“Once upon a time, the ability to work from home was a nice to have. Now it’s going to be mandatory whether the employees demand it or expect it. And so if you’re going to do that, you need technology.”
-Dan Reeve, US Director of Sales and Business Development for Esker
Companies are faced with a number of challenging decisions to make as they deal with the continued fallout from COVID-19. Should we change our product mix? Push our payment terms? Bring back some of the contingent or part time workers we furloughed to be able to handle an anticipated uptick in customer demand?
Although certainty is a rarity in business today, one thing is for sure: companies can’t answer any of the above questions without access to data and analytics. Dan Reeve is the US Director of Sales and Business Development for Esker where he helps companies streamline and improve visibility across order to cash and procure to pay.
In this conversation, Dan shares what he has learned during the COVID-19 disruptions with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:
Amanda Luton (00:05):
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia, heard around the world. Supply chain now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now welcome back to the show on today’s episode. So as the economic effects of this crisis come into focus and the immediate risks to a supply chain have been identified, how can supply chain leaders begin preparing for not only the longterm, but prepared to design a resilient supply chain for the future? We’re going to be gaining insights own just that from an expert in the space. Stay tuned as we look to increase your supply chain leadership at ACU. Quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. All right, when welcome in my esteemed fearless co-host for today’s show, Greg white cereal supply chain, tech entrepreneur and trust advisor. Greg, how you doing?
Dan Reeve (01:17):
I’m doing great. I’m really looking forward to this conversation.
Scott Luton (01:21):
You know, we’ve had a conversation around automation and tools that are going to be necessary and how companies are recognizing what’s going to be necessary coming out of this seismic societal disruption. That’s right now the new normal certainly ahead and speaking for all of us. We can’t wait to get there for sure. Uh, but you know, Greg, there’s going to be a lot of assessing that did work that didn’t work in global supply chain in the weeks and months to come. Right? Undoubtedly that’s exactly what people are going to be assessing and I think they’re going to find pretty universally that if it was on paper, manually done or in, in a spreadsheet, it didn’t work. We needed too quick of a response. We needed to sustainable of a response and we needed the data to be captured and gathered to learn anything from it.
Scott Luton (02:10):
As times were changing so fast. Well put. Well, we’re going to get a head start on that conversation and that assessment in today’s episode. So with no further ado, the squall come in. Our featured guests here today, Daniel Reeb, director of business development with Esker, a wildly recognized leader in AI driven process automation software all around the world. Dan, how are you doing?
Dan Reeve (02:33):
I’m great. Thanks for having me. No, by understanding what’s worked and what didn’t work, this is really the perfect time for businesses to focus on digital transformation by realizing then that the necessities that are accelerating it. Right?
Dan Reeve (02:47):
Sure. I mean, I think one of the things that’s interesting is I think we all went through that. The shocker norm, that was a period of a month. There were many companies, everything on hold and took a breath, but what’s interesting in certain the last couple of weeks, last three, four weeks, we’ve had VPs of supply chain CIO has come back or go ahead with projects and I’ve been encouraging my staff to say, Hey, come on, ask why are you doing this project now? Because many, many, many projects have been stalled or delayed. Why are you doing this? We’ve had some recently, a chemical company came and said, look, we’re doing this because in their case they want to automate the capture of orders come into their business. They get orders through a variety of methods, CDI, XML, Papap and PDFs, and they said, this is part of a digital transformation.
Dan Reeve (03:32):
We were doing a project because not only do we think it saves money, it makes us more effective in front of the customer. We provide better customer experience, but actually we want to prove we can still do digital project. Especially right now, it gives, it gives the organization a morale boost. This was just the start of the many things that we were going to do. They had a whole digital transformation plan, so I’m excited. As painful as it has been, and I’m sure it will be for a bit, I think it’s, it’s really gonna light up a lot of CIO supply chain leaders, business leaders to the idea of, well actually we can innovate you and let’s go on to say don’t waste a good crisis. I mean, I don’t mean to be contrite when I say that, but clearly there’s opportunity for us to get better at what we do.
Scott Luton (04:13):
Love that perspective. And we’re going to dive into a lot more of what Dan Reeve has to say. I’m about automation, innovation and digital transformation, but for starters, Dan, we want to back all the way up and we want to make sure that folks get a chance to get to know you a little bit better. For starters, tell us a little bit more about yourself, where you’re from and give us, give us a goods on your upbringing a little bit there. Dan.
Dan Reeve (04:36):
So I’m from Norridge England, which is is similar to Wisconsin and I spent five years living in Wisconsin too. So it’s flat. It’s very much farm, farm country. And I was just, you know, keen. I grew up, couldn’t wait to join the military and get out of there. And you know the yes, age four there was a point where I nearly ejected out of a fighter jet. My dad was working on the jet and I was busy up in the cockpit trying to see where that yellow and black handled it, pulling at it, trying to get it to do to come loose. And the supply chain officers saw actually the maintenance and supply chain officer. So what I was doing and yell, get out, get out of that jet. So I was always a curious type of individual good at breaking stuff and not putting it back together.
Scott Luton (05:16):
Wow. In January at heart. That’s right. Absolutely. Well, let’s switch gears a little bit. Uh, now that we understand, you know, how to operate jet aircraft at age four, and let’s talk more about your professional journey. Now, as we’ve shared in the warmup, you’re a bit of a anomaly. I can say that three times. Uh, you know, a lot of folks have had a variety of roles, but you’ve been with escrow for over 20 years. So tell us more about that journey, uh, within the escort organization and some of the critical roles that have helped shape your worldview a bit.
Dan Reeve (05:48):
Yeah. So I, um, I joined sq. And my intent was I wanted to join a company that would give me a good five or six years as a foundation, um, in enterprise selling. And in the background, I still had my, my, my military reserve career for 12 years in both the British army and the national guard. They learned me to the national guard for a couple of years when I came to America. So I was predominantly working with clients who were running systems like Oracle, SAP, and I mean nowadays, any ERP and what was going on is first I’ve worked in, they let me loose in Holland and Scandinavia were paying for me to go over there. That was fun. And then, um, I was selling all across Europe and the UK and a lot of two thirds of my career. I, um, I wanted to go and work in Sydney.
Dan Reeve (06:33):
They gave me Madison, Wisconsin. But that was okay. Now I became a, a pack of fan. The met my wife in the corn maze. Life was good. So, but we were predominantly so, um, providing solutions to supply chain leaders and CEOs. You know, I, I like to see people say, what are you guys do? And I like to say, well, we are, we free up customer service reps, finance and accounts payable reps and credit credit collection reps to go and be rock stars. We free up their time so they can provide more value to suppliers and customers in the supply chain and the finance operation basically.
Speaker 4 (07:06):
So that’s a really interesting perspective because what we’re going to see is more and more companies doing more and more automation of so many of these jobs. I think elevating the current human capital that’s performing these jobs to hire meaningful, uh, less meaning, less menial type jobs and, and allowed, I think the type of solutions that you all deliver to tackle some of that repetitive type work. So, you know, as we think about what Esker does and, and, um, how it can help companies solve certain problems. I love to ask this question and that is, I would say in my office, Dan, but nobody’s in their office right now. But if I’m at my home or I’m walking down the hall and I’ve got a pain or I’ve got some key words going through my head, what are those key words that would have me a leader, a decision maker? Say I think Esker is who I need to talk to.
Dan Reeve (08:06):
One of the keys, I think the pains that many companies are suddenly had forced upon them is treasurers and CFOs are thinking, is my runway long enough? Can I land this organization on the other side of this gap has come up. We’ve got to make sure we’re getting our cashflow in. We can’t necessarily suddenly increase or maybe even maintain revenue at what we were getting. We can make sure that we, you know, go and collect our money in a timely fashion. We know which companies might pay a little bit slower cause if they predominantly serving the restaurant industry, could they be at risk. So there’s kind of some elements of us of what we do. They on overseeable side of the business order to cash. If folks are trying to, um, if they’re looking at it saying, Oh, go do testing the service reps well, are they really adding value by punching in orders right now?
Dan Reeve (08:55):
Are they differentiating themselves right now? And here’s one of the things we really are seeing. We may have furloughed some of our temporary staff that were responsible for processing orders. What’s gonna happen when, when the, when, when things do pick up a little bit and we start getting more volume, suddenly we’re going to be working harder. We bar SLES might, might not be whether you should be classic one for the CFO is Hey, we buy stuff. I can’t see what people are buying. Especially now that people are all at home, they’re buying things. I don’t know what they’re buying and if we are buying, we should pay them quickly because I’d like, or I’d like to know, negotiate, maybe move all those contracts and get better spend management or at least like to know is there an opportunity to get paid earlier because those suppliers, some of those would take an early payment discount if we paid them quicker. Maybe I’d like to know if we’ll have a better insight as to do I want to take advantage of that or not.
Speaker 4 (09:48):
And that’s a difficult navigation to do without all of the data available. Right. And I think we, we often as human beings miss that because we’re doing our day job, you know, so many times I’m responsible for X and you’re responsible for Y and we never cross paths to collaborate on something like that or cross pollinate. So tell us a little bit about what you do there at Esker. What is your role and how do you spend your day or how do you spend your days when you’re working? Well, you know, when I don’t have my feet up
Dan Reeve (10:23):
and drinking a cup of tea and joined a biscuit, you know, the reality is I look after the field sales team. I’ve got about 30 folks and to a couple of great managers that lead those teams. So my job really is to try and support those folks. And a lot of it is, is not just selling and pushing your product. I mean, I think we’re always trying to understand what is the, what is the value for the customer? What are they trying to do? What, how does this tap into the big picture? Because that allows me to say, okay, well can other industries benefit from this? Can we improve and add this to our roadmap? So I believe predominately I’m a sales guy, I lead the field sales organization, but I do believe I have a dotted line to product management to say, okay, this is what the market is asking for. The VP supply chain is trying to compete or trying to get through service or the VP supply chain CIO, trying to bring new people on board and give them tools to these people. We’ll let you stay and do and stay within customer service or supply chain. These, the, the job is a bit more interesting to the technologies and boring and ugly and they don’t want to use it. But my job is to sort of convey that message back to Esker because yes, it probably leads to more sales but also helps us develop and evolve.
Speaker 4 (11:38):
Yeah. You know, had a few technology companies myself and one thing I’ve seen is that the sales reps are on the frontline and you have to translate so often what we’re saying in the marketplace into what we’re actually delivering on the desktop
Scott Luton (11:54):
or in the browser. Right. And the sales rep see and hear that firsthand because they get the, no, we’re not going to go with it because we thought it did this or yes, we, we want it. And we’d also like it to do that in, you know, in order to expand our business, your business with us. Lot of good stuff. And we’re going to shift gears here and dive more into your, your thought leadership and your insights around three key phases here, Dan, the pre pandemic, right? The current state and then what we’re all all looking forward to getting into as soon as we can post pandemic or as gardeners referring to the aftermath. So let’s dive into the first one first. So up, up first, what were some of the automation trends that you were seeing private too prior to the covert 19 environment? Dan?
Dan Reeve (12:48):
Um, so I think CIO’s supply chain leaders working to improve the Omni channel experience. They were looking, and if I come this down a little bit, you know I’m, I told you on the farm book, by the way, I told you I was a farm boy from Norfolk, England, so I’ve got to speak in as best as best I can. I think what we saw is they were saying, okay, well I want to get orders in quickly, efficiently work out if it’s a change, make it easy for the customer and compete through service that was going on. Companies were looking to do perfect order or get as close to perfect order as they could. They were looking to compete through a, you know, real. In fact, some of our customers had told us they were doing this as they were, Hey, we can, we can detect rush orders, we could detect an order needs to get to a certain or go through a certain DC or there’s a cutoff approaching.
Dan Reeve (13:41):
We can dynamically detect all that stuff before an order orders even been fed into the ERP system or we can detect that order. That’s not been touched yet, that there’s key items or products or before somebody even got to it, feed that into our supply chain. So even though we haven’t fulfilled the order, we can sniff, we’ve got a sense of what’s needed. And I think that, you know what’s interesting is some of the CIO is, I worked with here in Denver before was saying, man it’s, it’s tough. W w we’re actually having to go and hire recruitment recruiting organizations to help us find supply chain staff and even customer service staff because the economy is doing so well. We can’t find those folks. By worry I hear that a lot of folks have been furloughed or or Mike get let go and now it’s like, okay well people are still going to have to do that work. Cause often you get the same number of orders but maybe you don’t get as the same, the same number of lines or the price that you’re open. So I think things are probably going to change. But there are some companies out there saying, well, we think we’ll still have growth or we’ll get back to similar where we were. We can’t just go out and suddenly highlights people. That’s just not going, not gonna work.
Speaker 4 (14:52):
You know, this, that’s not a dissimilar story to what we saw during the great recession, right around 2008 or so. Uh, you made me think Dan, of, uh, of, uh, one of my neighbors owns a big plumbing supply distributor ship and they lost a chunk of business of course, because the housing market was hit very hard, but then they gained it all back, but they didn’t, they weren’t able to gain all of their staff back. So they wound up doing more orders with smaller customers, you know, and their customer mix changed as well. More more orders with smaller customers, with fewer people for the same amount of volume as they were doing before. And it was, uh, straining on their staff to say the least. So I can see where as the work dynamic changes and, and it will change for the next several years. Right. As the work dynamic changes, people will be constantly evolving how they approach various processes within their company.
Dan Reeve (15:55):
I think this was going on anyway, but I think this, this exercise that we’re going through right now, unfortunately it’s just, it’s in many ways it’s turning a flashlight or a torch into processes and parts of the organization and exposing them. I mean even for example, on the finance side, you know, you still gotta pay invoices. You still gotta pay checks to suppliers. I can, I know for a fact many of our customers had said, nobody wants to go in your office and pick up that paper and I know that my controller says, I don’t like to do it then, but I’ve got to do it. But then that’s fueling us even as an organization, but said, right, you know what? After this, my cor has said contractually, when we sign up with suppliers, we’ll say to them, you have to let us pay you electronically or you have to send us your, your invoices to us will have to be sent to us electronically because we don’t want to be, if we do have a similar situation like this or if we have to lock down again, but we can’t be, we can’t be doing this again.
Dan Reeve (16:50):
And I think that’s probably a sentiment that will apply to many companies, many business processes once we, you know, I think you already see them starting to think about that now.
Speaker 4 (17:00):
Well, so you kind of rolled right into how things were, I think, and I agree with you by the way, Dan, that that a lot of these evaluations were underway and this pandemic and societal disruption was a catalyst for making some changes that were coming. Anyway. I’m interested because you guys are seeing it every day still, right? What are some of the risks or performance concerns or even excesses that you’re seeing being exposed in the, in the midst of this pandemic? Right.
Dan Reeve (17:38):
If I go back to the supply chain side, I think what I’ve seen is, um, some of our customers have said to us, Hey, we, you know, we’ve changed the SLA, we’ve lowered our SLA that we can offer. Customers always said to customers, we’re not going to take any RMA requests right now because we need to focus on certain core areas. And um, that’s just how we’re going to have to operate for a little bit of time. Now I think, you know, this does make me think a bit about another side of our business is supply information management. There was talk before this event and now I think this is getting ramped up. One of the things that the finance department and procurement often Baker over is well, who’s going to onboard new suppliers? Who’s to make sure that they are, they’re not a restaurant business.
Dan Reeve (18:20):
They’ve been through training, they’re insured, we’ve got the right bank accounts. I was listening to a webcast yesterday, um, and they were talking about the risk, the likelihood of fraud is increasing. Maybe, you know, some employees will be in a difficult situation. Perhaps the partner has been laid off or furloughed just maybe a chance that it’s more likely to happen. What we’ve seen is a lot of it was going on before, it seems to re picked up in the last five weeks for us is a lot of companies saying, okay, I want an easy mechanism where we can vet and onboard suppliers faster because you know what, we may have one or two small or really important strategic suppliers, but we might not be able to rely on those folks only or what if they go pop. Then what? That’s a big risk to our supply chain.
Dan Reeve (19:05):
So what I’ve been hearing is a lot of companies saying suddenly we need to onboard more suppliers to have more, more to spread our risk, but we cannot rely on the prior processes where it could take 30 days and for different requests or the supplier, the procurement, finance, and everybody else just finally get a supply over the line. That has to accelerate. Now both because we might be trying to look for new opportunities to save money when we buy goods and services. But I think we see a lot of, lot of it is we want to lower our risk for a variety of reasons and having more suppliers might help do that.
Speaker 4 (19:42):
It’s been a topic of some significant discussion that companies should diversify their, their sourcing, right? Meaning I’ve heard all sorts of terms, but the one that sticks in my mind is China plus one or China plus two or whatever, but whatever that is the necessity to mitigate that risk through multiple sourcing channels is, is one, but it does, as you said, in addition to the other economic conditions that your workforce might be going through, that opens you up to quality and fiscal and fraud risk as well, having a more diverse plier platform. All right, so coming out of this, and we all hope we’re coming out of this soon, right? As you look right word, what would, what is a primary bit of advice you would offer for helping helping companies strengthen their capabilities with automation, with process or whatever to to prepare for what’s inevitable and in terms of the
Dan Reeve (20:48):
next shock or disruption to the workplace? You know, that’s an interesting point because whether it’s covert or other things, I do think some of the, I use this exercise to write a couple of blogs and I’m there. It was a Greg excuse to go back and talk to a lot of CFOs, CEOs that we work with and reconnect with them and there was a point in there, you know, someone said, I’ve rested and you had the conversation down because I’m getting millions of emails more than I ever do. Inequities at home, just sending emails. I did come away with this appreciation that many CIO is looking at this saying this or something else could happen again. I probably will. I think most in a, I’ve seen some studies that 60% of CEOs expect something like this to happen again in the short or medium term.
Dan Reeve (21:32):
So I think certainly enabling, there was a point in the past where customer service folks could do order acquisition, do order entry from home perhaps as a perk. Well, I think you’re going to see, and we’ve put it already, many of the reports that talk about after this employees would perhaps either expect or you or you as an organization might want to have shifts where you allow some of you, your teams to work from home a few days a week. I could even see companies saying, you know what, every August, like our European colleagues, and I say that with tongue in cheek. So I worked for a French company. Every August we’ll work from home as a dr exercise, we’ll test that we can do this or all back at back office staff, all those involved in auto management, finance, receivables and collections. We’ll test this out.
Dan Reeve (22:17):
So I think that once upon a time the ability to work from home was a nice to have. Now it’s going to be a mandatory whether the employees demand it, expect it. I think that business is going to look at it as is sort of, Hey we need to prepare for this. And so if you’re going to do that, well you need technology, not just our technology, but you know, you can then use various technologies to ensure you can get approvals on board vendors to process your orders, um, and identify any orders that need to get, need special instructions or does it need to go be routed through a certain DC cause your normal DCS got down, can recognize for our, I mean one of the things is recognized priority skews. Some companies right now, I’ll give you an example. So very relevant example. You know, we’re proud to be helping out via via manufactured ventilators.
Dan Reeve (23:06):
So one of the things they’re doing is they yes, they’re folks working from home. Yes. They said, right, we need to prioritize because we’ve got to get ventilators offense later parts that that’s not all they do, but that’s a key component of what they do. Well, we need to focus on sniffing in the orders. Coming in, prioritizing those orders, getting those orders to the area of the country that need those things as the most, well that’s sort of, I think what we learned, our ability to shift and pivot whether there’s a pandemic going or not. I think people we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll be looking to take advantage of those, those abilities to move quickly on the fly in the future. Yeah, I think that’s going to be critical. We likely
Speaker 4 (23:46):
not have a situation where the entirety of commerce is essentially shut down across the planet. But I think, and Dan, I’d love to get your feedback on this. I think we have been ignoring the risks. Many of the risks that we have faced every day and simply has. Our friend Mike Griswold from Gardner says, we have been, uh, rewarding the arsonists rather than preventing the fires. We have been working really hard to overcome these sort of crises and disruptions, not nearly of this scale that happened all the time. Rather than really doing a risk assessment and creating a risk management process that helps to prevent or effectively recover from what may be a great multitude of these disruptions in the future.
Scott Luton (24:36):
If I can chime in here, uh, Dan, um, uh, our enjoyed your comments earlier about options for getting discounts, uh, if if folks pay on time or early and, and uncovering those options. Um, along those lines when it comes to suppliers and vendors and what have you, if you could speak to two things that you’re observing. First off organizations, not only checking on existing vendors, but really looking to onboard new vendors faster than ever. Speak to that need and then also want you to speak to, if you would, Dan, the incredible importance that exists, uh, and, and will certainly exist moving forward about making sure your, your strategic suppliers are critical suppliers, not only keeping them, but ensuring that they’re, they’re stable and, and they’re healthy from a business standpoint. Speak to those two points if you would.
Dan Reeve (25:30):
I have to be honest. I can, I think I can only go so far. I’m not necessarily an expert here, but why, what I will say is what we see. I can base it on what we see. So definitely an uptick, uptick in folks showing interest in supplier information management and order to vet suppliers. And I think that isn’t just, are those suppliers financially stable, you know, and you can do checks or we could do checks based on, um, you know, dun and Bradstreet and others, but also okay are the, um, you know, various other third party, um, solutions that sort of tell you, okay, well, geo politically or the other in the right location. And I’m sure my friend, he, um, he’s a head of sales over selestica. We’ve been talking, you said, yeah, it has been, you know, one of the top, top three outsource manufacturing companies in the world.
Dan Reeve (26:18):
And he said, look, we’ve seen tons of even before this and now it’s accelerated. Tons of folks saying, well, let’s, let’s diversify our supply chain. Look at nearshore, look at Mexico. We’ll look at other plus two years. You were saying, you know, other facilities in, in, in Asia, let’s, let’s do that. Let’s work with Scholastica to maybe create a new operation on our end. What we’re seeing is what I think is going to happen, what we’ve been reading about is companies moving their backend, throw, assess like the shared service and establishing a shared service. Maybe it’s closer to home and I think we may well see possibly, maybe not immediately, you know, but we may see more jobs coming ever closer to the U S or even back to the U S from a backend perspective. I the folks that receive the orders, processing the orders, do some planning, chasing the cash, et cetera.
Dan Reeve (27:04):
So I can’t give you too much on on that supply information management, other than I know that, no, not everybody’s going to pay the suppliers early. I realize that there’s a liquidity crunch out there, folks. I think what we see is treasurers and CFOs wants to know through my buying off, can I save some money if I, if I consolidate the spend and can I see who’s more likely to take an early payment discount and should we, you know, do we want to take advantage of that or not? Maybe we want to sit on a cash or maybe we want to pay them early, but pay them using a third party provider of that money, not necessarily off their own books. So that’s some of the stuff we see going on.
Scott Luton (27:41):
Clearly based on the conversations and the blogs and, and the folks who are reaching out to, uh, you’ve got your finger on the pulse of a lot of movers and shakers industries and you know, a lot of senior, especially the CEOs who are so involved in these digital transformations that have been taking place and those, that, that will be taking place or those that will be picking up the pace, uh, to get more traction in the months ahead. Right.
Dan Reeve (28:06):
Yeah. I’ve actually, I mean, I won’t lie to you, let’s be honest, in the first two weeks I decided to go and write some blogs because what happened on our end is this, I had some large manufacturing companies, one of them here in Denver deployed our technology across the world and then said, Oh, we’re going to stall the project for the U S and I said, why isn’t that? Is their money thing. They said, no, we don’t know how to deploy technology and innovate. It will be successful at a time when everybody’s suddenly working from home. And that prompted me to say, okay, I’m going to write a blog. I’m going to go and interview lots of CEOs and consultants, system integrators and say, okay, well how do we do this? I don’t think we can just stop and lay down our tools and wait it out.
Dan Reeve (28:43):
I think we’re still gonna have to, you know, take some precautions. We plan ahead. And so what I decided to do is that gave me an excuse to go and talk to lots of these customers who’ve worked with and say, okay, what do you think we should do once your ideas, you know, is it more training, more testing, deploy technology and smaller bite size chunks. More use of zoom calls to make sure that you can see your people are struggling with the technology and have the buy in business unit leaders give their people more time to actually test. Because let’s be honest, you don’t have a train stood right next to you. It can be a bit harder to understand technology. Yeah. I used it as an excuse. It was, it was my savior for a week or two there cause I was like, well what are we going to do?
Dan Reeve (29:19):
But what was interesting is this, I say this to anyone, anybody who oversees the sales function, it was easier to connect with customers then I think it’s been at any point in the last 10 years because I was able to pick up the phone and get through to CIO, CFOs and some senior folks because suddenly everyone’s at home and maybe they won’t meet. I mean I think it was accurate. People were working a lot, two or three hours longer at night, but it was possible to pick the phone and talk to people. And if there’s ever any silver lining come through this exercise. For me that was, I enjoyed the reconnection with people.
Speaker 4 (29:48):
That’s interesting that you say that, Dan, because I have a daughter who sells technology as well and she has experienced exactly the same thing and they’re actually quite interested in talking because there’s not a whole lot going on in some businesses as well. So interesting. I think that some of the social dynamics that we’re starting to see come to the fore. Hey, I have a question for you because what you said prompted me to think about a discussion we had earlier today when, again, when we were talking with Mike from, from Gartner, and that was around supply chain visibility. It seems like there’s a stronger than ever need for supply chain visibility to understand what’s going on in your supply chain and in an outside of your enterprise. Can you tell, share with us a little bit about what you’ve heard or seen or expect to see around that?
Dan Reeve (30:40):
Actually, I’ll go back a decade because it’s a similar story, but we have a different driver right now. I think if I go back 10 years ago, we did a project with Kimball furniture and many of us will have used their desks and chairs and back then what they said is right. What we’re trying to do is move from, I think they were number five or four in the market. We want to get to number three. I said, how you can do that? Well, we’re going to deliver product faster than anybody else. We’re going to optimize warehouse, DC’s, supply chain technology, and to use an expression that you know from from the British army, when an order came in, they wanted that order to get processed at the speed of a thousand dissolves really fast and so they wanted to compete through customer experience. They wanted the customer to go, wow, that was quick.
Dan Reeve (31:20):
You delivered faster than I expected. It was almost like they were thinking Jeff bees off Amazon like before we got all used to buying everything off Amazon. So I think that’s going to go on again now, which is now there’s the companies want early detection of key skews and quantities and they want to know if there’s a problem with the order. Is this a change order? What’s going on? I think people want advanced visibility of what’s being ordered so they can quickly make decisions of Oh well we need to, I can’t get it from that DC. Okay, we’re going to have to ship it from here or, or talk to a different supplier. And I think you can ask her for a minute. I think other vendors like this, I know Brock Johns at garden does a lot of research on um, supply chain management software.
Dan Reeve (31:59):
I mean, I think that people like four kites, I think is one of the good product out there. Now that we have any affiliation with them bumping people talk, well, I could imagine that people are going to look at not just what orders are coming in, but once you’ve got them, where are we going to get them? How long is it going to say if any one of these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle gets upset? What’s our impact? So yeah, I think our job is we can help give visibility of what’s coming in, but then there’s loads of stuff that happens after you’ve got that order. Then what happens in terms of manufacturing it, sourcing it. Are there any delays in shipping or you know, what other factors have made them thinking about it?
Speaker 4 (32:30):
Gartner keeps coming up here. Uh, and then we all know that they’re the Gartner top 25 supply chain rankings are coming out in a few weeks. That’ll be interesting. As always, it is each year, uh, as a look
Scott Luton (32:40):
at some large global enterprise companies and what they’re doing to move their, their supply chain organizations and overall business forward. You know, along those lines. Dan let, let’s talk about, uh, some of your key observations related to current and ongoing Gardner research. So, you know, related to the global pandemic, what key takeaways from Gardner do you find the most important to consider? For our audience.
Dan Reeve (33:02):
John have been talking and many of us have been to the gardener events in Arizona. We’ll have heard Gordon say innovate in the turns. Now they’ve got, you can just Google this and find white papers out there that talk about how companies in the last downturn, even though I think only four for one 50 companies did this would actually go and spend money in investments in technology and process improvement. They said, you know, there’s going to be so much pressure on you to stop innovating, to pause that did that checks and then at that point was if you followed a lot of the fortune 500 companies that did make those investments, they all outperformed their peers over the following decade. You know, that’s easy. You might say, I can read that. That sounds great, but for me, what’s been two stories? I’ve literally had, CIO is getting such a risk in the last few weeks and I won’t say who they are, but they’ve come and said, I want to innovate.
Dan Reeve (33:51):
I want to collect my money faster. I want to beat, use this as an opportunity to beat the competition. That’s their words or what they wrote in an email. Because you know, clearly they look, I think they’re keen on protecting the vet companies and taking care of their staff. They compete and they have jobs and they realize right nine is no news. This is an opportunity that since it probably all of us feel a need to innovate and improve and not keep operating as we did because you know, we’ve all got families to take care of too. So I think, I think many of the things that go on to say I really appreciate, cause I’m actually when I see it then with CEO’s and CFO’s coming back and saying, well yeah ultimately we don’t want, we want to improve our day sales outstanding, our collections efficiency. We want to outperform the competitors.
Scott Luton (34:36):
And, and you know, part of the silver lining of the dark cloud that, that, that has been the pandemic environment has been the uplifting stories, innovation stories. You know, you’re talking about the organization that makes ventilators earlier that y’all work with to see automotive companies. And other companies that don’t make ventilators figure out how to do it so they can throw their weight behind the fight against COBIT 19. Undoubtedly, while that’s a meaningful impact, fulfill good story today, it undoubtedly will lead to real innovation down the road that will make businesses smarter, brighter, more innovative that ultimately all consumers will benefit from. So that’s, you know, Greg, you and I have had that conversation a thousand times in recent weeks moving at the speed of a thousand Gazelles. Through those conversations, despite these troubling times, companies are going to innovate to solve problems old and new. Right? Well, and we’ve seen so many companies who are doing exactly, Dan, what you said, and that is they’re using this time to prove they can do it. So many of them are using this as a leverage point for their
Speaker 4 (35:37):
technology organizations to augment the tool sets that they’ve got or conduct a digital transformation. Technology companies are, are enhancing their tech. Maybe you all are too. Uh, because the slowed pace of everyday business actually allows the acceleration of the technology organizations to do what they do. They’ve got more access to the people with knowledge. And those are, you know, some of your salespeople, Dan, those are product management people. Those people hat are more accessible and they can catalyze some of the transformations that companies want to make in these technology areas. It’s a really interesting dynamic.
Dan Reeve (36:19):
Well, I agree. You know? Right. So the 60 minute TV show, was it two weeks ago where they talked about what Ford was doing and I thought it was, I thought it was, it gave me a lift and it was inspiring. And there was a moment there, I think the CEO said, Oh, well we’ve, we’ve taken what we’ve learned here. It took a completely different area of how we do quality testing or how we, how we operate as a company. And I have no doubt there’ll be, in the future, there’ll be business schools we’ll be teaching. Okay, this came up, everybody was racing to sort of innovate and supply ventilators or, or, or look even the companies that own a record. I think it was suddenly said, you know what? We can make hand sanitizers. Alcohol is a core component of what we make normally, you know. Okay, we can, we can, we can, we can, we can adjust. So I do think that that’s what’s very interesting. It’ll be interesting to in 10 years time when we look back.
Scott Luton (37:06):
Yeah. Alright. One final question as it relates to digital transformation because it seems like to me, hearing some of the things, you shared some things directly and indirectly and it seems like other third parties agree, many organizations are going to be, they’ve got all more the reason and ammunition and business case to push digital transformation even harder and faster and with more intent now. Is that, is that accurate, Dan, from what you’re saying?
Dan Reeve (37:33):
I think so. I’m not going to say to everybody should just be 10 times easier. I think companies are still going to have to look at it and say, okay, right. Specifically how much time do we save? How does this cut costs? If anything? Having gone in being a sales guy in the last recession, I learned you had to help companies. Yes. There’s somebody there that has an emotional reason. They want to implement technology and change, but you’ve really in these times have to be four times better. Well, okay, well this going to save us. What’s the business case? Where’s the efficiency or how does it help us gain? But I think big picture, yes. What’s going going on now is everybody’s aware of the need to improve and collect cash faster. Everybody’s aware of the idea of digital transformation and I see it as a bit like it’s being cooked hotter, it’s boiling on the stove now. Everybody in the organization, perhaps it was a buzzword now I think people are more, more like, okay, yeah, I get it. I’ve seen some situations where we didn’t have that and it was problematic when we were working from home. Yeah. I think for the supply chain technology leaders out there are interested in implementing technology, this probably allows them to the subject to the stakeholders or the steering committee. Clearly there’s still going to have to justify it and probably have to work even harder on it.
Speaker 4 (38:43):
You’ve touched on two critical issues that will assure the success or enhance the opportunity for success in a difficult time like this and the difficult time, the inevitable, at least short term recession, who knows how long the recession is. But in any time that a recession occurs, cash is critical. And the recognition that you need to be more efficient and effective is critical in technology. You know, robotic process automation, AI vis, you know, visibility and analytical tools, all of those things will help companies. And, and Dan, I’ll share with you something we’ve been saying for some time and that is if you have been foolish enough to build your house on sand being your technology house and you survive this situation, be wise enough to next time, build it on stone so that you survive the next coming pandemic. And I, you know, that makes me think a lot about your, you know, one of the things you shared in the, in the pre show talk was fight, move, live. You know, when you’re fighting in, in an urban environment. I think that’s, that’s a really interesting concept. So can you share a little bit about that fight, move live concept as we kinda move to close here?
Dan Reeve (40:00):
Yeah, so I mean that was, I was a combat engineer and a British army and the, because there’s many different tasks that come throughout you, but the whole idea of that I was in the Royal engineers and that really the way they view themselves as our job is to help the army fight. Like I was so clear, minefields, click, urban areas move and to live and he says sometimes that might mean well okay we need to feed them and house them. A variety of things. I think for me when I was in Iraq I got really interested in supply chain from a certain point of view because I’d see things going on around me. I when I first got off of the jet and I landed in Kuwait, I felt like a can of beans cause I got, I got zapped, I got somebody put a barcode barcode scanner up to me and zap me into theater.
Dan Reeve (40:39):
I said what are you doing? She’s like, I’m booking you in. You’re an asset. You just got booked into a military theater and we were showing everybody back at base in, in, in HQ, command in the UK could see where you’re at. Wow. That important son. But they can see where you are. You just got barcoded into theater, you know. And then I saw things like there was a supply chain issue that led to 25 of these fighter jet. So the Kuwaitis had, if I find it yet, then we will kind of, they were there. They were all sitting there, but they were, they were in it, you could tell that they couldn’t fly them. There were bits missing. And I remember saying to a few folks on those jets, kind of expensive, why are they sitting there? Well, they’re missing a load of supply pieces and they’ve been trying to get them into theater, but they’re coming from France and they’re not here yet.
Dan Reeve (41:20):
So, you know, it got that great interest in all the way through to, a final story I’ll leave you with is we were in Missouri and we didn’t have much water. Um, we, so he said, right, we’re going to, we’re going to ration w know you can only have one shower every 10 days, but we’re going to do you just use wet wipes. But then somebody put out a message on Facebook saying, we know this squadron, we don’t have any wet wipes. We were dirty, we haven’t even got enough water to drink. It wasn’t quite true. But the media in the UK took this. Suddenly the whole of the British Isles was concerned that my squadron was thirsty, dirty 15 vehicles carrying wet wipes arrives to drop off. So, you know, there wasn’t much true authentication of the demand, but this signal got sent back to the UK that these guys need the supply and the needy right now. Ironically, the company that makes those wet wipes is now one of our customers. And I tell, you know, I joke with them, well you guys must’ve made some money cause it’s when 15 vehicles turned up, I can point a stick out. And it was kind of funny. We didn’t, we didn’t know where to put these vehicles, let alone
Speaker 4 (42:25):
solving one problem creates others. But, but Hey, blessed be the ties that bind and folks that jump in there with action in to, to meet a need. But what a great story. And I bet Dan, I bet you could write a book about some of those experiences. And I love how you view things, Greg, through the supply chain lens. You know that that’s you looking back, right? Well, and I think that’s, that’s a really valuable analogy frankly. I mean, regardless of whether it is in this case, it fortunately tied right into supply chain, right? But regardless that fight move live is, that’s a simple way to approach what we’re dealing with right now. And I think companies would do well to have very simple mantras like that and at a time like this. So thank you for that. That was a great story. And you’re right, Scott, it’s a great insight into how things are being approached today and how so many of these stories, and we see this all the time, Dan, how many of these stories can be related into supply chain? So, not to go into great detail, but the chief supply chain officer at Coca Cola relate a very similar story about supply chain efficiency and his paper route, mostly having to do with his ability to get back to bed at five 30 in the morning. So he was motivated to efficiency. So Dan, thank you for your time. Tell our listeners, this is the most difficult question you’re going to face today. Tell our listeners how they can connect more with you and with Esker
Dan Reeve (43:56):
predominantly. Just hit our website, www dot [inaudible] dot com hit me on the reach out to me and I’m gonna have a chat on LinkedIn. Daniel [inaudible], uh, no S I’m not that famous. Everybody here in Denver thinks I might be Dan Reeves some or something like that, but I’m not investing with me. I said I didn’t even think about that. I did not tie that well off and have to bite my tongue at that point cause I have to remind folks. So you know, I like to look out for the Broncos, but I’m a Packers fan. I’m married, I married a girl from Wisconsin. It was part of the rules and they would sell me if I didn’t support the Packers. So, um, yeah, by all means ESCO, we do have quite a lot of ongoing obviously now virtual events and webcasts you can customer led to panel discussions. So feel free to um, you know, hit me up on LinkedIn
Scott Luton (44:43):
outstanding. And that’s escrow.com E S K E r.com. I lost myself until a couple hours and all the, all the resources that are on their website. So, uh, and as as Dan mentioned, uh, not coach Dan Reeves but Daniel Reed with escrow. You can, you can check them out on LinkedIn. Dan, I am so glad that we got connected. Uh, I fill out there so much more to your story that we’ll have to cover in future episodes. Really enjoyed it. All the best you and your family and the rest of the Esker organization.
Dan Reeve (45:12):
Yeah, I I it was a pleasure. Really enjoyed it guys. And maybe one of these days when we’re allowed to travel, we’ll grab a beer with you. So thanks very much. I enjoyed it.
Scott Luton (45:19):
Definitely. I want to find out more about the ejection seat story. I feel like there’s a lot, I know there’s more there isn’t there? Good stuff’s a big thanks to our guest today, Daniel Reed, director of business development with Esker. Greg, some really good stuff there, right? Oh my gosh. Yeah. I mean, look, there is so much to learn and I think the thing that Dan pointed out and that we hear frequently is that companies are actively and intentionally learning throughout this process and they’re applying it immediately. Necessity is the mother of invention and what could be more necessary than to survive this situation. It’s just another example of, you know what we, I think we all believe in that is fight, move live, right? Absolutely. One of my new favorite sayings I’m telling you, I’m going to co op that one speed of a thousand Gazelles.
Scott Luton (46:11):
Those two great t-shirts. We’ll have to, Oh, Dan, uh, some uh, exclusive copyrights there or something. The good stuff. Greg, thanks for your time today. What a great day. Great week. Great interview here as we sat down with Daniel Reed, once again, director of business development with Esker, and you can learn firstname.lastname@example.org all right, so to our audience, I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as we did. Be sure to check out the wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain now, radio.com find and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. On behalf of our entire team, Scott Luton here, wishing you a successful week ahead, stay safe. No this brighter days. Certainly lie ahead and we’ll see you next time here.
Dan Reeve is a Sales Director, approaching 22 years with Esker. Dan works to help companies free up front-line troops to be finance and customer service rockstars through the application of machine learning and AI.
Dan was fortunate to serve 10 years as a Combat Engineer in the British Army, then was attached to the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He traveled the world, served alongside Americans and many others, and learned everyone has a good idea, every Army unit thinks they are better, and what can you learn and apply so that you are indeed better prepared and more professional next time.
Dan’s career highlights include getting paid to represent the Royal Engineers in Army shooting competitions, being selected to Army Mountaineering expeditions (climbing Mountains, getting paid, seeing the world, and having a good time with the locals in Nepal, India, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain). Connect with Dan on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
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.
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.
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.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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.
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 reading.
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.
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.
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.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
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.