“They told me, ‘Nobody’s ever done anything like that before, you can’t do that.’ But I said, ‘Listen, I can see it. I know what it looks like.’”
– Michael Darden, Founder and CEO DFM Data Corp
When companies talk about automation and data analytics today, they have the advantage of working from a position of nearly universal connectivity and device access. But the pioneers of many of the applications we use today started from nothing. They used whatever devices and communications channels they could get their hands on to achieve complex problems in truly visionary ways.
Michael Darden is the Founder and CEO of DFM Data Corp. His work to advance digital freight matching proves that you can create an algorithm for even the most complex problems as long as you have the data, assumptions and constraints.
In this conversation, Michael covers a wide range of topics with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:
· The advantages associated with solving related business problems from multiple perspectives (shipper and carrier)
· Using methodologies such as applied behavioral analytics to leverage data to not only notice meaningful changes but also reinforce desired behaviors and redirect the less-desirable ones
· The data challenge that digital freight matching providers have created in the process of trying to conveniently connect freight with capacity.
Intro – 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 (00:29):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white back with you here on supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. Greg. How are you doing? I am doing great, Scott. How are you? We’re doing fantastic. We’ve got a great show teed up here today we’re going to be interviewing a thought leader in the hot, very hot, white hot digital freight matching space and beyond, right? Uh, so stay tuned. We look to increase your supply chain leadership, RQ, supply chain, tech IQ, really, right? Yeah. All of that. And blockchain. That’s right. Buzz word in this show, which I’m really excited about. We can not have a supply chain conversation without mentioning the world block the word blockchain for sure. So own that. Yeah. With no further ado, let’s welcome in our feature guests, Michael Darden, president and CEO of DFM data corporation whose own a mission, a mission, what mission you asked to accelerate adoption of BFM services, both shippers and carrier’s.
Scott Luton (01:24):
Michael, how you doing? I’m doing fantastic. Scott, how are you? We are, you know, it’s been a great week and this puts the cherry on top. I know this has been in the works for a while and really looking forward to hearing from a pioneer in a variety of spaces, but certainly supply chain tech. Okay. Hey, for starters, before we get we dive into who Michael Darden is, tell us about some of the great work you’re doing with Linda Getz. Uh, the founder and a CEO of the blockchain chamber of commerce. So exciting times at the blockchain chamber of commerce. Uh, blockchain chamber of commerce has seen that, uh, they aligned their monthly, a division of supply chain and distribution for the month of may and happened to have had spotlight on supply chain for the past 60 days. The rest of the world, Michael.
Scott Luton (02:13):
Exactly. It was spotlight right there on what’s going on. So, uh, I was lucky enough to be able to get a contact from Linda about, uh, middle of April. And she said, you know, we got all these, uh, topics going on around supply chain and you’re really into this space. Can you help us pull together a panel? And I’m like, well, there’s a lot going on. I don’t know if I can get it down to one panel. So let’s, uh, let’s see if we can schedule a couple of sequential events. And we agreed to do three Thursdays for two hour events. And the first one was on the 14th, and we had a John grieves and uh, president of beta from Patrick Duffy. And it was just a bang up panel and had great response from others. And then last week we had a, or this week, the second week we brought in a bunch of highly academic folks, MIT folks, folks from Cornell and of all types you’ve got gotta have all times rounded out cause the education and academic side is, is really going to teach the youth of that to be able to, to grab hold of these new technologies.
Scott Luton (03:19):
Outstanding. You know, the world, it gets smaller and smaller. Linda was on the show, uh, probably about a year and a half ago. Uh, but not from what I understand and talking with you and I heard a lot about uh, uh, these panel sessions you’ve been hosting and I’ve heard a lot, a lot of chatter about the good things that the blockchain chamber of commerce has been up to since that time. So, you know, blockchain is here to stay. It’s not a flavor of the month and I’m really looking forward to seeing that the really big impact that has on not just global supply chain but global business. Well it’s great to see, you know, success cases like food trust and trade lens and you know, there’s articles that are showing new adoption on a weekly basis of new partners that are participating in a cooperative but competitive environment where the recognition of the collection of the data and the use of the data helps to drive everybody’s systems to be more effective.
Scott Luton (04:12):
Good old coopertition. Dale Christie coined that term and pushed it across the entire internet. I think that’s right. I in fact had to pay him a dollar 17 to use that today. So, alright. Yeah, let’s go. Let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s dive in here and again, kind of move past the blockchain. Uh, exciting. Okay. Connection here. Let’s talk about who Michael Darden is first before we get to DFM, you know, tell us about, you know, where are you from and give us, give us a goods on your upbringing a little bit. So I appreciate that. Um, I’m originally from long Island, New York. I was, uh, born in a Syosset and lived in a couple of different towns on the long Island up in New York. I’ve lost most of that accent. I moved here when I was 15 and started, uh, working for, uh, uh, an auto parts store and, and got a real experience of being able to touch inventory and delivery and had a work ethic that was instilled in me really early on.
Scott Luton (05:13):
And, um, when I got out of school, uh, I got a job with Coca-Cola and started to work with, uh, the national parts distribution facility and see the entire supply chain from, from the raw materials of fountain equipment being dispersed through the entire McDonald’s chain and burger King chain and doing conversions. And, um, it was very entertaining to work in a warehouse and to be able to manage those folks. But I, I had earned a really good reputation with Coca Cola and they, they put me in charge of the operations for the 96 Olympics. And really what an honor it was. It was, it was amazing. Uh, I thankfully had an in my wife, uh, worked, also worked the beverage industry and sold stickers and graphics to the Coca Cola company and heard as soon as this all started that they had an opening and I was Johnny on the spot to be able to get in there with it.
Scott Luton (06:06):
So it was, it was a really difficult assignment, but I learned so much to be able to manage, uh, you know, the purchase of brand new transportation assets and, uh, new equipment. And inspections and serial numbers and really having to build processes from the ground up. And we couldn’t just call a TMS provider and a WMS provider. Cause in 95, there wasn’t any WMS suppliers or DMS suppliers. It was, you know, ledger and paper and pencil. And, uh, if you had an ASMR 400, you were really ahead of the game. So, you know, a lot of folks don’t, may not realize, I don’t know, uh, just how transformational the 96 Olympics were here and not just the city of Atlanta. And then Metro Atlanta area had a huge impact on the, uh, the U S Southeast. So instead of even bigger than that, Scott, I mean, we had some major events.
Scott Luton (07:01):
The bombing that took place was, was months worth of preparation where people had, had, had to go through a bunch of training for security and physical security and digital security because digital was just starting to get here. And, uh, I don’t know if you remember, but they closed down access to most of the city right inside the perimeter. You couldn’t come in unless you had a hang tag on your car. And, um, the security was really an issue. And then to be able to have the bomb go off and rebound the Olympics was, was really quite an experience. Uh, it was, it was really a unifying event like we’ve seen with other catastrophe type events in the past. A special type of resilience, which of course these days has a whole different type of meaning here. Um, alright, so Greg, Mmm. So much to, uh, dive into here and unpack, but I don’t know, you’re curious a little more about his professional journey.
Scott Luton (07:54):
Well, I’m, you know, I’m, I’m interested in and what, um, what influenced you, right? I mean, we’ve, we’ve heard about some of the jobs that you’ve had, but tell us a little bit about a person or an event, um, you know, a life happening or you know, some foundational event that might have Mmm. You know, that might’ve driven you where you’re at today. Hmm. So, I mean, early life example, my dad passed when I was 10 and his, his best friend was my godfather and his brother was the one who owned those auto parts store. So at 11 I was, I was offered a job to be able to have a place after school to be able to ride my bike, do every day and receive an inventory. And uh, George Quinn was, was the senior and it was his company and his two boys worked there and they were my bosses and they were hard on me.
Scott Luton (08:48):
I mean they, they, they, I was Dellwood, my brother was Dexter and I mean we were called names to be able to go sweep and put the stuff away faster. I mean, it was, it was abusive and in New York that was love. You know, that’s just that, that’s what that culture is like. Um, you know, that that was certainly one, one big example, but, but probably the one that was most impactful for where I am today is, is at the same Olympics. I got exposure to a technology that, aye, I think it was like a crystal ball to look into the future. And uh, Nextel had just launched into in 1995 these push to talk devices and they were like walkie talkies but they didn’t have 150 yard range on it. Antennas that they established all across the city and worked with, you know, TDMA technology to be able to enable this immediate push to talk.
Scott Luton (09:43):
And I’m working in a warehouse and I got, you know, 22 material handlers and 98 service technicians and 300 product handlers and 22 trucks and straight trucks and pickup trucks and trailers. And all of a sudden I can talk to every one of these people and I can ask them, are you here? When are you going to be there? I can call the receiving person and tell them. And it gave me this visibility of the fact that this whole industry was going to change from this piece of paper, this bill of lading that the driver is taking from origin to the destination and it will shed a light on it. It will eliminate this black hole of information gap from when they leave the dock to where they go. And the tech wasn’t ready yet, but what I saw after the Olympics and had to build, you know, Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables and access, you know, entry forms, um, w was that the warehouses hadn’t quite got to real time information yet.
Scott Luton (10:42):
They were just launching warehouse management systems. So I spent about five years implementing warehouse management systems and learning all of the real time information triggers of data moves aligning to physical moves. Right. And when you get the agency down to the person that has the device in their hand and you can see who scanned and who picked from which location, you start getting metrics that allow you to be able to conduct your business based off of data and not just off of, yeah, what the appearances of a supervisor. Right. For several years I built those sort of systems and work with implementation of those systems. But in 2002, 2003, I was invited to take a consulting job with a company down in Florida. And this all kind of came together where they were looking to be able to work with some recycled material and bring it to the, the ports in Florida to be able to export down to South America.
Scott Luton (11:38):
And the transportation cost was their whole issue. They needed to be able to understand and know, truly know what the cost of goods sold were. And when you’re dealing with recycled plastics, cost of goods is the transportation. It’s so backhauls were really important. Tracking trucks were really important and they were like, we’re going to use the internet to be able to fix this at the time. Right, exactly. I mean it is interesting and for perspective for some of our younger audience, when Nextel was doing their thing, text messages didn’t exist. There was no way to communicate instantly on a device either by voice or even, Mmm. You know, even in writing. So yeah. Well we actually have paid effectively a really long range. Two way radio, right. Limited range, two way radio, which was the precursor to even cell phones. Right? Yeah. The, I mean, they didn’t even have the term smartphone at the time.
Scott Luton (12:39):
There were, there was no smartphones, tablets, there weren’t iPads. There were, this is, this is, you know, nine years before the first iPhone came out. This is early, early, early ages of, of these mobile technologies. And in 2003, uh, this company that I had worked with was called freight rate and they didn’t really have the full vision of what could take place with the internet. They just want it to book loads and make money on transactions. And, um, they had some really talented web developers, but nobody who really knew how to move data. And when I shared with them what I thought could happen with this industry of being able to, to, uh, build capacity management tools and build shipment shipment ingestion tool.
Scott Luton (13:30):
Yeah. I was like, the only way that’s going to happen as if there are these devices and Mmm. They were like, so that’s, that’s crazy man. Nobody’s ever done anything like that before you, you can’t do that. No, no. Listen, I can see it. I know what it looks like. I can whiteboard it for you. And they were like, look, we got this guy who’s up in Chicago, is really smart. He’s got this Northwestern guy who’s his DBA and we’ll fly them down and do some consulting work. And they were down for three days and we wrote this, this process up on the board of what you would need to know about transportation providers, what you would need to know about the origin and destination of shipments in order to be able to make digital matches. [inaudible] we were like this, this can be done. It’s, this is, this is just a profile and a terminal location and a range of services.
Scott Luton (14:21):
And whether they drive by themselves or whether they want to go to this state or don’t want to go and if they have hours of service, it’s a complicated problem, but it’s one you can develop an algorithm for. No, we did and built this system in 2003 to uh, connect a GPS device that was running by itself through a connection to the cigarette lighter that had an RS two 32 port on it and connected it to a Palm M one Oh five. And in 2004, we built an electronic bill of lading that tracked the shipment from pickup to destination with signature capture. Did you ever get a call from MacGyver about, uh, some sitcom fix it? I mean, it’s really, that’s what it was. It was pieces from different places that we were like, if we can slam these together, this is a work as you described that Mmm.
Scott Luton (15:18):
You know, being on that front and innovation, we don’t have all the perfect ingredients that were meant to be ingredients. I mean, that’s what I kind of see as you painted that picture. You’re making things work and you’re driving real practical innovation, acting on that vision or you know, what, you know what can be done. Proven it. You’ve proven the concept out. Now you’ve got to find the physical equipment two to make it happen. I mean back in 2004 you got to change the market because nobody knows what these devices are. Nobody knows what the benefit of the devices are. There’s no penetration of where they are in the marketplace yet. So while it’s capable of being done and we can prove that it can be done, we now have to come up with a distribution strategy of how to be able to sell GPS devices and PDAs and get them in the hands of drivers that are about to take shipments.
Scott Luton (16:07):
And that’s a real problem because in those days, those pieces of equipment are not embedded in your cell phone. They were a device by themselves that was manufactured, that had a significant expense with a SIM chip inside of it to be able to do the first levels of cellular communication. So there were some that were there. Tell folks what a PDA is. So a PDA is a personal digital assistant and our personal digital assistant is the, the origination of the smartphone. It was a handheld calendar and other other capabilities that at the time was not integrated to your phone? No. Right. Oh. And there really weren’t even cell phones that had any sort of operating system except for connectivity to be able to make a satellite call. Right. Where you were connecting to one of the few roaming satellites to be able to connect to, and the calls were super expensive.
Scott Luton (17:04):
I remember in the mid nineties I can afford about 30 minutes of cell phone service a month. You had to call me after 7:00 PM or on weekends. If it was a, if it was middle of day, it was gonna be a 32nd call because that’s where the market was. And that’s where a lot of the equipment that you’re speaking to was. So I find this fascinating. So how do we, how do we go from there? Fill us into the true start of DFM data corporation. What’s that up to about 2007 we built the system. We launched it, we had customers, a and P was our first customer. They brought us into the whole grocery industry and to Poland Springs and to nor foods and all these different providers that were in the same chain value chain. And we, we had a and P that had their own assets.
Scott Luton (17:54):
So we realized that not only did we have a marketplace of free marketplace, but there was a potential of this closed marketplace where a shipper may have their own assets and want to maximize their use, but also want to be able to access capacity when they need to from the extra market. So we, we, we morphed our system from the first solution of just a marketplace to being a private network solution to, um, again, this was right after the twin towers events took place and there was a lot of tragedy around what could happen, what were our threats and right, if you recall, the thing that was most concerning was the shipping containers was 361 ports around the world, right? Any visibility of what’s being packed inside of it. Is it a dirty bomb? Right? Does it show up in the port of long beach?
Scott Luton (18:43):
And you know, now you don’t know and what do you do with it? And that was a huge bat taking us back to 2001 mindset when you didn’t know. I mean, I mean, I was an air force at the time. We all saw the images on the TVs. We weren’t none of us in the country. New the next shoe that was going to drop to your point, Michael, to have all these, these containers and ports just at a port with no visibility. I mean there was a lot of um, anxiety about what was the next chapter during that timeframe. So alright. And our, like our visibility was not as clear then the department of Homeland security didn’t exist. It didn’t till after well after nine 11. Right. That’s actually how I got involved with it was they, department of Homeland security got formed and they were looking for who could give them visibility to this and they were like, we don’t even know what this is.
Scott Luton (19:35):
And they saw that I had a system that was taking ingestion of electronic data and was processing it digitally and they said, can you show us what that looks like? And I pulled out this, you know, rolled out piece of a flow chart that showed every one of the steps. And they were like, so we need you to do that for us. Container movements. And I’m like, so that’s a bigger piece of paper that’s going to take more time but I’ll bring it back to you. And two weeks later I brought it up to them and it became a program called master, which was really cool. I got the partner with Unisys and L three communications to work with with Homeland security. So it was, it was really another one of those, you know, 10 year later sort of wow, look what we got here.
Scott Luton (20:12):
Um, but you know, in 2007 we had this, this disrupted freight market where the balance of what was normally excess capacity and availability to be able to have a profit margin had flipped on its ear where there were additional capacity in the marketplace. And now the operating expense for trucking companies was driven so low that there was no profit left in the loads to be able to move and load boards that are or, or digital freight matching environments that are connecting to shippers and carriers are, are, are directly impacted by being able to have that control of what the is and they get better data because they’re seeing it as it’s taking place. So the marketplace shifted and as it was shifting, I had, Hmm, I’ve been given the opportunity to sell the company to Emerson Fittipaldi and then race car driver. Yeah. You know, you got it.
Scott Luton (21:03):
So I got to go to San Paolo, Brazil for a week and work with his team to be able to deploy an international version of the license of this tool that we’d built. And okay. Another great, amazing, amazing experience to work with him. But as soon as that transaction took place, the company changed board members and all of a sudden I was at the fourth year of my employment contract. So, um, it ended in the adult supervision. That’s right. It’s, it’s time to be able to bring to the adults because the young guys, you brought it all together are now at the top of their pay scale and we don’t want to pay them that much anymore. So I left there and I actually got contacted by Craig fuller and he sent me an email and said, love what you did with power to ship, would love to see if you can come up and have a conversation about what we’re doing here in Chattanooga.
Scott Luton (21:50):
So I took a meeting, went up and met with him and I got to be able to build a internal tool that was a connected to us express. So now after building this from the perspective of a shipper side that had assets, I had the ability to build it from a carrier side that had excess loads. And I was like, this is, I mean, I’m seeing this from every angle that I can possibly see how to be able to build this thing. And after we built it and had some early success, us express came and bought the company. Mm. And aye, I didn’t have a job with that company anymore cause it was brought into U S express. But we went right into trans card and innovated yourself out of yet another twice size. That’s, that’s impressive. It’s no less challenging, but still it’s impressive.
Scott Luton (22:40):
Yeah. So at the time I finished up with Craig and this company, trans market’s up in Chattanooga. I drive back home and I’ve been commuting from South Florida up to Chattanooga to work with Craig. And, um, every three weeks I’d go back for a week and work from home and then I’d be up there for three weeks again. And this long trip back at the end of my, my experience with them, I’m talking to my wife and you know, listening very carefully about what’s really going on at the house. And, uh, there’s so much no problems on the home team there. There’s, um, the kids are out of control, they have autism, they’re breaking things, they’re not minding and, and they need some attention and they need some construction around format that’s going to be able to help facilitate their, their learning. And um, they’re 14 months apart and they, my wife was home with them while I was traveling 50 weeks out of the year to be able to build my businesses and, and traveling to Chattanooga.
Scott Luton (23:40):
And it was time for me to plug in. So I came home and looked at my family operation and it was chaos. They’re there from, from the school bus to, uh, you know, throw things out of the refrigerator and not clean it up. And it was like, I got to get ahead of this and know what’s coming. So I left this supply chain world behind me and started focusing on what was happening in my own house and put up some video cameras and started to evaluate process. Like if I were trying to solve the problem in a warehouse, what’s the causal effect? How do I resolve this? [inaudible] it didn’t take long for me to realize that there was a lot of people that could provide that love and care and attention to the situation. But if they didn’t have a way to collaborate and to communicate around what was best practices that we were not making a whole lot of progress.
Scott Luton (24:30):
Right. So I took my experience of building predictive systems and developed a technology that allows for numerous observers, the teacher, the bus driver, mom, dad, educators that are involved in the student’s life to be able to update a portfolio system that maintains that record of what strategies work most effectively for that learner that has differences. And it’s an amazing tool. They were doing something at George Mason university with it. And they had done some research there and I licensed the technology and for 10 years I, he didn’t mess with supply chain, aye worked on kids with special needs. And I worked with people that needed to be able to have a support system and a control system, like a warehouse management system, like an ERP systems so that they could have a, a roadmap to be able to see where they were trying to go. Fast forward to last year.
Scott Luton (25:24):
I quick, real quick. Yeah. So Mmm. What, give us a lesson learned. You know, as we’ve found through these pandemic times and, and all these conversations we’ve been having Greg, it’s amazing to see life lessons that are learned from the most yeah. The front of the most disconnected to supply chain environments and, and, and how folks apply that to looking forward to, to supply chain the business, to you name it. What during that plugged back in and double down with your family. What was, what was the, one of the more important lessons for business that you learned? So there’s this methodology that’s called applied behavioral analysis and it’s basically changed management under a different name and applied behavioral analysis is pretty much taking data on an observation of a set of circumstances that you set up to be able to happen or that you see happens repetitively.
Scott Luton (26:24):
But what you’re looking for is the Delta of change of where something that you did differently produced a better outcome that you can then share that with others so that they can use the same reinforcer to be able to produce a better outcome. And that level of data collection reminded me about the predictive nature of the work that I had done in the transportation business where I’m sending a driver who’s never been to Plattsburgh, penis, Pennsylvania, and he’s going into an address that he’s never been to before with a load that he’s never driven before. And I got to give him enough information for him to be successful and then disconnect from it. And that’s very similar to the type of learning that you do with kids with special needs, where you have to identify what is the milestone, what am I trying to get to and how much effort I have to put in to be able to get it there.
Scott Luton (27:14):
I don’t care. I’m going to put as much as I need you to be able to get there. I have to teach them it’s across the street and look both ways. It’s a life and death thing and I gotta be able to pay attention to it in order to be able to make that change. There is a method and it’s applied behavioral analysis. Yeah. The other thing that I learned in that time is persistence. My youngest son or my middle son, it was more effective than, than my youngest son. Um, no, it’s just not in his vocabulary. It’s just he’s going to get what he wants. He’ll ask you enough times and there’s, there’s a persistence factor that you can wear somebody down if you, if, if, if your need and your request is reasonable and you ask it frequently enough with removing all the barriers, there’s no reason to not be able to get what you need to be able to have.
Scott Luton (28:00):
And that’s a life lesson. Say that’s your youngest, uh, that he’s my middle son. Yeah, he was, he’s actually born on my 30th birthday, so I stayed 30 for the rest of my life. I gave him my birthday and I get to claim the in third. That’s perfect. Yeah. Yeah. So after working with my kids in the system for a while, I, I as a wanted to keep up with the transportation side. It’s, it’s really been a passion of mine my entire life as I described at the beginning. And you know, I have a lot of friends that are in the industry that knew the work that I had done in the earlier days. And when, when coyote logistics was sold to ups, I got like four emails saying, do you know what this coyote logistics company does? And I was like, well, I mean, yeah I guess.
Scott Luton (28:50):
And they’re like, well they’re doing the same thing as we were doing when we were at power to ship. And I was like, well you know, that’s great, but we did it many years ago and they’re doing it now. So you know, call me with the next one that you see and we’ll talk again in a couple of months. And sure enough, I kept getting more and more emails from my friends about there’s more systems that are doing this and it’s amazing that we were just a little too early and if we could adjust stuck around and been here, we really could have owned the marketplace cause we were here first. We had the first mover advantage. We had had the insight to be able to, to capture what, what this capability was and to make it so that it was something that was submitted to the U S PTO for a new newly identified concept.
Scott Luton (29:39):
A new idea. And my name was listed on that as an inventor. And you know, you can’t ever get that taken away from you. It’s on the patent forever. When your name is an inventor on it, you’re the inventor of the bat. And that’s something that’s really, really cool about that. Um, but you don’t know what that means when you’re the early inventor. You just, your company is, we told you to assign it, you assigned it and now it’s there. But, um, I saw, you know, this was a public company that I worked for, so they have quarterlies and annual reports that come out and I was the recording secretary and president of that company when I was there. So I know what was in those reports and how to read them. So I read them every quarter, every annual report. And when they stopped submitting them, they have a risk of being able to lose their public company identifiers and they didn’t want to do that.
Scott Luton (30:31):
So somebody else came in and looked to be able to buy the company as like a shell where they could use that public entity to put their own IP inside of. And I read the press release and they said, we bought this company, we’re doing a 3000 to one reverse split and we have some new intellectual property that we’re putting in the company and we’re going to be going after the cybersecurity industry. And I was like, they don’t know that the patent that we invented is in the bottom left drawer of the desk. They, they, they don’t have any clue they’re, they’re going after a new piece of IP out of a university that it’s patent pending and they got a patent in the bottom drawer of the desk that they, Oh, [inaudible] I’ve been watching for years thinking, why aren’t they doing anything with this?
Scott Luton (31:17):
Why aren’t they doing anything with this? And Mmm. I called a couple of friends here in town and talked to them and said, aye, I invented this thing years ago and I don’t have it at the moment, but I used to and it was my idea and I want to get it back and this company doesn’t seem to know that. And you know, how would we do that? What would we do? I mean, how do you, how do you extract that asset out of somebody’s drawer that you don’t? No, I’ve never met them before or I consultants came up with the strategy and we put together a plan and I submitted the paperwork over to this company and negotiated a deal and in February of last year I bought my patent back. So congratulations. It’s a huge win. It’s a win like, like so out of left field.
Scott Luton (32:09):
Like I had love supply chain, wasn’t paying attention and then just a little bit of paying attention and seeing it in action on it. And all of a sudden I’m back in supply chain, back baby. I’m back in supply chain with a really cool piece of paper that’s got a nice gold sticker on it, but it’s got an emblem on it that is backed by the United States constitution article one, section eight. And that’s, that’s pretty cool. Yeah. So you know, as soon as you get it now you’re driving home, you’re, you’re singing the free bird song and the Tom cruise thing and um, yeah, Tom petty, free fallen or whatever radio station, that’s all I can find. It’s all there so you can sing it, right. And then you come home and you show it to the wife and you show it to the kids and everybody’s like, wow, that’s great. So what do we do with it? Yeah. And
Greg White (33:03):
so Michael, tell us a little bit about that. So this, this to me is, is a key question that we use frequently to help people assess what a company really does. So if I’m walking down the hall now in my home, formerly in my office, but if I’m walking down the hall and I’ve got a pain on my mind or key words in my head, what are those things that make me say I need DFM data, right? W what? What is it that, and it’s weighing me down or something like that that I should, I should know. Then it’s time to call you guys.
Scott Luton (33:42):
So the digital freight matching providers have all tried to solve the same problem. It’s a dynamic industry that’s really fractured with a lot of different players and they don’t know to be able to do business with each other numerous times. So they end up with one-offs and each of those one offs needs to be onboarded. And the freight matching companies have figured good ways to be able to onboard and serve as a broker in those transactions so that they can connect for the one offs. But at the same time as they, this all realized there’s a way to solve this problem. They’ve created another one. And the other one that they’ve created is the fact that they’ve given shippers and carriers the option of choice and they can go to marketplace one, marketplace two and marketplace three and put the same exact demand in each one of those marketplaces with no accountability for having to clean up their own mess.
Scott Luton (34:37):
And when there are loads that are not real loads in a marketplace, then there creating a Phantom demand that is requiring someone to respond to a phone call or to an email that is just a waste of time and they’re not motivated to be able to cleanse it. And when I looked at the getting the patent back and reading through what’s inside of it, it has all of these amazing claims about building a freight matching system, a digital marketplace of carriers capacity and shippers loads. And with a GPS or without a GPS and in a marketplace that’s the same shared system in a closed environment, it’s Oh really well written. I, I’ve, I’ve, okay. Been very complimentary to my previous attorney from 2003 that wrote this thing because everybody that I show it to now is like, this is so complete for what the current market is, but there’s four claims that we put in there that like my secret weapon, which was if I was able to get this back there was the ability to be able to remove multiple posted loads and multiple posted capacities, so I’ve assigned that right for that availability to the company DFM data Corp to go and approach the industry with a way to help them operate without friction.
Scott Luton (36:01):
It’s really very simple to take like a stock market trade and identify that that buyer no longer needs to have a seller [inaudible] that only takes place when you have a clearing house. When you have a neutral intermediary that can facilitate the cleansing of the data without trying to compromise the customers and the customers are the shippers and the carriers and I don’t want to serve as the shippers and carriers. There are enough companies that are doing that right now. What I want to do is serve as the digital freight matching companies so that they can remove the friction and make it so that the experience of each shipper and each carrier working with them is pristine. When they need that, they can find a capacity. When they need a capacity, they can find a load.
Greg White (36:52):
Well, and that creates a tremendous amount of of inefficiency in the marketplace because we have this series of swings where we either over or under represent capacity because of the lack of cleansing of this information in the marketplace. And
Scott Luton (37:09):
the every day
Greg White (37:10):
may not really be the price.
Scott Luton (37:13):
Right? Well, the price changes because what usually has been reported in the past is what the settlement price is and the settlement price takes place after delivery. After all accessorial charges are connected and after the bill has been sent or received, depending on where they’re collecting the information from for reporting, but the, the real demand and the price for the demand up the spot market when it was purchased is what the consummation price was. And right now EDI doesn’t cover that cost transition. It’s not in there. There’s a two Oh four to two 14 it doesn’t have a update status for truly each one of the events that take place. [inaudible] during a shipper saying, I haven’t ordered a move that’s leaving from here and going here and I need a carrier that can do this, that has these qualifications. And then tracking it all the way through to invoice. Yep. Siloed systems that have that capability. But the ability for those siloed systems to be able to comply to a standard would enable every one of them should remove this Phantom capacity and Phantom loads from their marketplace.
Greg White (38:26):
So is that, so the problem that that solves for both sides. So you know, to go back to the question around the pain that’s in head or on my
Scott Luton (38:36):
heart or whatever, it’s FTEs it, what they have to do right now is put full time employees in there to be customer service and sales oriented to bring in new clients instead of being able to service them with a high level of, of expectation and being able to provide that service. And therefore there’s so many companies that haven’t even experimented with digital freight matching yet because they have contract rates and they have a waterfall tender process and they just don’t think it’s a big enough problem. But if they had the option to take advantage of the real marketplace when the marketplace is in their favor, why wouldn’t they do it? And they do it all the time breaking contracts. But as we all know, contract rates are not really contract. Right? I mean they’re, they’re the guidelines of what we’re trying to be able to do until somebody not so much rules and guidelines.
Scott Luton (39:27):
Yeah, they’re very flexible. So moving right along for the sake of time here, because we’d love to bring you back, this is gonna be a seven installment conversation, I think of Michael Darden. I think this is a complex problem, right? I mean, absolutely. Hey Brooke, both parties are struggling through this aspect of it, so absolutely. Before we go back and see what else it was on your mind, uh, from a more general industry sense, tell us real quick reader’s digest what lies ahead right around the corner for DFM. So we have built the minimum viable ecosystem and the minimum viable ecosystem is a terminology that’s used in blockchain where it’s not a minimum viable product because the product with one user, it’s useless. The product to users is useless. What makes sense is to have an ecosystem of participants that agree to a set of governance.
Scott Luton (40:21):
So we’ve constructed the framework for those participants that are in the digital freight matching space to work through a IBM platform blockchain that enables the custom governance of this industry so they can govern themselves. They don’t need to be able to have the government come in and tell them what to do if they are willing to be able to show the transparency that’s frankly required by law 30 days after the transaction is over, but having it in an immutable ledger that has the capability of shielding that information until the time that it’s needed and removing the phone calls and emails and fax. That to me and email that over and tracking it down from the different silos saves everybody hours and hours and hours and manpower of full time employees just can be allocated towards you revenue Jenny, generating production as opposed to solving problems that should have been solved with data.
Scott Luton (41:20):
It seems like this protect this particular employment environment which is becoming more and more an unemployment environment could be a significant catalyst for what you’re doing. We know that a lot of the people, and we know that there’s a lot of labor inefficiency as well as process and efficiency in the freight industry. It seems like a lot of those people may not be coming back and or becoming back in a different capacity and the opening for this kind of technology is necessary. [inaudible] in addition, consumers are more and more a part of the supply chain and they are requiring this kind of transparency.
Scott Luton (42:01):
That’s what they like to call it as the Amazon effect. Right. Because now, now people have learned that if I go online and I order this, that there’s going to be a blue truck that shows up in two days. It’s got my stuff and when they trust that then they get to make a choice. Do I go to the grocery store and go get this? I don’t really need it right now. I can stay right here cause I know it’s going to be here at that point in time. And I think that same transition is capable of taking place in the transportation supply chain industry. If there is [inaudible] yeah, a layer of connecting the dots and if everybody is a straight up player and is working to be able to satisfy their customer needs, then the service of moving goods from one place to another is what we collaboratively do.
Scott Luton (42:49):
And if we can scratch each other’s back this time and pay it off next time and have it so we’re keeping score of what’s taking place, we can serve our customers a whole lot better and make it so that their first choice is the digital freight matching marketplace to be able to see what’s real. And their second choice would be a waterfall tender that they got to do. Okay. DDI technologies. All right, so let’s, let’s segue there. We’re going to, we’re going to piggyback that right into the broader industry because there’s no shortage of things. I’m sure you’ve got your finger on the pulse. What’s one thing that really stands out that you’re tracking more than anything else right now? Great question. Uh, so there, there’s a couple of recent things that have come up. You know, the, the president’s put in some, some, uh, new directives to be able to remove some of the, the burdens and barriers around conducting business in the transportation industry.
Scott Luton (43:38):
Um, there was actually a very interesting document that the government put out in February. It’s called a BAA abroad agency announcement where, uh, they, they basically allocate an earmark some money to be able to work on projects that they don’t understand why we don’t have a commercial solution for. And the scope of the project that they put out at the beginning of the year was how do we incorporate this incredible blockchain technology with the interoperability of vehicles and service stations and fueling stations and parking spots so that we can identify vehicles that don’t need to exit at certain exits and can be put to the next exit because that’s where there’s parking available for them to stop for the night. But they don’t have the visibility into the whole market. So my team actually responded back to that BAA and shared some information that was related to how the only real source of digital transaction confirmation data is.
Scott Luton (44:39):
Okay. These marketplaces, dat has a huge number of customers that are using their platform and because of that they have a deep data set, but their data set can’t be any bigger than what their data set is. The only way this data set gets to be truly large enough and valuable enough is if we gain the, the the connection points of each one of the consummated transaction. So that’s the big idea is, is to build the, the consortium of digital freight matching companies to agree to a governance that enables this visibility to them so they can build their platforms more effectively to service customers where they’re expecting to be serviced. Okay. I’m not sure where to dive into what he just shared there. Michael, Greg w w what thoughts that generate on your end?
Greg White (45:29):
Well, I think, you know, w that addresses a lot of issues, not the least of which is we have all of these
Scott Luton (45:37):
Greg White (45:38):
who have no clue have had or, and I think we’ve resolved that somewhat but had no place to park and had no knowledge of whether they had a place to park until they got there and didn’t find it. And they might run past their hours of service requirement in order to try and find a place to stop. So that’s just one. So the connectivity between, sorry, the connectivity between organizations to be able to actually understand the marketplace is critical because pricing decisions and shipping decisions and timing decisions are being made every single day with what is effectively flawed and out of date data and be able to reconcile that is going to be important
Scott Luton (46:18):
and to recognize it in a real time environment. Right. So that you’re actually looking at what’s here and not a report from six, six weeks ago for the last six weeks. And trying to be able to say how much of the last 40 days worth of data am I really missing because I don’t have copies. These are those invoices yet. Yeah and that’s not a good way to forecast as well. Now we’re going back to the, you know, the, the truck driver experience, which we really need to meet. We need to be more sensitive to here in recent years and certainly ahead. I mean there’s no wonder why there is a shortage in that truck driver population given some of the ways that they’re treated out out and industry along. Let me tap onto that for one second cause there’s a really interesting point that I’ve had David, my marketing guy worked with a couple of folks on, you know, if you’re a truck driver and you work with these different marketplaces to be able to, to collect your capacity to and connect, to imagine your job of switching from this app, for this load to go to this next app for the next load that you’ve already agreed to be able to get to posting your next availability in five marketplaces that you don’t know.
Scott Luton (47:26):
Which one of those apps you’re going to have to pull up next for the next one. Yeah. I mean that’s, that’s not a safe way of operating a vehicle. It’s not a safe way of running your business. Too many mobile apps that are out there because drivers are trying to be able to get book. Right. All you want to do, I want to get a load where I’m getting paid, where my wheels are turning right. And shippers. All they want to do is get the freight to their customer with as little friction as possible and somebody who’s going to pick it up off my dock when they’re supposed to and get it to where it’s supposed to go at the time. Everybody wants to know when an exception takes place. Right. The industry every year that I’ve been involved in it, that’s, that’s the little black secret.
Scott Luton (48:06):
You know, that truck’s right around the corner from there. He’ll be there in 15 minutes. Yeah. Well, you know, going back to trying to find a room to rest, right. A a rest stop, you know, just to here in the Metro Atlanta area, which probably probably arguably, maybe, um, you know, has a leg up on many Metro markets given all of the exits and, and, and infrastructure infrastructure and all the, but the, uh, the Atlanta regional commission of course has a freight task force and this is a little bit dated, but I bet it hasn’t gotten much better. Um, other than work, they have a progress. They’ve made, uh, roughly an hour and a half is what their data told them that each trucker was spending an hour and a half on their phone or on their phone or driving or whatever, trying to find just a spot to pull over.
Scott Luton (48:51):
Am I going to pull over? Right. And that’s not acceptable. We’ve got, we got to figure that out. We gotta figure out your point earlier about, you know, all these different platforms and, and that’s not a safe way to operate because at the core of it, I liked how you put it. They’re, they’re just trying to, to make money while the wheels are rolling and just, yeah. Make it seamless. So. Alright, drivers want to drive and shippers want to ship. That’s right. Brokers want to get in the middle of the transaction to be able to take a transaction to make a couple of beans on the way. That’s right. Yeah. Yep. Okay. So they’re a necessary evil. I mean, I’m not trying to be able to say it’s a marketplace and there are brokers in every marketplace. That’s part of the glue. That’s right. Okay.
Scott Luton (49:33):
Shifting gears, no pun intended. As we, as we start to wind down the interview. Sorry Greg. Um, alright. So good one. You led a panel, uh, roughly two weeks ago that included our friend Daniel Stanton, mr supply chain and some other all-stars. I don’t have it in front of me. Um, tell us what, I mean, is there a key takeaway or two, what was your favorite part of that discussion? So, uh, Dan, Satan did a really great presentation with, uh, Mark Manning with, uh, [inaudible] technologies. And as we all know, the labeling side of information and the bar coding or the overarching numbering system that goes with things is, is so important for consistency, reliability of scan and trustworthiness of, of, of the information. And one of the founders, the real legacy folks in this industry, a guy named John Greaves who was on the committee with us as well.
Scott Luton (50:31):
He’s a, uh, he’s on 17 or 18 standards committees. He’s chairing eight of them at the moment. Most of them related to automatic identification systems. The man physically invented and has the patent for RFID for industrial use. Wow. But you’ve developed it prior to the time that it landed in the lifespan of his patents. So he’s, he’s made a life and a career out of being able to work the standard space. But Daniel came in with Mark with a labeling technology that is working in the the aircraft replacement parts industry where the authentication of those items, a regular sticky label or a barcode or a QR code is not going to have the lifespan to be able to, uh, sustain the time and the, a ruggedness of the airline environment. So they’re using a laser and a very interesting marketing, uh, capability that has a mobile app to be able to read the technology with.
Scott Luton (51:31):
And I think there’s so much to that. You know, the RFID technology is fantastic, but it requires a whole new reader and there’s a piece of, of how this world is going to be coming together of physical things, moving and data, things moving, that the people that are doing the moving are going to be the data collectors. And they all have, like we talked about at the beginning of this, they got this little computer thing in their hand that they can now collect this data with, right? If there’s an authentication method that enables that person to be able to be accountable for what they’re doing, then we can digitize these interactions in a touch free environment of no bills of lading, no, just digital. Bill’s a lady where I take a picture of the QR code on your phone and that brings up the bill of lading on my phone and sends a message back that authenticates my number to that bill of lading and I’m the person that works for this company.
Scott Luton (52:23):
And tying all of those attributes together is what’s required to make blockchain work is that it’s, there’s just no secrets anymore. It’s just that there’s, there’s elements and people that are making control points and those decisions have texts and numbers that are making it so that there’s a hash that’s collecting that information and stored. You can’t go change it so everybody can trust that it’s, it’s what everybody thought it was at the time that the transaction took place. Like Dennis Green, the head coach and sort of Vikings. It was, they were who we thought they were. They were who they thought we were loved and as green man, what a great coach. Uh, Vikings flew how and when he was leading him. Hey. Okay. So as we wind down Greg, we want to make sure that our audience can connect with, yeah. Michael and DFM corporate.
Scott Luton (53:09):
Yeah. Tell us a little bit how folks can connect with you. Sure. So we have built a firstname.lastname@example.org and on that website there is a getting started link that DFMs can basically come on and fill out their little profile that identifies how they like to be able to exchange information, what their systems are built in. It just helps with the interfacing and onboarding of those digital freight matching companies so that we can process their information more cleanly. But in addition to that, there’s a directory on the website that’s got 225 digital freight matching companies worldwide and differentiating them into six different categories of a carrier DMF, a DFM or a shipper DFM or a platform DFM and enabling new entries who are wanting to be able to experiment with a ooze. The right DFM for me to work with. They can go through each one of them in a centralized place like the yellow pages and be able to look through them and see which is the right ones for me to be able to engage with.
Scott Luton (54:07):
And ultimately my goal is to help every one of the digital freight matching companies gain more market share where we as a whole industry have better visibility to the transaction level detail. Love it. And you built one heck of a team, uh, from Michael Turner to David Wolf, all the rest of the team that you could find a lot of them on the website. Uh, your own, the move, Michael, it’s great for the free to stop by and checking with us here. That’s supply chain now. Well thanks very much for having me. I’ve really enjoyed the talk today and I’m sorry for the technical difficulties on the front end where my microphone didn’t want to be able to play with my webcam, but we got it down. That’s the struggles of the time that we’re in today, right? Is you gotta be able to MacGyver it together.
Scott Luton (54:50):
And if anyone can, Michael Darton Kent. So, Hey, big thanks to Michael Darden, present CEO of DFM data corporation. As you heard him say, you can learn more at D F [inaudible] dot com. Thanks so much, Michael. Greg, great show. Give me one quick hot take before we, uh, we head out. I think the biggest thing is that this is a fantastic tool that gets between all of the players, right? Obviously history goes without saying. Mmm. But I think that that um, this gets between all the players and eliminates inefficiencies. It eliminates danger and it, uh, allows companies to come together, right? So as he said, clearing house. It is a clearing house. Yeah. Cleanses and clears all of that data to make sure that everyone is on the same field. That’s right. The friction Buster. We’re going to send you a tee shirt for that, Michael. I love it. Hey, to our audience, hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as, uh, as Greg and I did learn more about all of our conversations with a broad variety of thought leaders across end to end global supply chain at supply chain. Now, radio.com on bath, the entire team, Scott, lewd, and Greg white. Okay. Wishing you the best in the days and weeks ahead, and we’ll see you next time here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Michael Darden began work in NY at his Godfather’s Auto Parts Store when he was 11. He worked there until he was 15 when he moved from NY to Georgia. Michael worked through high school as a delivery driver. When he began working for Coca-Cola after college at Auburn University, he fell in love with logistics. Michael’s 10 year career with Coca-Cola culminated with the job as Operations Manager for the 1996 Coca-Cola Olympic Warehouse. After the Olympics, he served as Operations Manager for several companies implementing WMS system. In 2003, he was hired as a consultant to work with the internet and trucking by FreightRate, which became Power2Ship. He was the President and wrote the patent for a ‘Dynamic and predictive information system and method for shipping assets and transport.’ He was then hired by Innovative Processing Solutions, dba TransMarkets. Transmarkets was purchased by US Express and they he helped build TransCard, a debit card processor for paying drivers remotely. In 2008, Michael changed industries and focused on the special education community. He founded A Deeper View and licensed a technology from George Mason University to commercialize. In 2010, A Deeper View entered into a reseller and service relationship with Dartfish USA, a video analysis technology. In 2018, Michael formed Block Knowhow to start working with Blockchain for supply chain use-cases. In 2019, he purchased the patent that he invented many years before, and formed DFM Data Corp to monetize the patent and serve the fledgling DFM industry.
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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
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.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
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.
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 transitioning from active duty in the US Army. 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.