Supply Chain Now Episode 487

“The price of ignorance is not knowing what you don’t know.”

Diego Martinez, Business Process Director of Production Execution, The Coca-Cola Company


Technology investments don’t always deliver the desired ROI within the intended timeframe, but the range of root causes behind this problem are as varied as the companies implementing enterprise software. Sometimes it is the business case, and sometimes it is about having the right people around the table, but if the team responsible can figure out the issue and resolve it, there is no end to the improvements they can generate.

Diego Martinez is the Business Process Director of Production Execution with The Coca-Cola Company and Mike Lackey is the Global Head of Solution Management, Digital Manufacturing at SAPAriba. Diego went from being a skeptic to a supporter after meeting with Mike and his team.

In this conversation, Diego and Mike tell Supply Chain Now Host Scott Luton and Ben Harris, Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, about:

· The delicate balance and continual effort required to harmonize locations and business units with different technology legacies into one cohesive picture

· The importance of protecting product consistency and intellectual property with a well-known company like Coca-Cola

· How Coca-Cola is using digital twins to improve their manufacturing productivity, efficiency, and innovation

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 afternoon. Scott Luton and my special guest, The guest host Ben Harris with supply chain. Now with you, welcome to today’s show Ben, how you doing, uh, doing very well. Scott, thanks for asking you bet. We are really excited about one of our longest running series here at supply chain is the supply chain city series, which really spotlights all the latest happenings across the supply chain community in Metro, Atlanta, and Ben, if there’s any cause for celebration, it is the reinvigoration. If that’s a word of this series with our partners over at SAP, so more to come on that, but it’s pretty exciting, uh, on our end, right? Absolutely. Thank you so much to SAP for your sponsor sponsorship of this series. It’s been a long, long time running and simply we could not do it without you. So thanks so much for your support Mike and team that’s right. And, but to our listeners, well, yeah, the stories will, will, uh, originate from the Metro Atlanta area, but still regardless of where you live and where you work, you’re going to learn best practices that will relate back to what you do in business.

Scott Luton (01:32):

And, and of course in supply chain. So stay tuned for what is going to be a great show where we’re working hard to increase your supply chain acute. Okay. On that note, one quick programming item. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check us out and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. All right. So Ben, are we ready to introduce our special guests for this latest installment of supply chain city? Let’s get into it. All right, let’s do it. Alright. So we are featuring today, Diego Martinez business process, director production execution work stream with the infamous, the world famous the Coca-Cola company. Diego, how are you doing? Doing great. Thanks. Appreciate it. You bet. Great to have you and looking forward to sharing your insights and perspective with our audience. Yeah, of course. Sure. And, uh, along with Diego, we have a repeat guest with us. So we’re going to be featuring Mike Lackey, global vice president of solution management, digital manufacturing with SAP. Mike, how you doing? I’m doing great, Scott. Thanks for having me today. Diego’s good to see you. So I going to have you, we’ve got a great conversation teed up and again, we’ve been fortunate to have Mike with us a few weeks ago. Really great to have him back and great to feature again, uh, a leader from the Coca-Cola company. So Ben, why don’t we, before we dive into Mike and Diego’s story and some of their let’s put our finger on the pulse and see what’s, what’s taking place. What is on your supply chain, city, radar,

Ben Harris (03:05):

A couple of things that are percolating right now. So, uh, as I had mentioned before, we, um, here live our supply chain and logistics talent resource guide is kind of in its final, uh, design phase. At this point, we finally got the first draft announced it’s, uh, in, in design phase. And that’s going to be designed for, if you’re thinking about where to make bets, um, future of talent around supply chain and logistics. Where do you look for that? And it’s going to talk about what all Georgia has to offer from an asset standpoint. So the kinds of curriculum, uh, the programming, all of that, all those things that come together that make Georgia a great place, uh, for supply chain logistics and really your workforce of the future. So extremely excited about that. I think the, um, our latest, uh, publish date is October 22nd.

Ben Harris (03:49):

We’re going to do everything we can to get there at that time. So, uh, should be very single and that’s coming out outstanding. Yeah, very excited about that. Additionally, we’ll have, uh, it’s actually ongoing right now, the bank of America, a million mass challenge, which we have partnered. The Metro Atlanta chamber has partnered with bank of America, uh, the global health crisis coordination center, or GHC three as we like to call it them as well as very good ideas. Another marketing group that we’re working with on sourcing, um, a million masks for local charities and businesses in most need, and some really hard hit areas here in Metro Atlanta. And Coca-Cola thanks to Diego and team. There have been phenomenal partners to work with on that. They’ve actually donated over 150,000 masks to this call. So thank you so much Diego team Coca-Cola, it’s phenomenal what they’ve done there.

Ben Harris (04:40):

So we’ve actually gotten to our milestone at a million math, which I’m very happy to say again, thanks to all of our partners. Uh, you’ll be hearing more about some PR, uh, coming out around that, but when you think about supply chain and procurement and things of that nature, that was a, a big deal. Being able to source all that from the different, uh, large corporations, uh, here in the Atlanta region. And then lastly, we had a pretty cool announcement, uh, you know, for the seventh year in a row, uh, for area development magazine has selected the state of Georgia as the number one state for doing business. So of course, supply chain logistics being one of the largest industries here. That’s one of the biggest reasons why, and we’ve actually had some recent announcements that have contributed to that radius. Research is a collaborative research organization is going to create 50 jobs here.

Ben Harris (05:25):

Think about life sciences and the supply chain near contract research and manufacturing organizations are critical to the infrastructure that need to make that happen and have that here in the ecosystem. So very excited about that radio lane is going to invest $40 million in a new, uh, distribution center here in locust Grove, Georgia 344 new full-time jobs. So extremely happy to welcome them. The neighborhood though, they’re, they’re no stranger to Atlanta already. And then bang energy also, um, we’ll invest $145 million in opening a new and distribution facility in Douglasville. So now we have enough energy drinks to go around and bang, and certainly one of the biggest names within that area. So very happy to add them to the portfolio of manufacturers here in Atlanta region. And then lastly, Papa John’s thanks to our friends, tequila, Neil, uh, they have moved their headquarters actually to Atlanta just recently. So very happy to have them in the fold. They’re going to be creating over 200 jobs here, very nice, you know, headquarters jobs. So again, the is growing, even though obviously COVID continues to take its toll on them, on the business community, but Atlanta still growing a lot. And there’s a lot of opportunity here. So we’re extremely excited about the future of supply chain city because of those partners. I just mentioned

Scott Luton (06:43):

Love it. And you know, Mike, you made a great remark before we went live here about a lot of folks would be surprised about how much manufacturing does exist in throughout Metro Atlanta. Right?

Mike Lackey (06:55):

You know, Scott you correct. And Ben, you know, Atlanta is the epicenter of the Southeast, right? If you’d done States and, and we attract so much talent, not just from the great universities that we have here in, uh, you know, in the state of Georgia with Georgia tech right here in Atlanta, university of Georgia, uh, a lot of the other universities, but we attract talent from all the universities in the South, which really makes Atlanta pretty easy to do business. And when you can get the talent and you can get the, the workers you need, you know, the innovation and the speed at which we manufacture can really come out. But no, with Caterpillar down in Athens, Georgia, their big facility continues to grow. I love it. If you’ve been down 16, if you remember years ago, there was nothing when you got to make, and once you hit Dublin, there was nothing you got to Savannah.

Mike Lackey (07:43):

You know, now just matter of factors are growing up, you know, left and right down there, you know, add code, just opened a new manufacturing facility, uh, uh, Georgia Pacific. It was the port of Savannah is becoming a very big draw, you know, uh, for manufacturers because of the, the transportation, which is a big part of the supply chain. So yeah, it’s just a great place right now and exploding, not just the talent, they, because of the airports. We have the infrastructure, 75, 85. We won’t talk about, I, you know, I tend on there, but, uh, yeah, it’s just terrific right now. So I agree.

Scott Luton (08:19):

And you know, a lot of folks we’ve talked about it before, Ben, a lot of folks will be surprised how big of a, of a supply chain logistics and cargo transportation player that the airport is. Yes. And, and growing, uh, capacity and, and the complexity and their ability to deliver and, and own on a huge scale continues to get bigger and bigger. And that’s a great part of the spot chain city. All right. So let’s, let’s, uh, transition a bit, uh, Diego want to bring in Diego Martinez back into the conversation from the Coca-Cola company. So before we get the work and really talk business Diego first, let’s, uh, let’s get to know you a little bit better. So tell us about yourself.

Diego Martinez (08:59):

Oh, that’s, that’s good too.

Scott Luton (09:03):

You’re well-informed now in all things supply chain, city, right.

Diego Martinez (09:07):

As you can tell from my accent, I’m not from the us. So I was born and raised in Colombia. I’m Colombian. And then I joined the company 23 years ago, uh, in, in, in, in Bogota, the capital city. Then I’m a mechanical engineer by trade. So that’s what I studied there in Columbia. And then, uh, normally most of the people in Coca that at least in the manufacturing facilities are having a clinical background. So I was facing people with chemistry backgrounds, and then I was more on the, on the mechanical side. So I joined the company there. Then I transitioned to Chile back in 2000 in 1999. So I live in Chile for six years, always on the manufacturing side. So I was the operations manager in Columbia. Then I went to Chile and I was the production manager for a new facility in Chile.

Diego Martinez (10:01):

And then back in 2006, that’s when I took a new role in a global role at that time. And then I moved to the state. So I moved to Atlanta back in 2006 was in process improvement manager, uh, for kind of deploying best practices across the different facilities across the world. So it is not on the Baldwin side where there are thousands of bottlers. It is more on the company owned facilities. They concentrate manufacturing facilities is just a number of NGOs, uh, around 20. And they’ve been decreasing over the years. And then back in 2009, I took the CPS engineering manager role, which I had on two last year. So I joined now, what I’m doing at the moment is I’m part of the program contour, which is a special program within the company that is responsible to transition from SAP ECC six to S four HANA is a big, big change for the company we’re moving into the new USAP functionality. And then, um, so there’s a big group of people making that transition to the, for the company.

Scott Luton (11:08):

Is that part of the SAP one initiative or is it areas that Coca-Cola one? I couldn’t, I couldn’t remember if there was actually a tagline attached to that kind of initiative to change over to SAP Ana.

Diego Martinez (11:19):

No, there was, um, there was a transition of bottlers since the CNA to, uh, an SAP version, but that didn’t get finished. And then this is completely new. It’s something that started a year and a half ago is a very aggressive plan to deploy new as for HANA into the, all the operations in the company globally. So it’s, it’s not, it’s not the SAP one,

Scott Luton (11:44):

One more follow-up question for you, Diego. Clearly you’ve spent a ton of time in the manufacturing aspect of the, of the enterprise. Uh, you know, I’ve always had a place in my heart for, for manufacturing operations and the people that some of the brightest best problem-solvers folks that make, you know, get stuff done involved in the manufacturing industry. Was that some of your experiences as well?

Diego Martinez (12:05):

Well, yeah, definitely. You don’t mind if lecturing has a lot of, uh, fire fighting activities happening. So definitely you need to be kind of problem solving all the time. So is constantly there and that’s where you really need, uh, systems that can actually help you support the process. And then basically follow the processes on the plans that really helps to kind of reduce the number of possible errors and issues that come up and then definitely having a good system and a good process in place will help. But definitely it is now people that didn’t normally get, uh, the latest out of, uh, out of the facility. Those are the guys that are there, the guys that are on there, especially under this situation, they are under a lot of stress when you have, um, problems with the supply chain and moment countries, closing borders. And so all of that changes the dynamics on the supply chain, but then it is I think, work anyway. So it is if people on the manufacturing side, but then they couldn’t do anything without the rest of the team team members in the facility. So you need to have the planning guys doing the work as well. You have to have the procurement guys doing what they, where they need to do, and they know everything has to be orchestrated correctly to make sure that, uh, you can actually accomplish your objectives.

Scott Luton (13:24):

Well, put, you know, w we, we talked about that being the one that one of the silver linings in this historically challenging year is that supply chain and then supply chain and the people and the technologies you name it are front and center to folks that maybe, you know, consumers that are, uh, that, that haven’t, they’ve been outside of, at least the profession, we all know that consumers are a big, important part of, of global supply chain, but, uh, appreciate you sharing there, Diego. All right. So Mike might lack you with SAP. Let’s bring you back in same question to you. Let’s, let’s give our folks a chance to read Reno you again, we love our repeat guests here, but Mike, tell us about yourself.

Diego Martinez (13:59):

Oh, absolutely. First of all, you know, I’d love what, what Diego’s talking about here, because it’s not just, it’s the amount of international talent it’s in Atlanta as well. You know, him coming from Columbia and it comes back to what Atlanta has to offer the airport, the cost of living, the pretty good weather we have here, you know, most of the time, it just, it’s just great. The amount of talent here, you know, I’m a, I’m a local boy. I grew up on a farm out in Lawrenceville, Georgia. And, uh, my dad was an engineer and, uh, I said, you know, I want to follow in his footsteps. So I went down to, uh, the North Avenue, trade school down here, Georgia tech, and got a great education and, uh, married a Buckhead girl and stayed here in Atlanta. Um, even, uh, got my, uh, advanced degree. Master’s from Mercer here, uh, in international business. And I’ve been very fortunate. Uh, I started at a company DCA up

Mike Lackey (14:52):

In, uh, winter Parkway first cut me in that tech park, fastest growing high-tech company in America, back in the, you know, the early, well, I’ll give it away, but yeah, the eighties, uh, and

Scott Luton (15:04):

My favorite two decade rule here, we don’t play anything more than two decades.

Mike Lackey (15:09):

Yeah. And wrote that out a few startups. And I’m very fortunate. I worked for great company with SAP. That’s innovative and delivering solutions. And, you know, I head up manufacturing and I grew up on the shop floor. I was an industrial engineer. I supported a high-tech electronic manufacturing facilities around the globe. And, and now I’m, you know, driving software that that’s making that automated in innovative here. And I don’t know if a lot of people know, but you know, Atlanta is one of the biggest hubs for SAP, you know, in, in, in North America, uh, not just from a sales and support services organization, but up in Alpharetta, we have a very large innovation center, uh, with a lot of development or a lot of our manufacturing development is done there or Reba. So, uh, Sybase. So we, you know, we have a bunch of the technologies that come together. People don’t realize the hub that we have here in it in Atlanta. So yeah, I’ve been very fortunate and, um, said that airport, I can get anywhere in the world. So I’m a supply chain to myself, so

Scott Luton (16:09):

Well, but I love that. Um, all right, one quick, follow-up question for you, Mike. We didn’t ask you the last time you said he grew up on a farm. Give me one chore. You, you least liked growing up on a farm. What, what, what comes to mind

Mike Lackey (16:22):

Cleaning the, uh, cleaning the stalls in the bar that says wasn’t much fun.

Scott Luton (16:29):

So that’s everything that we’ve always heard about it then, right. Okay.

Mike Lackey (16:33):

Yeah. No, you can get messy pretty quick, but it was part of it. And, uh, in, you know, some days, some days I would, I missed that, so, yep.

Scott Luton (16:45):

All right. Good stuff, Mike and Diego, thanks so much for kind of setting the stage a bit. Now we’re gonna, um, we’re going to ask you one more thing before Ben dives deeper into certainly the Coca-Cola company and some of y’all’s observations and, and some of the conversations you’ve been having with business leaders, uh, Mike and SAP. Um, so Diego let’s talk, you know, we always reference here at least your Eureka moments, right. We always, you know, throughout our journey, uh, personally and professionally, there are moments where it kind of stops us in our tracks. Cause we, we, it something’s finally dawned on us. Right. W when you think about your Eureka moments as part of your journey, what what’s a powerful one that comes to mind.

Mike Lackey (17:23):

Wow. How fun that he’s quite clear in my mind that, uh, is, uh, I mean, it could describe it as an Eureka moment, but something that really changed my thinking 180 degrees. So I’ll, I’ll tell you the story. So, I mean the career role I joined maybe over a year ago in June of last year, that’s when I joined this role. And then, well, I’m responsible for making sure that all the requirements on the manufacturing area are completed,

Diego Martinez (17:50):

That we can actually complete all the transactions in SAP. I’m not an expert on SAP. I wasn’t an expert on SAP. So the first thing that I started doing when I joined the program and said, well, I need to learn about SAP. And when those days AP bring to the table on the manufacturing arena, I mean, we are part of the supply chain on the Coca Cola company, but then manufacturing is one of the pieces of the supply chain. Um, what is it that SAP has new on, on, on the manufacturing area? So we had an SAP consultant and they start asking, Hey, what is new? What does it say is SAP for HANA bring to the table? Then it took almost two months from June until late August, uh, to have people from SAP, come into headquarters and call the call it downtown. And that I still remember the day, August 31st was the date.

Diego Martinez (18:43):

And then Mike and some other colleagues from SAP went to the, to the complex. And then we had a session there, three hours meeting. And then I had, I have to be honest here. I mean, I had in my mind, well, we have this product from SAP that we use today, uh, in, in our old system, I just don’t understand what is the reason for it. And then I was planning to just remove that, that, uh, uh, application from our environment and then change it to, to do, to get them to do something different with it. So we went through that meeting and then that meeting was kind of the Eureka moment that you’re asking me for. So that meeting basically open, open, open my eyes completely to what the digital manufacturing and the strategy was for, for SAP. And then, um, the program that I was planning to kind of, uh, say, you know, we don’t need this product anymore.

Diego Martinez (19:37):

Then I’m the person now that is kind of cheerleading for, for, for that product. So, um, um, completely bought in, into that one, the functionality that it brings is really, really, really good. So I’m extremely happy with it. And then I became the it’s just, I guess I just, I just call it the price of ignorance. I normally call it like, that is just not knowing what you don’t know. And then when you have the opportunity of having the right people on the table and then, uh, getting those people, letting you know, what is it that can be accomplished, then you realize. So that’s what happened during that meeting. After that meeting, everything changed the all day objectives and, uh, saw the requirements that we have captured from the facility saying, these are the things that we need to accomplish in order to kind of modernize our facilities. And then the go into the digital journey. Then those requirements were kind of almost made by these application from SAP. So that’s when they said, okay, well, this is where we need to do. And then from there on, it’s been kind of a, how do we move the company in that direction, as opposed to when we were intending to do before outstanding Ben, that sets the up for one of our next

Scott Luton (20:48):

Topic. So hopefully took good notes there and Diego, uh, this price of ignorance. If I use that phrase, do I owe you any kind of royalties or anything can I said, okay. Yeah. All right, good.

Mike Lackey (21:00):

I got dibs on that already. Really down. Okay.

Scott Luton (21:04):

All right. So Mike, you this for the first time, perhaps at one of our, uh, one of our guests was involved in one of our other guests Eureka moment. So this is, uh, this is a record breaking day, but Mike, when you think of Eureka moments, uh, in, in your journey, what’s one that comes to mind.

Mike Lackey (21:20):

You know, Scott, every time I sit down with customers like Diego, that, that have vision, that those moments happened, all that, you know, on a regular basis for me, because I got to tell you the one that, that, that hit me was the first time I realized that additive manufacturing, 3d printing was real, is not an academic, um, exercise and, and the potential. And when I walk a memory, cause I was in, I was outside of Paris and France, and this automotive supplier was telling me how they’re going to cut six months off the design of a new car. And they’re designing in 3d. You can see they were making a, this time. It was, uh, a bumper assembly and they’re doing it in 3d designing where, and then they’re going to the OEM and 3d putting it on the car and adjustment. And then they’re going to their 3d printer instead of having to have tooling or molding is going to take six weeks to make.

Mike Lackey (22:22):

And, you know, less than 24 hours, they got a real bumper that’s being put on the car and them. And they said, this process will take six months out of developing the next model. And then when I started looking at it, wow, that’s phenomenal. And then you realize your supply chain, it changes the whole supply chain instead of having parts on the shelf, you, you manufacture them as needed, and you’d probably only have six materials in your whole warehouse to make your whole gamut of, you know, 300 different products. So just the thought of the simplicity of what this technology can bring now, all we there yet, no, we haven’t reached the hockey stick. There’s still a lot going on, but these early movers and innovators, the potential of what this brings, it is pretty phenomenal and what it does to the supply chain. So yeah, the, our customers Yreka moments, they know I pay a high price for that ignorance.

Mike Lackey (23:16):

I learned a lot from these guys and, and helped me, uh, you know, understand where they’re going so that we at SAP can be there with them and hopefully be ahead of them to deliver on this. So, yeah, it’s, uh, I think the, it’s probably the most innovative, most eruptive technology I’d seen in manufacturing in the last 20 years. Uh, it’s a pretty excited what we can do with that. I look forward for the future of what we’re going to do to help make that, bring that to our customers, but, uh, what that technology is going to be able to do. Uh, if I can piggyback on that

Scott Luton (23:46):

Ben for, we pass the Baton here. Uh, I had a similar moment where I was listening to a presentation by a senior supply chain executive. That was part of a, uh, a massive industrial equipment organization. And they supplied dump trucks, a very technical term to go mines. And that he talked about the, these autonomous dump trucks and how they stay running. And at least this point in time, this was probably 10 years ago, 24 seven. And they calculated, of course the cost when any of those trucks had downtime. And, you know, previously they were overnighting parts from wherever the fulfillment center was and the spare parts and whatnot. And then they applied 3d printing to the operation and the massive savings. I want to say that per load that came out of the mind was some half a million dollars per, per load. So keeping that operation running full time for, in terms of the cost of the bottom line was really important. And that was probably one of the first really practical, 3d part, uh, uh, additive manufacturing, anecdotes that, that, that hit between my ears. But Ben,

Ben Harris (24:56):

Yes, God, I can’t even, I can’t even, I mean, the amount of times that we’ve heard that Mike, I mean, th the way you put it so eloquently was, was very well done, but the amount of times that we’ve heard that that is really probably one of the biggest game-changers, whether it’s industry 4.0 or want to call it. But I mean, it, it is an absolute game changer to the global supply chain when it comes to that. So my hats off to you for, for saying that, because Scott, I mean, if we had a nickel for every time that we heard that, but without true evidence of seeing that really backed up, that’s just, I mean, you hit the nail on the head there, my God, this innovation. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So let me, let me, let me switch gears a little bit, uh, Scott, all, um, you know, Diego, you really started to hit on this kind of tip of the iceberg as far as, you know, kind of your roles and responsibilities, but what if you had to say exactly and we, before we talked about your, your recent title change and it’s, it’s a longer title also Diego.

Ben Harris (25:56):

So you’ve got a lot of responsibility obviously, but what is it you do essentially, uh, for the, for the business there at Coca-Cola and how do you, how do you leave? Like how does that work? What does your group look

Diego Martinez (26:07):

On this current role? I’m responsible for gathering all the requirements from the business or the business are all the operating units or the operating manufacturing operating units that the company has around the world. So we have basically two big groups. One group is international concentrate, manufacturing world is composed of 18 facilities. And then we have CCNA is Coca-Cola North America. Then they have also manufacturing facilities, different types of facilities there, another bunch of operations there. So basically my responsibility has been able to gather what are the requirements from those operations to be able to operate and then say, well, then there is, are, are there standards that we can actually, um, apply across those other facilities or do we actually need to have different processes? So that’s one of the big elements we are trying to standardize and digitize the supply chain. So those facilities have been coming into play either from acquisitions.

Diego Martinez (27:04):

So from they have different ages, different technologies. Uh, so there is a big spectrum of, uh, uh, technology and history that is behind those facilities that make them different and they are not necessarily the same. So it is a challenge to have standardized processes and standardized equipment. So he’s kind of making a balance between how can we just apply standards and try to digitize and modernize these facilities without investing a significant amount of money, which is requires to have a return on that investment. So that’s, that’s a balance that has to be in place there. So it’s really collecting those requirements and working with insert a group of people that are going to help us to say, you know, can we use those standards? Can we just use the basic functionality that SAP is providing? Because that’s what we are deploying, where deploying as for HANA, which is the new system, do we need to customize the CP to accommodate to the differences between those facilities?

Diego Martinez (28:02):

Or could we just transfer the business process on those facilities to be able to use the standards that are coming with? There’s a piece of whenever we need to migrate in the future to another version or upgrade SAP, then we don’t have to go through this customization process again, so we can actually reduce the cost on, on deployment the system. So that’s one portion of the work. And the other portion of the work is saying, well, we have information that is sitting in SAP, then web, if we want to digitize them, the manufacturing process, and then have more visibility on what actually happens at the shop floor, then we need to pass information down and then we also need to bring information out. So doing that vertical integration is a key element that I’m also really focused on at the moment. So that’s where I kind of had their hard moment from the meeting with, with SAP named last August.

Diego Martinez (28:53):

And then from there we learned, okay, this is the tool that you need to use because it’s right there. I mean, you’re going to have it anyway. You just better use it the proper way. So that’s where we learn all the functionalities. And there is an [inaudible] SAP MII, which is a tool that we are using. And then that’s the one that is allowing us to do all the intelligence portion of it. And which is the intelligence, the AI of the MII that we were not using before. And then we were only using the interface. So that’s, that’s what we are doing at the moment. And I think we’ll touch base on that later on with when we get into more detail. But

Ben Harris (29:28):

What about the facilities themselves, Diego, like, you know, you think about your older facilities with other pieces of technology, let’s say it’s not SAP for, for HANA. Um, if you could illustrate to our, to our listeners kind of, you know, what it feels like, you know, running those older facilities under the older technology and the difference digitally, you know, after the upgrade, what does that feel? What does it look like? What’s, what’s the big difference in pay off for you guys? When you think about digital transformation?

Diego Martinez (29:59):

I, I wouldn’t be able to answer to that question maybe in a year from now, we are regarding that process. So we’ll see, we’ll see how that comes out to be, because I mean, at the moment, um, we are, we’re working towards, uh, digitizing, uh, the manufacturing side as part of the supply chain. Uh, but I think we are having the right tools in place that are, it’s kind of a combination of using the tools that come with SAP, that we can actually apply on facilities that are highly automated, but also at the same time that I know how you automate it, and then they can benefit using the same interface, but that’s what we’re pursuing at the moment or how that is going to be coming out. Um, it would be, it would be a, maybe a subject for another, for another conversation in the future saying, Hey, this is the outcome of what we were dreaming and while we were working on, so it is an IP project at the moment and that’s what we’re working on.

Diego Martinez (30:54):

But then, uh, everything that we’re doing so far is, is looking, I go down and we have a lot of support from, from SAP and have the right resources that they can provide insights. And again, I mean the ideas on the strategy that they are following for digital manufacturing. Yeah. This makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Is unified this phase where we can have information that is, you don’t have to integrate point by point, but basically you have information that can be published and then being read depending on who is, who is the entity that needs it, whether it’s somebody at the ERP level with somebody that is sitting in a chocolate level, then you just need to get the information, wherever that information is available.

Ben Harris (31:33):

Hey Diego, real quick, because the supply chain city series right here on supply chain now should have first right. Of refusal for that future episode. All right. Can we, can we get your sign off on that? Can we go ahead

Diego Martinez (31:45):

And lock in or should it, yes. Yeah, of course.

Ben Harris (31:48):

Lots of, lots of learnings. It sounds like, uh, now, and, uh, as, as implementation continues to roll out, you know, a year or so from now,

Diego Martinez (31:56):

I got you. He’s going to be a, I mean, it’s a journey, you know, so we, we have some kind of on faces. We said, okay, well, this phase one is going to cover these elements. And then that’s building the baseline that you can actually go from there and start building on top of it. So basically, uh, I believe we are building the, kind of the solid foundation for being able to digitize the manufacturing process as part of the whole digital and digitalization of the supply chains. But that’s, that’s going to be very useful for the rest of the team members that are working on the rest of the supply chain. So at lead, we are working on the piece of the portion of it that that is the manufacturing. So they permission that is required for training these readily

Mike Lackey (32:40):

Available. And you can provide insights to wherever it needs, that information, the rest of the supply chain.

Ben Harris (32:46):

And my, you you’ve worked with obviously a lot of folks, including Coca-Cola in this case. I mean, this is a great opportunity with the amount of companies that you work with, but also the types of operations and types of engagements that you’ve been involved in. What’s, what’s the hope, I guess, you know, for Coca Cola, you know, with your engagement with them, is, is, are there some metrics that kind of, you know, you’re shooting for? There are some common themes that you’ve seen across other organizations are trying to do something similar around digital transformation.

Mike Lackey (33:13):

Well, you know what, I just heard what Diego saying. I don’t think people realize that the total impact on manufacturing, we talked about standardization is protecting Coca-Cola’s most important intellectual property. And that is that this brand, you know, consistency is everything. When you weather, whatever, you know, what is the diet, Coke, Coke, zero Coke, when you pop that, can there, there’s a reaction you’re expecting to have, and when they’re standardizing, it doesn’t matter where it’s manufactured. Their supply chain just got more resilient. He can move production as he needs it because he has to enter disease. Yep. And, you know, my job is to support the vision that Diego in Coca-Cola or our other customers have. So when I hear what he’s, you know, Diego’s talking about, you can see, you know, the path that they’re on that journey and how far along they are on it. And, uh, I think that’s real important. You got to have that vision and he does, they definitely have it. My job is to support him and his team and the Coca Cola organization. So that, that, that brand, that is such the fabric of Atlanta, right. I mean, uh, Delta airlines is, you know, Georgia Pacific ups, ups is so important to us and, you know, being in Atlanta and, uh, yeah, that’s what, that’s what I loved about the standardization.

Ben Harris (34:34):

Yeah. Well, to that point, that’s a, that’s a, a perfect way to transition. Also, we talk about supply chain, city, and some of the partnerships with the companies that you mentioned. I mean, Coca-Cola, like you said, is Atlanta, you know, ups is the home Depot GP, all these companies, obviously supply chain related companies or companies that are enabled by supply chain, as far as, you know, some of the other partnerships and some of the work you’ve done that you talked about earlier about your footprint here in Atlanta, who are some of the folks that you work most extensively, you know, here in, here in the Metro area and really Georgia and Georgia for that matter. Yeah.

Mike Lackey (35:10):

Uh, I mean, you know, one that I spent a lot of time with because their challenges coming from, you know, from, uh, from China and in, in the, uh, in APJ was the Caterpillar facility in Athens, Georgia. That division makes the small excavator and they have, uh, we were just talking and, you know, I said, one day we, you know, we come to work and we had about 22 competitors, and now we have 52, you know, overnight lot of them coming from, you know, uh, China and other areas of, of the, uh, Asia Pacific and the impact it had on their business. They had to change quick. And, you know, they really had to change their process. How do you get standardization like Diego was talking about, but they really had to change the way they looked at business. And they realized that their value to their customer was the dealer.

Mike Lackey (36:02):

So getting more digitizing just doesn’t mean data that we use internally in a plant, but it’s data that, that deeper can use to help service their customers. And, yeah, it was just a phenomenal transformation. Now that plant is that one of the marquee plants, you know, within, uh, the Caterpillar network of plants, uh, and that plant is doing extremely well and it’s growing and it’s expanding, creating more jobs. And I, I just love it. And the fight that I love about it, right. Go there. I know this land I used to hide on this land. It was owned by the orchids, you know, which of the pest control, and you start tying this all together. And I just started laughing. It’s like what a small world. It is, uh, how they, you know, the brands may change. But the origins of what started here in Georgia are just phenomenal.

Mike Lackey (36:48):

They’re a terrific one. You know, we had, uh, Phillips medical had made a lot of the, you know, the respirators here in Atlanta for a great up in Marietta for a great period of time. Uh, I cannot tell you, I’ve learned more about paper and Georgia Pacific down in their plant, down in Pula, Pooler, Georgia. I love that, you know, got to go through Pooler where you going into everyone to Pooler Georgia, you know, down by Savannah, but that facility is phenomenal and what they’ve done from an environmental standpoint. And we can’t talk about the supply chain without talking about sustainability and the impact on the environment, you know, circular economy we’re using. And I tell you between Coca-Cola and Georgia Pacific, and a lot of, you know, you can even Caterpillar they’re redefining for global companies, what sustainable operations really mean. And, uh, so th th that’s, those are some of the companies that really jumped out to me that just, you know, are leaders in their industry leaders, uh, in this community and, you know, on a global basis.

Scott Luton (37:45):

Yeah. I’ve toured that, uh, Caterpillar operation, uh, and it’s out, out near my neck of the woods in the Metro Atlanta area. And, um, not only it fascinating tour by the way, but they also give back, they, they open up the operation for university students come out and put their eyes and ears and hands own a manufacturing operation and see it. And that is so important from a variety. We can, we can all probably remember our first factory tour, right, is such a great thing to do for the next generation of manufacturing and, and really end to end supply chain. And, and, and for that matter, global business talent, so loved to see operations that understand and embrace that role. So, Ben, as we’ve heard from Diego and Mike share some of their experiences and perspectives and, and insights, what’s one been one of your favorite aspects of what they’re sharing here are common themes for that matter.

Ben Harris (38:39):

Just digital transformation is probably the biggest thing, I mean, is whether you’re a large or a small company. I mean, if you’re not, if that is not the number one priority of what you’re doing right now is being consumer centric and making your supply chain so that it is extremely flexible to customers’ needs and what they in speed almost right now, speed, and then availability obviously, and everything that comes after that with digital transformation. I mean, if you’re, if that’s not the top of your list on things that you’re working on in your supply chain organization or your company, it needs to be. Yeah. And I, I just think that that having that front and center to me is, is by far the most important thing. And I think it was perfectly illustrated, you know, through this, uh, through this great conversation we just

Scott Luton (39:27):

Agreed and how it’s powering as Mike mentioned, the sustainability movement. Love it so much more conversations we’ll have around that. All right. Couple of final questions here. So Diego, back to you, uh, beyond what we’re talking about here with digital transformation and all the, the, uh, the initiatives that you’re leading there at the Coca-Cola company, when you survey global supply chain right now, again, and this historically challenging year of 20, 20, what’s one other trend or topic or development that you’re tracking more than others right now,

Diego Martinez (39:59):

A couple of things that I I’m really into it, um, uh, digital twin is one of them. So being able to kind of get enough information to a knowledge as well, to be able to create a digital twin for a multiplication operation, as opposed to, um, a digital twin for a product. So it is really more on the manufacturing. I would like to recreate a [inaudible] part of our operations. We can actually see those simulations on and then being able to simulate virtually and then kind of connected to, to the real process and then being able to change and simulate on, on the vitriol and the digital twin. What is it that you can do? I mean, it’s still, we are still away from that, but that is a dream that I think is going to have a significant impact on productivity and, uh, improving operational efficiencies on the manufacturing on the manufacturing side.

Diego Martinez (40:53):

So that was one of them. And then, uh, again, combining that with artificial intelligence and all these algorithms that are enabling you to actually bring value to the, to the manufacturing things, problems that are only being able to be handled by humans today, and then not necessarily on an optimal fashion, like you have different conflicting information from different points, different protectives, and then somebody makes a decision and then not necessarily something they did on the other side. So that having, having that model in place, we’ll be able to bring artificial intelligence into making, and then potentially organizing the approach and scale automatically without intervention from people, which is something that is hard to obtain nowadays. So that’s, that’s one, one, one of the, the kind of technologies that I’m looking at at the moment. And then the other one is, uh, really on and getting the vertical integration.

Diego Martinez (41:58):

Uh, we, on the manufacturing side, there is day. We normally, they, uh, if somebody is familiar with this, we have the Purdue model, the Purdue model on the automation side, it has layers different levels, being able to get that vertical integration. And then using that unify this page that I mentioned earlier, that to me, is another objective that we have is basically creating, uh, the ability of connecting the different layers. And then the is going to enable again, to bring data, create a network, as opposed to just the one-to-one connections in, in, in the different layers of the automation. So instead of being a layer, then converting that layers into a network, um, that is in there is, is known as the unified space. So that is the other one that I’m following up very closely just to make sure how we can actually continue our journey and then going in that direction. Um, cause those two combined the vertical integration providing the data is going to enable to have the digital twin that I mentioned earlier. So I think those two are going to be significant importance in the future. So those, those are two that are new words, new things that are coming out there, some facilities or some, um, companies may be much more ahead. Uh, but then doesn’t definitely something that I’m watching very closely.

Ben Harris (43:19):

Ben, you ever feel like you’re in a conversation that’s about five pay, pay grades above where you are. Diego’s a whole different level. I mean, just as he described that he’s so more advanced than I ever got, most of my background was more so logistics related and hearing Mike, you and Diego go deep and the manufacturing space is just, it’s fascinating to me. So we have really appreciate your insight there. We have new degrees leaving this, this product.

Diego Martinez (43:46):

All right. Yeah. You just saw a day in my life here. You know, when I sit down with Diego, he is, this is, this is digital twin, you know, have you helped me get the digital thread? Okay. We tell you beyond that. And then when I’m getting artificial intelligence in my, you know, in your solutions that I can take advantage of Windsor roadmap is nonstop. And when you have customers like Coke and Diego out there that are pushing you, that’s what makes, you know, that’s what makes you stay young. That’s what make us SAP. We, our day is because of our customers and that push to never stop because they’re never stopping. And, and that’s, you know, it’s just great that, uh, you know, that all this has happened to here in Atlanta and you know, we talk about supply chain, city, you know, Atlanta is there at the top and it’s just terrific.

Mike Lackey (44:32):


Scott Luton (44:32):

Agreed, uh, love what you just shared there. All right. So let’s, let’s wrap, make sure we’re going to make sure our audience knows how to connect with everybody here, but my really quick reader’s digest version. What’s one thing I know you’re tracking 17,000 things, but what’s one thing relevant to this conversation that you’re tracking in global supply chain right now.

Mike Lackey (44:51):

So the big thing for me is, is our customers are asking, Hey, I need five years with the innovation in 18 months. And cloud computing offers a lot of that. Now in manufacturing, there’s a couple of things, performance, stability, and security, right? So I’m really, really following and working with these hyperscalers to edge computing because when we get that right, then the plants always on, you can do the heavy lifting the cloud. But man, you know, at the plant level I give you 20, we can do 24 seven, always on, if you lose the connection I give you sub-second response time, collect it, analyze it, tell that machine what to do, you know, 150 milliseconds and Diego tell me, Mike, I need 50 milliseconds, you know, but that speed and that’s that is making the cloud, which means we can roll out fast. You know, we can give you that innovation quicker, if we can address that performance speed, that stability speed and the security at the plant level. So cloud compute, I mean, edge computing, there’s a lot of it going on or things I’m really, you know, got my eye on in 5g, of course, which is a big part of that, uh, coming up outstanding problems, a lot of promise.

Scott Luton (46:01):

Well, and you know, one of the things just started coming full circle where our conversation started is the talent that is here in Metro Atlanta from a technology standpoint, that’s, that’s on the cutting edge of a lot of that stuff. So great advantage, uh, for, for working and living in this market here. Um, all right. So, and I love your phrase hyperscalers. I’m going to still, that’s going to be the other thing I steal from this conversation. So if I used something might just, just send us an invoice. You got it. All right. So Ben so much good stuff. Let’s make sure that, that our listeners can connect both with Diego and Mike and yourself. Uh, cause we love our partnership with the Metro Atlanta chamber. So Diego Martinez with the Coca-Cola company. How can our listeners connect with you and learn more about some of the things you shared here today?

Mike Lackey (46:46):

Give giving page. So it would be to point is to that that would be the best way. Yeah,

Scott Luton (46:54):

Definitely. What two people in the world, uh, aren’t familiar with the Coca-Cola company. So great to always, I love these opportunities where we kind of hear some of the thought leadership behind these big brands that we’re all real familiar with. So thanks so much for taking time with us, Mike, same question for you. How can our listeners get in touch with you and the SAP team,

Mike Lackey (47:13):

You know, in this new digital world, there’s a lot on our website, the self-service, but you know, I love talking to customers part of what I need, you know, what I, my responsibility to do the stay ahead. So, you know, Mike not He welcome to drop me an email and, and uh,

Ben Harris (47:30):

You know, we’ll be more happy to get back with you. You know,

Scott Luton (47:32):

I love episodes where we have a couple of guests that are, you can feel the passion for what they do and how much they love it. And we’ve this episode had that in spades. So I know you enjoyed that as much as I did.

Ben Harris (47:45):

Yeah. I think just that user and provider relationship and having that, you know, it’s basically, it’s a case study that we have on the show and being able to talk about it from both sides is literally why our listeners, you know, we’re here to listen to hear that kind of stuff. So it’s just a phenomenal show. My Diego Scott, and just a phenomenal all around really appreciate you guys taking the time today,

Scott Luton (48:06):

Danny. We’re not gonna let you get away with that just yet been, uh, and you know, one last comment about what you just shared there, you know, of course we love the Metro Atlanta area. We love being here and working here and growing businesses here, but this conversation really shows how listeners, wherever they are, can learn a lot from the supply chain city series. So, uh, on that note that wouldn’t, uh, that wouldn’t be possible without, of course great sponsors like SAP, but great partners like you in the Metro Atlanta chamber. So how can folks connect with you in the chamber?

Ben Harris (48:34): is probably the easiest. Obviously you can find us on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, a lot of different places you can find us. And then you can also find me on LinkedIn as well. It’s just at Benjamin J. Harris one, uh, is the backslash on there. So look forward to connecting with the, uh, obviously the audience are going forward and very happy about the episode. They, so thanks so much for everybody’s time. You bet.

Scott Luton (49:00):

Let note a big, thanks to Diego Martinez with the Coca-Cola company, Mike Lackey with SAP, and of course, Ben Harris, my guest co-host here, uh, who hails from the Metro Atlanta chamber, great partners there. So to our listeners, hopefully you enjoyed this episode as much as we have here. Gosh, I got a couple of degrees going through this last hour. Um, you can learn more about Ben, we have dropped the radio here. Uh, it’s been in the works for quite some time.

Ben Harris (49:28):

Yes, you have indeed so much more than obviously than radio show. You guys have done a phenomenal job here at supply chain now, and I think you are turning into your own economic development here. Your story Scott is, as you guys are building out the team, it’s been pretty, it’s been an amazing ride

Scott Luton (49:45):

And it’s been a testimony to great partners like you, but great content and business leaders and thought leaders like Mike and Diego. That’s what it’s all about. That’s our North star. Uh, so to our listeners, Hey challenge, you all like we challenge ourselves, do good gift forward and be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see next time here on supply chain now.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Ben welcome Diego Martinez and Mike Lackey to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Diego Martinez is the Business Process Director- Production Execution with The Coca-Cola Company. Diego was born and raised in Colombia, South America, and is now US citizen. A mechanical engineer, Diego joined Coca-Cola in Colombia 23 years ago as operations manager, transitioned to Santiago de Chile in 1999 as production manager, then was appointed in a global role as process improvement manager in 2006. Diego became the global engineering manager for the concentrate manufacturing plants in 2009 and in June 2019 joined group responsible to transition Coca-Cola from SAP ECC6 to SAP 4HANA as Business Process Director for Production Execution within the Supply Chain.

Mike Lackey joined SAP in 2008 through the acquisition of Visiprise and is the Global Head of Solution Management, Digital Manufacturing. With previous roles at Visiprise, NetVendor and Teradyne Manufacturing Software Group, Mr. Lackey has a unique set of knowledge that covers both manufacturing software and design collaboration along with over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing sector. Early in his career, he started as a manufacturing engineer with DCA/Attachmate, which provided him with invaluable first-hand knowledge and understanding of how SAP customers can use SAP’s Digital Manufacturing Solution Portfolio to improve their global operations. Mr. Lackey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MA in Business Administration from Mercer University with dual concentrations in International Business and Marketing. 

Ben Harris is 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. Learn more about the Metro Atlanta Chamber here: 

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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