we’re off to Vegas, baby. And guess what? We’re gonna be talking about returns. Yep. Yep. Early to the reverse Logistics Association conference in In the Beautiful Mirage, February 4th. The 6th. That’s RLA outtalk the Tony Sciarrotta that we keep talking about. That’s. And you if you listen to us, you’ve heard some him on some shows as well. And we’re gonna pitch this redundant returns reduction. What do you call in 2020, the year of returns reduction. All right. If we can get Tony. Right, biopharma. Yeah, we can get Tony to buy off on that. It’s a done deal. And then Moto X. So Moto X 20 is March 9th to the 12th here in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. Thirty five thousand of your closest supply chain friends, a human zoo. Yes, you’ve mentioned. I like that. And it’s all about materials handling and supply chain and that sort of thing. It’s fascinating to see semis and small factories and warehouses built in as displays on the on the show floor. It’s been fantastic. A lot of educational opportunities there and tied to that. The Atlanta Supply chain Awards, you know, we thought of a we thought of a U R L for its Scott Vetlanta Supply chain Awards dot com that rolled right out.

 

[01:05:29] Yeah. So that’s March 10th at Moto X, right?

 

[01:05:34] Innocent and some good news. Relateable me. Moto X is number one. It’s free to attend to come out, learn and network unless you want to build a factory or where a trivial little charge for that. But biotech’s showed WSJ.com MDX chokhani to come out and register for the event. And then, as Greg mentioned, Registration’s nomination sponsorships all open for the Atlanta Supply chain Awards WSJ.com in our second year. Yeah, we tell about akina we’ve got.

 

[01:06:00] So we’ve got Christian Fisher, the president and CEO of Georgia-Pacific. He’s going to be speaking. And look, that’s that is a company that’s making big moves and supply chain. I mean, we can see it because we’re here in Atlanta. But very they’re making big moves and supply chain. So I’m interested to see what Christian’s gonna have to say there. And of course, Shane Cooper, our beloved emcee. She’s going to do a bang up job if you’ve ever seen her in a public speaking environment. It’s it’s impressive. So looking forward to that. And likewise to honoring some of the companies that do business with inner or around the Atlanta area. So there are a ton of companies doing great things. A lot of supply chain tech. Obviously, you know, U.P.S. and the like. Lots of innovations and and lots of growth in that in the industry. So look forward to honoring that.

 

[01:06:54] And then lastly, in May, so far we’ve got a three or four pots of and still still cooking. But A.M.E. Atlanta 2020 Lehne Summit. Yes. Coming up, when?

 

[01:07:06] May 4th to the 7th? Right. And that. That’s the Association of Manufacturing Excellence.

 

[01:07:13] I didn’t come up with the A Verusen. Well, a lot of folks won’t put American on the front end. I wanted to play fast at Vetlanta. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

 

[01:07:22] That’s okay. Manufacturing excellence is much better.

 

[01:07:24] But, you know, going back to Felton’s point about the state of the manufacturing industry, A.M.E. is a wonderful manufacturing centric community. It’s all about continuous improvement and lean in and getting better. So they’re going to have a lot of if it’s like what it was last year. And this is a regional event. Galla Plant Managers, V.P. of UPS, continuous improvement leaders from factories coast-to-coast. So come here and talk and they’ll do some plant tours. They’ll come together for networking and some some workshops and whatnot. Keynotes, of course, we’re going be there for the first day of the whole shebang.

 

[01:07:56] Interviewing a lot of folks here in and you or you’re interested in manufacturing. You ought to take a look at this show.

 

[01:08:01] Great point. Excellent. A.M.E. dot org. And you can also find a hyperlink on our Web site at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Okay. So our quarter is already shaping up in addition to some new series Beyond the Reverse Logistics series with Tony Tony Sciarrotta, which you really have enjoyed. We’ll be kicking off an international focused, international business focused series with AB Robert. Workto. Yeah. Today we kick off or Multi Generational Leadership Series with Andrea Bell. Andrea Bellamy of U.P.S. Rice and a few of the things we won’t make folks ears bleed. You know what? What I’ve really enjoyed is it gives us an opportunity to learn from these different components and aspects of the world of India in Supply chain. You know, it just when you think. You’ve got a handle. Let’s go in on industry. Wait till mama. Yeah.

 

[01:08:57] There’s another angle on it. I mean, I think, you know, we’re going to talk about over the course of this year, we’re going to talk about things like creating efficiencies and sustainability and ethical supply chain. We’re gonna talk about women in leadership. We’re going to talk about all sorts of things that are the issues of the day for. Business in general, but also for Supply chain. Yeah. Right. And I think this is a great platform for us to be able to attack and impact a lot of these issues and to bring knowledge and expertise to the to the listeners. I think they appreciate it.

 

[01:09:31] Attack an impact. Sounds like a teacher. Quotable. Yes, I’m full of that stuff.

 

[01:09:38] Hate to say thank you for the help with Vetlanta. And I had a common early on just about veteran businesses and veterans in general. Leave off on a good note. How can we integrate veteran businesses into supply chains? I think is an outstanding topic possibly for another podcast. And instead of just patting a veteran on the back saying thank you for your service. I’ve trained myself to ask the question in reverse. I say, how can I be of service to you? And I think it’s just a huge opportunity to address the homelessness that we see with veterans. I know we want to make Atlanta the home for veterans. I think there’s a great opportunities for corporations to internally ax them selves. How are we integrating veteran owned businesses into our supply chain? Yeah, I just want to lead.

 

[01:10:20] Oh, that’s a great point. It’s all about taking action. So I appreciate that. And the work you do. Yeah. Deeds, not words. So big. Thanks. As we wrap up here, the first episode of 20/20. Yeah, we’re deighton a little bit, but today we’re excited. Felt Lewis Principle Worldwide Alliances and business development with new mind. The Eurail for a new man once again. Felton w w w any w in my indeed.com. Perfect love. Supply Chain Now Radio wsc.

 

[01:10:53] Yeah, it’s all right. Phil may have heard the answer to her.

 

[01:10:57] Yeah, we’ll tour. It’s a great. Good to see you again. Yeah. What’s in store? No shortage of great guests, just like Felton in store for our listeners. To our listeners, be sure to check out other upcoming events. Replays of our interviews. Other resources at our recently updated Supply Chain Now Radio. Rob Cook.

 

[01:11:15] And we tell him. Please check out our new logo. So more to come. Yeah. Kind a lot. Let out lot of marketing transition going on this year, so.

 

[01:11:24] And a big shout out to our CMO, a man. Yes. That is driving her and Claire driving like that. So to listeners, give us feedback. Let’s know which lie, which you haven’t heard enough about or or what you’ve may have heard too much about. You can find that at Amanda LLC. Just note. She just note Amanda at Supply Chain Now Radio dot. We always welcome your feedback. Again, you can find us an apple, podcasts, soundcloud. All the leading sites for podcasts can be found. Be sure to what, Greg?

 

[01:11:57] I don’t know. Subscribe. I’m sorry. So we don’t want to miss it. I was checking out on you on behalf of the Sheer to order a hamburger at lunch. That’s what I was thinking on behalf of the entire team here.

 

[01:12:11] Scott Luton. Wish you a wonderful week and year ahead and we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now.  Thanks everybody.

 

Felton Lewis has 30+ years of experience helping CPG, Retailers, and 3PL Providers recognize business value from their investment in eCommerce, OM, WMS, and Store Fulfillment technology. Felton engages directly with CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s, Head of Merchandising and Supply Chain execs to build the financial business case and economic impact of returns reduction initiatives. Felton established a twelve-year supply chain footprint in line level management with the Kellogg Company in Distribution, Manufacturing and Corporate Logistics. He led the rollout of the Kellogg WMS and OM to several outsourced logistics providers (EXEL, DSC, and GATX). Felton led the design, development, and delivery of the Kellogg Distribution Management System, as well as several efficient consumer response initiatives in the grocery industry between Kellogg’s and its retail trading partners. Felton established a twelve-year technology footprint with YANTRA, a tech startup that launched DOM (Distributed Order Management), as well as AT&T, IBM, eBay Enterprise. He led the early adoption of DOM deployments in the Retail space with Walmart, Circuit City, Academy Sports, WMS deployments with Eaton, Motorola, Honeywell, and in the 3pl space with EXEL Logistics, APL, and FedEx. Felton is a Principal with www.newmine.com and heads up NA Sales and Alliances. Our vision at Newmine is to ensure retailers thrive in a transforming world. In addition to our operations and technology consulting practice, Newmine seeks to disrupt the returns management market with AI-driven returns reduction solutions. Newmine’s Chief Returns Officer® is an AI-powered platform that gives retailers a holistic view of integrated returns-related data from across the enterprise, prescribes corrective actions, and enables collaboration. Newmine has partnered with RVCF to launch a new industry focused Product Returns Council. Learn more here: https://www.prweb.com/releases/newmine_partners_with_retail_value_chain_federation_to_launch_industry_focused_product_returns_council/prweb16811012.htm

Felton’s MBA is in International Logistics at Georgia Institute of Technology with residences completed in the UK (Brussels and Munich), APAC (Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong), and LATAM. He’s also a member of the Service Leader Institute, Reverse Logistics Association, and the Retail Value Chain Federation. Felton’s volunteer cause: helping integrate Veteran-Owned Business into corporate supply chains and serve Veterans with Disabilities.

Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now Radio. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now Radio and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com

 

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about SCNR here: https://supplychainnow.com/

Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode

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