Supply Chain Now Episode 539

“If there are people that are willing to make the investments in themselves from a knowledge professional development standpoint, I think there should be people out there to help them along. And that’s kind of what I do.”

-Chris Barnes, Host, Supply Chain is Boring

In this episode of Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton sits down with the supply chain OG and the host of Supply Chain is Boring, Chris Barnes.

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 with you here on supply chain. Now we’ll come back to today’s show. So on this episode, we’re continuing this mini in the year series where we’re getting insights and point of view from our hosts are esteemed stable of hosts here at supply chain now, so we’re going to be working hard to raise your supply chain at Q today, featuring insights from the one and only Chris Barnes. Hey, quick programming. Before we get started to hear if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to find us and subscribe for free wherever you get your podcasts. All right. It’s no further ado. Let’s bring in our featured guests through the day. Chris Barnes, the supply chain doctor is in the house. Host of supply chain is boring here at supply chain. Now, Christopher, how are you doing supply chain doctor?

Chris Barnes (01:11):

I’m doing well.

Chris Barnes (01:12):

Thank you, Scott

Scott Luton (01:12):

for recognizing as we were chatting pre-show you may be the super secret Ninja host here on supply chain. Now I think your background might be most mysterious for our audience. I want to dive into that a little bit before we pick your brain on all the, all the things have taken place in 2020 and where we’re headed in 2021. So are you game? Yeah, but just keep in mind if you haven’t done much, there’s not much to say. All right. So for starters, let’s tell us about Chris Barnes.

Chris Barnes (01:47):

I’m an industrial engineer, classically trained, you know, going back to the college days. So that might give you a little bit of insight into the way that I think pretty much I have a dry sense of humor. And I think that ties into the whole concept behind supply chain is boring. As in the name that a lot of times supply chain actually can be boring if you just look at the fundamentals of what we’re doing everyday and hopefully it is if you’re doing it right.

Scott Luton (02:13):

But the idea is there’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of smart people in the supply chain space, a lot of creative people, entrepreneurs, technologists, business leaders that are actually making significant differences in making supply chain boring. And the idea there is just, uh, just to keep it that way and just expose those types of people. But I’m an industrial engineer by degree. I have a passion for learning personally, just, just for my own intellectual knowledge, my own intellectual curiosity. And then as you and I talked earlier, Scott, I, I enjoy sharing that knowledge. I don’t learn just for myself. I learned to help other people learn as well. So before we speak a little bit more on the education and professional development, a passion that you bring to the table, you’re originally from Missouri. Is that right? Misery? Yes. Yes. St. Louis to be

Chris Barnes (03:00):

Specific. Oh really? Yeah. Three or five, three, five years old cards fan. No offense. Scott, do you know you kind of, I have no idea. I don’t own the cards. I don’t invest in the cards. I don’t make money from the cards, but I, if I had to pick a team, it would probably be the cards, Cubs and the Braves, just because when I grew up, the Cubs were always on TV and then the Braves were also on TV all the time with the national, but between WGN and TBS. Right.

Scott Luton (03:26):

And, and just to kind of clarify to our listeners, you’re talking about the St. Louis Cardinals, the major league baseball team based right there in St. Louis, look, I conic brand. And you also referenced TBS. And a time when the Braves were, was on, on TV, there was a time in the seventies and eighties and early through the mid nineties where WTB S which was global, played the Braves every, almost every day. They played, they eared almost every single game and that created a ton of Braves fan. So I love, I love your reference in there.

Chris Barnes (03:58):

It’s like, if I can just, if I can just say one more thing, Scott, to the, to the background there. So, you know, we, we, we talked to our people a lot on the interviews, supply chain now, specifically around some history and, you know, how’d, you get into supply chain, those types of things. And, and I, I frequently think about myself. I know you worked in a retail environment and when I correct stocking show that’s right. So I did the same thing. I was, I worked in a retail center store before. It was probably around the time Walmarts were starting, but there was a local local retail store. And I was working in the hardware department. And my job was to go out and basically know working through high school, go out and stock the shelves. And if you listen to the interview we did with, I did with, uh, Greg white, you know, we, we kind of compare those stories.

Chris Barnes (04:42):

He kind of has a similar background. They’re keeping the stock show store shelves, the stores, the stores stocked, if I should make sense. So w what I also did there, you know, looking into the splice. So basically as Greg and I agree, it’s, it’s a consumer-driven supply chain. If it wasn’t for consumerism, we wouldn’t have supply chain. So that’s really, if you look at the big picture, that’s really where I got started in supply chain, but from a practitional practitioner standpoint, I actually migrated into the summers into working in the warehouse, the warehouse of the retail center. So, you know, I was working in the storefronts to begin with, and then I started, they moved me into the warehouses and that’s where I guess I kind of was, didn’t realize it at the time, but I began learning supply chain at that point. Uh, so that’s kind of where I kind of got that nature. And then if you combine that with my industrial engineering mentality, everything, every place has, everything should have its place and everything should be in that place. That kind of gets you to where I, where I grew up in the warehousing and manufacturing sector. And now I’m just kind of looking at the supply chain more from a 10,000 foot view across the boundaries

Scott Luton (05:42):

You you’ve spent, you were known as the warehouse guru for a show.

Chris Barnes (05:47):

Oh yeah. Yeah. I’ve evolved that you notice that Scott. So it used to be the warehouse guru. I would probably still carry that moniker, but now it’s more of the supply chain doctor, because, you know, there, there are so different things you can do in the supply chain. Scott, as you know, you talk about it every day from, from sourcing procurement, design, packaging, whatever it is, warehousing, manufacturing, delivery, customer service. There’s so many different things you can do that I I’ve decided, um, I’m expanding my this year and going forward, I’m expanding my horizons beyond just the warehouse.

Scott Luton (06:17):

Love that. Well, I mean, you’ve, you’ve got the background, you’ve got the chops you’ve been in and out of a ton of operations globally. I know warehousing is just one of your favorites. Uh, and, and frankly, I love here. You know, there’s so much untapped knowledge there that, you know, when it comes to warehousing operations and we all know the value of warehousing fulfillment centers and distribution centers here in this environment. So look forward to seeing what is ahead. And we’re going to ask you that in a minute, one final thing about Chris Barnes before we get your, some of your key takeaways from 2020 is where does that passion for you? You do a lot of instruction, you do a lot of, of teaching and, and, and, and driving professional development for others related to certification. We’ve done webinars. You, you, you do, you do a lot of teaching on different formats. Where does that passion? Where’s that from?

Chris Barnes (07:05):

I’m not sure. I, I, I invest a lot of time in it. So you would think, I understand why, but, and then looking at how I went to college, I talked to my daughter about this all the time. She’s in university now. And I tell her I went to college. I just got lucky to be honest. I mean, I had the right, right influences, the right circles, the right people, some of my friends from high school were going to college and they asked me where I was going. And I was like, what do you mean? And then, you know, so when you get started getting asked those questions, you kind of, you kind of get pointed in that direction. And then once I was in university, I guess, I, again, I got lucky in terms of engineering, from my perspective, uh, it matches my mentality, but then, then you start looking at, you know, my friends, people that I respected, you know, friends, colleagues were engineering, and I’m like, okay, I’ll check that out.

Chris Barnes (07:46):

So it’s interesting to see where you are today based on circumstances or luck or, or blessings, whatever you want to call it to me now, I just enjoy learning. It’s that intellectual curiosity that I have, it’s always been there. I like to learn just to make myself better, make it more conversant, be able to, uh, host podcasts, perhaps. And then I also realized there’s a lot of people that maybe didn’t have the luck didn’t pay attention when they were younger, because most of my education and my professional development is for adult education. So it’s people that maybe haven’t had the opportunities that I’ve had maybe were late later starters. And didn’t take advantage of some of the things that you can take advantage of in this country. So I don’t think you should penalize people the rest of their lives because of decisions maybe that they didn’t make, or, or that they did make early on in their lives. So in that case, if there’s people that are willing to make the investments in themselves from a knowledge professional development standpoint, I think there should be people out there to help them along. And that’s kind of what I do. It’s more of a mission if that makes sense. Yes. Ministry minister. Yeah.

Scott Luton (08:45):

Uh, it was never too late, uh, to our listeners. It’s never too late to, to gain that credential, to gain that certification, to get that degree never, never too late. Yeah. And if I can plug an upcoming supply

Chris Barnes (08:56):

Chain is boring. We have, uh, just to that great example, I just spoke with, uh, Laurie Malone, just Steve seal. She’s a, a mid-career person. She has a degree in the information sciences. So that should tell you how old her degree is. She was driving a bus, she was doing a lot of different things. Then she went back to university and she learned about this thing called supply chain management. They actually had a supply chain management certificate at university, and she started studying it. And she just recently got a great job as a supply chain analyst, production planner with a major bottling company out on the West coast. And she starts next month. So I had took the opportunity to interview here at her and kind of understand her success strategy. So pay attention to that. Hello,

Scott Luton (09:33):

We’ll look forward to that. Uh, supply chain is boring episode. All right. So let’s shift gears over to 2020 the year that was, it’s going to be, you know, the ripple effect from your light 2020 is going to be pretty unique, historically challenging in different ways, very uniquely challenging. You know, I think we were all we’re blindsided to some degree based on what, you know, what industry you work in or, or where you live, perhaps. And we’re still dealing with a lot of the lingering effects from the pandemic. What, what did 2020, if you have to think of a couple of things that it taught you or key observations related to business, what would those things be?

Chris Barnes (10:10):

But a couple of things, probably one thing is you gotta keep going. I mean, regardless of how bleak the outlook might look, you just gotta, you gotta keep plugging away and finding ways to do things. Uh, if it’s learning new things, then you gotta learn, adapt, and be able to learn those new things. Or if it’s just doing what you’ve always been doing, but continue doing it just maybe in a different format. But the key thing for me that I picked up, and it’s not so much supply chain, it’s more just human human behavior is it’s connectivity. People generally are social beings. I mean, not everybody is social beings. I, I bet just got, there’s some people that have looked at this past nine, 12 months as, as, uh, as, uh, they’re introverts. They probably like being by themselves and they didn’t see any difference.

Chris Barnes (10:50):

But in general, I think people are social beings and they need that connectivity. They need that discussion. They that’s. I think part of the reason why we’re so successful at supply chain now is that the fact that people, it gives them an outlet, whether they can see us, they can hear us, they can come on, they can participate in the live stream. So it’s that connectivity, people need that, you know, one of the things I do in my, in my neighborhood, and again, it’s kind of back to a ministry I’m on the board for our HOA, our local. So I know all the people in the neighborhood, at least that’s my goal. And I know we have a lot of elderly neighbors and it’s tough for them because they can’t necessarily get out. So what I do is I find the ones that can’t necessarily get out and I try to visit them at least weekly, stopping by their house, asking if they’re okay if they need anything.

Chris Barnes (11:35):

So in that makes a big difference in people’s lives. But then even as you know, back to sharing and professional development with classes, we’ve migrated away from face-to-face classes, which I enjoy the face-to-face classes. Right. But now we basically, we’re doing things online, which is not a great format to do it, but about halfway through doing this year, I realized that it wasn’t so much, you know, yeah. It’s a lot more work for me to, to get ready and prepare. And I, I view myself as an entertainer more than an educator, because I’m trying to keep their, their attention. I call it an edutainer, that’s what I call it. But because you got to keep their attention, it’s not sharing knowledge, it’s making sure they don’t fall asleep. So the idea wasn’t I realized halfway through that, some of these people were the benefit they were getting. They had something to do if, especially if they were younger and live by themselves or whatever, it gave them something to look forward to during the day, whether it’s a two hour class, they could go online and they could see pictures of other people. And that was, that was partly that socialization. I think that people really need it. So that’s what I think coming out of this as people are, they need to be connected and they need to be they’re social beings.

Scott Luton (12:38):

I wanna ask you one other business question, and then we’re gonna move on to the Eureka moment. So here recently we published a episode called this, uh, an episode of this week in business history, where we focused on Mary Barra, the CEO and chairman of general motors. She’s got a fascinating story. She’s been with GM GM since 18 years old has served and led a variety of functions in this global behemoth that is from general motors and of all the quotes that she, and she’s got plenty people latch on to one a particular got my attention earlier this week. And it was about the paraphrase. She really expects to have passionate spirited discussions from it with a right of different viewpoints. And, and it’s kind of the, the, you know, we talk about violent agreement is a phrase Greg uses and we’ve used before, but you’ve got to have that, that violent disagreement where you really thoroughly see conversations and decisions through, right, from a variety of perspectives.

Scott Luton (13:37):

And, and folks are encouraged to really at GM to really bring it, Hey, you feel passionate about that. And you fill out, this is right or wrong. Disagree, please disagree. And you, and I kind of have always referenced this punch in the nose moment as it relates to feedback. And that’s perhaps more important than ever before. You know, we’re, we’re in a, you know, whether you’re in supply chain now, whether it’s other businesses and leadership teams, you’ve got to have that Frank feedback. So you can really understand where people sit and understand why, what, what’s the reason behind that rationale to speak. If you would speak a little bit to the importance of working alongside folks that can punch in the nose and our courage to do so figured, let me speaking. Of course, and, and the value of that,

Chris Barnes (14:24):

It’s interesting. I get a lot of that these days, Scott, as you know, maybe the audience doesn’t know I have a college age daughter and she’s at the point now that she’s pretty smart person. So she’s at the point now that she’s a big challenger and that’s something that I’ve had to adapt to. And, and, and sometimes she actually knows what she’s talking about. So, so that, that helps me be a better listener if that makes any sense. So, so I practice, I, I get, I get to practice it every day. You fortunately, now she’s for us, she’s at home. She’s always willing to push the status quo it, I guess it gets back to learning it I’ve view challenges. And maybe everybody should view it this way as a new opportunity to learn. You know, maybe it’s a different perspective. They’ve got a different view of the world. Maybe it’s just, they have a blurred vision and you can help them clear up their vision if that’s the case, but maybe their vision is, is just alternative. And if you take it from that perspective, maybe you can really look at it from the, I don’t want to say, you know, live a day in their shoes, but look at it from their perspective, you might have an opportunity to learn something, but if you’re an egotist and you don’t take that opportunity to learn something, I think you’re missing out.

Scott Luton (15:29):

And the industry has got to be challenged in a positive, meaningful change, driven way more than ever before. And, uh, the companies that I think in encourage that and embrace that are probably just a generalization on my part. I’m sure I’ll get, I’ll get challenged in some of the feedback, but those organizations that embrace that are probably in a better position dealing with a year like 20, 20 than those that don’t encourage those challenging. And while we do it this way, why do we do that that way? Why are we not doing this? You know, w why, why, why the five why’s right, which are so powerful,

Chris Barnes (16:02):

An area that I’m, I’m actually opening my mind to this year is, and it all ties back into being more compassionate, being more, whether you call it social distancing, doing more for your employees or the employee experience, whatever you want to call it. But it’s embracing this concept called the triple bottom line, which we talk about it as a, as a concept in our supply chain classes. And it’s something you should learn, but it’s really, to me, I’ve always been more business oriented, you know, focusing on the profit you’re in business to make a profit, everything else. You know, if they’re not happy as an employee, then that’s their problem. They need to fix themselves. But if you really look Chris Barnes, that was the old, that was the old one. Yeah. The new one now is you’re looking at it from a holistic standpoint.

Chris Barnes (16:41):

And I guess maybe I’m just a trend, just so I see businesses going in this direction. So might as well jump on the bandwagon. Right? So, so I’m actually embracing it more. One of my, somebody I interviewed last year, uh, he has since passed. It was Norman Bodak. And his last book that he wrote was corporate social responsibility. And that talks a lot about the triple bottom line. I don’t know if he talks about it in those terms, but it’s really focuses on companies, looking at the people, the planet and the profit, as opposed to just the profit. So that’s something that I’ve always been more focused on the profit side if you’re in a business, but as I study and as I read and I see the direction of corporations are taking, I see it really going more towards the triple bottom line and embracing those concepts, especially from a corporate social responsibility standpoint. I forgot the question again, but that’s the answer?

Scott Luton (17:26):

Well, that takes us to our next, and clearly you’re describing not maybe a Eureka moment, but a Eureka phase of, of where you are. What else, when you, when you think of that traditional Eureka moment, whether it’s a recent one or one, you know, from years past, what’s a key one you’d share with us.

Chris Barnes (17:43):

Well, I’m going to say it’s recent because it happened this year. I mean, just observing what’s happening and I’m in a spot. I have a chance to study and see trends in that kind of understand directions. And the people that I interview, I get a lot of futuristic ideas from them, but the aha moment for me this year has been the rate of change. Historically supply chains are typically large bohemus they can weather the weather, the great storms, but there are difficult to change and turn around. What I’ve seen this year is companies are just their ability to make changes more rapidly and adjust to circumstances. It’s something I’ve never seen before in my career. It’s pretty impressive. And if you, for example, look at, let’s say, if you can go to the grocery store today, again, that’s where, that’s where the supply chain starts is that the consumer retail store most traditional supply chains anyhow.

Chris Barnes (18:31):

And if you go there now, you’re, um, I’ll put a number on it. 20% of the people are going to be, what do you call them? The remote shoppers or what’s that they’re their actual, their actual Kroger employees, but they’re shopping for the person that ordered online. And you can tell they’re walking around, they’ve got the carts, it looks like their warehouse carts. You know, that’s, that’s the, that’s the geeky geek in me. I can tell who they are. They’ve got a little device that they keep looking at and I’ll walk up and talk to them and ask them what they’re doing. What’s the process, how they doing it, most retail centers you see now have that, have somebody in there doing that, whether it’s a door dash or a, you know, another type of third-party shopper or it’s our own employees doing the online shopping for them, that’s something that you’re seeing. And again, it’s only taken less than a year for companies to make that adoption. That’s pretty significant, right?

Scott Luton (19:17):

Agreed. The rate of change, the ever increasing rate of change is certainly it is it’s fascinating and intriguing to track. And that’s really why I believe one of the biggest reasons why the discipline, the formal discipline of project management, um, has, has really, this is kind of they’re entering their, their prom. I mean, it’s been around forever, but I think many companies are trying to deal with that rapidly increasing rate of change by embracing proven project management frameworks, which is really interesting to watch.

Chris Barnes (19:47):

And one more thing on the rate of change, Scott, just to one of my favorite examples of anybody’s taking a class with me, they know my favorite restaurant is Chick-fil-A. I always talk about the examples that they have from a, whether it’s a point of sale standpoint, they deliver it to the tables, whatever it is, they’re very efficient organization. So if you look at their rate of change, they are still in business today. And I got this on, you know, good, good account that they have done better during the pandemic. Actually this year is going to be one of their best years ever. Yeah. That’s what I’m going to, and I got that through on official records. They’re not a public company, but yeah, as the pandemic kicked in, people started, they still wanted to go out and get the, get the restaurants Chick-fil-A is a lot of people’s favorites.

Chris Barnes (20:28):

And I think what I understand was June, July was probably the best months that they’ve ever had from a revenue standpoint. And now if you go by and look at their stores, I mean, they’ve, they’ve transitioned their complete model. They are probably busier than ever. Obviously the volumes are there. You can tell just by observing some of the restaurants have triple all those things and the level of technology that they’re using. It’s pretty impressive if you look at it from a, from a purist standpoint. So that’s a, that’s, that’s a change that took place again, in less than nine months, they were able to come in and make those, make those adjustments. My concern is because I view Chick-fil-A is that’s my office away from home, but they’re gonna, they’re gonna stick to that model, right? Because if they can make that much money without having a store, you know, what does that tell you? I hope they don’t. But again, that, and that gets into our future vision, right? I guess at our prophesizing, I don’t think they will, realistically, because they’re so community oriented. But you know, if you look at just from a bottom line standpoint, if they’re making more money now without having to have a storefront, that’s a, that should tell you something

Scott Luton (21:28):

Here’s going to be the deciding factor. It is where profitability of course is important. But of course, what drives profitability is what the consumer demands. So I would propose that it to consumers love to sit in the drive through, in the modified drive through, and then get their favorite chicken sandwich and chicken nuggets and everything else. Then we may very well. You may very well lose your, your office away from home. However, if the sentiment is temporary and, and, and folks do want to bring the family in and sit down and get, get this, get back to the children’s play, you know, the place that are imagined or are consumers going to be comfortable doing that anytime soon, you know? Cause that’s, that’s some of the ways they create that foot traffic. So it’ll be interesting to see how the consumer weighs in on not just chick Flay, but really across the, not they don’t call themselves fast food anymore. The convenient, quick service, quick service. Yeah. So we’ll see. We’ll, we’ll have to keep our finger on the pulse. I know you, you do already. And it’s interesting to see how Chick-fil-A has persevered and been profitable in a year challenging year, like 20, 20.

Chris Barnes (22:39):

It was quick, there was a model before, before pandemic. I don’t know how it’s doing now, but there was a model. They called them ghost kitchens. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but basically it’s because of all the online ordering, it’s basically just a, a little 20,000 square foot warehouse that they converted into a kitchen and they can make anything from a McDonald’s hamburgers to Chick-fil-A to taco bell, you know, whatever it’s going to be. And it’s all coming from the same kitchen. And then all they’re doing is they’re looking at what you’re placing an order on, because if you don’t care where it comes from, as long as it tastes the same, no, I don’t know if those stores specifically are contributors, but that’s kind of what’s happening is then you just order it and they can have it right in the, in a, in a downtown Metro environment. And they don’t actually have to have the actual storefront. So that was a concept I’m, I’m kind of watching that as well.

Scott Luton (23:21):

It’s interesting. And just like Uber eats and all the, that, that sector is a lot of folks that believe that’s not sustainable. And, and, uh, the model just isn’t strong enough. No, I, I don’t know from a consumer side, you know, our family has enjoyed the convenience of that, especially in, you know, during the lockdown phases. And it seems like they keep growing there, the restaurant that’s right. The restaurants that are opting in to, to, um, that play. But we’ll see, we, you can tell our listeners can probably tell we, we enjoy the food industry here at supply chain now. All right. So you already kind of forced shattered a bit and things to watch for in 2021. What would you add to some of the things you’ve already shared?

Chris Barnes (24:00):

The key thing I’m looking at now, and I think this is maybe it’s the next wave, if that makes any sense, but it’s this thing called? Cause we talk about it in the classes I teach and I know you, Scott, you have the certification or the CSEP certification. So you’ve studied this. There are four, four stages of evolution that a company goes through. It typically it starts at stage one, which is kind of, you’re just starting out. You really don’t have much technology. You don’t do any collaboration with anyone else. You’re just, you don’t even focus on internal improvements. And then the fourth stage, which is the panacea for most companies, at least that’s what we teach. It’s called the extended enterprise or stage four. And that’s basically where the company doesn’t have any boundaries. We don’t talk about it in the class in terms of the digital supply chain, but that’s basically what it is.

Chris Barnes (24:42):

So I interviewed a professor, Ben [inaudible] last year about the con. He was the first person that I talked to about the extended enterprise. That’s why I was so excited to hear about that. But this year I it’s, it’s actually happening Scott. So when people talk about the digital supply chain, they’re really talking about the multi enterprise supply chain business networks. Gardiner talks about it a bit. They’ve got some research on it. Now it’s happening. Companies have already adopted it. So really what that means is no longer do you treat, you know, I’m going to go back to Kroger no longer do you, you treat Kroger’s ERP system as a standing standalone isolated system. You link it with their suppliers, with the Del Monte’s of the world, with the three PLS, with the transportation providers of the world. So everybody has access to a single version of the truth. So that to me is the Holy grail. That’s where we’re headed. And that’s, that’s pretty much going to happen. I would say within the next one to three years

Scott Luton (25:33):

Now, I know that there’s still a lot of folks that, that are naysayers on blockchain and they just, um, they don’t understand how that’s going to revolutionize so much. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not, I’m not a blockchain technologist. However I continue to see and what we’d love to report on, especially on the supply chain buzz on Mondays at 12, noon are good practical use cases of blockchain that most anyone can really wrap their head around. And, and trust me, I need a simple one to read. I’m a little bit slow. And here recently we spotted a story where the wine industry, which for, for wine to be considered true champagne, it needs to be from a certain region in France. And there’s all kinds. There’s a name for that. But IBM recently announced how they are going to be leveraging blockchain and partnering with a wide variety of players in the wine supply chain so that consumers can know where wine and the grapes that made it, where it truly originate from, and a little bit about the wine before they make the purchasing decision. And that’s know that’s a pretty practical use case. And, and some might argue not the most powerful, but you know, for folks that take their wine seriously, you know, that additional information they’re going to have, you know, at their fingertips as they scan that code, they’re in their local store, that’s a powerful benefit for that specific consumer.

Chris Barnes (26:52):

It’s also a safety consideration as well. So I don’t want to keep make this the food network or anything, but, you know, if you start looking at that, basically wine is a food. So you want to have that. You got to have full traceability, where do the ingredients come from? You know, whether you call it farm to fork, whatever you need that full, full visibility, full traceability across the supply chain and even applies to serialization, which is a pharmaceutical phenomena in the healthcare space. You got to know exactly who touched that bottle when it was packaged, where did it come from? Where do the ingredients come from and then who sold it and then who’s using it. So that, that whole concept is really lends itself well to blockchain

Scott Luton (27:28):

Agreed and, and, and other technologies that are part of industry 4.0, machine learning, AI and IOT and numerous others. The other thing that we’re seeing companies effectively apply it to are issues like deforestation and, and unfortunately slave labor, which still exists across the globe and being able to identify and, and, uh, hopefully eliminate, um, especially slave labor. Um, uh, we’ve all seen different allocate allegations of that in different parts, but how does the consumer know without the visibility, right? And of course, if we can get consumers to stop supporting supply chains where that is utilized, that’s going to help us eradicate, you know, some of these injustices that are unfortunate taking place, uh, globally. So,

Chris Barnes (28:15):

You know, to wrap it up for you, Scott, because we talk about that. If you, if you take any classes me or, or any others in supply chain management, we typically talk about that extended enterprise. That’s kind of the panacea. That’s where need companies need to be. And again, like I said, it’s, it’s the Holy grail, but it’s really connecting people. And I’ve never, I’ve always talked about it in theory, but I’ve never found anybody really trying to make it happen until this year. There’s a, there’s a little niche industry. If you take a listen to some of the supply chain now, episodes, I won’t mention their names, but they, they talk about it on those shows. And then that’s something I’m studying this year as well, because I want to, when I’m teaching people, I want to talk about the extended enterprise and I want to be able to give examples and I’ve found examples and I found future visions of people that are actually trying to make this happen. So that’s really what I’m excited about.

Scott Luton (29:01):

Um, and so on that note, what else did you, you, you’ve already kind of foreshadowed some of the things we can expect and listeners can expect from supply chain is boring. What else would you add

Chris Barnes (29:11):

Just as a plug for the neck, the upcoming show Mo I don’t know if people understand the theory behind what, what we talk about on supply chain is boring, but it’s really about people that have made an impact on supply chain. The way we think about it today, or people that are impacting the way we should be thinking about it. So it’s really a historical perspective. So I found, and this is a very boring concept called carrying costs. You’ve heard of carrying costs. Scott has a significant impact, and that’s why people shouldn’t carry inventory, right? Excess inventory because of the carrying costs. It’s 25 to 40% of the costs. People don’t really think about it. So it’s fun to talk about people really appreciate it once they understand what it is. So I found the professor from Ohio state since retired. He was the first person to write a detailed explanation around what creates the carrying cost was. I sat with him, I thought it was going to be a 10 minute discussion around carrying costs hour and a half later. He’s still talking. So he, not only does he have a great concept around carrying costs, you know, why he wrote the, wrote the article in 1976, but what the future looks like. And it’s, it’s pretty interesting. So that’s, that’s the benefit for me in talking, you know, interviewing people on supply chain now and, and supply chain is boring.

Scott Luton (30:23):

I got to think some of the, some of the big factors is, is the size of the products. I would think refrigeration. And, and if it’s food or, or pharmaceuticals that need to be at a certain temperature, uh, I would think that does, or some of the factors are off top of mind. I’m am I, am I approaching? Is that, is that accurate? Or,

Chris Barnes (30:43):

Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. There, there are four basic categories from a purist standpoint and we don’t need to get into what they are, but if you want to sit for the exam, you better understand what they are, but no, it was just neat from my perspective, until he came along, people were just saying, Oh, it’s 25%, whatever it is, without any rationale for where that 25% came from. So what he did is he sat down, he analyzed what, what research professors do. And he said, okay, here are these four buckets. And he defined what the four buckets were and they’re still in practice here. What, 40, 50 years later, that that to me is, is it’s very boring, but that’s what I love about it. It’s, it’s fascinating.

Scott Luton (31:18):

It is fascinating, definitely so many different niches across global supply chain that help, uh, ensure better decision-making and inventory of course, is one of the tried and true big, big part of managing inventory, especially given what we’ve seen here in recent months. So, all right. So Christopher Barnes, the supply chain doctor, how can folks connect with you?

Chris Barnes (31:42):

I’m pretty easy. LinkedIn seems to be the growing trend now, and then just reach out to me that’s that seems to be a pretty good place or call Scott and tell him you want to talk to me and he can get in touch with me.

Scott Luton (31:54):

All right. Well, uh, Chris, a pleasure. It is so fascinating to see where we have come from that very first episode, but Hey, uh, it’s been an exciting journey, really excited to, to, uh, um, think about what’s next for you and I, and our team here at supply chain now, especially supply chain is boring. That’s been very well received series. I love your approach there, your unique approach, because you uncover some of those things. I think so many folks assume that others know, or they assume they know. I know I’ve, I’ve been guilty of making assumptions, but the engineering angle that you bring out was really, uh, makes for an interesting discussion and learning opportunities. So keep it coming. We look forward to a lot more episodes from supply chain is pouring in 2021, all the best Chris Barnes of the supply chain, doctor and host of supply chains boring year at spot.

Scott Luton (32:45):

You now. Thanks, Chris. Thank you. All right. So to our audience, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this wide ranging discussion with the one only Chris Barnes. And though I have, if you enjoy conversations like this, be sure to check us find since subscribe for free, wherever you get your podcasts. Of course you can subscribe to supply chain is boring in its own channel supply chain. Now you can subscribe to this week in business history, tequila, sunrise, tech talk, digital supply chain podcast, you name it, and we’ve got some new series right around the corner that we’ll be launching in the weeks to come. So thanks so much for listening. Hey, on behalf of the entire team here at supply chain, now do good gift forward. Be the change that’s needed. And on that note, I will see you on with Chris bonds. Be the least interesting. No, you’re the least my hunch, our audience probably knows less about you than anyone else that hosts the show. And I was tempted to throw you some curve balls. I can say no comment because I know who’s going to edit this. So, I mean, I shouldn’t say that now you’re doing a pretty good job of it. Yourself. You will edit this you’re right.


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

Chris Barnes is a supply chain guru, the APICS Coach, and the host of Supply Chain is Boring on Supply Chain Now.  He holds a B.S., Industrial Engineering and Economics Minor, from Bradley University, an MBA in Industrial Psychology with Honors from the University of West Florida.  He holds CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS, one of the few in the world. Barnes is a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education certificate courses. Barnes is a supply chain advocate, visionary, and frequent podcaster and blogger at Barnes has over 27 years of experience developing and managing multiple client, engineering consulting, strategic planning and operational improvement projects in supply chain management. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn and reach out to him via email at:

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.


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