Supply Chain Now
Episode 544

Episode Summary

“I think there’s going to be some people that come out on the other side of the pandemic way ahead of other people. I don’t know who those people are, and I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I think the economic environment at the end of 2022 is going to be very different than it was in 2019.”

– Joe Donnell, Senior Director of Operations for Circle Logistics

 

One of the very strange things about 2020 was that while many businesses were struggling, especially small, localized businesses, many logistics and supply chain companies were experiencing tremendous growth because of changes in consumer patterns and the elevated needs of the healthcare industry.

As a high-volume 3PL brokerage company, Circle Logistics was a beneficiary of that opportunity to grow, but they certainly haven’t taken it for granted. In fact, they worked with small and regional breweries and distilleries to move bulk hand sanitizer from production to warehousing locations where it could be repackaged for shipment and sale to consumers. Each one of the 200+ members of the Circle Logistics team played a role in their ability to pivot and quickly serve the market.

In this conversation, Karl Fillhouer, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Circle Logistics, and Joe Donnell, their Senior Director of Operations, tell Supply Chain Now Host Scott Luton:

· The recruiting and talent challenges they faced in 2020, from the loss of the automotive sector volume to the scramble to hire enough people once business picked back up

· The potential they see for pent-up consumer demand to be released once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, and what that will mean operationally for supply chains

· The technology innovations Circle has been investing in over the last few years and what they see as the next frontier

Episode Transcript

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 (00:30):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show today. We’re talking with the innovative three PL that’s one of the fastest growing transportation companies in the country. So stay tuned for a great conversation. We’re gonna be working really hard to increase your supply chain leadership act Q uh, quick programming before we get started here today. If you liked this conversation, be sure you find us wherever you get your podcasts from and subscribe for free. So you don’t miss a single conversation, just like this one. All right. With no further ado and welcome in our featured guests here today. We have Carl Phil Howard joining us vice-president sales and operations with circle logistics, Carl. Good morning. Good morning, Scott. Great to have you here. I’ve enjoyed the pregame and joining you is Joe Donnelle senior director of operations.

Scott Luton (01:15):

Also with circle logistics, Joe, how you doing? Doing great. Doing great. Thanks for adding money. You bet. Well really enjoyed getting to know you both get to know your operations. I’ll tell y’all have been on the move and we look forward to sharing some of that with our audience here today. All right. So Carla, let’s start with you, uh, before we get down to business and talk about what circle logistics is doing. Let’s get to know you and Joe A. Little bit better. So Carl where’d you grow up and give us the goods on your upbringing a little bit. So I was born and raised in Wisconsin town called Appleton, lived there and went to college in Wisconsin. So, uh, through most of my, not all my childhood after that, moved to Minneapolis, worked in that marketplace for both 30 years. And today I find myself in Phoenix, Arizona.

Scott Luton (01:58):

Wow. Okay. So you grew up in Appleton Wisconsin. All right. Correct. And you’re still a big Packers fan. What was, what’s really unique about being beyond that enormous Packers community? What else is really unique growing up in Wisconsin? I don’t know if there’s that many things unique. Wisconsin was a great place to grow up for a kid, just like any other Midwestern state. There was a long time ago that I grew up times have changed quite a bit, but Wisconsin, from what I know is still the same old, good old Midwestern state with a lot of good opportunities for young people and in a great place to live. Yeah. A lot of good people too. And of course you’re out in Phoenix now. I’ve been to Phoenix once back before the world changed in last February and what a beautiful part of the country with wonderful people and incredible food.

Scott Luton (02:45):

So I’m very jealous. I love where I live, uh, Carl, but I’m very jealous of you living there in Phoenix. Well, this is the time of year to be here. Love it. I were talking pre-show uh, with your telescope, just over your right shoulder there, you had some great shots of the grand conjunction, I think is what they’re calling it of the planet’s getting together. So we’ll have to feature that in the show notes, Carl. All right. All right. So Joe, Joe, Don Ellis, let’s bring into the conversation. So same question. W where did you grow up? And, and you got to give us the goods on your upbringing.

Joe Donnell (03:16):

I born in Cincinnati, uh, spent a short time there a short time in St. Louis, a short time in little rock. And we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I am now when I was in the third grade. So I’ve been here in the upper Midwest for a long time. So that’s kind of the route,

Scott Luton (03:31):

Right? So you moved to Fort Wayne when you were in third grade. I hear that right now. A lot of folks might be surprised about all of the inventions and innovation that’s come out of Fort Wayne. I want to say, I may have this wrong. So Joe correct me. I want to say that refrigeration started in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Joe Donnell (03:48):

I wasn’t aware of refrigeration, but, but the guy that invented the television was from Fort Wayne. And of course, everyone knows where the, where the, uh, magnetic wire capital of the world. Everybody knows that.

Scott Luton (04:02):

Sorry, there’s an international data celebrates that I’m sure. So Joe, growing up in Fort Wayne, you know, what was in all of it, I mean, all the cities you mentioned sounds like a great, uh, childhood, but what’s, what’s special about that part of, uh, Indiana

Joe Donnell (04:16):

It’s Fort Wayne population probably is around 200 to 250,000 with the greater metropolitan area, great place to raise a family, learn some Midwestern values, have some work ethic we’re here in the middle of kind of Autopark capital of the United States. The most recently built general motors assembly plant is five miles South of where I’m sitting. So we’ve got auto parts and a lot, just a big Western work ethic kind of stuff up here. Great cheap fam cheap town to raise a family in rural

Scott Luton (04:47):

That’s important too. And you know, we, we were talking pre-show Carl is our resident Packers fan, and Joe is our resident Indianapolis Colts fan. Yep. Packers in the playoffs, the culture rebuilding there’ll be back. Uh, so we’ll say the sport for the follow-up conversation. So let’s talk, let’s talk about circle logistics or, or before we get there, let’s talk about what you did professionally prior to what you’re doing with circle logistics. So, Carla, start with you tell us, you know, a, a key role or two that helped shape that worldview of yours. And then I’m going to ask you about it, your Eureka moment.

Karl Fillhouer (05:20):

So I, I started in the industry back in 1983, which was shortly after the deregulation of the industry kicked off deregulation of air freight, LTL truckload. You know, pretty much transportation was changed completely through the eighties. And I was fortunate enough to work with an air freight forwarder that was one of two or three air freight forwarders at the time in 83. And over the course of the first five to 10 years of my career, I was able to work not just for an air freight forwarder, but we were an LTL consolidator as well as a distribution. So I was able to touch all the different parts of supply chain from there. I went on to have my own business, ran that for a few years, I ran into some, uh, financial problems, had a couple of big accounts go down on me, left that, uh, having my own business in joined, uh, the two gentlemen that had hired me right out of college, 10 years earlier, again with an air freight forwarder and a consolidator. And then after a couple of buyouts, I was recruited by a large truck line that ran dedicated fleet operations, as well as contract carriage. And I was brought on board there with a team of people to build a three PL so I’ve, I’ve touched every facet, uh, in one way or another. And I’ve been able to watch, uh, things changed drastically from the early to mid eighties until now

Scott Luton (06:45):

Love that you’re gonna have to write a book. It sounds like you eat supply chain for breakfast and seen it all. And I love your entrepreneurial experience. I bet that’s been really helpful owning your own company for a period there as you apply that perspective in working with different relationships.

Karl Fillhouer (07:00):

Yeah, it absolutely has. And, uh, I’ll touch on the aha moment. You asked about, you know, when I first joined the industry, it was a lot different, looked a lot different than today. And as we entered the nineties and really before the internet really took off the way it has, the aha moment was, uh, that most three PLS and or carriers are managing and expected to manage information as much as freight. And the information piece is probably more important to most of the larger customers so that they can do the right kind of analysis and figure out which way they need to, to turn as they move forward. So the aha moment really is that we not just manage freight in the moment of freight, but we’re managing a set of information for us.

Scott Luton (07:46):

Excellent point here in the information age. Imagine that information supply chain is just as critical and it’s really neat. We were talking pre-show about some of the things that circle logistics is doing from a technology standpoint, we’ll touch on here later in the conversation. All right. So Joe, same question to you prior to circle logistics, what are a couple of key roles you had? And that aha is important too.

Karl Fillhouer (08:06):

I came out of school in 1982 and immediately went to work for Arthur Anderson and company in Chicago, Illinois, which is one of the big eight back when there were eight paid large public accounting firms stayed there for three years. Didn’t like Chicago at all as from Fort Wayne, which is just a medium size, a smaller town. Chicago was a foreign country for me. So we hung out there for three years and my wife moved my soon to be wife moved up there with me, et cetera, et cetera. And then we were both from Fort Wayne. In fact, Fort Wayne is so small that her father was my pediatrician when I was a kid. And he, you know, the joke in the family is that he would have spent more time, you know, making sure those 12 stitches he put in the back of my ankle would have been a little bit nicer. You know, I know that 25 years later I’m going to marry his daughter.

Scott Luton (08:51):

Hey, bless be the ties that bind right.

Karl Fillhouer (08:53):

Small world out there, but a small world. So anyway, um, so we, we moved back to Fort Wayne. I’m back with Coopers and Lybrand. Another of the big day called accounting firms. Didn’t last long there. Cause I jumped out to work for one of their, uh, clients still kind of corporation. I was the manager of internal audit and the manager of corporate accounting there for about four years. And when they first hired me, I didn’t have my CPA. You know, I’d been working for these big public accounting firms, but I didn’t have my certificate yet. And so I made a mistake in the interview process and I promised the CEO of the company that I’m kidding. I pass the exam. So I spent the next three years studying for the exam. That was my Eureka moment, took me three years to get through because I flunked the thing four times before I finally passed it.

Karl Fillhouer (09:34):

But you know, back in the day, the CPA exam was to two and a half day test. I mean, two days of testing, there’s a huge body of knowledge to get, and I didn’t have it. Cause I went to a liberal arts school. I was not the accounting major, et cetera, et cetera, but I promised the guy do it. And finally I got through it and did it, but I gave up three years of my life. So the moment, so the learning for me is, is that, you know, if you tell somebody of authority, the trigger to do something, you get it done. Now, hopefully it doesn’t take as long as it took me to get it done. But when you fight the battle and finally, when you know that that’s, that’s something that you can call it an accomplishment. So that was very good for me.

Scott Luton (10:10):

I love that. And of course, global supply chain is built on commitments, right. And, and doing what you say you’re gonna do. So I love that. I do relate to your, your accounting trials and tribulations. That was my least favorite class in college. And, uh, I’m not gonna tell him myself, but I may have just taken out a couple of different times. So

Karl Fillhouer (10:28):

Yeah. And there’s no shame in flunking. Trust me, I’m living proof of that.

Scott Luton (10:34):

Well, I like kinda your, your two backgrounds and complimentary and, and, and, and Joe, one final thought on yours, you know, supply chain finance is front and center these days. So to have your, your background in that as a very valuable component as well. So that brings us to circle logistics and I’m sure plenty of our listeners are familiar with circle logistics, but for those three or four folks that may have ha have not heard of y’all, uh, tell us what does the company do?

Karl Fillhouer (11:00):

So circle is just, X is a three. PL is asset-based as well as being just a straight street deal. From a brokerage standpoint, we provide truckload LTL in air freight services to our customer base, really to put, in a nutshell, we provide capacity. That’s not readily available, easily available to large shippers through our relationships with many small mom and pop carriers. And we manage that the conduit that holds everything together. So we, we give greater visibility to capacity in manage that capacity is if we were one large carrier and we do it through a combination of using our own assets, as well as closely held partner carriers and then larger carriers as well,

Scott Luton (11:47):

Outstanding Joe, anything to add to that very succinct in a nutshell definition, I like that car jealous

Karl Fillhouer (11:54):

We’re, we’re going to get to the current situation and the growth that we’ve seen racially in the pandemic, which is a very strange thing to talk about because you have this awful challenge that society has right now. And we find ourselves in a situation of high amounts of growth, especially that we’ve never seen in the history of the company. And so there’s a real weird dichotomy going on there right now that we’re dealing with. And I know we’ll get to that in a moment, but as far as what we do, we’re doing a lot more efficient than we were in previous years, as far as that goes.

Scott Luton (12:27):

Yep. Well, you know, it’s been said, I think very well back earlier this year we had Kevin Bell, who’s an attorney with, uh, Arnall golden Gregory. And he mentioned a phrase which, which we really referenced numerous times during a very strange, uniquely challenging year, like 2020, where he said, Hey, you can find opportunity without being opportunistic. And you know, the bit the industry has been really busy this year based on a number of different factors. And I like how you put it there at Joe, because there is a weird dichotomy, right? But at the same time, the professional supply chain professionals also serving a noble mission. And while sure it’s driving business, there’s also plenty of plenty of just sheer Goodwill work being done that doesn’t lead to a transaction. So this is a great year for the profession. And I think it, one of my favorite parts is that really the consumers and the public have really begun to recognize not just the very deserving healthcare, frontline workers, but all the folks that make up global supply chain, why that’s so important. So, uh, Jay, that’s a great segue because let’s talk more about what circle of districts have been doing to fight COVID-19 and carwash. I’m going to bring you back in here because we were talking about a lot of your efforts related to hand sanitizers pre-show. So tell us more about that.

Karl Fillhouer (13:40):

Yeah. We were fortunate enough to have relationships that already existed with a lot of small regional distilleries and breweries and has most of the public knows that sector of business made a transition early on with COVID in, in started to produce hand sanitizer instead of beer or other alcohols. And we were able to very quickly establish a, what we would consider a new department or even a division within the company to move ball can sanitizer. And we put together a couple of projects in which we not only started to move a hand sanitizer via tankers, but we w we would move it from the actual production to a repackaging facility where it would be, that’d be repackaged into consumer packaged goods. And then also we provided short term warehousing and distribution, where we picked and packed orders, and actually got the hand sanitizer shipped out to the end users, whether they were companies, uh, retailers that had hand sanitizer doors or restaurants or just individuals. So we got deeply involved in that, in, in we found that, uh, through billing,

Joe Donnell (14:52):

The bulk transportation via taker, uh, division, we were able to help out quite a bit, and it spurred a whole new piece of business for us.

Scott Luton (15:00):

Love that. And I think that’s part of the good news part of the silver lining here. Just these, these, all these, uh, I don’t wanna use the word pivot has been overused so much, but these businesses have adjusted and found new, innovative ways of not only fighting COVID-19, but driving business, which stay in business. You gotta find the, those, uh, those angles. So your efforts. So, uh, as we learned you both in September, November, between Stevie awards, uh, bronze Stevie from the international business awards for most valuable COVID-19 response, that’s pretty impressive. But also from the 2020 customer sales and service awards, you were recognized as company response to the year creative ways companies are giving back during COVID-19. So that that’s gotta be pretty rewarding to be recognized by third parties for, for

Joe Donnell (15:47):

Your work. Absolutely. We’re very proud of it. And really the credit goes to the entire team. We, we’ve got a great team of people that, uh, is now North of 200 team members, and they’re spread out throughout the entire country in every one of them is a contributor to what we do. Yeah.

Scott Luton (16:05):

Well said there, Carl, so Joe, I want to pick your brain a bit as we talk about business, the, the landscape, you know, here in this strange year, you were talking, pre-show a bit about that constant demand, and it’s just like a tsunami that keeps on coming. And the, you know, you’re talking about how logistics being that keeper, the last touch. Tell us more about, about all of that.

Joe Donnell (16:27):

Yeah. W you know, pre COVID, we were kind of rambling along at the same rate through the previous year. And life was pretty decent, pretty good. And we were hiring, you know, two or three people every other month, you know, to keep up with what’s going on. And then COVID hit, and we do a lot of automotive parts and support for the automotive industry. So, and they shut down, you know, for like eight weeks, they shut the whole thing down. So everybody, so all of that stopped. Right? And we shouldn’t people home. And I, I’m an old guy and I’ve never worked from home before. And I didn’t think it was going to work, but here I am still working from home. I’ve been in the office three times since last March, since we moved out and that’s it. And I’m working from home now, and I didn’t think it would work, but that’s something that actually saved us too, because we found out we could work effectively, remotely and still run a high behind three BL brokerage company dispersed out.

Joe Donnell (17:18):

Now we had to do a few things to get that set up. We had to have morning meetings. We had to have morning video meetings, such as what we have here every morning. We have I’m on three different calls, other people on a bunch of calls to make sure people are up moving awake and getting stuff done. Right? And sometimes you see people, you know, in various forms of pajamas that you don’t want to see, but, but at least they’re working, getting stuff done because there’s a lot of work to get to. So anyway, go back to March when the automotive thing shut down completely, I thought, I thought we were in trouble. I thought I might lose my job because volume dropped so dramatically. So we got through that somehow and everybody held their breath and the government provided some support, which was great.

Joe Donnell (17:59):

Everybody needed that support at the time. And that kind of held us through and you kept it together. So then it got to July and things started to pick up a little bit and we’re like the cow, no vines coming up. And then in August, they moved me from all the stuff I was doing back to recruiting people. They wanted to be involved somebody with some experience to be involved in the recruiting process. So by October 15th or so, we had went from one recruiter to four recruiters plus me doing it. And we tried to hire all these people. So we’ve hired 50 to 60 people just in the Fort Wayne office, just from August 1st. And we were a hundred percent office to keep up with the demand that started coming. This started to show up. Cause when, when the automotive guys came back, they were behind, there was pent up demand for car purchases, right.

Joe Donnell (18:44):

I don’t know why, but there was, there’s kind of demand for everything. And my son who works at an international paper, uh, plant. So they told us in July to run the plant full out, as hard as you can go because of the demand by, by Amazon for boxes is going to be completely out of control because all these people are going to buy this stuff and it’s going to get delivered to their home instead of going to a retail store because of COVID and they were right. I mean, so they’ve been running, so we do, paper’s gone crazy automotive cons, crazy housing constructions going crazy. So you’ve got that dichotomy of the economy that’s doing great. And then you’ve got the leisure part of the economy that’s not doing well at all. Right. So lucky for us, we’re involved in servicing the industry. That’s doing great. So we have seen we’ve set sales records in November, uh, daily sales record. Uh, the Monday, I think the Monday of Thanksgiving was the highest single day of sales that we’ve had in the history of the company. We just had the entire carrier sales team work Saturday and Sunday, and still on Monday morning yesterday, they woke up at nine 79 loads on the board, which is one of the largest numbers of single day. Elizabeth had on the board

Karl Fillhouer (19:56):

At the previous weekend

Joe Donnell (20:00):

And they worked till six 45 last night just to cover their stuff. So, so we’re seeing a huge amount of economic activity. And the good news is that because we’ve hired everybody in Fort Wayne, Indiana within 30 miles of the office that we could possibly hire. I mean, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve grabbed everybody who could grab. We found that we’re trying to start, we’ve started an office in Nashville. Tennessee was carrier sales guys. We’re trying to start one in Atlanta, w we’re we’re hiring people remotely because we figured out that the remote thing would work. Cause we never thought it work. Right. And now we’ve got a guy in Hickory, North Carolina working out of his house. We’ve got people in, in Denver working out of their houses, you know, all working for this little company, sort of medium sized company in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Karl Fillhouer (20:44):

So you shared a lot of there lot there and a lot of good news there too, because

Scott Luton (20:48):

What I admire being a former air force guy, you know, seeing the military, just find a way right. Improvise and overcome whatever. I think army mentioned that a while back, just find a what way to make it happen and what you, what are one of the things, a couple things I heard there is just that’s what supply chain does. And certainly what circle logistics has done. You know, remote work has thrown a, throw, a, throwing a huge curve ball. So many businesses and sectors and industries, but you’ve found a way to add to the payroll, despite those challenges, hire people, get stuff done, GSD. And that that’s in my view, at least a big part of the silver lining of what 2020 has been about. And one last thought is all those hardworking folks to come in, give up their Christmas weekend because work and demand and serving others and yes, business. But man, that takes serious commitment, dedication. So I appreciate you sharing that. Yeah. Let’s talk about FEMA because I think all, so many of us here in the pandemic, of course, we’re so fixated in supply chain or out on COVID-19 right. It dominates news coverage and any tender. I think the human illness tends to forget about other challenges that takes place across the globe in any year pandemic or not. So Carl talking about some of the work that y’all been doing with FEMA, tell us more about that.

Karl Fillhouer (22:04):

Yeah. Well it goes without saying that the pandemic obviously is at the forefront of everybody’s mind that what most people forget is we also set records this year when it comes to natural disasters like hurricanes. And, uh, again, we’ve, we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with FEMA over the past years. And we were able to support the efforts to support the communities that got hit by natural disasters, both with moving water and food supplies into those regions, as well as generators and other supplies needed for rebuilding. And we’ve been doing that for a number of years now, but this year certainly saw a spike in, in need, uh, when it comes to natural disasters.

Scott Luton (22:47):

Yeah. Great point. And it was such a, a tough year. I was reading an article in the wall street journal, uh, back before hurricane season, not banking. And they were talking with, with, you know, 30 of the Southeastern us, you know, all the States that get hit with hurricanes typically. And they were, they were kind of comparing and contrasting all the different approaches and planning and, and some States couldn’t plan because they were trying to bake in the pandemic response while they’re trying to, you know, stage or think about shelter in place. It was such a uniquely challenging year. So I can only imagine some, some of the challenges you all had as you work to address that annual need of serving those hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters. All right. So Joe, I want to bring you back in before we switch gears and we’ll talk technology here in a minute. I loved how you were talking about some of what’s coming right, as we thankfully finally get out of the year of 2020, just right around the corner. By the time this publishes will be in 2021, what do you is coming well?

Joe Donnell (23:46):

You know, if you take what’s happening, what we are seeing happen today, and you watch that demand curve go up and you see it blow right through the holiday weeks, which is what we’re right in the middle of right now, usually January there’s a lull of logistics is all the retail guys are fulled up in there have been filled up in previous months and nobody’s going out and buying anything. But we’re seeing a blow right through the holiday weekend right now. But, but the other thing that I don’t think people have quite figured out yet is when the lease vaccinations start coming and people start getting their shots and then they’re free to go out and consume. You’ve got nine months of one of the richest countries in the world with pinup demand. Okay. When that pit up demand gets released, all that, stuff’s going to go on a truck, right?

Joe Donnell (24:30):

My clothing’s on a truck, everything that was was built, this house is on a truck. You know, everything goes on a truck, right? And so we’re net pin up demand gets released and we can, we get these people with their vaccinations and we establish herd immunity. Whenever that is 2021 is going to ramp up. And 22, 2022 is going to be a home run. Logistics is going to never have it so good in my opinion, plus you’ve got government stimulus coming in, right? Whether it’s 600 bucks or 2000 bucks, guess what people are going to have cash in their wallet and they’re going to spend it, what they spend it on. I can’t, I don’t know, but as soon as they buy that pair of pants or that tank of gas or whatever, they ended up consuming, it’s going to go on a truck, right? Everything goes on the truck.

Scott Luton (25:13):

Well, and you’re making a great point that our consumers, these days, all of us, us sitting here and all the others consumers out there, I’ve never been savvier and smarter and more aware, and certainly never had as much data at their fingertips. One other aspect of the silver lining is just the drivers. And as you put it, Joe, several times, all that goes on a truck for us to enjoy our convenient life here in the U S hopefully what we’ve seen at least is that appreciation needle, starting to move a bit and, and, uh, who knows, maybe folks will be little bit easier on the interstates and how they drive around trucks, but, but if nothing else recognize them for what they do and how they keep us moving and protect our psyche during these challenging times. Yeah.

Joe Donnell (25:56):

I think that’s a great point. I think, I think you do have can euros in this pandemic. You’ve got, you know, my wife is a critical care nurse. She works on the COVID Florida have hospital. I’ve been married to her for 34 years. I didn’t know she was a hero until February. And she’s like, she’s a hero. Okay. But truck drivers are the same thing. Right? They’re, they’re the unsung heroes of what’s going on right now. Cause, cause who kept delivering some things through the pandemic, those guys did, right. It’s not me in a cubicle at a three PL somewhere. It’s the guys who actually delivered the goods and you’re right. They do not get enough credit. There’s no way. And who’s the hardest working guy on the planet. The guy who’s maxing out his log book every day.

Scott Luton (26:39):

Good point. Great point. All right. So now I want to talk about, there’s so much more, I know we can’t get to everything in this single episode, but I really enjoy all the different aspects of, of the co the response to fight COVID-19 in, in all the different sectors that circle’s involved in while managing and running a growing business. Uh, it seems like a very, uh, good year, but a challenging year or uniquely challenging year. For sure. Let’s talk about technology partnerships. So Carl enjoyed, I appreciate your sentiment on the front end about, you know, that information supply chain. And that’s certainly a big responsibility here in the information age. Tell us more about some of the really neat things that circle logistics is doing as it relates to technology partnerships and innovation.

Karl Fillhouer (27:21):

So, w we’ve, uh, over the last handful of years in, in really a lot of things this past year, uh, we’ve done a pretty good job of, of partnering with the other technology providers. So obviously we’ve got a TMS in a system that we use internally to help manage our customers freight movement in any information needed to do so. Uh, but we we’ve done made some steps this year, automate everything. Uh, we’ve automated the carrier onboarding process through a product called my carrier packets, which has allowed us to eliminate the better part of a department in really managed carrier vetting and carrier onboarding was a much smaller team. Uh, we use a variety of tools for tracking and tracing, both ELD tracking and tracing, as well as, uh, using the macro points in the forkites of the world to, to track cell phone flow in, in, in movement, in different systems.

Karl Fillhouer (28:20):

We also then use a variety of different types of posting boards. Most, most small to medium sized, three PLS are involved with dat and with truckstop.com uh, select us as another board. We use central dispatch. Each one of these boards really seems to have a specialty that we rely on based on the type of business we’re managing. And we’ve been able to pull a lot of that technology together in Lincoln, so that most transactions in most dispatchers can flow almost 80% automated through our systems, which gives us more time to really manage the exceptions, which is what pulls us apart from everybody else.

Scott Luton (29:00):

Right. And that’s what keeps supply chain very non boring is all the exceptions that you gotta manage, Joey, anything, what else would you add in terms of the, the benefits that, uh, those technology platforms that Carl walked us through? What does that at the end of the day, what do you believe that means for the, for the customer?

Karl Fillhouer (29:18):

Yeah. Anything that can, can make it more efficient, you know, a booking, a load as a transaction. Okay. And it starts with, with an order that a guy has to get something moved from point a to point B. And then that order goes to some sort of transportation company such as ours. And we get the job done, anything that can make that more efficient and collapsed amount of time that it takes to get that done is a win for everybody. So you will see technologies that will speed that process up that will make it more efficient. You know, that’ll just, you know, with, with what’s going on in the technology field, that, that thing’s going, gonna be improvements that are just going to keep coming to the industry. Yeah.

Scott Luton (29:57):

I agreed. And, and, you know, give one less thing for your customers probably to worry about. And I mean that as someone that has ordered freight before, you know, things happen, that’s why supply chain exists, right. Things happen. But you know, when you’ve got more visibility at your fingertips and you can manage those times when things happen more effectively and, and while streamlining the whole shebang, I mean, it probably, I imagine you all, sir, you’ve seen your service levels go up as a result of some of these innovative improvements.

Karl Fillhouer (30:26):

Absolutely. Yeah. And we measure, you know, there’s a number of KPIs, obviously that are industry standards. We measure everything from on-time pickup to on-time delivery, what’s happening in the middle, uh, exceptions that might be missing freight with some types of shipments. Uh, all of that gets gets recorded and measure it. And again, you go back to the exceptions and anybody in the business would, would tell you that if 80 to 90% of the business flows smoothly and automatically you can keep your eye on it. And there’s a lot of time put into that last 10% to make sure things are going smoothly.

Scott Luton (31:05):

Carl and Joe, I’ve got a, not a curve ball question, but I got a question I wanna pose to you both given, given a year like 20, 20, we walked through some of those dynamics that are front and center for so many people. And then when we talk about technology and the implementation of new technology, new relationships, new platforms, what have you, if you’re speaking to other business owners out there that are, you know, trying to figure out, you know, their own technologies that they’re looking to implement supply chain and otherwise, is there anything related to change management and management in general, but change management, technology implementation, project management, is there one rule of thumb that a 2020 taught you, uh, you both, and your management teams, perhaps as you’re looking to drive improvements in such a challenging,

Karl Fillhouer (31:48):

I guess the one thing I would say is, is, uh, you can go to the old adage trust yet verify, and technology’s great, and it doesn’t work most of the time. And if you can automate systems in make for a much smoother, uh, sleeker operations, that’s great. You still need to be dotted your I’s and cross your T’s when it comes to making sure the systems are working properly and are all in sync with one another.

Scott Luton (32:14):

Yeah. And it also seems like, you know, we see a lot of fear of missing out when it comes to technology. A lot, a lot of companies out there want the latest and greatest, even if they don’t, aren’t sure how that works or, or maybe how it’s going to impact and benefit the business. It seems like y’all have been very judicious and intentional about, you know, where to, uh, where to put the, you know, those resources and that bandwidth with, with some of these projects here, Joey thing, would you, would you add anything here?

Karl Fillhouer (32:40):

Yeah. I think an extension of that is, is that there’s going to be a generation of haves and have nots. And the haves are going to be able to incorporate the technology because they’re smart enough to do it and make it work commercially. And the have-nots are going to hit a stumbling block and they won’t be able to either afford it or implemented it effectively. And that’s gonna, that’s gonna be another thing that’s going to separate the guys that are still around in five and 10 years from now versus the guys today. I I’m scared to death about small business right now, and whether they survive, whether restaurants survive the pandemic or not, you know, and it’s, it’s, there should be a lot of commercial shake out and we haven’t seen the end of it yet.

Scott Luton (33:24):

That’s a great call out. Small business is in trouble in a number of different ways. And, uh, you know, hopefully I’m not sure about y’all spinning habits here through the holidays, but no, we, we utilize a lot of small businesses in our neck of the woods, more and more, and use our spending power to help provide some support. But we’ll, we’ll see hopefully 20, 21, you know, bring some relief across sectors, uh, regardless of the size of the business. So along these lines, I want, I want it to kind of take the conversation broader here. As we start to wind things down, you know, there’s no shortage of trends and developments and challenges, but also good news across global supply chain. If you look for Karl what’s, what’s one thing beyond what we’ve talked about here today. Uh, what’s one of the things that you may be tracking more than others across global supply chain right now. Yes.

Karl Fillhouer (34:09):

So it was most of us in this industry. We keep our eye on the shift from global sourcing to more near shoring. So what kind of manufacturing is going to move, we’ll say from China or the Pacific rim back into Mexico or some other country that’s got affordable labor that’s heavily labor front-facing. Um, so w we wash all of that, you know, in COVID obviously has brought on, uh, some challenges. We’ve seen some problems that some of the ports with capacity today, we’re dealing with problems with, uh, available containers nationwide for exports. So we, we watched that cause that’s going to affect how our domestic transportation piece moves. We provide service in and out of Canada as well as in and out of Mexico. So if you look at our part of the world as North America, we’re still heavily influenced based on what’s going on in other parts of the world. So we try to keep our eye on that in, in basically guessed and or forecast what’s going to happen next in how our capacity constraints come to change as more and more small manufacturing pops up again within the U S transportation is going to have to change in order to support that from a lane standpoint and from a capacity.

Scott Luton (35:25):

Yeah. Great point there. We were talking just the other day. If we think it’s tough now, you know, the growth in, uh, freight needs in the next few years is going to be, and we’re not, we’re not talking incremental, we’re talking some massive shifts, at least what I’ve seen here in the Southeast. All right. So Joe, same question to you as your there’s no shortage of things to attract, but what’s one thing that really stands out that has your attention here.

Joe Donnell (35:48):

I, I think that as you go through what you just described as a step change, move due to the vaccination and the improvement in the economic outlook, I think there’s going to be some people, you know, religious, what we talked about earlier that, that have, that are working on technology and have been for the last nine months that are going to be, if they get another nine months underneath them, they’re going to find themselves on the, on the other side of the pandemic way ahead of other people. And I don’t know who those people are, and I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I think you’re going to, you’re going to come out of span. Dimmick at the end of 2022. And the economic environment that you’re looking at is going to be very different than it was in 2019, just because of that. Um, I think there should be a bit of big move there.

Scott Luton (36:31):

Yeah. W w well said, um, so I feel like I’m getting a supply chain certification sitting down with the two of y’all in what we’re facing here in 2020 and beyond. So I really appreciate what you shared and hopefully our audience has as well. I want to, as we wrap up, I want to make sure that our listeners know how to connect with you in the circle logistics team. So Carla, start with you, how can folks compare notes with you?

Joe Donnell (36:55):

We’ve got a website like anybody else from the half circle delivers.com and there are links or tabs within that for Facebook, a LinkedIn email, so that they can certainly reach out to both Joe and I, uh, via LinkedIn and, or come in through our website in, in reach out to us through that.

Scott Luton (37:13):

Perfect. And, you know, uh, to our listeners, we’re going to make it easy, as easy as possible. We’re after a one, one click. So you’ll find a lot of what Carl just mentioned on the show notes of this episode. And I invite you all to check out what all the cool things circle logistics is doing innovatively tackling growth. There, they’re certainly a big part of the noble mission that global supply chain is fulfilling as we tackle the, the, the vaccine and beyond. Uh, so really have enjoyed Joe, anything else to add in terms of, um, you know, contact or any final thoughts that you might have.

Joe Donnell (37:47):

If you’re a kid coming out of college and you’re looking for a career that’s going to jumpstart and it’s going to rock and roll. So I think we got a two to four year run here in supply chain of not being on that. You need to look at a trucking company, a three PL company, or call me, and I’ll hire you because I think there’s a big future here that the industry is going to grow and it’s going to be a good place to be

Scott Luton (38:10):

I’m with ya. You know, when I think about the visibility of supply chain to the profession, right? The craft as an earlier guest, put it, you know, that’s, that has grown tremendously in recent years, it’s going to continue to grow. We’re seeing more and more companies elevate their chief supply chain officers into their executive team. So the upward mobility of supply chain careers is certainly going to grow. The compensation is getting better. Carl, you mentioned the technology that, that, that you’re implementing that can be, you know, supply chain is technology these days. Right? Right. And so if you love working with the latest and greatest, you know, supply chains, a wonderful profession for you. So hopefully, uh, hopefully Joe, some of our listeners that may be matriculating through colleges, much more successfully than I did, will answer the call. Carl, I’m going to give you the final thought here, along these lines or, or whatever,

Karl Fillhouer (39:01):

Circle logistics glass. And it is not half full it’s full circle logistics

Scott Luton (39:09):

To our listeners that maybe aren’t seeing the video. Joe, literally just put a circle of just six cup to, to, to emphasize that point. So I love that. So Carlin, I’m going to give you the final word here before we sign off

Karl Fillhouer (39:19):

I’ll echo kind of what Joe said. I mean, the industry in general, from supply chain, whether you’re working at a large shipper or at some sort of a transportation or a supply chain provider, whether it’s distribution or for the movement of freight, whether it’s air freight or truck freight or whatever, there’s a lot of good things going on within that, that arena in it’s certainly is a fast paced environment in, for young people who are looking for an exciting career. This would be the place

Scott Luton (39:51):

Well said. So, you know, pre-show Carl and Joe, you mentioned how you all were the quite a one, two punch Johnny. And, uh, what was the, uh,

Karl Fillhouer (40:02):

Carson ed McMahon, Johnny we’re old. So we think that’s funny. I don’t know if you’d need it cause you’re not as old.

Scott Luton (40:08):

I love it. I love it. And y’all are just as advertised. It’s been a pleasure to talk with you both. Uh, I love how you compliment each other from a, uh, stories and perspective standpoint. So we’ll have to have you back on again, really soon to our listeners. We have been talking with CARF, Carl, Phil Howard, vice president sales and operations with circle logistics and his colleague, John, I’m sorry, John, I’m giving you a new name. Joad Donnelle senior director of operations. Thanks so much to you both.

Karl Fillhouer (40:36):

Thank you. Thank you. And we only called Joe John on the weekends.

Scott Luton (40:43):

Oh boy. To our listeners. Hopefully you’ve enjoy this conversation as much as I have. Make sure you check out circle the.com. Of course we’ll have all other, other ways to connect with them. In the show notes. To this episode, you can learn more about supply chain now@supplychainnow.com a lot more conversations, much like these movers and shakers and industry. That’s some of our favorite conversations. Of course you can find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of our entire team here at supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton signing off for now, but Hey, challenging you like we challenge our team every day. Do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed to be like these folks here. And we’ll see you next time here on supply chain now. Thanks.

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Watch as Scott welcomes Karl and Joe to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Karl Fillhouer started his career in logistics in 1983 just as the effects deregulation were kicking in. He worked in both sales and operations for most of his career. His first employer was an Air Freight Forwarder and an LTL consolidator. After a merger and/or buyout or two, he found himself working for a truckload carrier, and then started his own brokerage in 1987. By 1991 his business suffered a couple of financial hits and he left the industry. By 1994 he was back in the logistics industry (The logistics industry is like a virus, once it’s in your blood you’ll never get rid of it) working for the first two gentlemen that hired him right out of college. Karl worked for them until 1999, and then joined a privately held trucking company to help build their 3PL division. He worked with that company for 19 years before joining Circle Logistics in 2018.

Joe Donnell graduated with a Music/Business Degree from DePauw University in 1982. He went on to work for Arthur Andersen & Co in Chicago for 3 years. From there he moved back to his hometown of Fort Wayne, In with Coopers & Lybrand for a year. Then he had a stint with Tokheim Corporation as their Internal Audit Manager and then Manager of Finance during which time he became a Certified Public Accountant. After a short 3 years at Alfe Heat Treating and then on to Transportation with L & L Transportation in Waterloo, IN that was acquired by Inergy LP and then Crestwood LP. Joe ran that trucking operation for those companies for 19 years as they went from $8 million in sales to $230 million in annual sales. Once that was done he went to Circle Logistics in FW where he has been for over 3 years as their Senior Director of Operations.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

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Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Jamin Alvidrez

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Natalie Dutton

Marketing Coordinator

Natalie is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and a certificate in new media at the University of Georgia. If there’s one thing she’s learned at the Terry College of Business, it’s that the supply chain is a dynamic, unifying force that’s essential to any business. Natalie helps to amplify the voices of the supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting with media management, content creation and communications.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Page Siplon

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porteris VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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