“When we talk about digital transformation, I think the most essential piece is the hearts and minds. One way of winning over the hearts and minds of people is to show them ‘the moonshot.’ How far can we take this? How could this work?”
– Jacob Gorm Larsen, Director of Digital Procurement at Maersk Group
“When you have a vision, when you really understand what you want to do and bring your people with you, they key is communication. As a leader, you need to take action and make decisions to define the future, but always keep an eye on the holistic picture.”
– Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Partner & Director at BCG
When procurement professionals talk about transformation, they almost always mean digital transformation. And while digital transformation is important, it is only half of the story – at most. Every digital project not only affects everyone in the organization, but it also requires their input and support if it is to deliver the desired benefits.
In this episode of Dial P for Procurement, Jacob Gorm Larsen, Director of Digital Procurement at Maersk Group, and Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Partner & Director at BCG, look beyond the technology aspects of digital transformation to consider the leadership, change management, and human impact sides of the movement.
Through a conversation recorded as a livestream with the Supply Chain Now audience, Marcell and Jacob share the following with co-hosts Kelly Barner and Scott Luton:
· How leaders can leverage a forward-looking vision or ‘north star’ to help keep everyone aligned through times of change and inspire them to embrace it
· The need for empathy at every level in an organization, especially through uncertainty
· Their observations about the current mindset of C-suite leaders, including how far into the future those executives are currently looking and planning
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Kelly Barner right here with you on the Dial P for procurement edition of supply chain. Now Kelly. Good morning. How are you doing? Good
Kelly Barner (00:44):
Morning. I’m doing great. We love the Dial P day. Dial P days. It’s like the day of the month in my house.
Scott Luton (00:50):
Agreed. We gotta start wearing red on Dial P days. You know, we gotta, we gotta get a little get in the mood a little better look festive. All right. So welcome back everybody. We’ve got a great conversation to that pier today. Two outstanding guests, big thought leaders, especially when it comes to digital transformation. So we’ll get to that in just a second, but you know, Kelly, when we talk about digital transformation, we usually focus on the digital and today we’re talking about the human ability to change and to drive change, right?
Kelly Barner (01:21):
We are. And I think it’s easy to overlook how difficult that is, especially given where procurement is in our journey. Right now, there are so many, you know, we talk about soft skills. There are so many human to human aspects of the work that we’re being asked to do that I kind of suspect. Maybe we’re investing a lot of money in technology and a lot of money in process and maybe not quite enough money in our people just to make sure everybody has what they need to handle it.
Scott Luton (01:47):
Well, we got to get it on. I’m looking forward to diving into those thoughts and a lot more right here on Dow P on supply chain. Now a couple of programming notes before we get started here today, want to encourage everybody, you know, we’re, we’re working hard to support these efforts to help our friends in India. That’s fighting the second wave and then some of COVID-19. So if you’re in a position to give, give small, give big all points in between, check out the nonprofit fiba.org, where every dollar is going to getting resources to India, or you can check out our friends at vector global logistics that are marshaling all those resources. You can shoot them a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. And then one final note, join us. Innovation is going to be some of the things we’ve talked about here today. We’ve got a great webinar coming up on June 8th, 12 noon, where we’re talking about real, not cliche, but real practical, successful innovation supply chain with our friends at Transplace. So join us for that. And the link to sign up is in the show notes. All right. So Kelly, wonderful conversation teed up here today. Anything else you want to add teas before I say hello to a few folks in the cheap seats?
Kelly Barner (02:54):
Yes, because I know both of today’s guests very well, and I know a lot of people that are us and who will watch later on demand. No, these two gentlemen, very well. I have worked with them individually and I hand picked them for this topic because they’re, without a doubt, two of the nicest guys you will ever meet in any procurement conversation anywhere. So I’m thrilled to be doing this topic today with the two of them.
Scott Luton (03:16):
Awesome. Awesome. We’re going to bring them in in just a minute, but first we’re going to say hello to a few folks that are tuned in Rhonda. Hey, you’re breaking records. Good afternoon. Good morning to you as it were maybe. And you’re tuned in early, man. I’d love to see that. So hope this finds you well out in Arizona. Hey David, I’m gonna let you down today cause I’m not wrapping a topic of conversation. You know, maybe I need to look at that again, but yeah, so special ed was with us yesterday. We had a great conversation. Kevin L. Jackson and Greg white, and uh, of course special ed is a legend on the music scene. And David basically was, was holding me to a promise to wrap in a future episode. So David not, not let you down, I’ll have to do it a few days down the road.
Scott Luton (04:02):
Maybe let’s see. Gynae is with us, uh, via LinkedIn. Great to see you here. Thanks so much for tuning in [inaudible] speaking of India, they’re in India. Great to have you back. Hope this finds you and your family. Well, Mervin is back with us from Dublin. Mervin. Hope. This finds you. Well, my friend, Peter Boulay all night and all day, he says good afternoon to us. All. This will be a great show. Hey, I agree Peter. And we may be a little bit partial Kelly, but this is, this is going to be a great conversation. Cavon is with us. Hey, come. I hope this finds you well tuned in via LinkedIn, Mark Preston, who is leading the champions club at the association for manufacturing excellence is with this field. LinkedIn mark. Great to see you here. Let’s see here. Elaine is back with us. Hello, supply chain.
Scott Luton (04:48):
Now she says tuned in from Sudan via Facebook. Hope this finds you well, Cavon you’re letting her letting our secret guests out of the bag. One of them at least, and he’s not wrong. [inaudible] with us. Hey son. I hope this finds you well. Great to see you here today. Usery via LinkedIn from Egypt. Great to see you here. So welcome everybody. And hopefully you brought your POV with you and your voice. We really look forward to hearing your feedback on the conversation we’re having with two distinguished guests. I think it’s Tom Kelly to introduce our guests. Are you ready? I am so ready. All right. So today we have got Dr. Marcell Vollmer partner at Boston consulting group guest, number one, and joining him is if that wasn’t good enough, we have Jacob Gorm Larsen director of digital procurement group at the Mayer group, but he also is author other practical guide to E auctions for procurement, which we’ll dive more into. So let’s walk them in Dr. Vollmer and Jacob. Good afternoon to you, both gentlemen.
Marcell Vollmer (05:53):
Good morning. Great being here today.
Scott Luton (05:57):
Outstanding. Uh, great to have you really enjoyed the pre-show conversation as always. We have been, uh, as we talked about kinda admiring y’all from a far, at least here at supply chain now and, uh, Kelly, uh, spoken volumes about your boat. So it’s great to have you right here on Dial P for procurement and supply chain now. So Kelly, uh, we’re going to start on a lighter note with our guests here today, right?
Kelly Barner (06:18):
All right. We’re going to start with a lightning round
Scott Luton (06:20):
Lightning round the lightning round. Okay. So I want to start with you Jacob. So love, you know, I love how, when the silver linings about this, these tough times we’re living through is this really brought the world together, right? It’s gotten a lot smaller and we like to celebrate where all of our, our listeners or our folks in the community and our guests are from. So tell us where you are right now. And tell us your favorite part about living and working there.
Jacob Gorm (06:45):
So I’m with you from Copenhagen, which is the capital of Denmark, where right now at our corporate, the pitfall, what I like about working and living in, uh, in Copenhagen is actually the size of the city, the commute you can bike to and from everything, I think that’s a true, a privilege that you don’t really need a car to get around and everything is within a fairly short distance. So I think that would be the one thing that I would pick on that.
Scott Luton (07:12):
And you can, you can eat what you want because you know, you’re going to bike everywhere. Right? Exactly. Okay. Alright. And same question to you, Marcell and Matt call you Marcell or Dr. Vollmer, which, which would you prefer? Okay. Hey, w we like to make sure folks are recognized for the hard competence they’ve had, but Marcel tell us where you are and what’s your favorite part about living and working there?
Marcell Vollmer (07:36):
So I’m gonna add now in our thankful to office, BCGs Frankfurt office here in Germany. So not far away from, for me right now. And what I really like about thankful is it’s very central located and you have excellent flight connections as soon as flights, uh, uh, back on. And I hope that we’ll be back on very,
Scott Luton (08:00):
We will. We both agree with you and we’ll give it a minute. Yeah, that’s good. Timing is good timing. So maybe we can play. Maybe we can take him out of the stream for a second and see if we can reset that really quick. But Hey, he makes a great point because the aviation industry has been struggling, right. And folks are dying to get back out there and travel and connect and get, and get there in person. So we’re all hoping we get firmly into that post pandemic environment soon. Okay. So Yaka let’s, let’s keep with you here. So we’re talking about procurement. Of course. That’s going to be the main theme here today. We’ve got Jonathan Townsley kinda, um, spiking the football happy Tuesday and happy procurement. I love that sentiment. Jonathan hope this finds you well, but Jacob, what’s it like working in the global shipping business, right? This second. It’s like, it’s like your front center stage right here lately, right?
Jacob Gorm (08:52):
Yeah, of course. It’s, it’s very, uh, interesting, exciting times, very busy as well. And also because we just most get more improve a historic transformation of the company, transforming ourselves from being a, you can say a pure shipping company to becoming a, an interim logistics provider, then that introduces a lot of changes, a lot of challenges, but also a lot of fantastic opportunities. So exciting time to be in, in shipping right now. Definitely.
Scott Luton (09:22):
Yeah, it really is. And to drive change via transformation during these challenging times, that is quite, you know, y’all are getting stuff done there at, myRisk looking forward to learning a little more about that. All right. So Marcell, uh, we had a it’s Murphy’s law and all the streaming goes, we’re going to have freezes and glitches here and there. You’ve been putting out a ton of content though, and I love what you’re doing. I follow you mainly on LinkedIn and Twitter. I love your you’re such a great person to follow on Twitter. Very eclectic mix of content. You’ve been talking a lot about space travel and emerging tech. So we’re going to be, we’re going to be kindred spirits here. I’m a big space nerd myself. I’ll admit that. But what is it about those areas that really captures your imagination?
Marcell Vollmer (10:05):
I definitely love, um, space and it’s absolutely exciting by the way. Today’s an interesting day. It on Musk is here is not working on a space project, but I think it’s similar size when I look at what he’s building close to Berlin right now as a, as a factory. And basically what I like on that is innovation. And there’s this really also, we see so many innovations coming from, from Spacey scratch resistant lenses, for example, in saline poms, um, uh, um, a lot of stuff, really what, what we benefit from, um, on a daily basis and business, really what shows feel is a tie for innovation and also helping to improve our lives. And this is what I, what I like most. And in that exciting also seeing, and to have link, uh, into space. I know how big it is, and probably it will really last until we go to mass. But, um, it’s absolutely exciting and fascinating for me as a kid, I started really loving looking at, um, movies, films about that. Um, some shows and I was always fascinated. And that’s the reason why all tour, um, put a lot out on emerging technologies, disruptive technologies.
Scott Luton (11:27):
There’s so much you shared there that I love, and it’s really becoming a global space race. It’s been interesting from China to the middle east, of course, here in the states globally, everyone is getting involved and, you know, as I’ve heard it and Kelly, I can’t remember who, who said it in the comments. I think it might’ve been Peter or someone else. You know, if we can fly helicopters on Mars, that’s going to bring some, some powerful innovation to visibility and communication here on our own planet. So I agree with you, Marcell. It is going to continue to investment in space exploration. Not only is it going to have to force us to apply supply chain to space, but it’s compact. It’s going to drive some powerful, real innovation here on earth. So Kelly, where are we going? It seems like these lightning round questions we could make at least a full hour there, but where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (12:13):
So next, we’re going to check the box on technology because given how well known you both are in this space, everyone will be mad at me. If I don’t ask you some questions about technology. So let me start with you. And we’re actually going to start more personally, what is an app, a device? What is some piece of technology that you really appreciate having in your personal life?
Jacob Gorm (12:34):
Yeah, so many of them, but to him, but if I’m just to pick one and it’s on a sort of a personal note, I would say it’s one that combines my passion for machine learning with, with red wine. So called Vivino, maybe you know of it. Uh, so you use it to scan the etiquette of a bottle of red wine and video will give you all kinds of information about the red wine. I absolutely I’m fascinated with the technology. It’s a fantastic app and I use it, uh, some would say too much, too much red wine or too much.
Kelly Barner (13:17):
How about you, Marcell? Is there a personal device or technology that you enjoy? I’m going to say red wine is hard to beat, but what comes to mind for you?
Marcell Vollmer (13:24):
I can’t beat the headline. So therefore I let, let me talk about the tech and definitely this is my number one device. What I’m using all the time for calls for news, for emails also linking it to machine learning what Jacob said, not only for wine, but also using Lily, for example, for dictation or looking something up in the internet. Whereas the way most of my emails, I’m ambling it now by using the voice input and get it automatically converted into text. Isn’t this amazing how convenient it makes your life, and you have your calendar, your camera, everything with you. So I’m definitely addicted to my smartphone as it helps me really to manage my day in the best, best way. Um, but I also can switch it off if I don’t want to want to use it. I don’t have any problems with that.
Kelly Barner (14:18):
Now I have to ask how good is it at hearing what you’ve said and actually putting the right thing down as someone who works a fair amount with transcripts, that some of these automated transcription services are humorous at times based on how they translate things. How good do you find it is a capturing what you’ve actually said,
Marcell Vollmer (14:36):
Oh, I love it. It’s really, it’s really amazing. And you can hear, I have a very strong German accent, sorry guys for that. I lived three years in the United States. I couldn’t get rid of that. Um, that’s the unfortunate thing. Fortunately, Zoe got used to it and I can do it in English as well as in German. And it works equally good or bad. Let’s say the, that way. It is not 100% perfect, but I think it is really delivering very good results. And therefore it’s, it’s definitely something also what makes my life easier.
Kelly Barner (15:08):
Yeah. If we could get that app to recommend a red wine, we would have the technology that could take over the wine.
Scott Luton (15:13):
Oh, it’s in the art of the possible indeed. Uh, Kelly, Hey Kelly. Before we switch gears and dive into the human side of transformation, I want to share just a couple of quick comments here from our community, Dave, and I like your comment here. Cheap seats. You mean the best seats in the house? I’m with you. I am absolutely with you, Shannon. Hey, welcome back from Canada via LinkedIn. Great to have you here. Big, thanks to clay and Amanda who are behind the scenes as our producers making live streams happen, stay hot. No, you did not miss me rapping. I said one, one line out of a wrap yesterday with our special guests and clay accused me of having some flow, which I think is a good thing as Leah. Hey, great to have you here with us from West Virginia for now. Great to see you here.
Scott Luton (15:55):
I think I mentioned Jonathan earlier. Brenton is with us. Uh, great to have you Brent and via LinkedIn. Welcome. And let’s see here. There’s one other comment I wanted to recognize. I think Eduardo, I think you’re with us here yesterday. Great to have you back. And uh, finally Shelton, Shelton. Great to have you with us here today. Um, by the way, Jonathan says that’s a great app, goes well with the wine spectator vintage chart that comes in handy as well. How about that? Integration integration. Love that. All right. So Kelly, where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (16:27):
So next we’re going to start to talk about the human side of all the transformation work that we have been doing. And Marcell, I’d like to start with you because you have a lot of broad industry level conversations. Where would you say people’s mindsets are right now, either with regard to the change that we’ve all just been through over the last 14, 15 months or based on maybe just where they are in this precise moment where’s everyone’s mind?
Marcell Vollmer (16:56):
Well, I think currently it is really interesting seeing that, uh, supply chain management and risk management is definitely top priority in the business. As I was saying, what I like very much is besides all the negative impact, what COVID-19 has. And, um, I, I wish I could say is a pandemic is over and now we are looking at, comes a past our look back into the past and can look forward into the future. I think there are good signals out there by seeing the vaccination is kicking in on the other side, we see India who else mentioned, um, horrible what’s happening say every day. So it’s a good thing. You said people are now more and more focusing on the future. And we see it here at BCG is that basically we are, we are no longer just looking into mitigation strategies, resilience for your supply chain, things like that.
Marcell Vollmer (17:47):
We also looking now in topics like sustainability, I was very amazed about alarming. Um, how much is invested hype now in scope speed definition? So basically how can you connect is a good, what you get from your suppliers to your CO2 footprint, to CSR, um, and really have this also part of your supply chain. So it’s a good thing is that people definitely looking into the future. And another element is the new remote working models is definitely also something everyone is interested in. And I think we have a kind of zoom fatigue sometimes too, to use system. But on the other side, I think in the future, we will benefit combining in a very smart way, working from home on the one side, but also going to the office. I have to say, I really enjoy being back at the office. Um, it is so good also meeting some other people network working and we are human beings. We have emotions. We want to connect to people. We want to socialize. I wish I could do this much more. Pretty sure as that. Lots of you feels the same and that’s definitely is a good thing that people are very actively looking into the future right now, um, which gives a lot of energy and to hive. Isn’t
Kelly Barner (19:08):
It interesting that in this moment, when we’ve all been separated for so long, one of the biggest I’ll say initiatives to come out of this time is sort of the diversity, sustainability and inclusion movement. It’s almost like in some ways we’re all channeling that desire for human connection and a desire to do more and do better for those who are around us and people that we will never meet that are on the other side of the world, but it’s sort of like losing it locally has given us more of a drive to make a difference globally.
Marcell Vollmer (19:37):
I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely.
Kelly Barner (19:40):
Now yoga, you shared as we were coming into this conversation that your group at Maersk has just been through an incredible digital transformation. Um, when you look back at what was required to successfully get through that project, what would you say was the critical success factor or the secret sauce to winning over people’s hearts and minds? So that, that change was made possible.
Jacob Gorm (20:04):
I think w when we talk digital transformation overall, and when we talk within procurement or at a, at a company level, I think the most essential piece is exactly the hearts and mind. And the way you win that over is by not considering these as tech projects, these are business transformation. So what you need to focus on when you, where you, where you need to put a lot of effort in is exactly on winning over the hearts and minds of people. And one way of doing that is to show them sort of the moonshot or the moon landing is as Marcell was talking about before. So show them, how far can we take this? How could this work? And that can be done through smaller scale pilots where you sort of give them a quick glimpse at how can this look in the future when things are fully digitized, I’m not a believer of, you know, a big one big system implementation, and then you work on that for three years and then you’ll turn on the light and everything is digital it because I don’t believe that will take you to sort of the value realization.
Jacob Gorm (21:08):
So I think it’s an, uh, it’s, it’s a journey that you’re on and it’s about showing people the wings so that they are with you on that journey. It’s not something that a project team is driving on the side. It’s something that you have to do together with the entire organization. And I think that applies to procurement and it applies in general overall. So I actually don’t think that that would differ.
Kelly Barner (21:30):
And I think the challenge is, you know, you talk about moonshot here, but you’ve also spoken previously about sort of having a north star for yourself and for your team. What, what is that thing that’s ultimately guiding your efforts? I think it’s exceptionally hard. I mean, if we’re realistic, we all know that vision and mission and objectives are important because you have to have goals to work towards, but actually being able to decide what that north star should be and define it well enough that it can drive people’s actions. I think that’s incredibly hard because it’s both creative and it requires you to fully understand the business. What advice do you have about people looking for their own notes?
Jacob Gorm (22:07):
And it’s also difficult because in, I think in most cases it will be sort of dynamic ambition, right? So the way I interpreted our north star two years ago is different than how I look at it now, but it’s also something that will, uh, that will move the move. The goalpost, as you learn more as a, I think it was Henry Ford, who said, if he asked his customers what they were looking for, they would say a faster horse, right? And that’s exactly the challenge. And I think the best advice to give to people is don’t look for a faster horse, keep an open mind, be aware of the bias and the limitations that you yourself are exposed to. And that goes for myself as well when I’m not very good at using Siri. But when I look at my two daughters at 10 and 12 and how fluent they are in engaging with all of these voice recognition technologies, absolutely amazing. So the best advice I can give is don’t look for a faster horse.
Scott Luton (23:12):
So, you know, Henry Ford also, I think, I don’t think this is a, uh, I think it’s a real story he asked, uh, our customers can have their model T in any color they want as long as they want black. So that’s what I, I want to share a couple of comments, Kelly, that, that the conversation has triggered all red. He, uh, David says going back to your DEI comments earlier, Kelly absolutely spot on Kelly with everyone connecting virtually geographical locations no longer matter as we interact. And it’s brought so much more light to groups of people that were an afterthought previously point there, David, and then we’ll here a little more recently, Phil and Phil hope this finds you well, uh, via art of procurement. He says, I love the mindset change that Jacob mentioned CSR projects that can drive transformation rather than checking the box. We hate the check, the box, right? Pencil whip things. And he goes on to say, and for many businesses, ever every individual is a potential current or future customer excellent point. And then say high one final one, great points on aligning vision to actions. Okay. Good stuff there. All right, Kelly, where are we going next?
Kelly Barner (24:20):
We’re going to spend another minute on vision. And actually it’s funny. I’m glad Phil’s with us because this was a, a key theme at our procurement mastermind live that we ran back last fall and Marcell at the time, you and I had talked about the importance of vision. And one of the comments that you made that has stuck with me is that even though things were exceptionally difficult, right? We were talking in October, things were still very scary. Things were not really reopening. We were all worried about the rebound and the fall. And you made the point, even though right now, it’s hard. If you don’t have a longer-term vision, you don’t need a shorter term plan. There has to be something further down the road, both to give you something optimistic to work towards, but also to help you maintain optimism and dealing with the moment. So I guess part of what I’m curious about is if your thinking on that has evolved or crystallized at all, and generally speaking, when you have these conversations with executives about their forward-looking about their future plans, what sort of relationship with time do they have? Are people thinking three years? Are they thinking five years or people still struggling to get beyond the next six months in terms of decisions?
Marcell Vollmer (25:36):
That’s a great question about vision. And I think we all know about history is a man on the moon. We started with space and to disruptive technology and what we have seen what really ignited once the president of the United States, uh, JFK was one saying about this. And I think, um, in the past, um, it was definitely something more about as a future five, 10 years strategies. What I have seen over the course of my career, when I look now and, and have conversations with senior executives who have CEO or C-level executives, um, from different functions, including procurement is they’re looking more for, Hey, let’s look into the next six, 12, 18 months, something like that. It is not really looking far out and coming up with the next big scene that everyone agrees how important it is to have a vision, and also to bring people behind this vision, what you, what you have.
Marcell Vollmer (26:38):
We need to achieve all our next step, because it is important a company to look forward. If you now look out there and depending on which news channel you follow, you might, um, get desperate about. Wow, oh, um, India has says, um, big problems, high tide now, um, in your most restaurants are closed, uh, hotels, closed tablets, where he limited things like that. But I think everyone likes also to see the positive sings. Um, is there something very bad what’s happening now right now with, COVID-19 no doubt about it, but basically there’s also light at the end of the tunnel. We are fortunate that there’s a vaccine ancient. So development of a vaccination is the fastest ever in history. So think about that. Who would envision census as possible to get, and this is helping also to hopefully overcome very soon. There’s a negative impact of COVID-19 when we get vaccinated.
Marcell Vollmer (27:39):
And, um, you need to have a vision and define your vision. What’s next sec. So how can I plan for the future? And I think procurement supply chain management is a great example, um, who would have ever envisioned since this will be number one or two priority, or probably C-level agenda. We have seen this, what started beginning of last year moves that, but now it’s time also to look into the future and think about, Hey, how is our supply chain evolving? What can we do better? How have we learned also from the digital transformation, from the leapfrog and using technologies like video conferencing systems, cloud solutions. And I think this is really what people like, and also connecting that by coming up with goals for the future, connected with the vision. And of course, everyone wants to go as a business. Some also have a different perspective on what they want to do different. And this is really, really, um, amazing seeing, um, how this has evolved over the last, uh, last, let’s say 15, 18 months.
Kelly Barner (28:46):
Absolutely. And I mean, you had mentioned Elan mosque. Uh, first of all, if he happens to walk by you, please just go get up and grab him. I would love to have Elon Musk crashed out pay. That would be fantastic. Um, but I think to go back to his point made ironically on Saturday night live, you know, he’s reinventing electric cars and planning to send people to Mars. Did we really think he was going to approach things like a typical guy? And I think on the one hand, that’s funny and it’s a good joke, right? We all laugh at it, but there’s a very serious point in there that whether we’re looking six months out or 12 months out, we have to be willing to explore some things that are maybe a little bit more radical, maybe some different ideas than we thought about in the past. Because if we’re just trying to roll back out the same old things, nothing could be further from transformation, right? Yes. Excellent
Scott Luton (29:38):
Points there. Excellent. Blab. I think we’ve got it. We’ve got a challenge. Every single assumption, uh, old and new right now, as we look for creative ways of solving old new problems. I want to share just a couple of comments here that y’all continued to instigate via the best seats as David says it. Gary was a big fan of what Kelly Marcel, we’re talking about things mainly related to vision reminds me of Jordan Peterson’s podcast vision, and a focus out the chatbot. Now, Gary, thanks for joining us here. Mervin says short term solutions are good. As long as they’re accompanied with a long-term roadmap. I like that. And as Leah says, vision is such a great topic to speak on a road has to have a starting point and a destination. It can have as many terms, intersections and stops in between. For me, vision is the same way as to know where I started, where I’m aiming to handle the progress of getting there. Excellent point as layup. Okay. A lot of good stuff, Kelly, where we, uh, let’s see what we’re moving to next
Kelly Barner (30:37):
Next, we’re moving straight to the heart. You know, we talk a lot about empathy and I think whether you’re leading a change project or whether you’re helping folks adjust to the idea that maybe they’re going to have to go back to the office regardless of how that feels to them in terms of their personal comfort level, it’s incredibly important. So yeah. Let me come to you. How do you try to infuse your leadership efforts, your management responsibilities with a sense of empathy, to make sure that your team is getting what they need as individuals to complete the work
Jacob Gorm (31:13):
That they’re faced with, uh, in, in the current situation, you mean? Yes. Yeah, but I, I think empathy is exactly the right word to use in that context and understanding that everybody’s situation is unique and how I talked about in the introduction, right. That, uh, I like to go into the office I bike in. So that’s relatively safe. If you can use that word, others may be dependent on public transportation and that’s a less safe option these days. And then you’ve got, you have to be, keep an open mind and put yourself in their shoes and really understand they’re also, it could be a unique family situations and then ensure you provide the flexibility that is needed in my experience, whatever flexibility you give to your team, you get it a tenfold back in terms of engagement and extra commitment and also flexibility going the other way and whenever that is needs.
Jacob Gorm (32:13):
So I think those, those are, it’s absolutely key to be flexible and accommodating in a situation like this when this whole pandemic started and, or at least before there was this sort of unset notion that working from home is like that’s a half day off. Right? And hopefully that is one thing that we haven’t killed for goods with this pandemic, because I think everybody will realize working from home, you are at least as efficient. Of course, there can be situations with kids running around the house all day, but in general, that you’re not disturbed that you have that calm and quietness. You don’t have a two hour commute going into the office with, I know a lot of my colleagues will have, it makes, I believe it makes you more efficient. And I don’t think anybody can document a reduction in efficiency due to the pandemic and the flexibility. So it’s a good investment to, to give people that freedom also in the future.
Kelly Barner (33:13):
Do you think it’s sustainable? I mean, the only thing that I worry about with all the working from home is that while the four of us might have always been having this conversation, virtually teams of people that work together every day, there is some level of loss, not necessarily in a direct work situation, but you’re not having the casual encounters at the coffee pot or waiting for the elevator or whatever. You’re going to lunch, whatever work setting, you know, do you think that human connection is sustainable with people working from home
Jacob Gorm (33:43):
As with, I think most other things it’s a balancing act, right? So before we were a hundred percent in the office, now we’ve been a hundred percent out of the office for a period of time. And I think people, different companies, organizations will find a balance. So I could easily imagine going forward that people would come into the office one, two, maybe three days a week, but definitely also work from home a couple of days. And that’s probably the optimal, because I also agree that’s informal connection team gathering events also sometimes travel to meet clients, colleagues, et cetera. I think it’s needed if you want to keep those relationships. So it’s a balance, I think. Yeah.
Kelly Barner (34:30):
Marcel, let me ask you a sort of a slightly different question about empathy, because I know you’re big on the topic of innovation. Do you think there’s a connection between an ability to be empathetic and ability to innovate? Do you see a connection there either in terms of the people that possess either or both, or in terms of what is required on the types of projects that are truly innovative?
Marcell Vollmer (34:56):
I think what’s, what’s really important is that, um, when people innovate, um, it starts very often with brainstorming and ideation and then also coming up with some crazy ideas. The thing is that, and how do you do that? Basically as human beings, we like really interacting with each other in, see, not only now as a face and a little bit further down, it is seeing lots of the body language and, and there’s, there’s lots of things, what we are missing by, uh, we can use a little bits of hands, what I’m doing right now. Okay, fine. But basically has he S he has much more. And also, uh, you mentioned the, um, waiting, waiting for the elevator meeting meeting. Um, it’s a coffee corner, things like that. This is also a little bit by giving you new ideas, giving you some inspiration. How do you get stressed looking all the time in your camera and being very disconnected from, from basically all of the people except of your family.
Marcell Vollmer (36:04):
And probably some friends, as soon as it is allowed in Germany, by the way, it’s not allowed, it starts now coming back. So this is really where I can understand also why people saying that as they have problems of sad, permanently working from home, and I can agree on Zack, I think, and our crop, you mentioned it, the, and this is definitely something what I could envision as well. We also will see that with a stronger focus on CO2 footprint, for examples, that flying account [inaudible] for a one or two hour meeting with a client might no longer be also what we will do as we all see it is possible to do it on video conference. Uh, we do conferencing systems, uh, fairly about when they things, the mix is really what you need to balance. I see it also here, when I talk with my colleagues on, on the strategy consulting side meeting from time to time, um, is so beneficial and really, um, developing a team spirit, um, working as a team, um, even if you are not allowed to go out in a restaurant anymore to also spend some time with your, with your colleagues, but this is definitely something what a lot of people are missing and therefore has things of benefits is probably something which will last for longer.
Marcell Vollmer (37:27):
But I think it will definitely also be on the other side that a lot of people want to go back to the office and also benefit from diving innovations, um, discussing things together as I had hoped for yachts or yeah, socializing a little bit more or less things. That’s definitely something, um, what to work. Uh, lots of people including myself are missing high blood now.
Scott Luton (37:51):
All right. Um, gosh, so much goodness, in the last seven minutes there, you know, I, I often think when I think of empathy, I think of a great analogy that I learned 12 years ago. We had an internal consultant come in and she spoke of the notion of, um, kind of a rapport bank, right? And most people are always making withdrawals and they don’t stop to think about, they got to make some deposits. And I think in this virtual age where it’s email and social and, and, you know, you don’t stop, you know, you don’t have kill it to your point. Those natural moments of, you know, bonding and rapport building is so important to be very deliberate about that, which can help, uh, help really in droves, help, help drive change and, and successful change where everyone feels part of it. We’re going to talk a little more about, uh, the team here in a second, but I’ve got a great question here from Dave Morrow and Dave hope this finds you well tuned into a presentation.
Scott Luton (38:43):
Dave made out in Arizona. One of my last in-person events in February, was it 2020 out there with dim SCA the diverse manufacturing and supply chain association, which is a great group, Dave, and I’m going to pose this question really quick, hitter to Marcel and yuck up. Can you speak to the need for a common language for supply chain to avoid the tower of Babel when dealing with international supply chain partners and the need for digital actors requiring more exacting definitions? I would add to Dave’s question, you know, with, with global enterprise, we’ve gotta make sure everybody can, can communicate and feel like that they they’re in the Nope. And, and, and there’s not, you know, those gaps can create so many, uh, so much friction, but Marcell, we’ll start with you. How would you, uh, what was your initial response to Dave’s question
Marcell Vollmer (39:31):
Dave? That’s a good question. And, um, I hope more than it will be a supply chain control tower instead of the tower of, uh, which I would love to see because speaking different languages and you are perfectly aligned, I can, can fully agree on your observations that, um, a lot of people really, um, um, I’m not really clear and transparent about the language they’re using and what exactly is it now, what we are, what we are talking about. And on, on that end, I think technology might help us having machines, communicating to each other, having sensors, getting connected to our supply chain, providing comes from see real time information about race. My talk, when do I get my, my, um, my shipment? Um, I think this will will help. Definitely. And on the other side, also, technology is evolving that, um, is it different systems are speaking more to each other?
Marcell Vollmer (40:30):
So it’s not only the advanced technologies, what I was using, like IOT 5g, whatever you want to use. It is also that different systems from different solution providers. I’m now getting more and more connected, which also built on that and health. And on the other side, we are human beings. I think if we are not very clear or something is probably misunderstood, we need to ask, Hey, can you, can you please repeat? Or can you, is it really that what I got now from, from your question sinks like that this might also help. And a lot of people are just sitting and being silent. Silence does not necessarily mean agreement, nor does it mean understanding. And that’s definitely also something where, um, a more active conversation between people, um, might be helpful to a wide how I’ll follow, which is hopefully, uh, not habit,
Scott Luton (41:23):
Excellent point, you know, communication velocity is, is also increasing and speeding up and it really can, it can create bigger gaps if folks don’t say, Hey, time out, time out. We’re we’re on two different, uh, songs here, uh, hymnals. All right. Y’all cup you’re uh, uh, same question to you. Speak them out.
Jacob Gorm (41:40):
Yeah. So I can definitely, again, fantastic and good question. And I can echo a lot of my points here, but instead of doing that, I’ll just say from a, from a technology point of view, you also see a lot of things happening for you, especially talked about, you have API APIs, making it significantly easier to connect systems, but you actually also see networks coming out blockchain solutions that aims to create that transparency so that we all talk the same language into it on the supply chains. And just to mention one example, if, if you haven’t heard about that trait lens, which is a blockchain network that we are building together with IBM, I think is a fantastic example where we try to exactly avoid the town of Babylon and ensure that everybody speaks the same language into it across the supply chain. So fantastic point. Yeah.
Scott Luton (42:36):
Alarm and unity, certainly matter of all right. A couple of quick comments, and then I’m going to jump back. I’ve got a question around, I’m going to a hockey question for you and I am not a hockey expert, but we’re going to see what happens. Peter bullae talks about how we’re missing the, what do you think? Moments, which, which I agree, you know, when we all huddled in a room and ran a white board, or even around the lunch table, you can have those powerful, what do you think moments Kayvon says experiencing the atmosphere of the workplace matters, great point there. Uh, and Kim Humphrey, who was CEO of the association for manufacturing excellence, by the way, Kim, great to have you here. She says, getting to know people virtually is good. However, humans need connection to build trust. Excellent point. Yeah. I’m
Jacob Gorm (43:19):
Trying to get to that because I think it’s a really good point that Peter is bringing up that those, what do you feel? And there’s a lot of value in those. But when I talk about this thing about working undisturbed, it’s actually, there’s also a downside to that. And there’s a lot of research done on how long time does it take for someone to get back into the flow. If you’re deeply concentrated on doing something and somebody drops by and say, Hey, what do you think about this? It takes you somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes before you’re back into a, into the flow. So if you have eight of those, what do you think moments per day, it might be that you give some good input, but you are literally inefficient half the day. So that’s great. But I also missed that dialogue and that inform lectins, but there is actually research pointing it at a downside to it as well.
Scott Luton (44:10):
Yeah. Excellent point. And Angela, you’ve got a great question around correlation between long-term planning and employee retention. We’ll have to hold that one for next time, but excellent question. Okay. So let’s talk about the art of being a goalie, something I’ve never experienced. I’m not sure if you all have goalies, you know, training themselves to move instinctively to where not just where the puck is, but where it’s going. It’s like that when that famous Wayne Gretzky quote, so Yaakov, I’ll start with you. So how are you preparing your team to remain grounded and confident, which is really important, right. But flexible to your earlier point in today’s truly uncharted waters.
Jacob Gorm (44:48):
But first of all, I think that there’s no easy answer to that. And I’m also not a, not a big hockey hockey guy, but again, I think it’s extremely important to be humble to that assignment and also accept that you won’t get it all right. And I make mistakes. I think everybody makes mistakes, but, um, but again, being flexible, open-minded in your approach to things. And then again, except that you make mistakes, especially in times, like now where, you know, none of us have tried this before, so w we have to try out things and then see it works, how it works. And as part of that, you know, keep a very open dialogue with the team. What works for you? What, uh, what doesn’t work for you. We, you know, none of us are experts in also being a leader or a manager, uh, remote, uh, some people like clear guidance on what is the fact that others don’t. And the only way you can figure that out is by having a very open, transparent dialogue with them. So again, it’s, it’s really, it’s a difficult question. And I think you just have to keep an open mind. Yeah.
Scott Luton (46:02):
Well, well said, you know, it’s interesting, what’s old is new, again, certainly in this new information age environment we’re in, and some of those long standing, uh, values when it comes to things that make up winning cultures, which is some things you’re talking about Yacob and being transparent and, and being, um, uh, hum humility, humility is a beautiful thing. Organizations, you know, you can be aggressive and bold and, and, um, um, you know, ambitious, but man, a little bit of sense of humility, uh, especially when you, so you can really learn from your failings, uh, is a really important, okay, Marcel, I’m gonna switch gears with you. I want to put our, our finger on the pulse. You know, you both talked to plenty of global executives, but Marcel, when you’re, when you’re talking to global executives right now, what’s the temperature in the room? Are they, are they feel optimistic or are they just overburdened with some of the challenges of the day?
Marcell Vollmer (46:53):
The interesting thing is the temperature stays exactly the same because it’s always only one interval. So therefore even the discussing is not really heating up slowly for that. Although I think I really like that most people are positive. And, and, um, the key towards that is also, um, building on the previous conversation. It is key to communicate, communicate, communicate. You need to be, to, to speak to people to understand what is it, and also be clear on, on the messages and executive side. Now they are definitely concerned about the future, what will really happen? Um, um, cause he asked by as way as he has multiple events also bringing supply chain Hornsey agenda and, uh, Jacob as a shipping example of evergreen, I’m pretty sure that everyone knows what Suez canal is and how important it is. Um, so this is, um, especially when it gets blocked.
Marcell Vollmer (47:57):
Um, so is there multiple things? What can happen by the way? I got appointed as chief procurement officer at ACP back in 2011 and probably some of you might remember what happens at the beginning of the year. Fukushima was the first one to flood in Thailand or the second one, what happened. And we have seen supply chain disruptions. So basically we need to get used to answer up to you. We need to get used to unpredictable events in the future, whatever this is. And I think the key element is that when you have a vision, when you, when you really understand what you want to do and also pay your people behind, and this is the key also communication, um, what I want to build on, I think the next thing is really, you need to take actions and, and take decisions in defining the future.
Marcell Vollmer (48:50):
And, and this is definitely on the top of the agenda. Now, some people it’s a good thing is that, um, when you talk with executives, see economies, the global economy. Now when you look at the holistic picture, it’s going, it is really aggressively going look at China, United States as bouncing back high tide. Now you always catching up, uh, slowly but surely. And I think this overall gives a very optimistic environment and therefore I like daily being evolved involved in lots of discussion about a few drafts, um, uh, two, three years plan what they are doing height now investing goings a business bank. So that’s definitely a very fortunate thing. And I hope also that this future will become a reality, um, very soon and hopefully is a pandemic assault.
Scott Luton (49:43):
Oh, Murphy’s law strikes again, Hey, that happens here in the live stream environment and there’s last time shows the passion. I love that Marcell excellent point. And I really appreciate you kind of walking us back through some of those things that we may have easily forgotten based on what we’ve experienced last 18 months. So really appreciate that. All right. So Kelly, as much as I hate our time is winding down with Marcel and Jacob up here. I hate it.
Kelly Barner (50:13):
I know, I know this was, I always say to people how fast the hour is. Uh, but as much as I say it, it’s hard to really represent just how quickly it goes by. It’s easy to get so involved in these conversations.
Scott Luton (50:26):
That’s absolutely completely agree. So I want to share this comment here from azulejo a part of empathy is a common understanding. We have to invest time and understanding the various cultures and language of others. We plan to make exchanges with. I agree in, in taking it even a step further, I’m not sure who we were talking to this week, but oh, uh, it was Kevin and, and special ed and Greg yesterday really truly celebrating the differences, right? It’s your differences can, can create disagreements and, and, and not being able to walk in each other’s shoes. Right. Which, which hinders progress. But, but, but rather than let it just be obstacles, we gotta celebrate it. Right. That’s what makes that’s what makes Copenhagen and Frankfurt and new Orleans, you know, really special and unique places that along with the people. So, so Kelly, you know, we, we got a couple of minutes here before we make sure we get folks connected with Marcell and jacob. Any final, final question or so for our R D uh, esteem panel.
Kelly Barner (51:26):
Yes. So my, my last question for each of you, we’ve talked a lot about how you deal with your teams and what you’re doing to build them up and working through them to lead change in different organizations. Where do you find your own Jacob in your case, your north star, Marcell, And your case, the vision, when you’re faced with a decision or with a challenging set of circumstances, what is it from your experience, from your personality, from your way of working that you find gives you sort of that combination of empathy, but also good decision-making to come through the moment in the right place, Jacob what’s, what’s your personal north star for working through these challenging circumstances.
Jacob Gorm (52:10):
But first of all, I think it’s, it’s exactly in times like that, where you need north star or, or a clear vision, because that is what will get you through a times like this. And when you have all these uncertainties that are hitting you from right lift and center, it’s important to know, to know the direction and to know what you want to achieve and what you want to get out of it. And you can say I’ve, I’ve myself has said, I do that once in a while, set some professional and impersonal goals. I’m happy to take one of them off already, uh, early in the year, this year with becoming a published author, that’s been an ambition for, for a couple of years, but I think they’re important to have both on a personal career level, also sort of just the personal level, but also, and probably more important to have them as a team. What is it that we as a team, whether us as a sports team, a hockey team, a football team, or a team in a business, what is the joint goal that we have? What is the north that we want to achieve here? Because that is what will get you through the tough times, I would say.
Kelly Barner (53:18):
Yeah. What do you think Marcell? I mean, and obviously, as I said before, you both joined, I know you both, I’ve worked with you both, you clearly have demonstrated even over this hour, if there’s a lot of nuance, there’s a lot of depth, right. When you’re faced with very challenging situations, what is it that allows you to maintain that kind of calm and balance as you chart your path forward?
Marcell Vollmer (53:42):
I say my personal north star is definitely my wife and also very good to get grounded from time to time. Yeah. When you talk all the time, if senior executives, um, and, uh, talk about vision and, um, Aly very big, um, and impactful, uh, projects around the world. Um, I think it is really good sometimes to come at home and really have very grounded conversation and we are all human beings. And I think that’s definitely also something which, um, which is a really good way in changing the perspectives. This is what I learned, um, over the time of my career was that step back for a second, try to change the perspective as much as possible. I know how tough it is. So it’s not, not an easy thing to do because you are heavily involved. This is your project, probably it is your baby.
Marcell Vollmer (54:36):
Something, what, what you want to dive, and you might have a very passionate, uh, opinion on that. But step back, really think about it and also tied to think about how is it perceived on the other side, when I was so excited as chief for humid office, wow. We could implement, um, our solutions with in, um, screen months. Isn’t this amazing. And, and, and, uh, everyone should be in the same level of excited. Like, like I am, I learned the hard way and SEP also that is the excitement I have for the making it happen and get access to the, to the solution is not necessarily the same excitement, what I, uh, cost on the side of the category managers and to the bios. And there was a good reason for that. And honestly, also where you need to think a little bit about, oh, well, how was it perceived on the other side?
Marcell Vollmer (55:32):
Of course, it sounds great. If you, the, Hey now we are apple easy and Google fast on the procurement side, we really contribute to the value proposition of your company. I could continue with that past me. Um, but I don’t want, um, it is more busy. These, that sink always about the customers, like as a client to stakeholder perspective, step back, be flagged ends in, make your mind. And then as soon as the decision is taken, really execute and be really, really, um, passionate about the execution. That’s what I learned. And this is what my north star is, what guides me when I have to take tough decisions and engage with people.
Scott Luton (56:15):
Wow. All right. What an a, to a couple outstanding answers there, inspiring, uh, folks and comments. Um, all right. So we’ve the end of our hour. It is just, uh, flown past. I want to make sure folks can connect with you both, uh, uh, Jacob and start with you and make sure folks know how to know where they can get your books. So how can folks connect with you and get the book
Jacob Gorm (56:37):
You have? So LinkedIn is a good, a way to do it, and, um, I’m pretty active in there. So feel free to, uh, to reach out and connect. And my book is available. Uh, Amazon target Walmart, any, any online bookstore, you can get it. Yeah. So, and it hasn’t been sold out by far. So it’s an excellent
Kelly Barner (56:58):
Read it’s about technology, but it’s
Jacob Gorm (57:01):
Of course also it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s very focused on procurement, uh, on, uh, on digitizing negotiations, on use of auctions, of course. So maybe, maybe, uh, focused on, on the procurement community. Love it.
Scott Luton (57:14):
Uh, and, and really enjoyed your POV here today. Jacob, um, Marcell, let’s go to you. Uh you’re you’re everywhere. I love the CA again, we’re, we’re big fans here. It’s easy for folks to find you and tune into your POV, but how would you suggest they do that?
Marcell Vollmer (57:29):
So, definitely, um, LinkedIn social media is a great thing. Also form on LinkedIn and form a one on, on is my Twitter handle it or P2P also to, to, um, drop me a email@example.com. I basically engage on all different platforms, but I prefer social media because it is real time and it is really a gateway connecting, staying connected as well as also interact with people. I love it, but I would also laugh and hopefully this will become reality in the future very soon. So we meet at a conference or having such a session somewhere and life environment, probably going for coffee after waltz for dinner in the evening, whatever. I would love to see that coming back very soon as well. Thank you all. Get red wine and ride bikes and we’ll drink some good wine and we’ll ride some fights.
Scott Luton (58:24):
Y’all to bring your, uh, bring your app so we can, we can double check the source. It would be great. Well, really a pleasure and honor to be with you both here today. Thanks so much for your time. We’ve been talking with Dr. Marcell Volmer partner at Boston consulting group and Jacob Gorm Larsen director of digital procurement at the Maersk group. Also author of a practical guide to E auctions for procurement, how to maximize impact with east sourcing and EA negotiation. A pleasure and honor. Thanks so much for your time here today. We’ll see you soon. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Have a good one.
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Jacob Gorm Larsen is responsible for digitizing procurement end to end including solutions within automation, e.g. RPA and algorithms as well as analytics solutions and the full StC area. He has 15 plus years with Maersk and for more than a decade been responsible for the e sourcing & e auctions. Maersk have executed +10,000 e-auctions across industries and in all parts of the world. Jacob is the author of the book “A Practical Guide to E-auctions for Procurement” which is the only practitioners guide to e-auctions that is available. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn.
Marcell Vollmer is Partner & Director at BCG with over 20 years of experience developing and implementing procurement, supply chain, finance, shared services, and digital transformation strategies across industries globally. Prior to joining BCG, Marcell was Chief Innovation Officer at Celonis, the world’s leading process mining software company, where he was supporting customers and partners in developing and executing digital transformation initiatives. Marcell brings more than 14 years of successful digital transformation and procurement optimization experience gained at SAP in various roles as Chief Digital Officer, Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Procurement Officer and Senior Vice President at SAP. He has also managed various strategy & implementation projects at PA Consulting Group as well as at DHL Express. Marcell is a wanted speaker at conferences and an active social media influencer with more than 62k followers on Twitter and 32k followers on LinkedIn. Marcell earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Hamburg in Germany. Connect with Marcell on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. 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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
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.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.