Supply Chain Now
Episode 643

Episode Summary

“Even now I say to people that you cannot be a successful leader in procurement or a senior person in procurement, unless you master the soft skills. If you master the technical skills, that’s all well and good, but if no one’s going to listen to you, then, you’re pretty much on your own.”
– Sam Achampong, General Manager – MENA Region, CIPS


There are many paths people follow to start a career in procurement, but not a single one of them is a straight line. Although this can present challenges from a skills consistency perspective, more often than not, it actually serves to expand what procurement is capable of by ensuring that the team has a broad range of perspectives and experiences.

Over the last decade or so, procurement has ceased to be the place that people are sent so that they can’t do too much damage to the company. Procurement leaders are actively recruiting the best and brightest people from other functions and roles to join their ranks. Sam Achampong, the Regional Head and General Manager of the MENA Region for CIPS, is a perfect example. After playing a project management role in a cross-functional personnel rationalization effort, he was invited to join procurement. He accepted, and the rest is history.

In this episode of Dial P for Procurement, Sam tells special guest Kim Winter and co-hosts Kelly Barner and Scott Luton:
• Why he found Dubai to be uniquely refreshing when he first arrived there, and how he tries to apply that same perspective to procurement
• The valuable position and influence that come with being an official ‘Chartered institute’ and the additional expectations it creates, especially in a region with so many participating countries
• Why it is absolutely critical for procurement to be aligned with the overall business strategy and the various types of value that allows them to create for the organization

Episode Transcript

Scott Luton (00:00:32):

Scott Luton, Kelly Barner, and Kim winter with you here today on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s show. So today’s show is the latest installment of our Dow P for procurement, very popular series. That’s presented jointly with our friends over at buyers meeting point, Kelly, how are you doing this morning?

Kelly Barner (00:00:50):

I am doing great. Scott. I’m thrilled to be here actually. Um, and as, as people keep saying, you know, I know we’re, we’re bringing a lot of the supply chain now audience sort of into the, into the world of procurement. This is a fascinating time to be really in any field, but to be in procurement. It’s great. So I’m glad to be having this conversation now.

Scott Luton (00:01:08):

Agreed. And you know, we have, we’ve went up to ourselves, a number of different ways here. We’ve got our dear friend and special cohost Kim winner with logistics executive group joining us from Dubai, Kim. Good morning.

Kim Winter (00:01:21):

Hey Scott, how you doing?

Scott Luton (00:01:22):

Doing wonderful, uh, and really have enjoyed, uh, reconnecting with you, uh, Kelly and I get, get to reconnect pretty regularly and Kim, we never get enough Kim winter. Uh, I’ve really admire, admire what you do and, and all the good, good stuff that you lead really a cost to globe. So lot of kindred spirits there, I can’t.

Kim Winter (00:01:41):

Thanks, Scott. Really appreciate it. Wait,

Scott Luton (00:01:43):

There’s more, there is more so today is truly a global discussion on the wide world of procurement and really a supply chain. And for that matter global business, we’ve got a global business leader with us here today that we’re going to introduce in just a second. So stay tuned, but two quick programming notes before we get started first off, uh, one of the many things that Kim does that does a great job at is interviewing business leaders across the globe on his podcast series on YouTube called logistics executive TV. So you’re going to want to check that out and subscribe, uh, Kim what’s, uh, what’s uh, one of your favorite conversations they’re here lately.

Kim Winter (00:02:18):

Well, actually, Scott, we’ve been talking to a lot of people in Asia recently. There’s a, the economy’s hot and Asia, of course. So we’ve been talking to people right throughout the APEC region, uh, in India here as well. And, uh, we’ve got a couple of, uh, uh, conversations in Europe coming up as well. So very exciting. Um, you know, some tough times out there at the moment, obviously in India is top of mind at the moment, we’re doing a lot of things around, uh, helping out in India at the moment. Agreed.

Scott Luton (00:02:45):

And on that note, uh, be sure to check out the links to our listeners. There’s a great, uh, relief project that we’re helping to support, uh, for frankly, with, along with Kim and Kelly and everyone else that vector global logistics leading. So check the link in the show notes there and get involved in a secondly you can find Dow P the livestream every third, Tuesday of the month, the 2021 at 12 noon Eastern time sharp because Kelly barn Barner runs a very tight ship and we always have great conversations there. Right? Kelly,

Kelly Barner (00:03:16):

Absolutely. We showed do, and a fabulous audience. That’s right. It would not be the same without the audience. Amen.

Scott Luton (00:03:22):

All right. So on that note, but today, today we, again, we have one up to ourselves. We’ve got a wonderful featured guests who today I want to welcome in Sam, a chum pong, regional head and general manager for the chartered Institute of procurement and supply, perhaps better known as sips Sam. Good morning. How you doing? Hi Scott. I’m good. How are you doing wonderful. I have enjoyed, uh, all of us I’ve enjoyed the pre-show conversation, which was wide ranging number of subjects. And then of course I enjoyed meeting you and initially a couple months ago, thanks to, uh, Kim winners conduct or introduction. So we look forward to diving deeper into your perspective and journey here today. Yeah, let’s go for it. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for the introduction. And, uh, Kim, I know very well. He’s a, you know, he’s in, he’s in my neighborhood, so yes, of course we’re, we’re kindred spirits and in the same industry, which is good. Wonderful. And we’re gonna talk more about Dubai, that incredible market that is here momentarily, but Kim, where are we starting with our dear friend, Sam?

Kim Winter (00:04:20):

Well, Sam, uh, Somali come or they come Salaam Kim. So you see, and, uh, it’s, it’s been, it’s been good to catch up with you again recently. I think we both ran into each other, uh, to worse, I don’t know, 13, 14 years ago when you first came to, uh, to the middle east.

Sam Achampong (00:04:35):

And I know, you know, that that welcoming, Aussie voice that’s, I thought would be a familiar accent I’d encountered when I came to, to the Arab world. Uh, yeah. W was very welcomed when I first met you. So, and we’ve kept in touch since then, haven’t we?

Kim Winter (00:04:49):

Yeah. And it’s been good to bang into a few events over the years and, but where there’ve been speaking or hosting them. And then we’ll talk a little bit about the sips of beans, which are very high profile here in the Gulf. So I’m sure we’ll discuss that a bit later on, but we’ll just jump into it. Uh, as part of the supply chain now, tradition, we always like to talk to people about their upbringing, right. And from the get-go we came up, uh, out of, out of school, even early life and, uh, how the journey started for you. So, uh, flora is yours enlighten us. Yeah,

Sam Achampong (00:05:20):

That’s an interesting one gang go way, way back, obviously, uh, giving away my age. Uh, but, uh, no, I, I grew up in a place called Tottenham, which is in north London. Um, it’s the, uh, people will recognize that name cause it’s the, it’s the hometown of the greatest football team in the world, as everyone knows Tottenham Hotspurs first. So, uh, the, the chuckle suggests that, uh, we don’t all agree, but as far as I’m concerned, we are the best. Um, so that’s why I grew. And, uh, yeah, I’m uh, got, uh, three siblings, two older brothers and one younger sister. I’m the youngest boy. Um, so, um, that can be either good or bad, but I think I incredibly spoiled or my life by, by, by my mother, which is good. So I was, I was, uh, I was going to like the kid who could do no wrong.

Sam Achampong (00:06:05):

And I was very, very protected by my mom. I remember growing up, uh, I was the kid who, if I went to stay with someone over the summer holidays, uh, my mum would always tell their parents, right. Whatever Sam does, you can’t just for me and tell me, but do you not lay a hand on him? Um, and I don’t know if that’s because she, she was, she knew I was going to misbehave, but, uh, uh, there you go. So I was always, yeah, I was always very well-protected, but I think my parents were w w were very, very high on the, on the achievement side, on the education side. Um, we really didn’t have, uh, anywhere to hide if we weren’t achieving. I think I, when I was about seven, I must’ve come second in a test at school one day and came home very, very excited about it, but she wasn’t excited.

Sam Achampong (00:06:48):

She wanted to know why, why I came second. So I kind of looked at my older brothers and they kind of went, yeah, that’s how it is, so, okay. Get, get, get used to it. So, um, uh, I, my parents are both from, from Ghana, which is in west Africa. So, um, they they’re both from Ghana in west Africa. Um, but they met, um, in both in the UK where, where they subsequently live for the rest of their lives. And, uh, and I think that’s where some of the discipline and, and, and educational achievement attitude really comes from. So, uh, so yeah, two older brothers, a younger sister. Um, um, my brother has been an eternal ex-pat all of his life. I never have been. Um, but I’ll go into it a bit later as to how I ended up in Dubai, but, um, going through school, um, you know, I wasn’t particularly keen on the academic side.

Sam Achampong (00:07:37):

I was, I was more into, you know, sports football and latterly TaeKwonDo, um, which is, which is a kind of something I got into. Um, but, uh, but nevertheless, I wasn’t allowed to be an average student, uh, but having said that I, I never had aspirations to get into procurement or supply chain. Um, and actually it’s something that I, I’m still very passionate about changing because, um, that was many, many years ago. And actually still there, isn’t a natural route at undergraduate level for people to get into procurement supply chain. It really is a big hole that, um, that, that, that we need to fill. Um, so when I did start working, I worked for many, many years, uh, for an organization called land securities. Uh, so almost nine years with land securities and they are, um, effectively one of the largest, uh, property companies or real estate developing companies in, in the UK.

Sam Achampong (00:08:34):

Um, and I worked for them for many, many years in several different roles. And, um, the division I was working with, um, at one stage, we’re dealing with a lot of government, uh, PFIs or private finance initiatives, or, uh, private public partnerships, depending on where you are in the world, uh, including, uh, involved in buying assets off the government and basically re relating them to the government, but then managing them, um, uh, the government and other, uh, other large institutes such as the BBC, et cetera. So I was involved in a lot of the aspects of that, uh, initially as a, uh, as a project manager, uh, and that after one particular project, uh, the procurement team, um, invited me to join the procurement team, come into procurement. And that’s how I ended up in the industry. So I want to interject here for a second and bring Kelly Barner in, uh, co two. I’ve never gotten an invitation from our procurement team. So that’s a pretty highfalutin thing there, Sam, uh, Kelly, how you speak to that for a second, if you wouldn’t even, you know, being in the procurement world yourself, you know, pulling in great talent like Sam that may, you know, maybe when he entered industry, it wasn’t procurement as he was speaking to speak to that for a second. Kelly. Yes,

Kelly Barner (00:09:47):

Absolutely. So, yeah, I mean, as, as Sam mentioned, there’s not a natural, you know, people might, whether they’re an undergrad or in grad school say I want to work in finance or I want to be in marketing or operations. There’s really not a solid academic link between being in school and then getting into procurement supply chain. And that has two effects. So it does make it harder for people to hit the ground running. But in a lot of cases, people just don’t know that procurement is a job. Um, and I think we’re actually in a good place now because it used to be, so there’s push and pull for getting people into procurement. It used to be, um, that procurement was where they sent you when they didn’t want to see you anymore. That’s where you put people. So they couldn’t do too much damage.

Kelly Barner (00:10:32):

So you didn’t have to deal with them on other projects, but now, and that’s why I love your story about that. Same with being invited and procurement figured out along the way, Hey, you know what we need to start picking who joins our ranks. And so seeing bright lights of inspiration and hard work and creativity, regardless of someone’s background, cause you know, it’s not going to be in procurement and saying, Hey, come join us, come be in procurement. I think we’ve finally done a better job worldwide with making that switch, but it’s very, very common to hear sort of strange stories of how people ended up in procurement. I got laid off. For instance, I got laid off from my other job and was put into procurement. So everybody has a story like that. Things in disguise are alive and well.

Scott Luton (00:11:19):

And we’re going to talk about talent, talent side later in the interview, but Kelly let’s keep driving with the Sans background there.

Kelly Barner (00:11:26):

Absolutely. So Sam, you’ve talked a little bit about the companies and the, and the projects, but let’s think a little bit about some of the roles that you’ve held. What are a few of the roles that you’ve been in or the teams that have worked on that have gone a long way towards shaping the way that you approach the work you do? Yeah,

Sam Achampong (00:11:44):

Well, that’s, that’s a great question. Cause I think I’ve been lucky to have been on this kind of ladder that has gone in, uh, in a sequential direction. Uh, and every experiences has, is built on the other one. Um, it hasn’t been planned in that way, but it’s worked out quite well. So, you know, H having a long experience working in land securities, uh, within one company within the environment of one organization, uh, gave me exposure to several, uh, different experiences. So before I joined procurement, uh, as I said, I was working as a project manager and we’re working on a number of, um, uh, PFI deals and, and actually PR procurement consolidation exercises, uh, that that’s what the company were doing at the time. So, uh, one example was we were, uh, we, we owned a number of, uh, properties from maybe about a thousand properties and we were going through a security, um, exercise in, in, in rationalizing the security spend, which in effect meant, right.

Sam Achampong (00:12:40):

You’ve got this amount of security guards, um, let’s work with a technology agency, CCTV RFID, or all the other technologies. And obviously what you’re doing is you’re, you’re rationalizing the personnel spend. So, so that, that was a project we’re engaged in at the time. And so I was involved involved from a project management perspective, and then you had obviously the procurement team. So it was after that exercise, that that procurement pulled me in. So, um, I then joined the procurement team and that then gave me the, the, the, the background or the, or the foundation from a procurement perspective to start working on different categories of spend. Um, and because I’m working still within the same organization, I was able to get, you know, the, the very best grounding in procurement at that stage. Um, I was able to become a member of, of sips at the time.

Sam Achampong (00:13:31):

Um, I was encouraged to do that. I was encouraged to start my sip studies so that I understood that the basics of procurement, um, while I’m doing it, uh, w which was the very, very best, um, best way to start. And by the way, um, now my, my, my eldest and my son who subsequently gone into procurement, um, is also straight out of university, a fully qualified sip student, uh, because I assisted, he was obviously, and, and that’s, that’s still him in good stead. So yes, I have a kind of legacy of, uh, procurement in my family now, but I love that if in fact, we call something out really quick, and Kim I’d love for you to weigh in here, you know, awareness, uh, which is one of the themes here at the early part of this conversation is so important, right? Because we all have that blind spot. We all don’t know what we don’t know. And you never know when your purpose in life may be in that blind spot until you’re made aware of, of what’s involved. So Kim, speak to that for a second.

Kim Winter (00:14:27):

Yeah. Well, that’s it. And then, you know, one of the interesting things about the event circuit up here, uh, in the middle east and Dubai and I’ve spent, I’ve been commuting in and out of here nearly for 20 years, um, been here for the last year and a half due to COVID. Um, but, you know, finding their purpose and understanding what’s going on, especially because, uh, in my life anyways, pretty much been dominated by logistics and chain, um, that my entire career over the last many decades, um, finding out about, you know, different elements of the supply chain has been really interesting. And Sam you’ve, you’ve really been in leading light in the entire industry up here in the Gulf. Uh, the 13 years you’ve been here, you’ve had very high profile sepsis, the most professionally run organization across the landscape and ecosystem of logistics and supply chain here. I’m part of a very, um, significant and structured organization globally, of course. And the events that I’ve attended, uh, through your invitations that you’ve held have given enormous insight and shine a light on many different aspects of the supply chain, not just around procurement and, uh, and, and supply. So, uh, you know, I just think you’ve, you’ve, you’ve done a big job in that area at the professionalism of supply chain in general has been really championed by you up here. So, you know, well done.

Scott Luton (00:15:49):

And along those lines, uh, Sam and the sips group are probably providing awareness opportunities to a wider range of professionals to under, to, to maybe uncover their purpose in life. So we’re going to talk more about sips in just a minute, but Ken, that’s a great call-out. Um, so Kelly, let’s keep driving with, with, uh, you know, those key roles, and then we’re going to talk Eureka moments in a minute.

Kelly Barner (00:16:10):

Yes. Um, so, you know, one of the things, and as I listened to you talk about how you got pulled into procurement. I think one of the things that might be easy for people to miss is how much heart you must have shown on that project. So just to kind of back up, cause I’m, I’m a hundred percent with you, I’m thinking, okay, I have a sense of why Sam got pulled in. So when you talk about a workforce rationalization project or services, rationalization project, basically what you’re saying is that an amount of work was done by some number of employees or some number of suppliers, and somebody is asking, do we need to spend this much? Do we need to have this many suppliers? Do we need to employ this many people in this area that is tough, tough work? Can you talk a little bit about maybe the difference between coming to a task like that is someone from outside of procurement, um, simply approaching it as a qualified human being and in the business world versus maybe what you learned specifically from a procurement or a spend management or rationalization perspective alone.

Kelly Barner (00:17:20):


Sam Achampong (00:17:20):

Think that’s a, that’s a great question, Kelly. And I think, um, you know, since I’ve been in procurement, one thing that’s characterized procurement as a profession or as, from a knowledge perspective, is that, look, it’s not rocket science, uh, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t need to be rocket science. And actually, um, I think looking back at that project, the majority of what I’m doing was not number crunching or anything along those lines or, or report writing. It was more around influencing people and stakeholder management. And that was the key to what I was doing because, you know, we, we know what the end game is and we know why we want to reach the end game. There there’s some commercial imperatives there. Um, but you’ve got a lot of people involved here. And actually, um, there, there was an added complexity to this particular project because, uh, the employees, uh, some of them who you’re talking about are, are government employees. So to an extent, um, and, and actually, uh, you’ve also got unions involved. So, uh, say it was complex. So the majority of my time was spent on the influencing side that the, the, the putting forward, um, a good rationale, um, influencing people, and it took a significant amount of time we’re talking about. And you said,

Kelly Barner (00:18:33):

Yes, even after going through all that, you said yes. And you joined procurement. Yeah, absolutely.

Sam Achampong (00:18:38):

And, uh, I think, look, I think I enjoyed it. Um, uh, you know, it was dynamic, it was interesting. The, a lot of the projects were centered around, uh, the second city in the UK, which is Birmingham, uh, w which is not where, uh, where I lived. So it did involve, you know, certain weeks actually going out there, uh, being there for, for a week or so. So it, it just did demonstrate the dynamism of procurement. And then, you know, it’s not necessarily boring. You’re, you’re solving complex problems coming up with solutions, but also bringing people along, um, at the same time, because without those three elements, you’re not going to be able to, um, put forward your solution, uh, that, that the soft side, uh, of that project and the soft side of procurement, um, are the key sides to it. And they’re the fundamental sides. And, and I think even now I say to people that, um, lucky you, you cannot be, um, a successful leader in procurement or, or, or a senior person in procurement, unless you master the soft skills. Um, because if you master the technical skills, that’s all well and good, but if no, one’s going to listen to you, then, then you’re pretty much on your own,

Kelly Barner (00:19:50):

Any sort of Eureka moments along the way where either you thought, okay, here’s a completely new perspective on business, or when you thought to yourself, okay, you know what, I’m a procurement guy. I’m not just doing this for a little bit. I’m a procurement guy enough that I want to advocate for the profession. Any key moments along your way that jump out at you? I

Sam Achampong (00:20:10):

Think that there’ve been a few, um, uh, because each role has been very, very different. And, um, and I think if I can characterize my journey in any case, the land securities was kind of my, my, my university. And then when I left them, I went into, um, procurement consulting for an organization called buying force. And, and, and that put the icing of the cake on, on what I do, because that gave me this supplier relationship management skills, uh, that I didn’t have, so that that’s kind of the latter. And at that point, I guess I was as rounded as I’m going to be in terms of, uh, knowledge. And, um, I, I went on, uh, my brother has lived in Australia for many years. It’s actually Australia now, which is quite interesting. I always give them a dig about that. So, um, so he, he had lived in Australia for many, many years, and I’d never gone to visit him, um, because it’s too far and Spain is a lot closer, but, um, he, he was getting engaged at the time.

Sam Achampong (00:21:03):

Uh, and he said, look, you’ve got to come and visit me. You got to come visit me. So this was going to Christmas 2007. And so I said, okay, great. I will come out this time. So I went out all the way out to Australia, uh, went to visit him. He had his engagement, then we had fun over Christmas. Uh, and then I was going to travel back, but I traveled to Australia by Emirates, Emirates airlines. And, um, uh, an Emirates are quite smart because they kind of, uh, kind of gave me a deal to say, oh, when you’re flying back, when you stop over in Dubai, why don’t you stop over? Why don’t you stay over for a couple of days, rather than just transiting. And here’s some vouchers for hotel, which makes it kind of a third of the price and whatever else, and stay in Dubai. And, and I kind of thought, yeah. Okay. Why not? Um, yeah, I’d heard of Dubai and that’s, uh, uh, people have been saying that to me ever since.

Scott Luton (00:21:55):

So, um, I kind of, um, you know, Dubai is a place that, uh, you had heard about, um, I hadn’t made a specific effort to come out to, and this was great Hills. Here was an opportunity to break up my, you know, my 24 hour flight or sorry, 12 hour flight or whatever it was, um, to Australia. So I stopped over in Dubai for a couple of days and saw things. And I was in a taxi, uh, driving down shake side road, which is the main road in Dubai, you know, eight lane highway, uh, across the main, the main, uh, uh, artery of Dubai. And I kind of looked at all these buildings that were all up. And, uh, you know, they all looked almost as if they’d just been built yesterday. They’re all brand new. And, uh, and I’d been working for land securities, uh, land securities, uh, as I say, biggest property company in the UK building skyscrapers in London.

Scott Luton (00:22:43):

Uh, but to do that, you know, it’s going to take you about five years just in consultation or, or another five years in planning permission to put, put a tower up in the city of London. You know, it’s not a straightforward thing, uh, to build it, it’s probably straightforward, but to, to get all the, all the approvals in place, it’s not. So I kind of said to the taxi driver who was driving me along, I said, well, how long have these buildings been out here? And he said, yeah, two years, 18 months, whatever. And I said, how did, how did they do it so quickly? And he said, why, what do you mean? I said, well, how do they get permissions? How do they get, uh, you know, the authorities do it? And he said, well, no, if, uh, if his Highness wants it to happen, it will happen.

Sam Achampong (00:23:21):

And I kind of thought that was kind of refreshing, refreshing kind of thing. And I thought, okay, you go back. That, that makes sense. Um, so when I went back to the UK, uh, three or four days later, I kind of made it known to a few head hunters that are, may be interested in moving to Dubai. And, um, yeah, and, uh, three months later, um, I kind of flew back out here with, uh, to, to, to speak to, uh, an organization out here. And, uh, and that was it. So in total six months later, uh, I was in Dubai. So, so, so that kind of, that’s what kind of brought me to Dubai. So I built up my, I guess my procurement expertise and, and, uh, look in terms of maturity of a profession, Dubai or the middle east, um, was slightly behind, uh, where I was.

Sam Achampong (00:24:09):

So from, from here on, in, it’s all about, you know, imparting my knowledge. So I came out here to set up a procurement team, uh, for an organization called McKeel who were, um, almost the equivalent of land securities in Dubai. Um, so I did that and it, it, it’s all about, you know, again in parsing my expertise, putting a team together, uh, that sort of thing. Um, and, and I see all my subsequent roles, uh, in Dubai leading up to it before I joined sips as, as falling in that same path, um, going in having a look at what an organization is doing, helping them set up the right structure, uh, for procurement team or procurement or a process. And, uh, and given that knowledge and moving on. So the, the, the bottom market, the, uh, Dubai market is fascinating. Uh, you know, Sam, you mentioned last time we got together, the future is east, and I’ve been sharing that quite a bit because it’s really remarkable.

Scott Luton (00:25:04):

Um, regardless of, of the, the, whatever the dynamic is behind it, what’s taking place in the Dubai market. So what’s your, you know, I’m going to ask Sam and Kim, uh, materially, w what’s your favorite aspect of living and working and doing business based right there in Dubai? I think, um, look, it’s a fast moving and fast thinking environment. So it’s almost like you’ve got a blank sheet of paper and you can, you can come up with the way you want to do things. Um, um, you know, almost out of the box innovation is, is positively encouraged. Um, yeah, th th there is no, there’s no limit to how people think when, when the, when the thinking was going behind building the Burj Khalifa, it was all about, okay, look, here’s a plan. We want to build a tower. Uh, and, uh, it’s a case of, okay, well, how big is that tower?

Sam Achampong (00:25:56):

Is it the tallest tower in the world? Go back to the drawing board, come back this. So, uh, it’s that kind of thinking that characterizes everything that’s in Dubai, it’s almost like there’s no point doing it, but it’s not the biggest, the best. It’s not a, and the reason why I say the future is the east is because the mentality is not, not about replicating. Um, what other people have done. It’s almost like leapfrogging, what other people have done. Um, his Highness, must’ve woke up one morning and saying, you know what, I want the tallest skyscraper around the world to be right here in Dubai. And, and, and, uh, kidding aside, I love not imitating and replicating, but, but finding that unique path forward. And, and you mentioned a second ago, there’s, there’s no limitations to how people think, and that’s, um, that’s a powerful concept, especially for the current challenges that we’re being faced with today and moving forward. So, um, so Kelly, before I ask him what his favorite part is about the bike, and you’re going to have a tough hurdle to jump over. Sam’s answer there, but Kelly, what was one of your favorite things you, you just heard Sam share?

Kelly Barner (00:27:02):

Well, I was actually wondering to myself if possibly his Highness was the one that picked up the phone and said to the airline, get Sam, he may have individually plucked you out. Um, maybe Kim tipped them off recruiting. It’s always recruiting. Um, no, I think, I mean, it’s, it’s a growth mindset, right? And so whether it applies to building a city or whether it applies to pulling people into your team or whether it applies to how you approach what any business can do, I think it’s very hard to learn a different way to think you can learn different skills and you can train and you can have different experiences, but actually embracing a growth mindset that is really tough. And it sounds to me, Sam, you can tell me if I’m right. It sounds to me like that seems to be endemic in the culture, in the people, in the, in the country. Um, and as seen by the, you know, huge buildings going up in Dubai, but I’m sure there are a lot of less visible ways, um, that the growth mindset plays out there as well. I,

Sam Achampong (00:28:09):

I think, I think you’re absolutely right. I think, I think has led from the top it’s led from, um, you know, the rulers, the, the, the government who really have this mindset to say, uh, we need to achieve this and we need to achieve it now. And, uh, and over a very short period of time, you know, that the country is younger than me, which is interesting and a lot younger than Kim. Um, and so, um, you know, since it was, um, since, since its inception, um, you know, didn’t even have an international airport now, it has, uh, the, the, the busiest international airport, uh, in the world and some of the iconic operators such as Emirates. So it is that mindset of right. We need to just go and do it, and we need to do it, do it big, do it in the best way, uh, do it in the best way, rather than the way other people have done it before.

Scott Luton (00:28:57):

And, and that that’s really characteristic that, that growth mindset you’ve mentioned, or the innovative mindset is really what needs to be adopted. Um, not, not just because of the pandemic, but across procurement and other industries. Anyway, because as we come to industry 4.0, it is a case of having that growth mindset. Um, if you’re talking about, you know, digitalization and procurement, uh, you’re, you’re not building systems that replicate how you used to do things before you, you’re, you’re saying you have a system that enables you to do things you don’t need to go through the same processes. Uh, you can really leapfrog and take advantage of what you have in front of you. So that, that sort of growth mindset is, um, you know, where you want, you know, where you want to go to, but you don’t want to actually just go there. You want to beyond that point. And then that, that’s what the growth mindset is love. That

Kelly Barner (00:29:45):

Creates a great deal of imagination and energy

Scott Luton (00:29:47):

Agreed, agreed. And, and, um, and kind of throwing out how you were taught, you know, some of the limitations, some of the blinders, some of the assumptions, you know, uh, so, uh, I really appreciate you sharing that. And so, Kim, uh, continuing on own, the special place that Dubai is, tell us your, you know, your, your favorite aspects and then roll, let’s roll, right, uh, right into, uh, steps.

Kim Winter (00:30:11):

Yeah. I decided in the ended up here about 20 years ago, uh, on the executive search side, it was, uh, the whole supply chain was, was developing here. If anybody’s interested to see how the UAE and Dubai groups go to YouTube and have a little bit of time lamps just put timelines, UAE, or Dubai. And, uh, it’s pretty startling. Uh, again, what attracted me here was the culture MRR things are extremely welcoming people. Um, the, the leadership here, the whole family, the leadership, the major families here are extremely driven. They’re driven by excellence. Um, the digitization and we talk supply chain in general and in broader economy, um, that the whole of the UAE, which there are seven Emirates, uh, part of the union. Um, and, uh, they’re all driven there, many, many settings within, uh, industrial cities, economic cities, uh, food cities, uh, economic, digital cities, uh, around, I don’t know how many there would be here.

Kim Winter (00:31:11):

Um, but, uh, it’s different zones and they’ll have different classifications and they’re all specialized. And everybody focuses in different areas of achievement. So that was what drove me here spot. And, uh, we, we set up business here 2004 under a licensed. One of those economic zones was still in that same economic zone, not far from worrying, you’re at my home office and Dubai studio city, which is the equivalent of Hollywood in, in the UAE, if you like, or in Dubai. But, uh, it’s an exciting, it’s been an exciting place. The culture has changed to come up enormously more cosmopolitan. Uh, if you want to see the old Dubai or the old, uh, areas of what this particular Emirates, uh, environment was like, you’d go up to Russell, came or down to other Darby to different parts of the Emirates, and you’ll see, uh, all those different areas, but, um, yeah, very, very explosive dynamic construction economics, uh, broad broad-based and logistics and supply chain, absolute global hub, not only because of the main major international airport, um, but also because of the sea lanes here, give allele other w ports. Um, of course, uh, you know, there’s, there’s massive, massive organizations which have enormous reach in all parts of the world that are based here from your quarter here. Okay.

Sam Achampong (00:32:29):

Gosh, I mean, it’s a real, it’s a real, it’s a real melting point. You’re absolutely right. Kim it’s there, there’s some quite interesting dynamics that, uh, I think a lot of people don’t realize about Dubai and one of them is that, uh, over in over 90% of the people here I expect. So that’s a, you know, that’s an overwhelming number of people, um, who live, who live in the city or the country are actually not from here. Um, uh, no indigenous and orchestra

Kelly Barner (00:32:54):

Scene must be fabulous. Uh, it is, you mentioned food cities. I’m thinking there must be a million wonderful things to eat from around the world.

Sam Achampong (00:33:03):

It is. And also something that, that, that is not obvious because it doesn’t seem characteristic of the region region is that the UAE is actually one of the most safest, uh, cities or countries in the world in terms of crime rates. So, uh, for, you know, in terms of lifestyle and whatever else to have a family, young kids or whatever else, it is just incredibly safely. So, um, in terms of, you know, crime rates in general, uh, social interaction. So it, it’s a fantastic, great place to live. I love that. Okay. So, uh, I feel like I’ve gotten a Dubai UAE certification in the last, eh, Kim, I’m glad we recorded just that last five minutes cause that, you know, uh, clearly you haven’t been there for quite some time. And, and, and clearly it is not only a melting pot, but a great connector city, you know, it kind of feels like it brings a ton of industries and infrastructure and of course, businesses and innovation altogether. So Kelly, I’m hearing a Dow P owned scene in Dubai soon, really soon. So look forward to that. So, Kim, um, we’re going to dive next into the chartered Institute of procurement and supply chain.

Kim Winter (00:34:14):

Yeah. So Sam, give us a bit of a heads up and let us know when I used to go to your conferences back in the early days, when you first arrived back yard, I went because I thought procurement, these guys, people, woman control the money. So follow the money. They’ve got the wallet, they’re the people who do the spending, but of course, more I got through the review, man,

Kelly Barner (00:34:41):

And that’s, he’s exactly right. We don’t need to debate what procurement means you’re buying

Kim Winter (00:34:46):

And an enormous myriad, more of a complexity to procurement, um, as a profession. So, uh, maybe you can just peel back the onion a little bit on the different elements that, uh, that you guys talk about and you have very good examinations and qualifications in that area

Sam Achampong (00:35:04):

As well. Yeah, thanks for that. And it is quite interesting. I think I mentioned early on that, um, you know, in my first role, one of the things I was lucky to do was to be, to, to, to join, become a sips members, start doing my sips qualifications. Um, so, uh, you know, sips as the chartered Institute of procurement supply, uh, as you mentioned before, um, we’ve been around for a long time. So set up in 1932. So, uh, an awful long time ago. And I remember, uh, when I joined the institution, I wanted to know more about, um, actually what sits behind, uh, being up in 1932, et cetera, et cetera. And, uh, uh, so I did a little bit digging with Arcon of historians within steps and, and they gave me the, the real deal on, on exactly how, what this Institute is and how it’s set up.

Sam Achampong (00:35:50):

And, um, th th the key starts in the name chartered Institute. Um, uh, and what I found out was that chartered Institute is a very British thing by the way, um, are, were, and are, um, institutes, there are officially recognized, um, uh, by the sovereign, uh, you know, by the queen as being representative of a profession, uh, which means by definition that, um, there will never be two chartered institutes in any particular profession. So, which, which means that if you’re you, if you become the chartered Institute of particular professional, unless you do something, um, awful, then, then you’d likely to keep that role charter, um, um, you know, all the time. And it was interesting when I w when we were setting up our business in Dubai and the, um, the officials were asking for, you know, our kind of articles of association, um, of course, sips as a chartered Institute, doesn’t have that.

Sam Achampong (00:36:42):

What we have is we have a Royal seal from the sovereign in a glass box. It’s still a very, very, uh, traditional up to be a chartered Institute. So, um, but also it has a lot of obligations. So, you know, our obligations are to, to, to support the growth and development of the, of the, as they say, the arts and science of procurement and supply. So, you know, we’re not PLC, we’re not an organization. Uh, we, we, we just have to prove every year that we are, uh, representing and supporting the profession around the world. So, so that becomes quite difficult. So sips, whereas a couple of hats, uh, one of the primary one is that we are a registered charity. Um, and, uh, and our company set up in our head office is as a registered charity. Um, and then we put on the other hats, which are, we’re an educational awarding body.

Sam Achampong (00:37:31):

And third, we’re an advisory. Uh, we’re a business advisor. So, uh, coming back to what we do around the world, you know, we’ve been set up in 1932 in the UK, which means that’s a very mature procurement environment. Uh, then you come to 2011 when we set up in, in, in the UAE, um, that’s where you’re fulfilling that ambition to spread, um, that, that, that, that not the best practice, but the leading practice in procurement around the world, because, um, to a certain extent for people who are not in procurement, there can always be a perception of what procurement is, uh, and even organizations, which I’ve been asked to, to join and set up a procurement function. There’s been different, um, reasons why people have wanted to do that. Maybe they’ve had an audit and the, the, the audit department have said, you need to set up a procurement function.

Sam Achampong (00:38:17):

Um, what do you need to do that for, to control the spend, uh, to control ethics, to make sure that all quotes are stamped. So people don’t really understand, uh, also save money to save 10% in spend every year. But actually, I think as you said, Kelly, it can go further than that. And, and that best value you can get out of a procurement team is to allow them to, to, um, aligned with your business strategy and to be looking to identify and control inherent risks, uh, uh, and ultimately be, uh, not a cost center, but a profit center because procurement should be able to pay for itself, uh, simply by the, the, the, you know, the, the strategic value that they’re adding, um, to the organization and also through the cost avoidance that they’re adding. So there’s many strategic aspects to procurement, uh, you know, from, from, from the way suppliers are treated to the way, um, uh, commercial risks, uh, or supply chain risks are handled, uh, to ultimately make sure that an organization is, is reaching its bottom line ambitions, uh, and not just saving money on a, on a short term basis.

Kelly Barner (00:39:23):

I’m actually interested to know a little bit more Sam. So I did my homework. So obviously I know sips has its origins in the, in the UK in recent years, there’s been a push to sort of build out in the U S or I should probably say north America. Um, but sips may know where you are. So middle east and Northern Africa, you’ve got, is it 21 countries that are part of your sort of jurisdiction? Um, I know probably at a certain level, a lot of the businesses conducted in English, but there are multiple even dialects of Arabic spoken as the primary language in those countries. When it comes to the community aspect that’s associated with events or training or connecting professionals within the region, what is that like given the range of countries and then organizational maturity levels that you have among your immediate membership?

Sam Achampong (00:40:17):

Yeah, it’s a great question. And one of the, one of the strengths I think of the region, first of all, is the community. Um, so when I first came to the middle east and I was, um, employed in different roles, I was part of the community. You know, there is a community, we all go to the events and we, we volunteer to speak and that sort of thing. So, so the community is really what, what, what drives and continues to drive the, the, you know, the emergence of, of procurement in the region, but it can be incredibly complex. You know, uh, we, we’ve been talking about Dubai for a long time within this conversation, but Dubai is not even the capital city of the UAE, right? So, um, it’s an incorrect and it’s, and, and Dubai as a, as a city is chalk and cheese, um, from Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the UAE, and it’s very different to Saudi Arabia, uh, and it can be very different to the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia.

Sam Achampong (00:41:07):

Um, it’s very different to Egypt. It’s very different to Lebanon. So, so there, there, there are, as you say, myriad of different approaches and maturity levels of procurement. So it’s, it’s very strategic that we’re based in Dubai, because I guess it’s, it’s the biggest hub where you can, you can, you can get the biggest, uh, traction in terms of, uh, people being on similar pages. But yeah, the way we, we approach the community and the imparting of knowledge across the different, um, uh, areas is, is to have, um, uh, what we call a branch community. So within, um, the MENA region, uh, as, as defined by the, the sips map, which is 17 countries, including Pakistan, but we weren’t going to how we’ve done that. But, um, but anyway, um, the, uh, w what happens is we have what we call branch communities in, in, in countries across the region.

Sam Achampong (00:42:02):

So we have a, what we call a sips branch in what we have three sips branches in the UAE. We have three in Saudi Arabia, we got one in Lebanon, one in Egypt. And, and what happens there is these are professionals, but also volunteers who understand, uh, their own local environment, the maturity of procurement what’s needed, what the, what the priorities are. And they pretty much run the community on a voluntary basis. And all these countries, uh, supported by us. They, they will, uh, facilitate the, you know, the local branch events, the conferences, the webinars, uh, and, uh, you know, with our support, because they know what is the price and the priority for procurement and supply chain in Egypt is very different to what it is in Kuwait. Uh, so, so we allow them, uh, to give us that knowledge and, and, uh, and we support them, uh, as much as we can.

Sam Achampong (00:42:52):

So, um, so they lead it and, uh, and, um, th th th the success in that means that you’ve got, uh, local people who are, um, you know, uh, waving the flag, speaking the right language and speaking to the right people. And as a result of that, you’ll find in, in some countries, uh, in the region now, um, sips qualifications are actually sponsored or paid for by the government. Uh, if you go to Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, um, uh, people who take sips qualifications at the entry level, fully funded, uh, by the government, because the, the volunteers have lobbied, uh, for that. And, uh, th the, the authorities are seeing value and, and testing in your workforce, uh, in, in these key key areas of the craft. So that’s great to hear. Um, all right. So Kim, beyond all of that, uh, great value proposition that sip presents, they also do a lot of good, good work in the world, right?

Kim Winter (00:43:49):

Yeah. You guys, uh, involved in a lot of initiatives, uh, same, um, you know, seeing, uh, lending your support to a whole range of different, uh, activities being charities, and also economic and humanitarian activities around the golf. Maybe you can talk to us a little bit about that.

Sam Achampong (00:44:11):

Yeah. So, so we, we have the sips foundation. That’s foundation is the specific, uh, charity arm of sips, um, and in central part of the organization from the center. And, and, and that looks after a couple of things, uh, it, it’s there to support, um, individuals who, uh, do not have access financially to an education. And if they want that education, a preference is in procurement supply, then, then we’re here to support them. Uh, so, so we, we support a number of students around the world, you know, on, on a bursary basis, uh, in, in, um, areas of the world where they cannot afford that. And, uh, we’ve evaluated that, uh, that it’s useful to them. So that’s what the foundation does. It provides bursaries, but it also supports, um, you know, procurement or supply chain related issues, uh, problems or projects in different parts of the world, um, where, where either donors or applicants have applied source through the foundation for assistance.

Sam Achampong (00:45:08):

And we can provide either practical help or whatever help is needed as far as we were able, uh, to help those projects go through. Uh, and, and that can go as far as, you know, helping, uh, uh, you know, provide water in a part of the world or a village in the part of the world that hasn’t got it from, from a supply chain point of view, working with, uh, local people who have come up with a project to sponsor someone who, who has to walk 20 miles a day, um, to school. So the, the, the work of the foundation is wide ranging, but, but on top of that, I mean, as an organization, we, we, we’ve always worked with a lot of the, the global NGOs from whether it’s the world bank or the UN DP or UN women, um, on different projects around the world and the most recent one, um, being the bill and Melinda gates foundation.

Sam Achampong (00:45:58):

Uh, so we worked very closely with them on a project to, um, to build up healthcare, procurement knowledge in Africa. Uh, so that project started about three years ago. And so we kicked off in South Africa, uh, subsequently now in Nigeria. And, and after that, we’ll move to Kenya where we, but the, the, the bill and Melinda gates foundation and providing the, the, the kind of funding for it, we’re providing the actual knowledge and training and, and an advisory side of that. So that’s the partnership, another partnership that we have. So, you know, as an Institute that that’s, uh, one of our primary, um, requirements as a chartered Institute to, to, to represent, uh, the profession.

Scott Luton (00:46:40):

love it, and then love how y’all put at least one aspect of your mission. You’re kind of speaking to it, quote, uh, to improve people’s lives through better supply chains and quote. I love that. I love the action behind it. Most importantly, Sam. Um, okay. So from here, I’ll tell you there’s, there’s so much there’s, uh, an hour does not do, uh, Sam justice here, but Kelly, we’re going to dive a little bit deeper into the craft itself of procurement, right? We are.

Kelly Barner (00:47:09):

Yes. Um, and as I said, when we opened, I’m obviously not objective, but I think this is a fascinating time to be in procurement and supply chain. Um, so Sam, as you have conversations with whether it’s your local community there in Dubai, or whether it’s out through all of the different, uh, branch members, what are sort of the top topics that you’re hearing discussed either with the greatest amount of urgency, um, or most frequently, regardless of where folks are?

Sam Achampong (00:47:37):

I think, uh, COVID the pandemic cause as focused people’s mind and put a big spotlight on procurement supply chain. So, uh, you know, th there’s a, there’s a bigger focus on what we do, what we can do, what people think we can do, uh, what people think you should do rather. Um, so that that’s, what’s front of mind from a kind of reactionary point of view. Um, how can we, uh, deal with supply chain risk? How can we, uh, deal with the shortages escalating prices, um, uh, you know, lack of suppliers in a certain areas that lack of commodity, uh, near local sourcing sustainability, that those are the kinds of things. But I think if we put the pandemic to aside and assume that that’s very reactionary stuff, I think the digitalization of procurement was, was, was front and center, um, uh, you know, before the pandemic happens and continues to be it’s, it’s, it’s clearly known that to, uh, for procurement practices to be aligned with, you know, industry 4.0 is the only way to go.

Sam Achampong (00:48:39):

And, um, uh, and if people don’t there’ll be left behind because, um, you can’t, you can’t go half into something like digitalization, because it involves re re-engineering your processes the way you think. Um, and you know, things like big data. I mean, you’ve got to a more strategic mindset. So digitalization is, is definitely the, the biggest, uh, after, after supply chain risk is as really said, it’s, it’s definitely the biggest subject, but there are other areas. I mean, ethics is a huge thing in procurement at the moment, uh, and, uh, which is why sips we’ve, we’ve developed what we call the, the ethics test, which we ask all our members to take. Uh, every year I actually did mine yesterday. It took me two days to do, but that’s a whole different subject, but, um, um, uh, because that’s so important, I mean, th th th the cost of unethical behavior, um, it’s a commercial cost, you know, adds 10% to, to the cost of doing business around the world at the very least, uh, I think we’re talking kind of 10% of GDP.

Sam Achampong (00:49:38):

The world’s GDP is a eroded by, uh, unethical behavior. So ethics is a huge subject, uh, and, and part of ethics is, is of course, sustainability, you know, th th the triple bottom bottom line, it’s not just about, uh, you know, profits, you’ve got, you know, peop people and planet are absolutely fundamental because now consumers are actually, uh, talking with their feet and jumping on board, sustainable companies. So, uh, there’s no more excuse not to do that. It’s a commercial imperative to, to, uh, to adopt sustainable practices. So, so those are big subjects and on the bottom, all of all of that is capability development. So, you know, the number of organizations and CPO’s who are saying great, yeah, we need procurement people, but we cannot find enough, uh, good or brilliant people. Uh, that’s interesting cause there’s a lot of procurement people around. Uh, but I think people are seeing that it’s, it’s quality more than quantity now.

Sam Achampong (00:50:35):

Um, you need real strategic thinkers, people, uh, who are looking far beyond, um, you know, the reduction in price on a transactional basis, but looking at, uh, the value adds to the bottom line. So that that’s what I’m hearing, uh, and interesting enough people are asking, you know, has from a procurement perspective, ha ha has the thinking of the industry or the industry practitioners changed since COVID, I, I hear that quite a lot these days that, you know, uh, uh, what, what are you going to change, uh, now that you’ve seen what’s happened in COVID and it’s such an interesting question, cause I, you know, I’ve thought about it quite a few times and I’ve answered the question a few times and, and I honestly think the only thing, uh, that will fundamentally changing in, in thinking, um, around procurement supply chain professionals is probably the whole just-in-time concept.

Sam Achampong (00:51:24):

That’s probably the only thing that, that people may even think. But, um, um, but, but you could also argue that, you know, just in time wasn’t a pure procurement supply chain concept, but that’s a whole different subject, but everything else really is, is reinforcing best practice, you know, uh, where people had single sourcing before. Well, you know, no one ever advocates, a single sourcing, uh, where people have, have not had the, um, the correct relationship with their suppliers. Well, um, you know, the, the advocacy has always been, uh, around, uh, treating your strategic suppliers in a strategic way. Uh, and, and all of these things are what have come out of COVID, you know, people who have, who have fallen foul of the economic conditions of COVID have been because, um, they have not been as, as, as sophisticated in risk management, in supplier relationship management and, and all the other areas in contract management. You know, when people talk about force mature, uh, um, it’s a bit late to talk about force majeure after a pandemic has just hit, you know, that, that sort of thing. So these are all things that you could have mitigated against almost, and, and it’s not something that we can a need to go back and think, oh, right, okay. Should the thinking have been more focused on, uh, forced mature contract management, supplier relationship management? It always was, um, it’s all about the adoption of these best practices. And

Kelly Barner (00:52:44):

So maybe one last quick procurement question, then I’ll, I’ll give somebody else to turn. Um, you know, obviously sips is focused on skills development, right? Capabilities training, but as we discussed when we were hearing your story, there’s a piece of it that you can’t train into people and whether it’s an innovative mindset or creativity or the heart, like I said, that you clearly must exhibited on that project to be pulled into procurement. Um, you know, personally, when you look at the people that are coming into the space, what are you seeing as the priorities, you know, in the area of literal skills development, versus maybe looking at way people think where the personality traits that they bring to the work, um, what would you say kind of on that balance?

Sam Achampong (00:53:32):

It’s all about the soft skills. And if you look at the, you know, the, the top 10 skills, maybe you need, uh, as a procurement professional in this day and age, then the soft skills are at the top rather than the bottom. So that’s, what’s been, the shift is you need to have that emotion intelligence, you know, uh, what we say is digital industry 4.0 where AI meets AI or something along those lines I heard. But, um, but essentially it’s, um, yeah, the soft skills are on top. If, if you, if you’re able to have those influences and skills, those, uh, stakeholder management skills, uh, the rest of the stuff can come on board. Uh, because for example, people talk about negotiation being a key skill of, of, um, procurement professionals. And, uh, and it is, uh, but I had a round table recently and, uh, uh, I’ll just throw out there and said, guys, not at this stage of your career, um, as a senior procurement professional, if you don’t know how to negotiate, you know what, don’t worry about it.

Sam Achampong (00:54:29):

You don’t need don’t focus on it. Don’t worry about it because, because if there’s one thing that can be substituted, it’s that you got, you got Esau and your ERP and whatever else, but if you don’t have the soft skills that can’t be replicated, that can’t be replaced. So it’s almost, um, th those are the, those are the key focuses. And, and, and actually, I think you mentioned in terms of what ships does. So, um, you know, th th th th the reason we have a regional office is to work a lot with, uh, on a B2B basis and the PCB basis. Uh, doesn’t always, um, when we work with other organizations, doesn’t always just include, you know, the, uh, the qualifications and things along those lines, it advise, it involves a lot of advisory, but, uh, we’ve worked with lots of organizations about, uh, not how their people do procurement, but how they do procurement, how they set up, what is the structure of procurement?

Sam Achampong (00:55:23):

Uh, what are the policies and procedures? What do they do? How are they performing? Where, where does procurement sit in the organization? How influential is it, uh, how strategic it is? We’ve worked with a ton of organizations, uh, around the region on just the aspects, um, alone, um, on, on how, how effective is your procurement function. Um, and then on the other side, when we work with people, um, a lot of what we do, uh, doesn’t only focus on the, on the technical aspects. A lot of our focus on leadership, um, stakeholder management is a huge module. Um, yeah, you know, um, emotional intelligence is a huge module as, as is, you know, ethics and accountability and, and things along those lines. So actually now, in terms of the wasting, the stock skills are at the top of what we teach and the teaching Scott start is very, very, um, project-based now.

Sam Achampong (00:56:19):

So it’s more about, uh, oral presentations on what you’ve just learned rather than actually writing an examination. It’s, it’s saying, right. You’ve just let these four modules, okay. Translate that into a problem in your own organization, present that back to us and your boss and convince us that you’ve actually taken away some critical thinking and ability to apply what you’ve learned there. Uh, I love that that’s some of the more powerful professional development, um, programs and curriculum that, that, that I’ve ever been through. So, um, say I’m out, y’all are up to so much at sips, and it seems like you touch so many aspects of industry and, and, and so many different professionals where, where they are in a multitude of journey. So, you know, folks just breaking in to folks, trying to move up and into the upper echelon and, and, and folks that are looking for maybe to challenge your own assumptions.

Scott Luton (00:57:14):

They’ve developed over a couple of decades of being an industry and beyond it all, uh, you’re doing a lot of good things and helping people, and, and that’s, uh, we can’t get enough of that in this and this year that we live in here. So huge. Thanks, Sam. I love what you and the sips team are doing, but enough for me, I wanted to get a key, you know, as we start to wind the conversation down here today, and I still Kelly and Kim, it just, if we’re just scraping the top at iceberg with same here, I know, but, but what’s been your favorite thing and of all the ground that we’ve covered here today, what’s been one of your favorite things that Sam has shared. Yeah.

Kim Winter (00:57:52):

So Sam, what I like a lot about what you guys are doing is, is all of the community activity and, uh, the stream for, of the brand that you’ve developed. And, uh, I’ve known a lot of sips organizations and execs around the world, Australia and New Zealand, um, different parts of Asia. So I think you have to take a bit of kudos and a bit of recognition for what’s been going on up here the last 13 years since you arrived, or so, but from my perspective, um, really a thing, one of the hot points for me is the fact that you built the credibility of the brand of the qualification to a level where from us as a global executive recruiter in the supply chain space, it is one, sips is one of the few qualifications that will actually, from our perspective, tip somebody into a high ranking position for a shortlist for a job. So I think, uh, and especially in this particular market here where you stand out, as I said before, as my father, most professional industry type organization chartered, certainly, but also the other industry associations and also the way that that can influence decision-making and careers. I mean, the next job, something may be the most important or the most important things that ever happens in their lives. So you guys have got a role to play there. So I think that’s been really good and I congratulate you for that.

Scott Luton (00:59:17):

Well, thank you, Kim. Um, Kelly, what’s been out of all of the goodness that Sam Azure pong is share with us here today. What’s your favorite

Kelly Barner (00:59:27):

P I get to talk about procurement all the time. Um, and one of the things that’s constant is change. We’re always evolving. We’re always transforming. We’re always maturing. And I think having this conversation today reminds me why that’s necessary. It’s because procurement is such a big job. So much is asked of us on an individual level at the company level, in the global community regionally. Um, there’s an awful lot that we have to be able to do. And it does include everything from negotiation to ethics, to supplier identification, to rationalization, to every single soft skill you can possibly imagine. Um, it’s a very big role, but that’s what makes it so much fun. And that’s what makes it so exciting. And that’s why, I mean, I can’t imagine, you know, whether it’s getting plucked out of somewhere unexpectedly or getting moved sideways into procurement, I would view that as a professional stroke of luck for anybody, uh, that, that has that experience. So we can just run this as like a recruiting video, you know, it’s a fun, exciting, challenging, messy, strategic place to work. There’s no other place

Scott Luton (01:00:35):

Well said. Uh, completely agree, Kelly. Um, all right, so I’m going to go around the horn, so to speak and make sure folks know how to connect, not only with Sam, but also with Kelly and Kim, but Sam start with you. You got so much going on, but how can folks compare notes with you and, and get more information on sips? Yeah, just contact me on LinkedIn, Sam a champion, uh, concept me on LinkedIn. And, uh, if you want to know more about sips in general, uh, www is the place to go play. Wonderful. It’s just that easy Sam. And of course we’ll include a couple of those links in the show notes. So you’re just one click away to our listeners for, uh, to connecting with Sam and sips. Okay. So Kim, how about you and the legit logistics executive group? And of course, we’ve talked about logistics, executive TB, that TV, wonderful content out there on YouTube, but how else can folks connect with Kim

Kim Winter (01:01:28):

Winter? Sure. Thanks Scott. Hey, anybody can hit me up on LinkedIn. Um, I’m fairly big on LinkedIn these days, we put a lot of effort into communicating with our ecosystem with our community, both from the executive search side and the corporate advisory M and a transformation side. So, uh, LinkedIn is a big one, otherwise logistics, And I just want to get a plugin for the UAE here, even though I’m a resident afforded from countries and in deliver all over the place, uh, not so much with covert, but I got expo in the UAE this year about October. I think it is at Sam, um, the lady big event and, uh, the, the borders are open, no quarantines coming in here. As long as you’ve got to PCR test, uh, you can get in and out of, uh, the UAE, no problems whatsoever love that.

Scott Luton (01:02:16):

Um, and, and really love, love that your passion for all you do. Uh, Kim, it, it exudes across your social. It, it really comes out and manifests itself in your interviews. And every time we we reconnect, um, you’re just, you’re genuine and you’re driven by, by helping others. So Kim, you know, we don’t, we don’t get a chance to reconnect enough and admire what you do. Thanks, Scott. Um, okay. I’m a big fan of all three of y’all here. I’m going to have a Sam tattoo and akin tattooed. Of course, uh, Kelly Barner tattoo costs a back, but I really mean it. I mean, the three of y’all, uh, are, uh, w w deeds, not words is what we live. We try to live by here. And all three of you all clearly are taking action, uh, to, to, to, to drive a better industry. And Kelly, uh, finally, finally with you, how can folks connect with you and, and buyer’s meeting point?

Kelly Barner (01:03:06):

Sure. So same as, as Sam and Kim find me on LinkedIn, my web home is buyer’s meeting Um, and then of course save the date the third Tuesday of every single month from 12 noon to 1:00 PM Eastern, uh, Scott and I, the dial pay for procurement livestream. That’s probably the most fun way to get in touch with

Scott Luton (01:03:24):

Us. Agreed. Um, and, and be sure, bring your voice joins for the livestream and then, and then bring it, uh, we really love hearing from folks across the ecosystem as can put it or the community. So, um, all right, we’re going to have to leave. We’re going to have to leave it here. Uh, we’re going to have to have Sam, uh, and Kim back with us, uh, to reconnect, uh, there’s so much going on, but in the meantime, be sure be in a big, thanks to Sam, a shot, uh, Sam, uh, chomp pong, sorry, regional head and general manager for the charter Institute of procurement and supply, better known as sips. Uh, Sam, thanks so much for your time. Thank you, Scott. Uh, and of course my esteemed co-hosts here today, Kelly Barner with buyers meeting point and Kim winter with the logistics executive group.

Scott Luton (01:04:09):

Big thanks to both of y’all. Thanks, Scott. Okay. So folks, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation, this, this certification class masterclass, perhaps as much as I have, um, a ton of insights and knowledge and, um, and market Intel on what’s been covered here today. A big thanks for tuning in, Hey, uh, on behalf of our entire team here, hope this finds you well, wherever you are, and, and, and come visit UAE, we’re gonna, we’re gonna take Tim, uh, Kim’s, uh, invite up on that. So, uh, the future is east, as Sam has shared, but most importantly, folks be like these three right here, do good gift forward and be the change that’s needed on that. And it we’ll see next time here on supply chain. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (01:04:51):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our 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.

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Approaching Procurement with a Growth Mindset

Featured Guests

Sam Achampong is a senior executive with extensive experience in Procurement and Supply Chain management across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. He has held Senior Procurement and Strategic Sourcing roles for organizations such as Land Securities in the UK, Abu Dhabi Municipality in the Middle East, and MTN across Africa. An active member of the procurement fraternity, Sam is currently Regional Director of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) for the Middle East and North Africa Region. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Procurement from the University of Glamorgan (Wales)‎, MSc in Facilities Management from the University of Westminster (England), and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. He is a regular speaker at industry events and an advocate for professional standards in procurement and supply management. Connect with Sam on LinkedIn.


Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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Billy Taylor


Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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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.

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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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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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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., 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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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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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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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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Allison Giddens


Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Tandreia Bellamy


Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker


Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr


An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams


Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera


Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey University, class 2019. Upon graduation she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (GCLOG) 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. Former Data Analyst within the airport industry in Latin America at Pacific Airport Group, performing benchmarking reports and predictive analysis of future market behavior.

Currently working as Sr. Staffing Analyst within the S&OP team in Mexico at the biggest ecommerce company in Latin America: Mercado Libre. Responsible for workforce forecasting and planning through the analysis of demand, productivity, capacity, cost & time constraints. Sofia self identifies as Supply Chain Ambassador, sharing her passion for the field in her daily life. She has been recognized as upcoming thought leader in the field and invited to participate in several podcasts (Freight Path Podcast, Supply Chain Revolution Podcast, Let’s Talk Supply Chain, Industrificados) to discuss topics such as digital transformation, automation and future skillsets for supply chain professionals.

She is a frequent featured guest at Supply Chain Now and appointed co-host for their new series Supply Chain Now en Español. Global Ambassador for ISCEAs Sustainable Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSSCP) and keynote speaker at World Supply Chain Forum 2021 by ISCEA Indonesia.

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Karin Bursa


Karin Bursa is the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year and the Host of the TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast powered by Supply Chain Now. 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 share their success stories. Today, she helps B2B technology companies introduce new products, capture customer success and grow global revenue, market share and profitability. In addition to her recognition as the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year, Karin has also been recognized as a 2019 and 2018 Supply Chain Pro to Know, 2009 Technology Marketing Executive of the Year and a 2008 Women in Technology Finalist. 

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Vin Vashishta


Vin Vashishta is the author of ‘From Data To Profit’ (Wiley 2023). It’s the playbook for monetizing data and AI. Vin is the Founder of V-Squared and built the business from client 1 to one of the world’s oldest data and AI consulting firms. His background combines nearly 30 years in strategy, leadership, software engineering, and applied machine learning.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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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 & Host

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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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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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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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Constantine Limberakis


Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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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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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White


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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