Supply Chain Now Episode 540

“Is that what people mean when they say, they always say, “You two have such a great dynamic.”  They’re like, “He’s the sane one. And then there’s the crazy one. That’s always wearing a quarter zip.”

-Greg White, Host, Supply Chain Now & TECHquila Sunrise


In this episode of Supply Chain Now, Scott sits down with Greg to talk 2020 and what’s to come in 2021.

Intro/Outro (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, living with you here on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s show. So today’s episode, we’re continuing really an end of year mini series. We’re we’re turning the tables a bit and we’re gaining insights and POV from our hosts who used to do the interviewing today, we’re going to working really hard to raise your supply chain leadership IQ and supply chain tech IQ as well. I’m sure as we’re going to be spending time with the wizard of Wichita, the one only Greg white quick program for get started here. If you enjoy this episode, find supply chain now and subscribe for free wherever your podcasts, but also if you enjoy, Greg’s take, make sure you find tequila, sunrise, and subscribe for free. So you don’t miss that each and every week. All right, no further ado. Let’s bring in our featured guests. Are they Greg white supply chain adjutant free agent futurist, visionary discontent trademarked, also my regular cohost and founder of tequila.

Scott Luton (01:28):

Sunrise, Greg. Good afternoon. Howdy. It’s weird here in your own intro. Isn’t it? Well, that’s just what I kept in. I see if you looked over there at my studio, there’s 18 pages of other, uh, intro ideas I had. We’ll save that for some of the stories 18 pages. That’s perfect. Yeah. Well, thanks. I’m glad to be here. You bet. Of course, always glad to be here. It’s a little weird being on this side of Mike, but well, what’s so funny and you know, when we get together for an episode, there’s a ton of business discussions that take place before we finally get down to business. Oh right. Interview to do. And you know, it’s so it’s so fascinating and I’m sure other folks can, can that are listening to this and kind of relate to right. The meetings, the impromptu conversations between the zoom calls and conference calls and, and this digital world we live in.

Scott Luton (02:17):

But that’s where some of the key takeaways and learnings take place. So we spend our day working in the business and on the business. Right. I mean, it’s a job, it’s a vocation. It’s also a vision and you know, and an entrepreneurial journey. Yeah. It’s really hard to drive. It’s really hard for me as most, everybody knows. It’s really hard for me to draw a boundary. And once you get down that path, like we just did, you kind of got to make a conscious effort to go, okay, that’s enough on that topic. Let’s get to the topic at hand here, whatever. But the end of the day, it is stone soup. Everything is, is all in this pot. And once you put it in, you can’t really separate it back out. So that’s, that’s kind of how I view the world too, in these ventures and these passions, uh, that we’re, that we’re involved in. So, you know, some folks, of course, they’re part, listen, this part, we are aware of what you do here at supply chain now and your role and, and your shows and whatnot. But I want to ask you for starters, tell us about yourself. Maybe tell us about some of the things that folks may not have yet appreciated about the one and only Greg white.

Greg White (03:21):

Well, I don’t know what they may not appreciate. I’m surprised we haven’t heard some of the things they don’t appreciate about me. Let me start with my role. Of course, host’s principle for whatever that means, but that means, you know, helping guide the strategy and some of the execution and my favorite moniker is, Oh, gee, you know, one of the original gangsters. And so I think we need, we need t-shirts that say that I saw a company that had the man,

Scott Luton (03:47):

It says their own, the way that the, all the Mertz we’ve been after for months and months, she reassures me. It’s on the way. So we’ll see.

Greg White (03:55):

That’s cool. Well, you and I will have to go get some extra stuff. Oh, gee, branded. I help host the shows with you. Of course, which is so easy because you do all the hard work. And I just sit back like kind of the smart Alec in the room and, and snipe, I’m a sniper. I like look for those opportunities to contribute. That has been a great lessons, you know, kind of watching how you facilitate and enable a really robust conversation. So that’s been a lot of fun. And then we actually talk to people who want to sponsor with us, right? So we do a lot of that. And then of course we, you know, we interface with the investors. We work with our guests, which is such a joy working with all of the talented people that we, that we work with to kind of hear their story, to meet them offline, as well as online to really get to know them as a person.

Greg White (04:45):

I mean, we, I think we do a pretty good job in our shows, getting to know people as people, but we get the opportunity to learn even more, right? Like Rick McDonald, who I’m meeting with after this, he has ambitions outside of Clorox, although I’m not sure how well-placed that is right now. He needs to be focusing on making sure we’ve got Clorox. Mike. So I’ll talk to him about that by the way. But you know, there’s all kinds of those stories. I’m not sure where you wanted the answer to that question to go, Scott,

Scott Luton (05:17):

You’re making a number of great points about the experiences that we have here at supply chain now, but, but going to Craig white and the story there, I mean, you’re a very successful founder and entrepreneur and board advisor and a trusted advisor for, for companies of all sizes. You do a lot of work in the community, you know, coordinating efforts, whether it’s fundraising or whether it’s just getting behind nonprofit initiatives from a supply chain tech standpoint, you know, just like you put it the other day, it’d be a CRA Kerryn, Burson hour were talking earlier today. And she’s a host of tech talk watching podcast. And how you opened when your recent episodes of how, you know, for our listeners supply chain tech, if you happen, not to know it is one of the hottest spaces in all, not just supply chain, all of global business, I would argue, right. And you opened it the other day that, you know, supply chain tech is an overnight success after only four decades of hard work. And so I think the interesting thing is that I find fascinating as a non technologist is, you know, you look at the world very differently than so many others because of what’s cool. Now you were supply chain tech before it was cool. And I think that’s, that’s a bit when it’s, when folks are trying to piece you together. I think that’s a big part of it.

Greg White (06:37):

Well, it is. I think, you know, I don’t know if people would be surprised. I’m kind of surprised every day at, I still think back to some things that aren’t being done universally in supply chain today, whether they are tech or process or people enabled that in the industry I was in, which maybe people don’t know this. I was in the automotive industry, automotive retail we were doing in the early nineties. I mean, we had precise forecasting and resiliency and risk management processes and automated economic optimizations in our technology in 1992. And frankly, as I got to know manufacturers more, it was stunning to me to understand that they weren’t that efficient. But then I realized things and this, you know, this industry is a constant set of learnings. I realized that the suppliers don’t have to be as economically optimized as economically efficient as retailers and especially distributors have to be because their gross margins are gross in all capital letters.

Greg White (07:45):

Like they might make you hurl if you saw some of them. I mean, many, many of these companies, the P and GS and, and others, they’re public companies, their net margin after taxes is two digits. Sometimes high two digits, 12, 20%. I worked with a company GNC gross was in all capital letters, bolded because 400% gross margins, things like that on private label products and things like that. So I guess I had to reconcile my fact myself, to some of those facts that that is why we lag so much in the adoption and the evolution of, of supply chain technology, because it’s just not necessary, right? When it was cheaper, when it’s cheaper to use labor to do things than it is to have that big chunk of capital outlay to deploy technology and to take the risk of change that technology requires. I can see why companies with big margins, aren’t leaping at that

Scott Luton (08:45):

To our listeners. If you can’t tell, uh, you’re going to get the cold, hard truth, but experienced, uh, from the point of experience and, and been there, done that from Greg. And that’s, that’s one of my favorite things about him. And, and I think it’s one of the reasons why I think we work so well together is because I tend to be a bit more diplomatic and you keep it real. And that’s a good, that’s a good comment.

Greg White (09:09):

Is that what people mean when they say, what do they, what do they always say? They always say you two have such a great dynamic. They’re like, he’s the same one. And then there’s the crazy one. That’s always wearing a quarter zip. Right.

Scott Luton (09:21):

Great. That is so funny. Kind of look back there in your answer. And you’re talking about your automotive retail and, and some of, uh, of how business was done and, and its impact on margins in supply chain and, and, and outside and other industries. Let’s talk about 20, 20, 20, 20 as a, it goes without saying insert, whatever cliche you want to say, but it in arguably is it was a very, not just challenging, but a uniquely challenging in particular ways that hap you know, any profession hasn’t been challenged with in, you know, perhaps forever, or at least in a very long time, at least in the age of technology and information. So what are some of your key observations that you are going to take away from 2020?

Greg White (10:04):

Well, let me tell you that one of the key observations, if, since you asked about me earlier, is that I am, when it comes to disruption and when it comes to whatever you want to call it, the, this, these kinds of situations, I’m pretty level about them. It’s something you have to deal with that probably has something to do with Midwest farmer roots, not

Scott Luton (10:25):

Hints, the wisdom Wichita.

Greg White (10:27):

Yeah. Although we need to talk about that wizard thing, because biology at Kibera, who I worked with also, he loves that too, but I don’t think you guys understand that people from Kansas, you know, where the wizard of Oz took place, they don’t want to be called wizard. I love this.

Scott Luton (10:48):

And to other folks, you know, it’s kind of a play on, um, given all of your entrepreneurial success and all your advisory, it’s a play on

Greg White (10:55):

What did somebody say? We, we kind of covered

Scott Luton (10:58):

Oracle, Oracle of Omaha, Oracle of Omaha. That’s where you’re originally from. But nevertheless, we’ll we’ll

Greg White (11:06):

It’s okay. It doesn’t bother me. I was just, I’m just trying to give people a little perspective on wizard cans. Um, um, sorry, so QI 20, 20, right? 2020. Yeah. So that’s, that’s something I learned about myself, but I think one of the things that I learned about the, about the supply chain and about industry in general is we have this tendency to boil a complex concept down to the word that represents it. And I bet you know what word I’m heading towards lean,

Scott Luton (11:40):

Right? Oh, I thought you were going to say your other favorite one, but lean lean will work. Yeah,

Greg White (11:46):

No lean is the one that I think has been most misunderstood misapplied, misused, uh, miss identified and miss blamed, if you can call it that Ms. Mistreated, you know, because I think lean is not about cutting things to the bone. It’s about eliminating, eliminating things that are unnecessary processes, inventory, um, steps. Yeah. All of those things, right? I mean, I think people misinterpreted it because of the word and, and it got a bad rap. So, and, and, and also we recognize that a lot of people miss applied it, and that was big. The other is that the supply chain is remarkably resilient. I mean, we have to say it toilet paper shortage. I mean, let’s face it, right. Even anyone who did horde, as we did a little bit ourselves, we actually still have some of our hoarded toilet paper, even though we’ve gone out and bought more.

Greg White (12:46):

That is a recognition of, this was an awakening for a lot of people. Items do not have demand items. Don’t do anything. People apply demand or apply trend or pattern or whatever to, uh, items. People are trending towards buying an item they’re trending towards fear or whatever. And what we really need to understand is what influences people, because as we’ve said a lot and, and stockbrokers have been saying forever past performance is no indicator of future success. Right. And if we didn’t learn that in this year, 2020, if we did not learn that what has happened in the past to quote the gumball rally, that which is behind you, she does not matter.

Scott Luton (13:36):

So let me, let me ask you this. This is one question I’ve never asked you, and you are a forecasting and planning of, of your many talents. That’s certainly, uh, a passion and a place of expertise for you. How many companies do you, if you just had to generalize and just handpick a percentage, how many companies do you think today will start and stop their forecasting with just the historical aspect of movement?

Greg White (14:02):

Almost all of them. That’s my estimate include. And that includes ones that are using AI, because the way that I have seen artificial intelligence and machine learning is a better way to grind up the history, the sales history that we have, they are not looking at the influence on the consumer that drives people to buy. So almost all of them, there are a few that are not, but even AI, misapplied is not the solution AI properly applied is absolutely the solution. Let let’s just talk. Let’s just talk about that real quick, Scott, because what are we really predicting in the supply chain? We’re predicting when somebody is going to place demand on a product and demand doesn’t have to be purchased. Theft is also demand by the way, and demand doesn’t have to be a, it could be your customers downstream. If you’re a manufacturer or a distributor, it could be the retailer that buys your hammers or whatever, right? So what are we trying to predict by, by looking at how the item has sold or even been ordered in the past, we’re trying to predict when’s the next order going to come. And in what quantity, the truth is, what we really need to know is what motivates and triggers and influences a customer to purchase that product. So we really need to be forecasting our customer. And if we’re not doing that, we’re still at least a degree of separation from really understanding demand.

Scott Luton (15:29):

Agreed. And if you look at right here in the moment, bicycles, bicycles are in short demand for nearly no historical reason. There’s nothing historically you could have pointed to that. That would show that you’re going to have a lack of inventory to meet that demand. We’ve talked about dogs as silly as it sounds folks have been adopting in masses, perhaps never before seen. Right? Very different. Not sure how many groups forecasts adopt dog adoptions, but

Greg White (15:58):

I wonder, um, they probably haven’t had to in the past, if you’ve got it right, right. There’ve been plenty of strays that you could, you know, you could bring to the humane society and have people come pick up. Usually they’re begging people to adopt dogs,

Scott Luton (16:13):

Right. But, but all of this just illustrate that you can’t start and stop with historical data. And what you were identifying before we started is so many companies don’t do enough market research. And you think about things that that can impact your degree of intelligence when it comes to truly identifying demand and how to plan and be ready, or as ready as possible. Read the researching, not just to try to piece that together, but figure out all the factors that might impact that demand, right?

Greg White (16:43):

Th there that’s no small equation, right? That’s no small, no small task because you know, if you look back a few years, and this is the example I used six, seven years ago, why we need to forecast the consumer back when Justin Bieber was popular with 12 year old girls, whatever Justin Bieber talked or tweeted about 12 year old girls bot, thank God that he wasn’t talking or tweeting about vodka and whatever else he was doing. Although a lot of formerly twelve-year-old girls probably got tattoos because he got a bunch. That’s the thing is we have to understand what influences, let’s go back to your dog example dogs. Aren’t running out of the humane society to find homes, right? People are coming and going. I want to give this dog a home, think of a, that dog who certainly could go find itself a home as a vehicle of demand and a can of beans. Can’t run out and find a home. And if dogs can’t, aren’t doing it then a can of beans. Sure. As heck can’t. So we have to recognize that it is not dogs that are moving. People are moving towards dogs to them home. Yes. Right. People are placing demand or creating demand for dogs because they’re lonely.

Scott Luton (17:56):

Okay. We are hitting the hard subjects here, beans, bikes, and St. Bernard’s, uh, here on this Galactica. Now what I want to do, we’re kind of, um, this is, this is gonna, this is gonna be a little different than of other host conversations. We’re gonna meander this a little bit, mainly because Greg and I talk about so much, I’m trying to uncover some new things that maybe the audience hasn’t heard Greg weigh in on. So we, you and I asked, well, we’ve asked over 520 through 525 conversations, Eureka moments, right? Yeah. I don’t know how many folks we’ve asked about their Eureka moment. And I don’t think we’ve ever asked Greg white his Eureka moment. So Greg, when you think of whether it’s a 20, 20 intriguing Eureka moment, that learning opportunity, we have day in and day out and years like 2020 or something earlier, what’s been, what’s a key Eureka moment that really has been sitting front and center with you lately. I tried

Greg White (18:54):

Really hard to learn for a living. So I have a lot of Eureka moments. Also having lived in a place that is flat with no trees. I am easily amazed, really easily amazed. And I can think of dozens of moments where I would have gone, Oh my gosh, I had no idea. That was real. The first time I went scuba diving when I went down into the ocean, because when you and I were kids, you could still watch Jacques Cousteau. Right? Right. The undersea adventures of Jacques

Scott Luton (19:19):

Cousteau. Right. I remember on my very

Greg White (19:22):

First dive, I went, Holy, that stuff, all that color, all those fish, all that, you know, all that it’s actually down here. I remember having that feeling right now. And I’ve had lots of those. Like when I moved to Arizona, you could just see John Wayne riding to the top of some of those Buttes and mesas and sitting up there grandly on his horse. And I was just like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing and beautiful, lots of nature things. Really. They really, really impact me and give me a Eureka moment again, because I lived in a place where the scenery doesn’t much change. It’s wheat fields and rivers. And, you know, in Wichita is not the biggest, most cosmopolitan city. And it doesn’t change much as I learned recently going back there. But, but you know, if you think about it from a more, let, let’s give some, let’s give these folks a more professional thing.

Greg White (20:15):

You know, one of my Eureka moments was that I love doing so many things so much that at around PR I’m gonna say 32 at around 32, I finally had to decide to commit to an industry. And that industry just happened to be supply chain because I just happened to be in it. Nobody, nobody in my age or your age, you’re much younger than I am, but nobody of our age grew up. I want to be in supply chain, right. We wanted to be astronauts or race car drivers or rock stars. And I want it to be all of those, you know, and, and I have done a lot of jobs and not, and a lot of them by some of them by starting companies, I’ve worked in retail. Um, I’ve worked in distribution. I have, you know, I’ve exited three technology companies, four actually.

Greg White (21:08):

And that was a critical and Eureka moment. And it changed my life. That that moment changed my life. When I finally said, all right, let’s quit dinking around. Let’s decide what we’re going to do. I didn’t love it. I mean, I can tell you that I didn’t have a passion for it. I was really, really good at it. And it really fit my analytical and yet somewhat visionary mind. I don’t know how else to say it. It really fit that. So it was right for me. I had been really successful at a company called [inaudible]. I had kind of seen the ceiling there. The company was, had reached a point where it was in wealth protection mode for the founder. So, you know, so I knew I needed to move on to have the kind of advancement and career that I wanted to have. You know, I just decided to dedicate myself to it.

Greg White (21:53):

And strangely, right. Unlike the advice that I give to hundreds of people a year, it wasn’t something I was passionate about. Not even passionate about. It was something I was really good at and I decided I could build a passion for, and you know, unfortunately I did. And I think it fits my analytical yet. Visionary, whatever you want to call it skillset really, really well. I am very observant, as you’ve said, many times, you know, and I internalize things a lot and sometimes for a long time, as you know, cause we’ll have a conversation, I’ll come back to you on it. Two weeks later, I’m not always the fastest tool in the shed. Not even always the sharpest tool in the shed, but I can hammer it out

Scott Luton (22:35):

And you don’t miss a thing. He is Greg, uh, listeners. Greg is the prob I could, I should say probably just because it’s tough to, there has to be somebody. Right, right. But yeah, shortlist of all time, I’ve worked, I’ve worked in collaborated and partnering with few people that don’t miss a single thing, a intentional syllable shared look at the eyes, body pie, you name it. He doesn’t miss a thing. It’s really amazing.

Greg White (23:04):

The other day. I, what, we, we, we were having a discussion and I did, Oh my God. Now I can’t even remember that where people read, like how you move and that sort of thing. Right? What do they call that terracing is that, Oh, body language. Yes. So I read the body language of someone who is trying to manipulate and make us uncomfortable by expressing their reading of our body language. And I, you know, we recognize that that person was trying to manipulate us by, by doing that. So, I mean, it’s that kind of thing that I, I do. And I don’t do it by choice. I can’t help it sometimes. I wish I could.

Scott Luton (23:42):

Don’t play cards with one Greg white folks don’t play. I’ll tell you,

Greg White (23:46):

My tells are they’re very deceptive because I have a lot of ticks and I’m always moving and, and that sort of thing. So it’s really hard to interpret it. We had a CIA agent who, I didn’t know till he retired, who lived down the street and he’s an, after he retired, we did him a solid, helped him get a contracting job with the government by being a reference. And so we had reason to talk after that. And he said, you know, you would be the toughest person on the planet to follow because you never do anything the same way twice. I believe it I’ve seen it firsthand true, but what he saw, you know, you know, what he saw and he couldn’t put a pattern to

Scott Luton (24:22):

International man of mystery, Greg white. All right. Before we talk about 2021 and getting one, getting one thing from you to watch, I want to ask you about a, you know, cause I don’t know all the ins and outs of your, uh, your earlier career that our work together, but I’m pretty sure that while you did some keynote and I’m sure you sat on panels and did some speaking and stuff, I don’t think you did a whole bunch of digital content, right. Especially what ops streams and podcasts and, and social media tweet chats. I mean all the stuff that we do. So what has been, I mean, as a, let’s say as a creator and as a, as a, as an artist really cause that, you know, there’s a creative POV that you apply to this. I mean, yeah. We talk about a news and we talk about stories and we interview folks and none of that’s rocket science, however you develop your own craft to use, uh, a recent word. So what’s been, you know, as you, the content creator and artists, what’s, what’s been, uh, uh, a key learning for you over the last 18 months or so

Greg White (25:24):

Very key learning that this might even be a Eureka moment that I think a lot of creators could use. And that is be you whatever you is, whether you use pretty, whether you use ugly, whether you write, whether you is, is witty or dull, whether you is sharp tongued or like you very diplomatic, whatever it is, be that because it is too hard to be anyone else, you know, Scott recently, because we have been doing a lot of speaking. Right. And I think we’ve kind of reached, I don’t know. I, I perceive it this way. I perceive that we’ve kind of reached a point of, I don’t even want to say prominence, but awareness out there where people are starting to ask us, how did you get to where you are? Somebody asked me, how did you get to be a futurist? Which I was so I was, so I was so honored and embarrassed at the same time to have somebody think of me as, as a futurist, but how did you get there?

Greg White (26:27):

And, uh, and you know, what I told them is, Hey, you know, it’s kind of like, kind of like the statement I made about supply chain tech, right? For decades to be an overnight sensation. It’s only taken my whole career for me to be knowledgeable enough and confident enough to say, this is what the future holds for this industry. So you can’t shortcut it and it can’t be something you aren’t, and it can’t be something you don’t deeply know that you can’t shortcut. It is probably even bigger than it’s an even bigger thing than be who you are

Scott Luton (26:59):

Agreed. And along these same lines, you’ve got, uh, a famous phrase, at least famous to me. God, I think about it a lot. You say something like it needed to be said, how do you, how do you say that

Greg White (27:13):

Many people will say something and they’ll say that needed to be said. Right. And what I have said frequently to people is that there is a difference between that needed to be said, and you felt the need to say it.

Scott Luton (27:26):

Cause the ladder probably folks

Greg White (27:29):

More often the case, right? Someone felt the need to say it more, more often than it actually needed to be said.

Scott Luton (27:34):

Right? So now I’m going to apply that to, to content generation and creation. And, and that, I know from my point of view, there are our shows, there’s conversations or there’s guests. There are things I want to build when it comes to content, because I want the market to know it and be informed or hear it, or, you know, connect with it. Right. It doesn’t, it doesn’t mean it’s the most popular thing. It doesn’t mean it’s the band is what I want to do. Right. And that, and that, it seems to me, at least from where I sit, the more we create, the more that urge and that need to, to, to act on those impulses or lack of a better word. Maybe it’s very real for me. So applying it to Greg white, when it comes to what you choose to build shows around conversations around, especially in your, in your Petri dish, known as tequila, sunrise, right? What’s your take on that? It’s your show.

Greg White (28:30):

Do whatever the hell you want, frankly. That’s the way I look at it. I mean, it’s, it’s, you, you are putting out there, I know tequila, sunrise, or this week in business history or the buzz, they’re all supply chain now properties. But the truth is, I think we all know that we’re associated with our shows. Corrine’s associated with hers, Kevin, with his Jaymin, with his, you, with yours, Chris, certainly with his and you know, and did I miss anybody? Did I miss

Scott Luton (28:59):

Anything? Uh, Kelly,

Greg White (29:02):

Kelly Barner, right? Dial P for procurement, which brilliant, just brilliant play on the Hitchcock theme. I just love that, you know, you’re putting yourself out there and the truth is you have the mic. So use it, use it to say what you want, but recognize also that when you say what you want, you have to endure the repercussions of that. I don’t say there’s a difference between that needed to be said, and you felt the need to say it. I don’t say it as a judgment per se. I say it as a recognition. And I think people need to have that recognition, but once you’ve had that recognition confess it, I just wanted to say, look, we had one of those episodes and nobody listened to it. I mean, hardly anybody listened to it, but we had one of those episodes on tequila. Sunrise. I sat down the week before nine 11 too, to spit out, you know, to do an, an episode that I had planned very rarely rare, but I had planned very well to do this and I could not get the words out.

Greg White (30:08):

I could not get the words out. I just had this going in my mind. And so I just flipped on the mic. And I talked about my experience around nine 11 and what that was to me and when, and what it meant to me and the sane and the crazy and the sad and the joyous and you know, and the journey of it all because I was in New York for nine 11. Right. And we don’t need to go into all that detail if they want to hear that they can listen to that episode that didn’t need to be said. It certainly did not need to be said right. On a show about supply chain technology. But I needed to say it. I had to say it, or I was never going to be able to get that next episode out. Right. So I don’t think there’s any shame in that.

Greg White (30:53):

I really don’t. I, I think it’s, you know, once we have that, um, awareness and, and that recognition, sometimes you have the blessing that nobody listens to that stuff, or very few people do. And, you know, actually some people I think were, were somewhat impacted by that episode. I hope positively. So, you know, again, I think you owe it to you to do what you is and do it, but be ready. This is something that people really need to be aware, be ready for the repercussions. That’s right. Because if you do say something stupid or unpopular or agregious right, you better be ready for the backlash. Right.

Scott Luton (31:36):

You may not have Malcolm there, the bail you out, so yeah. Yeah. All right. So let’s talk about 20, 21. We’re going to talk, we’re going to ask you about what’s coming attractions for tequila, sunrise, but stick with industry for a second. Yeah. What’s one thing, uh, that we should be keeping our eyes on when we finally hallelujah. Flip the calendar to 2021.

Greg White (31:59):

Well, it’s not going to be a hallelujah moment what I’m going to say, but I feel it deeply in, but, but, and I also think that by raising awareness of this, it helps solve the problem. Small businesses in dire straits, we continue to funnel money to, to big companies. We give them a distinct advantage, which is not uncommon, but you know, now I’m talking mostly about retail and small business brands and small business like restaurants and things like that, right? With the, um, lack of equity in terms of lockdown and access to capital and markets and the lack of the ability to be as if you, if you sell hardware versus the ability to sell hardware, if you’re Walmart, Walmart, because Walmart has been deemed essential. I see a dis equity there that that is going to could potentially be catastrophic for small business. And that means so many small businesses will go away and start over again. And I’m really concerned about that. I really, really am. And, you know, we talked about that on a show the other day, and we got a lot of agreement there. In fact, uh, Daphne from retail, dive thanked us on Twitter for talking about that and said that she concurred. And she also worried about that. And that was a surprising outreach that I was not expecting.

Scott Luton (33:22):

Interesting point because as we talked about also in this moment where the small can be mighty and can out perform and outwork and out pivot, dare I say it, the large and the large corporation, that’s been a, it’s been a really neat thing to watch. However, at the same time in a, in a, in a counter prevailing massive trend is you’ve got a handful of very large companies led by the big a, that steamroll. I mean, I just saw it on an earlier news article earlier today that steamroll others, perhaps allegedly, according to reporting no unequivocally true. Well,

Greg White (34:06):

And it allegedly testified to Congress, or people have testified to Congress that it happened, happened right under oath. So we can say it’s unequivocally true. So

Scott Luton (34:15):

To that point though, because it would take millions and millions of dollars and tons of time to fight it, it takes place. And that is in these two conditions. These two dynamics run counter to each other. But in this interesting world, we live in both are taking place, uh, in, in big ways. And it’s tough to square. The two

Greg White (34:39):

Is one person that can impact that you, every one of you out there can choose not to buy on Amazon. I heard one of the most disturbing things I heard on, on our live stream Monday was people convecting about Amazon and their advantage in the marketplace. And then saying, we have no choice as if Amazon has always existed. We really have no choice, but to go to the big marketplace, you absolutely have choice. You are choosing to go to Amazon for your convenience, right? You are absolutely doing. I know it because I do it. And I feel guilty every single time. It’s tough to search for that small business that you want to support. And that’s the problem we’ve got to solve. And that’s what I want to work on in 2021, I want to work on creating access to those small businesses, a marketplace.

Greg White (35:35):

And I’m not saying I’m going to start a, but I want to help these small businesses find a neutral marketplace, not Amazon, but think about a flea market, right? Flea market. What do they provide? A flea market provides a space and a parking lot. That’s all we need. All we need is the space to bring these businesses together. That draws people in. I feel like if there was a neutral marketplace that could accomplish those things that we’ve come to expect because Amazon awakened us to it. They didn’t invent it by the way, they just awakened us to it. If we could find a neutral marketplace that refuses to compete against their sellers, then those companies can have the kind of access that allows enabled. I shouldn’t say allows that enables easier consumer access. That’s what we really need is easier consumer access, because we could certainly go find Billy Bob’s shaving powder cream. Can you tell, I use an electric, whatever. We can go find them, right? But those companies to date, they are solely responsible for their, for their brand identity and marketing and market awareness. What we need is a catalyst that enables companies to be that we need what Sears used to be. We need a catalog on the internet, right?

Scott Luton (36:58):

Use the data you submit to be in that catalog against

Greg White (37:04):

Right. To private label, their own products and various and sundry other offenses. Right? Right.

Scott Luton (37:11):

That’s been the, that allegation, uh, which wall street journal has reported on based on not just the testimony, but based on past suppliers and, and, and what they’ve reported. I mean, that’s wow. That’s just, um,

Greg White (37:26):

I don’t disagree with everyone’s dislike or distaste for Amazon and I get it. I totally get it, but we’re doing it to ourselves. That’s, what’s so difficult to face is that we, the consumers have enabled Amazon to become what it is. And we forget so quickly that there was a time when there was no Amazon. When you did have to go down the street now probably virtually down the street to the general store or whatever, you know, I think we need to consciously returned to that. We can’t sit back and complain about Amazon and then be part of the whatever percentage of Americans contribute to the, to it. It’s just like when people used to complain about Walmart, people used to complain about Walmart being in their neighborhood. But as soon as one got there, believe me, I was one of those two, as soon as one got there, you’re like, why would I shop at Macy’s when Walmart has the same thing for something dot 44, instead of something that night

Scott Luton (38:26):

It’s a human cycle. It is a human cycle is

Greg White (38:29):

All about economics, Scott, everything. That’s true. Everything is all about economics, right? The good deeds that we do are all about economics, the bad deeds that we do, they’re all about economics, the decisions that we make to buy or not buy or whatever. They’re all about economics. And I’m not saying economics mean the lowest price. I mean, economics that an individual can wrap their head around. Why do people say they’re all for these companies with sustainable supply chains? Why do whatever huge percentage it is, 65 or plus percent say they’re for companies that have fair trade and provenance and human rights, you know, as part of the core value of their supply chain, and then only 10% of them act on it. You know, one of the things I have done for a long time as I’m a strong arm for philanthropy’s is, as you talked about a little bit earlier, I’m the one who goes out and says, put a crowbar in your wallet, price some money out and give it to some people in need.

Greg White (39:27):

Right. That’s what I do. That’s what I did at the ALS association at Georgia a long, long time ago. And I don’t have any qualms about doing that. And I don’t care why they give that’s the point, right? We get to in, in thrawled with shouldn’t it be altruistic while you give, I don’t care. Why you give, just give I’m a firm believer. You know, I was thinking about this. This is a bit of a Eureka moment is I don’t really care why people give, but because I think that giving is such, it’s such an epiphany experience. Giving is such a returning experience. It brings so much more. You get 10 fold, whatever you give that, I think people need to be chided and beaten into giving. And then eventually they give for the right reason, but you got to give them up, get them over the threshold. You got to get them over the threshold first. And that usually takes brute force.

Scott Luton (40:19):

What a timely lesson given this is Christmas week when we’re recording this, we’ll probably be releasing this right around the first of the year, but I think we have managed, let me, let me check my 1,237 checkboxes. Yes, we’ve gotten just checked, but we we’ve got two questions before we wrap up one 20, 21 and tequila, sunrise. What’s what’s a couple of coming attractions. What should folks expect from, from you crafted by the one on the ground?

Greg White (40:52):

Yes, thanks to the one. And only Scott Luton and his suggestion. We’re going to insert live streams. We’re going to try to do it monthly, but we’re going to insert a tequila sunrise live stream. I’m not exactly sure what the format is, but I have some brave souls who may actually come on and pitch their company on live stream, or just talk to founders and give people lessons on what supply chain technology can do for the marketplace. What it’s like to have a supply chain technology company, some aspect of that, that, you know, our community has, has expressed interest in. So that’s one. The other is, um, we’re going to continue with the interviews going to continue to make them two parts, because as we’ve seen here, I can’t be contained by time. So often go well over. And we’re going to do some monologues where I will talk about whatever strikes me in the moment.

Scott Luton (41:47):

I really have enjoyed the episodes, the recent one with John Soccard with connects. We talked a lot about that one. That was a really well-received one. Kevin L. Jackson, one of my favorites, uh, Sarah Barnes Humphrey really enjoyed that. Two-parter Ben Gordon had a great two-parter. I mean, folks, if you really are, especially from that supply chain tech, but also the entrepreneurial that deal-making that founder angle, uh, strong leadership and a variety of forms and just brutal Frank honesty. That’s that’s your thing. Check out. Tequila, sunrise, spelled T E C H Keela, sunrise, and be sure to subscribe for free. All right. So Greg and I look forward to the live stream. I’m looking forward to, to getting a bag of popcorn and diet Coke and watching and playing in the comments. I miss that when we’re doing them all, how can folks connect with you if they’re interested in anything that you’ve shared, they’re interested in and talking a startup they’re interested in talking exits or in all points in between, how can they connect with you?

Greg White (42:51):

Just a quick discussion on that. And, you know, I work with a venture capital firm called Kibera venture capital and an another, a couple other firms that I’ll announce a little bit later. So if you have something you think is interesting, that’s tech or supply chain oriented, give me a shout. I’m always on LinkedIn. That’s probably the best place to get me. And of course, supply chain. Now you can reach I mean, if you want to talk about technology or you want to talk about investing, or you want to talk about supply chain Scott, the other day I heard from a company that’s looking for some guidance on actually constructing or reconstructing their supply chain. So I might get to get my hands dirty a little bit. So you and I, we might do a little bit of work with those guys just advising, right? Because I think it’s good for us to keep our hand in practice. Don’t you definitely. So I’m looking forward to that

Scott Luton (43:46):

Invigorating for sure. So much good stuff. Uh, look forward to tequila, sunrise going bigger, better and franker in 2021

Greg White (43:57):

To hang on on my, uh, purchase of waterborne, depending on my search for waterborne craft community. Yeah, yeah. Craft that’s right.

Scott Luton (44:07):

It’s great. It has been fantastic. I tell you, we’ve had one heck of year 2020 to spend at fantastic massively, massively successful relationship driven content driven community driven. And we can’t end this conversation without a huge thank you. And tip of the hat in a very genuine way to all the folks out there, all the practitioners, the truck drivers, the supply chain leaders, the, the retail

Greg White (44:32):

Clerks re the stockers. Like we used to do all the folks across fulfillment center professionals that have 700 million people around the world. Right? And I mean all walks of life. I mean, people work in the factory floor, people moving things by vehicle, hand, foot bicycle, uh, people making big decisions, people digging ditches. I mean, you know, truly the thing that I ever recognized about this world is that it doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a public company or you literally dig ditches. We did, we’ve done, we’ve done business with people. Every single one of those people has a very, very similar goal in mind and that’s that they just want to do their job as well as possible and get home to their family and enjoy their life. And that’s the voice that we served that that’s, that’s what we do here is make sure that voice is heard globally and the issues and the people and the best practices and the challenges.

Greg White (45:34):

And there’s plenty of those that that’s the, those are the conversations that we facilitate here. So big, thank you to all of the folks that help protect the psyche of all of us consumers through the course of a, of a historically challenging year 2020, but you know, any year, any year is just, they’re just now getting recognition going this year. And any other year, Scott is obviously, this was a massive, desperate disruption relative to all the disruptions that by the way, also occurred this year and occurred every other year. And this has created an awareness in consumers and people who weren’t previously aware of what supply chain was did, or meant great points there. And we’re going to wrap on that note, uh, Hey folks, if you enjoyed this conversation, this wide ranging free-styling conversation, but very Frank, very Frank, there’s nothing here today. That is inauthentic. And that’s what I love about our conversations, but, but you can see a lot more of stay tuned for new website, new series, more content, more ways to engage more ways we can support you the global community, big things taking place here at supply chain now in 2021, but Hey, on behalf of our entire team here, Greg white and Amanda and clay and Chris and you name it, everybody, Hey, do good. You have forward be the change that’s needed. And on that note, let’s have a smashingly successful 20, 21 collective,

Intro/Outro (47:19):


Greg White (47:21):

Man, we’re still recording more wide ranging than even I expected, but that’s okay. All that needed to be said, right? Yeah. Right.

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

Greg White is principal & host at Supply Chain Now – The Voice of Supply Chain and digital media publisher – where he helps guide the company’s strategic direction, and interviews industry leaders, hosts weekly Livestreams, and is creator, executive producer & host of the TECHquila Sunrise vlog and podcast. Greg is a recognized supply chain practitioner, industry thought-leader, founder, CEO, investor, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits.

Prior to his current initiatives, Greg served as CEO of Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Previously, Greg founded Blue Ridge Solutions, and as President & CEO, led the bootstrap startup of cloud-native supply chain applications to become a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC), and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder) where he pioneered cloud supply chain applications in the late nineties.

Today, rapidly-growing tech companies & venture capital, and private equity firms leverage Greg as a partner, board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies that are widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies align vision, team, market, messaging, and product to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors, and leadership teams to create breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum that increase company esteem and valuation. 

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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