“My biggest takeaway from this quarter’s data is that there are a lot of issues impacting Q1, but fortunately, a lot of those issues are temporary in nature. We can see from the data that we just have to get past these temporary impacts to Q1 and we should see a better Q2.”
– Bobby Holland, VP/Director of Freight Data Solutions at U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank processed $29.7 billion in freight payment transactions in 2020. Those payments and the data that accompanies them are analyzed quarterly by Bobby Holland VP/Director of Freight Data Solutions at U.S. Bank and his team. The FPI report includes quarter over quarter, year over year, and full year data and analysis.
According to a summary released by U.S. Bank, “The Q1 2021 U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index, a quarterly analysis of national shipments and spend, showed that shipments in Q1 2021 contracted 8.3% (vs. a gain of 5.3% in Q4 2020) and spending was down 4.7% (vs. an increase of nearly 20% in Q4 2020).”
In this interview, Bobby is joined by Drew Wilkerson, the head of XPO’s transportation group in North America, to share the results of the Q1 2021 report with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton, interpreting what they may mean for the economy and the shipping industry in the short and longer term.
· What happened in each of the five regions of the U.S. Bank Freight Payment index during Q1: shipping volumes, blockages, slowdowns, and even backups.
· The options available to shippers and carriers looking to protect their operations against disruption, whether from the elements or changes in demand patterns
· Why the challenges seen in 2020 and Q1 2021 have created opportunities for savvy carriers to form stronger, more meaningful relationships with their customers.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, good morning. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. How are you doing Greg?
Greg White (00:39):
I’m doing well, Scott. I’m in a secret field location in Eastern Georgia today. So, coming to you from the field, Scott.
Scott Luton (00:51):
Well, great to see you here. We’ve got a wonderful live stream conversation teed up. You know, it’s Earth Day 2021. It was first celebrated on this day in 1970. But, Greg, on this episode, it’s all about freight. We’re going to be sharing key insights from one of the leading in transportation industry resources, the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index for Q1 2021. It’s hard to believe we’re already reviewing Q1 of the new year.
Greg White (01:20):
Well, there’s a couple of amazing things. One, this is starting our second – is that right, Scott? Starting our second year of doing this? Well, actually it started at the beginning of this year. But we’re well into, let’s say, the second year of doing this. And every time, it’s incredible information. But get this, Scott, so U.S. Bank has upped the amount of transactions that they do by 8.6 percent since we started doing this. And I think, Scott, that you should claim 100 percent credit.
Scott Luton (01:54):
Man, that’s some impressive math you just put together there, Greg.
Greg White (01:57):
Well, thank you. Thank you. I have time on my hands because I was sitting on Forrest Gump’s bench.
Scott Luton (02:05):
Well, Savannah is a beautiful city. But, you know, what powers this thing – so for context here – that’s $31.4 billion worth of transactions, right, Greg? But the cool thing is, we’ve gotten feedback from across our global community that – you know, it’s great to hear from the data driver, we’ll call it – of course, U.S. Bank that aggregates all that information and pair that with an executive practitioner that is involved in the market deeply – him and his team – in getting their insights and perspectives on what they’re seeing through the context of all that data. So, it makes for a really neat conversation.
Greg White (02:40):
Yeah. Well, I mean, we started with one of the VPs of supply chain at Home Depot. We’ve had Bloomberg on, we’ve had the CEO of Roadrunner. And now — well, I’ll let you do the introductions. But it’s great to get that practical perspective, right? Just to see what’s going on, on the ground, that may confirm or even argue with what the numbers are showing. And, frankly, by the way, I’m thankful that U.S. Bank welcomes that, because the data looks one way. And especially this quarter – for those who haven’t already reviewed the release on this – I think it’s going to be a little bit stunning what we are hearing about the market and yet what we’re seeing in the data. But when we talk it through, it’ll make complete sense.
Scott Luton (03:25):
Excellent point. And I would just add, that makes it a real conversation and holistic. And, also, with a heavy dose of the practitioner’s perspective, which is, of course always important. Hey, before we introduce our guests, let’s say hello to a few folks that have already joined us. And it is early, we started an hour earlier. Hey, these are movers and shakers. They’ve got some full day, so we’ve got to grab them when we can grab them, right?
Greg White (03:54):
We have to flex, that’s right.
Scott Luton (03:57):
Keivan is with us. Keivan – that fountain of knowledge and goodness that Keivan brings to every live stream – great to see you here. Debashish via LinkedIn — I apologize if I got that wrong, please let me know. We want to get everybody’s name correct – great to have you here with us via LinkedIn here today. Alexis is with us also via LinkedIn. Matt Price, great to see you as always. Vinay is back with us again. And Vinay, let me know, is that Vinay or Vinay? I’m going to get my –
Greg White (04:25):
I think Vinay. Yeah.
Scott Luton (04:26):
Vinay. I’m going to get my kids’ names wrong as always. It’s important. Shannon, great to see you here via LinkedIn. Chad is with us here today, great to see you. Peter Bolle –
Greg White (04:39):
Scott Luton (04:39):
— “A change-up pitch. Started at 11:00 a.m.” But you’re here on time as always. Mohamed –
Greg White (04:45):
Roof down and driving in the sun, I hope.
Scott Luton (04:48):
I bet he is. Hey, Mohamed, great to see here via LinkedIn. Thanks for joining us. Mark Preston. Hey, Mark. Love all that you’re doing in the manufacturing leadership circles. And we’re looking forward to AME Champions Roundtable on May 20th as well. Okay.
Scott Luton (05:04):
So, with no further ado, Greg, we’ve got to bring in our two esteemed featured guests here today. Are you ready?
Greg White (05:09):
Yeah. No doubt. No doubt.
Scott Luton (05:11):
All right. So, we’re going to welcome in Bobby Holland, Vice President and Director of Freight Data Solutions at U. S. Bank, and Drew Wilkerson, President, Transportation North America with XPO Logistics. Hey, good morning, gentlemen. Drew and Bobby, how are we doing?
Drew Wilkerson (05:27):
Good morning. I’m doing well. How about yourself?
Scott Luton (05:30):
We’re doing great, Drew. How about you, Bobby?
Bobby Holland (05:32):
I’m doing well. I’m doing well. Good to see everybody.
Scott Luton (05:34):
You as well. I’m having to change my lexicon, Greg. We always say good afternoon and acting everywhere. But, hey, we still got an hour to go. We’re saving time.
Greg White (05:41):
It’s afternoon somewhere, like the song. It is 5:00 somewhere. Bobby, I hate to open this like this, but I have to ask about the weather. I just saw somebody from Syracuse today, you know, upstate, right? So, did I hear that you just got snow?
Bobby Holland (05:58):
We got snow yesterday, probably, about five or six inches.
Greg White (06:02):
You know, they know what causes that being up north?
Scott Luton (06:06):
Root cause analysis. They have you hitting root cause analysis here.
Greg White (06:09):
I have an incredible grasp for the obvious, folks.
Scott Luton (06:12):
Well, hey, along those lines, let’s get to know both of our guests. Again, we might have some folks that are participating in this live stream for the first time. And I want to start with Bobby. Bobby, we really enjoyed talking – I think we used the phrase Steady Eddy on the front end and the pre-show – that, really, you are our steady Eddy here as part of these live streams and these data filled, practitioner filled discussion. So, for any first timers, tell us a little about yourself.
Bobby Holland (06:36):
Well, I have been with the bank for about five years. Most of my career has been of a technical nature, software engineering, software architecture. At the bank, I’m a technical product manager, again, freight data solutions. Our purview is products related to data and analytics. And that is how we came up with the Freight Payment Index. We want to put our view of the marketplace out there.
Scott Luton (07:03):
I love it. And we’ll talk about how companies use it and, of course, some of the key takeaways here momentarily. But I really appreciate your partnership and your approach, it’s always neat. And I got to share a couple of these comments here. David, who’s up in Canada, also got five inches. But it was gone, he says, by 4:00 p.m. the next day. And I can’t see who this LinkedIn user is – Amanda and Klay, help me out. But it’s 5:00 p.m. in Sweden.
Greg White (07:27):
There you go.
Scott Luton (07:28):
So, as much as we enjoy this conversation, this LinkedIn user might enjoy it a little bit more, perhaps [inaudible].
Greg White (07:33):
They’re already pounding the Akvavit in Sweden. Yeah.
Scott Luton (07:37):
Okay. All right. So, Drew Wilkerson, welcome to Supply Chain Now for the first time. We’ve enjoyed interviewing a few of your XPO colleagues in previous shows. Tell us a little about yourself.
Drew Wilkerson (07:48):
Yeah. And thanks again for having me, Scott and Greg. I’m excited to do the show with you today. So, I’m Drew Wilkerson. I’m President of our North American Transportation Business Unit at XPO. I’ve been with XPO for about nine years. Prior to XPO, I was with C.H. Robinson Company. And at XPO, our North American Transportation Group is made up of eight ponds of business. It’s really all of the transportation within XPO and North America outside of our LTL. So, it’s managed transportation, it’s dedicated truckload, global forwarding, last mile, intermodal drayage, and our brokerage group.
Drew Wilkerson (09:36):
And for us, we’ve been able to build up scale very, very quickly since I started nine years ago. If you look at our brokers team, we’re the number three broker in North America. Our intermodal group is number three in North America. And we’re the largest web based automated shipments for extradite. And then, we’re the largest in big and bulky deliveries that are actually going into people’s home with our last mile groups.
Drew Wilkerson (08:46):
So, for me at XPO, I started, again, nine years ago and we’ve grown from just a couple of hundred million dollars in revenue to over $17 billion of revenue through acquisitions, but also organic growth. So, it’s been a fun story to be a part of.
Scott Luton (09:01):
Outstanding. So, I think what we’ll be able to take advantage of there, Greg, is all the data points, all the volume, and all the various insights rolled up into this conversation here today. So, I couldn’t imagine a better partner. Hey, really quick, Greg, before I pass to you the baton, Juliana is our participant in the cheap seats from Sweden. So, Juliana, thanks for tuning in with us here today. Okay. So, Greg, where are we going next?
Greg White (09:28):
Well, let’s do talk about U.S. Bank and the Freight Payment Index just real quick. We already talked about the 31.4 billion up from 29.9. And Bobby, I want to say it in front of you, I think we deserve a lot of credit for that.
Bobby Holland (09:44):
Greg White (09:46):
Let’s see how that goes over. But, I mean, it is incredible growth. And we’re going to talk about why some of that growth exists. But aside from that, tell us a little bit about, you know, what makes this such a great resource for this kind of discussion and for some of the services that you provide. Because I think technology providers use the data that you provide. And companies, like XPO and others, use that data as well to help them get a feel for the market. But tell us a little bit about how you collect it and that sort of thing so people get a feeling for the underlying value here.
Bobby Holland (10:23):
Okay. Well, to your point, we processed over $31 billion in payment transactions annually. And from that, we generate a lot of data. It’s not a technical term, but it’s a lot. And so, with that data, what we wanted to do, like I said, was provide our view into the marketplace, add more data points. We’re not trying to be the sole arbiter of all things in the market. But, you know, we have a good perspective from the amount of data that we process. The index is based on our truckload and less than truckload spend and shipments. It’s a chain-based index. Starting year zero is first quarter of 2010 or 0.0 is first quarter of 2010. And, basically, chain-based just simply means that we’re comparing each quarter to the previous quarter. But then, we also do a year over year comparison as well, because it adds context to the numbers that we provide. The truckload and LTL represents almost 80 percent of the data that we process, and we believe it’s a valid statistical indicator for what we’re trying to put out there.
Greg White (11:31):
Yeah. And we’ve seen that be true, by the way, in just over a year. So, it has been a great identifier of what has happened. And even though, Bobby, you can’t predict, it’s been impressive what we’ve been able to see come in the future.
Greg White (13:12):
So, Drew, you are representing maybe one of the biggest companies that uses the Freight Payment Index. So, tell us a little bit about how you and maybe other companies that you do business with, how do you guys use this? I mean, let’s hear from somebody with their feet on the ground here or their wheels on the street, I guess we should say.
Drew Wilkerson (12:07)
Absolutely. Wheels on the street, that’s right. Bobby described it accurately. It’s a ton of data. And so, what we do, as soon as we get the data we’re diving into it. We can’t wait for the report to come out as a team. And the first thing that we’re doing is, we’re benchmarking how we performed versus what the data said, were we up or down. Another area where we use our proprietary technology, XPO Connect, is we use a ton of data from U.S. Bank but also from other resources to help us come up with pricing for the carriers and for the customers. And that’s been a differentiator for us to be able to continue to take market share as we move forward.
Scott Luton (12:44):
Greg White (12:45):
That’s fantastic. I was thinking about this, Scott, the other day about how valuable this data is, obviously, for somebody like XPO. But if you think about it, for a technology provider to be able to use this data and try to predict or understand what’s going on in the marketplace – speaking of marketplaces – we’re seeing so many of those pop-up, right?
Scott Luton (13:08):
Greg White (13:08):
People who are tech enabled brokerages or freight tech, whatever we want to call it. And then, people who are sort of trying to create a new market with a shipper to carry or direct marketplace. So, this data would be really, really valuable for that.
Scott Luton (13:27):
Greg White (13:28):
This is what I do before I go to sleep at night is think about stuff like this.
Scott Luton (13:32):
Hey, if you’re shipping or if you’re carrier-ing, regardless of your role, it’s important to have your finger on the pulse of the freight market. And I like how Bobby put it. It’s not meant to be the end all be all, but it can make up a very significant piece of your data or motto that leaders are assembling, you know, by the hour these days.
Greg White (13:51):
I like that.
Scott Luton (13:51):
You like our motto.
Greg White (13:52):
Make it our motto, yeah.
Scott Luton (13:53):
I want to say hello – and this LinkedIn user. It might be Juliana again. I’m not sure. I’m sure someone from the comments will correct me. “Data, so critical for pricing.” All the pricing that goes on across global business for that matter. And by the way, Alaa, great to see you here from Sudan. Once again, we’ve enjoyed your participation in our live stream. So, welcome, welcome, welcome. And actually that was Mary Ellen [??]. So, Mary Ellen, thanks. Great comment around pricing, how critical it is. Okay.
Scott Luton (14:21):
So, Bobby, back to you. As we start to dive into this data, now that we’ve kind of gotten a sense of who you both are, we’ve gotten a sense of what the Freight Payment Index is and how it’s used, now, let’s start to learn from what the first quarter index is telling us. So, Bobby, from a national point of view, what are we seeing here?
Bobby Holland (14:41):
Well, from a national perspective, we saw that both of the indexes were down in Q1. Again, it’s not cause for alarm necessarily because generally the indexes will dip in Q1, as things start to come off the holiday spending and then start to ramp up towards the spring and summer seasons. But this year, we had some additional contributors. We had severe weather across the country. We had severe weather, especially in places that don’t usually get it. And that had a big impact on retail factories and energy production. And then, on top of that, we had a few supply chain shortages. And then, on top of that, care capacity is still tight. So, even though the indexes were down in Q1, spend indexes were up from last year, which is a good sign because last year, as you well know, in this time we were just getting full swing into the lockdowns. And so, it’s a sign that things have been steadily coming back.
Scott Luton (15:44):
So, now, we’re going to dive into – you all can see with this visual here, – the Freight Payment Index really breaks up its findings. You got national perspective, and then it breaks up into five different regions. And by the way, you can sign up for free for this quarterly report at freight.usbank.com. So, let’s get into the regional findings. So, I want to start with the Northeast. So, Bobby, give us some color commentary on what we’re seeing in the Northeast.
Drew Wilkerson (16:14):
Okay. Well, in the Northeast, the shipments index was down 5.8 percent over Q4 2020. And down over 15 percent from last year. And we saw that, again, storms are a big factor here. But another big contributor was the fact that new housing starts in this region fell almost 20 percent from a year ago. And that was even, again, where we talked about we’re in the beginning of the pandemic shutdown. So, 20 percent below that is a point. This Northeast spend index went down 3 percent from Q4, but it was up over 9 percent from last year. And we see this because of rising rates and the continued tight capacity kept the spend index up above shipment volume.
Scott Luton (17:06):
Excellent point. And, Drew, from kind of, again, wheels on the street, I’m going to steal that. We’re going to use that throughout. What are you all seeing in the Northeast?
Drew Wilkerson (17:14):
Yeah. So, for us in the Northeast, Bobby’s head on. You know what I mean? Obviously, nationally has been very, very tight. You’ve seen the loan to truck ratio float anywhere from 12 to 14 to 1 across the country, and the Northeast is no different. It did get hit hard with weather. But the Northeast has a stronger infrastructure than some of the other parts of the country that got hit with weather. So, they were able to deal with it a little bit better. One of the places that we saw a surge in the Northeast was with vaccine distribution. And so, we have been a part of helping distribute the vaccines across the country. And a lot of that has come out of the Northeast. And so, that has been a bright spot for us and for the country, as far as what we’ve been able to do there.
Scott Luton (17:53):
Excellent point. And, Greg, I’m going to come to you next really quick. But before we do, Peter says – speaking of more international shipping – from China to the U. S., 5,500 bucks per container over and above what it typically, if there is such thing as regular pricing. Keivan has got the theme of the day, because pricing is pretty dynamic these days, isn’t it?
Greg White (18:14):
Well, that’s one way to say it. Yeah.
Scott Luton (18:17):
Well, Greg, what else between what Bobby and Drew shared anything else to add Northeast-wise?
Greg White (18:22):
Well, first I like the notion of ransom as Peter calls. It’s not unlike that if this stage. You know, to me, I know I should have expected this because it was first quarter, the volume to be down. But I was a little bit surprised that anything was down. I’m not surprised at all that the pricing went up, of course. So, even though volume was down, pricing was up even considering that. So, that’s about a 12 point spread if you think about it that way with volume down 3 percent and pricing still up nine points. That’s a significant uplift in terms of – sorry – that’s total spend. Not pricing. That’s a pretty significant uplift in pricing year over year. So, not surprising from that standpoint, but I guess, you know, to be expected.
Greg White (19:15):
And we’ll continue – this is my forward looking statement since no one else can do it really, I think we’ll continue to see rates go up. The shortage hasn’t softened. Now, we’re talking about semiconductors, and microchips, and all of those things that are at issue. And, of course, one of the reasons, you know, that there was volume was because of housing starts. I think that could actually have a downward impact, because lumber has gotten so expensive that now it’s hard to build houses at a reasonable rate. And, you know, there’s a lot of confusion. As Bobby said, we piled on this, then we piled on that, then we piled on the other thing. And I’ve just piled on a few more. But just one more point I want to make, Scott, as long as this is an Armada, can we name Bobby Admiral?
Scott Luton (20:00):
Absolutely. I couldn’t think of anyone else better.
Bobby Holland (20:03):
Too much weight. Too much weight on my shoulders.
Greg White (20:06):
You don’t want to wear the big hat either, right?
Scott Luton (20:08):
You know, I think Drew made an important observation, and they would know because of their fleet, the infrastructure differences. I can tell you, my tires would wish that the Southeast would learn some infrastructure best practices from the Northeast. And I think whenever we see severe weather, sometimes we really see that front and center. And that’s interesting how that plays out into the freight market. Let’s move from the Northeast to the Southeast. So, Bobby, let’s talk about Southeast for a second. What are you all seeing there?
Bobby Holland (20:37):
Well, the shipments index in the Southeast, it was down 5.8 percent as well in the first quarter compared with Q4. It was down 2.5 percent from a year earlier. The spend index was down 3.1 percent. And compared to a year earlier, it was 11.2 percent. So, again, we’re seeing spending up over last year. We believe this is because of, again, higher rates and fuel surcharge revenue, which increased spending. You know, fuel prices have continued to go up. The EIA says that the average prices of diesel fuel increased almost 14 percent over in Q1 in the Atlantic region. So, again, this had a big impact on the Southeast region.
Scott Luton (21:21):
Excellent. And, Drew, what are you seeing? What are you and your team seeing in the Southeast?
Drew Wilkerson (21:27):
Yes. So, you know, if you go over to Louisiana, obviously, Louisiana was impacted – and Tennessee as well – from some of the storms that impacted Texas, that I know we’ll get to later. But the bigger thing is, the port version – and I know we’re going to talk about the West Coast and some of the ships that are sitting out on the West Coast – what we’re seeing is, those ships are actually shifting over and going into the ports along the East Coast, whether it’s the Port of New York or whether it’s the port of Savannah. And that’s created a capacity constraint all along the East Coast force and which has caused the market to continue to stay tight. But for us, it’s been a unique opportunity because of the multimodal service to be able to go in and provide customers with unique tailor-made solutions along the Southeast.
Scott Luton (22:08):
Excellent point there. Greg?
Greg White (22:09):
Well, I mean, that was going to be my question for Drew, frankly, is, we hear a lot about ships being diverted or rerouted to Houston, Savannah, Charleston, and even New York, New Jersey, which historically had its own challenges, right? So, I think we’ll see a little bit of this reflect in the discussion around the Southwest since that’s Texas. But I’m curious, Drew, did you see a big need to move equipment to the Southeast because of this diversion? Were you guys able to get in front of that? Or was that somewhat of a surprise in Q1?
Drew Wilkerson (22:48):
No. It really wasn’t a surprise. And, you know, I’ll lean heavily on my answer here in our brokerage model. And we weren’t having to move because on the brokers model, it allows us flexibility and capacity based off of what’s going on in the market. And so, that was what we were able to tap in to with our customers, the flexibility to be able to move capacity up or down based off of the customer’s needs within the Southeast. So, it was something where we were able to go in and we were able to come up with unique solutions, whether it was creating backstop rates for our customer, whether it was go anywhere rates because they were looking at sending product all across the country. And sometimes they were having to shift where their vendors were coming from or going to. So, it was really for us to be able to create the solutions for the customer and be able to use multiple modes of transportation. But the flexibility within our brokerage model really helped us in the Southeast.
Greg White (23:38):
And the Southeast has been strong because of port diversion for a long, long time during COVID, right? So, I imagine there was a lot of equipment that you could access in that part of the country to begin with, right?
Drew Wilkerson (23:53):
Equipment is tight across the whole country [inaudible] —
Greg White (23:56):
Drew Wilkerson (24:00)
But we do have a significant amount of capacity at our disposal. You know, if you look at the 11,000 boxes that we’ve got within our intermodal group, if you look at our drayage where we’re at every single major port, we’ve got access to a lot of capacity, which is what enables us to make solutions for our customers that really set us apart from the competition.
Scott Luton (24:22):
Excellent point. I love that flexibility. I’ll bake into your model with the broker aspect to it. Really important to build a scale up and scale down based on the conditions that we’re seeing. And, hey, who’s not? What supply chain and what organization is not looking for more flexibility with how they can, not only react, but kind of predict what’s going to take place as a stage resources and look to put their team in the best position possible and their customers in the best position possible?
Scott Luton (24:50):
Hey, I want to call out a couple of quick comments here before we move on to the Midwest. So, Alaa, you asked some great questions. So, today we’re talking freight, but we’d love to circle back on these questions about medical spending, R&D, and social community, and you name it on future live streams. So, hold those questions, we’ll circle back to you really soon. Also, I wanted to point out, Gary Smith says, “What? You started early.” Yes. So, for any of our listeners that may be joining us late, as always, we’ll publish the full version of the video recording and the audio podcast replay in the days to come. So, you’ll be able to hear the full conversation from Admiral Bobby Holland and Mr. Drew Wilkerson. All right. So, let’s keep driving here.
Greg White (25:35):
And Gary had just gotten his bike out, Bobby. He’s up there where you are. So, he had just gotten his bike out and then the snow hit again.
Scott Luton (25:40):
That is right. That is right.
Bobby Holland (25:40):
Greg White (25:43)
He’s going to need chains for that thing.
Scott Luton (25:45):
All right. So, moving from the Southeast to the Midwest, Bobby, what are we seeing in the Midwest?
Bobby Holland (25:51):
The Midwest shipment index was down almost 11 percent. And, again, similar issues were affecting this region, storms, factory slowdowns with a lot of temporary closures. And a lot of supply chain shortages slowed up things quite a bit. And we also see that stalled agricultural exports also affected this region. Volumes were down, shipping volumes were down 9.8 percent from a year ago. But spend index dropped in this region 2.4 percent from last quarter, but it was up 9 percent from a year ago. So, doing a little bit better-wise than a lot of the regions, but tight capacity is still a factor. And as the weather improves, a lot of the things that were impacting it should reverse.
Scott Luton (26:36):
Excellent point. And really quick, before we get Drew to weigh in on what we’re seeing there in the Midwest, I want to make sure, everyone, if you’re late to the conversation, we’re going through five different regions of the U.S. Bank Q1 Freight Payment Index. And we’d welcome what you’re seeing in your neck of the woods or nationally. So, let’s make sure we have a very interactive conversation here today. All right. So, Drew talking about the Midwest, what’s the XPO team seeing?
Drew Wilkerson (27:02):
Yeah. The Midwest has been interesting. I mean, for us, we’ve had to have flexibility and agility when we’re talking about the Midwest. If you go back a year ago, you saw automotive really shut down for a period of time during COVID. And we saw our partners, like Ford, they shifted from making automobiles to where they were making masks, PPE gear, and other things that they were distributing across the country. And we played a major part in the transportation there. So, it’s being able to have the flexibility to go up and down with them based off of what they were doing. Right now, we smell the automotive comeback. And then, after the microchip shortage, we started to see it come back down again. So, I expect with stimulus checks and things back out there, you’ll see the automotive continue to climb back up, you know, as we look into the future. But we’ve definitely had to have a lot of flexibility and agility as we’ve dealt with the Midwest region of the country.
Scott Luton (27:53):
Excellent point there. And, you know, speaking of spending, I think, Bobby, nationally, we’re seeing more wherewithal consumer-wise and savings, spending power and savings power, if I read that correctly.
Bobby Holland (28:05):
Scott Luton (28:05):
We’re seeing increases in both, right?
Bobby Holland (28:07):
Yes. We believe that’s going to spur activity as we start to move towards the summer.
Scott Luton (28:14):
Yeah. That’s a great point. And, also, infrastructure, of course – as mentioned in every single episode we’re a part of – that will be interesting to see how that plays out. And we can address certain things across the States from an infrastructure standpoint with all that funding. All right.
Scott Luton (28:31):
So, Greg, talking Midwest, your former stomping grounds or one of them at least, any comments on your end?
Greg White (28:38):
Yeah. I am less bullish on the Midwest because of the semiconductor shortage. And, you know, some of the signals from some of the big automakers that they may have to stop production because of that. Now, I can say this, again, because I’m not working for a bank or a public company, but some of it may be posturing to try and get government aid or government sponsored nationalized semiconductor production. But it does pose a very, very real problem because cars are so electronic these days. And, of course, as companies like Ford, as Drew mentioned, make more and more electrics’ That’s going to have a big impact not having some of those products available. So, we’ll see what that means to those markets up there. But, of course, there is other business in the Midwest, ag, of course, and we’re coming up on harvest season.
Scott Luton (29:37):
Excellent point. And, you know, speaking of computer chips, that’s going to be a conversation that is intriguing for quite some time to come because there’s very few overnight fixes, there’s very few over month fixes, right? Just if you analyze that the perfect storm has come together to create that shortage, even in Taiwan, which is one of the leading – if not the leading – producer of chips globally is – and I can’t remember the exact fact that I read earlier this week – for the first time in some 50 years, they had not had some of the storms that come through there that help create all the water that’s needed to make all of the computer chips. So, really, it’s a fascinating, intriguing point in computer chip history. Okay. So, Bobby, we’re going to move from the Midwest to the Southwest. So, tell us what the U.S. Bank team is seeing there?
Bobby Holland (30:28):
Well, the Southwest shipping index contracted about 6.4 percent over Q4. The big Texas ice storm that hit in February, not only affected trucking, but, again, it affected factory output and energy production. Shipments were down 3.2 percent from last year. The spend index was down 4 percent from last quarter, but it was up almost 5 percent from last year. And, again, this is another region – probably in some aspect, all of them – higher carrier rates and rising fuel prices kind of kept the spending index higher.
Scott Luton (31:03):
Excellent point. You know, before we hit Drew up, Greg, we were talking about some of the after effect of the plastics producing plants down there in Texas, in particular, and how that’s going to continue to reverberate throughout supply chain. And in particular, plastic components for the furniture industry and automotive, of course, as they try to play catch up, you can’t resource it overnight. So, again, perfect storm seems like to be the theme thus far early here in 2021.
Greg White (31:37):
Perfect storm of storms and other things, as Bobby said. I think the theme is piling on, really, for this quarter.
Scott Luton (31:47):
Good point. So, Drew, there in the Southwest, tell us about what you’re seeing.
Drew Wilkerson (31:53):
Yeah. I mean, Bobby said it, the Southwest was hit unusually hard by weather, and that’s not something that we typically see. And so, we had to help a lot of our customers adjust where they were shipping to and where they were shipping from through that. And the big thing for us, as we did with our carrier bases, we had to start to use our XPO Connect platform to help them find new routes as far as where they were going to go, from how they were getting to the end route with our XPO Connect platform. So, it was definitely a challenge for one with the weather in the Southwest, but it was an opportunity for us to deliver for our customers in a new way, for sure.
Scott Luton (32:30):
Outstanding. And I think in the Southwest, several of the new computer chip plants have been announced, and that’s where those massive investments are going, Greg, right?
Greg White (32:40):
We’ll have to determine where those investments come from, but, yes, there will be some investments in the Southwest for that. I’m curious – I don’t want to speculate here, which is rare for me. I know, right? – because the rates were only up just over half as much as they were in other regions or in the other regions we’ve talked about, Bobby. Is that because trucks couldn’t roll? Or why only up 4.8 percent versus the eight and nine that we’re seeing in other regions?
Bobby Holland (33:17):
Well, again, Texas usually doesn’t get that severe weather and it’s a big part of that region and other aspects of it. They don’t usually get that kind of weather. And we saw just how, we’ll say, catastrophic it was for a period of time down there. And so, when you have that kind of an impact in a large component of a particular region, they can’t help but impact everything that severely. They don’t usually get one like this and so they usually don’t have to deal with trucks being stopped and land down because of the weather. They usually don’t have to stop or deal with the energy issues that they had as well. And so, all of these things just basically put a big temporary damper on the region.
Greg White (34:00):
And this is total spend, right? This isn’t just the amount that rates went up. This was the total spend in that region.
Bobby Holland (34:08):
Yeah, total spend.
Greg White (34:09):
Yeah. So, if they can’t roll, you don’t get paid, of course.
Scott Luton (34:13):
That’s right. Well, hey, I want to bring this comment in from Azaleah. Azaleah, great to have you here as always. She’s referencing our live stream yesterday, Vector Global where they brought on Charles Redding with MedShare, a nonprofit that’s helping families and folks in need. So, yeah, it’s all connected, right? The role that weather is playing in these global supply chain disruptions is certainly alive and well, unfortunately. Okay. So, we’re going to move to our last region, the last of the five regions covered by the Q1 U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index. And, Bobby, what are we seeing in the great wild West?
Bobby Holland (34:52):
The West’s shipment index was down 10.2 percent from Q4, but it was up 2.8 percent year over year. We see that strong import volumes helped this region, but reduced exports, in part, due to issues with containers hurt this region. And then, severe weather on the Eastern side of the state stranded or slowed trucks in and out of the state. So, those were the major impacts. The spend index fell 12.6 percent from Q4, but it was up over 23 percent from the same period last year.
Scott Luton (35:25):
And, Drew, what’s the XPO team seeing in the West?
Drew Wilkerson (35:29):
Well, a lot of port congestion. So, we talked about this earlier with what you’re seeing in Savannah and Houston and some of the other ports on the East Coast. But what we saw was the port congestion created capacity to really, really tighten as far as across all modes of transportation. So, we saw our customers start to shift from truckload into intermodal. We saw customers willing to buy ahead on capacity. So, there was extremely tight knit and difficult to find capacity on the West Coast.
Scott Luton (36:00):
Excellent point. And, you know, Greg, we’ve heard folks in the know that this is not their first rodeo. They’ve been at it for decades and say this is the worst they’ve ever seen it, Greg. So, any thoughts on your end when it comes to the West?
Greg White (36:14):
I think it may be the worst we’ve ever seen. Seriously, not just us, but even in other people’s experience beyond other people’s experience, this is probably the worst we’ve seen as far as port congestion. And there we go with our piling on theme, one more thing, container shortage, right? It has its own hashtag so you know it’s something important. And that’s just one of the things that is impacting the West Coast. Obviously, Long Beach in Los Angeles is not usually the most efficient ports we have in the country.
Greg White (36:50):
Anyway, now I think we had Jaman [??] reporting, Scott, it was months ago, right? It was before Q1, if I remember correctly in December.
Scott Luton (37:02):
I think you’re right.
Greg White (37:03):
Ships just lined up outside the port. And, you know, the number of delays that have been reported are significant. And, of course, we’ve seen shippers seeing the impact of that as well, right? Talking about their inability to get goods to the consumer, to get goods to their own facilities. Some of them did plan ahead, as Drew has talked about, and they’ve rerouted to other ports like Houston, and Charleston, and elsewhere. But it’s astounding to me, frankly, that in a region where the price is going up so dramatically and the performance is going down so predictably, that we’re not rerouting even more around that port.
Scott Luton (37:44):
Excellent point. Excellent point. Fascinating, really. But, hey, back to those containers. Hey, folks. Quit building houses over those containers. Global supply chain needs those containers. Cut it out. So, I want to feature a couple of comments here. So, Miranda, Miranda is pointing out here, she says, “Unforeseen weather plays a huge part in global supply chain. That’s what makes communication with the customer so important.” And, Drew, I think that’s a link to the XPO Connect platform that you’ve referenced a few times there.
Drew Wilkerson (38:10):
It is. It is.
Scott Luton (38:12):
So, thank you, Miranda. And Erin, hey, so great to have you on these live streams. “Capacity is still awful today. On both coasts.” And you know what? It’s going to be like Groundhog Day for many days to come. So, Erin, great to have you.
Greg White (38:25):
It feels like it is for Erin. Erin is a broker, right? So, she is on the front line of dealing with this.
Scott Luton (41:40):
Right. So, Greg, before I pass the baton to you, Azaleah has a great question here for Drew. So, she says, “So, Drew, would you say that the data has become your new ‘golden ticket’? If this is pandemic induced discovery, what was the golden ticket before the pandemic?” Interesting question as you look back. Any commentary there, Drew?
Drew Wilkerson (38:55):
Yeah. I don’t think our focus has changed. I know our focus hasn’t changed. We’ve been focused on technology and pulling in as much data as we can from my first day at XPO. And so, that’s why we built XPO Connect so that we could pull in as much data and create the best pricing solution as well as the best mode solution for both the customer and then for our vendors, the carrier base. So, for us, it has always been in our DNA to invest heavily into technology. We invest over $500 million a year in the technology so that we can come up and create solutions for our customers and for the carrier base that we utilize.
Scott Luton (39:31):
Excellent point. Excellent point. And there’s a lot of passion there with Drew. I love that. So, it’s tough to cover the national freight market in an hour here. But, Greg, we’re going to try to kind of what we can, what’s to come? Go ahead.
Greg White (39:49):
Well, Bobby, I’d love to ask you – whatever you can tell us – what do you think is the biggest or most important takeaway from this quarter’s data?
Bobby Holland (40:00):
The biggest takeaway from this quarter’s data for us is that, there are a lot of issues impacting Q1. But, fortunately, a lot of those issues are temporary in nature. Unless we have storms all throughout the year, unless we have big issues around, unless the supply chain shortages continue throughout the year, which, as these temporary pressures alleviate, things should continue moving up. Because, again, a lot of our themes since the beginning of the pandemic has been, you know, as we continue to open up and get back to normal, the markets going to open up and get back to normal. And we can see that from the data. We just have to get to pass these temporary impacts to Q1 and we should see better Q2s and all barring that.
Greg White (40:45):
Yeah. That’s good insight. Drew, what do you think? I mean, obviously, not forward-looking – I might ask something to that effect later – but what do you take away from this as the biggest insight from this last quarter?
Drew Wilkerson (44:15):
Tight capacity is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to come up with different solutions for your customers. It’s an opportunity to build the relationship with your customers to have a stronger understanding of how you can serve them and create those solutions that are tailor-made for them. And being able to utilize different modes of transportation. And all modes of transportation has been something that has been very beneficial for us to where we can go to a customer and say, “Hey, we understand that the truckload market is tight and is expensive right now. So, we can offer you an intermodal solution. We understand that the port is tight, but we have access to every single major port with our drayage network right now.” So, for us, it’s about how we can create the solutions that best serve our customers.
Greg White (41:43):
Flexibility is definitely key, right?
Drew Wilkerson (45:01):
Greg White (45:04):
All right. So, tell us, again, Drew, to whatever extent you can, what might we see as we move into the summer, what do you think that we will see in terms of the freight market?
Drew Wilkerson (42:01):
Well, I mean, I’d start with, I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t think any of us know exactly what is to come. But what I can tell you is, we have seen the e-commerce go through the roof, and that started early on in the pandemic. And I believe we’re in the early innings of the e-commerce growth that we’re going to experience for the next couple of years. So, I expect e-commerce volume to continue to grow. You know, as we’re able to come around on the microchip shortage, automotive should continue to come back. I expect you’ll continue to see manufacturing go up. So, to me, capacity is going to remain tight, in my opinion, for the rest of the year. And, again, it offers an opportunity to serve customers through multiple modes of transportation and utilize technology to get there.
Greg White (42:45):
Well, I think let me give you my insights for whatever they’re worth. And I’ll qualify as Drew did, I don’t have a crystal ball, regardless of the fact that many of you do think I’m a witch. So, I think there’s a couple things that jump out of me. Flexibility is going to be key. And what gives you flexibility is technology and data, right? As I sit and listen to investment pitch after investment pitch, so many of them are around payments, and around collection utilization, and valuing of data. And the other thing – and I’ve mentioned this before – I think is that, the new normal is farther away than we think. Just because we’re going to be released, or whatever you want to call it, as vaccinations increase, I think that demand will be significantly unpredictable. Because as people are freed, who knows what they’re going to do? And the consumer drives all of this supply chain. As I say all the time, the consumer is the beginning and the end of the supply chain.
Greg White (43:51):
And what is going to determine a lot of things is going to be the combination of very unpredictable demand. I imagine travel spikes will occur. I imagine productivity will go down substantially for a number of months as people just take a deep breath, take a month off, whatever. New types of consumption, of course, as Drew said, lots of growth in e-commerce, and that’s already an established problem. So, I think the new normal is farther away even as we get our opportunity to get our lives back to normal. I still think that normal in terms of demand and consumption, and, of course, as we’ve talked about here, supply, normal will be far away for those things.
Scott Luton (44:37):
All right. All right. So, we’ve got a couple of interesting comments and questions. And as always with our live streams, we try to get our questions from the community. And if there’s anything you all can’t address, feel free to share, you can take it offline. But first, oh, Peter, “Be right back. My lunch is ready for pickup. As you can see, my supply chain planning would have been spot on until Supply Chain Now show disruption hit us today being an hour earlier.” So, I love that, Peter.
Greg White (45:05):
We’re not perfect, right?
Scott Luton (45:08):
John Thornberry – and Drew was talking about driver availability here, so if you have any takeaways – he says, “In the midst of all these issues, there seems to be a constraint in driver availability nationwide and local. And so, as we look at breaking some of these constraints, container shortages, weather, et cetera, do you see driver availability as being the next big hurdle to clear these blocks?” Any thoughts there, Drew? Thank you, John.
Drew Wilkerson (45:32):
You saw some of our competitors in the industry talk about driver shortage and some of their earning [inaudible] that have come out this week. And it’s something that has impacted the entire country as far as driver shortage. I think the stimulus check put another piece on driver shortage as far as what you’re seeing in the industry. And, you know, driver shortage as a whole has been something you’ve seen the driver community continue to age out. And I’ve heard about the driver shortage and seen it firsthand for the last ten plus years. So, I don’t think it’s something that goes away anytime soon. But I think as you start to look out further, there’s huge investments into technology and you have people who are investing into autonomous trucks and things like that, that could have an impact on capacity as we move forward years down the road.
Scott Luton (46:20):
Yeah. Well said. And, you know, in our conversations with pre-show and some of your colleagues there from XPO leadership, you’ve all done some neat things to kind of be an employer of choice for drivers, which would certainly help. So, well said there, Drew. All right. Here’s a question mainly for you Bobby. So, Azaleah again asked a great question here – because you and your team – and I’m sure XPO does too – for the Freight Payment Index, you all are dealing with a tidal wave of data, I think $31.4 billion worth of transaction. So, she says, “How do you handle the high data volume? What’s the approach to ‘taming the lion’? Is there more control upfront or cleaning and mining done later?” Great question.
Bobby Holland (47:01):
We handle the data volume in a couple of ways. I mean, we have a pretty comprehensive data governance. There are set of a data governance initiatives going in and having put in place to ensure the cleanness of our data. But then, as we, for example, develop some of our data products – because we also offer a benchmarking service – we do a lot of tactical data cleaning, and data cleansing, and normalization as we prepare those products. So, we use technology, that’s basically in a nutshell how we deal with it. We use the data governance processes that govern all of our freight audit and payment data, as well as, like I said, we handle it for each product as necessary, depending on what we’re producing.
Scott Luton (47:46):
Man, I’m not envious, Bobby. Goodness gracious, not just the sheer volume you’ve got to work through, but all the math skills that are required to produce something like the Freight Payment Index.
Greg White (47:59):
Why do imagine that it’s somehow a joy for you, Bobby, to go through that. I mean, I know you have –
Bobby Holland (48:04):
I think you just called me a nerd. In a white way possible, I think you just told me I was a nerd.
Greg White (48:10):
In sort of a roundabout way, I mean, you have a really significant computer science background, right? So, I sense that you enjoy this, and I can’t blame you for it.
Bobby Holland (52:01):
Scott Luton (48:22):
Well, with technology becoming synonymous with global supply chain, nerds rule industry. And I’m not directing that to anyone here on this esteemed panel, but it’s always fascinating to see what the data –
Greg White (52:15):
[Inaudible] stars, right?
Scott Luton (52:18):
That’s right. All right. So, Bobby and Drew, we could talk about this. And, Greg, we could talk about this for a couple of extra hours. But let’s make sure folks know how to connect. And I want to throw this up there before I toss it over to Bobby. So, folks, you all can download this for free at freight.usbank.com. That’s where you can find the Freight Payment Index. But how can folks connect with you, Bobby?
Bobby Holland (49:00):
Well, I have my LinkedIn information. I’m out there on LinkedIn. My email address is email@example.com. Reach out if needed.
Scott Luton (49:12):
Outstanding. Thanks so much. And, Gary Skinner – hey, Gary. Hope this finds you well – “Nothing wrong with being a data nerd.” Whatever, different strokes for different folks. And Gary Smith says, “Supply chain nerds rule.” I could see him with his fist in the air as he makes that statement. Okay. Drew Wilkerson, you and XPO team, gosh, you all had been on the move doing some really cool, innovative things across global business. How can folks connect with you as well?
Drew Wilkerson (49:42):
Yeah. You can visit xpo.com and it’ll give you a direct link to all of our different lines of businesses to learn more about our services. And then, also, I’m on LinkedIn and happy to connect there as well.
Scott Luton (49:52):
Outstanding. Outstanding. Well, Greg, as always, we’re just scratching the surface with both of our guests here, Bobby and Drew. But before we let Bobby and Drew go, what was your favorite aspect of today’s conversation?
Greg White (50:08):
I think the notion of piling on. I mean, if there’s any theme, it’s that it was just one thing after another that has really impacted this. And it’s different things quarter by quarter – sorry. Not quarter by quarter – kind of region by region. You know, unexpected weather in the Southwest, unexpected shifts of freight volume, some expected shifts of volume but somehow not preparation for them in some areas of the country – and I’m mostly talking about the ports. And, of course, shippers not making provision for known or easily foreseeable delays in some cases. So, you know, we’ve seen companies making excuses all throughout the first quarter of this year because their fill rates or inventory levels are down for things – having been in the industry – I know are easily foreseeable. So, I think we have more work to do as shippers, to spend more time working on our supply chain and less time working on the excuses we’re going to make when it fails us, because we haven’t built it properly or prepared properly. But we have more surprises coming. So, one thing after another.
Scott Luton (51:25):
We can bank on that for sure. All right. Big thanks as always, Bobby Holland, VP and Director of Freight Data Solutions at U.S. Bank. A hard hit in U.S. Bank Team, thanks so much. And joining today also, Drew Wilkerson, President, Transportation, for all North America, with XPO Logistics. Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks so much.
Bobby Holland (55:38):
Thanks for having us.
Drew Wilkerson (51:47):
Thank you. [Inaudible] discussion.
Bobby Holland (55:40):
Scott Luton (51:50):
Man, I hate to let folks go when it feels like we’re just scratching the surface. There’s so much more there. And I love some of the passion. You know, Bob is certainly a cool customer. And Drew, you saw the flashes of passion. I love it. That’s when we were getting into the really good stuff, the nitty gritty.
Greg White (52:06):
Yeah. Well, and Bobby is a nerd. Now, that he’s gone.
Scott Luton (52:10):
Greg said that. Greg said that.
Greg White (52:13):
But I really think it’s a point of pride for him, you know, we’re all in our own way. First of all, I deal with data all the time, too, so I’m a nerd as well. But I think if you think about some of the parts of the business that have been overlooked for years, they are technology and they are supply chain. So, you know, nerds unite. I think that the executive suite now sees the value of us nerds together. And if there was ever a better value connection between data and a segment of the business, supply chain – as our friend, Jeff Miller loves to say – is the business. Because it doesn’t matter how good your marketing or sales team is if you cannot deliver the product. So, [inaudible].
Scott Luton (53:02):
Excellent point. Excellent point. I know we couldn’t get to all the comments and questions from our community in, what they call, the cheap seats, but lots of feedback here. Erin, “I appreciate that. Great show.” Let’s see, Supply Chain Now says, “Data nerds unite.” Srinivas was with us today via LinkedIn, great to see you back with us. John Thornberry, great question around the driver availability. Erin says, “Woo Hoo. Nerd alert.” Okay.
Greg White (53:31):
I wish I had my glasses handy.
Scott Luton (53:32):
Yes. Before we sign off, and folks as always, you can learn more. If you like these conversations, find us at supplychainnow.com. We’re working really hard to serve as the voice of global supply chain. You know, conversations like we’ve had here with Bobby, and Drew, and Greg is what you can expect, and then some. So much to cover across global supply chain. And one other quick note before, Greg, you’ve got an important announcement is, hey, whether you’re a nerd, a non-nerd, if you’re an engineer, you’re a technologist, if you’re a classical league trained artist, it doesn’t matter. There’s something for you in global supply chain. I can assure you .We can assure you. So, we need all of those folks so that we can make truly global supply chains as resilient and presenting as much opportunity for all as we can. So, Greg, you’ve got an important comment before I sign off.
Greg White (54:21):
Yeah. Well, the reason that we are traveling is because – I’m sorry, I wasn’t able to make the live stream yesterday, but we were traveling – yesterday, our controller – our gargoyle as Scott likes to say – who looks over us and make sure we’re safe and my beloved wife, her birthday was yesterday, April 21st, so we’re going through Savannah and Charleston and visiting our kids who are in Charleston pretty soon. But happy birthday, first of all, dear. I love you. And I hope you had a great day. And by the way, Scott, it’s not birthday in our family, it’s birthday week. So, we continue the celebration.
Scott Luton (55:03):
Happy birthday, Vicky [??] White, first off. But get some footage of the port down in Savannah, and we’ll have to use that as part of our buzz, maybe on Monday. But, hey, I wouldn’t want to create any more work. Folks, again, check out the Freight Payment Index. It’s delivered on time chock full of great insights from our friends at U.S. Bank. We’ve got the link in the comments. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, again, you can check us out at supplychainnow.com. Or reach out directly to Amanda, firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll make sure we connect you with the team on the moo over there with Bobby and U.S. Bank. Okay.
Scott Luton (59:42):
So, Greg, with no further ado, I want to thank our friends at XPO who helped us with Drew’s schedule and enabled him to share what they’re seeing, wheels on the street. Of course, thanks to all of our friends at U. S. Bank. Big thanks to all the folks that signed up, and showed up, and shared all of what was on their mind. Shannon, excellent point, “Supply chain is the backbone that holds businesses together.” All right. So, on that point, on behalf of our entire team, wishing you the best wherever you are. We’re hoping you’re making lots of progress getting into that true post pandemic environment. But most importantly, on behalf of our entire team here, Scott Luton. Do good, gift forward, be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see you next time here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Greg White (1:00:30):
Intro/Outro (56:26): (1:00:
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Bobby Holland leads the Freight Data Solutions team at U.S. Bank where he focuses in analytics and data-related product management for the freight industry. Bobby has more than 36 years of broad-based data processing, software engineering and consulting experience. He has leadership in multiple industries including insurance, large-scale billing, customer care services and banking. At the bank, Bobby leads efforts to produce the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index. The often-cited Index is a barometer for freight shipping trends on both the national and regional level. The index source data is based on actual freight payment transactions from across the country. The pioneer in electronic freight payment, U.S. Bank Freight Payment processes more than $46 billion in freight payments annually for corporate and federal government clients. Connect with Bobby on LinkedIn.
Drew Wilkerson leads XPO’s transportation group in North America, with executive oversight of the company’s truck brokerage, intermodal, last mile, expedite, managed transportation and freight forwarding operations. Mr. Wilkerson is an industry veteran with extensive transportation experience. Prior to his current role, he served as XPO’s president of brokerage operations in North America after initially joining the company to lead the growth of its flagship brokerage hubs. Earlier, with C.H. Robinson Worldwide, he held leadership positions in strategic sales, carrier relationships, customer relationships and operations. Mr. Wilkerson holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina. Connect with Drew on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
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.
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.
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).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is 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.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
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).
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.
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
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.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
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.
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.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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’.
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.
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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.
Principal & CMO, 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.
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.