“The art and science of supply chain strategy is you’ve got to equip people to be able to make decisions that can impact the business. And what we’ve realized is our business has gotten a lot more complex; product portfolios have gotten more complex; commerce has gotten more complex. And what that means is the people that we’ve got out in those markets need greater skills, capabilities and tools to help them make those decisions.”
– Chris Gaffney, Coca-Cola Company
In this Supply Chain Now interview, Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton speak with Chris Gaffney from the Coca-Cola Company about how his newspaper deliver route as a kid may have helped him prepare for a future career in global supply chain management.
Highlights of the conversation include:
[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. Back here with you, Lauvergne Supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. Today Show We’re gonna be interviewing a business leader, a supply chain leader with an iconic company based right here in Atlanta. Stand by as we chat. Supply chain thought leadership and best practices on quick programing note like all of our series on Supply chain. Now you can find our replays. Well, RIDEA channels, Apple Podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, wherever you podcast Froome. As always, good to have you subscribe. You missing thing. Let’s think a few of our sponsors that allow us to bring these best practices and innovative ideas to you, our audience. They range from the Effective syndicate U.S. Bank Apex, Atlanta, VeriSign manymore. Check out each of our sponsors on the Senate of this episode. All right. Welcoming in my fearless co-host on today’s show, once again, Greg White Serial Supply chain, tech entrepreneur, kronic disruptor and trusted advisor Hadeel Greg.
[00:01:25] Very well, thank you. I am doing great. We have decided about this.
[00:01:28] We are to we have been in the works for a while. As busy as our guests schedule is and travel schedule is, it’s good to have you here in the studio. We missed you this morning as we had our latest airport update.
[00:01:40] Got to come in in the last few minutes.
[00:01:42] I didn’t want to interrupt you, but they are doing some really cool duty calls. City halls. That’s right. Well, more to come on the Atlanta air cargo community system. That’s a big deal at the world’s busiest airport, but nevertheless, less welcome in our featured guests here today. Chris Gaffney, Vise President, Global Strategic Supply chain at none other than the Coca-Cola Company. Chris, good afternoon.
[00:02:03] Hey, it’s great to be with you guys and I appreciate what you do. And it’s really cool to have the opportunity spend some time with you.
[00:02:09] Absolutely. And vise versa. You know, as we’ve talked in the prep conversations, you’re really very active in that. And not just a supply chain community globally, but here in Atlanta. You know, way back when I thought we met at one of the sessions that you keynoted and you’ve stayed very active since and it’s great to have you back here and kind of pick your brain a bit. I’ll own a little bit on Supply chain and then also live it on your journey. Right. So just a little bit on Coke. Yes, that’s right. That is right.
[00:02:39] I’m a self self-proclaimed coke addict. Really? Oh, yeah.
[00:02:43] Which which is your favorite of all the varieties? Which is your favorite? Coke. Really? You know. Good. The original formula, classic government.
[00:02:50] There was a time when I would drink eight Cokes before lunch and then, you know, back. Remember the free refill days. Then drink three thirty to ask how you’re not lie.
[00:03:01] Oh, yeah. So my favorite beyond the Coke floats that we all had grown into. My grandparents loved making this when the freestyle machine came out. I love caffeine free Diet Coke and the freestyle. Course, you can get whatever you want, right? Anytime you want. That’s right. But for me, that was I knew at Zach’s bees or wherever else they are at. I could always get that. So anyway, so it’s always neat, as you can tell.
[00:03:27] You know, can you not be right? That’s right.
[00:03:31] So it’s a quick question for you before you go in. Yeah. From a news standpoint, anything that you want to share before we dove into a creek. EFT.
[00:03:42] One one thing. I mean place by the time this airs. Right. We hopefully we’ll be well past it. But, you know, the Corona virus continues to disrupt supply chains. And, you know, the impact that it’s had is because shipments right now ‘scuse me. Air shipments that can on flights that contain passengers have been ceased, flights that only have cargo and and staff onboard. They are being released or werebeing being released. And the you know, obviously the infection continues to climb pretty rapidly in China. Fortunately, here in the states at this time, we have less than 10, you know, less than 10 people afflicted. And, you know, it’s just one of those reminders that anything. Yeah. Can disrupt the supply chain agreed in.
[00:04:37] And of course, first and foremost, over one hundred seventy deaths so far. Almost eight thousand people have been afflicted in China. And then, of course, the state side in another global cases that have been documented. Hope. Best wishes and prayers. All those folks. But looking at the business standpoint, what we have learned in the last couple of days, Wu Han, China is the seventh largest city in China. It’s one of the 11 million people, you know, that the new you don’t hear that because the scale of that, especially here in the states, I guarantee you most Americans have not. Don’t understand how large of a city. Well, one of the top 25 in terms of population, I think it’s like twenty or twenty third of most populous cities in on the global. Yeah. Yeah. Huge transportation and manufacturing capital in central China. And you know, the loss. And and just the attention is getting this Gates. It’s, you know, beyond the humanitarian impact, humanitarian impact just and of course, a big disruption for supply chains globally. We hope to your point. I like your optimism. Hopefully in short order, we are past it. And you know, all the best to the families that have been impacted thus far.
[00:05:53] Well, a lot of companies have provision for this. Right. And and I think we took one hundred and ninety five Americans out of Waghorn, and they stopped in Anchorage for preliminary screaming, screaming, screaming. Maybe one guy did get off the plane and ask the CBP agent, where is the closest piece of American dirt that I can kiss? I saw that. And I’m sure he was happy to be home. And then they moved on to L.A. and they’re going through further screening for the next couple of weeks, which is the incubation period to confirm that they don’t have any any symptoms. But so far, so good for all 195 those folks.
[00:06:30] That’s great. Good news and and all the best to everyone. Stay safe and and hopefully moving past this real soon. OK. On a much, much lighter note, we are really pleased to have Chris Gaffney with us. And, you know, like all of our guests, Chris, like we were just talking about in a warm up conversation to this before we talk shop. And before we talk supply chain and best practices and whatnot, we really want to start with Chris Gaffney, one to one. All right. We want to have you tell us more about yourself, especially, you know, where you’re from, some of your anecdotes and best memories from growing up. Tell us more. Give us some detail and the scoop behind Chris Gaffney, the person happy to do that.
[00:07:11] And we talked before.
[00:07:13] Before we get started, I’ve only ever really lived in two places. And so, you know, I live in Atlanta now, but I grew up in Washington, D.C. And essentially from when I was born to when I went to college and came to Atlanta, I grew up in D.C., grew up in the city. And a family of four children. And so as a middle child. And, you know, different for, you know, for today’s times. But back then, my mom worked and so had both parents worked. I was one of those classic latchkey kids when I could run free. And we literally did. So all those stereotypes were were real for us. But my my all my parents had modest means. So we had work hard. We understood the value of working hard and the value of education. We did all the fun stuff. And, you know, we knew we had to do our homework and all that good stuff went to went to public school and then went to Catholic school for high school. And the good news, bad news, I had good teachers and I wasn’t a great athlete. And so I ended up needing to study. The silver lining of not being great athlete is I’m still able to run these days. So my my bless you, my blessing from getting cut from the high school football team was I can still run a marathon Southwire.
[00:08:23] Yeah. But OK. So I got a quick question, please. Did you watch after school specials? Were you at Sandblast? I remember all of the classic ones, the boy in the bubble and all. Oh, yeah. Let’s do it, Duffy. Whatever his name, definitely date myself. But a couple of things that I would say are impactful.
[00:08:40] I was one of those kids who played Little League ball, but before the days where they validated birth certificates, we’d always run up against teams that did filled out with kids who were older peers and 12 year olds with beards.
[00:08:53] And I had a coach. And I remember him well. And I reached out to him a few years ago. The name is John Holmes. And I said, John, these guys are cheating this. And we got guys back here we could bring with us. And he said, we’re going to we’re going to play the game by the rules. And if we win, we win. And if we lose, we lose. And so that was very impactful for me as a younger kid. And I’ve never forgot that. And played by the rules is something that’s foundational.
[00:09:15] Coach John Holmes. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And going back a minute. You did your workout that you alluded to and working hard. Do you get from your parents? There are other folks. Where did you get that from?
[00:09:28] Then I’d say this. So it was for my parents. But I’ll give you my real story. When we were kids, we didn’t have a lot of money.
[00:09:34] So my mother cut her hair. And after the second time of my mother cutting my ear, I said, I got to get some money so I can afford a haircut. And we literally started delivering the newspaper. We delivered The Washington Post. And I would tell you, I mean, I literally had a Georgia Tech I.T. professor told me. That’s why you became a supply chain guy. So from age 7 to when I finished grad school, I would deliver the newspaper in the summer at least. Right. So started with the paper out in my neighborhood, 50 papers and ended up the last round I did when I was in grad school is 500 newspapers. And the simple supply chain lesson I learned there was you had a job to do. You had to do it accurately. As my father said, you better not miss a paper because they’re going to call me and I’m going to give to give my newspaper because we’re in our own neighborhood. So school quality and service mattered. But you got up at 5 o’clock in the morning and if you were a little kid, you were like, I want to do this as fast as possible and go home and go to bed. So my mentality about Supply chain improvement comes from that. I had to carry the load. So every day I was trying something different to say, how can we do this fast or how can we do this with less effort? And I sincerely believe it has a lot to do with with why I am where I am today.
[00:10:48] So one of the question and then want to switch gears over to the kind of professional journey that you alluded to graduate school. So tell us more. I love how someone told you. That’s why you got your start in Supply chain because of the quality and service lessons you learned delivering papers. But tell us about your educational journey. Clearly, you give you value education. And if you go on through and earn advanced degrees Celsius warmer.
[00:11:12] Yep. So, you know, by my last kind of bridge from from, you know, Atlanta or Washington, Atlanta was my junior year in high school. I was an usher at high school graduation. I sign up for my senior year classes and and a teacher came up to me and you said you didn’t sign up for my class for next year. He said, why not? And I said, I don’t know that I’m capable of doing that. I was not. I was probably smart enough, but is not a fantastic student who said, I think you’re selling yourself short if you don’t take my class. And so that teacher was really a catalyst for me, really challenging myself in terms of what I was capable of doing. And I would tell you that was very important for me, because when I got into Georgia Tech and I showed up here, I knew I was coming to the big leagues. Right. Never been to the south, but a new is a competitive school in that work ethic that I had in that belief that if I really put my nose to the grindstone, that I can make it happen. Had a huge impact in how I wove my way through Georgia Tech, which which is a difficult school. It was a bit more a bit more survival of the fittest in those days. But I came to Georgia Tech and I chose Industrial engineering right out of the gate. It made sense to me as my friends at school with called, they did do still call us the imaginary engineers, but know that was before Supply chain was a curriculum. And so a lot of the foundations of Industrial engineering really, you know, we’ve into what’s become, you know, supply chain fundamentals. So I was very fortunate to really have a fantastic experience at Georgia Tech, both in school and again, kind of, you know, you could take care yourself. I worked my way through school. I was a co-op. And so I felt like, you know, I came out of college prepared to go to work. And that made a big difference for me.
[00:12:56] You know, Member Khan Aggro all. Yeah, that came on the show not too long ago, just recent graduate. He was one of the co-founders of the Apex chapter at Georgia Tech in the last couple of years, which served Supply chain Bright Futures Award winner and private lenders watch and awards. That’s right. And to your point about built to go right into work. Yeah, he is now at Dell in a straight strategy role in a global strategy role almost right out of undergrad at Georgia Tech. And it’s hear him talk about why the focus of this interview was why supply chain for millennials. Right. Because supply chain Gates. Well, you know what? I can’t think of supply chain can get a bad rap sometimes. I’m Winchell’s all. Too often get a bad rap, they get dumped on a little bit and they sit there and talk as if he’s got a. It was really eye opening of how just prepared he was hit the ground running.
[00:13:49] Right. You know, I went to an engineering school, predominantly aeronautical engineering, but we had Emmies and E’s an IED as well.
[00:13:56] It’s funny because I think they all use Diffie Q differential equations as a litmus test for whether you’re an engineer. Yeah. And I think you can escape that somewhat by being an I know you still have to take it. I took all the hard stuff in those days. I took I took thermo, I took deformable body. Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. Yeah, well, but I mean, I think the point of that I’ve experienced that I have experienced with Ivys is that.
[00:14:21] Their ability to to take what they’ve learned and create practical, applicable solutions for the rest of us, dummies who don’t know anything about engineering, it’s exceptional. It really is exceptional. I mean, so many people design warehouses for people who make five bucks an hour or did in the day make five bucks an hour. They they build efficiency that can be executed by literally anyone. And I think there’s a certain gift to being able to translate all the high, high learning that you you’ve got into just us regular folks.
[00:14:53] And I think that’s that’s that’s what I think is makes IED so particularly applicable to Supply chain and, you know, and and particularly Logistics. Yep. So we’re gonna walk through. Yeah. Well on that. Okay. So I’m going to give myself up a little bit here. I don’t know why, but for some reason I was going to say I bet you’re a guy who had a paper route when you were younger and believe that you you actually did.
[00:15:25] And I don’t know why I was gonna say that either, but. Okay, so let’s talk about that. So aside from your paper out and what it taught you. And I think the other two lessons beside quality and customer service are speed and efficiency. Right. Those are critical aspects of supply chain. So aside from that, that critical foundational learning, tell us a little bit about your professional journey and and what that’s taught you and how that’s prepared you for for what you’re doing today. Yep.
[00:15:50] And so I’ll kind of hidden three big chunks that came out of work and went to work at Frito-Lay. And, you know, Frito-Lay is a competitor of my current cup. Right. An unbelievable supply chain company. And they’re many, many extremely successful supply chain leaders in the United States who started their career at Home Depot or excuse me, at Frito-Lay. Mark hollyfield, who’s at Home Depot, was was at freeto in my day. And obviously he’s done phenomenal things for them. But coming out of out of at a school when you went to work at freeto and freeto hired a bunch of engineers at that time from from top schools, you really had the choice to go into the plant or out of the plant. And I basically said, how about out of the plant for me? And I really became that Logistics in Supply chain professional that day, because immediately you were connecting upstream and downstream upstream with sales and customers downstream with suppliers. Right. I think that’s one thing. The other thing is that gave a tremendous amount of responsibility to young kids. And so that was a huge thing for me. And I think the other thing that was impactful and which is relevant for the coaching I give a lot of kids today is I went into an operational setting. OK. So it didn’t go into the I spent nine months in in the regional office here in Atlanta. And then I went into a warehouse and I worked in that warehouse for a year. So managing inventory. And then I went to work leading a group of, I think, 60 over the road truck drivers. Wow. Manage the.
[00:17:16] How old were you at that time? That’s 20 to twenty. Probably 23. 24. And I mean, you’re off duty, man.
[00:17:22] Basically manage the raw material supply. Yeah. To all the plants for two thirds the United States. And it was basically all the packing materials and and in flavorings. And I ran my own network. I was accountable for a budget and service and I had to look those drivers in the face every Friday or every Thursday, Friday when they came in off the road. And it was really impactful experience that I think, again, I urgently say to the young kids today who even may have those brilliant analytical skills in that type of thing, if you can get a few years in operating setting, it will serve you for ever. Yeah, yeah, that’s you.
[00:18:01] You’ve got to you’ve got to know how the sausage is made. I think that’s really helpful. Right. To be able to. To participate in strategy. You know, they used to call paying your dues, but the truth is whether whatever level you do it at, you need to learn how the operation, how operations generally work to be able to, you know, to be able to perform strategic roles as well.
[00:18:22] No question about it. So I spent about four and half years at Fredo, and then I went to work for another Atlanta based company, AJC International, who is, you know, fantastic and, you know, has grown for probably 30, 40 years in Atlanta. But there are an international trader and at the time very focused on, you know, meat and poultry predominately export to the US. And that was great for me because it allowed me to take kind of that physical Logistics experience from a domestic kind of setting to an international. So I got exposed, you know, heavily to ocean for a heavy to temperature control, some air in that world, but obviously global as well. And it was, you know, Earl, earlier in the evolution of China. And so we were dealing with things that are out there on the edge. And that was just a fantastic experience because you got to see how the world worked. Had to be responsive 24/7. It wouldn’t it wouldn’t, you know, five day gig it you know, you wake up three o’clock in the morning to figure out how to get a container released from a port in the Philippines. You know, and again, I wasn’t that old then. We had little kids in the house at the time. You know, it was a trading environment. So you had the ops guys in the middle, the room and the sales guys on the outside. And you were highly accountable to both cost and service there.
[00:19:41] So, you know, I think the like the example you just shared there about, you know, free in your container in a port somewhere and in those those conversations and negotiations and how you navigate through that, especially when you’re not be able to be there in person, that is such an under appreciated aspect of supply chain professionals, you know, and to be a learned those lessons at the age you’re talking about. I mean, it’s such an advantage as you progressed later in life. And then, you know, because it’s all about problem solving and conflict resolution. And, you know, all the sides are trying to protect their resources and their time and their leveraging different things. It is such a incredible advantage.
[00:20:27] Learn a law that early in your career so you can apply it later. Right now. Absolutely. And again, you know, you never think about the benefit of some of those experience because you’re going to you know, you’re kind of getting fired by the sword a little bit there. And but they come back, you know, and they are part of your foundation. And when you deal with difficult circumstances in the future, you kind of get to look back and say, I’ve dealt with complex things, I’ve dealt with challenging circumstances. So I’m big on building the broad foundation. That’s one thing I would say, though, is that AJC for, you know, probably four and a half years as well. And in a joint Coke in nineteen ninety five, this will be my 25th year at COOKES. I’ve been there a long time. Nineteen ninety five I was twenty five. So I had a wrap my head around that. And in my experience it coke is in a couple big chunks as well. I joined in our food service group which at the time was an integrated business. And so I I came into the group that managed our food service distributors. So people people we would know. Cisco. Martin. Brauer. McClain, those kind of folks. And went from, you know, a person in a three person department to leading that department three years later. And at a time that was very complex for us. And that was a big experience for me because it gave me a lot of exposure to customers. And so we got in front of McDonald’s Supply chain team. We got in front of our other bigs, you know, food service customers like Wendy’s, Burger King, Veridian understood not only how to be accountable to them, but in a highly competitive business, how you could differentiate from a supply chain standpoint, how supply chains could could add value. And I think that was a really critical time for me. And, you know, that’s probably, you know, the first quarter of my career, Coke was kind of making that bridge.
[00:22:13] So were you solely on the fountain side at that time or Greene bottling it also?
[00:22:18] So it originally just in the fountain. So probably the first, you know, five, six, seven years of my career were in the in that side of the business. But the interesting thing is it was a bridge to my involvement in the bottling business because the bottlers were the customer for probably a quarter of our fountain business at the time. And my next real bridge was was taking on transportation management. And I led the transportation team for Coke in the U.S., you know, in that next chunk of time. And that was the first time managing a big budget, probably, you know, half a billion dollars at that time and then starting to do a lot of work in our system because our system spent had not been brought together, both internal to Coke and with the bottlers. And so without, you know, a lot of governance, we tried to say there has to be a way for us to work together. A lot of my friends on the. Hear your side said we talked to lots of people to do business at Coke, and that’s probably not in your best interests. And so that’s really where I started really working into internal and external to our system, one on Supply chain collaboration. And that’s also kind of been something that’s been a big hallmark for me. And I learned when we worked with with big food service customers and ultimately big retailers that when you dealt with the Supply chain lead at a Wal-Mart, even though they were a customer, we were working on common problems. And so even when the sales folks might not be in alignment on everything, that there was always common ground for the supply chain folks and we could make progress in that. Philosophically, for me, has always been a again, a big catalyst for me. There’s always things that we can work on and win on together.
[00:23:53] Highlight the practical side of that. You know, when I was in metal stamping the manufacturing community and industry, harder to drink Coca-Cola. Yeah, definitely. But the problem solving that you can see the kindred spirits you’re speaking to when you’ve got a supply, you know, a supplier here, a supplier here and then manufacturer here, and you’re jumping in on tackle on a problem that’s got upstream and downstream ramifications and you’re all in a room just to figure it out and solve it in a very no nonsense. We’re on the same side the table way. That is I think for me at least, that’s a lot of the allure of the industry, you know, because there’s becausewell, as you mentioned, different functional areas can kind of buttheads and for different reasons. But in the days supply chain folks getting in the room and solving challenges, that is that’s a lot of appeal there.
[00:24:45] Yeah. Yeah. It’s not. It ain’t rocket science. That’s what I’ll tell you that. Yeah. You know, but it is it is very commonsensical. And to your point, I think it’s very rewarding, you know. So I would say the last kind of 10 years of my career have been, you know, heavily focused in Supply chain collaboration between the Coca-Cola Company and our bottlers in the United States. I’ve had the opportunity to lead to different groups that were kind of virtual companies inside of the Coke system that that really formerly played that role. And the last one then it just came out of this past year, really helped set and optimize the the overall production footprint for the Coke system in the U.S. and something that hadn’t been done successfully been tried around the world and Coke a number of times. But the first time it was really been really been successful and has really supported a lot of the growth that Coke has seen in the last few years. And I think, again, it just, you know, proved a lot of those lessons that that there is a lot of opportunity to work together and you have to represent your own company. But when you’re part of a system, there’s a system greater good that can be had. So that kind of leads me to my role today. And I’m happy to jump jump there. I took a role in our international side of the business for the first time this past year and now leading our global strategic supply chain team. And, you know, Coke is a franchise business. So we’ve got bottlers around the world. But the way we run the business is through business unit. So we’ve got 17 geographic business units around the world and we’ve learned over the years that we can grow bastin grow most profitably when we’ve got people in those markets who understand those consumers and customers and can help make locally relevant decisions. And so are our decision processes are decentralized.
[00:26:31] So I think I think this is a little bit counterintuitive, but I think there are probably people that don’t understand how bottlers play in in the Coke ecosystem. Can you just share it real quickly in the simplest way possible?
[00:26:46] You know, our our system works in in a way where the Coca-Cola Company plays the role of the brand owner. And and frankly, creating the consumer connection and relevance of the brands that we offer to meet consumers needs.
[00:27:00] And congratulations on that. Because you’re too incorrect.
[00:27:03] And we work we work hard on that and try to get better every day. But the company. Plays what I would what I would say is that role where we have partners who are our franchise bottlers, who have a long term contract for a defined territory, and they essentially are our sales, distribution and production arm in that geography. And so the predominant business model for Coke is that we sell them. We call concentrate, which are a flavor system for the beverages that they sell. Right. And those bottlers, we work very collaboratively with the bottlers in that market. But when you see a red truck around the world, it’s mostly a Coca-Cola bottler who is a member of our system. And we very much think of ourselves as part of a system. Great. Thank you for that. That’s awesome. Surfacing. So in that video, the art and science of of Supply chain strategy is you’ve got to equip people to be able to make decisions that can impact the business. And what we’ve realized is our business has gotten a lot more complex with product portfolios gotten more complex. Commerce has gotten more complex. And what that means is the people that we’ve got out in those markets need greater skills, capabilities and tools to help them make those decisions. And so in my role, my team essentially is designed to help those business units at the point of attack when they have to deal with a very significant strategic decision.
[00:28:35] Do we need new production capacity in this market? If we’re going to enter into a new category, what what do we need to do to be able to build and design a supply chain that will support that? You know, essentially what we’re trying to do is, is give our folks around the world a kind of a supply chain p_h_d_ in a box. And then and that’s there’s a lot of art and science to that. Yeah. You know, the world is changing rapidly, so have to think about it very much from an adult learning standpoint. And these guys don’t all get to go away to school for three years and learn it all. They’ve got to do it on the job. So we’ve got to help them with the real decisions that are in front of them, equip them with the the ability to to navigate that decision and to be a full business partner, not just be the Technical person in the backroom, but really help as an overall team. And with finance people, commercial people, salespeople say how do we make these decisions to allow us to compete most effectively?
[00:29:29] And that’s important because while your bottlers. Goals and success is tightly tied to Coca-Colas in general. It’s not directly and not always completely aligned. I mean, they’ve got their own issues, right? These are owned by some of my family businesses. No small corporations themselves. Right. So that spirit of partnership and and your outreach to to enable them to understand that they’re part of a greater whole. And and what their role is and how that benefits their business is that’s an important outreach. All right.
[00:30:05] Well, it it it seems like to me, if I heard you right, you’re building in your efforts and your team, that team’s efforts are building in capability and capacity into the Supply chain team across the company, so that in this environment where things are rapidly changing, decision making timeframes are shrinking. And of course, by the way, we need to be the right decisions more often or not, at least it seems like you’re baking your luck. Did a lot of your efforts. You’re very intentionally baking in more and allowing the organization to move faster while making the right decisions.
[00:30:42] Yeah, absolutely. And I think that you make a good distinction because the folks in our bottlers, you know, our supply chain professionals on their own and they have a role to do to be the primary operators of those supply chains, but they have an expectation of the company and our folks to, number one, bring them a clear understanding of where the business is headed. All right. It builds in terms of the product mix and the volume and work with them to make sure we’ve got capacity to support the business, but also work with them both internally and externally to say, are we competitive? Are we continuing to sharpen the saw as the world evolves? And you can see that not only on the on the on the product side of things, but clearly on the sales and in the distribution and Logistics side, that work is changing very rapidly. And so that is part of our role, is to be the thought partner with the folks at the bottlers to make sure, again, we’re looking down the road and positioning the business to continue to grow profitably for everybody. Right.
[00:31:37] So I want to talk about what’s down the road here in a second before we do. And in the warm up product going lab here, we talked about love, about some of your travels. Talk about where in with your role and where you spend your time. Are you out about getting face time in this ever growing technologically or are technology laden business environment? And that we can’t I can’t say enough how the power being a person and being able to have that eyeball accountability as you’re trying to develop these teams, these individuals in these leaders. Right. Where do you spend your time?
[00:32:12] Yeah. So I would say it’s a couple of things.
[00:32:14] I mean, on the road with our folks, it absolutely, positively you’ve got to be in front of folks. And we’re you were very creative in terms of how we interact with people when we’re not there life. All of our international meetings are only if we’re if we’re not physically with them. They’re all, you know, face time. Right. You’ve got to be in front of people physically if you’re not there with him. But but the real work gets done when you break bread with people. And I still think all of our business is a relationship business. And I think my biggest success with our U.S. bottlers is we always break bread. And then you’ve got to have a little bit of personal time to make the business stuff really get to work. And I think that’s true. And in the work that I’m doing in the new role. And so getting out to the folks in Latin America, going to India and seeing what’s going on in the market there, I think that’s relevant. I will build on what you said, though, is that in general. We have to be much more externally focused, is the fast is the world is changing. You know, I think I heard our CEO CEO say when you’re at the front of the pack, you have the risk of becoming internally, internally focused because you’re you’re doing good things. And the wolf really is always at the door. And I think he encourages us to say, you’ve got to really be an adult learner. You have to be externally focused. And so by all kinds of mediums. Right. Like vodcast, but physically going and talking to folks. How are people cracking then? Not different than us. How are people in other industries solving similar problems? I spend a lot of my time, frankly, looking for people who are in different parts of of our supply chain world ahead of us to say, how are you solving for that? And you know, just about everybody will spend time talking to you about that. Even people who are, you know, effectively people that we might in one way or another be competing.
[00:34:03] And, you know, this industry is under assault by those who are legally precluded from being named in Atlanta and other competitors.
[00:34:12] It’s a very fragmented market, not unlike, you know, not unlike adult beverages. Right. There is just there’s just more and more choice out there. And that changes the dynamics of your market, not just your marketplace, your outbound sales marketplace, but also the supply chain.
[00:34:28] Know, it’s a great point. And I think you guys understand this. You know, if I look at what what the physical supply chains looked like earlier in my career, you know, you had very dense, high volume movements from large scale, you know, plants or d.c’s where they whether they were in, you know, large, dense truckload lanes to local markets where they were then distributed. And to last mile locations. And obviously, the way e-commerce has evolved, you know, clearly for me, it’s fascinating to see how last mile has been fragmented. You look at the pictures of Manhattan before the holidays and there’s eight, eight zillion pictures, you know, on the side of the road there. And for me, that’s just that is, you know, fragmentation of supply chain scale at in and it’s all the way up upstream. That same thing is manifesting itself. And so how you solve those problems has to be something that’s on on folks mind.
[00:35:22] And so before we kind of pick your brain on some industry topics and challenges and whatnot, any color commentary you can give around what’s around the corner for the Coca-Cola Company? And we talked a little bit about some of the reinventing that the company’s been going through, which is just a a fascinating business study and really industry leadership study. Anything you can shed on on what lies in the in the years to come.
[00:35:50] I mean, you know, we’re we’re fundamentally a consumer focused company. You know, we’re in the nonalcoholic liquid refreshments business, and that’s the business that we will be in. And but the reality is that, as you say, that world is changing constantly. The good news is people have to consume liquid every day so they could they have ever increasing choices in terms of how to do that. You’ve continued to CSB very aggressive around offering a wider offering of beverages for folks. And in all choices for all people and being very thoughtful about in particular, making sure people understand the caloric count of what’s in our beverages and reducing added sugar in in the product and in many cases reducing, adding serving size. So that’s that will continue to be what we do and understand how those needs are going to continue to change. And you can you can look at it yourself and say myself as a consumer, how is my consumption changed? And where will that go? And you can assume we’re going to be everywhere around that. And I think, you know, there are things that go on top of that. Obviously, for for us, the whole concept of sustainability is front and center for us.
[00:37:01] And we’re very committed to make a difference in that space. But it is a challenge and it is a global challenge and it is more acute in some parts of the world. And so I think for us both making sure that we have really viable circular supply chains that that are packages, frankly, are always collected in an and returned is it is an imperative for us along with our commitments around water and carbon. And so I think, you know, that’s one of the things that for us, you know, we think is a big obligation, but it’s a big opportunity for us. And we have to crack a lot of nuts in that space with our partners. I think that that for us is one other way why we’re so aggressively externally connected. Now, these are difficult problems and we’ve got to solve them. In some cases, we solve them with new partners in some case. And we saw them with BET with competitors because there are things that need to be done together. And so that I think there are a couple of things that are front and center for us.
[00:37:59] So I’m not sure how long the freestyle machine’s been around, but but that’s been the fascinating innovation come out of the Coca-Cola Company because. Seems like as the non freestyle freestyle expert, not only or is that type of delivery vehicle give the consumer more choices, they have it right there. But it seems like based on as I observe folks to swap things out and see what goes out and what goes in, it seems like the packaging for the flavorings, all that, it’s shrunk. All that and you don’t have the same cannisters. And so it’s like. Coke is innovating at both sides.
[00:38:35] If that makes sense, both giving the consumer more choices while while also addressing your packaging and sustainability challenges, well, that yeah, I mean, I think we you know, we would say, you know, packaged beverages are a big part of what we do, but packaged less beverages are a big part of what we’re doing. They have been and that’s probably more predominant the United States than the rest of the world. But we’re continuing to evolve how we think about how beverages get to consumers. And again, we’re leveraging what we know and we’re testing the limits of that. You know that I think the freestyle system’s been around in one form or another close to 10 years. But at long, what it looks like in footprint has evolved. And you’re looking you’re seeing smaller, smaller footprints there that are out there and in, you know, their versions of that that are outside of the United States, too.
[00:39:22] First one I saw was in a. I don’t know if this was the first one, but it was the first one I saw. It was in a.
[00:39:28] Oh, my gosh.
[00:39:32] Firehouse Sheer on 10th Street across from Georgia Tech and fascinating people would go there if you just do these all share this one.
[00:39:42] It made us blast. Wow, man. I’m Fred. Yeah, I remain. So now we’re gonna zoom back out. Right. Yeah. Kind of put our finger on the pulse of some some global more group.
[00:39:53] But yeah. So break out your Carnac hat or crystal ball. However, however you intend to do it and it doesn’t have to be a prediction. But you know what? What kind of. Trends or challenges or approaches or innovations or process changes, do you see? Or, you know, they have top of mind awareness for you right now?
[00:40:17] I mean, I think one that most of our peers are really working on is that how to really take advantage of the data that’s out there and the connectedness that’s out there. So, you know, like the freestyle machine, which produces a ton of data, you name it. Yeah. And I think for us, the evolution of how we’re thinking about, you know, supply chain digitization, if you will. This is an important year for us because, you know, you’re you’re in that Gartner hype cycle where you’ve got to start putting some meat on the bones and some money on the table. And I think as we’ve worked internally and externally, really, really focused now on saying how do we put front and center. Real business problems where more real time access to information and analytics underneath that will help us make a better decision, because the truth is our supply chain folks are just making decisions. It may be a decision today around what production schedule am I going to set for tomorrow. It might be a bigger decision around how am I going to choose to best source my d.c’s amongst the three or four plants who can make a certain product? And it may be that longer term decision around where do I build the next plant? And all we can do is provide people with better insight.
[00:41:33] Those are always guesses. Every one of those decisions is a guess, right? Because those aren’t finite decisions. Right? We learned that back in school. You’re never making a perfect decision. There’s either not enough information or it’s just too complex. So how do you help people with the information you have, make the best decision possible and in your freestyle example that consumption in that firehouse subs, you know, that information today does not get to us in an instant. And you’re right. But we are not far away from that decision, getting to us much faster and having visibility of the consumption in that in that store, the inventory in that store, the inventory and the distributor, the finished goods inventory in our plant down by the airport and the choices that we need to make around inventory production and raw material replenishment. And you know and I know there are there are folks in other industries who have figured that out. All right. We are getting there. We need to get there. We need to get there rapidly. And I think a lot of people, as I talk to people are saying that’s that is a real priority.
[00:42:37] And I think, look, the reason I say I know a little bit about this, the only because I’m an old retailer, but the reason that it’s been a longer time coming is mostly the business model. It’s mostly the the full service business model. You go in the old days, I don’t know how it works today, but you would go you’d send someone out, count all the boxes. They would come back. They would tell the plant, the plant would tell the truck driver, truck driver would load up his truck and go and deliver the next day or whatever. Right. And you can see where there’s a lot of opportunity for that. Frito Lay was the same wise and in a lot of ways, a lot of grocery merchants. And, you know, when you talk about packaged goods, grocery merchants operate the same way. And so the onus has been on you in the grocery industry where as in other industries, I come out of automotive and sporting goods, the onus was on us, the retailer, to be efficient, to create the message to the supplier, to get the goods to us. And so when it’s in the retailers best interest to be efficient, they are much more likely to be. So when they can dump it on the supplier, they are also going to do that. And you know, and that model has changed. And the recognition of that as efficiencies and and truthfully, the data and the technology that’s available is really I mean, it’s really just maturing. I mean, some of the technology you’re talking about is in the hype cycle iota, A.I., blockchain, things like that. We have to find useful means to deploy these tools. Right, or find tools that are useful for the purpose that you’re talking about.
[00:44:18] Yeah. So, I mean, I think we’re going to do it. And I think we we are going to do it by continuing to learn from others who have. Yeah. Maybe a year ahead of us, whatever. And we’re doing that. And so I think it gets to the second thing that that I think is relevant, and that is that the other another buzzword is the future of work. And I’m very focused on this more from the human capital standpoint, because, you know, I wonder about the folks and whether you’re whether you’re a driver, whether you’re a warehouse worker on a forklift, whether you’re an analyst in a Supply chain team or whatever.
[00:44:56] You’re jobs going to look different 10 years from now. Yeah, than than it looks today. And I’ve got two kids who are in the Supply chain industry, one one who works for Home Depot and one who works in our in our bottling system.
[00:45:10] That’s awesome. And they’re they’re very, you know, thankful to see them wrestling with some of the things I wrestled early in my career and and getting their hands on some things. But I look at them and, you know, I’m in a different place in my career. But, you know, what will they need to be doing and what do they need to be doing in their own learning journey now? So that is as we do solve some of these other problems and frankly, create space in their day, what’s going to be the highest and best use of that that time and space? And I think that’s something that that requires a constant focus. And if we’re smart about it and the people are smart about it, we’ll win. You’ll you’ll make good viene into that that you’ll have brought those folks along. Whether you’re retraining them or where, frankly, you’re training them in real time so that they and their companies can still be competitive as this thing evolves.
[00:46:05] We’ve talked about this for decades. I mean, I’ve worked for technology companies that did forecasting and planning and replenishment and allocation recommendations. And the first concern of the people who did that job was, am I going to be obsolete at the right?
[00:46:21] And the truth is, all it did was it created an opportunity for us to take away the mundane, the highly mathematical, the things that machines are better for and allow human beings to do more extrapolated of or or evolutionary tasks.
[00:46:38] So I want to pose a question to you had been here song the last Supply chain City Edition that will be published by Tom. This is published in the chamber and a variety of partners came to be involved is studying the 2050 workforce landscape. And one of the comments that was made, I think been made it is that somebody studies focus so much time on what’s needed now that by the time they publish their findings, it’s already antiquated. Right. If you had to pick one skill set. That whew. Yeah. Just pick Combs. You said no 60 Minutes question. Well, I think I think the Paul I think as he contemplates his his party picking from mostly I’m just trying to buy him time. Yes. Thank you. So if you think about not twenty twenty five, not twenty thirty five.
[00:47:31] But but really thirty years from now. 2050 timeframe that the. What’s one skill set do you think is gonna be a table stakes for supply chain professionals.
[00:47:45] Yes. I’ll give you the answer you won’t expect. I think it’s still just going to be really effective human HOOVEY communication.
[00:47:55] And I think that’s one of the things we’re seeing now is, is as more things get automated, that type that you’re still going to deal with a commercial setting. You know, this is I don’t think it even then it’s going to be the Blade Runner or whatever. You’re still going to have to have relationships that are built on trust. Trust requires communication requires interaction. And I think, you know, you’ll see more and more folks, you know, trying to put their devices away, trying to say, if I’m here with you for this hour, I’m going to be completely present. I’m gonna show respect to you. I’m going to engage with you. We’re gonna we’re gonna do what we need to do, whether whether we’re educating each other or we’re solving a problem or we’re doing a buy, sell or whatever. But that interaction based on high quality communication will still be fundamentally important.
[00:48:44] I think we’re one generation from seeing that swing start to take place. Right. Millennial generation, very frankly, Janet. Generation X, very technologically engaged, arguably statistically more engaged in technology than even millennials, which is funny that they take such heat. And then genze Gen born with iPhones and other other technological devices and I can see the pendulum start to swing back. Like many things do, as people recognize the benefits and the foils and the follies of of, you know, the way things are done.
[00:49:23] I can see that’s way certain as you can hear it when when you’ve got a challenging situation, whether somebody in another department or another company and you see your employees interacting on email. The answer is you got to pick up the phone and talk. If it’s bad, it’s still better live. And so it and I don’t think that’s rocket science, but I still think that be one of my bets. Yeah. Yeah. Well put.
[00:49:48] That’s good to hear and good to say. I mean I think I don’t think you can say that enough.
[00:49:53] It’s good news. Good news. And we need more than that. Poor. All right. So as we wrap up here, let’s make sure folks know how to kind of follow up on and kind of follow up on some of things you’ve shared here today. How can how would you suggest to folks connect with you?
[00:50:11] Yep. I actually am a pretty active Twitter person. I don’t know where Twitter is in its cycle, but I still find it to be effective.
[00:50:19] A lot of the things that I find, I follow you guys on Twitter. And sorry about that. And I have a reasonably curated supply chain feed on Twitter. I do follow some sports and some other stuff there, but I think you can add J. Chris Gaffney, Jay S.H. Areas JF any way you can find me and follow me. And I’m probably more irreverent on Twitter than I am anywhere else. I am on LinkedIn and I’m responsive on on LinkedIn as well. Those are probably the easiest.
[00:50:48] I’ll tell you on Twitter, Gates speaking, folks. They get a better app Twitter discussion yesterday did. And you know, what is interesting is ripe for you arrived here at studio. Chris, a well-known agricultural manufacturing company in their PR leader, put out some mome on Twitter. And basically she was saying, yeah, I’m on social media everywhere else. And and I’ve got a great networking circles and I’m active in industry associations. But Twitter is where I find a lot of great and credible news and content. And she went even as far as that is, basically talk about the relationships Keith social media can be social. And you know, I’m guilty because early on I kind of wrote off Twitter Bacall’s. What can you get done in 140 characters, which is not the case anymore. But but now it is amazing how in a span of five minutes between this call and that car, the show and that show, how you can get news right there on a Twitter feed that that takes you a little extra time. Other places. I was listening to sports talk with some of the passings of athletes here recently. And it almost most Vetlanta shows most of the anchors. I heard it first on Twitter. And, you know, there’s lots of crazy stuff on Twitter, but. To your point, if you take the time and you kind of filter out some noise, what an outstanding vehicle it is for credible content, thought provoking content and believe it or not, is crazy, it sounds. Relationships build important.
[00:52:25] Well, and you can tune your you can tune your feed a lot more than you could before. So you can tune out what you don’t want to hear and tune in things. You know, I’m a big Chiefs fan. Oh, geez. Um. And, um, and you can tune into that or you can tune into supply chain or specific people lead.
[00:52:45] I mean, we’ve met a guy yesterday that we met on Twitter and it felt like we had known him for like three years.
[00:52:54] This is crazy. You get to know and people are there a little bit more themselves there.
[00:52:58] Yeah. Than they are in some of the. Other than LinkedIn for sure. Then those more formal social channels. Right. So you get to know a person a little bit. But I think the other thing interesting about that, I heard about past Kobie on Twitter. But how did you hear about it? We were on the phone building interpersonal rapport and I said, oh, my gosh, Kobe past true. I forgot about that. Yeah, but no, it was this is a shocker.
[00:53:25] Yeah. All right. We could go. I really appreciate what you’ve shared so much there that I wanted to go deeper on. Sure you did, too. And we try to pack Jews up in a nice Arab. But. But nevertheless, we’re gonna have you back. We’d love to. As this is, it’s hard to believe or to pass the almost past the first month, 2020. And but as things evolve and as your mission to make the Supply chain organization and team and the Coca-Cola Company continues to evolve and play, I would love to kind of have you back on and see what lessons you learn in 2020 and validate your hypothesis about still how powerful the communication skill set will be now, including 30 years from now.
[00:54:11] So we want to have you back in 2015. Lord willing. Amen, brother. I would just I’d love to say thank you.
[00:54:21] And I would say one of the things that guides me is many people have been very good to me along the way and they’ve helped me. And I feel that desire is you guys do to give back. And yeah, it’s a great way to do that.
[00:54:31] I appreciate that you’ve done some of that here today. So thank you for that. My pleasure. Absolutely.
[00:54:36] To to our audience. We’ve been speaking with Chris Gaffney, Vise president, Global Strategic Supply chain with the world renowned Coca-Cola Company. And I really appreciate your time and and look forward to having you back. OK. As we wrap up today, we’re going to take the abbreviated version of Come Out and see us first. Greg, before we talk about some these events, if you if if you cannot find if you cannot look up Google and and track down information on any of the ideas you heard here today or past episodes, you can shoot us. A note to Amanda at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. We’ll do our best. Time permitting, to serve as a resource for you and track down whether it’s our guest or so on the topics that were mentioned. We use our show notes pretty. We actually check out the shoutouts. There you go. And most of the showboats, by the way, I don’t think we ever made this distinction.
[00:55:26] Let’s give him Amanda’s phone number.
[00:55:28] It’s for live at the episode pages. No, at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. You know, a lot of the places where we we publish the podcasts have character limitations so we can upload all the bios and everything. But the show notes that we typically refer to or the episode page is at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com where we can post five million characters. Yes. And hit some of these things that come up, these conversations, a check there first and then let us know. So but, um, switching gears, come out, check some person. What’s the next event? Well, you want to see us in person.
[00:56:02] You better be in Vegas next week because we are gonna be at the reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo in Vegas, baby. That’s the fourth February 4th through the 6th. So I will be heading from my Super Bowl viewing venue straight to Vegas, hopefully with a big, big smile on my face. I’m very shortly pulling for you and that’s RLA dot org. Look at by the time this airs, we will have been there and gone.
[00:56:30] So, you know, but the important thing, the actionable thing, the timeless thing is the reverse Logistics Association is based here in Atlanta as a global organization. They’ve got events from Europe. Yeah. To get to know them. Yeah. Definitely. And that’s how s that is becoming already is an incredibly important aspect of splotchy management. And it’s only gonna get more important. So RLA work.
[00:56:54] The best way to manage reverse Logistics is to prevent return. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Thank you Tony Shroder. Uh, yeah. motets March 9th to the 12th right here in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. The motor show is, uh, Madox show dot com. Free to attend Modise X show. Yeah. Thirty five thousand of your closest supply chain allies. It’s fascinating to watch. Like I say, Tonka toys for Supply chain geeks. They build small material handling processes, processors in little factories and it’s awesome to see a 50 by 50 factory and on a show floor somewhere. Well, so sorry I’m jumping ahead, but can I can I take a. All right. Atlanta Supply chain Awards is hosted by Moto X and brought to you by Supply chain. Now Metro Atlanta Chamber Epix and CSC MP Atlanta Roundtable. So look, if you expect to be able to see some of your Atlanta Supply chain colleagues get an award, you better act pretty quickly. Tickets are on sale on our site. You can sponsor, but the big push right now is nominations. There is just a few days left for you to get folks nominated. We extended till February 2015 15th. So get on your horse. Find a friend and and give me a shout out.
[00:58:18] And we’ve got over 40 companies nominated. We knew of a lot of companies that were nominating and hadn’t gotten their homework in on time. So we we gave them two extra weeks.
[00:58:30] Do you ever remember in grade school, would you get two extra weeks for a tough assignment? I still get it done, but name. I got an incomplete one. Yeah, well, nominations, registration, sponsorships. All open. Atlanta Supply chain Awards, WSJ.com. Come on out. F-8 folks are definitely back for the holidays. Yeah, we’ve seen the registration start to to pile up and again, not a stroll past Moto X is free. Mode X showed that room.
[00:58:54] Yeah, and one less of it. Amy 20-20 Lehne Summit May 4th to the 7th. Is that it? Where’s that cop that he is? It’s here in Atlanta, also somewhere. Thank you. By the way, for everyone who puts on events in Atlanta, the Supply chain City, because that saves on travel and my wife appreciates it. That’s right.
[00:59:14] Uh, a.m.e. dot org for more information or you can go to events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio and we’ve got a direct link and their big event is in Atlanta in twenty twenty or twenty twenty one sorry, but 5000 votes coming here that love manufacturing love. And here’s an improvement. Love lean methodologies and what not. In one. But this is the the the main event for 2020 is a regional event. And again, all about getting better at what you do, especially from manufacturing perspective. Amy, dot org. Okay. Let’s get Chris out of here.
[00:59:45] He’s got a J-O-B. Yeah, I’m sure him. I’m sure. In three full plate sets are quite big. Thanks to Chris Gaffney once again with the Coca-Cola Company. I’ve enjoyed picking his brain. Hopefully you have as much as that to our audience as we have to our audience. Be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews. Other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Greg, where can they find us?
[01:00:09] They can find us anywhere. You can find podcasts and YouTube. So Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, you name it. Be sure to subscribe. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing on behalf of the entire team. And my man Scott Luton. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we’ll see you the next time on Supply Chain Now.
Chris Gaffney leads Global Strategic Supply Chain for the Coca-Cola Company and is responsible for providing strong franchise leadership for the Coca-Cola system in the area of strategic supply chain to support acceleration of our Beverages for Life vision. Chris was previously the President of the National Product Supply Group, the governing body of the National Product Supply System, responsible for 95% of volume produced in North America. During his 24 year tenure with the Coca-Cola system, Chris has held multiple leadership roles including President-Coca-Cola Supply, Coca-Cola Refreshments Business Integration Strategy Lead, Sr. VP Product Supply System Strategy and Vice President of System Transformation for Coca-Cola North America. Chris is a board member of the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer and the C5 Youth Foundation. Chris received his Bachelor and Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech. Chris and his wife Ellen have four children. In his spare time, Chris enjoys distance running, reading and is an avid boxing fan.
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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, 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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
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!
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.
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.
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.