Supply Chain Now
Episode 475

Episode Summary

“Without having automated serialization and connection to the VIN, what typically happens is you have to overestimate the amount of vehicles that may need service [in a recall]. Having them can have a positive impact on the OEM as well as the consumer.”

Robert Fink is an Executive Vice President with Surgere

 

There are multiple levels and layers of inventory tracking needs that have to be addressed in the supply chain – especially in the automotive supply chain. Knowing where parts are, either on the road, in a plant, or in a customer’s vehicle, is absolutely critical.

Surgere began as a team of packaging consultants focused on reusable containers. The lack of supply chain visibility they faced eventually led them down the road towards software and digital transformation. Today they provide advanced asset visibility, data analytics and control through each segment of the supply chain and across industries.

Robert Fink is an Executive Vice President with Surgere and Katie Lewis is an Marketing & Events Associate. This episode is part of Supply Chain Now’s coverage of the 2020 AIAG Virtual Supply Chain Summit, which is taking place on November 5th.

In this conversation, Rob and Katie provide Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton with insight into:

  • Yet another business task – asset/inventory tracking – that we shouldn’t be managing via spreadsheets
  • What trends and changes they are focused on the OEM automotive supply chain
  • Why companies often need just as much help locating products and materials within their own warehouses and storage facilities as they do in the supply chain

The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is excited to be in the final stages of preparing for the virtual Supply Chain Summit event on November 5th.  The Supply Chain Summit is a not-to-be-missed annual production, and has long been considered the hallmark event of AIAG’s Automotive Supply Chain portfolio. Additional Supply Chain Now podcast episodes will be featured alongside a blockbuster lineup of Automotive OEM, Tier I, and 3rd party service provider presenters for the Supply Chain Summit.

Register for the AIAG Supply Chain Summit Today: https://tinyurl.com/y8axeflc

Episode Transcript

Intro (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 the here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Greg, how are you doing? I’m doing great. It was a very good this, uh, I’m always, uh, looking forward to these AIG events, right? They kind of kicked off the virtual world for us. You’re right. And we were just talking about that. Pre-show because of some of the great moves that AIG made and enabling people to connect during an incredibly challenging year. So, but you’re still in my thunder. So for starters, for starters, on this episode, we’re gonna be talking with leaders from an organization that is helping to create much more visibility in the world. Supply chain, using science sensor based science, Greg, my least favorite subject in school. So I’m gonna lean heavily on your expertise and work through this episode, but you mentioned AIG.

Scott Luton (01:21):

So this episode here kicks off our coverage of the 20, 20 AIAG supply chain summit, right. Which is taking place on November 5th. AIAG, you know, we love our acronyms here in supply chain, automotive industry action group, and a lot of thought leadership, as you might imagine in the automotive world. And, you know, we encourage our listeners to sign up for that event. A link is in the show notes and in particular, we’re thankful for these guests here, which we’re going to introduce momentarily, that’s sponsoring the podcast series associated with this blockchain summit. Um, so one final programming, uh, if you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to check us out and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Alright, so now Greg, you ready to dive in now? I’m ready. All right. Fully prepped. Ready to go? All right. Yes, let’s do this with no further ado.

Scott Luton (02:13):

Let’s bring in our featured guests. We’re talking with Katie Lewis, marketing and events associate and Rob [inaudible] executive vice president, both with sir Jair. Katie Rob. Good morning. Good morning. Hey, welcome aboard. Welcome, welcome, welcome. And we really appreciate your company’s support of AIG programming. And of course the podcast series here affiliate with the supply chain summit. So thanks so much. You’re very welcome. Delighted to be part of it. All right. And we’ve got an excellent, uh, lineup, uh, that our listeners will be hearing from over the next few weeks. So stay tuned for that, but we’re going to dive into both of y’all for today’s episode, really looking forward to learning a lot more. And with that in mind, Greg, let’s see, you know, Katie, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from and give us, give us a Eureka from

Rob Fink (03:00):

Your upbringing. Same,

Katie Lewis (03:01):

Uh, I’m from Northeastern, Ohio. I grew up in the Canton area. So for those that might not know it’s the homo football hall of fame, 10 a day, small liberal arts university, just outside of Cleveland, uh, called Baldwin Wallace for my undergraduate degree. And then I went on to the university of Akron for my master’s degree. Oh, yes. Goes it. Um, my professional background is in government and higher education. Um, personally I’m happily married with one son and one daughter.

Rob Fink (03:34):

And what’d you major in, in school?

Katie Lewis (03:36):

Uh, sure. So my bachelor’s degree is in marketing and then my master’s degree is higher education administration.

Rob Fink (03:42):

Then applying that to industry, I bet industry folks can learn a lot from that background.

Katie Lewis (03:49):

Yes, absolutely.

Rob Fink (03:50):

So what was, you know, as, um, I was still in L a glance at your, your professional journey via LinkedIn interesting roles. What was a Eureka moment you had as you kind of wind through your, your professional journey here?

Katie Lewis (04:06):

Um, I don’t know if I would say there’s specifically one Eureka moment. Um, I would definitely say that I have often focused on being extremely productive and always putting others first. Um, I, and as you can see from my LinkedIn profile, that’s, um, a lot of my roles have been focused on helping and supporting other people. Um, and I think that’s something that I learned from my parents

Rob Fink (04:29):

Love that we need a lot more of that servant leadership. Yes. Yep. Uh, is music in my ears, Katie, and I appreciate you sharing that. Let’s switch over now. Let’s get a feel for Rob’s a POV, if you will, before we dive into all the good things that surge is up to. So Rob, tell us where are you from? And we’re going to find a Eureka moment with you too. I think. Yeah. Uh, so also from the Cleveland Ohio area, born in Boston, moved to Ohio, grew up in Ohio. Then here ever since a happily married father of two young girls like to play a lot of golf, don’t really score well, but hasn’t deterred me yet. Still get out there from a Eureka moment standpoint. I still try to embrace this, you know, throughout my career is that you’re never done evolving and learning as a person, uh, mentally, physically, that journey never stops.

Rob Fink (05:18):

And, um, you know, saying that you don’t know something or you’re unsure of something is really not a weakness, but a strength. So I try to embrace that constructive criticism throughout my life and, uh, tend to make my wife really happy when I can admit that yet. You know what? I was wrong on that one. And I can do better. You make your life a lot better when you admit you’re wrong as well. Well, I’ve learned that to you, you, you learn a lot and things seem to be just a little bit easier. Green. One of my, uh, favorite philosophers is a okay, admittedly fictional philosopher, big Tom Callahan from Callaghan auto parts, Tommy boy, you’re either growing or you’re dying there

Scott Luton (05:58):

Ain’t no third direction, right? I mean that, you know, and in its own way, that is a really great philosophy. You should always be thinking about growing, always trying to improve yourself. Uh, and that that’s the only way to continue to even maintain much less grow. Katie. Rob, if you can’t tell we, we subscribed to the classical, uh, classical philosophers. We keep it very enlightened here at supply chain now, but I agree completely that sentiment and Katie and Rob, I really appreciate what you both share on a human level. You know, we see oftentimes since we interview folks, it can be, it can be kind of a, um, a front, right. There’s an interview side and maybe a real side. And I really appreciate where both of y’all came from in, in that little extra tidbit about yourselves. Alright. So, um, let me ask one more question.

Scott Luton (06:52):

Uh, Greg, before we dive into the company, so Rob, why do you still have family in Boston? I do not. Okay. Uh, while I was going to ask, you know, uh, I’m not sure when you move from Boston, uh, but you know, living there right by the sea, all the seafood and, and of course, uh, an outstanding America world-class city. Uh, and if you ever went back very often and what’d you miss about it? I do get back from time to time. We moved, you know, when I was pretty young, so I didn’t have too many deep memories. Um, but yeah, do get back time to time and you kind of hit the nail on the head. I really missed the food. You really can’t get seafood like can get in Boston and Cleveland. It’s hard as you try, you just can’t find it. Yep. Agreed. Okay. Good stuff, Greg. Let’s, let’s get the work on the, uh, the business side. Well, I, you know, we kind of hyped it a little bit, right? So there’s, there’s a whole lot of, uh, sensors and science involved, but I’m interested for our audience to learn about what Sergio does. So, so Katie, can you and Rob share a little bit about that and then maybe each of you share a little bit about your roles in the company.

Katie Lewis (07:58):

So I’ll just give a high level overview that we’re, we are a supply chain management company focused on working with our clients. Um, our mission is to save the supply chain. Um, and we plan to do this through high fidelity data, advanced analytics using IOT and the surgery solution suites. So that’s our software suite. Um, my role within the company is, um, as Scott said previously, the marketing and events associate. So I plan a lot of our engagement with partner organizations like AIG, um, any major sponsorships that we have. Um, currently we have one with Andretti, Autosport, um, and road to Indy because of the relationship with the data and the analytics. Also, I, um, assist in a lot of our marketing and communications with our clients and potential clients.

Scott Luton (08:45):

So Rob, I mean is what you do, is it on board in vehicle analytics as well as a, whatever we would call it static analytics? No. So nothing as far as

Rob Fink (08:59):

Onboard as the is concerned, but really everything that has to do with assembling a vehicle is where we add value to our customers. So whether it be managing reusable containers, whether that be, uh, identifying and localizing where parts are either on premises, within the plant or the warehouse, um, better helping them visualize their transportation velocity data. We’re really here to enable them to do better, to achieve more, uh, through the provision of really high fidelity and accurate data to Katie’s point.

Scott Luton (09:29):

So it’s, it’s the inventory on site and in motion, I mean, being shipped to, or delivered to it’s

Rob Fink (09:37):

End to end. Yeah. Um, you know, we really started out as an organization with a focus on, uh, reusable containers, uh, and in RFID technology, but we’ve grown so much from there to whereby we’re really looking at supply chain management holistically, we’re using a variety of different sensor-based technology in addition, RFID, such as ultra wide band or low energy Bluetooth. So we’re, uh, we’re a use case driven organization bring, we make sure we bring the right tools to solve the problem based on the client’s use case and in ROI needs.

Scott Luton (10:09):

So can you give us a quick example of what a part or, or a component or, or, um, construction that you guys track, or I imagine people running around the, you keeping people from running around the facilities going, where is that X? What is X?

Rob Fink (10:30):

Yeah, you’re, you’re exactly right. I mean, what you find when you work with a lot of supply chain professionals is that there’s a lot of management that’s still occurring and very inefficient manners. You know, Excel is very highly leveraged, probably probably more leverage than it should be a lot of stuff happening in Excel, um, that shouldn’t, but to give you a high case level, uh, example, I’ll pick on return will container management, um, large OEMs have, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars in returnable containers that they manage that ensured that the parts that their suppliers produce get to their sites and get to their sites, you know, free of damage. So it’s important for them to understand where all that material is, especially at the supplier side, to make sure they have adequate inventory to pack and ship what they need to the OEM to not impact production negatively, and to make sure that they’re not receiving parts and, you know, cardboard that they’re not intended to be shipped in. So we tag and track that material as it travels throughout the supply chain. But additionally, we give our customers, customers the ability to associate what part is being transported in that returnable container. So when it, when it gets to their location, it’s being stored in a warehouse, for example, we have technology that can help localize it. So when they’re looking for a part and have, you know, 15 minutes before there’s going to be aligned side impact, and the lion’s going to go down, they can see exactly where that part is. They can

Scott Luton (11:54):

Go get it. Wow. You know, Greg, um, I used one of my earliest roles in the manufacturing arena was shipping out pallets of construction equipment to construction sites. And boy, do I wish we had sensors back then. I probably spent half my time, uh, because these pallets get lost all the time. And a lot of times they get destroyed and we were trying to mitigate our, our, our damage. Right. And for that matter our time, I sure wish I had access to surgery about 15 years ago, the too bad. We didn’t have the sensory technology at the time, but what, uh, that level of visibility that Rob just described. I mean, Greg, how powerful is that? Well, it is, uh, you know, I actually had a technology company that started the concept started as a spreadsheet where the cells represented shelf units in a room or something like that.

Scott Luton (12:49):

And I remember the, or it kind of replaced it in an application like that. And I just remember how frustrating that was. And Rob he’s kindred spirit with us is less needs to be done on, on Xcel and more using the kind of technologies that are available today. But that IOT technology is so powerful. And that is a great practical application of it. I’m glad you, and I appreciate you explaining that Rob, because as you are probably well aware, so many people are going, what do we use IOT or AI or blockchain or whatever for, and there are so many practical applications and so many of them already employed, like you’re doing that. I think as people hear more about those, they’ll start to see more and more where they can be used. And that’s just such a practical right. Point application for right. Hey, before we go broader Greg, if I can interject because Katie, Katie, as you were describing your role and your background, it seems like the surgery team really values building that sense of community amongst your users and your client base and, and, and your niche. Is that accurate?

Katie Lewis (14:00):

Uh, yes. Um, we often ascribed to the philosophy that we want to build raving fans within not only our clients, but also, um, our employees. So, um, we try to build that relationship with each of our individual suppliers, um, clients and within our team

Scott Luton (14:18):

Love that. And I love the emphasis on both, both customers and employees. We dove into the story behind Publix, uh, here recently. And it’s fascinating to see their, um, focus on both as well and how powerful that can be foundational philosophy to just by the use of terms, raving fans. So, um, you can see that you all are being guided by good foundational principles. I’m sure there’s a stack of books whenever you joined the company that you have to read through to write, to make sure you understand the culture of the company.

Katie Lewis (14:48):

Absolutely smiling, because yeah, you

Scott Luton (14:52):

Nailed it. Um, there is a pile of books that you do get upon your onboarding and, uh, yeah, we’re, we’re very much focused on creating culture, maintaining culture here at Sergio. Very important to us. Yeah. That’s, that’s clear. Um, all right. So let’s talk a little bit about the broader supply chain. So, um, you know, when you, when you take a look at what’s going, particularly in automotive and OEM, and there’s been, of course has been so much disruption, but particularly I think with transportation and we’re talking a lot about a lot of different, uh, approaches and changes in, uh, in transportation these days, tell us what has really got your attention, you know, an issue or an opportunity or a challenge or, or a news item or, or whatever. That’s really got your attention right now, Katie, you want to share,

Katie Lewis (15:48):

Um, I’m kinda going to tie back to Rob’s point about the returnable containers, even though we have the ability to associate them for our clients. Uh, it seems like they, the loss edge in that aspect is very large. It’s about 16, 18% that they lose those containers. Um, so it’s a financial issue for the suppliers and the OEMs, but it’s also supply chain management issue because they can’t find the right containers to go back to the right OEM, as Rob explained, we’re using the associations within the surgery solutions to help alleviate that problem. And we keep trying to investigate further to solve that issue.

Scott Luton (16:31):

Yeah. I could see that being a really expense because as you said, Rob, their purpose bill, right. To protect or contain certain types of parts or products or assemblies and, and when they’re purpose built that that spells dollar signs to me. So yes, and, and Greg also along those lines is the more we can optimize and, and, uh, drive shrinkage, shrinkage and loss out of the equation, more companies will really embrace. Those were usable containers and that that’d be good for everybody. Yeah. We, I mean, we, we know a company in the grocery industry who does that eggs just imagine shipping eggs, right. I mean, some of the products that you all track are probably equally as, as fragile in a lot of cases. So, uh, well, all right. So Rob, tell us a little bit about, um, what you’re seeing out there and what you think that means, or how that impacts, uh, your business. W w we’re a little bit different here at sir, Jerry, you know, we engage with a client. We don’t really look at that client as a client. We look at that client as a partner and our goal is to have a transformative impact with that client. So what we’re seeing as we’re talking to our clients in terms of how we can help them going forward is that there’s really a need for greater at the item level.

Rob Fink (17:50):

And I touched on that earlier. So whether it be, I know I’ve had this, I know I’ve received this item and I simply can’t find it in my, in my planner, my warehouse, that’s a big issue. We’re starting to focus on that. We we’re hearing throughout the industry, uh, help, help us find our product more quickly, but then secondarily on the item level, um, having the ability to serialize and automate the connection of a part specific VIN number of the vehicle from a recall management perspective, um, we’re looking at as again, having the possibility to have a very transformative impact as far as how warranty issues are handled, how recalls are handled, we’re seeing the, the ability for that impact to be, to be extremely large.

Scott Luton (18:32):

You don’t even think about recalls, right? I think from the layman’s perspective, you don’t think about things like that, but being able to trace and track and trace that back, uh, becomes really important because lot numbers become a big portion of the, uh, tracing methodology for recalls, correct?

Rob Fink (18:53):

Yeah. Very, very much correct. And, you know, without having that automated serialization and connection to the VIN, what typically happens is you have to overestimate the amount of vehicles that may need service. So this can have a positive impact to the OEM as well as the company.

Scott Luton (19:07):

Yeah. No doubt that there is nothing like that. I’ve actually had that occur. You take your vehicle back because it’s supposed to have a bad taillight or whatever. Um, and you probably know what brand that is. Um, and, and you take it back and they go, Oh no, you don’t have the problem. Right. So you feel, um, yeah. Irritation is understatement who had to do that on the flip side, you know, you’re kind of speaking to it from a consumer side, Greg, on the flip side, on the employee side, having led a manual traceability project where I didn’t have systems that, that Rob’s referring to. I mean, two weeks, if that a ton of lost time going back to track paperwork and sign offs, I mean, Holy cow. So I love what Katie and Robert both speaking to, and, and I can only imagine the resources and the time that it saves and what it adds to the bottom line.

Scott Luton (20:07):

Yeah. I mean, it’s exponential, right? It’s, you know, if you think about, because we’re talking about OEMs and, and automotive brands, I mean, it’s not just in the factory that it impacts, it impacts distribution. It impacts the dealer and the consumer and that, you know, those are a lot of extended portions of the ecosystem that really don’t want to be bothered with those things. And it creates a sort of exponential effect in terms of inefficiency as it goes out. So there’s a lot of benefit here other than from other than within the factory or within the supplier network. And there’s a lot of brand equity that can gained here as well. I would think because if you don’t have those erroneous situations like that, then you impact fewer and fewer people. Right. Well, put, as always, I knew I should have paid a lot more attention to study more in science class, be doing cool things like Katie and Rob, but yeah, that’s more Katie’s angle.

Scott Luton (21:07):

That’s more, you know, making sure that customer partnership remains strong right then than science, but there is science to that for sure, really appreciate what you share. But, you know, I knew that we had a variety of kindred spirits coming into today’s podcast interview with Katie and rod, because we’re all big fans of what AIG is doing to serve industry. And, and not only help connect people we touched on earlier, but also help, uh, disseminate and proliferate best practices amongst industry and appreciate what the surgery team has helped, how they’re helping to make that happen. So with that, as a backdrop and Katie let’s start with you and then we’ll get Rob chime in. I know that y’all have been a part of the AIG community, at least for several years, going back a few years, what’s been your, you know, one of your favorite, um, aspects of that involvement and engagement.

Katie Lewis (21:58):

My interaction with AAG is pretty new this year. Um, I’ve been working with them the last couple of months, um, somewhat in preparation for this, um, virtual conference. And I know that surge air has had a long standing partnership with them like you referenced, but I just really appreciate their constant support and their unbiased, willingness to give us education and resources of information.

Scott Luton (22:23):

Tony, we saw that early on in dealing with them. So Katie probably don’t know this, but, uh, we it’s our belief that AIG was the first company to go from physical events to virtual events. And they already had that in motion and they were able to pivot really, Oh my gosh. I said it, I’m sorry really quickly. Right around the time that, uh, around that March 13th timeframe, when all the lockdowns started, they were ready to go, uh, with, uh, with a summit that they had already had planned. So we were really impressed with the agility. And I think the important thing for us was that action in the name automotive industry action group is, is a clear initiative from their standpoint, uh, completely agree. And, and the people behind it I can to you’re kind of referencing. I mean, that’s been a great rewarding part of our journey to partner with passionate people like Jim and Tanya and the rest of the team, because it, you know, these are no small feats for sure to put on the types of events and, and the programs they do. So it’s been really neat to observe and of course be a part of it. And frankly, learn from a team is great. Put that we’re we’re trailblazers in this massive wave shifting from in-person to, yeah. So far ahead of the game. That’s right. Alright. Rob, same, same question to you. What have you enjoyed the most about, uh, engaging in the AIG programming and community?

Rob Fink (23:56):

Well, I think from my perspective, the fact that there’s really not an agenda other than getting to the right answer and doing the best thing and the interest of the community, um, I found there to be no bias, no politics everybody’s out and just to get, get to the right answer for the, for the, for the group. And that’s refreshing, you don’t find that very often. Um, while simultaneously I also think there, while there could be a significant amount of bureaucracy, there’s not, you know, things get done and things get done in a timely fashion with AIG. So again,

Scott Luton (24:25):

They use the same word refreshing. All right. I’m going to completely steal that from Rob the focus of just getting to the right answer. I mean, that, that’s real clear, isn’t it, Greg? Yeah, it is, uh, you know, in working with Tonya and Jim and the whole team, we we’ve seen it in coordinating this. Right. Um, so yeah, I’m, I’m really impressed with what they do. And, uh, I think they put together a really, really well, I mean the last event that we participated in was fantastic. They opened it up to instead of hundreds, thousands of people. And you could tell that the need and the desire was there because those thousands of people showed for us. Right. So, um, as we moved into wanting to interview down here, we’re going to make sure our listeners know how to connect with a surgery or here momentarily, but you know, this next event, the supply chain summit is when we focused on understanding the future of supply chain with a really big focus on the next five years.

Scott Luton (25:29):

Right? So, um, a variety of technologies, I think you’re going to break out sessions zone, and I think there’s going to be immense value, especially at the price point. I think it’s like $25 for folks to join in and be a part of that and connect with the community. So again, we’re gonna make it really easy for folks to do that by the show notes, the link in the show notes, and we’d invite you to do just that. So you can meet people like Katie and rod was her Jair that are doing great things, not just in automotive, but across industry as they touch on here today. All right. So the train now, the question Katie let’s let’s, uh, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you in the surgery team.

Rob Fink (26:10):

Uh, they can catch us on, they can check us out on our LinkedIn page, LinkedIn slash search air, and that’s S U R G E R E

Scott Luton (26:19):

Uh, really have enjoyed our time, Greg. This is what a great start to the podcast series. That’s gonna be associated with this blockchain summit. Yeah. I’m, you know, I never cease to be amazed at where there is a business, right. I think that’s, that’s probably one of the most fun things we get to discover is that, and you know, this problem needs to be solved everywhere, but certainly in automotive where the parts are X are high costs and high value and, and impact the safety and wellbeing of people as well. Agreed. Okay. Well big, thanks to Katie Lewis and Rob think both with sir Jair really appreciate your sponsorship of this series affiliated with the 2020 AIAG supply chain summit. We’re going to see y’all on November 5th and again, appreciate your thought leadership and how you give back to make sure that folks in industry find solutions to problems.

Scott Luton (27:15):

Thanks so much. Thank you. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. All right. Thanks Greg. Great, great lead off episode. A really have enjoyed this looking forward to the November 5th event. I mean, we had such a great time at the last event focused more on owned corporate sustainability, but you know, as much as we love that topic, of course, we’re just a bit partial of that overall supply chain, right. Maybe a little bit. Um, and I want to encourage the listeners to this particular show to ask Katie and Rob about that stack of books. I have my own guests. I don’t want to give it away here, but I want them to, I want people to understand what that stack of books is that drives the culture at Sergio, because it’s clear that, uh, from a standpoint of pleasing, pleasing the customer and meeting them where they are.

Scott Luton (28:03):

And, and also from a standpoint of servant leadership, that that’s a big part of how they exist. That’s an important part of being a successful company. That’s not standing call out and that’s outstanding wrap up for this episode because we, you and I both picked up on that early on in this conversation with Katie and Rob. So admire that certainly the Mark companies that take care of their employees as much say they spend time focusing on the customer. So it really important. Okay. So, uh, to our listeners, thanks for joining us for this episode. Of course, you can find a lot more episodes like this by searching for supply chain. Now, wherever you get your podcasts from, you can also visit supply chain that radio.com and we invite you to tune in next time on behalf of our entire team here, including Greg white and Scott Luton. Thanks so much for tuning in, Hey, do good give forward and be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see, next time here.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Rob Fink and Katie Lewis to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Robert Fink is an Executive Vice President with Surgere.  He is responsible for managing all aspects of client engagement and success, primarily through the delivery of performance and value realization. Additionally, Robert is responsible for establishing the priorities for Surgere’s IT Department.

Katie Lewis is the Marketing & Events Associate for Sugere.  Throughout her professional life, she has served in administrative, marketing, and event planning roles within higher education, government, and supply chain management. While serving in higher education she had the opportunity to support students through work within student affairs and advancement. Her experience working for the federal government afforded her the opportunity to plan educational events for constituents within Ohio. Currently, she serves as the Marketing and Events Associate at Surgere, where she plans conference participation and major event sponsorships and build client and prospective client communication.

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Greg White

Principal & Host

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Adrian Purtill

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 Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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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Karin Bursa

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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Kevin L. Jackson

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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Enrique Alvarez

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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Jamin Alvidrez

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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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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