“You are a businessperson; you understand business. You’re thinking for your business and developing your business. Whether it’s the top line or the bottom line, that’s where the world should go. That’s what will help the world to get to market faster.”
– Shan Muthuvelu, CEO and President of UCBOS Inc.
“The biggest barrier is speed. Companies, especially larger companies, still have this old waterfall approach. They talk about agile all the time, but when they look into actually being agile and flexible and fast and quick, they can’t do it.”
– Kim Reuter is the Chief Advisor and Leader with CSG Consulting
Technology solutions have been making significant progress towards the objective of empowering experts and decision makers. At the same time, most people don’t have – or want – the ability to code, creating barriers and delays between those who can code and those who know what types of insight and automation the business needs to compete in an agile environment.
Kim Reuter is the Chief Advisor and Leader with CSG Consulting and Shan Muthuvelu is the CEO and President of UCBOS Inc. They understand the need for speed and the barriers that exist between companies and agile approaches in the real world.
In this episode, Kim and Shan Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton to discuss:
· Making flexibility possible through a no-code technology environment – both in the short term and ongoing
· Why detailed visibility is required to achieve a successful omnichannel strategy from the perspective of a company’s customers
· The difference between what people often think of as digital transformation and how it really needs to be done if the impact is to reach beyond insular terminology and techniques
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges, and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:00:32):
Hey, good morning. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s episode. Greg, how are you doing?
Greg White (00:00:40):
I am doing well, Scott. And I’m looking forward to speaking with our secret guests and all of the insights that they bring from transformation in spiking.
Scott Luton (00:00:50):
Well, you’re right.
Greg White (00:00:51):
[Inaudible] from this point, Scott.
Scott Luton (00:00:54):
Tag, I’m it.
Greg White (00:00:55):
Scott Luton (00:00:55):
So, we had a wonderful pre-show conversation with two of our favorites. One is a repeat guest, and this is going to be kind of like the latest installment of a sit down with him. And then, we have a new guest with us here today that’s a dynamo across social media, and events, and keynotes. So, we look forward to hearing her POV and insights here today. All around, Greg, diving into the top three supply chain digital transformation barriers. Now, you’re going to get a lot more than that. But at the core, we’re going to be talking about those key barriers that are preventing organizations from making as much progress as they’d like to with digital transformation. So, stay tuned as we work to improve your business leadership IQ. Greg, you ready to dive in?
Greg White (00:01:35):
Let’s do it.
Scott Luton (00:01:36):
All right. So, let’s welcome in our featured guests here today. First up, we have Kim Reuter, a global eCommerce expert and beyond. Kim, how are you doing?
Kim Reuter (00:01:45):
I’m doing well. Thanks for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
Scott Luton (00:01:47):
We are too. We’ve been tracking you a good bit. I know y’all did an earlier webinar with the UCBOS team, I enjoyed that. And I enjoy your thought provoking content on social as well. So, I look forward to getting it firsthand here today. So, joining Kim with us here is Shan Muthuvelu, a repeat guest, CEO at UCBOS. Shan, how are you doing?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:02:10):
I’m doing great, Scott. Good to be here. It’s always exciting to have a conversation around supply chain with Greg and you.
Scott Luton (00:02:20):
I agree. You never know what Greg’s going to say and we just all got to buckle up.
Greg White (00:02:25):
I never know what I’m going to say, but this is what I’m going to say right now. And I think the fact that Kim is an eCommerce pro is critical, especially how that’s contributing to disruption. If you can say disruption. But transformation in the supply chain, how can you have a conversation about supply chain these days without including comments? So, I’m excited to hear.
Scott Luton (00:02:47):
Well said, Greg. Well said. So, look forward to it. So, let’s start with this – and by the way, I should say, Shan is showing his colors here.
Greg White (00:02:56):
Yeah. I saw that.
Scott Luton (00:02:58):
A GT fan. A Georgia Tech fan, Shan.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:03:00):
Scott Luton (00:03:03):
All right. Perfect segue. Because upfront, before we get to the issues of the day and we talk digital transformation and more, let’s get to know our guests a little bit better. So, Kim, I want to start with you. Tell us about where you grew up and then you got give us the goods on your upbringing.
Kim Reuter (00:03:19):
Yeah. So, I grew up in rural Virginia in an area called Tidewater, so basically on the Chesapeake Bay. And I grew up in a waterman’s community. And my father was an artist. And I decided that I wasn’t going to be poor for the rest of my life, so I decided not to be an artist. So, I grew up in a very rural area with really hard working, you know, sort of watermen, and seafood farmers, fishermen, pound netters, crabbers, and grew up in a really connected to nature kind of way. And we’re up here, I went to school in West Virginia – Go Herd – Marshall University. And I spend most of my time running up and down the East Coast. And then, I moved out to Seattle to work for Amazon and Nordstrom.
Kim Reuter (00:04:07):
And then, about a-year-and-a-half, I came back to Virginia because this is where my people are. And I’ve been doing a lot of work with the watermen here in Virginia, a lot of philanthropy work. Helping them get into eCommerce, because when COVID happened, they lost the revenue streams. And we’re talking generational, fourth, fifth generation watermen. That’s all they know. That’s how they feed their families. And so, that has been really super rewarding work in working with those guys. So, I have no shortage of availability of seafood now. Actually, you know, I get paid in oysters. But it’s the feel good stuff.
Greg White (00:04:41):
Oh, my God. [Inaudible] the whole world, Kim.
Kim Reuter (00:04:43):
I do not complain. Every time I leave, they’re like, “You want some oysters?” I’m like, Yes, I do.”
Greg White (00:04:43):
[Inaudible]. I love it.
Scott Luton (00:04:48):
So, one quick up question, your father clearly chased his passion in life, being art. I bet that’s a powerful lesson learned for you in your career.
Kim Reuter (00:04:58):
You know, it was. It was sort of interesting. He actually worked for the government. He’s extremely humble. He was part of the Army Art Corps. He was a graphic artist. And then, early in the computer animation, like way back when it started. And worked for Department of Defense his entire career. His work is actually in the national archives. He’s a very talented artist. But, today, his passion is being a boat captain and that’s what he wants now. But, yeah, I grew up in a very creative environment, I would say, where free thinking was encouraged.
Scott Luton (00:05:36):
That’s wonderful. We need so much more of that today in the fight through the current and new challenges across industry. And, Greg, boat captain, they’re talking to your language, right?
Greg White (00:05:45):
Yup. My next job, win, lose, or draw is charter boat fishing captain, yeah.
Kim Reuter (00:05:50):
You’re a fisherman?
Greg White (00:05:52):
Well, I wouldn’t go that far, Kim. But I can drive –
Kim Reuter (00:05:55):
Well, we need to talk. We’ll talk offline about that.
Greg White (00:06:00):
Scott Luton (00:05:58):
Let’s do that. I just want pictures. I want lots of pictures. So, hey, Kim. Thanks so much for sharing. Shan, good morning. Great to have you back. I enjoyed our last sit down. I always learned something new from you and your team. But before we get to business, the same question for you, where did you grow up? And give us a story or two.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:06:16):
Oh, definitely. My father and my mother are both from India. But my father went to Singapore when he was four. And then, he became an entrepreneur and started his own business in Singapore when he was 17. And his mother was not there. His mother was in India. So, I was made in Singapore, but my mom raised me in India. I became an engineer, an electrical engineer. So, my father said, “You don’t have to be an entrepreneur. You don’t have to do business. Just get into school and get a job.” But what he started as a businessman in 17, I was able to do that only when I was 37. So, you could tell that that engineering thing slowed me down.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:07:01):
But I have to tell, I moved to U.S. after my engineering. At that time, I was more like a banking insurance consultant. Then, the company which taught me supply chain ground up and made me who I am today is Manhattan Associates. I owe it to them, because they hired me with zero knowledge in supply chain. I was just, you know, a good consultant. They believed in me and they trained me. But the opportunity that I got, I was in Atlanta for a week. Then, after that, I’m traveling. Traveling, that passion never stopped even this year. I’m a diamond medallion in Delta. So, you can imagine, I still travel all the time. And that passion started from Manhattan.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:07:45):
I did my executive MBA at Georgia Tech. I owe it to Georgia Tech for making me. I don’t believe that I can be an entrepreneur and a software company CEO. I never had the thought or vision before joining them. And then, you know, that program helped me to come out and try something new, go out and learn something new. And very quickly, to say within three years graduating from Georgia Tech, I was able to start my entrepreneurship journey.
Scott Luton (00:08:21):
Greg, there’s so much there between what’s Kim shared on the front end and what Shan has shared on the front end. It’s like we need to do a series here.
Greg White (00:08:30):
They’re beginning, right? Origin stories of superheroes.
Scott Luton (00:08:33):
Kim Reuter (00:08:33):
Scott Luton (00:08:35):
Shan, what you just shared there, I appreciate your transparency about how you basically garnered the faith in yourself between family and your journey, and then your educational journey. You know, and I need to do some backtracking, but I think I was 37 when I finally pulled the trigger. And I don’t have highfalutin degrees or engineering to blame for slowing me back. It was part the love for beer and pizza maybe. But, Shan, I really appreciate you sharing. And we’ll have to compare notes on our entrepreneurial journey, maybe, after the show.
Scott Luton (00:09:07):
And I think what you shared – on a more serious note – pre-show, certainly, our love, our thoughts, our minds, our actions are with all of our friends in India. And I want to remind our listeners, we’ve got a great nonprofit we’re supporting vibha.org, V-I-B-H-A.org, to help get some critical supplies to our friends. If you’re listening, check out the site and we’d love to have your support there.
Scott Luton (00:09:30):
Okay. So, Greg, before I kind of transition over to eureka moments and some other things, any commentary from you on what we just heard from Kim and Shan?
Greg White (00:09:40):
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think it’s interesting someone to bring an artistic perspective to supply chain. As you said, Scott, that’s really important. And then, of course, in Shan’s story, I don’t think you can overstate the impact of the ecosystem, the supply chain ecosystem in Atlanta, between Manhattan Associates, and UPS, and Millersville, and E3, and other companies that have been here for a long time and founded here and continue to operate here. I mean, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of them now. And, of course, Georgia Tech is such a great educator, a great knowledge builder, a great enabler of people with that mindset. So, I think it’s a great testament, not only to Shan, and obviously his respect and deference to both Manhattan and Georgia Tech, but also to the ecosystem in Atlanta. It’s a powerful thing to see when you see somebody like Shan come out of all of that hard work. It’s good to know that that worked [inaudible].
Scott Luton (00:10:47):
Excellent point. Excellent point. I appreciate that and completely agree with you. So, I want to shift gears over to kind of getting a better professional feel for both of our guests here. And so, Kim, tell us what you do now. And then, also, we have all these eureka moments across our journey, in recent times, you know, every day. Tell us what you do and give us a key eureka moment that you’ve uncovered as part of your journey.
Kim Reuter (00:11:13):
So, currently, consulting global eCommerce. I work with companies of all sizes that are either trying to move into the DTC space or expand their footprint worldwide. I also help them with their supply chain. And a lot of what I think about – so I started my career as a freight forwarder broker in Norfolk and Baltimore, so I’m a licensed customs broker. So, I started my first 15 years within that end of supply chain. And then, I moved into the direct to consumer piece of supply chain. So, I help clients work through that whole piece and understand the speed and the intricacies of doing an eCommerce business. Because it is entirely different than a retail organization. And a lot of companies have a really hard time understanding that. And they have to fail again and again and again, until they start to realize that. So, if I can get engaged with them, I can walk them through some of these things so they can avoid those boulders in the night, as we call it.
Scott Luton (00:12:17):
Yes. And avoid those painful eureka moments. You know, they’re not all created equal, unfortunately.
Kim Reuter (00:12:23):
Yeah. I have a great eureka moment. So, when I started as a broker import customs compliance, I was all about regulations and laws and, you know, that kind of thing. And I got recruited by Amazon in 2005 to build out a program at the time, it was called TIMEX. I spent three quarters – this is actually cute story. I spent three quarters of my interview thinking that we were talking about watches, because they kept talking about TIMEX. And so, I’m in this little tiny room at Amazon. Like, they lock you in there for like eight hours. They don’t even feed you. That’s it. It’s an endurance test. And they were like, “TIMEX. TIMEX. TIMEX.”
Greg White (00:13:02):
Kim Reuter (00:13:02):
“Damn. These people are all about the watches.” But it actually stood for Transportation Import/Export. It was actually the worst name I’d ever heard. But anyways, so I started at Amazon and, you know, I was suddenly in charge of, like, all imports and exports at Amazon in 2005. And I was specifically hired to build out this program called Amazon Global and launch this new product, which is at the time, was one of the industry leading cross border solutions for eCommerce – and still the industry leading solution – but it was brand new to the market. And I was having a hard time because people were coming to me and asking me my opinion. And I was like, “Nope, can’t do it. Nope, can’t do it. Hazmat. Legal Aid, blah, blah, blah. No, no, no.” So, people started working around me about six months in. Like, people would just stop coming to me and they were doing their own thing. And I was like, “No. This is my job. You have to come to me.” And I was just fighting it the whole way.
Kim Reuter (00:13:56):
And I went to my mentor by the name of Mike McKenna, who actually recruited me to go work at Amazon. He and I had worked together previously at Expediters. And I went to Mike and I was, like, teary-eyed and I’m like, “They’re not listening to me.” You know, I’m just trying not to cry. And I’m just like, “I don’t know what’s going on.” And I’m just whining. And all of a sudden, I can tell that Mike doesn’t care because he leans back and he’s like – and I’m like, “Why aren’t you going to help me?” He goes, “No. I’m not going to help you, Kim.” And I was like, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Here’s your problem, you’re saying no too much. You have to stop saying no. No is not the answer. You have to come up with three different options, and no cannot be it. Yes, you can do it. Yes, we can do it, it’s a lot of risk. And yes, we can do it, but somebody is going to jail.” Those are your answers. You can no longer say no.
Scott Luton (00:14:44):
I love that. It’s like the anti –
Kim Reuter (00:14:46):
So, that was my eureka moment. And I stopped saying no.
Scott Luton (00:14:49):
I love it. It’s like the anti-Steve Jobs advice. It seems like, “You got to say no. You got to say no.” But I love that important lesson learned, because you also got to enable your teams, enable your people. You know, you talked about failing. If we’re not failing, we’re not trying. And you’ve got to say yes, so folks can succeed and fail. So, Kim, that was worth the price of admission just what you shared there. So, looking forward to what we’re going to be tacklng next.
Scott Luton (00:15:16):
But, Shan, before I pass the baton to the one and only Greg White, let’s make sure we capture what you’re doing now. We’ll talk about UCBOS in a minute. Tell us about what you’re doing now and that key eureka moment.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:15:31):
Currently, you know, I’m just trying to help my companies grow. Then, my customers solve their supply chain digital transformation problems. That’s what I am personally helping them with. And then, my eureka moment, you know, the large enterprises or small to medium businesses that we deal with around the world, for them to be leading in the market, to be successful, they have ERP systems, they have supply chain, best of the breed packages, they have middleware platform, they have data warehouses, data lakes, you name it. But I was wondering why there is no business platform. Why there is no business platform? They have everything. They are even coming up with new things, like Blockchain and AAM, all kinds of stuff.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:16:20):
The reason there is no business platform is, how do you go design and develop their business platform? If you develop one for Coca-Cola, it will be for Coca-Cola business platform, Delta business platform, Home Depot business platform, [inaudible], the leading grocery company in the world business platform. And I thought I can do a business platform if that business platform is 100 percent self-learning, self-adapting. Meaning, it can be a Delta business platform. It can be a Coca-Cola business platform. It can be American militaries business platform. And that was my eureka moment.
Scott Luton (00:16:59):
I love that. All right. So, Greg, where do we go from here?
Greg White (00:17:04):
Well, I have a couple of questions. One, Shan, can you give us a quick definition of business platform? Because what I sense, the learning aspect of it is kind of like Kim’s eureka moment. You can work at a place and understand that business very well, but you have to go to another place and learn it to be able to work in that environment. So, I get the learning aspect of it. But I think it would be great to share kind of the definition of business platform for our listener.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:17:37):
Definitely. Yeah. So, a business platform is, instead of you putting together a platform, developing components at a granular level to do, let’s say, this will do warehousing, this will do transportation, this will do master data, and this will do all my scenario planning for my business. Stop thinking like that. A business platform is, the business users – not the developers, IT architects. This is the business user – he thinks, “I got a department. I have an organization. My organization is in charge of transportation, but that is tied to government regulations.” Let’s say, your department is in charge of transportation tied to government relations. Then, what do you need as a solution to run that department and organization? That means you should be able to put your policies, procedures, connect to all the systems, whether it’s your ecosystem or external ecosystems.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:18:35):
But build a solution for you connecting the policies, procedures, systems, data, everything, including all the latest mission learning and everything by yourself without a single line of coding. The business users, whether you are a business analyst or a business architect or a supply chain engineer or an operational manager, can you build this organization and compose your own solutions? Because if you go to the market, there won’t be a solution available for you because you have WMS, TMS. But you don’t have transportation tied to government policies or pricing tied to merchandising or an inventory demand planning tied to IoT. So, this is the place where we want a business platform where you can compose it and you are not creating the code.
Greg White (00:19:27):
So, you create the connections between those various segments of solutions yourself right at your desk.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:19:33):
Greg White (00:19:34);
Oh, my gosh.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:19:37):
Scott Luton (00:20:30):
Greg, I got to pick up on, I think I’ve just been clicking buttons my entire career. So, I love that phrase, Shan. I think so many folks can relate to that.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:20:39):
Yeah. Scott can replace Greg.
Scott Luton (00:20:42):
I don’t know about that.
Greg White (00:20:43):
Click the button. Here’s the say anything button. Well, that’s fantastic. So, that’s a bit of what you’re doing at UCBOS is, a solution that enables business users on the desktop to build their own solutions, to build their own viewpoint, to build their own visibility into their business and into their business partners as well. Is that a fair estimation of what you’re doing at UCBOS?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:21:09):
Yes. Yes. So, even though the acronym stands for Unified Commerce Business Optimization System, but it is really the world’s first business composable supply chain transformation platform to increase your productivity and profitability in days or weeks. Steffanie, who’s a VP of Sales in our company, she is the one who came up with the days and weeks because we can bring up a solution in days or week. We can connect complex IT ecosystems or supply chain ecosystem in a week without a single line of code. And this is a completely SAS in the past and no code. But it’s not only no code. Let’s say, if Delta adapts this platform and develops a hundred million dollar worth of solutioning in the next ten years, that hundred million dollar worth of solutioning does not require a single extra line of code.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:22:04):
That is the change for them. If you are creating the hundred million dollar worth of solution without a single line of extra code, that is the total cost of ownership savings for the future. Then, you don’t have the black boxes. You don’t have to re-engineer because you’re not coding. That is the billion dollar savings for the multi-billion dollar companies. And this is not meant for small businesses. This is for massive enterprises who do not want to create the black boxes and the total cost of ownership, and custom coding, bespoke development, custom integrations. And this platform enables them also to do plug and play with the ERPs, Manhattan Cloud WMS, Article OTM, Cloud, IoT, you name it. And that’s the game, days or weeks plug and play
Greg White (00:22:59):
That’s powerful stuff. Because the other thing that enables is the ability to experiment. You don’t have to say no. You can say, “Yes, it’s tough.” Or, “Yes, it works for now. And we might have to change it later.”
Shan Muthuvelu (00:23:14):
Well said. Well said. Since we’re not generating any code and test and deployment, nothing, you’re business users, you throw a hundred scenarios. On average our guys throw 50 scenario planning workflows in two days. So, you can imagine, right? And out of the 50, even if five producers top line results or bottom line results, the remaining 45, all you have wasted is the business analyst time of two days.
Greg White (00:23:42):
That’s fantastic. Gosh. I just think that’s so powerful these days to allow desktop users to kind of solve their problems. In the past – distant past, Shan – we used analytics that were a little bit more intuitive that allowed users to do that and not have to go to IT. And, also, not create all that technology debt for a company. Because if you’ve spent days or hours building something, if you stop using it or disable it, the investment isn’t significant enough for it to be that impactful cost-wise. So, you don’t feel obligated to use it. And I think that’s really powerful.
Greg White (00:24:21):
So, you know, what I think this really enables is, look, we talked a lot about transformation, digital transformation, supply chain transformation, all kinds of transformations. But because things are so much in flux, it seems like this is kind of a great vehicle. But there are a lot of things that get in the way of those kinds of transformations. So, Kim, as you worked with a lot of companies, can you tell us a little bit about some of those barriers that you’re seeing and how companies are attacking those?
Kim Reuter (00:24:54):
Yeah. Absolutely. So, the biggest barrier is speed. And companies, especially larger companies that Shan works with, they still have this old sort of waterfall approach. They talk about agile all day, right? They’re just like, “We do agile.” They got all the books and they got all the terms down. But when they actually look into enacting that and actually being agile, and flexible, and fast, and quick, and all those things, they can’t do it. And so, speed is especially – first of all, just in eCommerce. Period. It’s all about speed. And especially right now, since we are making ten years, we’ve grown eCommerce to ten years in the last year. So, companies who are just waiting, it’s not working. And so, as an example, I have clients who are trying to do DTC and get 3PLs set up, and you got about two months right now to get into a new 3PL, if you can find space. Because you have to be in and ready by September. I tell my clients, “You got to be in and cranking by September. You got to be ready for peak season. We’re not sliding in on November 1st. It’s never going to happen.” And so, when I talk to companies who were like, “Well, we’re not sure yet. We’re going to wait and see what Amazon does this year.” I’m like, “Well, I’ll see you on the flip side because it ain’t going to work.” So, speed is so, so important right now.
Greg White (00:26:23):
Yeah. And especially now, because we’re already preparing for peak, right? It’s May. So, imports, if they’re even going to make it here, they better be on their way and they better be headed for a port. Because there’s going to be a big delay in getting them landed.
Kim Reuter (00:26:37):
Greg White (00:26:41):
And a lot of companies, they have their peak goods landed by September as you’re talking.
Kim Reuter (00:26:47):
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. When I was running imports at Amazon, our last peak season inventory was in by mid-October the latest.
Greg White (00:27:01):
Well, I think that’s probably only because you didn’t also have to deploy to stores, right? At Nordstrom, I’m sure they were in even earlier, right?
Kim Reuter (00:27:09):
Yeah. Because then you have to do the distribution and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. But in order to, like, keep up with eCommerce and try to compete in this world, the things that Shan and UCBOS are doing are what’s going to enable companies to move quickly.
Greg White (00:27:27):
Well, Shan, I mean, you must be seeing a lot of the same thing. You speak to a lot of chief supply chain officers, and chief digital officers, and CTOs, and that sort of thing. So, what are you seeing in terms of hurdles, barriers, whatever you want to call it , to transformation?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:27:49):
Definitely. I would concur with Kim as well, the speed. Slow speed to solution is definitely on their mind, because of two reasons. One is the time and one is the budget and the resources. So, they want it faster. I met a chief digital officer in a very known company. I don’t want to code them. It was a personal meeting. But he wants to transform a store in Atlanta into a fulfillment center. And then, typically, what comes to our mind is, “Okay, fine. Just a WMS implementation. Just a store becoming a warehouse.” But he said, “No. Shan, no. Not big like that.” I want to do warehousing functions, store functions, inventory functions, customer experience functions, and also in a more office functions in this one facility. That means I need a new solution.” It’s almost like a new way he wants to run the store, including automation, all kinds of tasks, which have nothing to do with the inventory. More to do with customer experience and other things. But he wants this in two months and he wants everything to be like a process flow building system.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:29:05):
So, it resonated with what we are trying to do. So, what I see definitely in the market is that speed to solution, faster. But what they’re throwing is not what I’m known to. They are throwing a process that they want, creatively putting things together, but they’re expecting that to happen very, very fast. It’s almost like, “I want to land in Mars. I’m going to procure a Ford engine, but you got to make it happen.” Just procure the components everywhere and piece it together, man. And the mission is not going to Seattle or going to Cedar Rapids. The mission is to go to Mars.
Greg White (00:30:00):
Yeah. That’s a good point.
Scott Luton (00:30:02):
That’s a great one.
Greg White (00:30:03):
So, I know there are other things that you guys are seeing out there. Kim, do you want to take a shot at some of the other kind of barriers that you are seeing? You both work with so many companies, so maybe share one or two more that you all are experiencing. And if you can, how you are or how companies are attacking and overcoming some of these.
Kim Reuter (00:30:27):
Yeah. I think the biggest thing that I see out in the market today – and it’s something that I harp on all the time in a lot of my blogs and podcasts – these people want to jump into this Omni-channel space. That word’s been around forever. And so, people want to do pickup at store. They want to do pickup at my warehouse. They want to do pickup at somebody else’s store. They want to do all these things. And they throw all this money into marketing and customer experience and all of this like upfront stuff because that’s where the money is spent. And they don’t spend any money – or we get the little pennies that come out of the bottom of the stove – to work on supply chain and logistics.
Kim Reuter (00:31:08):
Or they’re all about like, “Oh, We’ve got, like, Uber drivers who are going to do all our deliveries. We’re going to do deliveries in two hours. That’s so cool.” And I’m like, “Well, do you know where your stuff is? Because that’s awesome that you’re going to be able to deliver something in two hours. But if it takes you seven hours to find it, I don’t see where the benefit is.”
Kim Reuter (00:31:27):
So, you know, I continue to see that in the industry where people are not taking supply chains seriously. And they aren’t understanding supply chain’s impact on the customer experience. And I think we’re getting a little bit of a taste of that now. When people ran out of toilet paper, they all of a sudden understood customer experience with supply chain. They have a very bad experience. And so, that’s what I’m seeing in the market, is that, companies have to look at things like inventory integrity. They have to look at things like visibility, real time reporting and integration within organizations. You would be surprised how many big companies out there still have IBM servers on prem. Like, “Do you warm your coffee with that? Like, why do you have that?”
Greg White (00:32:21):
Because it’s still running. I mean, that seems to be the main answer. It just won’t go away.
Kim Reuter (00:32:26):
Exactly what they say. They’re like, “We know where it is. We know how it acts. We’re okay with it. There’s no surprises with this.” So, that’s what I’m seeing in the market, is that, companies are slow. And I think the other reason that companies are slow to embrace supply chain as a customer experience is, it’s really hard. It takes a lot of integration. It takes a lot of software. It takes a lot of effort. And it’s not sexy. It doesn’t show up on a website. So, that’s where I see a lot of what’s happening in the industry.
Kim Reuter (00:32:59):
And I think what Shan is bringing into UCBOS, is bringing to the table, is a way to break through those barriers, and be able to work across systems, and have inventory visibility, and create better customer experiences without going through an eight month ERP and a three-year implementation. And I know that sounds crazy, but those are the real numbers.
Greg White (00:33:21):
Yeah. I love –
Scott Luton (00:33:23):
The passion there, Greg.
Greg White (00:33:25):
I love to tell the story of the first company I consulted at as an independent – do I shan’t name? And they said, “We’re in the seventh year of our two year X implementation.” So, it happened. That’s true. And it’s interesting because we’ve heard a lot of phrases and a lot of companies, as you said, they think of customer experience as presenting the goods well, and delivering the goods well, and delivering them in time. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how you present them or how fast you deliver them if you don’t have them. And to me, the ultimate arbiter of customer experience is to have the product that the customer wants. Shan, what else are you seeing in terms of barriers to transformation for some of these companies?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:34:19):
Oh, definitely. So, if it takes speed as the first barrier, the couple of other barriers definitely on top of the C-level [inaudible], one is the systems are disjointed. They were not able to converse their ecosystem. They were not able to orchestrate between their systems and their ecosystem. But now, they have even taken it to the outside ecosystem. Meaning, you have your own ecosystem as a company, as an enterprise. That already has maybe ten best of the breed, one or two ERP, and hundred plus bespoke modules or maybe just SAS and modules.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:35:00):
But now, they want to connect to the 3PL ecosystem, as Kim is talking about, your supplier vendor ecosystem, your in Puerto Rico system. Last but not the least, your customers, right? That’s what even Kim was talking, the customer experience. The customer wants to know, “I did not get the product. Where is my product? Are you still milking the cow in Denmark or in India or Vietnam?” They want to know that. They are not just interested in, “Okay. I won’t get it for the next three weeks.” That’s the level of detail they want. And that means, you know, that the convergence that is required is in your ecosystem and also in the external ecosystem. And even putting all these ecosystems connected, bring the data the way you want to see it, then they’re saying, “Don’t show me data which is outdated.” Meaning, don’t show me end of the night data, end of the week data. I want real time disability because I want it predicted, “Can you ship it to Kim tomorrow 5:00 a.m. or not?”
Shan Muthuvelu (00:36:12):
And then, who’s going to fail? What if the last mile delivery company fails? That’s what I see in this. Almost 90 percent of the shipment that I wanted to my home, which are not small deliveries, did not come, nobody even followed up. I have to follow up back to them, whether it’s for my home or from a company. For my home, “I ordered new toilet, it didn’t show up. And nobody even followed up. It took me many, many weeks to even find out who’s the last mile delivery company. It’s not openly available.” The same thing for a businesses. “We ordered some custom made mailboxes. Man, it didn’t show up.” And they were basically asking me, “Go cancel it.” I said, “If I cancel it, I will wait for another six weeks, eight weeks.” So, that’s what is happening. So, how do you join your ecosystem, external ecosystem, then, again, getting the visibility, but all in high-speed. These are the three barriers that we want to overcome for our customers.
Greg White (00:37:15):
And I think that’s really important for the customers. Because customers are more aware of Supply Chain Now than they ever have been. First of all, they’re aware of it at all, which is way more aware than they ever have been. And I know this because when I talked to my parents about supply chain at the dinner table, I don’t have to explain it anymore. And customers know, like you, Shan, I mean, you don’t have to be in the industry like you are to know to try to figure out how to chase down where your product is. And even if you have to do that, and even if you can coordinate that, that’s still responsive, not preemptive. And I think to be able to be more preemptive in supply chain is the absolute critical factor. Because we heard – this was a philanthropy, but I think it applies to everyone – from someone in Africa who said, “No product, no program.” So, if you can’t deliver the product, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, or how good your product selection is, or how good your checkout experience is, or how fast you say you can deliver if you don’t have it. So, we have to meet a lot of those expectations.
Kim Reuter (00:38:31):
Yeah. There’s an interesting stat out there, actually, that 80 percent of first time customers to a website will not come back if they have a bad delivery experience. So, when you think about that, if you have a new DTC business or you’re trying to grow your business, and you dump all this money into customer acquisition – and I’ve worked with companies that have spent like $700,000 per customer for acquisition. And those aren’t even that outrageous of numbers – and then turn around and cancel 20 percent of the orders because they don’t have any idea what’s going on with their inventory. You’re literally just throwing money out the door. Like, it’s just, “Just give the customer 800 bucks then. I mean, that’s basically what you did.” So, speed –
Greg White (00:39:17):
You can get a lot of customers doing it that way, Kim.
Kim Reuter (00:39:22):
This is why I don’t work in marketing by the way. But companies aren’t taking the supply chain seriously yet.
Greg White (00:39:29):
Wow. That is stunning. After what we have seen on the heels of COVID, you know, the awareness among consumers, the companies aren’t doing that. I mean, I know that there are many, many more who are much more aware, like the watermen on the Chesapeake Bay. I assume they’re selling direct to some extent. The channels of their supply chain broke down on them and they really had no choice. We’ve seen farmers doing the same thing and even small arms. People buying chickens. I don’t know if you know this, that’s a huge thing. People are buying chickens in their backyards. But that’s making some homeowner’s associations pretty happy.
Kim Reuter (00:40:15):
Let me tell you, I had a fight with the rooster down the road the other day. That little booger went off at like 4:00 a.m. and he went all day long. And I was like, “You and I are going to have a conversation to the thousands again.”
Scott Luton (00:40:28):
And it’s going to involved mashed potatoes.
Greg White (00:40:30):
Yeah. That’s right.
Kim Reuter (00:40:32):
CocoBed, that’s how it started.
Greg White (00:40:33):
Your Amazon experience, people aren’t saying, “No, that can’t be done.” They’re saying, “Yes, it’s risky. Yes, it’s costly.” Hopefully, they’re not saying, “Yes, I could go to prison.” But people are finding a way to get goods if consumers can’t get goods or if shippers can’t get goods to them. So, you have to perform in this day and age. And so, much of transformation. First of all, when I think about digital transformation, I think there are a hundred definitions. And Scott and I were recently introduced to what seemed like a four-hour conversation around digital transformation by two really expert people. They used a lot of terms I have no idea about. One of them was really smart and he was sure to tell us every 15 minutes just how smart he was. And that didn’t help me, frankly. That did not help me understand digital transformation.
Greg White (00:41:34):
So, I’m curious, I think there are a lot of companies out there that are sort of defaulting to no, because digital transformation is hard to conceive. It’s hard to construct. It’s hard to deploy. So, when you experienced that, so many companies that don’t know where to start, where do you all suggest that? How do you suggest that executives or leaders take on this task and really get started with digital transformation? Shan, you want to take that first?
Kim Reuter (00:42:06):
Greg White (00:42:07):
Shan Muthuvelu (00:42:08):
Okay. No problem. Yeah. So, you know, the common thing that people think, you know, digital transformation means just digitally eCommerce. That’s not true. But it’s not that they are not getting it. It’s really in a way to start where we end, that’s the thing. And then, in one liner, we can say, how you can make your physical processes disappear. But I also take it in my own world, what it takes for you today. You created a solution, whether it is a bad housing solution, or an inventory availability solution, or an IOT solution, and you have done it. It is still a program that runs behind the scenes. It’s not paper. But if you have to modernize it, either you have to modernize it, or bring in a new system, or build your own system. What is it taking for the transformation?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:43:04):
If that transformation is a manual spreadsheet planning, a team deciding, “I need to plug this out, plug this in. I need to sunset this, bring this in. I need to code this, uncode this.” If that’s what you’re doing in your transformation, and all you’re doing is, again, manual work, then, again, creating the black boxes. But instead of the black box running in a COBOL or RPG, it’s going to run in maybe Angular and Java, so be it. So, what did we gain? You just transformed the same problem into a more complicated problem. At least in RPG, I can press 14 and that will compile and deploy at the same time in production in one second. In the new world, I have no idea what went wrong. I need to pull in like, you know, ten guys to investigate what’s going on. That is the transformation you are going through, then that’s not what you want to do as a digital transformation.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:44:04):
Your digital transformation should be how your organization, your business people and IT people, can orchestrate your transformation of going from one department to another department, one line of business to another line of business, merging with another company, or setting your goals or resetting your goals. All these things should be done in a system digitally. And that is the true digital transformation. I am going from a larger DC distribution to a market DC. I’m transforming my store into a fulfillment center. I am making my store 20 percent occupied by people, 80 percent itself operated by customers. You walk in, you are operating. And I’m going to enable store workers to be school kids. I’m going to enable my neighbors to do my curbside pickup. This is the new world, right? How do you enable this kind of digital transformation, but without coding for it and without sitting and developing it? This is the digital transformation.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:45:11):
Your business, no matter what you want to do, can you do it faster with the great minds you have? The great minds you have are the people who understands your business. Companies should not think you are not a software company, you are not a development company. You are a company selling a product, giving a service. That is the strength. And that’s the great minds they have. And, today, instead of spending the time on how to grow the business, how to give the customer experience, they are researching and troubleshooting why my code did not deploy, why my data did not translate. That is not digital transformation. Digital transformation is how you can grow your business in a way that you can do anything that you want in terms of, as I said, line of business, collaborating with others, customer experience, bringing in applications, but without manually sitting, and touching, and doing, and deploying.
Greg White (00:46:11):
We’ve talked so much about speed and needing to be agile in an environment like this where things are changing so fast. And I think this no code type solution that you’re talking about, Shan, it’s critical to being able to do that. Because you may have a view that you need or a set of data that you need to analyze just one time. But it’s absolutely critical in that moment to solve that problem for that customer, right?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:46:40):
And I think, this technology is produced by Oracle SAP or Manhattan for the specific modules are someone like us or even if you’re IT. The world has to be working in a business platform setting where you can compose everything together. This is not just the UCBOS is the only solution that’s going to do this. Everyone have to adapt to this philosophy and thinking. And we are open to even consult with corporates, educating them on how we do things so that they can also do things this way. It saved us money in so far as creating a million line of code to do what others are doing. If we only created, like, one thousands of that code, but it still does the same thing.
Greg White (00:47:35):
It’s interesting because that tech debt is real. I’ve just worked with a tech company that had to wipe out a million lines of their own code because it was unused anymore. And they had moved on to new techniques and that sort of thing for some of their technologies. A name you might be familiar with, Shan.
Greg White (00:47:57):
So, you worked with a lot of companies too. Please, I know that you have to have shared this knowledge with some supply chain execs. But please give some insights from your perspective on how companies can tackle this digital transformation, and maybe even how you’ve seen some companies practically deploy it.
Kim Reuter (00:48:19):
Yeah. So, I think the first thing when I talk to a company – and this is going to sound kind of petty – I try to get them away from all the new industry terms. So, I went to go work for a big Fortune 500 on my first consulting gigs. And I get in there and the first thing they’re talking about, everybody’s talking about their big rocks. I’m like, “I don’t really want to see your big rocks. I’m not interested in your big rocks.” But what it was is that, they had read this whole philosophy about planning and how you set milestones and things like that. And they were so wrapped up in the terminology that they weren’t getting any work done. So, that’s one of the first things I try to do is, either embrace what they’re saying or just get rid of it because it’s not useful. Because that, to them, is digital transformation.
Kim Reuter (00:49:11):
We’re agile now. We’re using the right terms. We’re having stand-ups. We’re passing a teddy bear around and who gets to talk. And it’s like, that’s not what digital transformation is really about. Digital transformation is about getting rid of Excel Spreadsheets, is getting rid of set it and forget it, is getting rid of – amen. Preach it – getting rid of, like, three year RFPs. And I worked with a company that was still implementing software that was seven years old. And I was like, “You literally bought a brand new BMW seven years ago, and you’re still waiting for it to arrive, and you’re still paying for it. Why are you doing this?”
Kim Reuter (00:49:53):
So, I think digital transformation is really about a change in the mental model and the mindset with how companies think about deploying and implementing software. And then, also how they think about how they do business. Because retail can’t trump all anymore. A lot of retail companies have a hard time putting digital above retail, because they’ve been a retail company for so long. They have a real hard time prioritizing the eCommerce business over the retail business.
Kim Reuter (00:50:19):
And then, the other thing that I see that is one of the biggest challenges out there is getting executive alignment on exactly what it means and kind of what you guys talked about. Is that, you get two executives talking about digital transformation and they’re talking about two entirely different things. They’re not even on the same page. And then, you got organization’s going in different words. So, you know, in summary, I think having clear vision on what that means for an organization, not getting wrapped up in the terms. And what that does is actually oppresses the workers, the actual people doing the work. Because now they got to learn all these stupid terms, too, and they can’t get any work done. And then, also embracing speed. We keep talking about speed. You have to move faster. You have to move. You have to execute.
Kim Reuter (00:51:05):
When I started at Amazon, I was recruited early 2000s, we were doing instant deployment then. We were releasing code daily. We weren’t doing, you know, bi-weekly code releases. We’re working on two week sprints. But if we had a situation, we could release code whenever we wanted. And there’s organizations out there today who still can’t do that.
Greg White (00:51:28):
Yeah. Go ahead, Scott.
Scott Luton (00:51:31):
So, there’s so much here. I feel like I’m getting a degree in digital transformation, what to do and what not to do. But we got to start to wind things down. And I want to pose one more question to both of y’all before we make sure folks know how to connect with both Shan and Kim, because I’m sure folks are going to want to. Oprah might reach out to you both and have you on the show to explain some of these things. It’s really fascinating. So, everyone’s crystal balls are broken, had been broken for at least 18 months. But we’re going to have y’all bring those crystal balls back out, broken or not, and embrace your inner futurist. Talk about a phrase that has been thrown around quite a bit. Everyone’s a futurist, I think. Everyone’s got a hunch of what’s to come.
Scott Luton (00:52:21):
But give us one thing, when you think about global supply chain industry and what’s to come, you know, all three of y’all have been speaking about, you know, former state, current state, and future state, but what’s one thing that you think we should hang our hat on of what is coming in global supply chain? And, Shan, let’s go back to you. What’s your one thing?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:52:46):
The one thing is enterprises are realizing two things are failing. One is, I am still stuck in my legacy systems. Even though I feel like I’m modernizing it, but you’re still modernizing your legacy. They’re stuck. They have to modernize. They need to come up. The number two is, the new things that they’ve tried in the last three years, they did not approach it the right way. Meaning, few of my customers tried the brand new robotic platforms for picking. They tried brand new software for warehousing and transportation. And they come back and say things failed and the total program fails. And it may be a $3 million thing, but there are 30 million around all the integrations and all this ecosystem building. That should not be the approach, right? Things may fail. Your robotic company that you integrated with me failed.
Shan Muthuvelu (00:53:51):
But you should be able to switch that to a new platform within a few weeks and keep going. You should be able to switch to, let’s say, Manhattan’s WMS Cloud – it’s in the market now. If you want to switch to it, you should be able to switch it in a snap and go. And you don’t have to re-engineer what were you doing in the past. Anything that does secret sources for you, you should be able to compose it. Anything which is the secret sauce of Manhattan, secret sauce off the robotic companies, and secret sauce of Oracle SAP, you should go to them. We should have a clear mission here as a corporate in terms of digital transformation. Meaning, anything that you do from now on, you can throw away the equipments, the partnerships, the bodies and others. But you are what cannot be thrown away. If that’s happening, you’re not going to be transforming digitally.
Scott Luton (00:54:43):
Wonderful. And, Shan, part of what I heard there, taking a page out of Kim’s book, is, don’t let your service providers, your vendors, your partners tell you no. It can be done. Don’t let them tell you no. So, I love that, Shan. Kim, what’s your one thing that we can expect in global supply chain?
Kim Reuter (00:55:02):
So, from a supply chain perspective, I think the biggest thing that we’re going to see is companies are going to stop relying on China. So, I think, that’s a bit obvious. And I’ve worked with a lot of organizations that are looking for other places to source. So, I think that’s one of the biggest shifts that we’ll see are people actually looking at other countries to source product. And I think from an eCommerce perspective, from a supply chain logistics perspective and customer, so one of the big things that starting to happen, we’re running out of paper, running out of cardboard boxes. People get boxes every day. They’re not taking them back to Amazon for Amazon to reuse them. So, I think that, out of necessity, we will start to see some innovation in that last mile delivery that is around consolidation.
Scott Luton (00:55:49):
I love that. Greg and I have talked about the cardboard corrugated dilemma. And with this constant growth of eCommerce, you used to think of the piles of boxes during the holidays, it’s year round now. So, that should drive and it will drive. I think that the beautiful thing there is the action that the consumers are demanding when it comes to sustainability and the circular economy will drive more innovation in the world of containers. So, we’ll see how that happens.
Scott Luton (00:56:16):
Y’all gave us so much to think about even on that last question. Kim and Shan, you are breaking the rules here on us. But before we make sure we connect our guests with our listeners, Greg, any final words on what they just shared, their bold fearless predictions.
Greg White (00:56:32):
Well, yes, on both of those. I think we’re going to see a lot more movement towards reassuring, and near shoring, and different shoring. Automation will become a big part of production it has to be. Unfortunately, you know, the Catch 22 there is, most robotics are built in China. So, we have to resource some of those kinds of products. And I think we have to see companies, particularly direct to consumer, retail, distribution, even in manufacturing, we have to see all those companies really embrace some aspect of digital transformation.
Greg White (00:57:14):
Because, for instance, even manufacturers who have lived fat and happy on gigantic net profits, even net profits greater than multiples of times, greater than retailers and distributors, with their entree into a single pick for consumer, for direct to consumer, and last mile, which continues to get much, much, much more expensive and complex, those companies are going to have to find efficiencies elsewhere. Because we have discovered I don’t think it’s as expensive as the traditional carriers have made last mile, which is why as Kim talked about, we’re going to see a lot of disruption and consolidation in that marketplace. But it is more expensive than I think any of us expected. So, we have to find efficiencies elsewhere in the supply chain. And those efficiencies can’t impact negatively in any way the customer experience. And remember, no product, no program. So, you have to deliver and you’re going to have to do so cost-effectively.
Scott Luton (00:58:18):
You know, that is one of our favorite phrases that came out of our supply chain leadership across Africa series that we do with our friends at SAPICS . And that one show was worth the price of admission there. So, Greg, great call out –
Greg White (00:58:32):
It must be. We must have used that a hundred times since, right, Scott?
Scott Luton (00:58:35):
Yes. And I may get her name wrong. I think it was Dominique Zwinkels.
Greg White (00:58:40):
That’s exactly right.
Scott Luton (00:58:41):
That leads that healthcare initiative to bring it to families in need. So, great call out there. Okay. So, what all three of you are telling us to do is that we’ve got to think creatively. We got to think much more creative. We got to be like Kim Reuter’s father. We got to think that creatively to solve these challenges [inaudible].
Greg White (00:59:00):
That’s true. Yeah. That’s a great call-out. Artistically even, that creatively.
Scott Luton (00:59:05):
That’s why we need more artists and folks of all walks of life in global supply chain.
Greg White (00:59:11):
Scott Luton (00:59:11):
So, with that said, let’s wrap here and make sure folks know how to connect with both of you. Kim, let’s start with you. I know we had to go through both of y’all’s agents to get you booked. Y’all stay so busy, keynotes, solving the world’s problems, you know, podcasts, you name it. But, Kim, how can folks connect with you?
Kim Reuter (00:59:27):
I think hit me up on LinkedIn is a great way to get in touch. And then, also you can get in touch with me through my website, Clarity Scale Growth, and there is a Let’s talk. You can hit me up through there. It’s the best way to get in touch.
Scott Luton (00:59:41):
Wonderful. Wonderful. And, Shan, how about you? How can folks connect with you and the great team over at UCBOS?
Shan Muthuvelu (00:59:48):
Good. I’m active on LinkedIn, so, you know, they can definitely connect with me through LinkedIn. It’s Shan Muthuvelu. It’s really S-H-A-N. They can also reach me and my team through ucbos.com. It’s U-C-B-O-S.com. But we pronounce it as UCBOS. And if they are in Atlanta, I’m allowed to meet them at Ray’s on the River. That’s my favorite place.
Greg White (01:00:18):
Shan Muthuvelu (01:00:21):
Any seafood place, we’ll be happy to go and enjoy a seafood bowl.
Scott Luton (01:00:27):
Wonderful. And, of course, you can check out Shan on the road, as he talked about, an avid traveler. So, wonderful conversation with you, both. I really appreciate y’all’s approach here. Greg, we have tackled – this has been like an academy, a supply chain academy. Lots of lessons learned here, Greg. But a pleasure to do it. I loved what you added. All of us are passionate about that customer experience. It’s been called different things in supply chain for decades. But I really have enjoyed how the global business is really kind of unifying folks under these new phrases and whatnot.
Scott Luton (01:01:06):
So, on that note, we’re going to have to call it a show for now. But huge thanks to Kim Reuter, global eCommerce expert, and, of course, Shan Muthuvelu, CEO at UCBOS. Greg White, excellent show. One final succinct word before I sign off, Greg.
Greg White (01:01:21):
Well, we solved the mystery of what UCBOS stands for. I appreciate Shan saying that out. And I think, look, technology and digital transformation is about enabling people in the field and on the desktop. And this no code concept is really, really powerful in doing that. And I think that’s a really important move forward in digital transformation. The people on the ground have to do it for transformation to be complete.
Scott Luton (01:01:49):
Excellent point. Don’t say no. The customers want good news. And if you can’t give them good news, they want the right news and accurate news. So, on that note, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain, on behalf of Greg White, our whole team, hey, don’t forget vibha.org, V-I-B-H-A.org if you want to support our friends in India. But beyond that, I hope this finds you wherever you are. Remember, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, see you next time here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. And make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Kim Reuter, From humble beginnings, working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.
Shan Muthuvelu is the CEO and President of UCBOS Inc. He has over 25 years of global business operations, management consulting and SCM solution architecture experience in the Retail, Manufacturing, FMCG, Food & Groceries, Pharmaceutical and Distribution industries. He has assisted many software vendors who are leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant such as Manhattan Associates, Oracle, and others, and TOP Global Consulting firms such as, KPMG and others in Digital Maturity, Supply Chain Transformation and Modernization journeys. He helps customers develop their Composable Enterprise, Cloud, Omni-Channel and Digital transformation roadmaps focused on Supply Chain, Fulfillment and Customer Experience. He has served over 100 Tier-1 Manhattan Associates’, Oracle and ITOrizon customers in designing and implementing SCM solutions around the world. Connect with Shan on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of 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’.
Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Natalie is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and a certificate in new media at the University of Georgia. If there’s one thing she’s learned at the Terry College of Business, it’s that the supply chain is a dynamic, unifying force that’s essential to any business. Natalie helps to amplify the voices of the supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting with media management, content creation and communications.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porteris VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
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.