Supply Chain Now Episode 323

“So nowadays what we see is that the customer is driving the bus. There are five flavors of every product and orders are getting smaller and more frequent and they want them faster and online and convenient. That makes the variety of products that warehouses have to accommodate very expensive.”

– Hector Orozco President and CEO, Syncontext

 

Any warehouse that is more than a couple of years old was built to meet very different business requirements. Orders were expected to be larger and less frequent than they are today, with picking and tracking happening at the pallet level. Now, however, warehouses are shipping out many different sizes of loads far more often. In order to remain efficient, automation has to be leveraged for the sake of moving goods and informing decision making.

Hector Orozco is the President and CEO of Syncontext and Robbie Cluett is their Director of Business Development & Customer Success. They combine deep operational understanding with the latest analytical technology of the day, like ‘Moneyball’ for the warehouse.

In this interview, recorded live at MODEX 2020, the team from Syncontext tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:

  • The complexity created by SKU proliferation and why technology is required to manage it cost effectively
  • How changes in retail consumer preferences are driving higher costs and increased complexity at the warehouse
  • The actual differences between a traditional warehouse operation and a fully automated facility

[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, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

 

[00:00:29] Good morning, Scott Luton here with you live on Supply chain. Now, welcome back to the show we’re broadcasting live. If you can’t tell from codecs, the largest supply chain trade show in the Western Hemisphere, it’s been it’s hailed right here in Supply chain City, Atlanta G-A. On today’s show, we’re speaking with two Supply chain technology leaders rheumy discussing the importance of optimization and transparency at every level of the organization. And we’re going be talking about just what the heck the movie Moneyball has to do with your warehouse state googleing that as we speak. That’s right. Stay tuned. Your Supply chain Tech IQ is bound to be improved and increased in this episode. Quick programing note. Like Oliver at our podcasts here at Supply chain. Now you can find us wherever you get your podcast from. So be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing. So it’s welcome in my fearless, esteemed co-host on today’s show Greg White Serial Supply chain tech entrepreneur and trusted advisor Greg. How you doing?

 

[00:01:30] I’m doing really well. It’s a beautiful day. Yeah, right. We had a great show. I mean, we’ve had so much, you know, so many interesting conversations. Yeah. And it’s been it’s been an incredible show. I think there’s a great dynamic amongst the exhibitors. MHR has been really supportive of folks except for holding these poor cats up at the door a little bit today.

 

[00:01:54] But but other than that, yeah, we’re doing great.

 

[00:01:57] So this kicks off our third day of coverage. And yesterday was probably our busiest day with Vetlanta Supply chain award, yet were about that down the road. But today, I’m really excited about this episode. So let’s introduce our guests and we’re gonna dove right in. So first up to my right, we’ve got hit Hector, a Rasco CEO of Sin Context. And to my left, Robbie Klute, director of Customer Success and Business Development with Sin Context as well, Hector and Robbie. Good morning.

 

[00:02:26] Yeah. Welcome. Good morning. Is great to be here, Scott. It is great to have you. Thanks for having us.

 

[00:02:30] It was we enjoyed our cover, pre-show exchanges and what have you had a chance to meet you all yesterday and you all been busy here at Mode X and looking forward to learn a little bit more about all the cool things are up to. But before we talk about some context, I want to talk about we want to talk about and kind of get your story. Okay. So, Hector, let’s start with you. So tell us a little bit where you’re from and and give us a story or two about your upbringing.

 

[00:02:56] Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been in in Supply chain and Logistics for the past nearly 20 years.

 

[00:03:04] Now, I like the way he says it, too. Yeah. You look 22. Yeah. So I started really. So yeah, I’m pretty good.

 

[00:03:13] But I started in in a fun Industrial engineer in continuous improvement and process engineer and before moving to Supply chain. So that’s where I got some of the love and passion for data continuous improvement. And I think that’s stuff was a good start of the journey. I then moved on to Supply chain managing a distribution center distribution network. Another company went back to school and moved to the consulting world where I worked for an international consulting firm, Supply chain, and I was fortunate enough to work with some of the largest retailers in North America and get exposed to very interesting projects designing distribution centers, optimizing operations and acting on your passion.

 

[00:04:09] I mean, yeah. Yeah, exactly.

 

[00:04:11] And practicioner first. I love that. I think that’s a core, you know, that’s a core experience that people should have when they go into consulting is practitioner first because it gives you so much insight into the issues that your clients are having every day. Right. Sometimes, as you probably experienced in B-school business school, it can be very, very that when Americans or.

 

[00:04:34] Yeah. That’s what people tell me, because I have absolutely no shot of it.

 

[00:04:40] But, you know, you can become very, very theoretical and Lu and you’ve experienced the trials and tribulations of your client.

 

[00:04:47] Yes. And you help me look for things that are the work in the real world. Yeah. All right.

 

[00:04:53] All right. So before we get to your colleague Robby here, give us when you’re not driving change and helping folks get a better. And around their operations, where do you spin that two minutes of free time each week?

 

[00:05:04] Well, mostly with my family, I have two kids.

 

[00:05:08] Eight year old girl Victoria and six year old boy Adam. So that’s that’s most of my time. I’m a fan of motor sports and surprisingly.

 

[00:05:21] And that could do me. Yeah. So, Andy, tread tread softly. Yeah. You know, look at these guys. We can take expec. Take the other one.

 

[00:05:31] All right. Let’s switch gears over to Robbie Cruet. So, Robbie. Same, you know, give us a sense of where you’re from and that gives store to you.

 

[00:05:40] Absolutely. My background is not as extensive as as Hector in the Logistics industry, but it does come back to business school. I actually did a best school in finance. So I look at numbers and those things somewhat.

 

[00:05:53] Every combination. Yes.

 

[00:05:55] You know, I mean, really right now, practical experience.

 

[00:05:58] Exactly. And I certainly understand the benefit of Rachal experience mostly on on the warehousing side of things. I mean, when I joined early on, that’s a context I joined as an analyst. So I kind of brought my school and my experience to to the role and kind of understood, you know, this is what a warehouse looks like. And these really start to start to learn the basics of it. Yeah. And even five, six years down the road, you’re still learning new things. But, you know, you understand the practicality of of just being able to walk through a warehouse, especially when where they are recommending, you know, when opportunities. They want to make sure that you’ve been there, that you understand at the ground level. And so I think. Oh, true. I think that’s sort of the value that I’ve had over the past six years. Being missing context is to really, you know, take my experience, whether it’s in finance or marketing and tailor it to Logistics and warehousing supply chain that we’re in now. And so, you know, over the past six years, that’s what I’ve done. And so, as I said, I joined in context very early stages with Hector, very small team in Vancouver at the very beginning and small, but robust, smaller, robust, very lean. Downtown Vancouver. So, you know, a nice view from the office for sure. That’s good. All right, city. Yeah. Yeah.

 

[00:07:08] The weather’s shaky in the wintertime, but what you get is gets paid back in food because of the food. Vancouver is a start. Yeah, absolutely.

 

[00:07:18] So, yeah, I mean, to cap off, you know, definitely have some experience and in all three areas. But yeah, I joined in in the early stages as an analyst and and now I’m director of customer success and business development.

 

[00:07:31] So driving growth. Success. Yeah, a lot of that. Getting a lot of stories behind the work you’re doing at the marketplace is so important. Telling stories these days is such a premium. You know, traditional selling is tough in this market. How often, though?

 

[00:07:46] I mean, if you think about it, how often do you get that finance perspective throughout the organization? You know, when you think about it, I mean, you don’t think about a lot of warehouse. So I come out of retail and implemented the usual suspects in warehouse management in in the day. Actually, we were one of the first implementers of P.K. M S where Manhattan’s. Yeah. Mentation. You know, their solution. Mm hmm. But it was really brute force management at that point. And what a great opportunity to apply analytics and and financial understanding to the improvements that need to be made in the warehouse because we were flying blind a little. Absolutely right. And you can help prioritize those things that are most impactful.

 

[00:08:31] Yes. And so Robby has been instrumental in the growth of the company. But that approach of finance is it’s critical because nowadays it’s it’s it boils down to dollars. Right. We’re talking about investments. I remember when I was in operations finding myself with a full warehouse needing more capacity expanding. Right. Something that everybody in operations knew. But making the case to get those dollars approved, there’s a lot of questions that go into it. Right. So being able to do it to bring that that business side of things and this is important.

 

[00:09:11] It’s about the Benjamins or the Canadian dollars or.

 

[00:09:14] Absolutely loonie getting the man that hangs on the honey, the kid in Canada.

 

[00:09:19] Kidding aside, you’ll do business internationally. Right. You’re helping organizations. So at this point, let’s make sure before we kind of go any further, let’s make sure folks understand what some context does. So beyond what’s the business, beyond the name? And Hector, let’s start with you.

 

[00:09:34] Yeah, so. So we’re a technology firm. We’re specialized in cloud based fulfillment optimization solutions. Okay. Essentially, that is taking helping companies take their data. That’s coming from labor management systems, warehouse management systems in using algorithms to look for improvement opportunities. So whether it’s. Changing their Liegghio to reduce travel and improve selection productivity. Designing a new facility or simply on day to day launching of items. It’s that that’s where the data comes in.

 

[00:10:13] And that’s a really big part of the business today is is is intra day re slotting or reconfiguring of the of the distribution center. Yeah. I mean, because as volumes change data day to day, you have to respond to create that effect efficiency within the four walls.

 

[00:10:30] Absolutely. It’s about continuous improvement in the facility. Yeah. Robbie, what would you add to what the company does.

 

[00:10:38] Yeah. I think to put it a pretty pretty quaintly, I think you know, it really comes down to the data during the day. It’s it’s providing intelligence from the data that’s already existing in the warehouse. I mean, we’ll talk about that. I think a little bit later on. But I mean, there are systems that exist today, like your traditional warehouse manager system is your labor management systems. You know, in in research that we’ve done over the past few years, you know. And, you know, just in being in these warehouses, we know how prevalent they are. Systems are very common. Yeah. When it comes to management systems. But the data or the intelligence that comes out of them, the analytics aren’t always there to help drive continuous improvement. And it results in a lot of companies having issues. I mean, we’ll we’ll go down that road a bit later, I think. But it results in a lot of issues that impact productivity impact. You know, your your overall cost of the business. Yeah. And even knowing what your cost of the businesses. So I think the the aspect that we bring in the analytics and the you know, the intelligence that we bring to the operations, you know, certainly go a long way. And that’s that’s our mission really is to kind of take that management and bring it to optimization.

 

[00:11:45] So now I want to know. Yeah, you all kind of they’ll give me a little appetizer, this money ball for the warehouse.

 

[00:11:54] So if for those listeners that have seen the movie Moneyball, it’s really based on the Billy Beane story that with the Oakland A’s where he changed the paradigm and how their organization competed. And it really it it has led to sabermetrics.

 

[00:12:11] It’s led to a kind of a revolution in how many baseball teams analyze their talent, how they analyze the talent and situational aspects of the game as well.

 

[00:12:20] Yes, absolutely. So with a show, if you see them, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll love the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, go check it out. It came out probably a roughly 10 years ago. It’s got Brad Pitt in it. So I does a great job. He does. So what is drives a cool truck? Yes. And Hector, I want to ask you why. Why? It has some context like Moneyball for the warehouse. Yeah.

 

[00:12:43] So that was a good analogy that that came out of one of the the partner companies that we were working with. So, you know, being analysts at heart, we usually try to explain it with all the details of pallet configurations. And I fall down rabbit holes.

 

[00:13:00] Very. Yes. Yeah. And I mean, it’s a warehouse, right. We’ve got a couple real quick. Right. And after 30 minutes, they just say, OK.

 

[00:13:09] So you’re like Moneyball for the for the warehouse. We love that analogy. We just see and this is not just from our perspective. But as you know, as the industry that we follow, we see that often companies struggle to to make decisions for planning. Year over year growth or the Lu by the gut. Yeah, exactly. So. Yeah. Well, they use their experience and there is a very, very knowledgeable people there. But we think that that using the data to drive the progress. And in the hands of seasoned operators, it’s he makes a compelling argument. And it just going back to the Moneyball that that, you know, really that theory changed sports analytics. So so that’s something that we see in the future, just being a toolkit that that it’s in every facility, same as the ellem mass or WMD are there. And so no, we’re not.

 

[00:14:11] Brad Pitt, I don’t know where we’re more like RLA. You know, the character that Jonah Hill plays? Yeah. The analyst. Yeah. Contours. So.

 

[00:14:24] Yeah. I loved that man. Not good. Too much further on that movie. But I love the conversations between Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in that movie. Kind of. You saw the two worlds of the guts and the experience and been there, done that and kind of what’s my instinct tells me with the numbers. It was such a fascinating movie. But I mean, if you think about that’s those two worlds collide. That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Well, right here on this, you had the experience.

 

[00:14:46] You went and got the practical education. You collided with the finance gifts. You know that that Robbie has and and have really kind of kind of emulated that story and some. Yeah.

 

[00:14:58] So. So moving right along because we could this be a three hour episode of Moneyball? I could go with this word. So let’s shift gears. Leap. Let’s shift gears. Let’s talk about some of the problems. Robby, that sin context is helping their customer solved. Tell us tell us more about that.

 

[00:15:16] Yeah, I mean, it really starts it’s, you know, all three levels of planning and execution. So right at the top, you know, when it comes to, say, a V.P. of Supply chain that’s wanting to find more dollars in their budget. So how do they do that? How do they you know, how do they approach that problem? Do they invest in automation? And obviously, where proponents of automation in our business and, you know, some of our most impactful or most successful implementations have been in facilities with high level automation. We love walking around highly automated facilities.

 

[00:15:47] It’s great to see you’re in the right spot. Exactly.

 

[00:15:50] How you know, how it’s how it’s really progressed and wind. But we do know the challenges when there’s, you know, every booth is selling, you know, or every booth has a great product for automation. And there’s so many things out there. First of all, how do they. How do we do that? How do they. How do they make that decision of what to invest in? And from the operators perspective, as you know, how do they find the dollars? And I guess they’re going from the same problem as a BP, but essentially as how do you find dollars in your business that either puts it back in your budget or makes you look good? Yes. Operator, that’s running the business. How do you find more dollars in your in your labor budget? How do you increase productivity? How do you know what metrics to look at? And so, you know, going back to the management system, problem is, you know, if they are having these problems when it comes to, say, Stupa for Asian seasonality, proliferation, delivery.

 

[00:16:37] So here for our folks in college maybe or early entry into supply chain kind of.

 

[00:16:43] Or ff.. Yeah. Yeah. Because they hear it all the time and nobody explains it. OK. So in a nutshell, what’s SKU proliferation? So it’s essentially the variety of the SKUs.

 

[00:16:54] So if you’re a high mix environment like saying grocery, we’re heavily involved in grocery. The scheme exchanges throughout the year and it causes problems when it comes to, you know, where there’s that item go when it comes into the warehouse. So this is a new item where I put that. And so if you calculate that over three and sixty five days, you know, you’re having you know what, whatever the percentages of your SKUs changing. Yeah. That changes your requirements, whether it’s your layout or your you’re picking productivity. That’s kind of the challenge of any of any of any business really of any warehousing business.

 

[00:17:26] And these days there’s five flavors of Cheerios. Exactly. I mean, if you think about it like that. Right. So that creates a lot of complexity like that. Won’t lots of marshmallows that they still feel that, right? I don’t know.

 

[00:17:39] I’m pretty well these guys serios or honey nut guy. You’re gonna say something. Hector. Yeah.

 

[00:17:43] So nowadays what we see is the you know, the customer is is driving the bus, right? Yes. So there’s, like you said, five flavors of every product and orders are getting smaller and more frequent and they won them faster and online and convenient. So what that does is that the variety of products that now warehouses have to deal with and accommodating, that it becomes very expensive.

 

[00:18:08] Sheer operation. Yeah. All right. So laws as well. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Because stores are becoming fulfillment centers in a lot in a lot of retail chains. I mean, if you’ve ever walked around to any of the Kroger chains yet you see people shopping for other people.

 

[00:18:24] I mean really what’s right? Wish it was me. What retail brands are doing as well.

 

[00:18:28] You know, with warehouses that have to accommodate the retail strategy. Yeah. And they’re having to do that at the you know, at the I guess, shipping each’s instead of pallets or K. Exactly. And it affects their productivity and they say, well you know what, we’d rather eat the costs, the warehousing level than the retail. Yeah. So they’re having to accommodate that.

 

[00:18:45] That’s a dramatic change. I don’t know that everybody understands the the magnitude of that change in a warehouse, but warehouses are generally engineered, you know, in when you guys started, maybe they were engineered to ship pallets or or at worst cases in an only rare instances maybe to pool each pick items and into a bin. And now it’s so predominantly each picking, isn’t it? Yes. I mean, they’re sending that that hand sanitizer want to one person not a pallets worth to a Costco store or whatever. Right.

 

[00:19:20] All right. So let’s keep driving on the problems you’re solving and then we want to find out more about how you’re solving the problem. So, Robbie, I know we come took a right hand turn on SKU PLUR for. But keep keep talking about what are some of the problems that sin context helping solve.

 

[00:19:35] So I guess to to really summarize, I mean, we we like to think we solve a lot of problems when it comes to, you know, operational efficiency. So I guess I’ll start at the top. So I reference the the vise president and their problem of looking for more money, more budget. Yep. So, you know, when they’re coming down to their operation and they’re walking through and they’re kind of saying, well, you know, this is the land I’ve been given. This is the the the the distribution center. I’ve been given the year of the four walls here as the rocking. You know, sometimes they kind of think that this is what they’re stuck with, you know, and they walk through the aisles and they say, well, you know, we’re not going to change, we’re going to wholesale change everything. And so at that point, they’re kind of saying, well, you know, how do we find these extra dollars? You know, how do I get my my operators the tools to operate on a daily basis to optimize instead of just managing and just managing? So, you know, they’re looking for different tools, are looking for ways to improve.

 

[00:20:27] Yeah. And from the operation level, you know, having that having that experience at the operational level, you can kind of see, well, these guys have a ton of stuff to deal with on a day to day basis. And what happens when they’re when they’re having to deal with 100 new items a day? Right. All these managers manual processes sort of get missed or they get, you know, expedited just from the lack of tools. And so I think the biggest problem we solve is we provide the tools for them to get the job done correctly and be able to really know that it’s working. I mean, the quantification of the of the problem is really the problem in and of itself, right? Yeah. Knowing where the problem is, knowing what the what the problem means, your business is really the problem. And they don’t know that. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know what it means if they buy this or they change this rocket. Just they just don’t know that.

 

[00:21:11] That’s really the key. You nailed it right there with. They don’t know where to start because it it’s an elephant. You learned this in B-school. How do you eat an elephant? Right. One bite at a time. But they don’t know which is the first bite today. And are your analytics guiding them towards at first bite?

 

[00:21:28] Yes, they’re very detailed. So they when they’re stuck like that, we often walk a facility and we find that that facility was, as you mentioned, design perhaps 10 years ago and or different a exac for something that was very adequate at the time. But they’re struggling with with the current situation. So so that when the data’s driving those changes, they can make that that Operation Adaptable. Yeah.

 

[00:22:04] All right. So there’s so much that we just shared that last three minutes. Is there any. So before we kind of shift gears over and can we all shed a little bit more light on how you do it, because then we want to broaden it back out and we’ll get Charles thoughts on kind of the world we live in these days. Any of the problems that are really important that we didn’t kind of touch on before move into now. OK, good. I was gonna get permission to move forward this conversation.

 

[00:22:30] I think it’s hard to have a problem that is more significant than a 10 year old warehouse operating in today’s commerce. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, 10, 20, maybe even five. Right. The the landscape has changed so dramatically that it if you didn’t design here warehouse yesterday. Right. You might already be obsolete or or at least ill constrained for the the the consumer driven economy that we’ve got today. Yeah, absolutely.

 

[00:23:00] So on that note, we want to understand how you go about solving some of the challenge we’ve walked through. And also, if you don’t mind, for our audience, you kind of take a two pronged approach. Talk about how you all solve it as a business and then give some give a tip or two about how folks that maybe don’t have access to watch. I’ll do how they can solve it. Right. That makes sense. Absolutely. I’ll start with you.

 

[00:23:23] So. So as a business, we solve it just, you know, with technology. Right. We will enable are our product to be out there?

 

[00:23:35] Is the explosion of adoption in cloud technology, which gave us distribution for complex analytics overnight, accessible to pretty much everybody. And easy to implement. So. So that’s that’s how we do it as a business connecting with with their existing systems and things that we recommend to companies when when we when we see them and we see just a few weeks ago, we’re in a facility that was fully automated up in Canada. Fantastic, impressive facility. And so when we look at conventional operations, the biggest difference between the two other than than you have, you know, robots moving the product is that everything in the operation, in the automated facility is data driven. Right. There’s no guesswork. There’s no. Everything is is is calculated. And that allows them to take a lot of efficiency. So for companies that are that are generating a ton of information and they’re currently in there in their existing systems, isn’t using them to understand metrics in your warehouse, like how much your your travel.

 

[00:24:48] Right. How much? What’s the the travel time that selection is you need from one pick to the next? Exactly. And that over and over thousands of SKUs. And. And he orders a day. Yeah. Right. And when you look at directly, but that adds up to two roughie sic 50 percent of your total direct labor. So there’s big partisan travel time. It’s selection. OK. OK. In a big component of that is is general travel. Got it.

 

[00:25:14] So it seems like, wow, half the battle that that what you bring to the table, half of the value, maybe we’re howdid is getting that data that is that is invisible out on the table so we can make more informed, data driven decisions about tweaking the operation. Right. That’s it. Yeah, that’s it.

 

[00:25:34] Is it going back to the collision of the two worlds is bringing that to the operator that has the team, the leadership, the experience that’s going to take that data and, you know, be dangerous with it?

 

[00:25:48] So going back to the cereal reference, we talked earlier for all the different varieties that are out making me hungry. Yeah, I was gonna actually use vodka that one of our one of our competition. Here are the companies that we went to recently, others that look like let’s use vodka. Yeah. Yeah. Walk is a good one. But there’s there’s so many different varieties of it. And that’s one of the biggest things is that they don’t know one moves maybe one per month, the other moves one hundred per month. But by going back to that references that there is decision fatigue when it comes to making decisions in the operation. And the thing that we noticed is that we come in and try to clarify those things. And so like when they know what they’re looking for and I’ve mentioned this before, but when they know what they’re looking for makes things more clear on where to start. And with or without us or without the the analytics or the you know, that that optimization mindset is is they just, you know, sometimes just don’t do anything because what else is paralysis? Exactly. Where do we start? What if we do this? Then we have to do that. If we do this, we have to do that. And I think just being able to simplify it, it’s you know, it’s not as complex as it needs to be. It just actually it simplifies it and creates, you know, a roadmap and a timeline even to really address these issues. And we hear that, you know, so often of, you know, I’m I’m leaving if we ever have to restart this building or I’m leaving if we ever have to find a new building, because it’s just a project that I definitely want to go down, sugar. And so it gets put off and put off paying off. Exactly.

 

[00:27:10] Yeah. Yeah. All right. So I want to go broader here now. But before we do real quick, you mentioned a variety of environments and sectors that you all work in. Froome only environment from the automotive side to the holly manual side that that matter.

 

[00:27:24] And probably the probably the combination of the two as well.

 

[00:27:28] Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, we work with companies that have all of them and and we’re big proponents of automation. Actually we have a a just recently a partnership alliance with Fetch Robotics. We are here in in motets. And what we see is is two things for companies not to try to solve all the problem right at one time. So not bullish. Exactly. So just improving, having incremental improvement sometimes goes a really long way, like the G approach.

 

[00:28:02] Backlund G was the world dominant power. It was right. That’s Whittney 1 percent, 2 percent year by year or month by month. Dunno, right compound.

 

[00:28:11] So over time and we see networks that we work with that, you know, over four months they have a 7 percent improvement in the overall network and it’s not as disruptive because you can’t, you know, you can’t just turn off the lights in the warehouse, shut it down and then. Right. Reorganize. Yeah, that’s right.

 

[00:28:28] Okay. So in real brief, all sectors. I mean sounds like you’re doing food. You’re doing spirits. What what sectors you are really prevalent in. Yeah, I think.

 

[00:28:37] I mean, we we touch on most of them. I think grocery is extremely prevalent just because of the challenges that they that they have. And the margins are just so low. There’s tons of competition, especially over the last couple of years. So grocery is you know, we find we go into these operations and there they’re all suffering from the same problems, whether it’s a hundred million dollar business or fifteen billion dollar business. When you go into the warehouse, you know, there’s not really much separating them other than a bigger budget. Maybe there, but they’re all bigger shelves. Exactly. So they’re all kind of counting the same problems. But certainly we’ve we’ve walked through, you know, you name it, customer products, pharmaceuticals, you know, clothing. I can name all of them. Essentially, they’re all sort of going through the same the same problems. But it’s really that they create which they’re going through this problems. And I guess the you know, whether it means something to them, you know, and if we get them at the right time, whether it’s budget season is usually more prevalent. But I would say I mean, we operate in different sectors, wholesale, retail, food, service, even you name it, other tight margin business. Exotic. Yeah. Yeah. So essentially anybody who looking to get that optimization up to a different level of, you know, increase their metrics.

 

[00:29:54] Okay. Let’s broaden out and and Hector, we’ll start with. You hear? You know, there’s no shortage of things, of topics of. From innovation to just kind of the current environment that we’re all getting through. Globally, you can say it.

 

[00:30:09] I’ll say coronavirus. You know, supply chain disruption. It is supply chain.

 

[00:30:13] He just supply chain disruption. And hopefully, as we’ve talked throughout a lot, he shows 10 years from now, hopefully the story that will dominate this period will be the supply chain disruption versus the human disruption.

 

[00:30:24] Right. But what’s one thing that’s got your attention more than anything else in the global supply chain community right now?

 

[00:30:32] Well, I think it is, as I mentioned, just that the pressure that the customers are putting in the warehouse, in the in the fulfillment optimization and the fulfillment operation that the warehouse has is the heart of the of the supply chain. Right. So all the disruption from promotions, SKUs, you know, you talked about the Corona buy virus. I don’t know. Sure. What is it with the toilet paper? But it’s flying over the shelves. Yeah, but it all all those things, you know, make me the need for for supply chain is to be adaptable, to be resilient.

 

[00:31:17] And I think they can’t run it like it’s 1989 anymore. You can’t.

 

[00:31:22] And and that transition is is it’s painful and sometimes it’s it’s low for some companies. Yeah.

 

[00:31:30] It’s cool. It’s still his tagline. If you don’t get help here, get help somewhere. All right. Narter Hospital. All right. So that’s kind of like, you know, if you don’t get help soon in context, you got to get help somewhere because you can’t you’ve got to evolve. You’ve got to be frontline.. You got to know the data. Visibility is such a cliche these days, but it’s a reason behind that because you have to be as nimble as you must be. A lot like how you put warehouse is the heart of supply chain to be as nimble, especially get into these urban environments and that final mile. All that stuff. You’ve got to know what you’re working with.

 

[00:32:02] You can’t afford to be paralyzed and and stand on the status quo these days. You just can’t. Yeah, it used to be it used to be damaging to your business. Now it can be deadly. Yeah, your business. Nice. And I think you have to you have to recognize that. So I like that. Yeah.

 

[00:32:19] If you don’t get help with sinc context. Right. Get it. UPS Southwire. Don’t. But don’t stand still. Absolutely. OK. Robbie, same question. What’s one thing that you just can’t get enough information about these days?

 

[00:32:32] I think there’s certainly a lot of things and I think you mentioned the biggest part. But, you know, competition is it over the last three or four years? You know, the amount of businesses being purchased by other larger businesses and creating that, you know, you don’t see that on the retail level. You just see, OK, this larger business just made an acquisition or they merged. But we see that the impact on the supply chain, where there is now double the amount of warehouses, there is double the amount of staff. There’s different processes. There’s different cultures, you know, and things just freeze for two or three years because nothing, nothing gets done. So being in the industry, you certainly noticed the impact of of that growth. And I think more so and especially after, you know, walking around personally, this is the biggest conference because Supply chain conference that I’ve been to, we we attend a lot of conferences and we speak on a lot of them. But just walking around the show floor, there’s just so much stuff. You can see and I can imagine, you know, I’m not walking around looking at these these technologies for my business, but I could imagine being an opposition and saying, well, you know, how much as has been growing over the past 20 years. If I was here 20 years ago, what would I be seeing? Yeah, I definitely would be seeing, you know, Amar’s or robots or, you know, suction cups picking up boxes. That wouldn’t be anywhere close. What are we seeing? All right. I think, you know, if we’re talking to BP as we’re talking to senior level executives, as they have a lot of stuff on their plate that they’re dealing with. And, you know, we’re talking to them about optimization. We know how important that is. And I think it just we certainly need to understand that there’s so much stuff out there. There’s a lot of noise out there. There’s a lot of stuff that they can to anyways. Exactly.

 

[00:34:10] And I think that signal. Right. Exactly. Just like consumers have so many options with vodka and and cereal. Right. Yeah. Leaders of companies have exactly the same. Just think about the number of floor operated robotics options that they have. I can think of four off the top of my head. They have to be going. Which one is right for me? And what if I do it wrong? And that’s what clearing out for an exit paralysis. That’s right. Right. That loop nerd friends. Geek plus over the. Yeah. That’s right. And that’s what creates that paralysis is they don’t know. They don’t want to make the wrong decision. And that becomes the primary goal. Don’t make the wrong decision. And no decision at least isn’t explicitly the wrong decision.

 

[00:34:54] So it’s risky on the surface, right? Yeah. All right. All right. So you just mentioned the. Oria are at a lot of events. I’ve seen Hector, I’ve seen you speak at events. I think you’re on Supply chain brain not too long ago. Enjoyed the interview. You are in demand. It’s got to it’s got to be a good feeling, right? Yeah.

 

[00:35:10] But for folks that don’t catch you out at events or some various interviews, you’ll do. Where can they find? Where can they get more information about Cynde Context and Robbie while bizzarre website.

 

[00:35:20] W w w dots and context dot com would be a great place to start. We’re all sworn Linked-In at say contact supply chain. One of the things we actually did want to to mention on the show is as one of things that we do to really showcase the power of optimization and the shift between warehouse management to optimization as we do a diagnostic with our system which involves the operation providing us with operational data. So data that they have already just basic stuff. Yeah, you know, we usually would run that through our system and kind of quantify the opportunity and what it actually means. You know, what are we talking about when we sit here, you know, and talk all this, you know, all this stuff about the shift between management optimization, what we really mean by that and quantifying it goes a long way demystifying as well. Exactly. Identifying that first bite. Exactly. So on on our Web site and one of things we want to offer is by until the end of April, we’re gonna do free diagnostics for viewers of your show. So if they want more affirmation about that, they can go to our Web site at in context dot com front slash diagnostic and they just need to contact us references show and we’ll we’ll do a diagnostic for them each year takes a few weeks, but give them a lot of insight into what’s really happening in their business and even some pointers on what to move forward with, even if they don’t go forward within context.

 

[00:36:38] Take advantage of that. Right. Because that will at least get you off the dime. Yeah.

 

[00:36:44] I mean, it’s more work for us in the office, but we’re happy to do it because it’s it showcases the power of the application and the system that we’re working with.

 

[00:36:50] So, yeah, that’s lovely to offer. Thank you. We will add that we if you’d like, we can add that to the absolute pages as a link. Really have enjoyed this conversation. It’s tough to do it justice and 40 minutes or less. But yeah, I’ve got kind of a walking around sense of I know exactly what door guy has. If you don’t call them, contact me and I’ll tell you what they you. All right. So we can find all of Gob’s at your Web site, social media at different events. Anything else for Mison? Yeah. The next event you’re going to be at and we talk about that.

 

[00:37:26] I mean, we do. We haven’t. Unlike you’ve planned anything after this. We traveling for the last three weeks where we just wanna get home to Vancouver.

 

[00:37:32] Yeah. Enjoy the sun. Yeah.

 

[00:37:34] Well, and so as we know, the event landscape in a law that’s going virtual. You know, we’re gonna be at an event here in late April and that’s moved to a virtual event that’s going to be that maybe the status quo for the next couple months. We’ll see. Yeah, but such a pleasure to finally sit down. Yeah, I think kind of get the story. Behance in context, Hector.

 

[00:37:52] Likewise. Thank you, Scott. Greg, we really appreciate the time and we’ve been following your show for a while. So it’s it’s a pleasure to be here. Yeah, great. Great to have you. Yeah. Thanks for having us.

 

[00:38:02] All right. So we’ll we’ll add that link. You can find that link for the free diagnostic. Such a nice offer there. Send context dot com. It’s s y in c o n t x t dot com ford slash diagnostic. And of course you can learn more information about the company there. Safe travels back to the Vancouver area. Go Kanaks and I will check back in on you all if you must enter it.

 

[00:38:25] Absolutely. Thanks. Thank you. You bet. Thank you. All right. So, Greg, that continued hits keep coming here at Moto X movement, meeting with the movers and shakers. Yeah, folks that are make, you know, moving the needle on for way. How many cliches Klotho in that one lol. You want me to go for you?

 

[00:38:39] I look, I love to see people who’ve actually done it get into the consulting and even the Solute Technology Solutions game because you don’t have to teach them the business when they’re on site at your business. Yeah, they can dove right in. Learn you know, they know the questions to ask to extract your needs. Friend they’re done. Yeah. Yeah. I love companies that practice this way. I’m with you.

 

[00:39:04] All right. So big thanks to our guests today. Hector Orozco, CEO with some context. Robbie Cruet, director of Customer Success and Business Development. With some context, safe travels back to our audience. Stay with us as we continue our coverage of Moto X 2020, the biggest supply chain trade show in the Western Hemisphere right here in Atlanta. G-A on behalf of Greg White Scott Luton whole team Clay and a man, the whole gang’s here. Join us next time on Supply chain now. Have a great week. Thanks everybody.

With 20 years of experience in supply chain management and engineering, Hector Orozco has held various leadership positions in supply chain, fulfillment and distribution operations from managing distribution centers to overseeing national distribution networks as well as a leading several supply chain design, fulfillment optimization and re-engineering projects throughout North America as a Senior Partner for an international supply chain consulting firm. Hector holds an Industrial Engineering degree and a master’s degree in business administration and is a frequent speaker at supply chain thought leadership events.

 

Robbie Cluett as the Director of Business Development & Customer Success, Robbie is responsible for providing leadership and direction in all functions of customer success, business development and brand strategy. An essential member of the Syncontext team, Robbie contributed to the transformation of the company from a small technology start-up to a brand that’s trusted by some of the largest retail and wholesale supply chains in North America. From developing the corporate website and social media presence to speaking at conferences and industry events, Robbie takes pride in contributing to the continued growth of Syncontext in North America as well as internationally. Robbie holds a master’s degree in management finance as well as a bachelor’s degree in international business.

 

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

 

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

 

Syncontext is offering Supply Chain Now listeners a free diagnostic- Click Here for More Information

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