Supply Chain Now
Episode 324

Episode Summary

On this episode of Supply Chain Now, Scott is joined by Jason Moss and Laura Madajewski for the newest episode of the Today in Manufacturing Series.  They are happy to welcome Joshua Lebarre with Sonnen into the studio.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio. Broadcasting live 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.

 

[00:00:28] Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on Supply chain now. Welcome back to the show. On this episode, we’re continuing our Today manufacturing series in conjunction with the Georgia manufacturing alliance. Today, we’re talking best practices with a manufacturing leader doing big things in the energy space. Stay tuned for practical insights and observations. It’ll certainly raise your manufacturing leadership IQ. Very proud to say that our Today Manufacturing series is brought to you by H-B GROSS collins’, a top 25 Atlanta CPA firm specializing in manufacturing, distribution and supply chain operations. You know, as we’ve seen for years, HDB GROSS Collins has extensive experience and knowhow in this space where they help a variety of business leaders break through challenges and grow their business. And so it’s great to have them onboard. Quick programing note you can find Supply chain now wherever you get your podcasts from Apple podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, you name it. We’d love to have you subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing. All right. So let’s welcome in my fearless, esteemed co-host on today’s show, Jason Maule, CEO, the Georgia manufacturing alliance. Good morning, Jason. Good morning, Scott. It is so good to have you back. I know you stay busy at all four corners of the state and it’s great to contain you for an hour. And have you with us. Yeah. This is one of my most exciting hours of the week. Great to have you here. And then Laura manages ski principal and leader of the manufacturing distribution and Supply chain practice at B GROSS collins’. Laura. How you doing?

 

[00:02:03] I’m doing well. Thanks, Scott. How about you?

 

[00:02:05] Doing fantastic. We know we’re coming off the heels of Moto X and that event there spoke to a lot of different businesses, got a lot of different take is challenging times, which we should certainly recognize for so many people. But, you know, in challenging times, there’s always inspiring stories and innovation. And in a company, you’re still finding a way to get it done. So with that as our backdrop, you know, we’re speaking of innovative business leaders. We’ve got a great guest here today when welcome. And Josh lubar, director of manufacturing operations at Sann An Ache, which is a global leader in residential energy storage. Josh, how you doing?

 

[00:02:42] Hi, Don Scott doing great. Thanks for having me on.

 

[00:02:45] Well, as busy ya. I tell you, you and Jason and Laura probably have a lot in common terms of Sheer activity, but great that carve out some time. You know, we’d love our repeat guests. You were on with us last spring or summer, I believe. It feels like five years ago, but it was less than a year and a tateh hits. Keep on coming for Sohn and Josh.

 

[00:03:07] Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s been a it’s been a great year. 2019 wasn’t was an absolutely fabulous year for Sonin for growth for the company. And then 2020 is looking like we’re going to see some positive growth in that and in all fields.

 

[00:03:22] Love it. Okay, so let’s refresh our audience. Is understanding kind of get a sense of who Josh is for. So let’s talk personal. Tell us about where you’re from and give us a, you know, anecdote or two about your upbringing.

 

[00:03:36] Well, I’m I’m not originally from Georgia. I’ve been with Joe. I’ve been in Georgia for about three years. I moved out here for Sonin to start up this manufacturing site that that’s located a little bit north of Atlanta. And Tucker. OK. But before that, I was I started up my life in California, on the coast near San Francisco. And I was always been the adventurous type, always been the one to get up and leave kind of thing. And that brought me to the U.S. Navy where I I spent five years on board a nuclear submarine. And after I did my five years, I I I left that and went to work for a aerospace company. So I went from being under water to working on stuff above the world.

 

[00:04:26] So we adjust. I didn’t know my three kids have killed my memory, but I don’t remember. You served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine, of all things.

 

[00:04:36] So I don’t really talk about much. But yeah, it’s it’s something I’ve had I have done. And and it was a great experience in my life and it’s really shaped who I am personally and professionally.

 

[00:04:47] So what’s also interesting, as you as you talked about the front end of your career is obviously a highly complex operation in the nuclear submarine space. And then. To be in aviation airspace, which is also really, really complicated, you must have a knack for for working through problems and technical stuff.

 

[00:05:10] Oh, yes. It’s always been my drive to to get the job done, done it. You know, being in the military, you need to go in. There’s no oh, hey, we’ve got to we’ve got a weekend planned. Going to go into the going to Disneyland or something. No, it doesn’t happen like that. We if you gotta go, you gotta go. And so. Same thing with aerospace. You know, if a plane is down, we have to fix it. So and then while I was doing that work with the aerospace company, I was actually going to school full time at night to get my undergrad in business management and supply chain operations. Double major from from Cal State, California State University, Long Beach. After that, I also received my graduate degree in Master of Business from the same university as well. So all of that while working full time traveling and and getting everything, you know, thrown at me every which way.

 

[00:06:03] Wow. A glutton for punishment. Well, let’s let’s let’s talk about Warchus up into your current role. We’re gonna talk about Sonnen here a few minutes down the road. But but walk us up into how you joined this this industry, innovative industry leader. And you know what you do now.

 

[00:06:22] So I was actually just I received a call one day saying, hey, would you like to come and interview for this opportunity? And I said, I’d never been with the energy market or anything like that, but it sounded like a cool idea, like it just the idea of having this resilient product in your home that’s going to provide for you during times of power outages and uncertainty of the grid, those types of things. And I I wanted to be a part of something like that because it was one of those things where in the in, you know, aviation, you know, planes are flying. You know, they’ve been flying planes for years and years, 737, 777, all of those different types of planes. And I want to be a part of something where it can be revolutionary, shake up the industry and shake up how we do things. And so I wanted to be. That’s why I wanted to leave my mark.

 

[00:07:15] It’s like a noble mission. You’re part of. And clearly a lot has changed in that regard, which you’re going to touch on shortly.

 

[00:07:21] But but bringing Jason back and Jason, you’ve got an interesting question for you.

 

[00:07:25] Yeah, it’s neat, Scott, that you mentioned about connecting with Josh on the nuclear sub side of the house.

 

[00:07:34] As you know, as you may not know, Scott and I both are Air Force guys. Now, Scott worked in a little different area that it actually loaded bombs on F-16s. And a lot of people don’t know that. But you can share with us one thing that most folks don’t know about yourself, Josh.

 

[00:07:49] Well, recently, in the past year, I’ve I’ve really embraced Georgia living in Georgia life. I love being in the south. People ask me all the time, would you ever go back to California? And I said, absolutely not. I love it here in Georgia, which is something of a shock because like, what do you mean? California is the best place in the world to be now. I like it here in Georgia, but out for about a year now. I’ve been I’ve been coaching a youth wrestling club here in here locally and as an assistant coach and for the Atlanta Wrestling Academy. And it’s it’s a great thing. I I go a couple of days a week. And it’s one of those things where coaching these young kids and getting them, you know, motivated, getting them, you know, excited about about wrestling. And, you know, for me, it’s like it’s a break from the everyday life that’s love that damaged you a lot.

 

[00:08:42] Private after the kids do, too.

 

[00:08:44] Oh, yes. Oh, it’s a great it’s a great, great atmosphere, great kids.

 

[00:08:49] So, you know, a second ago, Josh, as you’re talking about California, I got to tell you that the song that that that came to my head was California’s Place Y’all Be. So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly from Beverly Hillbillies. That’s what that’s play in between my ears. As you said, that it’s it’s so interesting because very few people and I talk about California, they can’t wait to get back. But, man, you’ve got a passion about the roots you’ve established right here in George Prest. That’s refreshing to hear. Okay. Says Laura. You’ve got an interesting question we like to pose to business leaders.

 

[00:09:25] Absolutely. Absolutely. So, Josh, I’d like to know, what is your go to source for, like, news and content? Right now, I think we’ve all been kind of jumping around to a lot of different areas and trying to determine what’s the right information. So could you share some of your sources that you’re utilizing to help you and in business?

 

[00:09:44] Yes, I like you know, of course, of course. I’m an avid subscriber to Supply Chain Now Radio. Of course, everyone else should be, you know.

 

[00:09:55] But no. But on other things like, you know, I look at I look at deep, deeper things I look at. I’m looking at case studies.

 

[00:10:02] I’m looking at Harvard Business Review. I’m looking at The Wall Street Journal. I’m looking at deeper things, not just the glazing headlines of, hey, this is happening. And you go back and you read through, you’re like bull, that’s not really happening. So I like to go deeper into things and look at case study analysis and look at what how we’re applying the, you know, things that are going on. What what is the prediction going forward kind of thing and just getting into the deep analytics and statistical analysis of that. So I find that from those types of sources.

 

[00:10:36] Absolutely. Absolutely.

 

[00:10:38] Your couple levels above my pay grade. Josh, that’s doesn’t teach stuff. But but you know, kidding aside, it it is so important these days that go beyond the headlines and that at your age you’re talking to Josh and of course, in the manufacturing and supply chain and the warehousing space. I mean, that’s we’re driven by data. So I love your your answer there. OK. So now now that we kind of have a sense, Jason and Laura, we certainly have a sense of who Josh is as a person and really as a business leader.

 

[00:11:10] Josh, let’s learn more about what Sonnen does. Tell us more about the company.

 

[00:11:15] So Sonin is a is a like you’re talking about the beginning as a global pioneer in residential energy storage. So we go beyond just you know, we’re not a battery company. We’re we’re providing energy storage solutions for people. So that means that we’re providing product that’s going to go into your home and work with you. So as far as like, you know, you don’t have it, this is not the old timey thing where you have a generator outside. You have to go start the generator. No, our units sense great outages. They they respond. They kick into backup mode. They if you have a grid that has that has a you know, you know, quote unquote, dirty energy coming through here, our unit cleans that up and gets the gets the unit to what it needs to be as far as like, you know, the amount of Herts that are going through and and stabilizes it. So our unit is doing a lot of different things that that is going on unbeknownst to our our customers. And in the world of going into like, you know, Google home and going into narced and going into those home automation type of products, Sonin is becoming the energy management system that is coupled with those products to help the homeowner not have to worry about their day to day activity, monitor their energy usage and monitoring what’s going on and actually being that source for the resiliency side of when an outage is outages occur. It’s it’s funny because in art I always, always make the joke is that we met it measure are minutes outage in the state of Georgia in hours because it’s you know, hey, it’s going to be a long time before the power comes back sometimes. And so our product is always that is is going to be that product that goes in the home and be able to provide the consumer with the with the added insurance that the product is going to go in. It’s going to work and it’s going to give them that support that they need.

 

[00:13:19] Yeah, I think one of the operative words, one of them that you shared there is system. You know, you you mentioned that it goes well beyond just the battery because consumers need the whole system to take full advantage of of smart houses and the IAPT that that’s taking place across industry. It’s about that system, right, Josh?

 

[00:13:42] Absolutely. It’s about providing that that sense of automation and that sense of of of multi-layer facets. You know, our system has a automatic transfer switch in it that switches when there’s a great outage, a loss of AC power. Our system also tracks production of solar and consumption of energy into the home. So people can look at their system and understand what they’re doing, because a lot of people, especially the quote unquote, experts that know exactly what their home is doing once they start, you know, looking at the data that’s coming back, they really start to understand, oh, wow. I use a lot more energy than I thought it was or or, you know, hey, I didn’t know that during this time of day, I’m using more power than this other time. So it’s actually becoming it’s actually making our our end users smarter about what they do with their power.

 

[00:14:35] Love that. OK. Well, before we kind of leave this segment, we’re making sure folks know what Sonin does. The company does. And we’ll talk about some the recognition. Josh, anything else you want to share before we talk about a cool project you’re involved in?

 

[00:14:52] Just that. It is. You know, Sonin is a global company. We have had 50000 Kobol free in energy storage systems installed worldwide since 22 2010. So the global company’s been operating since 2010. Sonin Inc. That operates in the in the Americas has been up since 2015. So we’re we have experience in our in this technology and we have this unbeatable warranty and seamless integration system that that operates within other renewable products such as solar and wind and also with the grid systems, you know, systems thinking these days that that’s that’s that’s that’s where it is right now.

 

[00:15:40] It’s what we’re living. It’s really interesting to hear about y’all’s approach to really building out these systems to take full advantage of this technological air that we live in. OK. So, Jason, they looks like someone was involved in a really cool project.

 

[00:15:57] Yeah, utility D&B. It sounds like they named the Project of the year. Josh, can you tell us a little bit more about this project and the recognition and how it connects?

 

[00:16:08] This is this project of the year. Thanks. Thanks for bringing this up. It’s it’s actually a really cool thing that that kind of.

 

[00:16:15] Put the icing on the cake of all the accomplishments that Sonin made in twenty nineteen.

 

[00:16:19] And this this project right here that we’re talking about is a project that’s going on in Utah right now for an apartment complex that’s being built from scratch. About 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, six hundred apartment complex. Each of them have one of our top line eco links. 20 kilowatt hour systems into each one of the apartments. And so this is a joint venture between not only Soden as the manufacturer, Orac Solar, the installer Wasatch Group, which is the developer, and Rocky Mountain Power, that is the utility. So those four entities have come together and devised a way to put this product into everyday living in an aggregate form. And it’s not just putting these these units into each one of these, but it’s actually interconnecting them into some into a hive, which we call a virtual power plant. So the cool thing about these virtual power plants is that they offset a utilities need to have more available power. So if a utility, if they’re going to put 600 residents into this area, they’re going to have to supply power. So the great thing about the Sonin is, is that the developer struck a deal with a with the utility Rocky Mountain Power to have a split of that available power. So some power will be available for the resident while the other is going to be available for the utility to pool as needed for peak demand.

 

[00:18:06] So it’s a really cool venture that has had all of these four component four entities come into and to be shareholders into this into this venture. And the amazing thing about it is that is that this is a project that’s been worked on for years and years. And it’s and it was just the culmination of this. And seeing this unveiled in September. Àª ÀÌ Àª. ÀÌ Àª ÀÌ trade show and being able to go and see this in action live. It is amazing.

 

[00:18:39] Well, I’ll tell you, Josh is going to be a very interesting I mean, I just got a message for you across my desk that that shared that the and Salt Lake City, they just get struck at 7 0 9 local time, which was 30 minutes ago with a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, which is a lot heavy, largest earthquake that hit in years and it’s knocked out power. So it’s gonna be interesting. You know, Talia mytho, this conversation is to see how the soman battery systems and the power systems are going to go. The impact and the people that are in that and those complexes. So it’s pretty interesting timing for sure.

 

[00:19:18] Yeah. And that’s a very interesting point you bring up because because solar is no stranger to these type of of of these ecological events that are occurring back in 2017 when Hurricane Maria came through through the Caribbean, wiped out a lot of the things that were happening in Puerto Rico. So they had a lot of grid outages for about nine to 10 months. Sonin was Sota wasn’t first on the scene. Sun was already on the scene because we were already doing business in Puerto Rico. We established i+1 micro-grids too. To have the ability for people to restore power to key case centers such as healthcare community centers. And then there was two cases that that always hold near dear to my heart a laundromat of all places, because people were washing their clothes in the river and because there was no power to run the sewage treatment. People were getting sick because of that. So it was a joint venture between us and a couple other companies to get washers and dryers and that in the backup system in with solar on the roof to get them go up and going. And then the other one was a a school for children with disabilities who have learning of disabilities. And a lot of those children had sensitivity to noise so they could put a generator in. So they put a a solar unit in there. So that allowed the children to have a place to go daily while the people try to figure out what to do, you know, with the adults to try to figure out what to do with their situations. So Sonin is is on the forefront for a lot of these cases here, like you’ve mentioned. You know, it’s a timely event that happens. This 5.7 earthquake that just happened in Salt Lake City and the resiliency of the sewn into react to have that energy independence.

 

[00:21:15] Wow. I love the noble mission component here. And I said it on the front end, but it is so I appreciate how you’re approaching this because there’s so many different applications that I bet most folks like myself don’t think about when we think about green energy and all the various applications and how it can do so much good in the world. So but quick note. So if for our listeners, you know, we were asking Josh about some of the cool places to go to find news and content analysis. If you’re not tracking the Dove collection of companies know Supply chain Dove is must read resources for spots now teams. So check it out. Utility dives a 1. Recognize Sonin and they’re partners for this project of the year. And you can learn a lot more about that utility dot dot com. Okay, so as if that wasn’t cool enough, Josh.. Lara, you’ve got some questions ask around. Other recognition for Sonin, which includes where Fast Company named Sonin on its list of the 10 most innovative energy companies of 2020.

 

[00:22:20] Exactly. I’m over here. Just kind of continue to be, you know, awestruck. I’m like, all right. Well, I’m fairly humbled at this point in time. But yeah, I mean, looking at that and being, you know, in the top 10 of the most innovative energy companies in the company of G.E., renewable energy magnets, Green Mountain Power, share some more about, you know, what the company has done. And, you know, just in kind of celebration and some of the other things that you’re doing at this point in time to take advantage of this recognition as the company is innovating in 2020.

 

[00:22:54] Yeah, I’m I’m always humbled by these awards myself, too. It’s just like, you know, I’m in the thick of it. I’m just a manufacturing guy, just building product and trying to do the best we can to go out there. And it’s great to see these types of things that are just a culmination of so many people putting in so many tireless hours of of making this possible. But this is this this award right here actually is the third one we receive from Froome Fast Company. We’ve been the top ten, top ten most innovative energy companies.

 

[00:23:27] This is our third year of receiving that award in our five years of up and running. So it’s it’s a great thing to be to be recognized for. And and this is all this is actually centered around what the model that we’re doing in Utah with our soulé Lofts apartment complex, and that is virtual powerplants is to be creating these virtual power plants that are aggregating these, you know, these new homes or retrofitting existing homes and being able to aggregate those together to avoid the high expensive cost it is to to put infrastructure for the utility grid. And that’s actually one of our our our value options that we give to our value opportunities that we give to our our utility partners. Is that you would you avoid paying this price to put a new plant in? You could take that that opportunity cost of taking that money that you were going to dedicate to building a new plant and improving your current infrastructure. So that’s actually what we’re seeing in these in these places that are becoming distressed out in from the older utility grid. So this is this is OP, you know. Oh, yeah. When I when I first started with solar, it was funny having this conversation with utilities and talking about, you know, how they view Sony. And at first, you know, it was like you guys are a competitor and it’s like, no, I don’t think I can compete with a with a southern company or Georgia Power. You know, I don’t we’re not on that scale. We’re more of a complement. We’re actually as an offset. So in those times of uncertainty and and a need for resiliency, we step in.

 

[00:25:11] So we are we are the insurance policy in all this and where the offset. So creating ways that we are creating ways to not have someone. So like a good example is that the solar industry, you know, you have a lot of solar production during the day when we’re all at work, not at home in you know, in normal circumstances, of course, is that we are. And then when you go home and the sun goes down, everybody gets, you know, firing up their washer dryer, electric oven, all the lights. Come on. t.v.’s, come on. And all that power demand is being used, but all the solar is gone now. So solons enabled enable the customers to to store that power that they have during the day and solar and use it at night. And so that’s what we’re that’s what we’re getting towards. We’re moving towards more of these virtual power plants, of aggregating these large whole development complexes and in apartments and.

 

[00:26:15] Being able to use that together in a community fashion to to offset the demand on the grid.

 

[00:26:22] Well, that and interestingly enough to I remember last year you had shared as well when Jason Moss and I were very fortunate to tour the the Sonnett facility here in Georgia. Was it the uniqueness of your battery stack? Because I’ve seen through the industry, there are quite a few companies that have a battery stack that don’t have the same life span that these sonin does, just from the the Sheer approach of how it stores the power and how it kind of, you know, renews itself.

 

[00:26:51] So that’s quite innovative in and of itself for the longevity of the product. As a customer, choose to invest into a Sonin product. Correct.

 

[00:27:00] Yeah. So that has done a lot of great things with batteries, you know, integrating the battery technology and we use the safest and longest lasting lithium ion battery. So there’s a lot of lithium out there types, different type of chemistry. We use lithium ion phosphate, which is the safest bag that can be found on the market today. The beauty of using that is that is that we have the same vision in 2020 that our two founders had at the very beginning. We wanted to have the highest quality of product going into someone’s home, but we also need to have it the safest. So when people start talking about the, you know, the things that could happen with chemical fires and those types of things like that, our founders elect we can’t have any of that. So there’s a lot of investment that goes into the products that we use in our system because we didn’t you know, SONA does not want to be the responsible one for someone losing their livelihood, as you know, as their home. And so we put a lot of effort into what what goes into our product in our into the that’s the kind of chemistry we use. And also to is that we are testing these batteries constantly, both here and in our Germany, our home office in Germany. And we recycling these batteries more and more everyday than than what the required uses of it. And that’s how we can stand behind a 15 year, 15000 cycle warranty on our batteries.

 

[00:28:32] Impressive. Absolutely. Okay. So and so Laura and Jason and Josh, you alluded to your local presence just to kind of make sure on same page here. So your plant in Tucker, Georgia, is that know? That’s grown quite a bit. Is that your site, your headquarters for the U.S. division?

 

[00:28:52] Yeah, that’s our headquarters for the U.S. division. Okay. We are. Yeah, it’s. It houses all of our our benefaction operations support staff like finance, customer service and also to we have our engineering and research and development teams here as well.

 

[00:29:09] Okay. But but certainly Sonin is a global company. You just have a impressive footprint here in the states that’s headquartered here in Georgia. I want to make sure I was clear on that. Okay. So. So before we kind of go more broadly with our conversation, like we always love to do and get you weigh in on some of things you may be tracking. Let’s just wrap up on the Sonin story so you keep growing left and right. What’s next?

 

[00:29:35] Josh, the next thing is it just is engage in a lot of we’re actually you know, the subway system is actually and as you know, it’s a it’s a price point that not a lot of people Kater can meet right away. So that’s why we’re engaged with a lot of homebuilders and developers and big companies that are going to put this model into their footprint. So you know that people are not getting this expensive price tag, as some people seem with solar and storage combined. And in incorporating that with the cost of the home, it’s part of like a mortgage. So we are definitely working towards doing more of that. And then with doing that, we can expand our our virtual power plant model with our innovative technology and also to encompassing more home automation features with the product and being able to communicate with more devices and being able to isolate loads and to shift shift loads as needed as a as more more of our cost saving measures come into play.

 

[00:30:39] Mm-hmm. Mm-Hmm. Okay. What cash. So many things that you are involved in. Love, love the innovation and love the element of of making things better. So I really appreciate that, Josh.. Okay. So let’s go broader. Let’s you know, there’s no shortage of issues and topics and developments. I mean, Jason’s already touched on one that that took place this morning. And now this is this episode’s gonna publish in a couple weeks. So but but generally speaking, rather than, you know, when you get beyond news stories, Josh, and you think about issues that. Ah, across the manufacturing landscape, across and in Supply chain landscape, what one or two issues or topics are you tracking?

 

[00:31:22] One of the biggest issues that I that I track in the manufacturing world on a daily basis is just as feedback loop. So in the value chain where Sonin sits, where the manufacturer we sell to a distributor who sells doing installer who sells to a homeowner. So feedback loop is very critical for us as far as being an innovative company as Sonin is it to be able to go into every one of those levels of the value stream and understanding what improvements Sonin can make? Because right now we’re not you know, the product we have right now is not the product where we’re gonna have next year, the year after that, we’re going to constantly keep improving. But that feedback is what we need to understand, what the market wants and what what Sony can do to provide that for the market. And and being a part of it, of a technology company like that, I think that that’s always a an important, important thing is to get those feedbacks. And how does that feedback go back into product development, product design and in the in the in the manufacturer ability? How does that how does that all that process work? What is the timeframe and can.

 

[00:32:30] Can the customers live with what the current current features are while we wait for research and development to incorporate that project planning and get it over to manufacturing and start producing that. So those are the those are the types of things that were, you know, where we look at, you know, I’m I’m constantly every day looking at project timelines and looking at when our next products are are set to be released and what stages they’re in. And how does that how does that incorporate with with what I need to do and also to as I you know, I’m in the middle of everything as far as manufacturing going as far as R&D on one side and my supply chain on the other side. How do we how do we work those things in to get what engineering wants us to integrate in and how the supply chain can feed that into me and being able to deliver on a product on time every time and into into spec.. So there’s a lot of different things that go into the feedback loop that just that, you know, that centers around my daily, you know, my daily life here at Sonin.

 

[00:33:33] Mm-hmm. Well, you know, it’s got to be challenging as I’m hearing and and reconnecting with you in the sun and story. And as Jace, Jason and Lauren are kind of updating ourselves on all the things you are doing. I mean you are in a cutting edge space, right? The energy space, green energy space, and you’re constantly rolling out new systems and products. And that is, you know, we touched on earlier about how you love a good challenge. That has got to be a really challenging role that you play.

 

[00:34:06] Yeah, there’s a Maya, my team and I and my boss. We always talk about the time. There’s no shortage of challenges here at Sonin. So there’s always something new and exciting to come into to start up. You know, you go home on a Friday thinking, okay, I got these things to do on Monday when I come in and then and then when you come in it’s like, nope, we have to change. You know, we have to change on the fly and and make adjustments and do other things to to compensate for that. So there’s you know, there’s always a need for for adjustment and change and being able to be that.

 

[00:34:39] The great thing about working in SONA is a lot of folks here that are that understand that and can pivot with that change. And so that’s that’s important is is creating that culture where people can be dynamic and fluid and be understanding of what the changes of the need of the not only the company but the market are demanding.

 

[00:35:00] Mm-hmm. Okay. So before we make sure our listeners know how to learn more about Sonin and how to connect with you, anything else that really stands out?

 

[00:35:12] You know, obviously we’ve got the backdrop of the crunch of ours covered 19 whatever your your average like refer to it. That’s drawn everybody for a curve ball. And you know, here at Supply chain now we have we released a statement yesterday. You know, we take all of this very seriously.

 

[00:35:27] But we also know that we’re wanting to serve our audience with proper perspective on all things supply chain. Right. But any anything else, when you think about what’s taking place across the global manufacturing community, anything else? Got your attention right now, Josh? Oh, yeah.

 

[00:35:43] It’s just it’s just it’s it’s going to be interesting the next few months, you know, when we’re in March right now. And it’s going to be interesting, you know, seeing things come out. You know, the third and the fourth quarter and how, you know, this is gonna be a bullwhip effect of. Absolutely. You’re gonna be hitting us. Not now. And if people who are who feel, oh, I’m safe, I weathered the storm, it’s you know, you have to keep you have to keep looking at your plan, keep changing, keep updating and making sure that that everything is going to go as you plan, because if you just leave things to. It’s not going to happen, especially with the current global environment that we have now. So so it’s all it is is is is actively doing this every day of meeting and discussing not only supply chain issues, manufacturing issues, but also the market. And what is what is the market looking at with what do you know with the backlash of this this go global event?

 

[00:36:38] Great point. OK. Well put. All right. So Josh and Jason and Laura, I want to get you all to weigh in on just a second or a couple of things. But Josh, before we leave the Sonin story, how can folks connect with you or or learn more about Sonin?

 

[00:36:53] They can learn more about Sonin and you know and understand what we do and you know where to. You know, of course, the most important thing were to buy our product at Sonin USA dot com Sonin USA dot com. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. We’re very we we publish a lot of articles and different types of publications about our product and also what the industry is doing as well.

 

[00:37:17] Ok. Fantastic. Well, congratulations on the journey, on the recognition on own, how you are moving the needle. And we look forward to having you back on with the soon. Josh lubar, director of manufacturing operations with Sonin, which is obviously if you don’t know if you didn’t know, if you’re one of three people that know before before we kicked off this interview. Now, you know some of the cool things you’re doing in the energy storage and battery and system space. Good stuff. Thanks, Josh.. Thank you very much, Scott. You bet. All right. Stick around. As we kind of wrap up the the session here today, Jason and Lara. Holy cow. What an incredible story. A noble mission. No shortage of activity that that Sonin is leading in that space. So let’s get some, Lara. I want to get you to weigh in. When you are surveying the manufacturing landscape, what’s one thing that really sticks out? And one thing you are tracking right now?

 

[00:38:16] Thanks, Scott. Well, I think right now the biggest factor is relying heavily on relationships. So I think, you know, businesses right now are trying to determine what is the right next step to take with all of this, trying to take a deep breath and not panic. You know, as as Josh said, there is going to be a large bullwhip effect. But, you know, I think the biggest factor is you have built a strong supply chain. And while there may be, you know, kinks in it right now because of the slowness of products and the refocus of things, you’ve got to make sure that you’re reaching out and connecting with those that are important. You know, your customers and those that are supplying you to come up with strategies right now that are going to be beneficial. Yesterday they just announced, as so many people probably have heard, because it was a big question on the forefront is what is the IRS going to do for tax filing? Because in the middle of all of it, unfortunately, you, sir, you’re focusing on the numbers. You’re focusing on what’s happening with your cash flow situation right now and how you can best manage that.

 

[00:39:22] As you may be getting slower payments and from customers and things along those lines as everybody tries to understand the ripple effect. So the IRS just announced there won’t be a deferral on the timing of filing. But there are deferrals from an individual perspective, up to a million dollars in federal payments and for corporations, up to 10 million dollars in federal tax payments. Still waiting to get answers from all the states. But this was a big item out there. So just make sure you get in and get filed on time. I think a lot of manufacturers in the midst of it all have been very concerned from a financial perspective of what is the next thing that I should be keeping the eye ball on outside of, you know, what’s my revenue stream? So I think that and working through those relationships, relationships with people like me from a financial perspective are huge right now. You’ve built those and focus on those trusted advisor relationships.

 

[00:40:15] Great point. You know, if we’ve seen anything that some of the things we’ve been tracking is the various surveys out there, the different industry groups are conducting. And one of the common themes we’re seeing is how business leaders in the manufacturing space and others. One of the things that that’s really in demand is they’re looking for best practices. They’re looking for solid suggestions and what to do. And they’re also looking to better understand how other companies are navigating through the times that we’re we’re living in which, you know, not to sensationalize it. But there’s an element of what we’re doing right now and what we’re experiencing right now that is unchartered territory. So, you know, that’s why I’m really grateful that Josh and Jason and Laura have taken their time to offer up perspectives and help facilitate these these learnings and these insights from what’s going on in the space.

 

[00:41:08] So with all of that said, to bring Jason Moss back in, because if there’s anything Jason and. Georgia manufacturing alliance team is doing it, is helping to disseminate information and helping to get folks connected and helping them make better decisions. Jason, what’s give us a quick update from the Jimmy front.

 

[00:41:27] Well, I appreciate that, Scott, and thank you again for all that you’re doing in in the Supply chain and in leading the charge to make sure that the Supply chain community stays well connected. One of the things that Josh mentioned was, you know, being able to pivot with change. That’s one of things we all need to understand as a business we need to be able to do. And in some of the other other pieces that I took away from that and what Laura said is, you know, you did just Josh, you mentioned you always have to update your plan because it changes regularly right now. And the times that we’re facing, we definitely have to. We might have to reset some of the plans that we have on a daily basis. And it’s it’s some people are scared of change and some people love it. I tend to be on this latter half of that. I enjoy a challenge. And now we’ve got a great opportunity for me to get all out war. I think that’s pace, but hasn’t or as an organization is designed really to do face to face live events. And we’ve been doing, you know, all around the state for the past 12 years. Having to shift and pivot from a face to face format to a digital format has been been quite an undertaking. But we’re really excited to be able to continue to serve manufacturers around the state with the tools that we that we get.

 

[00:42:47] And Laura mentioned relationships, information and communication. I think those are the three key three key things that we all need to be working with and focus on. Make sure that we’ve got those solid relationships. We need to continue to cultivate those and grow and build new ones that are that are impactful information. We need to have current information. What’s going on and be able to learn best practices from each other and communication. Not only do we need to communicate peer to peer in this challenging time to learn best practices, but we got to really as leaders in the space, we have to make sure that we communicate with our employees, our teams and the people in our community and let them know what’s going on. Because, you know, you don’t know people nervous and concerned about what’s next. If you stay in open communication and keep that dialog go and people tend to have a lot more peace and comfort with that. So what we’ve done as an organization is we’ve shifted quite a quite a bit of the things that instead of doing, allow Face-To-Face events. You know, we’re we’re in day to now or day three now of our national restricted travel process. But so now we’re where we’ve gone to a complete digital platform. We’re doing interviews with key industry leaders. We’ve already interviewed top leaders from Daniel Defense and Leggett Platt and several other companies. We have those interviews of industry leaders talking about what they were doing in preparation and now working in interviewing industry leaders, having them share what they’re doing today as the Corona virus really unfolds and impacts more manufacturing.

 

[00:44:33] We’ve also launched a new program, which is for the people that really want to dig in and get some extra, extra information. We have a subscription program that allows industry professionals to be able to sit in on roundtable calls so that we can have a more direct conversation in a smaller group. So we’ve got calls set up for the SUPPLY CHAIN. We’ve got calls set up for finance. We’ve got calls set up for roundtables to talk about human resources again so that these folks can get together and a small group digitally share best practices and learn, you know, the interviews we’ve done so far, we’ve done. Yesterday we did a really cool interview. I mean, a roundtable for human resources. And tomorrow, which will be Thursday, we’re doing one for Barnier’s. When this when this show airs, you’ll be able to go back in and listen to those two. We’re keeping those on the front end so people can get a feel for what the roundtables, how they’re structured and what we do all the roundtables. But again, the more we dig in, try to provide, you know, real time information with industry leaders that are interested in sharing and learning from each other. Man, that’s you know, it’s magic.

 

[00:45:49] It’s fun to see how the pieces fit together way different than anything we’ve done in the past 12 years. I mean, up till two weeks ago, we had never been a webinar. So we’re done about drinking from a firehose, but we’re learning that technology at a rapid pace. But but but that’s what we need to do. I mean, we need to figure out how to best serve our our manufacturing communities and the leaders and give them. The tools to be able to be proactive and maybe look at some things that they they hadn’t considered. So we’re really excited about the opportunity to serve our community like we never have and continue to build those relationships. Although it may be digital, build those relationships. This gives us a get an opportunity to get sat outside of the state boundaries because UPS told in past twelve years, we’ve only served and really reached out to manufacturers in the state of Georgia. But with this digital platform, it gives us the opportunity to reach Nate nationally and internationally. So so that’s pretty cool. But I do want to I do want to take one other one other minute and share something that I saw this morning was the most amazing thing.

 

[00:46:59] My wife and I, 6:42 this morning we were having a cup of coffee talking to each other. And guess what I heard on News Channel 2, local news popped up and said Supply chain expert shares insights on how the supply chain is impacted with the coronavirus. Mr. Scott Luton is going to share with us his insights in Scott Ausland smile and his every hour shut man. I was so thrilled. It’s it’s really cold. You know, again, to be involved with year one these days. And we’ll see if I can track you down as coronavirus gets by and we’ll come back, get another autograph from you, because you know that a celebrity we have in our midst got seriously ill on the serious side of it. Congratulations. And I appreciate, you know, you get this recognition because of all the hard work that you’ve been putting in in this space for years and get him back. So so my hat’s off to you, brother. Keep up the great work. And I’m just thrilled to be a part of this.

 

[00:47:51] Wow. Jason, thanks so much. You know, great content leads, a great shows and great partners and great contributors and great leaders. And that’s what we have here on this show. Between the incredible things Josh has spoken to that Sonin is leading to what Jason Lara doing, the impacts are making. I mean, it’s a it’s a unique time and and it’s an honor to rub elbows with folks like you all and really appreciate the last hour because, you know, folks need business doesn’t stop, right? Business has got to figure out a way how to lead and to break through these challenges and help pool. I mean, frankly, not to be dramatic, but pull the world through. So I appreciate y’all’s dispositions and your commitment to doing just that. And Josh, we look forward to having you back on the show and appreciate what Sonin does. Okay. What we didn’t do is make sure, of course, folks know where to find Soane and how can folks find Laura. Let’s start with you. How can folks connect with you?

 

[00:48:53] All right. Well, I am super active on LinkedIn and most of the social media sites, so you can certainly find me there and connect with me there. Otherwise, you can hit my Web site at my firm’s Web site, which is h.l B GROSS Colins dot com.

 

[00:49:07] And all of my contact information is there. We while we might not be physically in our office, we are constantly running around and doing a ton of digital meetings and things with our clients. So please reach out to me and be happy to help in any way I can in this kind of crazy time right now.

 

[00:49:24] It is Sheer is. Appreciate that, Laura. Jason, same question.

 

[00:49:28] Yeah, really. We’ve got lots of ways to connect. The easiest way is by email. Send support at Georgia manufacturing dot com. We do have a course. Take a look at our web site Georgia manufacturing alliance dot com and the roundtables that I was talking about just a minute ago. You can find those on manufacturing news network that com manufacturing news network dot com. We’ll give you insights on what’s going on not just in the state of Georgia, but globally in the manufacturing space. And feel free to give us a call at our office anytime as well. The girls, we’ve sent the girls on to work, but I’m still in the office. So if you to reach out to us, feel free to give us a ring at 7 7 0 3 3 8 0 0 5 1. And we’d love to chat with you about anything. Manufactory Outstanding.

 

[00:50:18] We’ve got CNN and now we’ve got em in then. I love it. Jason Good stuff. All right. So to our audience, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation as much as certainly I have just so many different things, some great things, innovative things that business leaders are doing despite the circumstances here. To our audience, be sure to check out our upcoming events at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. We have a variety of in-person and a lot more virtual events coming up with partners around the world. There’s something you can’t find a reach out. Our chief marketing officer at Amanda at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Of course, you can finance an Apple podcast, SoundCloud all although leading sites where podcasts can be found. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. On behalf the entire team here, big thanks to Josh Lebar, director of manufacturing operations at Sonin, Jason Maule, CEO of the Georgia manufacturing alliance and Laura Manager, Askey Principal and Leader. The manufacturing, distribution and supply chain practice at H. Elby GROSS collins’ really appreciate their support for helping us get these insights out on behalf. This entire team Scott Luton here wishing you a wonderful week ahead. Persevere. Don’t panic. We’re gonna break through and we’re gonna see next time here on Supply chain thinks about.

Featured Guests

Joshua Lebarre is the Director of Manufacturing Operations for Atlanta-based Sonnen, Inc., a global leader in residential energy storage. Before working for Sonnen, Joshua served in the US Navy as a non-nuclear mechanic aboard the submarines USS Jefferson City and USS Salt Lake City. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Management and Supply Chain Operations and a Master’s in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach. Joshua’s professional development also included seven years in the aerospace industry at Moog Aircraft Group, working in the Production and Supply Chain departments. His contributions to Sonnen include bringing product manufacturing in-house, relocating manufacturing operations from California to Atlanta, and building a company culture centered on safety, quality, and career advancement.

Laura Madajewski, CPA, MBA is a Principal in the Audit and Advisory department of HLB Gross Collins, P.C. She leads the firm’s Manufacturing and Distribution Practice, as well as the ERISA Practice of the firm. She has extensive experience helping clients improve controls, strengthen management, enhance governance roles and oversight and streamline operations through diligence to facilitate positive changes and growth for her clients’ operations. As a trusted advisor, she gets to know each client in order to provide a customized approach to their assurance and accounting needs. In her spare time, Laura enjoys charitable and volunteer roles throughout the Atlanta and North Fulton communities supporting various initiatives. She also is an avid barbeque fan and enjoys judging contests as a Kansas City Certified BBQ judge. Learn more about HLB Gross Collins here: https://hlbgrosscollins.com/

Jason Moss  is Founder and CEO of the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance (GMA). The organization is the fastest growing community of industry professionals in the state. Since 2008, GMA has provided the premier platform for manufacturing leaders to form strategic alliances, share best business practices, and make profitable business connections. GMA now has six chapters across the state that are facilitated by volunteer chapter directors. The organization’s staff and Chapter Directors work together to identify quality manufacturers, coordinate plant tours, and provide educational workshops in their regions. Each month GMA provides at least 5 plant tours where others can learn best business practices from their peers. Learn more about the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance here: https://www.georgiamanufacturingalliance.com/

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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.

Patch Reilly

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Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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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.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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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.

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Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Host of TEKTOK

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With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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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.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
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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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jada Carson

Marketing Coordinator

Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back!  She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator.  Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

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.

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