Supply Chain Now Episode 537

“This has been a very interesting year for technology when it comes to the way it relates to communication and human interactions. And I think we’re going to see a lot more of that going forward now, and apply that to logistics.”

-Enrique Alvarez, Host, Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Espanol

In this episode of Supply Chain Now, host Scott Luton interviews fellow host, Enrique Alvarez. 

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. Good afternoon, Scott Luton. Welcome to today’s episode.

Scott Luton (00:32):

On this episode, we’re kicking off a little mini interview year series, gaining insights from our hosts here at supply chain now and creating new content throughout the end of the year. And to kick off 2021 today, we’re going to working really hard to raise your supply chain IQ with the very talented Uber talented in Reiki Alvarez equip program in it. Before we get started, if you enjoyed today’s podcast, be sure to check us out wherever you get your podcasts from and subscribe for free. So you don’t miss a single conversation like this. No further do want to bring in our esteemed guests here today. Enrique Alvarez, managing director lift vector, global logistics, but equally as important. He’s the host of our very popular logistics with purpose, which is editor approved. Got to get our producers rubber stamp of approval. His favorite series and Enrique, you are hosting basically creating our new supply chain now in a spaniel programming.

Scott Luton (01:29):

So good afternoon, Enrique. Hey Scott, great being here with you as always. It’s been an exciting journey, a very interesting year at many different levels, but I’m happy and thankful for closing it down hopefully soon. And looking forward to 2021, we all are for sure. Well, you have been, I’m convinced you’ve got several clones of you out there working in Rica because you’re always getting it done moving. Sacre got a variety of ventures and of course, vector loans been growing. And then your programming with us has been growing a lot and we’ve heard a lot from the market. So got it. We got to answer the call and, and ramp up our, our best practices and content we’re sharing. But before we dive into business, let’s just give our, our listeners and audience members a chance to get to know you a little bit better.

Scott Luton (02:17):

So, you know, share a couple of things about yourself.

Enrique Alvarez (02:20):

So I’m um, and Rick Alvarez originally from Mexico city came to the U S to study B school. I worked for the Boston consulting group, started a consulting company before starting vector global logistics, third party logistics company, international fruitful water, and diving into your show and, and supply chain now. And I’m actually one of the, I want to, I wouldn’t say the best fan, but I’m a really good fan of you and your show and Greg, and I’ve been very, um, I guess I’m thankful for having the opportunity to not only listening to your shows, but also having the opportunity to get to know you guys, uh, us individuals and on a more personal level.

Enrique Alvarez (03:00):

So it’s been a good year,

Scott Luton (03:02):

Agreed, very rewarding to collaborate with folks that are very intent on changing the world and, and, and tackling that huge priority with action, not lip service, and that’s what you get within Reiki Alvarez. We’ve enjoyed our time collaborate in the last couple of years, and we’re only going bigger 20, 21 when we’re able to be a great person more. And we look forward to bring these conversations back front and center there at King plow. All right. So let’s talk about goodness gracious. We all probably have so many takeaways from a year like 2020, including takeaways. That’s gonna make us stronger in any year, but when you think of your short list of key takeaways personally, or professionally Enrique, what comes to mind

Enrique Alvarez (03:43):

2020 has been a year of a lot of challenges for everyone. Key takeaways for me as a business owner and managing director at vector, it’s been really, and I’ve said this before, it’s just doubling down on our culture, right? We have a very unique result space culture on our teams. Incredible. So I’ve been particularly for, I’ve always been fortunate to work with the team that I have, but, uh, but I think in challenging years like this one, it’s when you notice it the most. Cause, uh, cause it’s been, it’s been uplifting and it’s been humbling and it’s been really exciting despite everything that’s going on. And that went on this year to work with people like the one I have the pleasure to work with. So one of the key takeaways is I have a great team. I’m part of a great team and I’m really happy for that.

Enrique Alvarez (04:34):

That will be number one. Number two, I guess it’s just around family. I mean, again, like some of the people I’m sure I’ve had the chance to spend a lot more time with the family. I didn’t travel and I used to travel a lot. So for me this year has been very good. And sometimes I, I actually very thankful for the year that I’ve been having at a personal level, just because I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with my kids as much as I have travel a bit less. I do miss it a little bit cause I enjoy traveling, but it’s been a really good year in that regards. I guess number three is we’re lucky and thankful, right? Because logistics we’re in an industry that’s always going to be needed. The pandemic definitely highlighted a lot of different shortcomings, not only in the supply chains of different companies on our clients, but just in general as a global industry that we are, I think compared to other industries, we still had a fair amount of challenges. It was tough, but frayed needs to keep going and logistics will continue to exist. So we’re thankful and humbled for that as well. Cause we have, uh, the opportunity to keep working and keep investing in our company and a night we didn’t really have the, I guess I wasn’t in the horrible position of having to let people go for, for not having enough business. And I think that’s something that I, that I really cherish and consider a highlight of this year. For me, you’ve gotta be

Scott Luton (06:03):

One of the most considerate business leaders I’ve rubbed elbows with. And that comes from a very genuine spot Enrique. It’s always about others and that’s that’s what is it makes us so neat to collaborate with y’all as much as we do and going to your, one of your final points you made there, I’ve seen so many different studies as it relates to the growth of freight, especially in the next couple of years, whether it’s States putting out information or countries or regions, but all of them, point to the sheer amount of logistics infrastructure we’re going to have to have in place to handle 60, 70, 80% more freight on top of today’s volumes. It’s just amazing. I think 82% was what a figure that the state of South Carolina here in the States put place over the next couple of years in terms of capacity growth. So no shortage of challenges there, no let’s switch gears, just a smidge and kind of building on your key takeaways from 2020, what’s one big personal Eureka moment you had based on what you’ve experienced this year.

Enrique Alvarez (07:02):

I’ve had, uh, many different ones, right? At different levels. Again, I probably like any other entrepreneur I’m actually applying, I have different hats and I have different roles and responsibilities. So there’s been certainly many, but in terms of Eureka moments for me, just what happened and I think continues to happen at a much lesser extent with PPE. I think that was just going to crazy at the beginning and then interesting. And it’s just, we weren’t ready to fulfill the demand of masks and face shields and gloves and wipes. And so just hand sanitizer, even, right. And so from like someone that kind of works in logistics and owns a logistics company, you just kind of knowing that even though I felt that we had a pretty, pretty good forecasting tools and control and risk management tools and everything that we needed to provide the services that we provide to our, to our customers, we were we’re short. And I think a lot of OSS going to fell that way when we just couldn’t bring it PPE quick enough to the U S and on this is the strongest economy in the world, the best country in the world for many, many different reasons. And we just still couldn’t couldn’t manage.

Scott Luton (08:16):

Yeah. Really speaking to the challenges that any part of the world has had, correct in 2020, it was re very, a level setting, complex, challenging environment for all. That’s a great point,

Enrique Alvarez (08:29):

Especially because you feel like we’re, we’re in the U S right. And you feel like, well, insulated, well, we heard it coming right where a lot of countries were struggling, but we always are, at least me personally was living, uh, in a little bit of a rosier bubble than what it really is. And then the pandemic basically burst it very quickly.

Scott Luton (08:49):

There was a shortlist of folks that I think really got it early on of just, just how bad it’s going to be. And I would you to that list. Now, I remember being in a, we talk about us a lot because for us, our business mode X was the last in-person event that we attended a March, 2020. And after codex, we, we haven’t conducted a single in-person interview. And I got to, I’m assuming to say it, but even at mode X, when it was starting to reach through everyone else’s mind, it still wasn’t quite setting in of just how much different life would be in. And I think you already had a read in advance and many others and Rica, you seem to kind of know what lot of hit

Enrique Alvarez (09:31):

Well, I mean, it wasn’t really because I’m a visionary or anything like that. I, we, we saw it, uh, with our good friends and partners in China, right. I mean, we started sending PPE from Mexico and other parts of the world into China when they started having this back in November last year. So again, I, I think that, uh, me personally saw it coming and I knew that it was going to be, uh, have a big impact. But, uh, but again, I always felt that it was going to be a little bit less than what it was just because we were sitting here in the U S and, and I guess that’s something that’s also important to notice and get ready. Cause that’s, that’s something that’s going to change going forward when we have to be even more prepared.

Scott Luton (10:14):

We’ll see. I was hoping that you would embrace that title of visionary for this next question, because we want you to break out your crystal ball. And as we move into 2021, what’s one thing that supply chain professionals or leaders should maybe keep their eyes on.

Enrique Alvarez (10:30):

Well, right now there’s, there’s a critique container, short trite. So 2021, for me, it’s still going to be because the, the result of what 2020 has been, right? So hopefully not when he comes through the horrible stories about people getting sick or that’s and the vaccine coming. So I’m very hopeful when it comes to that, but when it comes to the actual shipping of products around, I think, I don’t think we’re near to see the end of it. Right. I think the, the blow to the imbalance that this has been DEMEC has cost around the world will still have very strong ripple effect, well into probably 2022. So for me, next year, from a logistics standpoint, it’s going to be a lot of the same if you will, in terms of equipment shortage, congestion of the ports, higher demand than supply for transportation, not enough truck drivers, not enough trucking companies available to, to pull enough chassies justice is going to be key as well. So yeah, you, you gotta be prepared. You gotta plan ahead. And if you, before YouTube, a couple of weeks, maybe 10 days, even before you’re scheduling your deliveries on your pickups. I think that next year is going to be a little bit of the same, or even more companies should be, I guess yeah. Having a little bit more of a negative outlook and planning, well, in advance a lot more than what they’ve been doing this year.

Scott Luton (11:59):

Sneak another question in, I know that you advise a lot of early stage companies, and you’re one of those that like me and Greg and many others, you love a great entrepreneurial story and journey. And we have a lot of those conversations here on your series and others. So if you had to, you know, speak from your, put your entrepreneur hat on and kind of speak to other startups in the space supply chain and otherwise for the path ahead, what’s one piece of advice based on your experience and all of your growth and success, you would point to others.

Enrique Alvarez (12:32):

I mean, it’s a really good question. And, um, I would say, um, it’s a mix of what’s really the same, uh, in my opinion, that makes companies successful. As I think investing in the culture is going to be key. I guess another Eureka moment for this year is just how technology has been transformed and how business meetings have been evolved. And, and we see it in schools with my kids, right? I mean, they’ve been the whole year remotely and you see it in interactions like the one you and I are having right now. We’ll probably have this conversation here at King plow over lunch. But I think this has been a very interesting year for technology when it comes to the way it relates to communication and human interactions. And I think we’re going to see a lot more of that going forward now apply that to logistics. I think it could mean tons of different things, right? From like virtual interactions like this with a warehouse workers to trucking companies to freight for water. So think there’s going to be a lot of bod in that kind of particular area. Supply chain technology, I think is going to be a it’s already hot, but I think it’s going to get even hotter in the next couple years.

Scott Luton (13:41):

You’re right. It’s been a ton of funding activities going on in that space. In fact, just today, I think project 44 or the last few days, project 44, I think raised a hundred million dollars as reported by the wall street journal that comes on the heels of flock, frayed and, and many others. So to your point, the making your supply chains more visible, streamlining the communication across upstream and downstream, internal, external partners and bottom line, getting things to where they need to go at the right price in an expedited fashion. When you, when, uh, on a committed date, whatever technology goes into making that happen, there’s a lot of interested investors.

Enrique Alvarez (14:18):

Absolutely. Right. And just, uh, the systems are going to be important. I mean, they’re, they’ve always been important, but I think that, uh, having certain things taken care by systems, as opposed to use like strong organizations, I think you need both, you need, uh, an incredible culture. You have a, you need a very strong organization, but I think on top of all that you will also need like very smart and well developed systems.

Scott Luton (14:42):

So we mentioned that two series of course, logistics with purpose has been around for over a year, very well received PEDA, uh, just a slew of outstanding and abuse here recently, David and Metta Robinson, which is part of the Jackie Robinson family, Dr. Steve Sterling, which has an incredible story, Dale with good gigs Stevenson, I think is his last name. Uh, you name it

Enrique Alvarez (15:06):

Patrick books for Africa. Yeah. We’ve had it like really, really fun year when it comes to like the interviews for that theory. So for sure,

Scott Luton (15:14):

But, but as if that wasn’t enough, he added your latest challenge and endeavor to the stable and that’s supply chain now in a spaniel. So I want to get a sneak peek of what’s to come on both, but before we do, there’s a great why for supply chain now and spin up because there’s not a ton of supply chain, best practices offered in a digital medium in the, in the Spanish language. Right.

Enrique Alvarez (15:41):

That is correct. And I, and I think it’s just a reflection of the things that I’ve been participating on. Thanks to you and Greg and your team on supply chain. Now, I feel like that’s just a very logical extension of the work that you’ve been doing. And I think it speaks incredibly high from you, Amanda Clay and everyone, because I enjoy the commoners, the conversations that you’re having. And so soar, enjoying it, a lot of different fans that, that login and hear the podcast or, or hear the YouTube, uh, interviews. And so for something in Spanish, I thought that it would be incredibly important for Latin America, for people to enjoy those conversations. I think they’re not only interesting, but I think they’re, they’re making our community even smaller. And I think there’s a lot of synergies or you’re starting, starting to find out, right? I mean, I know that some of your people that you interview for one show maybe then have a connection through you on your show with other people that are listening and just kind of like bringing the community closer together through technology and through the supply chain.

Enrique Alvarez (16:48):

Now network, if you will, it’s very important. I didn’t want Latin America to be left out. Uh, I think they are, they’re a very fast growing region of the world. A lot of areas of opportunity, a little bit on their developed in many sometimes trailing behind the U S and Europe by a couple of years. And so for me, I’ll fail that that was something that would be interesting to do. And also of course, relevant. And I’m not going to lie. I mean, it’s just gonna be, it’s gonna be fun. I’ve never been a host of any show. I’ve never been a celebrity. Like you, Scott people don’t stop me in the street to, uh, asking for autographs like they do to you and Greg. But, uh, but it sounds fun. I mean, you’re enjoying it.

Scott Luton (17:31):

Hey, we’re at, we’re having the time of her life. And, and it’s about, uh, to your point building and making that community global community smaller, connecting with people, connecting with stories, connecting with best practices and challenges, learning the whole, you know, learning, wow. Our community learns the same way at the same time. And to your point, it’s not about, you know, we love the U S market and we love the, the industry here and the business here, but it is about the global community. And this supply chain now in a spaniel is just the first of several international expansions. We’re making it really serve different geographic regions and, and bring that, bring the business world together with a strong supply chain. Ben, so appreciate what you do there appreciate you leading that new series, especially given my, my, my English language limitations, which are very real. Uh, so, um, all right. So what is, if you had just, uh, you know, one thing, one coming attraction or so to share with each of those series to our listeners here, what would that be?

Enrique Alvarez (18:32):

So I’ll start with the supply chain now in Espanol. I really lined up a couple of really interesting interviews with business leaders, both in Mexico and Chile. And so we’ll start with that. And then we’ll also have a really good conversation with demos in Panama. And of course Panama’s people know, and logistics is a very important hub for logistics because that’s going to the canal, the Panama it’s incredibly important. So, uh, so it’s going to be very interesting for the two or three conversations that I already have, uh, that we’re probably launching, uh, late January. Once we complete a couple of extra steps in that, that thing’s going to be interesting. And I think people are going to be, I guess, uh, interested in learning about this business leaders and entrepreneurs that are in everywhere in the world, but in Latin America for this particular series. And hopefully younger people that are coming into logistics will be able to relate to them. Hopefully companies and organizations will be able to learn from them or at least get inspired by their experiences on of course, for, for me and the people being interviewed. I think it’s a good opportunity to, to share, to share and become a voice to people that are doing things right. And to people that are really trying to make a possibly impact in the world,

Scott Luton (19:49):

Well said, uh, it’s been such a rewarding journey to be with the on, on just these two series. And I should take the gist out because they have been, um, logistic with purpose, of course, uh, has been just fascinating to see some of the folks who were in my blind spot, for sure. Some of the stories in my blind spot and you and the vector team do you use, or your global reach to bring these stories front and center here. So I appreciate what you and your team do, Adrian and Matilda. And so many others that, that make up the team has played a part. So appreciate that. Let’s make sure that folks know, and by the way, you were alluding to some of those things, you’re some of the steps in the process. I think you’re, you’re earning your executive producer wings and Rica, right?

Enrique Alvarez (20:35):

I’m certainly, certainly hope that I can do a little bit of what you do and I’m learning from the best. So I, I have no excuse to fail cause I’m kind of following the footsteps of great when it comes to

Scott Luton (20:48):

Hosting and your supply chain now to con Hey, kindred spirits. We’re a part of the mutual admiration club as, as one of our guests today. I mean, at the end of the day, I mean, we have a, we have a serious reason why I think this is important, but, but it’s fun too. I mean, I, I really enjoy talking to smart, interesting individuals and, uh, that kind of makes my weeks go by faster and they bring a little more meaning. And of course everything starts to feed into the same thing, right? You surround yourself with interesting, smart, proactive, and high, highly driven individuals. And all of a sudden, you kind of start to feel a little bit of that. It kind of robs a little bit on you and you feel more energized. So, so I’m, yeah, I’m doing it for that too, though. Don’t not going to lie.

Scott Luton (21:34):

Right. You’re preaching to the choir. And that, that’s certainly one of the outstanding, and probably not a mention, not mentioned enough byproducts. I agree with this journey. So, all right. So let’s make sure folks know how to connect with one in Ricky Alvarez. What’s the easiest way. Sure. I think the fastest easiest way is through LinkedIn. You can search my name and drink. Alberta is vector. If you, if you just search by those three words, the thing you’ll you’ll get me. If not, you can also go to our webpage, uh, vector or if you want to shoot me an email and sent Leeka, I thought Alvarez, uh, vector GL as in vector global logistics, vector as well. Perfect. And of course we’re after that one-click connection and we’ll include all that in the show notes of today’s episode, Enrique Alvarez, managing director with vector global logistics and executive producer, host director researcher, all with logistics, with purpose and supply chain in a spaniel.

Scott Luton (22:32):

So look forward to coming attractions there. Thanks so much Enrique [inaudible] and supply chain now, and Hispaniola awesome. Uh, happy holidays, Merry Christmas, happy new year to our listeners. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this brief conversation. As much as I have in Ricky has been a, it’s been a trusted and invigorating partner in this journey and love the content that, that he and the team have been creating. And there’s a lot more coming. You can check out most, most of the, if you like this conversation, check us out supply chain fondness and subscribe for free, wherever you get podcasts and give us feedback. What are we not covering? What are we covering too much of what issue or topic deserves more airtime, more eyeballs and eardrums, let us know. Uh, but beyond all that, uh, on behalf of the entire team here at supply chain. Now this is Scott Loudin and Ricky avarice wish you nothing but the best. Hey, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed to be like Enrique. And on that note,

Intro (23:30):

See you next time here,

Scott Luton (23:47):

Session and Rica. That was good. You’re a good person to ask questions. It was kind of very easy to go through everything. All I got questions, man. That’s all I got.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Enrique welcome you to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Enrique Alvarez 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 a 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 also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people and spending time with his wife and two kids Emma and Enrique. Learn more about Vector Global Logistics here:


Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now, the voice of supply chain. Supply Chain Now digital media brings together thought-leaders, influencers and practitioners to spotlight the people, technology, best practices, critical issues, and new opportunities impacting global supply chain performance today and tomorrow. Our leaders are frequently sourced to provide insights into supply chain news, technology, disruption and innovation, and rank in the top 25 on multiple industry thought-leadership lists. Supply Chain Now digital media content includes podcasts, livestreaming, vlogs, virtual events, and articles that have accumulated millions of views, plays and reads since 2017 and continue to reach a growing global audience.

Scott 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, USA Today, and CNN. He’s also been named a top industry influencer by groups such as Thinkers360, ISCEA and others.

Having served as President of APICS Atlanta from 2009 to 2011, Scott has also served on a variety of boards and has led a number of initiatives to support the local business community & global industry. Scott is also a United States Air Force Veteran and has led a variety of efforts to give back to his fellow Veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.


Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Subscribe to Supply Chain Now and ALL Supply Chain Now Programming Here:
Leave a review for Supply Chain Now:
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn:
Connect with Enrique on LinkedIn:
Supply Chain Now Ranked #3 Supply Chain YouTube Channel:
Download the Q3 2020 U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index:
Watch the Replay of The Connected IoT Supply Chain:

Check Out News From Our Sponsors:

U.S. Bank:
Vector Global Logistics: