Supply Chain Now
Episode 385

Episode Summary

“Let’s just put a stark reality, but the haves and have not, who has the right product at the right time, who has the right infrastructure to service the customers with the right product at the right time.”

  • Jeff Cashman, COO and Senior Vice President with GreyOrange

 

Companies are running out of people, space, and time. Firms that want to remain competitive have to reduce their dependency on labor and move warehousing and distribution closer to their customers – even though that makes the operation more expensive.

Jeff Cashman is the COO and Senior Vice President of GreyOrange, a robotics company that is fundamentally focused on retail distribution.

In this conversation, Jeff discusses the following topics with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White:

  • How easy the challenges of COVID-19 has made it to spot the companies that were ready v. those that were not, and the companies that had strong balance sheets v. the ones that did not.
  • The lasting impact of the massive recent shift to eCommerce, even before the peak season, and the new value proposition this may present for robotics.
  • Why warehouse management systems (WMS) and robotics can no longer operate in silos for companies to achieve the desired level of efficiency.

Episode Transcript

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 (00:28):

Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Greg, how are you doing? I’m doing great. I’m excited you joining us today. We are. Our audience is in for a great episode here today. We’re featuring an industry leader in the automation and robotics technology space. So yeah, quick. Okay. Programming, if you enjoyed episode here today, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Okay. So today we are featuring none other than Jeff Cashman, chief operating officer with great orange. Jeff, how are you doing

Jeff Cashman (01:03):

Good, Scott, how you doing?

Scott Luton (01:05):

Uh, you know, all things considered, right. All right. Right. We’re all getting through these times. Um, great to have you. It was the last time Greg and I were out in person was the mode X mode X week. And that was the last time we caught up with you last I believe. Wow. Long time ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been, uh, three, three months. Gosh. Alright, so, um, and it’s also not your, your first appearance on supply chain now. So that’s always neat to welcome back a repeat guests folks that may have missed that, that episode. What feels like a hundred years ago? Tell us about Jeff Cashman. Tell us about, you know, where are you from and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing.

Jeff Cashman (01:42):

Yeah. Thanks Scott. Good to be with you, Greg. Always good to, to see and be with you. Thanks for having me guys, you know, uh, you know, Scott, I was born and raised up in the Midwest, uh, outside Chicago, elk Grove, village, Illinois, and, uh, Mmm. Uh, what the university of Illinois, uh, and, um, uh, in Champaign-Urbana, uh, graduated, uh, uh, in, uh, with a degree in economics, um, and, uh, interesting where I am now, uh, to, uh, those days, uh, back in, uh, as an econ major. Uh, but you know, when I was growing up, um, you know, a middle class family, uh, basically, um, working from the time we were eight years old as a paper, a paper boy, never forget that bike. I had two baskets in the back, right. It was my dad’s old bike, throw the papers down the street, um, you know, all the way until graduation.

Jeff Cashman (02:36):

And as I was going through GRA, um, uh, school at university of Illinois, um, um, my summer internships or summer jobs at that point, nobody ever called them internships. I was, I was driving a forklift in a secondary steel plant. Um, uh, outgrow village has a very large, um, uh, industrial park and I was driving a forklift, uh, in this secondary steel plant. Uh, and then, and then, um, right before I graduated, I was working with the, a chain distributor, I mean, like a chain distributor, and I was helping doing inventory counts of change. So, um, as I was growing up, that’s how I went through school, paid for school. And then, um, and then, uh, graduated and went to work right out of school is, uh, Anderson. At that point, it was Arthur Anderson, M I C D, which became, uh, Anderson consulting, which ultimately became Accenture.

Jeff Cashman (03:33):

Right. Let me jump right in to Jeff. So right before we talk more about your journey. Yeah. You had the advantage, um, and it sounds like in college of, uh, being in manufacturing, plants, uh, distribution facilities, I mean, these are things that, uh, a lot of folks don’t experienced that so early in their career, I mean, that gave you a leg up and really understanding what those industries did and what global supply chain was. Right. Well, it really was that secondary steel plant in particular driving that forklift, you know, a buddy of mine’s dad’s brother owned it and said, Hey, they need some help. So I went and drove the forklift, but just understanding where a us steel was coming through. And the secondary steel was basically being pushed off to this, this small plant where they were basically shaving. So yeah, learned a ton about, about global supply chains, about the operations in as of themselves and the people in the operation.

Jeff Cashman (04:31):

Right. I mean, that was the UN right. We have folks from, from Mexico, we had spoke of folks from Poland. We had folks from all sorts of people around the world and working side by side with them shipped by ship. It gave me a real appreciation for the globe, the global supply chain and, uh, and really working in operations. Yeah, for sure. Esprit de Corps that comradery, I mean, yeah, the way I looked at it and, and, um, you know, when I got out of the air force and in Oh two and eventually found my way back and are in the manufacturing, there was a lot of similarities there and, and, and the teamwork and, and the United mission. I mean, there’s something that is so unique to those production sites. So Steve, I need to hear of what you had experienced and then, and really the advantage of experiencing so early in your career.

Jeff Cashman (05:22):

So now you started to talk about your professional journey prior to gray orange. So please tell us more. Well, you know, I, so I graduated from university, uh, and, uh, and to your point, um, no, so I hopped in to Arthur Anderson and company lot. At that point, there were a bunch of a bunch of consulting groups, fundamentally just kicking up at that point, crackers and vibrant and Arthur Anderson at KPG. They were all hiring kids out of college, basically that we’re going to go help, you know, start deploying these massive systems, processes, and systems. So I jumped in there what the bootcamp, uh, which is, uh, Arthur, Arthur Anderson boot camp, the green books and all that stuff back in Chicago. Right. Was it back in Chicago then? Yeah, in fact, I was based in Chicago, 33 Westman row. And, but, uh, the campus training campus was out in st. Charles, Illinois. Right. And they basically had bought a, a, an old Catholic, uh, university, uh, and that’s where they held their training program right there on the Fox river in st. Charles, Illinois. So, uh, great memories there. Uh, basically at that point, from a computer perspective, we’d go through computer programming classes, but we were using cards, punch cards. Let’s go talk about those the other day.

Jeff Cashman (06:41):

And one of the tricks, and you go through this, you know, you’re, you do pull an all nighter and you do these punch cards, and then you give them to your supervisor and they carry them in. And, and the, and the, you know, they spooked everybody because after that, all nighter they’re walking with your deck of cards, and now it was a spoof. It was somebody else, you know, but here that is, I’m going to get fired. It’s all over, but it was very good experience. Um, you know, it’s interesting a quick aside about punch cards. We just learned this as Greg mentioned the other day, the, uh, what prompted folks to figure out even a punch cards and early computers is that it was taken the U S government eight years. It’s a process since this results way back at the end of the 19th century.

Jeff Cashman (07:29):

So even the punch cards or, uh, quite a bit, uh, in our rear view mirror now at the time, as you know, it was revolutionary and it allowed us to move faster, as crazy as it sounds today. Unbelievable. And literally when I went out, I was on my first project. It was all cobalt programming at that point. Okay. So all of a sudden we were in the new world, we learned on the old moon, I moved to the new, uh, went through, you know, basically blocking and tackling projects with Anderson, but my first project, um, happened, uh, industry. My second project was in distribution and it was on inventory management and warehouse control. It was with, um, United stationers up in Desplaines. Yeah, right. Yeah. And, uh, I was, and we were implementing an inbound inbound warehouse management, inbound warehouse, uh, inbound warehouse manager, inbound inventory control system.

Jeff Cashman (08:25):

And, um, Anderson had a product at that point called a DCS logistics, which is distribution control system logistics, big mainframe software order management, inventory, warehouse management stuff. And I was on the inventory side and that was on the warehouse side and kind of going back to, you know, the, uh, the secondary steel plant and the, and the chain distribution plan. I’m like, I kinda liked this, you know, I liked seeing to your point, the spree decor people working together around a problem to solve of the operation. And, um, and now we’re bringing technology to it. And, uh, and it was light years ahead of where they were to where we were bringing in mainframes and big old sheets in of, uh, uh, of, um, basically reports that operates, uh, operate the, uh, run the operation. So that was my first taste of technology in a warehouse with United stationers in 19, basically 1988.

Jeff Cashman (09:27):

And at that point, it clicked in that I would move into this, uh, DCS logistics product. So I’d be part of that team on the go to market side and really became a solutions consultant around DCS logistics. And for the next two years, that’s what I did walking into all these sites, understanding how we would deploy DCS logistics and help sell it. And then, uh, the team would hand off and deliberate. Mmm. Uh, and then that lasted till 1990. And Jeff, I’m going to interrupt just for a second, because I’m just like your earlier career, you were having a taste of industry and production and manufacturing and distribution earlier than most. It sounds like to me that you are also getting a heavy dose of technology before most folks new what business technology, and certainly supply chain technology was right. Really good point. Right. We were so siloed at that point, you know, at that point it was, um, transportation and warehouse and their various even called supply chain at that point.

Jeff Cashman (10:31):

Was it? Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. Um, operations. So it’s a, it’s a really good point, Scott, because now the technology was really these advancements and the buyers were the warehouse operator, but ultimately it was the CFO and the CIO, which is interesting. Um, so we kind of progress of through the ADA late eighties and then Anderson, um, they’ll never forget this call. Three of us in a room. They say, Hey, look, we need one of you guys to go to Japan. We need one of you guys to go to Europe. Uh, I’m married, my wife, Chris. We were pregnant with our first daughter at that point. And she was working at first Chicago. And, um, and I said, came back to Chris. I said, she was going to have to take time off. Hey, look, we go to Europe or Japan, where would you like, let’s go to Europe.

Jeff Cashman (11:23):

So I come back, the following week said, Hey, look, we’re super excited to go to Europe. He goes, great. We’ll see you Japan. September 1st, somebody had already nabbed Europe. They already know they already nav Europe. I took, we went to Japan. So, um, at least our daughter was born on July 29th. I started in Japan September 1st. And so we moved to Tokyo for the next three years where we were basically doing the same, same, um, DCS now in Japan, very different market, very different hierarchical distribution network. They had a, uh, fundamentally a distribution network of seven layers called the chill eye, which basically kept everybody employed. If you think about it, there was very, very little unemployment because everybody’s touching product through these seven layers of distribution. So we were there in Japan from 1990, till 1993, but a couple of major things happened there. At that point.

Jeff Cashman (12:22):

One was in Japan of the big store law passed because if you’ve been to Japan, a lot of little marks, little stores, that’s how the communities are formed. And the culture really is. And the, and the big store law was passed by, by toys R us entering into Japan. They wanted access and they forced their big footprint. And then all the other Japanese large retailer said, we’re going to do the same, but that fundamentally then blew up a massive distribution network because now these little marks were going away and it was going to the big store. It took years decades to fundamentally evolve that way. But that was in, [inaudible] talk a little bit about the Eureka moment. You talk about the, yeah, that was it right up a country, a distribution environment now turned upside down because of an event. And this event happened to be called, what was it called?

Jeff Cashman (13:21):

The big store law. So before we call it disruption really fundamentally. Yeah. And culturally, I mean, it was a massive cultural shift too. So that Eureka, you read my mind because that’s what I was going to ask you next. That was one of your bigger Eureka moments. What, what were you thinking at the time that the next 20 or 30 years? I mean, what were you thinking? Was it, were you thinking at the time that that was going to be, you know, a big ripple and have a huge ripple effect and we’re going to see the same needs that sounds like this regulation opened up in Japan elsewhere in retail? Well, you know, it was, uh, I wish I was that good. I, I did. You saw the impact in Japan because there were protests. I mean, this was impacting millions of people that were going to be out of work, right.

Jeff Cashman (14:13):

Ultimately out of work, they were protesting and so forth. So you saw the, the disruption Greg, as you call it. I mean, this is real disruption at the, at the, at the heart and soul of, of, of, uh, of, uh, this community. Um, I took that experience though, Scott, to your point. And when we came back to the States in 94, then I then got it right now. The big stores were absolutely in place. Supply chains were forming, the Walmarts were moving. The toys are us, we’re moving, right. This linear supply chain now was starting to begin massive manufacturing at that point, uh, in the eighties, nineties was Japan. Right, right. Fina not really yet online, uh, and starting to see now this massive movement of manufacturing on the water distribution stores and hence the linear, you know, supply chain began. Right. And, um, and at that point with, uh, um, Anderson consulting at that point back here, um, I then came back and worked on a very, very large project with a very large brand out of Portland, Oregon that was global in nature, uh, and was dealing with exactly that, where am I going to put manufacturing fundamentally, cross-docking it leverage, leveraging the Philippines and rifling them into the States already at that point, how can we start to think about flow and movement of goods at a velocity that fundamentally met the consumers needs and in this instance capture a market.

Jeff Cashman (15:48):

Right? So that was where I, I, I basically ended my time with, uh, Anderson consulting at that point 97 and then, and then came over to the dark side, uh, or onto the software side, the tech side with a company at that point called McHugh Freeman. Okay. Um, McHugh Freeman, uh, was part of a very large automation company. So you’ll see this go full circle. Exactly. I called pinnacle automation and they had bought bushmen all the conveyors and a bunch of other guys and McHugh Freeman was kind of their software underneath it built on a digital or a deck platform if we can say that these days, but there was a company, a great technology called digital back in the day. Um, and fundamentally was a warehouse management system. And there were a couple others out there at that point. There was a company out of Dallas called Dallas systems that was doing a ton of work in grocery company here in Atlanta called Manhattan associates that were just getting going, uh, in the nineties and then, and then McHugh Freeman, uh, and big customers, you know, uh, Proctor and gamble and big, big PNG, um, uh, uh, big, big, uh, CPG guys.

Jeff Cashman (16:58):

I was there for a couple of years. We basically carved McHugh Freeman out to become a separate entity. And you’re focusing on providing automation solutions, right? This big brand warehouseImanagement system fundamentally. And they were getting into retail, um, a big retailers they were working with and CPG customers. And they, uh, we basically raised $50 million, uh, from a, uh, venture capital firm, carved it out as a separate entity in 1998. Uh, and I left at the end of, uh, 99. Uh, but that company became red Prairie that became JDA. That’s now part of blue yonder. Gotcha. Um, and during that period of time, we had, we bought a, uh, we bought a labor management system at that point, uh, called Gagnon and associates, uh, based out of Minneapolis and put the two together. So now you’ve got warehouse management, labor management coming together, and we had also purchased a company called Wesley transportation management systems. So here, you’ve got this MCU software, You know, pulling together warehouse management, transportation with Wesley, and then also, uh, labor management Ghanian coming together with what we called at that point

Scott Luton (18:16):

Logistics execution system, Les, no more WMS, no more TMS for integrating them or holistic. We were bringing it together to drive synergies between,

Jeff Cashman (18:30):

Um, between, between the warehouse and transportation, inbound, outbound.

Scott Luton (18:34):

So Jeff, if I could pause for a second, because Greg I’d love to, uh, as Jeff was describing a story and we’ve got just a little bit more to go before, great orange enters the picture, but what, what stands out the most from Jeff’s experience and especially him being on the front line of these big transform these disruptions as you call it? Yeah. Well, I mean, I, I’ve known a little bit about Jeff’s history for a few years. We’re not old friends, we’re young friends forever from an old time ago. Um, so, um, you know, what really stands out is, is that what you experienced, Jeff was the start of technology when it was essentially custom, every single time it was built. And then you progressed into this acute, this progression of, and transformation of accumulations of technology that instead of standing in silos, which you said, right, we were very siloed at that time, right.

Scott Luton (19:36):

Instead of standing in silos, you were starting to accumulate TMS and WMS and LMS and, and make a suite of products that started to solve the problem rather than attack the individual issues. And, and that to me is what leaps out at me when you tell this story. Mmm. Also the other, the thing that leaps out at me is I’m curious, how is your Japanese these days? Yeah, right. I can, I can order a beer and, you know, getting a taxi cab and that’s fine. That’s good. And that’s heads and shoulders above many language. You need to know how to order a beer, identify that your friend will pay, know where the bathroom is and getting a taxi. All right. So back to your story, Jeff, where you were implementing these logistics execution systems, Les, these holistic packages suites is, as Greg was calling it, what come, what, what’s the big roles. Thanks that come next. Just prior to gray orange.

Jeff Cashman (20:33):

Yeah. So then we go through and do a startup here in Atlanta called velocity, a supply chain integration, visibility to execution, basically planning to execution platform, uh, that was during the.com bubbles ran and fast for that one, quiet five companies pulled them together. Mmm. After that went over to a company here in Atlanta called Mapex, which is a supply chain, but much more manufacturing, SMB side of the house and MRP side, basically running at that point, uh, um, ran, uh, the, um, international operations piece of the business. Uh, and then I moved on to, uh, Manhattan associates and was at Manhattan associates for 13 years. So Andersen consulting 13, uh, to, to, to Manhattan Manhattan associates for, uh, 13. Uh, and, uh, and at that point, you know, with Manhattan really started to understand now customers solving the problem, the value proposition, uh, how we can start to leverage technology further into, um, the, these functions of now order management, inventory management, warehouse management, transportation.

Jeff Cashman (21:51):

So that’s where, you know, if I think about all those roles, um, you know, I really learned, uh, through that process about, um, how we’re going to create a platform, would that platform to create fundamentally a value proposition that is 10 X, what solving a problem is versus looking at the solution and how we’re going to think about deploying that solution in this platform way. And then, and then, um, my last turn was, uh, just briefly before gray orange was with a, um, a small company here in Atlanta called, uh, LA commerce. And in allied commerce, we were fundamentally e-commerce distribution, um, and, uh, worked with a lot of small manufacturers that needed an eCommerce presence and then delivery. So it was a third party logistics provider as well, really learned a lot about now the operation side of the house, versus just the technology, right.

Jeff Cashman (22:45):

Going back to the roots of my roots, where we were operating in a, in DCS and manufacturing plants, and fundamentally put my feet on the ground of how we’re going to now optimize and run this distribution center. Before that I moved over to gray, orange, orange, one thing that you went from kind of a physical environment to virtual or technological environment, and then back and now at gray orange here you are in a, in a physical environment solution with a ton of technology backing and driving it, right? Yes. Yeah. And tell us a little bit about what Greg, we’re more, let me, let me, but one more time in, because I’ve got one question for Jeff. I drove a forklift well years ago, and I still miss it to this day. Do you miss driving that forklift back from that steel plant years ago? So two things about that forklift, the first time I drove that forklift and I picked up that secondary steel, a roll I went over, I could get right over.

Jeff Cashman (23:44):

I had a too up on the, uh, too far. Right. That’s tough. I learned a lot. So that’s a no. Alright, Greg, sorry. I didn’t even realize that we all have forklifts in our history because my first quote, unquote supply chain job was working at a Kmart store carrying bringing the oil into the main store into the automotive department from the automotive service center. And because I was only 16 when I started, I was doing that on a handcart right. And eventually I got the right to drive a forklift. So we’ve all had that experience and it is one of the greatest experiences is really good on top of my list, I’d have to say, but second is forklift driver. Um, so well, so anyway, you did get to experience a lot of physical right aspects and operational, as you said, operational aspects of supply chain, but also the technology.

Jeff Cashman (24:41):

And now you’re combining the two to create a solution. Yeah. Actually deploys vehicles, if you will, right. To do some of the things that humans have done in the past. So tell us a little bit about gray, orange, what the company does. Yeah. So a gray orange is a robotics company, fundamentally focused on distribution and primarily in retail, right. Uh, that’s our target markets. Uh, but what’s really unique about this and, and, you know, you, you take my story and apply it here. It’s, it’s all about that software integrated to these robots, right? Because over the years we’ve seen the interfaces to all sorts of agents, whether it be robots or ASR S or any type of, um, of automation, but here it’s integrated to this robot. So the robots learn from the software, the software learns from the software, learns from the robots all in real time.

Jeff Cashman (25:42):

And, uh, you know, as I sit back and I think about why, you know, I’ve been asked several times, why did I take this job, right? And there’s this Holy grail ever since, uh, in, in working in the operations, the idea of getting to real time optimization on the floor is where it happens, fundamentally bringing planning and execution together. Um, that’s, that’s the Holy grail and the technologies that we’ve been talking about, and I’m not a technologist, but I’ve been working around them for a hundred years. The reality is the technology’s never been there. Right. But now with this very unique technology, this platform we’re leveraging, we call it gray matter. Our software built on this very powerful technology integrated into these robots is what brought my attention to gray orange, how they’re solving this, no problem. Um, and, and then the application of that across industries, we happen to be focused on retail.

Jeff Cashman (26:51):

And, um, and when I think about, uh, the, the value prop of gray orange, um, they, we started in 2011, um, uh, in India, um, Akash group does our CTO and somebody coli is our CEO and they studied in university robotics. And, uh, I mean the humanoid type robotics, I mean, and they want all sorts of awards and they got a lot of attention in India about these, you know, fascinating and very technologically advanced robots. Um, and as they started to win these awards, they said, okay, so what is the business problem we want to go solve? And they focused on supply chain. And so in 2011, that’s kind of what they did. They said, okay, let’s go take this and go focus on, sortation get some software integration around it, then get the robots in and take that journey through 2014, 2015, they’ve done very, very well with some very large customers, eCommerce platforms in India, very well.

Jeff Cashman (27:57):

And they decide to move out of, uh, out of India and land first in Japan, uh, and in Japan land, uh, for very, very large customers deploying our set of, uh, our, our robots, what we call ranger, GTP. So goods to person. And we also have another solution of a ranger mobile soar, which is a sortation Oh, robotics. But at this point it’s goods to person that we’re, we’re solving the problem for. And then that’s the deployment in Japan, from Japan. Then they moved to Europe, um, and they land very, very large customers in Europe. And then about 2017, 18, they land here in North America and they land a very large customer, uh, publicly, uh, uh, publicly public statement, uh, with, uh, was XPO and XPO basically created a very strategic partnership with, uh, with gray orange about, uh, you know, moving, um, our GTP robots into, uh, their ecosystem and their customers, and fundamentally creating a massive differentiation against any other three PL we have about 600 people globally.

Jeff Cashman (29:10):

Majority of our team is in India, but we have folks in Japan operations here in North America here in Atlanta, it’s Roswell. Uh, and then also, uh, in, in, um, in Europe. Uh, and so that’s, that’s who we are, uh, to date. We have just, we have a little over 4,000 robots deployed. So when you thought, when you think about scale, you think about maturity in this market. Um, we have been in, we have been at, uh, we been in this market for a long time and solving these problems for a long time. And at scale, these are generating operation, no value out of the shoot. We don’t do a lot of proof of concepts. We don’t, because the way you demonstrate value is by putting them into the operation, generating the, generating the value. And that’s what we’ve, that’s what we’ve done and been very, very successful along the way, uh, with our customers.

Jeff Cashman (30:10):

So it’s interesting. Um, you know, I’ve had the opportunity to follow you guys even before you were there, Jeff. Um, yeah. Oh, I was associated with a company that installed robotics and distribution centers and did some preliminary, I think they did some preliminary work Mmm. With your team a few years ago. And it was really impressive. What do you know, what the business problem that you’re attacking and that you’re giving companies an alternative to the established fulfillment methodologies out there? Right. So, um, you know, I sort of, um, have created this category of companies. I call ABA anyone, but Amazon, right? Part of the issue for companies that are currently tethered to the big river is that they, they don’t know where to go. They don’t know what their options are. They don’t know how to deploy other ways and solutions like yours solutions like XPOs and others give them the full ability to do exactly what is being done for them today, but with fewer tethers and, and know less threat from marketplace intervention and that sort of thing.

Jeff Cashman (31:25):

So I really applaud what you all are doing to enable that. And that is a big portion of your target is not just bricks and mortar retailers, but also e-commerce or people who are crossing, um, both areas. Absolutely. Right. Absolutely. And, and Greg, to that point, when you think about these retailers and large brands, small brands, however you want to think about these, these, uh, these brands, um, are, uh, for you and I, as consumer here are really, really important how they get to us is now as important, right? Um, the, the, uh, the Amazon folks who have that have set the standard, the bar at an incredibly high level of service. And if I’m not serviced that way by a product I may love, but Amazon gets it to me, a different product at a different, uh, at the, at the service level, I expect I’m now I I’m, I’m at risk of the brand.

Jeff Cashman (32:26):

I was that right out of the gate risk, right? So they have to find a way to meet and, or exceed that service level. And given the challenges that we have today in the market. And this is a COVID statement, I’ll talk COVID, uh, but fundamentally, why would people think about a solution like gray, orange, right. With its very powerful software, integrated robotics is we’re running out of people, right? This is not only a state. And this is a statement, a global statement in Japan and Europe and here in North America, but we’re fundamentally running out of people, uh, from, uh, who watched the work at a distribution center, uh, in August, um, you know, um, uh, with a couple of hundred people around you. So we’re, we’re running out of people. Um, that was kind of the one objective. So what are we going to do to replace those people become more efficient, the distribution center in the fulfillment center, how are we going to become more efficient?

Jeff Cashman (33:27):

So we’re running out of people, we’re running out of space because of these consumer demands that we’re putting on the network, meaning that, that supply chain network, distribution network fulfillment network, we’ve got to move closer and closer to where you and I are. These inventory nodes are going to be closer to where we’re at. So we’ve got to go get space. That’s more expensive. How can I use my current space in a more efficient way? Think micro fulfillment, I’ll come back to that in a minute. And then the third piece is we’re, we’re running out of time. And, and what I mean by running out of time is those shipping windows are getting more and more compressed. And I missed the window. I missed the service and I, and then the brand has lost the promise to you and I as the consumer. So we’re running out of people, we’re running out of space and we’re running out of time.

Jeff Cashman (34:17):

That was fundamentally the mantra coming into, um, the business, right? And the value prop is very powerful, uh, on how we’re going to fundamentally reduce the dependency on labor. You don’t take labor away completely because it’s very much integrated with labor, right? But reduce the dependency on labor, especially with these retailers and brands dealing with these massive peak seasons. One of our, one of our customers that we’re dealing with at peak, they have a non-peak, they have about a thousand people at peak. They have 4,000 people. They have to bus people in to have this work, if they could even find them

Scott Luton (34:56):

Right. And that’s getting exceedingly hard to do, and wages are going up. And at the same time, the workforce, the workforce that wants to do physical work is getting smaller by 10,000 individuals a day, right? As the baby boomers, exit the workforce, the younger generations want to do technical and analytical work. And I think the other thing that what you all do, Jeff, that particularly adds value. Is it not only elevates Mmm. What humans do in that they still get their, a spree decor, but now they’re doing a more elevated what humans are more equipped to do. Um, robots are doing what robots are more equipped to do, and it creates a safety

Jeff Cashman (35:38):

Factor in the facility as well, because you’re, your robots are programmed not to collide into one another. Right. And they are very active. They’re never looking the other way, right. Accidentally run into things. Um, plus they do those jobs that are repetitive and mundane and, and straining. And, and you, you don’t have the physical injury risk that a human being has. And I just think that elevates everyone’s existence in a distribution center when you do that. It does, you know, I think that safety piece, you know, now, as you look at where we are in COVID, and what’s really interesting in this COVID times is as we hit that February, March timeframe, things started to kind of pause, stop felt a little bit like, Oh, uh, end of Oh seven, going to Norway. And except everyone was that already at home. Well, that’s a good point at this time.

Jeff Cashman (36:34):

Right. Exactly. Right. Right. And so at that point, that freeze was very interesting to watch who accelerated through it, meaning who had the balance sheet, who was ready for it. I’m not COVID, but this, this shift in demand yep. Uh, who was ready for it and who wasn’t. Right. And so the extra peak season, I mean, extra peak season and we’re funding that, or yeah. Trough season, depending on the business and the product you’re talking about as well. That’s, that’s true as well, but, and, and you kind of move to this house and have nots, right. When we’ve always talked about them for as long as I’ve been in the business, who’s doing it, who doesn’t do it, who has it? Who doesn’t have it? Yeah. Let’s just put a stark reality, but the haves and have not, who has the right product at the right time, who has the right infrastructure to service the customers with the right product at the right time.

Jeff Cashman (37:27):

Right. All of these scenarios use cases start to play out [inaudible] you can clearly see, who’s been thinking about this who’s ahead of it and who’s not right. So you go through this period of time and post COVID, and what’s even more, uh, interesting in this very uncertain time is I need more people. We have 40 now, 42 million, 43 million with a million and a half. Now, again, 43 million people, unemployed, still people aren’t showing up to work. Now, a lot of reasons for that, there’s a fear and a, a very, a very real fear of, of COVID. Uh, what does it look like? What is, how’s it going to impact me? Um, and, or, um, right now with, uh, the government packages and unemployment, the market, uh, the reality is, um, uh, these, uh, the distribution workers, the associates are making 166% more than, uh, you know, their wage.

Jeff Cashman (38:28):

So why work? So that’ll end, it should end and it’ll evolve back and people will come back to, but there’s still this reality for a period of time of safety. What does this distribution center looked like? And with this massive shift, this massive shift to e-commerce yeah. E-commerce in the last six months, we’re not done with a year 45% growth in e-commerce where we were seeing eight to 10% growth per year, 45% growth year to date. Right. Yeah. And we haven’t hit peak technical peak. Right. You know, and now we’re even less equipped to handle peak because with physical distancing requirements, for even those people that do come back, you, you can’t create the same capacity because of the physical distancing of humans you’ll have to augment. So I think COVID really becomes an accelerant for automation and robotics in, in fulfillment and distribution. I agree.

Jeff Cashman (39:31):

And so quite frankly, we’re inherently built to be, you know, social distance, right? Our pickers are picking stations are literally six plus feet apart, right. Robots are robots, right. We’re, we’re, we’re built in with that safety net from a, from a, a COVID and, and, and, uh, and a controlled perspective that allows for, uh, allows for our customers to deploy, uh, these solutions in a way that’s safe and efficient for their associates. All right. I’ve got 22 pages of notes. I can’t keep up with, with both of y’all, but, but Jeff Mmm. In a, in a short span, we’ve already been, if that doesn’t give you a great sense of what’s taking place. Uh e-commerce any retail, I mean, um, folks are getting their money’s worth today, for sure. You’ve already addressed as we should shift gears a bit, and we’re going to start moving, moving a little more broadly with the conversation you’ve already addressed.

Jeff Cashman (40:28):

You’ve been reading them on this next question, because you’ve already touched on a lot of the reasons for automation and robotics in industry before we kind of really, before Greg really broads it up, give us, yeah. What do you think and w in the world of automation or robotics, what is the one key development that you’ve recently observed or something maybe we should keep our finger [inaudible] [inaudible] yeah. You know, what is becoming a parent, uh, over the last year, and even, even my time with Manhattan associates, what is becoming apparent is that the, the technologies of today warehouse management systems and automation living in silos doesn’t work anymore. It can’t work anymore. If in fact, we’re going to truly, if in fact, we’re going to address the topics we’ve already talked about, right. Being able to fulfill that, that customer need doing it in a safe and effective way COVID or COVID

Scott Luton (41:34):

Being able to drive efficiency and accuracy. Uh, and, and in a way that addresses, um, I’m not gonna have enough people I’m running out of space and I’m running out of time. I need to be able to drive that efficiency. So old tech, the technologies of the past and the recent past is solid technology, but it’s not going to address the next five to 10 years. And, and this, this, this paradigm of integrated software and robotics is the thing that’s got me. Well, I’m, I’m SU I’m, I’m super excited about it because it’s, it is, as I mentioned earlier, a little bit of the Holy grail of planning and execution coming together in fulfillment. Right. Um, and that to me is the, um, the thing that I’m seeing in, in drilling a sorter to a floor or drilling more conveyor to the floor, only limits my space, limits, my flexibility limits, my ability to scale that’s right.

Scott Luton (42:39):

And, and I believe those days are, are going to go, it’s looked at beginning of we’re in the early innings here, for sure. It’s like the faster you can go, the faster you can go. It’s like riding a horse, you know, the more horse runs the faster it wants to run the longer it wants to run. And it’s exciting to hear you talk about Mmm, okay. Constantly improvement between the, the software and the robotics themselves, and just the constant learning environment. Right. And you’re able to move faster and faster for the customer. They, one of the comment before I, I, I get Greg back involved and he’s gonna go a little more broader. Yeah. As I was checking and doing my homework on gray orange earlier at the very top of your website, uh, it, it kind of parallels an earlier conversation. We had way back when, which I wish I’d recorded quite frankly, between you at Terry and Greg and some others, I would have been great podcasts.

Scott Luton (43:33):

Yeah. They’re less your attention and your company’s attention, appreciation and recognition of the workforce in these fulfillment centers and distribution centers and warehouses, there are so many great people that have been on the front lines throughout this pandemic, and then some [inaudible]. Yeah. Clearly it’s part of y’alls culture to appreciate and levelness folks. And it is so needed. Not only is the recognition needed, but, you know, protecting these folks that are, that our meeting, you know, between that and all the technology and robotics are meeting that 45% growth, you know, and, and making it easier for not just Americans, but consumers okay. Around the world, two navigate through these challenging times. So kudos to you and your organization for recognizing and clearly making that a priority. Thank you. Thank you, Scott. And it’s real, right? Your point is real. Um, we, we, uh, at gray orange, I have personally felt that, right. We’ve got folks out on the, uh, on the front lines

Jeff Cashman (44:32):

And we’ve had we’ve, uh, we’ve had some personal loss with COVID in our family, um, our, our gray, orange family, uh, folks that are on the front line. That’s what they do. Right. So it’s real. And thank you for bringing that up. You bet. All right. So, Greg, um, on a much brighter note, we’re going to kind of go a little more broader, uh, globally. Yeah. I mean, I’m almost afraid to ask Jeff, you’ve seen so much change. You’ve seen so much evolve. I know you have a vision of, of what the future could be, and what’s important now, but let’s do go a little bit more broad let’s let’s, let’s tune into your crystal ball a little bit or anything. That’s got your attention right now. What really are you seeing that, you know, either inspires or concerns or, or ignites [inaudible] Mmm. In terms of, of technology or supply chain or really any topic?

Jeff Cashman (45:32):

Yeah, well, uh, supply chain for, because it’s, it’s who I am, this is where I’ve spent my career. And my, my passion is, is there in, in, in, in warehouse and fulfillment and, and what, what has been igniting my, uh, interest, what has really inspired me, uh, my career has been created a couple of different recreated, a couple of different times. Um, and it’s all been around you and I as consumers. And finally, finally, the supply chain is aligned with the pole versus the push, right? And, and I’ve, uh, that you’ve been in that business forever, Greg, uh, when, when we start the fi and bayzos figured it out, and they put a bunch of big barriers in the way for us to, you know, to compete with that. But fundamentally it’s in the right place. Now how everybody basically aligns around that gets aligned around that it’s no longer linear it’s thousand points of light about how we’re going to service you and I, as a consumer, as we start to recreate this new distribution network, all these different inventory nodes, whether it be a store, whether it be a kiosk, whether it be, you know, a large regional distribution center fulfillment center, that network, as it evolves from where it was, was is six months ago, it was a right or less, or to where it’s going is all about that inventory, being a place where it’s going to be positioned to service the customer in a way that is, uh, that is, uh, creates that trust between the brand and that consumer people were coming, and it’s going to get out, it’s going to happen and to do that, you don’t have the people to get it done.

Jeff Cashman (47:24):

And so therefore I’m back onto the, the message of gray and what we’re doing in the power of this software integrated to drive this, these technologies, which is we call them agents or robot. Yep. A conveyor of sorter, how we want to basically manage and orchestrate agents within a fulfillment center within a note. Yeah. We have conversations going on right now. And, and we’ve got really smart people, uh, at gray orange. And they basically are saying we could stand up a 6,500 square feet, give me a store opening a week. We could pump out five to 10,000 units a day. Let’s go put it in 6,500 square feet and get something up and running quick, just that sort of innovation that sort of push on fulfillment of the demand to achieve what the brand wants to achieve is something that I’m just super excited about.

Jeff Cashman (48:22):

And, and, you know, long, long ago, we used to drill stuff to the floor and I just think that’s not gonna, that’s not going to be the way five years from now. We’re in a very, very different mode, very different mindset. When I started very orange, I’ve had the opportunity to work with, um, some great supply chain experts. And they’re now chief supply chain officers. And back when I started, I first two months, I went Chadwell. I said, so did I, what do you think about what I’m doing? And does this make sense? And nine out of the 15, this is a mandate over the next five years is we redesigned our distribution network. This is a mandate, no it’s robots that just sellers, but it’s a mandate that it’s gotta be a, we’ve got to change. And me that is [inaudible] now with COVID, it’s accelerated.

Jeff Cashman (49:16):

So that’s kind of what I see. Well, I mean, flexibility is key in any retail environment, it was changing dramatically even at eight. So 10% of a shift towards e-commerce now it’s changing even more rapidly and it, and it will peak and then fall back to whatever growth rate we wind up settling at. Right. Um, and that requires its own flexibility day to day. It can require flexibility in terms of, Hey, today is a big day. It’s the last day of the month. You know, I know a little bit about distribution the last day of the month, everybody’s getting paid cigarettes and beer are going to sell like crazy, right? It’s the fifth day of the month. Whatever’s happening that day that, you know, it’s Thursday, it’s Tuesday, whatever is happening. And because with robotics and without the boundaries of those, those agents, those, those entities, uh, stuck to the floor, you can literally reconfigure a distribution center or a store or a fulfillment center day in and day out and even intraday based on the volume that, of the types of products as being produced throughout the day. And it’s all aligned to demand and it’s all to the pole

Scott Luton (50:28):

Versus the push. Yeah. We got to remember supply chain. This is critical for our evolution revolution in terms of supply chain. We have to remember that the supply chain begins and ends with the consumer. And of course, those are, those are beautiful, uh, um, uh, transformations. And, uh, um, it’s great since removed that way because that’s going to help us tackle a number of other issues. And, you know, we were talking earlier today, circular economy sustainability. Well, if, if we’re really demand driven, rather than push all this stuff out yeah. Less waste and that much other things to deal with. So yes, Jeff, I wish we had about five hours with you. Um, because one hour does not, do you justice? It really doesn’t. I mean, it’s, it’s clear to me, Greg, at least, but not only is he a walking a funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia about all things supply chain, but he’s so passionate about it.

Scott Luton (51:25):

I mean, he loves this stuff. I mean, and it’s, it jumps out of the video. It’s interesting to hear you, Jeff say you work with a bunch of really smart people. I just think that’s really, that’s true. Of course you do. Right. But I think you, you’ve got to count yourself among those. Not just, not just smart, but also not experienced. Right. And introspective, because you’ve captured a lot of this. You went all the way back to your paper route, and I’ve only ever heard one other person, Chris Gaffney, right. Coca-Cola who went all the way back to the learnings that he had from his paper route and how that helped teach him supply chain. Yep. That kind of introspect is really, really valuable. And I bet you’re going to have a lot of people wanting to get ahold of you. So let’s go to the toughest question of the day.

Scott Luton (52:13):

How can people reach you or how can they reach grey orange? So gray orange, for sure. It’s heading to the website. Right. Um, so it’s gray, orange.com, all one word.com gray with a knee gray orange. That’s right. That’s a good point. That’s right. Uh, and, um, and I’d recommend going there and, and, and reach out that way. And of course you can always reach out to me directly@jeffdotsieatgrayorange.com. Um, I would love to, would love to be a part of the conversation. There’s so many folks what I’m, what I’m also finding is these use cases just keep changing. How do you, how can we use these now? So I’m sure that I hope this conversation has sparked some interesting. What about this? Because yeah, well, that’s kind of where we are early innings. The ability to start define what these use cases are for this brand new technology.

Scott Luton (53:10):

That’s going to change the change fulfillment now the future. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. So Jeff will hit the wrap up, uh, but we’ll have to bring you back for a second installment. Soon enough. We’ve been chatting with Jeff Cashman, chief operating officer with gray orange. Jeff, thanks so much for your time, Scott and Greg, it’s always great to chat with you and look forward to listening more to you and seeing you soon. Absolutely. Alright. So Jeff, Jeff, don’t go into where we’re going to wrap up here at this point, Greg, uh, Greg, what a, um, as promised what a great conversation. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, again, talking about the, you know, the inherent knowledge there, the, the ability to introspect on it and evolve it into, from a physical to a technological and then a combined environment, and to see the future, that way we need more people in supply chain that have that kind of capability.

Scott Luton (54:05):

And that’s the message here. I think that comes through loud and clear. Right? Agreed. Mmm. You know, we, we, we ha we want leaders like Jeff, thank you, Jeff. I’m like, he’s not here. Like you Jeff in supply. Well, great stuff, uh, to our audience. Thanks for tuning in here today. Be sure to check out our June 25th webinar on ERP, best practices in post pandemic environment and in particular, uh, join us on July 15th. As we have a very Frank conversation on race and industry, and we’ve got a great panel, uh, we’re going to have a global interactive audience that going to weigh in and share their insights experiences, and we encourage you to join us for that. Check out all of that stuff, as well as our podcast or live streams. You name it, watching out radio.com on behalf of our entire team, including Greg white, Scott Luton wish you a wonderful week ahead. Hey, do the right thing, give forward and be the change. We’ll see you next time here.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Jeff Cashman to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Jeff Cashman is the COO and Senior Vice President of GreyOrange.  Jeff brings 30+ years of supply chain technology experience to GreyOrange, most recently as the CEO of Ally Commerce, an e-commerce service provider for brand manufacturers. He also spent 12 years as an executive in Accenture’s Supply Chain Strategy Practice as well as 13 years as SVP of Business Development at supply chain solution provider Manhattan Associates. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Learn more about GreyOrange: www.greyorange.com

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Greg White

Principal & Host

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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

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Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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.

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

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Natalie Dutton

Marketing Coordinator

Natalie is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and a certificate in new media at the University of Georgia. If there’s one thing she’s learned at the Terry College of Business, it’s that the supply chain is a dynamic, unifying force that’s essential to any business. Natalie helps to amplify the voices of the supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting with media management, content creation and communications.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Page Siplon

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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We’re always looking for new talent to work with us. Apply below if you are interested in joining the Supply Chain Now team.

Click here to download the Current Openings PDF
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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

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

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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