Supply Chain Now Episode 639

Episode Summary

“I think we are going to emerge [from the pandemic] more resilient. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy because it hasn’t. That doesn’t mean we won’t have some scars, because we will. If we choose to learn from these experiences and transform our businesses going forward, we have an opportunity to change the way business is done and to be able to handle future disruptions, small and large, with greater resiliency. Technology is not just the CIO’s problem anymore. This is on the top of the list for your CEOs. Your CEOs need insights about their businesses and supply chain is their business.”

-Karin Bursa, Host, TEKTOK

 

The pandemic uncovered some critical supply chain vulnerabilities around the world. As the vaccine gains traction and life begins to look a little more “normal” there is a sense of anticipation. However, it seems we are in short supply in a number of areas. The Bounce Back Begins is a great way to think this stage of the recovery as there will surely be ups and downs. Right now, shortages are popping up in a number of areas – some expected, some not. Here’s a list of a few items: Microchips, chicken, lumber, gas, steel, metals, plastic, chlorine, ketchup packets, etc.

Karin and team talk about how far we come on a few important themes around Digital Supply Chain and Procurement transformations:
o Can we recalibrate to reduce risk exposure?
o Are we seeing proof that leveraging advances in technology is accelerating response times?
o Are we gaining agility, resilience and better business continuity planning?
o Will we emerge from the pandemic stronger and with more resilient supply chains?

Episode Transcript

Intro (00:01):

Welcome to TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast, where we will help you eliminate the noise and focus on the information and inspiration that you need to transform your business, impact, supply chain success. And enable you to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Join your TEKTOK host, Karin Bursa, the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise and the scars to prove it, Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Join the conversation, share your insights, and learn how to harness technology innovations to drive tangible business results. Buckle up, it’s time for TEKTOK, powered by Supply Chain Now.

Scott Luton (01:13):

Hey. Hey. Good morning. Karin Bursa and Scott Luton right here with you on TEKTOK, right here on Supply Chain Now. Karin, good morning.

Karin Bursa (01:21):

Good morning. Good morning to all the Supply Chain movers and shakers who are with us today too. Scott, how are you doing today?

Scott Luton (01:28):

You know, it’s been a challenging morning. Most of them are though, right? We’re all kind of fighting through this current environment. But we’ve got a good mix of good news and some key insights from an esteem panel. So, I’m looking forward to spending the next hour with you and, of course, all of our friends in the cheap seats.

Karin Bursa (01:46):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Hey, you know, talking about cheap seats, that’s a perfect segue. I had the most normal weekend this past weekend that I can remember, certainly since before COVID hit. And cheap seats, you know this because you’re a big baseball fan, the Atlanta Braves reopened at 100 percent capacity at Truist Park.

 

Scott Luton (02:14):

Wow. Unbelievable.

 

Karin Bursa (02:15):

One of my kids went to the Saturday night game in standing room only seats, so cheap seats – for those of you out there. And he said it was just amazing to see so many people in one place again. That it was really just kind of energizing and exciting. And I think, you know, that the Braves were also offering vaccines to folks. And that anybody who got a vaccine, I believe, got two tickets to a future Braves game as well. So, pretty normal doings that seem extraordinary at the time.

Scott Luton (02:52):

Agreed. Great moves by the Braves. And we’re fortunate here in Atlanta to have some wonderful engaged ownership. Especially Arthur Blank with the Falcons, and all they do for folks in need, especially our veterans community. So, great move by the Braves. And, hopefully, there’s goodwill efforts of doing the right thing will spill over into the standings. We’ll see. It’s a fight to the finish.

 

Karin Bursa (03:12):

It will be.

Scott Luton (03:12):

So, I love hearing about that weekend. It sounds like a wonderful weekend as we continue to take baby steps to some sense of normalcy, which is important for everybody. I want to do really quick, Karin, I want to say hello to a few folks. I want to call out a special project we’re supporting with our friends at Vector. And then, we’re going to dive right in. How’s that sound?

 

Karin Bursa (03:32):

It sounds terrific.

 

Scott Luton (03:33):

All right. Man, we have a flurry of activity that already – there must be the Karin Bursa fan club here today. So, Odair via LinkedIn. Great to have you here, Odair. Thanks so much for joining. Clay Phillips, who is on assignment down in Mexico, he says he’s got the entire Supply Chain Now brain trust here. Well, minus Clay and Amanda who, of course, is behind the scenes, and many others. Jill, good morning via LinkedIn. Great to have you here. Kelly. Kelly, you’re supposed to kind of stay in the bag. You’re letting our secrets out.

Karin Bursa (04:06):

She’s always busy. She’s always busy. She’s back there working in backstage right now.

Scott Luton (04:10):

That is right. Peter Bolle, all night and all day, who joined our friends, Sarah, over for thoughts and coffee yesterday. Great conversation there, Peter. And he’s sending us some late breaking news this morning. So, we’ll touch on that later today. Habert or Habert – just let me know if I got it wrong. I apologize. Thanks for joining us via LinkedIn. Jeremy Robinson is with us also via LinkedIn. Thanks so much for being here. By the way, Habert is from Uganda, so wonderful. We’ve enjoyed a lot of thought leadership from across Africa in recent shows. Steve is tuned in via LinkedIn. Great to see you here, Steve. Gosh, Mohib is with us. He says he’s getting ready to TEKTOK today. That is some serious alliteration, Karin.

Karin Bursa (04:55):

All right. Thanks for joining us, doc.

Scott Luton (04:56):

You bet. Tom, Tom Cabral, always try to catch show when he can. And Tom, keep the jokes coming. I think you were commenting on the Supply Chain Hair Club we had working between Greg and Enrique last time. So, we look forward to your sense of humor there, Tom. And, of course, Rhonda. Rhonda, I hope this finds you well. By the way, Rhonda, I think I missed something in the last live stream. I was looking at it after the fact. I believe your husband lost a family member, and all the best to you and your family. Thanks for being here today. I always enjoy your refreshing point of view here. And then, finally, TSquared. He says, “Let the Supply Chain TEKTOK boxing match begin. No nourishment. Just drinks.” How about that?

Scott Luton (05:40)

All right. So, let’s do this. So, hello everybody. I know we didn’t say hello to everyone. I see Justine, Susan, and Amari. Thanks so much for being here. Let’s bring in this here, if my mouse is working. Okay. So, Karin, we’re really beating the drum on this project here on a much, much more serious note. You know, India is in the throes of the second wave. They’re fighting a good fight. We’re talking to a wide variety of our friends that are in India or elsewhere that have friends and family there. And we’re getting really personal updates. And it’s heartbreaking. I mean, as Greg pointed out, every country has kind of had their own ups and downs. But our hearts, and prayers, and thoughts, and actions are with India. So, India, we’re standing with you. We’re very pleased to support a project that Vector Global Logistics and many others are facilitating and marshaling, and that’s getting critical resources to India.

Scott Luton (06:38):

So, give from what you can. Like, Karin and Greg shared not too long ago, give small, give big, give all points in between, but just get informed. And you can do that via vibha.org, which is a great nonprofit that’s doing wonderful work. Or if you have some creative ways, or maybe you’ve got a supply chain infrastructure to leverage, or maybe you just want to interact with folks that are leading the effort, shoot an email to india@vectorgl.com and you can engage and get involved that way. So, critical, critical project. We’re honored to be a part of it. And you give from what you have and that awareness is so important. Ain’t it, Karin?

Karin Bursa (07:16):

It really is. First, thank you to the team at Vector for helping to kind of put the steps in place to make it easy for the rest of us to engage and to contribute. There were 4,200 reported deaths yesterday in India, and that’s the reported deaths. My heart breaks just thinking of that number. But the fact is, that probably isn’t representative of the full total. So, yes, absolutely. All of our friends and family and extended Supply Chain partners that are there in the India area, you are in our thoughts and prayers. And as Scott said, our actions as well.

Scott Luton (07:52):

Well, said. Okay. So, on a much lighter note, we want to share an upcoming event. You know, the flip side of this, the silver lining of all of this, is that we’re seeing a ton of innovation. And that innovation has helped to fight the pandemic, but it’s also helping to make the industry, not just supply chain, but the industry more resilient. So, we’ve got an upcoming webinar that we’d invite you all to join us for, June 8th at 12:00 noon. We’ve got Tracy Rosser from Transplace, that’s going to dive into some of these innovations we’re seeing across supply chains. So, sign up for that for free at supplychainnow.com. And, Karin, Transplace has been on the move hadn’t they?

Karin Bursa (08:28):

They sure have. I mean, we have had some interesting conversations with the leadership at Transplace. Everybody from their chief technology officer to their CEO, Frank McGuigan, who joined us to talk about some of the innovations in this logistics area. So, I know Tracy’s got some interesting things to share and questions to ask for our audience as well.

Scott Luton (08:48):

Agreed. So, all that brings us to today. We’re going to kind of talk about with this wonderful panel, Karin and our two guests, we’re going talk about wide ranging number of factors and goings on across global business, truly. So, Karin, The Bounce Back Begins. Or, really, it’s kind of already begun, right? It’s kind of already begun. But we all hope it’s not the dead cat bounce, where it’s like a fake bounce out. You know, I looked that up.

Karin Bursa (09:16):

That’s a real thing. You’re spending too much time on Yahoo Finance.

Scott Luton (09:20):

Well, with the baseball season, I saw that in one of my favorite baseball blogs. I’m like, “Well, is that like an urban reference? Or is there something behind it?” It is truly a financial term when it comes to looking at economic rebounds and recessions and much of the other half loot and stuff. But we’re all hoping for and working for is a real bounce back. And we’re going talk about some of those things right here today, is that right, Karin?

Karin Bursa (09:50):

It is. That’s what I want to talk about. And we’ve got a great panel to dive into that topic. But I like this idea, Scott, of bounce back begins. Actually, jokingly, on Yahoo Finance yesterday, I heard or saw an article where they called it the not enough recovery. And you can take that so many different ways. So, I love the twist on the words, not enough of a recovery or there’s not enough stuff to fuel the recovery.

 

Karin Bursa (10:16):

And that’s what we’re going to talk about, is, how have we adapted and are we more resilient emerging from the pandemic? It’s no surprise to our Supply Chain Now community that this pandemic really kind of exposed two things. One, just how connected we all are, our economies on a global scale. But, two, how vulnerable we are and this need for resilience. Most of our supply chain, Scott, have been designed for efficiency and low cost. Repeatable process, get it there quick and as efficiently as possible. But the reality is, what we need now is resiliency and resiliency requires investment in some areas. And so, I’m really looking forward to getting the point of view from some of our Supply Chain Now experts and just hearing what their insights are around a number of topics. So, should we bring them in?

Scott Luton (11:15):

I do. Only one quick point before we do that, it’s interesting how low cost, the factors that drive that in the last ten years, how that’s going to be so different in the next two years, even. So, it’s all about what the current definition is. So, we’ll dive into a lot more here.

 

Scott Luton (11:31):

So, on that note, let’s bring in the smart people to join the current smart person right here in the stream, Karin. So, we have Kelly Barner, fearless leader of our Dial P for Procurement series, also owner of Buyers Meeting Point. And it gets better. Wait. There’s more. And Enrique Alvarez, who leads both Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now in Espanol, and somehow still finds time to get stuff done as managing director of Vector Global Logistics. Let’s welcome in Kelly and Enrique. Just in time.

Karin Bursa (12:06):

Just in time. Slid right in. Hey, good morning, Enrique and Kelly. It’s great to have you here in TEKTOK Live. Thanks for joining in today.

 

Kelly Barner (12:15):

Thanks for having us.

 

Enrique Alvarez (12:17):

Yeah. This is great. I’m excited to be with you, Karin, Kelly, and Scott, of course. I’m going to learn a lot from this for sure.

Karin Bursa (12:24):

Well, we all know you’re going to be bringing it to the table as well. So, it’s always fun to work with experts like the three of you. So, Scott, I know you were excluding yourself in the prior comments, but we know better. So, thanks so much.

 

Karin Bursa (12:37):

We were on this topic, you guys, of bounce back or the bounce back begins. And I liked the analogy of the bounce, because we’re going to have some ups and some downs in the mix. But, hopefully, that trajectory is going to continue to trend upward. And that it’s not just going to be a U.S. recovery, it’s going to be a global recovery. So, when we think about that, I’m hearing everywhere I go about shortages and the challenges around shortages right now. So, whether it’s microchips, or chicken, or lumber, gas, steel, plastics, and even catsup packages, if you remember, all of that that was going on just a couple of weeks ago. And I would love for our community members that are with us today if you guys could just chime in on some of the comments about where you’re seeing shortages in your business or in your marketplace. That would be excellent as well because we’d love to get your view on that.

Scott Luton (13:34):

Can I share a quick – this is a perfect table setter. A perfect table setter. And, of course, it comes from the one and only Peter Bolle, “Current situation is a pull your socks, grab your britches, and run like hell.” And he says, he’s so glad he didn’t make a typo on britches. My grandmother used that term, britches, all the time. That’s exactly where my head goes. So, Peter, thanks for livening the mood. So, Karin, I don’t want mess up the TX. Where are we going to start first?

Karin Bursa (14:05):

Well, first of all, thanks for that, Peter. You’re kind of upping your game on the humor lately. So, my expectations are going to continue to climb. So, the thing that we heard about for the longest is probably computer chips, right? And we hear that the shortage in computer chips is impacting everything from new cars to, of course, computers or smartphones, right down to children’s toys. And, now, it’s interesting because many of the semiconductor manufacturers are saying, “Hey, we gave visibility back in January that they needed to place their orders now.” And they’re kind of putting the onus on their customers who they’re serving in part for there being a shortage. So, it’s interesting. And, Kelly, maybe I’ll get you to chime in here. It doesn’t have to be computer chips specific, but when we think about that collaboration and the procurement process, what are you seeing as far as that business to business communication and adapting for new demand profiles?

Kelly Barner (15:13):

Sure. And that’s been really interesting, and I’m not going to steal my thunder. I know we’re going to talk about technology a little bit later. But, I mean, basically the issue that we’re having is that it’s like that old school game of telephone where you sit in a circle with your friends and you say one thing, and by the time it gets around the circle, it’s like nobody even knows what that means. The problem is these chip manufacturers probably did tell their customers. The issue is, if you’re in procurement, whether you’re on the direct side of the house or the indirect, it might’ve taken six steps or eight steps or even more for that information to pass through your supply chain to get to you. By the time it reaches you, the information may be out of date. It may be fuzzy. It may be unclear. It may be plain indirect – not indirect – incorrect. My procurement terms are stuck here.

 

Kelly Barner (16:02):

And so, the thrust of the data is a problem because the relationships don’t extend that far. Maybe we get to tier two in the supply chain. Maybe if we’re really good, we get to three in a couple of places. Never does it go all the way back to where we’re actually getting to the source material level or even as far as the individual chip level based on where they are in most supply chains.

Karin Bursa (16:24):

And I think it’s just interesting how pervasive, you know, how many products in the marketplace today have chips in them, right down to your kids’ toys. So, it’s being impacted. And along those lines, there’s also things like plastic shortages. And I don’t want to put all of the onus for these shortages on the pandemic. Because the reality is, part of the challenges around plastics, and even petroleum distribution, in North America center around the weather events that we had that impacted Texas and other areas that do a lot of the petroleum processing and serve that plastics community. So, when you think of plastics, again, it’s everything from your water bottle right through to, again, your car. The dashboard and other elements that are there.

 

Karin Bursa (17:12):

But on the topic of gasoline, in particular, one of the shortage issues they say with gasoline is that somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of tank trucks are parked. And the reason that they’re parked is because there is a shortage in qualified drivers. And this is according to the National Tank Truck Carriers. Enrique, your business is moving things. So, help us, I mean, this personnel issue and qualified drivers, qualified workers, really, in every area of the supply chain. I mean, that’s going to be a choke point for us in the near future.

Enrique Alvarez (17:53):

I think it is and I think it has been for the last couple of years. And it just depends on how you’re breaking down the information and what kind of data you’re selecting for telling the story. And I was a consultant before, so you can always kind of take certain aspects or segments of that data and then just explain the story that you want to explain.

 

Enrique Alvarez (18:11):

But in this particular question that you post me, and to Kelly’s point, there’s so many different steps that you have to make to actually order things. And then, there’s the other component, which is one of the other steps, which is actually shipping it. And for actually shipping it, you actually need people. And, again, not to put everything into the pandemic, but before the pandemic, way back, we were looking at average age of a truck driver and things like this. And the average age has actually gone up to, like, 56 or 55, I believe it is right now. And there’s not a lot of younger people that want to come into the industry so there’s always been a shortage. And, of course, with the pandemic, it just got out of control. And that’s kind of what we’re seeing. We’re really seeing some of different factors that all came together and played out in the way that they’re playing out. And it’s just sometimes like the perfect wave, right? Port congestion can be attributed to that. Driver shortage can be attributed to that. And some of these other things are also a factor of just not having enough people for multiple reasons.

Karin Bursa (19:19):

Yeah. That’s a good point. And then, you add kind of insult to injury, if you will. So, Scott, I know that you’ve got a point of view on this one. But, you know, here in the Southeast, there’s currently a gasoline shortage. And so, in the Atlanta area in particular, there’s a little state of panic buying to fill your car up. And you’ll find gas stations that are completely out of gas, right? And that’s the result of a different kind of disruption. So, there was a ransomware attack on a business, on the colonial pipeline business, that impacted the ability to distribute. And so, in supply chain terms, we’re getting new signals of demand. Heightened demand or pulling demand forward and less supply in the marketplace. And so, we’ve got, you know, consumer behavior that’s different and is really amplifying some of the challenges that were happening network-wide.

Scott Luton (20:19):

Yes. We certainly are. And, you know, it’s impacting thus far different states differently, right? And still, there’s no firm date for when the pipeline will be completely back up the normal. And even when that happens, as we all know, there’s going to be some lingering impact that will linger for days exacerbated by what consumers are doing.

 

Scott Luton (20:42):

So, what we did the other day here in Luton household is, I broke out my RCB from behind the house and [inaudible] gas station. No. Kidding aside. Folks, don’t do this. This is internet. I’m not sure I got this from 20 people on one of my social feeds. This reminds me of some people that we all probably grew up with. But, folks, now is the time to be a good citizen. You know, get what you need. Folks are going and trying to go to their job. They’re trying to take kids to school. They’re trying to, you know, get stuff done. But, now, it’s not a time to hoard. Just like we heard when the TP – goodness gracious. I don’t even want to broach that subject back when that was happening, right? Just be a good consumer. Let’s control the panic.

Karin Bursa (21:29):

Yeah. I’ve got news for you, toilet paper shortage may come back around because lumber is at record highs. I mean, we have seen over 130 percent increase in lumber prices here in North America. And that pulp is part of that equation as well. So, that’s going to affect a lot of paper industries, including the toilet paper industry. So, there’s more coming.

Scott Luton (21:54):

There’s a lot more coming. Don’t squeeze the [inaudible] and don’t buy too much TP. But, hey, there’s some great comments here I want to bring in from our community. So, Peter – going back to some of the plastics deals – he says, “We can also add seat cushions to the list of upcoming shortages. Thanks to this Texas snow debacle that’s closed the refinery that produces 85 percent of U.S. resins used to make seat cushions. Toyota paused several plants as a result.” And then, Peter also says – I tell you, we’re going to have to make room for a fifth seat here – to Enrique’s point about the data, “Explain or exploit. Data tells whatever story you want to tell for any given situation.” Excellent point there. Let me share this from Brandie. Brandie, thanks for joining us here today. “Truck driving is a hard way of life for a little pay. I’m not surprised the average age has increased.” It’s a good point. Let’s see, Azaleah – hey, Azaleah. Great to have you back with us once again. “There’s a shortage of school bus drivers statewide in West Virginia. This is huge and affecting every industry.” Excellent point. That just adds, too, we already got attached by the digital divide. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t grow to an educational divide. All right. So, Karin, we’re tackling chicken next. Is that right?

Karin Bursa (23:10):

Well, we could talk chicken. We could talk [inaudible]. You guys, I don’t know if you’re aware, there’s a chicken shortage, just so you know. So, part of it is, apparently, chicken is a high priority menu item for takeout. And since so many people have been doing takeout of chicken wings and chicken dishes, but also something that we serve when we cook at home. So, there is a chicken shortage. And a catsup shortage. But I think the catsup shortage has more to do with packaging than it does with tomato harvesting and processing. But when you think of catsup packets, so the packets demand spiked by over 25 percent for these packets because restaurants are serving them with their takeout. But, also, because they’re not putting the bottles back on the tables as in restaurant dining resumed. So, the thought process is it’s much more sanitary just to give you the packets than to touch a bottle that somebody else’s has touched. But these things are just simple examples, I think, that are impacting our everyday life as well as our professional roles around supply chain.

Karin Bursa (24:16):

But it is so fascinating to me that this year of disruption has really continued to put supply chain at center stage. So, I really want to shift the conversation to how far we’ve come, what we’ve learned. And I want to hear Kelly, and Enrique, and Scott, you know, some of your insights about how we’re doing things differently. And if we’re really taking advantage of this time of disruption to accelerate the adoption and transformation of businesses. How’s that sound?

 

Kelly Barner (24:51):

Sounds good.

 

Enrique Alvarez (24:50):

Sounds wonderful.

 

Karin Bursa (24:53):

I was going to say, let’s start with something simple. So, we’ve just talked about these demand signals changing and product availability changing. And supply chain planning is all about balancing demand with availability. So, we’ve had to calibrate or, let’s say, recalibrate on a much more frequent cadence to do things like reduce risk exposure or harness opportunities in the marketplace. There’s just a multitude of disruptions right down to this recent ransomware example. So, Kelly, what are you seeing with these wide swings, how is this impacting procurement strategies and tactics?

Kelly Barner (25:33):

So, I think it’s impacting our strategies and tactics in a couple of ways. The biggest way is that, most procurement teams are not set up to find products and services for which there are shortages. We are set up and trained and optimized to get efficient pricing, get things in the right volume, with the right specs, in the right place, at the right time. And so, a lot of us are struggling now because we’re saying, “Okay. You can’t buy the spec that we want. You can’t buy the product that we want.” Or maybe it’s a tier two issue where our supplier is having difficulty delivering because they can’t get what they need. But it’s not an option to just, “Okay. Well, then let’s change the spec.” No, you don’t understand. There isn’t any of this pulp, lumber, plastic available. So, that’s one challenge.

 

Kelly Barner (26:22):

The other thing that I read about earlier this week, that is a huge source of concern for me, does deal with these stock-outs specifically in the retail sector. So, there’s been a lot of forgiveness over the last year. And I think procurement has made a lot of progress in terms of the relationships that we have with our suppliers. But, now, we’re getting to the point where Walmart, Albertsons, Cisco, they’re like, “Okay. We’re done with this. We want everything to go back to normal. If we order 10,000 jars of pickles from you, we want 10,000 jars of pickles to show up.” And, now, Walmart very specifically, also Cisco, and Albertsons, I believe, has set this on the horizon, they are starting to find their suppliers. So, if you don’t have 98 percent of the order fulfilled in place on time, they are finding you 3 percent of the value of what doesn’t get delivered. And that’s so tough because, on the one hand, I get where Cisco and Walmart are coming from. That’s great because it’s a B2B example and it’s a B2C example where this is an issue.

Kelly Barner (27:25):

So, I understand their problem. They need the stock that they order. But we’ve worked so hard to get away from these really tough relationships with our suppliers. And especially if we’re going back in to some shortages, whether it happens to be toilet paper or catsup packets or [inaudible] pickles, whatever it happens to be, if we’re burning bridges, we’re not even across the river yet. It’s not time to burn the bridge yet. And so, I’m a little bit concerned that for as much as we feel like we progressed and as much as we feel like we learned and changed to, you know, kumbaya with our suppliers over the last year, I’m worried it didn’t get in as deep as it really needed to.

Karin Bursa (28:03):

I mean, that’s a valuable perspective. And allocation never feels good if you’re the one getting allocated, right? Because you’re not getting 100 percent or 98 percent of what you’ve ordered or what you want. Enrique, what are you seeing in this area?

Enrique Alvarez (28:17):

Yeah. I think that relationships are very important and that’s something that people need to be very mindful about. Because at the end of the day, when things settle or when things evolve or when things change, like it will happen, the relationships are going to be there or not. And if you don’t have those relationships, because you actually acted probably selfishly or maybe the planning horizon was too short and you were short-sighted, then you’ll be in a lot of trouble when it comes to your supply chain and how competitive you can be compared to other companies out there. But, yeah, it’s two forces that are playing together at this point.

 

Enrique Alvarez (28:50):

And I talked with a lot of sourcing teams, and shipping teams, and the COO’s, and it’s just, on one hand, you’re actually trying to put all this fires and you’re working on a getting things done on a day to day basis. And then, at the same time, you’re thinking, “Well, what can we learn? How can we do things better?” But there’s just not enough time for planning. I mean, people are still just doing. And one good example of this is, for example, with the initiative that we had to kind of start helping India and sending some PPE, you see all these different calls and emails that we’ve been getting that are great of people trying to donate PPE. And it’s 6 million gloves here, 3 million gowns there. I’m like, “Well, why do we have so much PPE in the U.S. And now, all of a sudden, we were rushing to bring it from China. We stored it here. And, now, we’re going to try to rush it to send it to India.” So, I feel like we’re still seeing this cycle and it’s ups and downs, up and downs, and we’re in the middle.

Enrique Alvarez (29:44):

And if we’re actually trying to make, I guess, rash decisions right now, I feel like we’ll probably won’t get the right outcome. Catsup, for example. You’re having all this catsup packages and, all of a sudden, we’re going to have a huge brawling with waste, then plastics, crap. And then, there’s a shortage in plastic. So, we’re just trying to manage everything the best way we can. But I think we’re just hurrying up a little bit and maybe people should be like, “Okay. Let’s just take a break. Let’s just think about this for a second. Do we really need 10,000 jars of pickles? Yes, we probably do. But what if we buy 20,000, what are we going to do with the other five?”

Scott Luton (30:23):

Look, Enrique. My middle child, Gracie, has volunteered –

 

Enrique Alvarez (30:27):

We’ll send them to you.

Scott Luton (30:28):

– with the surplus with catsups and pickles.

 

Enrique Alvarez (30:30):

We will send all those catsups and pickles to the Luton family. But there’s a transit time. And there’s some things there in logistics that you still have to consider. Because if you order something today, it won’t get here today. A good friend of mine was talking to me last week from what happened in Texas, they were flying glue. When you’re chartering planes to fly glue, that’s just not a good sign because glue should not be flown anywhere.

Scott Luton (30:58):

So, much great knowledge that all three of you are dropping here. I got to share some of these comments from our friends in the comments, in the cheap seats. Chris Barnes, the Supply Chain doctor says, “The new school of thought, management needs to expect black swan events occurring every year. Kind of waters down the definition of black swan.” And, Karin, we’re talking about how definitions of different things are certainly evolving as well as the equations behind them. Let’s see here. Rhonda is talking about how work life changes and expectations and the employee experience. All that’s changing, right? For good reasons, oftentimes. And so, lots of more bouncing to come, as Rhonda points out. Mohib -I love this – “It’s interesting that we can communicate -” and fly helicopters, I would add “-to the Rover in Mars. But not so much across the road to tier three suppliers. Go figure.” Excellent point there. Mohib. Now, Azaleah says something here, she says, “Are we allowed to point out how large of a variable the media influence is now on consumer behavior?” That’s a great point.

 

Kelly Barner (32:00):

Excellent point.

 

Enrique Alvarez (32:01):

Really excellent point.

Scott Luton (32:02):

And this is, if you’ve got school aged kids and you’re parent, obviously, kind of that digital followed them home impact, it certainly worries you, probably. Media is the same way. Wherever you go, you’re almost inundated. And, now, consumers are savvy. This is a good thing. But you got to really pick and choose the signals that you pay attention to and you act on. So, that’s a great point there, Azaleah. Gosh, there’s so many here. Let me add this. We’ve got a LinkedIn user here that I want to point out – and let me know who this is, Amanda, if you would. He or she says, “Need to have a relevant risk appetite and risk posture. Reduction isn’t solving for the best outcome. Optimize risk and posture use data, scenario planning, and make sure you don’t single or sole source or order just in time.” So, Enrique, your just in time appearance, as Mohib pointed out, we can’t do that anymore. Kelly, that is our friend, Caray Cosey [??].

 

Kelly Barner (33:05):

Caray Cosey from Gartner.

 

Karin Bursa (33:07):

Gartner chiming in.

 

Kelly Barner (33:08):

Great points, Caray.

 

Scott Luton (33:10):

He’s becoming a LinkedIn superstar. We’re going to have to go through his age next time. But, Karin, a lot there, obviously, but how do we pick back up on and keep tracking?

Karin Bursa (33:19):

So, lots of good things there from the perspective of we have new signals, we have different signals. We need to figure out, are we putting priority on these short-term signals and how sensitive do we want to be. And how do we continue to build trust in our multi-enterprise business, because it is. We’re global. We rely on our suppliers. We rely on our carrier partners and distribution network to get those products in the consumer world, out to the consumers at whatever retail channel they’re interested in.

 

Karin Bursa (33:50):

And I really want to know, so that cadence changes. And we can’t just do weekly planning anymore. Things are changing too dynamically. We’ve got to be able to do the cadence that’s important, the weekly, the monthly, the quarterly. But we also need to recalibrate as frequently as possible. Let’s talk a little bit about some proof that leveraging advances in technology is really helping us make better decisions.

Scott Luton (34:17):

So, Karin, we’re talking about gaining agility, resilience, better business continuity planning, right?

 

Karin Bursa (34:23):

You got it. Absolutely.

 

Scott Luton (34:25):

I know your finger is on the pulse of a lot of developments in that area, really across global supply chain. What are some of the cool examples that you’re seeing?

Karin Bursa (34:33):

Yeah. So, there are a lot of examples that are happening in being able to kind of harvest, if you will, and interpret data, and new signals, and putting more weight on new signals. Where, we’re determining what channel those products are being delivered on. Meaning, is that direct to home? Is it direct to consumer? Is it coming through an E-retailer? Or is it in a traditional retail market? These are all considerations that, on the front end, are impacting demand, but also drive behavior through your internal supply chain. Whether we think about, you know, where those products should be housed and distributed from and the type of packaging they need. Are they packaged for a single serving size? Or am I still able to ship a carton of goods? You know, that’s back to the catsup example. Really interested, Enrique, to hear what you’re seeing in this area of proof points that advanced technologies or technology advancements are really driving the outcomes we’re looking for.

 

Enrique Alvarez (35:35):

Oh, I wouldn’t go as far to say that we’re driving the outlooks that we want. But they’re definitely accelerating whatever outcome that they’re trying to maximize. And sometimes I think that’s a little bit of a difference because, maybe the outcome that we want, or one company wants, or one supply chain wants, might not be the best outcome for the overall worldwide community of plastics or catsup packages or whatever. But there’s plenty.

 

Enrique Alvarez (36:02):

So, there’s really zero doubt in my mind that technologies just continue to accelerate this. Just the way the demand patterns have shifted and just as people were in lock down, they used technology aka Amazon, and just all this different ways of ordering products. And so, they went from experiences and going out on restaurants or vacations or traveling to just buying. And that shift in demand is kind of one of the main pieces, I believe, that has actually put us in the challenging situation that we currently are in. But that’s something that we can expect to be the new norm. So, technology will continue to accelerate demand the way it has, and maybe even faster with the drone delivery or 3D printing. And so, there’s a lot of exciting new developments in technology that are going to continue to change supply chain. And it’s exciting for people that are in supply chain, like we are. And I think it has put supply chain front and center, whereas before it wasn’t such an important area for many companies.

Karin Bursa (37:07):

Yeah. Absolutely. I think, you know, kind of back to the topic we were highlighting before, most of our supply chains have been designed for low cost repeatable processes. And more stability, let’s say, not a stable demand pattern, but more stability. And that helps us, Kelly, in those relationships and procurement strategies, right? With more volatility, what happens?

Kelly Barner (37:32):

It absolutely does. Well, it certainly makes it more difficult to keep the frameworks matching what the company needs. But, fortunately, from a technology perspective, there’s been a huge shift over the last year within procurement. I think we finally embraced the fact that process is not the biggest value we can bring to the company. There’s been sort of that association in the past. We’re moving towards a mindset where data, quality data, is our primary value proposition, which is allowing us to let go of the buying process. So, this is where technologies are coming in so that we can actually allow self-guided buying, self-sourcing. We’re actually democratizing the B2B procurement process, and that’s products and services. Listen, you need a contingent worker. You need paint, you need MRO, it could be anything. We have the technology. We have databases. We have supplier networks. Don’t worry about holding everybody’s hand through the process because there’s too much work to be done. And procurement is not big enough to do it all. So, we have to focus where the ROI is.

Kelly Barner (38:34):

Let people continue doing what they’ve proven as individual consumers they can handle responsibly. But, fortunately, we do have the technology to empower it. There’s been huge improvements in the usability. You don’t even really need training anymore in most cases, which is leaps and bounds from where we used to be. And so, I think we’re going to emerge from this saying, “Okay. Instead of a black list and a white list,” we’re saying, “Listen, do everything yourself, unless it’s above this brand threshold.” We don’t want 14 people in the enterprise all trying to negotiate separately with Microsoft. That’s never going to happen. It shouldn’t happen. But beyond that, err on the side of letting people do it, put the technology in place to make it possible. And make it successful so that you’re not creating risk just by feeding this desire for people to do their own buying.

Karin Bursa (39:21):

Yeah. You know, that’s a great point. I hadn’t really considered the fact that our user community is changing so much as well. I mean, the bulk of our workforce right now are really digital natives. They’ve grown up with more technology in the palm of their hands. And they’re able to navigate that and pick up on trends, or how to purchase appropriately ,or work within the guides that are given to them based on, you know, authorization as a part of that. I think that puts a lot of onus on solution providers, right?

 

Kelly Barner (39:54):

A ton.

 

Karin Bursa (39:55):

They’ve got to design with that usability or that user experience as a part of the equation. Enrique, I know you guys have focused a lot on having a great user experience. Any insights there?

Enrique Alvarez (40:11):

Yeah. So, I think to Kelly’s point and then to your point as well, like, the man is shifting and there’s newer, younger people coming in and they actually are more knowledgeable when it comes to, not only technology, but also when it comes to brands and responsible companies and sourcing. So, yeah, I think we’ll continue to see this trend. I don’t think that we’ll ever emerge from this, as some people might think. I feel like it will just be a continuum and we’ll adjust and adapt to this new way. Again, so the pandemic accelerated it, but I kind of feel like we were already kind of on track to do what’s happening in a certain way.

Karin Bursa (40:53):

You know, that acceleration message, I remember, Scott, you and I talked about this just a couple of months ago. McKinsey did a report late last year on the impact of the pandemic that said that, the digital transformation had accelerated by as much as four years. It may not feel like it. It may not feel like it to those of you that have adopted new technology or rolled that out. But I guarantee you, those that have waited are going to fill that difference because that gap just got bigger, that resilience.

Enrique Alvarez (41:26):

I feel four year older.

 

Scott Luton (41:26):

Yeah. I was about to say, I was 21 –

 

Kelly Barner (41:30)

Just four?

 

Enrique Alvarez (41:31):

[Inaudible] four last year. Yeah.

Scott Luton (41:34):

I was 21 when all this started. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective to tackle, not only supply chain as it will be moving forward, to Enrique’s point, but also to overcome the threats, new challenges, the new status quo, which is, things aren’t going back to where we were pre- pandemic in many ways. And we’ve got to embrace it and arrive at the solid foundation that you can build, basically, a new operation around. So, it can be truly resilient and more sustainable in a meaningful way.

 

Scott Luton (42:07):

If I can, Karin – goodness gracious – we’ve got some gurus in the cheap seats. We always do. But lots of comments here today. I want to share a couple. Mohib, of course, the bullwhip effect, right? If you’re a practitioner, you know exactly what he’s talking about. “They don’t teach this type of cases in school (yet),” he says. The operative phrase yet. Azaleah says, “To Kelly’s point about departmental sector design, what is the most profitable approach to restructuring systems to meet the current demands in this time? Do we try to alter the procurement design and objectives or do we diversify teams and create teams with representatives from each department?” We’re kind of going backwards a bit in the conversation, but that is such a universal question that goes far beyond just procurement. Kelly, what would you say to that?

Kelly Barner (42:55):

I would say that there’s a huge conversation happening around operating models in procurement. And probably the biggest divide -and, Azaleah, you and I have to connect and talk about some of this stuff. The biggest divide right now is about what does procurement need to be good at to deliver against the primary value proposition? So, the big tension is around where does category expertise need to live? Should we be experts in these different categories? Should we even consistently work in the same categories? Or should we simply be good at market Intel, data analysis, strategy, negotiation, supplier relationships, and let the business own all of that category expertise? Companies are looking at it very different ways. And even within individual companies, you have people saying, “Okay. These categories, we can just let the business on that or bring in a third-party expert if we really need it.” But in other areas, This is such a significant percentage of our spend. We can’t let go of it. We have to keep it in.” So, very difficult decisions are being made by procurement teams. How big are they? How do they hire? Who do they retain? What do they invest in current staff? We have a huge pivot happening right now.

Scott Luton (44:06):

Excellent point. And to Azaleah’s latter point there about diversifying, I’d go broader with that. You know, we were having a great conversation with a supply chain leader doing big things from the team over at Esker. He had a classical arts background and I’m like, “That is such a beautiful thing.” Think about the way he looks at problems so differently than so many other practitioners on the folks from all walks of life. So, we’ve got to diversify the team so we can challenge these problems head on.

 

Kelly Barner (44:34):

[Inaudible] diversity is diversity too, right? I mean, it’s all kinds of diversity.

 

Scott Luton (44:38):

Great point. Excellent point. All right. I wanted to share one other point from Brandie here. Then, I’m going to throw it back to you, Karin. Brandie says, “Technology is enabling visibility to supply chain risk throughout the tiers, allowing us, as customers, to plan better.” I would add to that. And Brandie great point. Greg just interviewed – and her name escapes me right now -but she’s part of the Kubera capital team. And she mentioned that, technology is the grandest democratizer. And that’s a wonderful thing. So, as many threats that are originating from a technology standpoint, hey, we’re going to use the power of technology, not only to beat those back, but also create opportunities for all across global business. So, that inspires me. I don’t know about you all.

Karin Bursa (45:23):

No, it’s a great point. And actually it’s a great lead in here, because I do think technology allows smaller companies to perform at a level that, in the past, was only available to those that could make those big technology investments. So, I think we’re leveling the playing field in a number of areas. But I want to ask Enrique, and Kelly, and Scott, your perspective as we kind of close out this theme of the bounce back begins. The desired outcome is that we’re going to emerge from this pandemic somehow stronger or more resilient in how we face future disruptions. That we’ve been able to kind of lay the groundwork, or change the technology, or leverage automation to perform in a more efficient or effective or responsive way. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a low cost solution or a low cost way to produce and move goods to market. So, Scott, let me kind of start with you. And then, I want to hear from Enrique and Kelly on that topic. Are we going to emerge from this pandemic more resilient? What’s your thought?

Scott Luton (46:36):

Well, I got to tell you on a lighter note, just outside to my right here, we’ve got all these bird feeders and stuff.

 

Karin Bursa (46:42):

[Inaudible]. Okay.

 

Scott Luton (46:43):

Well, yeah, you know exactly where I’m going, Karin. So, the squirrels have been eating all of my bird seed to the point where it’s been disincentivized birds to visit our lovely gardens. So, with one key bird feeder, we raised it and we have eliminated the squirrels access. However, you should see the acrobatics going on throughout the last hour for the squirrels that are bound and determined. There’s a supply chain analogy there somewhere, but I want to have some visuals.

 

Kelly Barner (47:08):

It’s very resilient.

 

Karin Bursa (47:09):

Very resilient, yes.

 

Scott Luton (47:11):

These squirrels are bound and determined to figure this problem out.

 

Karin Bursa (47:15):

Lots of agility happening here.

 

Scott Luton (47:18):

So, let me just say, some supply chains and their leadership, I have taken this opportunity to meaningfully truly transform the nature of their operations, how they lead, how they do business. And in a non-cliche way, transformation has been thrown around, you know, like bath water here lately. But I would argue that global supply chains, as we all know, are very interdependent on so many factors. And I think we’ve yet to hit that this notion of rock bottom – bedrock – that’s the phrase I’m trying – I don’t think we’ve hit bedrock on some of these fundamental foundations of global supply chain. You know, containers come to mind, the ports, all the stuff going there, workforce dilemma. Holy cow, talk about a universal challenge that we’re going to have for months, years to come. Even bringing it fairly local or regional to the Southeast tier and the cyber security issues. I am scared to death that we’ve seen the turmoil over the last, you know, 18 months.

 

Scott Luton (48:15):

Well, all of that really hasn’t been triggered yet, and I’m not going to a huge piece of wood by, you know, from cyber security issues. It could be. And as many analysts are pointing out, this could be a big sign of things to come, so we got to continue to stay ahead. We got to stay ahead. So, my answer long and short, my really technical answer to your question is, yes and no. Karin, sorry. I wish I had more of a stronger answer.

Karin Bursa (48:41):

That’s not fair. That’s not fair. You’re taking the middle ground there. But I’m not used to you being pessimistic. You’re usually the optimist amongst all of us here.

Scott Luton (48:54):

We’re challenging. We got to challenge – it’s interesting. And not to believe the fact, but we’ve seen all the no shortage of challenges the last 18 months, and really it’s blown everyone for a loop in many different ways. But one of the silver linings, maybe, we all didn’t recognize until this point in time is, you know, one of the things that didn’t rear its head in a way that it could. So, supply chain leaders, business leaders, consumers, hopefully, are going to take what we’re seeing right here right now in this huge disruption of a way of life and make changes to how we pass and share information and do business. We’ll see though. So, I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I think it’s very real.

Karin Bursa (49:38):

Yup. Yup. Absolutely. Enrique, what’s your thought? Are we going to emerge stronger, more resilient? What do you think?

Enrique Alvarez (49:43):

I think so. I think we’ll actually be much, much better off as things kind of settle and as we kind of move forward. And the reason why I’m so optimistic about this view is because I believe in people, and we’re smart. I mean, I know we’re super dumb in many, many ways. But in general, in general, I think we’re smart. I think technology is a function of smart people developing technology. I think supply chains are a function of smart people communicating and coordinating with each other. And I am a true believer that people are going through the right things. They’re learning from this. I know it by my experience, my kids’ experiences, that we’re just really learning and it’s been an incredibly painful learning experience. It’s been challenging. A lot of people have been impacted by this. And I hope it never happens again, but it will. And I think that’s just part of life. That’s just part of how supply chains work.

Enrique Alvarez (50:39):

And I’ll give you one quick example on why I’m so optimistic, and it’s just like the organizational structure that companies currently have. So, things as basic as you don’t have to come to the office. That’s just silly, right? I mean, you don’t have to have a desktop. You can have a laptop and work remotely and have phones all over the world. So, I think that companies are going to change a lot in many, many different ways. And I think those changes and that way of looking at things is going to be great.

Karin Bursa (51:08):

Yeah. That’s a great point. And I do think the workforce and the way the workforce contributes is going to be permanently changed as an outcome of this. And I believe that that should give us more resiliency and more agility because we should actually be able to tap into talent pools around the world. They don’t have to be located necessarily in one geography or another. Kelly, what’s your thought? Are we going to emerge more resilient or not?

Kelly Barner (51:36):

I’ll just speak for procurement. I think we are going to emerge more resilient. I think we’ve survived something. And procurement has never been quite as cool as all you supply chain guys. We’re just cool. We’re just cool. We’re just glad to be at the party. So, we’ve now survived something. And I feel like the way we conducted ourselves and the way that we handled ourselves has allowed us to start the foundation of a new legacy. Because we now can look back even 18 months and say, “Look at all the stuff we did over the last 18 months.” And we didn’t lose our cool – looking at you, Walmart and Cisco. We didn’t lose our cool. We dealt well with other people. So, I think we’ve started to set ourselves on a new trajectory where we’re more cohesive as a function. We can use the achievements over the last 18 months to recruit on.

Kelly Barner (52:24):

And we’ve proven that where there was nobody in place to step up and do a new task, we were ready, willing, and able to do that. And I think there’s a sense of pride that comes from that. And I think that’s going to give us the confidence to step up and continue to, not only do more things, but to let some of the more transactional work go. We’ve had a hard time letting go of some of that because it makes us feel good to be in control of it. It’s time to let it go. We’ve proven we can take a step up to the next level. And I think right now is the moment. We just have to keep it together. We have to give ourselves enough times for those new habits and those new patterns to really take root. I think this is a whole new beginning for our function.

Karin Bursa (53:04):

Yeah. I think that’s a great point.

 

Scott Luton (53:06):

I agree.

 

Karin Bursa (53:06):

I mean, let go of some of those things. To me, Kelly, when I hear that, that is a perfect example of an automation opportunity, where technology can contribute and automate that process. If these are routine functions that, maybe, are time-consuming, but not high value, that’s a great place to apply technology, to become more resilient. So, thanks so much for that perspective. And you’re invited to any cool party I go to.

Kelly Barner (53:38):

Can I bring, like, 10,000 of my best friends? Can I bring everybody?

 

Karin Bursa (53:42):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Scott Luton (53:42):

I got to share this. I’m surprising Kelly with this, but it’s out in the public domain, so I think I can do that. Kelly is one of our coolest amongst us. Look at that, that she commands. And if I can zoom in on the shirt, it says, Kermit, instead of mom across the cat tattoo, it says procurement.

Kelly Barner (54:03):

Yeah. Shout out to my friends, Aggie and Ashley, who sent me the sweatshirt. Amazing piece of branding. Take that to the next level, pull out the Harley, put on the sweatshirt. Keep two on the ground, everybody.

Scott Luton (54:15):

I love it. Well, as I mentioned I’ll surprise Kelly with that, but that is so cool. Look, as we all know, I’m not the cool one on all these panels. We’ve got Karin and Kelly and Enrique. Enrique, the ultimate optimist. How about that? We got to get you a new heavyweight title belt for that. But, Karin – gosh – a whirlwind of conversation here today. I hate that it’s almost the top of the hour, bottom of the hour – I always get that wrong. I hate to bring it to a close.

Karin Bursa (54:42):

It’s time. It’s time. But I want to thank Enrique and Kelly for joining us on this conversation. Scott, obviously, we could go on for hours on this. You know, if I could add that I think we are going to emerge more resilient. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy because it hasn’t. That doesn’t mean we won’t have some scars because we will. But it means if we choose to learn from these experiences and transform our businesses going forward, we have an opportunity to change the way business is done. And to be able to handle future disruptions, small and large, with greater resiliency. And, for me, technology is not just an IT CIO problem anymore. This is on the top of the list for your CEOs. They need the insights about their business and supply chain is their business.

Karin Bursa (55:38):

Making products, moving products, and satisfying customer needs is what the business is about. And if you’re a product space company, supply chain becomes very, very critical to that in all of its areas of domain. From procurement, through planning and technology, to new product design, to the logistics partners that you work with to get delivery of those goods at the time the customer wants, when and where, in the package size, all the permutations. So, we’ve got a real opportunity after being in center stage to stay in center stage for the years to come.

Scott Luton (56:17):

Agreed. Man, there’s so much goodness in what you just shared there, Karin. I think one of your points you made there, we have an opportunity to change the way business is done. I completely agree with you there. And I got to share this other one from Barbara, we’re talking about the cool factor. Barbara says, “Companies with the most resilient supply chains will be more competitive in the long run. Being able to capitalize on black swan events better than their peers. Supply chain resiliency is the new cool competency.” Excellent point. Okay.

 

Scott Luton (56:47):

So, before we bid ado to our dear friends, Enrique and Kelly, thank you so much on behalf of Karin and our team here. We love what you’ve shared here, but equally as important, we love all the other thought leadership you put out there. Kelly, you via Dial P, for Procurement, Buyers Meeting Point. I don’t know how both of you all get sleep at night. Enrique, I’m convinced you’ve got seven clones. But, hey, love Logistics with Purpose, Supply Chain Now in Espanol, and, of course, all the great things you are up to at Vector Global Logistics. So, thanks so much Kelly Barner and Enrique Alvarez.

 

Enrique Alvarez (57:21):

Thank you.

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The Bounce Back Begins

Featured Guests

Kelly Barner is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter, and the host of the Supply Chain Now program Dial P for Procurement. 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’.

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

He has a MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean and also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people and spending time with his wife and two kids Emma and Enrique. Learn more about Vector Global Logistics here: https://vectorgl.com/

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Karin Bursa

Host, TEKTOK

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

Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Jamin Alvidrez

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

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

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jada Carson

Marketing Coordinator

Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back!  She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator.  Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

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.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

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.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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