Supply Chain Now
Episode 393

Episode Summary

“We wanted to inspire confidence in everyone that, as leaders, we knew what we were doing and that we had a plan to help keep them healthy and safe when they came to work.”

  • Rick McDonald, Vice President of Global Supply Chain Operations, The Clorox Company

 

The Clorox Company is a $6.3 Billion multinational company. They have associates in 25 different countries and distribute their products in a hundred different countries. Most people – especially in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic – are familiar with the Clorox brand, but the company also owns Burt’s bees, Brita water filters, Glad bags, Hidden Valley Ranch, Fresh Step cat litter, Kingsford charcoal, and a variety of other international brands.

Rick McDonald is the Vice President of Global Supply Chain Operations for The Clorox Company. His company has been affected more than most by the pandemic. Not only did they face the same kinds of employee and facility disruptions, demand for products spiked overnight – creating a fulfillment challenge and a question about when the volume of purchases would inevitably slow and return to normal.

In this conversation, Rick provides an operational update for Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White about:

  • Some of the unique challenges this company has faced as a result of COVID-19 and how their leadership team stepped up to handle them, including managing inventory and cleaning their own facilities.
  • The educational investment Clorox made to ensure that facilities and employees were safe, and to support the ability of individuals to keep them that way with information and supplies.
  • How his organization learned to make quality decisions in an environment where “time is the enemy”

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 morning, 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 got up early today, Scott. So that’s good. Cause we have a big guest here today. Yeah. Global supply chain leader from one of the world’s most respected brands. We’re going to be discussing a variety of topics, including some of the innovative ways that this company has helped keep product on the shelves in 2020, very challenging years, everyone knows. So stay tuned for what will be a very informative conversation that will raise hopefully your supply chain acute. Hey, quick programming note, Greg, before we get started, if you enjoyed today’s episode, what do you encourage folks to do? Well, I encourage them to subscribe or go to supply chain now, radio.com and sign up and then subscribe. That’s right.

Scott Luton (01:21):

Find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. All right. So with no further ado, let’s welcome in fortunately a repeat guest. We love a repeat guests. I want to bring in Rick McDonald, vice president global operations with the Clorox company, Rick, how are you doing? I’m doing great. Scott. Great to be with you guys this morning, Greg, how are you? I am doing well. Glad to see you. You know, it’s like every week we have an esteemed leader in supply chain last week, Sandra McQuillan this week, Rick McDonald I’m I don’t know. I’m like a kid in a candy store here. Yes. And you know, we cheated a little bit. We had a chance to catch up with Rick a week or two ago and, and kind of learn some of the lay of the land. You know, a lot of companies have really been challenged with this environment.

Scott Luton (02:08):

I can only imagine just how busy you and your team have been Rick. And we look forward to diving in some of those things that you’re doing all the hard work and, and the intellect and, and assessing and reassessing and an acting and reassessing. And it’s just been, it’s been a challenging environment looking forward to diving in with you about all of that. But Greg, before we get started, a lot of folks that they listened to the episode, I think last fall, uh, they were familiar with Rick story. We want to refresh that a little bit, that their Ricks and refresh our audience’s memory of who you are. So for starters, tell us where you’re from and give us a story or two from your upbringing. Well, first of all, I grew up mostly here in Atlanta. I went to Georgia tech, played a little baseball there, and that was quite the challenge combining the academics and the athletics, but I loved every minute of it. And I grew up a lot in the four years. I was Georgia tech.

Rick McDonald (03:00):

What position on baseball diamond did you play? I was catcher and I played first base a little bit as well. And you know, the most famous part of my Georgia tech baseball career was being an extra. I don’t think I told you guys this last time, but I was an extra, some of us were extras in a movie that Burt Reynolds made call Sharky’s machine. Oh yeah. And there was a scene in the outfield and the guys were the tech uniforms on, or my teammates. You can see a couple of them really clearly in the stadium scene. I’m a blurry blob in the background, but I know where I am at. So that’s pretty exciting for me because you were so fast, right? They couldn’t keep it focused on you. Something like that. Yes. Well, Hey, one more,

Scott Luton (03:37):

One more baseball question because, uh, we’re hoping keeping our fingers crossed, we’re going to see a season, right. And that’ll be a healthy departure from, from all the other issues that we face day in and day out. How confident are you that we’re going to see major league baseball here?

Rick McDonald (03:53):

You know, I believe they’re going to do everything they can to get some games. And I think right now it’s a 60 game schedule. The last I saw, um, I’m really hoping that that starts, uh, having sports in our lives will start to bring back some level of normalcy. And I think that’s really important for a, you know, physical and mental health.

Scott Luton (04:10):

All right. So you’ve already given, Greg has already given us a good a little bit and we didn’t hear about last time. What else about, you know, especially growing up, you said most of your time growing up was spent in the Atlanta area. What do you really remember and try to share with your children about how specialists grew up in a city like Atlanta?

Rick McDonald (04:28):

Well, I think just the, um, you know, the, the family atmosphere, everybody in the South is generally very friendly. It’s easy to make relationships. It’s easy to keep relationships and friendships. And that’s one of the best things that I remember from my time in the Atlanta area. I moved away after I graduated from tech and I didn’t move back until 10 years ago, but that sense of family and that building to easily make relationships is still a, is still a present everywhere.

Scott Luton (04:52):

He knows the Clorox company, right, Greg. I mean it just by saying it, I bet I can think about 17 different products. Um, what a lot of folks may not know is about the global footprint and just, just how many products that are in the portfolio. But, uh, Rick, if you could shed some limit line about the organization and in particular shed some light on what you do and your role

Rick McDonald (05:14):

And where you spend your time. Sure. So, uh, you know, Clorox, we’re a six point $3 billion multinational. We have associates in 25 different countries. We distribute our products in a hundred different countries and you know, most people are very familiar with, of course the Clorox label. What they may not know is that we also own Burt’s bees, Brita, water filters, glad bags, hidden Valley trash, freshed up cat litter and, and a variety of other international brands. So we’ve got quite the broad portfolio in a number of different categories. And given the summertime, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention King’s for charcoal, that’s a, that’s one of our most stout brands and, uh, something that I certainly enjoy as a, as a part time, uh, cooking enthusiast, grilling enthusiast.

Scott Luton (05:53):

Yes. I’ve burned lots of chicken and steaks and things on the grill myself. So as VP of global operations, I think a lot of folks that, that were there tuned in last time or whether they have a sense of, of, of what global operations leaders do, where do you spend your time and what’s one of your favorite aspects of your role?

Rick McDonald (06:13):

Well, I, I spend my time managing our global operations group, which is about 5,000 of the companies, 8,800 employees. And those folks are resident in 21 different countries. So I spent a lot of my time thinking about the engagement of our employees and, uh, and how do we help them continue to be, uh, well connected with the company from a strategic standpoint, as well as a tactical standpoint, one of the favorite parts of my job is getting to engage with people directly. So I’m a big believer in getting out to manufacturing, plants, distribution centers. It’s really hard to run a supply chain from behind a desk. And it is the thing that I have missed the most since we’ve all been in a shelter in place mode. We did have an event Friday at our offices in Alpharetta. Uh, it was in the parking lot.

Rick McDonald (06:59):

We invited all of our associates there to drive through in their cars for two purposes, one to say hi, but also to pick up some products. So we had a product giveaway at the same time and did that previously at our Kennesaw office. And we’ll do that from time to time, but it was, it was amazing to see how joyous people were at seeing their colleagues. So a bunch of us were out there giving away product and greeting people. And as people drove through the smiles on their face was, uh, was worth all the effort it took to put on that event. Money. If there’s anything I remember from our interviews, some months back, it was your attachment to your active and intentional engagement in the culture of the company and how we saw that play out through a lot of your people within the companies.

Greg White (07:43):

And, you know, that’s something we didn’t really mention at the outset, but I think that’s an important part of what makes Clorox the company that it is and Rick you, the leader than you are. So, yeah. So Greg and I’ll, uh, I’m going to touch on that a little bit later when we talk about, uh, you know, a couple of things that really have been important for us this year. Well, so let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about 2020 as painful as that month. Be obviously it’s been a real challenge for every one, every person and every company out there. So share with us a little bit of how 20, 20 shamed up for you. I think your story is a little bit unique, but I’d love for folks to hear kind of how 20, 20 shaved up and some of the unique challenges you face it here.

Rick McDonald (08:24):

You know, first I’ll, I’ll just start by kind of setting the stage as, as a health and wellness company. We at Clorox clearly recognize our role that our products play in, in stopping the spread of infection. We know how important they are. We knew how important they were, but, uh, with the advent of, uh, of COVID, they became really center stage. We actually began increasing FDS targets in a, in January. So we started taking inventories up, sorry, our R F DAS targets. So our inventory targets for, for each of our skews. So for all the cleaning and disinfecting

Rick McDonald (08:56):

Skews, we started building inventory. What that did was it helped start to ramp up our suppliers and our supplier suppliers that we were starting to increase our, our inventories. And we did that in January, really before COVID was a big thing here, but we have operations in Asia and we saw what was happening there. And I guess it was instinct or judgment, or maybe a combination of the two, but it just felt like the right thing to do to start building those, those inventories. Even though there was really no data available that said, this is, you know, this is something you should do. So we started doing that. We also went out and bought as much third party disinfecting white capacity as was available. So we bought all the line time that we could, again, with the idea that we were probably needed. We didn’t know for sure, but it was better to have it in the bank then wish we had had it in the bank later on.

Rick McDonald (09:45):

We also started ramping up our production and cleaning plants with those FTAs targets. We added shifts, we’ve hired almost 300 new production associates since we, um, you know, since we started this effort. So, you know, think about it kind of February forward, an additional 300 associates in our manufacturing plants. And, uh, that, that was really important because then March arrived, right. You know, we’ll just, we’ll use Clorox disinfecting wipes. As the example, you know, we make 21 million canisters every single month across our entire network, 21 million at the time when March arrived, we had 65 days of disinfecting wipe inventory between us and our customers. And essentially that cushion disappeared in the course of two weeks, 68 months, just over two months were gone in two weeks. Wow. On some skews we saw a 500% increase in demand. And those spikes are something that, you know, no supply chain is really prepared to handle.

Rick McDonald (10:42):

We sold more in one week, a couple of times, and we would sell them an entire month. So it was really an incredibly intense period of time. And you know, what we were trying to do is make sure that the products we produced were available for hospitals, healthcare facilities, and families. And in, in March, we produced 40 million more units March of 2000, 20, 40 million more disinfecting units than we produced in, um, in the prior year. So when you think about that, that’s bleach disinfecting sprays, disinfecting cleaners, and wipes, 40 million more units than the same time a year ago, real quick.

Scott Luton (11:17):

I think a lot of our listeners that are in supply chain, you know what you’re talking about in terms of this historic demand, they’ll understand and they’ll get, that’s why a big reason why we’re seeing some of the challenges and some of the retail conditions that we’ve seen for a few months, but there might be some listeners that just do not understand just how historic this surge is, whether it is in Greg, we’ve talked about it extensively. It’s not it’s folks, unfortunately, that are stocking their, their shelves or cabinets at home that are board pantry stuffing, I think is a, is a cliche. And to fair, that’s not

Rick McDonald (11:54):

Everything we’re seeing, but to also be fair, we’re talking historic, whether it’s 700% up and more demand for toilet tissue, whether is, uh, some of the man y’all have seen Rick from the wipes and some other products. I mean, this is, this is a level that we have never seen, right? So

Rick McDonald (12:12):

Unprecedented, it’s the, I don’t know if this is exactly the right analogy, but it’s really the supply chain equivalent of the 500 year flood. It’s not something that any of us had planned for anticipated. You know, we certainly know how to ramp up our production capacity. We know how to run our factories flat out 24 seven, which is what we’ve been doing since basically mid to mid to end of January. But the ability to keep up with this level of demand over such a long period of time has been very challenging.

Rick McDonald (12:39):

I got to thank Rick. When you were, when you, when you were pantry stuffing, when you ramped up the 65 days supply, you had to think, I can’t put another product in a warehouse or finance is going to come down on me or something like that. Right. I mean, you’ve had to have felt really good about that number of days supply as backstop for a surgeon demand, right?

Rick McDonald (13:03):

Yeah. So we, you know, we pay attention to working capital and certainly a finished goods. Inventory is a big part of that. Greg, we, we work with our CFO. I told him what we’re going to do and why are we going to do it? And we agreed. That was a prudent course to take, you know, it gave us probably an additional three to 4 million units of product to sell that we wouldn’t have had to wouldn’t have been able to sell. Had we not taken that action as we did in the, in January, but, uh, yeah, it’s always a challenge. My, my thesis on this is that, you know, if we’re not able to sell the product in the, in the next month, it’ll sell them the following month. We can ramp F DAS back down. It might affect one quarter. It won’t affect the fiscal year. And so we felt really comfortable taking, uh, taking those steps.

Rick McDonald (13:46):

I think that’s another really good point is it’s not that specifically. And not specifically when demand occurred that there was that much more demand. It was, people were pulling their demand forward, right? There was this panic buying where they thought if I don’t get toilet paper, or I don’t get Clorox wipes or whatever products cause Clorox wipes are, I think they’re uniquely American and European thing. Not every culture in the world can afford or thinks of them as the product, but whatever, if I need my disinfecting products, I better get them now while the getting’s good before those other people run in here and get them in. And what that really did was it hold that demand forward that will occur or would have occurred over the next 30 or 60 or 90 days. Right. That’s exactly right. You know, I think the big three

Rick McDonald (14:37):

Or hand sanitizers toilet paper and disinfecting wipes that demand got pulled forward and it left empty shelves and frustrated, frustrated consumers.

Rick McDonald (14:46):

Yeah. Which kind of exacerbated the problem a little bit as well. Then people who weren’t originally pantry stuffing started panic buying or pantry stuffing themselves. Right? Correct.

Scott Luton (14:57):

Blockchain now team was thinking ahead. So you can see from this apparatus I have on my head as folks come in and out of the studio, we’re constantly cleaning things down even before the pandemic environment. So Greg, I want to say we had a couple and we only use Clorox wipes. Of course, we had a couple of containers in the studio that at least gave us a little more lead time as we were working our way through the first half of the year. So, you know, Rick, you can never be enough prepared, but we saw that spill over as we’re all talking about across all consumers. So it’ll be interesting to see how, how the rest of the year plays out.

Rick McDonald (15:30):

Well, we’re starting to see it now really. I mean, Kroger just announced earnings and you too, there you, that just ended whatever that number is their quarter that just ended massive uptick in domain. And you can start to see the whiplash crack as shell bill and people realize they’ve got enough toilet paper or enough, or ox whites or whatever, hopefully Kingsford charcoal also rare for the next two, three months. Right. So we’re going to start to see that reverb and that’s an equal problem for your organization, because just about the time you get rammed up and get caught back up and yet demand yet product on the shelves, if demand craters, then back, if you, for you in production as well. Right. It, uh, it certainly can. And, uh, we’re, we’re watching that with, uh, with, with a lot of intense, um, you know, the thing that I didn’t mention in addition to our cleaning disinfecting products are our demand spike really across every single product line.

Rick McDonald (16:31):

It didn’t matter if it was charcoal or glad bags or cat litter, salad dressing. We saw unprecedented demand across all of our businesses. So it’s been a spirit of very intense, very intense for four and a half months. A lot of people knew they were going to have to eat at home. So we saw big, big shifts in grocery as well. Right. That’s right. Well, so tell us about, I mean, I know you’ve kind of shared some of the things that you did. Is there anything else you’d like to share that you did or are doing now to kind of deal with the impact? Well, one of the other things that we did just sort of early on, because we wanted to make sure we were getting disinfecting product to especially hospitals and healthcare centers, in addition to retail and, and, and, and families, we stood up a 55 gallon drum filling line and a couple of our plants and bleaches a, an incredible disinfect. And it’s actually the, the less convenient form of a disinfecting wipe if you will. And a 55 gallon drum of bleach has the ability to clean over 10,000 hospital rooms when it’s diluted to the strength. And so we made those drums available. We donated them to hospitals and healthcare facilities as they, as they requested them. So that was a, that was just one of those very interesting, you know, kind of spur of the moment. Let’s do something else to utilize our process capacity while we’re running flat out on our packaging

Rick McDonald (17:50):

Lines.

Rick McDonald (17:51):

Wow. That’s fantastic. 10,000 hospital rooms out of the 55 gallon drum. Correct. Wow. That’s the power, isn’t it? That and tie dye. Thank goodness. All right. So let’s take another angle of this. So when you look at 2020, you’re a global supply chain and operations leader. I know you have to have a really unique perspective on this. When you look back at 2020, or you look at what’s coming in 2020, or what you’re facing right now, tell us a couple of leadership lessons, operational lessons that you’ve learned this year. Yeah. You know, Greg,

Rick McDonald (18:28):

Before I do that, let me, uh, let me backtrack a little bit and talk just a little bit about some things that we did to make sure that we were able to continue producing is that, is that, uh, do the very first thing that we started talking about my leadership team is how do we make sure that we take care and look after the health and safety of our associates? Um, I think I documented last time on, on the program, uh, we run very safe operations. We’re extremely proud of that. This is an entirely different aspect of, you know, safe employment. And so we really had to think a lot about, you know, the health and our facilities, the health of the associates coming to our facilities. We, uh, we took 14 discreet actions. I’ll tell you about, you know, four or five of them here really quickly.

Rick McDonald (19:11):

We started by educating our associates on the virus, everything that we knew, we shared with them about how it was transmitted, what they needed to do. We reinforced the idea of washing hands frequently, not touching face or nose or eyes. We started practicing social distancing with visual cues and the plants I have to tell you that was one of the hardest things for, for people to, to work through because we’re a very collegial operation. People are used to being like family and most of our plants. So social distancing was hard. The company set up a $1 million emergency fund for our associates. So in the case that they didn’t feel well, or they were caring for somebody who wasn’t well, they didn’t feel like they were compelled to come to work. We would cover their pay for that time period while they were, while they were not feeling well.

Rick McDonald (19:58):

We were one of the early adopters of non-contact temperature scanning and a health questionnaire at the door for every associate. Every shift, every day we took on increased sanitizing activities in our factories using third parties. And we developed protocols that we used when somebody said they were ill or, you know, went out and got tested, whether it was negative or positive. And then I put a third party epidemiologist on staff. This, this guy is very well connected with the CDC and we actually got him on retainer still. And he provides us with some fantastic advice to make sure we had a really healthy environment for our employees. What we were trying to do is really build confidence for people to continue to come to work day after day after day, in spite of everything they were exposed to outside the plant, we wanted to make sure they knew when they came to the plant, they were going to be healthy and safe at work.

Rick McDonald (20:49):

So how did that work? Because that was one of the lingering questions I had was you were trying to ramp up and keep up production. But one of the biggest hindrances is if you can get people to come to work. So did that comfort to your employees and get them comfortable with coming to work. That was a big part of it. I also have to say the leaders in our factories were incredible. You know, this is not the time to shy away from communications or be unclear, even though there was a lot of competing information about COVID-19, what it was, what it was and how it was transmitted and so forth. Our plant leaders just did an incredible job of continuing the engagement that they have with their employees, but kind of talking them through these scenarios, you know, depending on which plant we’re talking about, whether it was in Chicago or Raleigh Durham, you know, some of the early hotspots and ongoing hotspots, people were very, very concerned about continuing to come to work and through the efforts that we, that I just talked about, as well as the plant leaders were able to get people to continue to come to work and feel comfortable and safe doing that.

Rick McDonald (21:53):

Now, I can’t say that was a hundred percent, but we had, we had great presenteeism over that time period where our employees really took it upon themselves. They saw it as a mission to continue to come to work as part of the central business, rather than alone that word. I think transparency is the key at a time like this. You have to share everything, you know, take a position and make sure that everyone has information. So you avoid those negative fantasies that people might generate in the absence of information. That’s right. Real quick, Rick.

Scott Luton (22:26):

Yeah. We’ve spoken to a variety of whether they’re plant level leaders or they’re more enterprise level leaders. And a lot of them have spoken to the additional rigor that that managers have to put in place to protect the employees and, and, you know, all of them have not taken the steps that clearly all of you just outlined some of those, uh, you know, across your enterprise. Do you think in generally speaking folks really know about just how difficult it is to manage manufacturing, plants and distribution facilities and other sites and pandemic environments while protecting the employees and getting production done.

Rick McDonald (23:01):

I think they don’t Scott and, you know, there’s really no playbook for this, you know, my leadership team and I, we were working, you know, we weren’t working 24 seven, but it sure felt like that to make sure that we were trying to get a couple of steps ahead based on, you know, what we knew or what our judgment told us we should do. And with no playbook, you’ve kind of got to create things as you go. And that’s essentially what we did. You know, even our general manager, as an example, we used to have 115, we still do. We have 115 skews in the CDW portfolio, Chris hiders, the GM of that global business. And he said very early on, I want to make 15 of those just 15. And what that allowed us to do in the plant was to simplify operations, to get more through fewer changeovers, less, better material usage.

Rick McDonald (23:47):

And, and so, you know, from the business side, there were decisions made like that, that wasn’t in anybody’s script. There’s no playbook for that. But the fast decision making that, that the GM made helped us a lot, that disinfecting wipes area. And I think the other thing is, you know, we talk about, I’ve been talking about Clorox plants. I also want to give a shout out to our suppliers. They’ve been heroes as well. Their ability to follow us as we ramped up production was just phenomenal. And, uh, you know, again, they, they didn’t have this in their playbook either, but because of our long standing relationships with many of our suppliers, we’re able to ramp up very, very quickly. And they were able to get us the material we needed to continue to produce these essential products.

Rick McDonald (24:26):

Well, I think that’s something that we’ve heard a lot lately. One of the statements, I can’t even remember who made it, but we were talking about an article that said now is not the time to make brands, right? This is when you really realize that you have a good, or you don’t have a good relationship with your business partners. And if there’s any lesson that people ought to take away from this, it is one have a plan, a and a plan B, and to be good, the fair, right with your business partners and be communicative because that relationship is critical and it benefits you all the time, whether you see it or not, but it certainly benefits you in times like this.

Rick McDonald (25:06):

Yeah, that’s, that’s exactly right. All the, uh, hours and days and weeks and months, you spend developing those relationships. These are the times when you don’t know when they’re going to occur, but these are the times when they really pay off. And we had the same thing on the, uh, on the logistics side where our third parties were just, they were just phenomenal, whether it was carriers or our third party, our three PLS, they were just fantastic. And I just, I can’t say enough about how well they performed in such an uncertain time as well.

Rick McDonald (25:35):

It’s interesting. And you know, one of those things let’s, so one of those things that you can think of as a leadership lesson, right? So let’s, let’s go back to that. And, and is there anything else that jumps out at you that your team or you learned, or you taught during this difficult time? Yes.

Rick McDonald (25:53):

There, there are a couple of things. I mean, there were, there were tons of learnings, but two that I’ll, I’ll highlight. One is in this age of, uh, really instantaneous adjustments where a time is the enemy. This is a time where leaders have to be able to trust their instinct, to trust their gut, because there’s no playbook. In many cases, there’s not a lot of data to support decisions that you need to make now, but you need to act quickly and decisively with, with imperfect data. And it, it’s a very uncomfortable, very stressful place to be, but it’s hopefully what all of our professional training and education and whatever else we have inside us as has prepared us to do the January of ramp up for us and buying the extra line time. There’s no data that supported that, but our judgment was we needed to go do that, to make sure that we had done everything we could to have as much as possible.

Rick McDonald (26:44):

You don’t really have time to experiment and pilot and then decide, you’ve got to decide and act, and then adjust afterwards if you need to. And, you know, we probably, I mentioned the questionnaire that every employee takes before they come in our doors. We probably have adjusted that thing six or seven times as we learn more information refining the questions, but we didn’t wait until we had perfect questions before we started deploying that. We got it out as quickly as we could, because we knew it was going to help us potentially prevent somebody who wasn’t feeling well. It was caring for somebody who was not well from coming in the plant. And, and in fact it did. So that’s number one, you gotta, you gotta be able to trust your gut and make really quick decisions. Number two, and this is, gosh, I think, I think everybody, uh, you know, under understands this, but if you take care of your associates, they’re going to take care of your business.

Rick McDonald (27:31):

I’m just so proud of the 8,800 people we have in this country. And especially a company and especially the 4,400 production associates and their plant leadership teams. They’re, they’re really our frontline heroes. They have continued to show up every single day, 24 seven in spite of lots and lots of reasons to not do that. And, you know, they really do believe they’re on a mission to supply, to subtracting products as quickly as they can. I think it’s really a Testament to the culture we built as a, as a company. And again, you don’t know exactly how and when it’s going to play out, but this concept of discretionary effort, uh, we, we’ve seen just some phenomenal effort from associates across our company and, and, and across the various countries where we operate as well. And it’s a, it’s been really a cool thing to, uh, to be part of.

Rick McDonald (28:17):

It’s interesting how closely that aligns with the conversation we had when you were on the show before I’d really encourage people to go back and take a look at that episode. Maybe even you Rick and understand just how consistent your leadership is in times of normalcy and in times of crisis, because that in, in and of itself to me is a leadership lesson lead in times of crisis, as you would in times of normalcy and vice versa, you know, the old adage dig your well before. You’re thirsty, make sure that you have good processes. You have a good understanding, a great culture, an incredible appreciation that you clearly do for every worker in your company and, and make sure that everyone knows that. I mean, to me, look, I’m sorry that, that wasn’t a question that was more of a statement of admiration because I really appreciate your management approach. In that regard. It was one of the things that was left with both Scott and I after the, uh, interview that we did with you before.

Rick McDonald (29:14):

Well, I appreciate that, Greg. Thank you. It’s a, it’s one of those things where, you know, looking back, what we were trying to do was to set the standard, establish what it is we needed to do as a operations organization. We wanted to inspire confidence in everyone that, you know, as leaders, we knew what we were doing and that we had a good course plan and that we were going to help keep them healthy and safe when they came to work. And then that we were just going to praise them all that they were doing. And there were certainly some heroic efforts over the last four months. Some of those are pretty well documented, a lot on Martin own at all, except by us. But, uh, we’re, we’re just really proud of our, our production associates and their leaders

Scott Luton (29:54):

On that note. That’s a perfect segue

Rick McDonald (29:57):

Leave. Like it’s like he said, yeah. So

Scott Luton (30:02):

Look, we’ve known this for a long time. We’ve been an industry as Greg always likes to put it. A couple of decades have been in and out of over 300 plants and sites and distribution centers have worked in some and toured others. I love and I, and I mean this wholeheartedly, I love the people on the floor, making things happen. It’s are people unlike many other folks around the globe. There is a sense of comradery. There’s a sense of mission. There’s a sense of, Hey, we’re going to get this done together. And more society would be better off if they saw that firsthand. Like we’ve all been able to see. So with that said, I love also the fact that NBC and NPR went out at evidently. If they didn’t just interview you, they have gone out and met several members of your team. One in a plant out in California and the plant here in the Atlanta area.

Scott Luton (30:54):

And I want to share two of our favorite snippets and get you to react. And Greg would welcome your reaction as well. Carlton Mitchell, who is a department crewleader out at a site on the West coast, says quote. When I came to the Jew, when I came to work, it was a job I clocked out. I went home just entirely different. Now, though, when I come in, it’s not just a normal nine to five job anymore. It’s a mission. Now love that from mr. Mitchell. And then Larry Wheeler, a senior packaging operator from a plant in California. I’ve got these two gentlemen twisted up

Rick McDonald (31:31):

Carlton’s of our Atlanta main plant.

Scott Luton (31:32):

I can only blame my very poor handwriting here. My apologies to mr. Mitchell and mr. Wheeler. Alright, so mr. Wheeler talks about and I’ll paraphrase here. Uh, he was, uh, I guess coming off a 20 day straight campaign, you know, making the mission happen, getting products out, uh, and was stopped in a retail store, convenience store and was thanked by a couple of, of, of consumers for what he, what he and the team do. I guess he has maybe a Clorox company, a uniform home, and he talks about how special that is, and it’s never had it never happened to him and to see non-industry focused media and our, our, our friends and partners over there, give some attention to these folks. I love it. I hope we see a lot more of it, but what’s your take on that? Why is that special to you?

Rick McDonald (32:23):

Well, it’s, it’s special to me because it was direct recognition for three individuals in our plants representing, you know, for 4,400 people who are in the trenches, frontline heroes products every day that we’re getting out to hospitals, health care facilities and, and families through retail. And what I loved about it in the case and Jessica Matthews was the other person who was on the NBC nightly news story with the, with Carlton. And, um, what, what I love about it is it allowed those pieces, allowed them to give a little bit of an insight into their lives and what they were going through. And we don’t, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about, you know, production associates and the value that they bring to society and, um, and, and to our country, but in this case, uh, these three were, I mean, first of all, they just did a fantastic job. Um, not the easiest thing to do to be recorded. And in the case of Jessica and Mitch on camera, they did a fantastic job. And we’re really grateful to NBC nightly news and NPR for considering a sport. We don’t typically seek, um, a lot of media attention. We are, you know, we’re not trophy hunters. Uh, we just kind of go about doing our stuff and that’s, that’s the way, that’s the way our production associates feel as well. So it was really phenomenal. They have chance to tell, tell a part of this,

Rick McDonald (33:49):

Love that. And Greg love to get you to weigh in, uh, Carlton Mitchell, Larry Wheeler, Jessica Matthews ashes, three of the 4,400 folks are heard you’re right. That are in plants throughout the States. Greg, why is that important to you? We have talked through this whole pandemic about the people who are really on the front lines, who aren’t necessarily recognized. We’ve talked a lot about healthcare workers and they certainly deserve it. They were on the frontline, but people like, you know, the folks here, people in retail stores, they’re on the front line and in some cases, and especially early on without a lot of the protection that medical professionals have. And certainly without the knowledge, even despite the great efforts by Rick and the other management at Clorox and other companies there without the knowledge of how to deal with this and how to tackle it as wired in as a healthcare professional is so they’re taking an exceptional risk. They’re putting themselves out there to make sure that we get what we’re clamoring for it. Another thing that I think is really interesting, and I don’t know if everybody thought that Rick has a nickname for Carlton, he calls him Mitch. So he must know him. So when the global vice president of operations has a nickname for you, like you’re his best friend that also speaks to the culture of a company. Good point.

Rick McDonald (35:13):

Yeah. And you know, Larry, Larry and I I’ve known Larry for 25 years. I ran a sister plant in Los Angeles when Larry was at the Fairfield plant, I’d go to Fairfield often to see how they were doing things, just to try and learn from them. And Larry is one of the experts on the packaging line. So he and I have a, have a long history as well.

Rick McDonald (35:31):

It’s a great sign, great sign. And, you know, frankly, I’m not surprised after getting to know the company and

Scott Luton (35:38):

Now getting the Rick a couple of times having been in, uh, your, a forest park plant, uh, once or twice before, there’s just, there’s a different standard, uh, at companies like the Clorox company. And, uh, we appreciate that. Alright, you coined a phrase or really you improved and nothing too creative. We had, uh, talked about how this was this age of adjustments. And I liked Greg, if you called it, like how it, Rick added the age of instantaneous adjustments. And that’s just exactly what it’s been Rick really appreciate what you’ve shared, really appreciate your company’s commitment to protecting all of consumers and protecting the psyche. Despite the challenges is so important before we ask you about how folks can connect with you and how folks can connect with the Clorox company. Clearly having brought on 300 employees at the first part of the year, I imagine you’re still doing some hiring in these challenging times, any last word or comment or challenge you’d like to leave us with

Rick McDonald (36:34):

The challenge for us continues. So, uh, we, we don’t really foresee a let up insight for it, just infecting products. Uh, we’re, we’re very excited and, and, and, and humbled by that, to be honest, we’re not sure where this, uh, where this disease is gonna, it’s gonna go. But one thing we’re certain of is we’re going to do our very best to make sure that we’re producing all that we can, so that hospitals, healthcare facilities and families have all the disinfecting products they need. And that’s our commitment as a, as a world class health and wellness company. And you can count on that from Clorox,

Scott Luton (37:06):

Love that RIT, Greg, I’m ready to run through walls.

Rick McDonald (37:11):

We need to break McDonald on you. You know, what’s, what’s really inspiring. Rick don’t blush. What’s really inspiring. I have a feeling he’s not going through. And that’s part of, what’s really inspiring about Rick is that you feel like he can’t be rattled. We know he has a 17 year old son so that we, so we know that he can,

Scott Luton (37:30):

We just

Rick McDonald (37:31):

Seen it. And it’s interesting that earlier in the discussion, Rick, you said, you know, you want to project that comfort, that that feeling of, um, you didn’t say control, but basically we’ve got this under control. Just hearing your voice makes me feel better about it, the level nature of how you approach things, the military precision with which you approach things. You talked about making decisions with an eight month in a snap with a lack of data that is precisely what military training does, right? You have to make an instantaneous decision without, or with flawed data, and you have done a great job of maintaining and recovering during this time. I think it’s a great model of not only leadership, but also operation for companies that have been going through this crisis. And I hope you guys at least write a white paper or something about it, maybe a book, but I think there is a lot that people can learn about leadership from you and about how to operate this you and, and

Scott Luton (38:36):

Your entire organization. Well, I appreciate those kind words. Um, I, I’ve got a really great team and we’ve just had our arms locked tight for a, for a long time. And, uh, it’s really, it’s really become even more important these last four months. And on we go, we’re not sure where the future, what the future holds for us, but, uh, we’re, uh, we’re ready for it. Outstanding. I feel better just cause he said that, Hey, we have been chatting with our friend and repeat guests written McDonald’s vice president global operations with the winter, only the Clorox company. Rick, thanks so much for your time, Scott. My pleasure, Greg, enjoyed it. And thank you very much for having me again. All right. On that note, Greg, we’re going to wrap as much as we probably would need to dive into, right. Well, Hey, we’ll have, we’ll have Rick and maybe, maybe next time Rick comes, he can bring Jessica or we can get Jessica or Larry or Mitch plugged into the conversation.

Scott Luton (39:28):

We’ll see if we call them metric, if it’s fine with him. That’s all right. So we want to invite our audience. Hopefully you enjoyed this conversation and this story and, and some of these lessons learned and best practices as much as Greg and I have stay tuned for a lot more, not only of our podcasts, but Greg, we’ve got an very interesting discussion coming up, July 15th, where we’re going to have a very Frank conversation around race and industry as part of our standup and sound off programming, more greatly to groups sharing their, their point of view and some suggestions on what ought to be done and interacting with the audience, right. That’s right. And that’s where the, the, the, the secret sauce is. We, you know, we, we feel certainly responsibility to help provide avenues to facilitate these conversations we have to have in order to, to move the needle and drive some of the change it’s gotta happen.

Scott Luton (40:15):

So check that out July 15th, you can check out all of our podcasts, really all of our programming, as Greg said on the front end supply chain now radio.com. And we’d welcome you to be a part of that on behalf, Greg of our entire team here at supply chain now big, thanks. Of course, the written McDonald and the Clorox company, we wish all of our listeners, nothing but the best. And we, we challenge you just like with challenge ourselves, Hey, do good give forward and be the change that needs to happen. And on that note, we’ll see you next time here.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott and Greg as they welcome Rick McDonald to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Rick McDonald is the Vice President of Global Supply Chain Operations for The Clorox Company.  In this role Rick has responsibility for approximately 5000 people in 23 countries in manufacturing, contract manufacturing, planning, logistics, engineering, quality assurance, safety, health, environment, security and sustainability. His team is responsible for delivering against commitments in the areas of Employee Engagement, Personal Safety, Product Quality, Customer Service, Cost and Enabling Growth.  He is the Executive Sponsor of SE ABLE, Clorox’s Black Employee Resource Group. Prior to this role, Rick had an International Supply Chain assignment, reporting to the GM of the International Division.  He was accountable for Volume and Profit results as well as Safety, Product Quality, Customer Service, Total Delivered Cost and Enabling Growth.  He and his team (located in Atlanta, London, Toronto, Sydney and Hong Kong) interfaced between the business and the function, creating business strategy, current and future year financial forecasts, driving execution and assuring alignment of Supply Chain plans and business plans. Preceding this role, Rick was Clorox’s Vice President of Global Logistics.  In this role he was responsible for Customer Service, Distribution Center Operations, Transportation Operations and Supply Chain Management.  He owned the company’s Order to Cash process. Rick joined Clorox in 1992. He has held numerous Supply Chain roles from Sourcing and Planning to Plant Management and Logistics as well as several roles reporting to Division GMs. Prior to joining Clorox, Rick worked for Frito-Lay for 10 years in 5 U.S. salty snack food manufacturing plants. He is a former Board member of the Yuhan/Clorox Joint Venture (S. Korea) and served on the Supply Chain Advisory Board at Atlanta Technical College and at Clayton State University.  He is a past member of the Chlorine Institute Board of Directors, serving on the Membership Committee and as co-chair of the Customer Stewardship Committee.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Barbecue Industry Association and was elected Vice Chairman. An Atlanta native, Rick holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech and lettered as a member of the GT baseball team.  His hobbies include go karting and high-speed performance driving.

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Greg White

Principal & Host

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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.

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Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Patch Reilly

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.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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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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Chris Barnes

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.

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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.

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Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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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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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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