Mike Griswold is the Vice President of Research at Gartner, specializing in retail with a particular focus on forecasting and replenishment. He is responsible for Gartner’s annual Top 25 Supply Chain ranking and joins Supply Chain Now on a monthly basis to discuss the latest in retail supply chains from an analyst’s perspective.
In mid-May, Gartner released the 17th annual Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. Some of the rankings (and factors influencing this year’s supply chain success) won’t come as a surprise – especially at the top end – but there were also four new companies making the list this year: Dell Technologies, Pfizer, General Mills, and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In this conversation based on a Supply Chain Now livestream, Mike answers questions from Co-hosts Karin Bursa and Greg White:
· The opportunities for “cross-pollination” that come out of this report, which takes nine months’ worth of work to complete
· Some of the changes that were made to Gartner’s structured methodology for the 2021 report, and how that may have influenced the rankings
· What the top companies do to define their supply chains that sets them apart from the rest – regardless of industry
Welcome to supply chain. Now the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, that best practices and today’s critical issues. The challenges and opportunities stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now. Hey, who are you?
Karin Bursa (00:00:38):
Well, I’m not Scott Luton today. Today. I’m Karin Bursa it’s great to be
Greg White (00:00:43):
With you. Yeah, likewise. It’s good to have you. It’s kinda nice to have this change of pace. Don’t you think? I mean, I feel like Karin we’ve been well, we’ve been pretty stellar together, so I I’m pretty
Karin Bursa (00:00:57):
Humble. We’re always, always, yeah. Well, our, uh, community should know that Scott’s off working hard, uh, getting the word out in another forum today. So I got the opportunity to join Greg white for one of my favorite conversations of the year. So I feel like I kind of won the lottery.
Greg White (00:01:17):
Yeah. Well, and I’m, frankly, I’m glad that you, you were, you were, uh, volunteered to lead this thing because I’m more of a color commentary person, as you know, so you can do the play by play. You can be the quarterback and I’ll just
Karin Bursa (00:01:35):
Play or something like that. Oh, okay. See, I thought you were the quarterback, but Hey, I’ll take the ball anytime I get it. So, so that’s all good. You know, on that topic then, you know, today is national be a millionaire day. Yes. Is there ever a bad day to be a millionaire?
Greg White (00:01:54):
I don’t know. I’ve never been a millionaire.
Karin Bursa (00:02:00):
So the question, the proverbial question would be right. I know that there are a number of charities that are close to your heart, but once you did some things in those areas, what would Greg white do to really splurge with that windfall on national millionaire day
Greg White (00:02:20):
Landscaping? I know, I know, I know it’s not exciting. It’s not anywhere. It’s not anywhere near a million dollars or whatever. We’re a hundred, 400,000 whatever would be left over after charities. But, but I mean, that’s, that’s the thing that immediately comes to mind is landscaping. I love my yard. I love my backyard. I want my front yard. And I think my Griswold, when we bring them in, oh my gosh, we gave him up and you yell at me for that. So I really, so Michael really appreciate this. I want my front yard and backyard to look like Augusta national and, and just be kind of an Oasis, not a lot of hardscape, a lot of plants, paths, green grass areas. And, and we’ve done some preparatory work. We cut down 91 trees in our backyard. Most of which were giant Pines threatening to crush our house. Holy cow. That’s a lot of it. It is a lot. I didn’t even know there were that many back there, but anyway, so it’s all prepared for that. So we’ve even saved money on that. That’s more money to donate. So what about you Karin million dollars drops in your life? Yeah.
Karin Bursa (00:03:33):
Million dollars drops in my lap. Well, of course charities are one of the first things that would come to mind. One dream trip that I’ve always wanted to do. And we have never even attempted to plan is I would love to go island hopping in the Greek Isles, take the family and just spend like a month and do a lot of the small aisles, do some sailing, some scuba diving and just really explore a lot of the local culture that’s off the beaten path. I think that would be a blast.
Greg White (00:04:04):
Scott has already said my answer.
Karin Bursa (00:04:07):
Scott is not far from far from the livestream.
Greg White (00:04:12):
Not think that it could get worse until you come up with something like that, but that is awesome. Yeah. That’s a fantastic thing. We’ll ask Mike when we get him in here. So let’s clue folks in, so today, today, we’re going to talk to Mike Griswold, you know, our usual monthly call with Mike supply chain today and tomorrow and just yesterday, right? Karin? Yeah, the Gardener’s supply chain top 25 came out. If you haven’t already gotten it. That’s great. If you haven’t seen the flurry of, of posts all over social media about it, first of all, none of those matter because we’re talking to the creme de LA creme, the master of ceremonies that the coordinator, the manager, the, the, the final authority, I’m saying that. So he gets a lot of phone calls from people who were not in it.
Karin Bursa (00:05:06):
I think he’s getting close already, but we’ll have to ask
Greg White (00:05:09):
The Gardener’s supply chain top 25, Mike Griswold. So without further ado, should we just bring him in Karin? Uh, give me
Karin Bursa (00:05:17):
Two minutes and let me just welcome a couple of folks that are joining us today, if that’s okay. Because once we get started on this topic, it is going to be, it’s going to be a crazy role because it is something that I know you and I are both really passionate about. And we look forward to seeing this list every year. And the gardener team puts in a tremendous amount of work. You want to
Greg White (00:05:39):
Laugh? You know, it’s funny to say that we did this last year. It was, there was a lot of conversations, so yeah, let’s see what people have to say so far. So
Karin Bursa (00:05:48):
Let me just do a couple of quick shout outs, Esther. Thanks for joining today from Canada. We are so glad you are here and Ash near, I apologize. I’m not getting that right, but we are glad you’re with us from Sierra Leone. Wow. That’s nice to hear from, and we’ve also got Senthil who’s with us from Singapore. So we’ve got a really global audience today and of course Ronda’s Zimmerman. PhD is joining us, Rhonda. I did your relaxation techniques just the other day. So thanks for some of those tips and we are glad the gang’s all here. Let’s bring in Mike Griswold with Gartner. If you guys are not familiar with gardener, you’ve got to add this name and this point of view to your list. Um, and let’s go ahead and swish in Mike, and then we’ll get started. And there he is. Mike, thanks for joining us today. How are ya?
Mike Griswold (00:06:44):
Good. Top 25 hotline, please hold top 20 top 25 hotline, please hold. Hi guys. Thanks Greg. I didn’t need any more calls, Greg. So I appreciate that.
Karin Bursa (00:06:56):
I was going to say, I’m sure you appreciate Greg. Just cranking up the calls. Yeah.
Greg White (00:07:02):
Oh yeah. Well, we have, we have excluded anyone. Who’s not in the top 25 from this broadcast, so you’re right. It’s a safe space. Mike
Mike Griswold (00:07:14):
I’ll date myself. If I say the phone’s ringing off the hook. So I’ll just say there’s been a lot of electronic communication in the last 24 hours.
Greg White (00:07:22):
I bet there has. I bet there, there were some surprises. Um, I mean, in a second, we’ll talk about how you do that, but yeah, sure. Um, can we pose the question to Mike Kerryn? Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, you get a million bucks. It just drops in your lap. What’s your splurge? Well, I’m
Mike Griswold (00:07:44):
Glad you went with landscaping because my answer can’t be worse than that. So thank you for teeing that up. I’m going to give her, what can I say? I appreciate that. I think this will probably not surprise you, Greg. I would spend probably 15, 20 grand and I would put in a really, really nice golf simulator. The track man. It’s got, you know, the net, the screen shot, you know, a ball flight, all that kind of stuff. Yeah. I would probably have to spend some money on putting a different room in the house, but yeah, it would be something around that. I mean, I like the trip idea that looks like fun. And if you’re, if your backyard ends up within the amen corner, give me a call. I’ll definitely come by and see that
Greg White (00:08:32):
We’re going to look like the 12th green. So that’s perfect. Well, you know
Karin Bursa (00:08:39):
What? I was going to talk sports for a few minutes and talk about the NBA finals and hear what’s going on. But I got to tell you, I want to hear about the Gartner top 25. I mean, there is a lot of work, a lot of effort, Mike, that goes into this, I think, first of all, just give us a quick level set. What is the top 25? What’s the goal of the top 25. And then we’ll talk about, you know, some of your key insights from the work that has been done over the past year to determine the new winners.
Mike Griswold (00:09:11):
Yeah, it’s, it’s a, you know, we talking about sports, the top 25 is basically a full season. There’s a program team. Uh, Jim Romano came in and as Joe, uh, Joe tenets, those are the folks behind the scenes that really make this thing work. You know, for me, it’s kind of just pulling all that together, but this was year 17 for those folks that have been around this started with AMR research. We carried it through when we got acquired by Gardner and it really was designed to do a few things, you know, early in its journey, it was designed to raise the ways, the, the perspective and raise the profession early. In our AMR days, we actually wrote a book called supply chain, saves the world. I would suggest that actually kind of came true in the last 12 to 18 months. And I think over the last 18 months, the supply chain has been elevated anyway, right through the work that organizations have done with their supply chain to get through the pandemic.
Mike Griswold (00:10:08):
It certainly is. I was somewhat joking, Greg, it certainly sparks debate. People want to know kind of where they are and how their peers did. So you know, that it does certainly do that. But the things that I think are most beneficial that come out of the top 25 are really two things, one learning from leaders. So what are different companies doing that maybe we can, we can bring into our own organizations, uh, and this, this cross pollination of ideas. When you look at, when we talk about kind of the diversity within the top 25, one of the things that becomes pretty clear is the diverseness of industries. You’ve got retail, you’ve got CP, you’ve got life sciences, you’ve got high tech and all of those industries have solved similar problems in different ways, right? Everyone deals with inventory. The way life sciences deal with inventory might be different than the way a consumer products company does.
Mike Griswold (00:11:02):
And we can learn from that. So the cross-pollination of ideas, I think is one of the big, the big takeaways that I hope people take away from the top 25. It’s a very structured methodology. Half of the method methodology is on financial performance. So we have three financial metrics return on return on physical assets. Inventory turns in revenue growth. We have a, an ESG component where we look to with data from third parties that we partner with that is 50%. And then the other 50% is what we refer to as a community perspective, a pure voting community, a pure voting twenty-five percent of the methodology and 25%, the gardener analyst perspective we look at and evaluate about 300 companies every year. There’s some inclusion criteria need to be publicly traded, need to basically have a supply chain. You need to have 50% of your revenue coming from physical products. And that’s, you know, there, there is a ton of work in terms of gathering the financials, gathering the ESG data, you know, running the peer, vote in the analyst vote and putting it all together and then generating the list. And that, that’s what combinates with. All, I would say it’s about nine months worth of work. So we did the reveal. We will start talking about 20, 22 in July in July. And
Karin Bursa (00:12:23):
So what I, what I want people to hear is that that is a good nine months worth of work. It is, it is delivering a huge project. And I imagine there’s a sense of excitement and a sense of relief. But as you just mentioned with the hotline, it probably cranks off a whole nother cycle of additional work and follow up and discussion, and some recommendations from the insights that Gartner gets as a part of doing this analysis.
Mike Griswold (00:12:52):
Yeah. The, the biggest, and I’ll kind of relate it to, to my coaching experience is, you know, we talk about in coaching, I talked to the girls about outcomes, right? We’re we’re doing, we’re doing these activities to achieve an outcome. And I have that same discussion with companies around the top 25, right? You should be working on initiatives and activities to generate a better performing supply chain as an outcome. If those things happen, then chances are good. Things will happen to you as part of the top 25, especially if you’re talking about the things that you’re doing and sharing it with the community. There’s a reason that 50% of the methodology is a community perspective because we want people to share. We want people to tell their story so that others can learn from them that whole cross-pollination piece. You know, if it was just a financial exercise, the look Frank, the list would look frankly, very different, but it’s not.
Mike Griswold (00:13:55):
It’s important that we get both of those, those perspectives. And the reason I share that is we have a lot more productive conversations with companies, regardless of where they landed in the list or off the list in terms of the top 25 is here’s where you have opportunity to make your supply chain better conversations, frankly, that don’t go well are with companies that say, I’ll just pick a number. I don’t even know who’s there, right? Let’s say you land at number 30, right? And the first words out of your mouth is how do I get to 20 that’s? That’s not those, aren’t the types of conversations that are helpful. Types of conversations are, Hey, here’s your 30, here’s some areas of opportunity for you to think about within the macro construct of your supply chain. Those are the types of discussions that we, that we find people find a lot more helpful than getting fixated on a particular note. That’s,
Greg White (00:14:54):
You know, that’s a really fine line, Mike, but that’s an important distinction, right? Is don’t aim for the number, right. Aim for goodness. It’s like I talked, of course, I’ve been in startups and I talked to them all the time and you know, they want to talk so many, want to talk about their exit strategy, right? Exit is not a strategy. Exit is exited isn’t occurrence. It’s an outcome, your strategy of building a sound and solid company, just like building a sound and solid supply chain will give you the outcome that you deserve and likely want. So don’t focus on so much on that number, focus on building good foundational enterprise and, and you’ll get there and exactly not how do I get to 20, but what do I need to improve in my supply chain is, is the most important thing, because there’s so many companies out there Mike, that will never be in the top 25 because of the criteria. There’s a whole, there are thousands of companies that just can’t get there, but they can always improve their supply chain. Exactly.
Karin Bursa (00:15:59):
Yeah. Well, and so I think this year is especially important for a couple of reasons. So, so Mike Coley, um, we’re starting to emerge from a global pandemic that supply chain took center stage. And so some of the improvements and investments that have been made for years leading up to that event helped companies to respond more effectively. Maybe those who have kicked the can down the road didn’t perform the way some of their competitors did. Did you change any of the criteria for this 2021 list as a result of the pandemic? Or did you focus in, on any additional areas or is it the exact same criteria you’ve used in the past couple of years?
Mike Griswold (00:16:39):
So great question. The, we recognize the impact that the pandemic was going to have, particularly on the financials. So we w we’ve always had in the past a weighted approach to return on physical assets in a way that our approach to revenue, the a three-year weighted average for both of those. Yes, 50% is the most current year, but it’s also includes, you know, the other 50% is from the previous two years. So, you know, we D we did see some impact, particularly in some industries on the revenue side, but again, revenue is, is just one of the metrics that, that we use, I would say from, from, so from that perspective, really no change. We did make two, I’ll call them subtle changes, uh, on the ESG side though. So we have three, let’s call them three categories of the ESG methodology, where people can, can earn points.
Mike Griswold (00:17:41):
There’s a as an area on commitment. And in that area, since we launched ESG in 2016, the only way to demonstrate commitment was assigning the UN global compact. And we recognize a lot of people do that. A lot of people don’t sign it for really good reasons. It could be that there’s, there’s, you know, a specific piece of language in that that they’re not comfortable with. So they’re not going to sign it. And as time has evolved, we started to realize that there are other ways that organizations are demonstrating commitment in general, to this idea of ESG. So this year we added data from an organization called science-based targets.org. So in what we did is we said, Hey, if an organization has committed to setting science-based targets, we would recognize that as a demonstration of commitment through science-based targets.org, you can do two things you can commit to set targets.
Mike Griswold (00:18:42):
So we’ll have science-based targets by 2023, just as an example. And you can also actually commit to what those targets are. So we, we basically said anyone that has committed to set targets or has actually committed targets, we will recognize that as a commitment, can we add a number of companies who had not been getting points in that commitment category, get a point for that? The other change we made, which is probably more significant, although it didn’t have as much impact as maybe I thought it might earlier in the process is, you know, we, we recognize the growing importance of ESG. We hear about it all the time in the community. It’s part of the reason through community feedback that it got added to the methodology in 2016. We, it’s sorry, it’s based on a 10 point scale. So you can get zero points all the way up to 10 points.
Mike Griswold (00:19:41):
What we put in place in 2021 was a company had to have an ESG score greater than zero in order to get a ranking. So we had in 2020 a number of companies that got rankings that had an ESG score of zero. Now, let me be clear. It doesn’t mean that those people hate the planet. What it means is the work that those companies are doing from an ESG perspective, aren’t captured by us in the methodology. And that was one of the reasons that we wanted to branch out on the commitment side. Uh, it’s one of the reasons that I’m always looking for feedback on, you know, are there other part partners that we should be working with on the ESG side? So, um, that was the big, those were the two, I would say, tweaks, uh, that went into effect for this, um, for this period.
Karin Bursa (00:20:34):
Yeah. And Greg, I know from your perspective, right, we, we’ve both been in the technology side of supply chain and improving supply chain performance for a number of years. Um, I took a lot of personal when one of our customers made it onto the top 25. What’s your perspective.
Greg White (00:20:54):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you, you feel like you’re a part of it, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re the technology company, the trucking company, the three PL or, or even just one of their suppliers of goods or parts or materials. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re part of it. And the truth is with this ESG component, you are a part of it because ESG goes to a lot of things, right. Um, fair trade, environmental impact, all of those sorts of things, human rights, all of those things that are impacted. And to know that you’re contributing to that kind of goodness, as well as to the, to, you know, to the improvement of a supply chain in its outcomes. Um, and in its performance, that’s, yeah, that’s a great feeling to have loved it. I’ve always loved it.
Karin Bursa (00:21:40):
Yep. I, I get excited about seeing this list every year, Mike, so, and I love that you guys do some, some industry derivative lists as well, because I think that that gives some recognition in specific verticals on what’s going on and how they’re contributing or battling, you know, a specific set of challenges that may exist there. So, um, kudos to you and the team for getting this out and making the announcement.
Greg White (00:22:06):
Can I, can I just, let me just highlight a couple of statements here from, as I think I like that Mike is speaking to being intentional with that better performance and not counting on it just happening, but being strategic. So I think that’s a critical that’s to the point we made before that point of distinction in terms of making, you know, not reaching for a number, reaching for a performance level, reaching for improvement, reaching for an outcome. And then there’s another one. I think that’s really important for all of us to acknowledge here. And that’s Robert clearly, clearly a good soul. Robert Tompkins landscaping is not a bad idea. The right landscape can feel like a vacation every day. So not a horrible answer. Okay. I’m just saying,
Mike Griswold (00:22:57):
I’m glad someone came to your rescue.
Greg White (00:23:02):
Yeah. And, and, you know, um, there’s a few folks that aren’t going to be seeing landscaping for much longer, like poor Rhonda, where it’s probably already a hundred degrees over a hundred degrees. Cause it’s, it’s may almost June in, in Phoenix. So what she’ll be watching is landscaping withering away, but not supply chains.
Karin Bursa (00:23:22):
Nice. Yeah. Nice attempt to move us back to the top. They’re not bad.
Greg White (00:23:28):
That was not selfish. That was completely relevant.
Karin Bursa (00:23:33):
Talk about some of your key takeaways, right? So obviously we said, this is the 17th year for the top 25 list. The process has been refined over time. What I love is that there are some objective measures. It’s not just a least cost high volume model, right? The peer rankings, the ESG contributors, et cetera. But when you look at this list, what are a couple of your takeaways? Well, first of all, maybe you should tell us who’s on the list in case, uh, in case our audience hasn’t seen what that list looks like.
Mike Griswold (00:24:07):
Sure. Why don’t I go through, um, through the top
Greg White (00:24:11):
Graphic while you do that, Mike, there you go. Okay. Yeah. Thanks Greg. So one of the things I quality here, it’s
Mike Griswold (00:24:25):
What happens when Scott’s not around. Um, so one of the things I did that I didn’t cover was, you know, we have, if, if you were on the webinar or you downloaded the report, what you’ll notice is we have this classification that we call masters. So these are companies that have had a top five composite score, seven of the last 10 years. So this is these companies we recognize as having long-term sustained supply chain excellence. So those five masters, Amazon, apple McDonald’s P and G and Unilever. So those five are kind of outside of the population based on their performance in being in that masters category. Now, one, one point of clarification is as we do the evaluation, right? And we rank everyone’s composite score, those five companies are in that pool. So if for whatever reason, one of those companies were to fall out of the top five, you know, that becomes one check mark against them losing their masters criteria. So I often, if I go back to the sports metaphors, th the, the masters are not, you know, we’re not hanging their jerseys in the rafters. They’re not retired. They need to perform at a top five level every year, or at least, you know, seven to 10 consecutive years in order to stay in that category. So
Greg White (00:25:49):
This is your starting five on the bench. If they let their game slip.
Mike Griswold (00:25:53):
Exactly. If they decide to not play defense, then yes, they will be on the bench if they were to play for me. So, yeah, so that, that’s the masters category. And then our top 10 Cisco at number one second year in a row for them Colgate Palmolive at two J and J at three Schneider at four Nestle at five top five state. Exactly the same as last year. So if I round out the top 10 Intel at six Pepsi at seven Walmart at eight L’Oreal at nine, and Ali-Baba at 10. So that’s the, that’s the top 10, just a couple of observations. I mentioned Cisco number one, two years in a row, you know, going back to kind of the visibility that this can get. Uh, we announced this on Wednesday. So yesterday and either an earnings call that was yesterday afternoon or an earnings call that was this morning, the CFO at Cisco referenced the gardener supply chain top 25 and Cisco’s performance in that.
Mike Griswold (00:26:56):
So it, it definitely gets visibility. You know, we talked about, uh, last year we had three life sciences companies, uh, in the list this year, we have four, uh, that’s the most we’ve ever had J and J at three, but we also had Pfizer at 21. Who’s a newcomer Bristol Myers Squibb at 24. Uh, and Abby rose, uh, at number 11. So life sciences well-represented, um, Schneider, if I think about the message I gave a little bit earlier about this blending of the community content or the community perspective and the financials, I think it was five years ago, Schneider was number 17. And in that relatively short period of time, they’ve gone from 17 to number four, two years in a row. Yes, it’s by certainly supply chain performance plays a key role in that. And they’ve got a really, really strong supply chain, but I would also argue that they do a great job.
Mike Griswold (00:27:54):
One of the best jobs in the top 25 of doing those things around why we have the top 25 cross-pollinating ideas sharing with other industries being very open around the things that they’re doing with their supply chain. So there a really good example of someone that embraces the entire spirit of the top 25, not just the financial performance, but also, you know, I think in some ways these companies have a responsibility to the rest of the supply chain community to where they can, right? I’m not asking these companies to give away the secret sauce, right, where they can. I think these companies have an obligation to share some of the things they’ve learned. Intel’s another great story between them and Cisco. They’re the only two companies that have been in the top 10 for 10 straight years, that in and of itself is a huge accomplishment.
Mike Griswold (00:28:51):
Walmart in the top 10 for the first time in a number of years, L’Oreal moved up into the top 10. So, you know, we’ve got a well balanced list of industries. I think you’ve got big companies, you’ve got small companies, you’ve got companies that are, you know, um, global in nature. You’ve got companies that are more regional and local. So the other message is there’s lots of different ways to run really, really good supply chains. And that’s what we hope people. One of the things we hope people will take away from the top 25 is lots of companies have lots of different supply chains and there’s lots of different ways to run really good supply chains.
Greg White (00:29:33):
Yeah, I think interesting to me, the big revelation here among all of those things, the big revelation here is an earnings call where the words supply chain are uttered in any measure. I mean, if that doesn’t tell you how the world has changed by the CIO CFO, right. Who knows what supply chain is, presumably because he said it, which is also a revelation. I mean, I think other than considering it a, a cost center or cost saving mechanism, you know, we haven’t had that kind of esteem where an earnings call matters and where something like this I ranking of, of supply chain excellence really matters enough to tell your entire shareholder base about not your own company, not just analysts, right? Not, not just your fellow executives, but to tell your entire shareholder base base about is that’s truly impressive
Mike Griswold (00:30:27):
Things, Greg, you know, we get asked all the time, you know, what, what I, I get, we’re a different industries. I get their different companies. Uh, and I get that they’ve had different approaches to the supply chain, but are there things that kind of knit them together, right? Is there, is there a DNA strand that runs in all of these companies and I’m going to, I’m going to piggyback on what you just said, Greg, about kind of the role and the definition of the supply chain. When you look at most, if not all of these companies, you’re going to find a couple of things around the supply chain. One, you’re going to find a very, very clear definition of what the supply chain is. And oftentimes the definition of the top 25 companies in the masters is broader. It has, you know, demand planning. It has customer service, it has innovation, it has elements of new product introduction.
Mike Griswold (00:31:23):
It might have procurement. What you won’t hear is someone say my supply chain is distribution centers and trucks, right? You will not, you will not hear that from these. Well, let me rephrase that. You will not hear that as a full stop, right? This is my supply chain. This is it’s just trucks and sheds. The other thing that these companies have done very, very well is they’ve aligned the supply chain strategy, its operating model with the company’s operating model and the company strategy to the point where for some of these companies, you know, if you were to ask them, they would tell you, you know, are you would hear words like enabler for growth enabler for innovation, we’ve weaponized our supply chain, our supply chain is a competitive weapon. Those are the types of ways that these 30 companies, this is how they describe their supply chain in a very enabling, proactive differentiating capability within their organization.
Mike Griswold (00:32:29):
To your point, Greg, it’s not seen as something, you know that I, well, let me rephrase that. If you went back in time, people would have said, you know, I have a supply chain cause I have to, and it’s kind of a cost center and that’s where the, that’s where the story stopped. I think today it’s a little bit different. You have to have a supply chain for sure. So that part of the answer is still the same. However, how you use your supply chain to create things like or support things like innovation and support growth and support entry into new part, new markets and entry into delivering new products and services. Those are all enabled by a world-class supply chain. And to your point earlier, um, you know, Karin, we saw that during the pandemic, we saw organizations who had been out in front with investments in their supply chain and were able to pivot into completely different business products to support the pandemic and also organizations that were positioned, let’s say to go direct to consumer and we’re able to take, take that road as well. So the role of supply chain in these companies is very well-defined and it’s very broadly defined. And I think that’s one of the things that makes them successful. Yeah.
Karin Bursa (00:33:49):
Yeah. Those, those are all just great points. So a couple of things, you mentioned this list of 30 and we’re talking about the Gartner top 25 reason is, as Mike said, there are five companies that are recognized as masters. So they have had very, very strong performance, right? Mike, a top 10 for the last five of the last seven years,
Mike Griswold (00:34:13):
The top five,
Greg White (00:34:15):
I think the way that it works, Mike, and these would always be the top five. So to be fair to some other great organizations, you’ve basically called them the icons and then, or the masters, right. And then the rest rest five for 25 spots. But I love the fact that
Karin Bursa (00:34:33):
They can, they can slip, right. They have to renew every year, if you will, they have to continue that level of performance. So Mike, again, those five companies are Amazon, apple McDonald’s Procter and gamble and Unilever, correct? Correct. Okay. So certainly supply chains that, that, um, have shown significant leadership over a number of years, um, in operations, all very global in nature and technically all operate in wide variety of supply chains within their business, as they bring different products to market in various regions around the world as well.
Greg White (00:35:13):
I was just going to give Robert an opportunity to share his real gifts with us here. I mean, this is a great paraphrase of a lot of what Mike said, isn’t it? I mean, sharing best practices will generally not only will generally only help organizations, including potentially your own suppliers becoming better. Everything is more interconnected than it ever has been. And great ideas can come from anywhere. That’s essentially, Mike was precisely what you said and in screen size form, and that is share with those who could value the knowledge that you have as obviously, as you said, don’t give away the keys of the kingdom, but there’s a lot that can be shared that benefits the entire supply chain. You want to talk about the butterfly effect in actual actualization. The supply chain is that somebody doesn’t even have to be in your industry to impact your supply chain.
Greg White (00:36:07):
They could be taking up the transportation that you need to move your goods. If you’re in the, if you’re in the automotive business, they could be in the healthcare business and still affecting your supply chain by, by taking up capacity. So if you can help them be more efficient, more effective, more sharing and giving themselves, then that can benefit the entire supply chain. As, as we have seen with container shortage, Suez, canal, blockage, port congestion, and things like that come a lot of that problem. And a reason that that problem continues to evade us is because these companies continue to bang their head against the wall, trying to jam their goods into the port of long beach or the port of LA, rather than having some agility that someone with the knowledge in the top five or top 25 could give them to say, Hey, have you ever considered Houston or Charleston or Savannah as a port that could help you your supply chain a lot. I mean, it’s things like that. That seems simple, but, but often need to be shared from the real experts. So I’m glad that you’re promoting that. I’m also glad to see that your masters and your, um, top 25 are good at sharing that, that sort of thing, both within and without their own skills.
Mike Griswold (00:37:26):
Yeah. It’s, it’s an important, I think element for us, Greg, as part of the methodology, as I mentioned earlier, you know, we, we wanted this to be more than just a financial exercise, right? Because there’s not a whole lot, you can learn. I don’t want to say you can’t learn anything, but it’s hard to learn from just looking at someone’s, you know, return on physical assets or looking at their inventory turns it’s it’s it’s how do they put that in the context of their own business and how do they share that? I think the big message, particularly because, you know, my background, Greg is all retail and we tend, although I think we’ve gotten a lot better at this. We tended to have a mindset of if it wasn’t invented in retail, uh, by another retailer that it really wouldn’t work for us. And I think we’ve gotten a lot better about looking at other industries for examples, around things like inventory management, one that’s near and dear to my heart is, you know, we’re now moving SNOP and SNL E into retail.
Mike Griswold (00:38:29):
And a lot of that is based on, you know, things that consumer products companies have known for 30 years when it comes to us. And, and SNOP, it’s been a translation and that contextualization. So, you know, what companies have to be open to is, is doing a little bit of work that says, you know, if I’m a retailer and I’m going to listen to, let’s say, I want to listen to Abby around how they bring products to market. Right. I want to hear that. I need to be able to do a little bit of work on my end to, to contextualize that for retail. Uh, and that’s where I think we’re getting better as retailers and doing that. And I think in general, other industries as well can certainly, you know, still, still have room to improve in that area as well. And just not thinking about, Hey, the only things that will ever work in my industry are things that came from my industry. I think if you were to canvas this list of 30 companies, they all probably have an example of something they took from another industry, recontextualized it for their industry and are having success with it. Yeah,
Karin Bursa (00:39:38):
Yeah. I will. I would absolutely agree with that. Innovation comes from lots of different places, right. And thinking about problem solving or how to harness a new opportunity, uh, is a critical piece of that. Mike, even doing this now as an analyst for a number of years, when you look at this 20, 21 list, were there any surprises for you or did you go, oh yeah, that’s pretty much what I expected. Anything unusual, any surprise that, um, that that’s worth noting here?
Mike Griswold (00:40:10):
A couple of things. I mean, I, I felt going into this that, you know, we, we would have a little bit more momentum with our life sciences companies. Now. I didn’t, I didn’t expect, you know, just to be half. And I was, I was glad we went from three to four because I think that the life sciences supply chains over the last 12 to 18 months have really been tested for sure. And I think by most accounts have responded pretty well to those challenges, you know, I, I expected, and unfortunately it came true for a number of retailers, especially in the soft lines, fashion and apparel space where, where the revenue component was, was tough. I mean, not as deemed, not essential limited, you know, store hours, limited number of shoppers, all those types of things.
Greg White (00:41:06):
And you were below the waist, nobody was buying in video from here up. Right? Yeah.
Mike Griswold (00:41:15):
And you know, a couple that with many of them were a little bit slower to get into the e-commerce space than maybe they should have been. Right. So you had kind of this convergence of let’s call them negative scenarios that that definitely impacted people. You know, I, I think, you know, the fact that, you know, we didn’t see any change at the top, you know, I think speaks to the top five, at least I think speaks to the fact that those organizations have been continuingly positioning and investing in the supply chain. Uh, and, and that was reflected in the fact that, that, that they stayed where they were last year. They, if you look at their numbers, though, their numbers were all better, right. Composite score higher than last year, most of their financial metrics higher than last year. So, you know, that that idea of sustained performance, uh, I think is, is, uh, is what, what drove that? So I would say Karin to your question, not a whole lot of surprises. And unfortunately, some of the things that we thought might happen, particularly in some industry segments, you know, they did come to fruition. Interesting.
Karin Bursa (00:42:30):
W when you, you know, w we were joking earlier about, these are some of the world’s largest companies, right? You’ve gotta be publicly held. There is a mix of revenue size. There’s a mix of industry in here. There are some companies that are both manufacturers and retailers in the mix as well. We’re going to see that more and more right. More direct consumer. And I think those that weren’t before the pandemic now have some competency in the, in these areas and will continue to, um, to grow and expand in their direct to consumer offers as well. Tell us about, tell us about that angle, Mike, about what you’re seeing.
Mike Griswold (00:43:09):
Sure. I mean, we, we identified each year, we identify three macro trends that we kind of pull from the process. So whether it’s company briefings materials that companies provide us, uh, to educate us around their supply chain. And one of the trends that we highlighted was this idea of, of customer driven business transformation. And it’s, it’s really an evolution of what we talked about last year, which is kind of this, this idea to enable, you know, business model transformation. Cause we saw a lot of that coming, you know, through the pandemic people having to evolve their business model. And that I think took on a new, a new flavor in 2020 and into 2021 for this list. And that the customer was more and more at the center of that transformation, whether it was, you know, we have now formalized the voice of the customer.
Mike Griswold (00:44:11):
You know, we had a number of companies talk to us about, uh, and share insights from their chief customer officer, uh, title. We wouldn’t have had two years ago. Now we’re hearing more and more of a chief customer officer whose job is to really play back for the business, the experience the customer’s having, and whether that’s, you know, an end user, an end customer say for a retailer, or whether it’s a retailer, who’s the actual customer from say a consumer products company, but getting all those perspectives, not only from an experience perspective, but also from a requirements perspective, you mentioned that direct to consumer piece. That definitely was probably the, I would say one of the biggest drivers of, of transformation was this direct to consumer aspect. And whether it was for folks, maybe like Walmart, who’d been doing it well for a while, it’s now, you know, volume is 60, 70, 80% more than they’re used to.
Mike Griswold (00:45:10):
How do you deal with that to maybe a consumer products company who, you know, is used to shipping pallets and now needs to ship individual bottles of shampoo. So all of those types of insights that you’re hearing from, you know, the quote unquote voice of the customer, the ability to, to recognize the impact that that has on your operating model and then your supply chain model that became really important this year. And I think when you look at these, these companies, they have, you know, I think their, their finger on the pulse of their consumer, however, they define them and they’re able to link that requirement to satisfy the customer. They’re able to link that back into supply chain requirements, and then they’re able to deliver those. That to me is the big link that these companies are making relative to understanding what their end consumer needs and how does the supply chain enable that. Yep.
Karin Bursa (00:46:11):
And I love that. And Greg, I know you do too, cause you’re a big advocate for forecasting and anticipating what the customer wants, right. Not how the item performs,
Greg White (00:46:22):
Right? Yeah. I mean, this is, this is one of the greatest myths of supply chain and frankly it is it’s our Achilles heel is forecasting items in a, in 1903, when most forecasting techniques that we use today were invented or they were all invented by that date. It made perfect sense because we didn’t have the data to forecast a customer. And now we do have the data to predict what we’re going to do as shoppers. And we need to have technology certainly reflect that. But I think also we have to recognize that, and this is another, another thing I say often the consumer is the beginning and the end of the supply chain. Full-stop nothing happens until somebody wants something. You can argue all of the chicken and egg questions around. Well, what if we made a green sweater? The fact is if you didn’t have a green sweater, they would still buy your, your yellow sweater.
Greg White (00:47:12):
Right. Do we, do we want to try to appeal to a different market, blah, blah, blah. But think, I think of the supply chain as a caveman cave person, cave dweller, right. I had a tomato Karin had an Arrowhead. She wanted, she thought that was a really tasty tomato. She gave me an Arrowhead for beginning of supply chain, right. And from that point on, it has only gotten more complex. And in some cases to Mike’s point less focused on the consumer. And when we simplify it down, simplify supply chain down to all we’re trying to do is get the goods to whoever will consume them. That doesn’t necessarily mean a shopper, by the way. You know, other companies consume goods from companies that manufacture them as well to make their own products. So we have to recognize that what we’re trying to forecast and what, who we’re trying to satisfy is definitely the consumer. Yes.
Karin Bursa (00:48:07):
All right, Mike, what you see just happened there is I opened Pandora’s box, but I want to come back to kind of the top 25 list. Right? So, so there are a couple of other lists that will come out from Gartner that have this theme. What should we be looking for? What other lists are on the horizon?
Mike Griswold (00:48:29):
Yeah. You teed that up earlier. Um, so all of this published, uh, yesterday, there’s also a PowerPoint deck that published that has the listings of companies that were 26 to 50, and then it has all of the industry cuts. So, and what we’ve done is we’ve taken that population of 300 companies and, and basically said, okay, here are the top 10 consumer products companies here are the top 10 retailers. And we’ve done that, you know, for other industries. So that’s available as well that provides, you know, and in some ways it just, it, it opens up the door for more questions and we have answers for right now. But what we will do with that over the next three months is we will write research notes around each of those cuts. So we have an analyst who will write about, you know, the top 10 retailers and someone will write about the top 10 consumer products companies.
Mike Griswold (00:49:27):
We will also be doing and looking at the data from a European perspective. So who, and that is, uh, the top 15 companies that are based in Europe. So obviously some of this, you will see again in terms of some of these companies, because they are European based. And then there’s also companies that maybe are outside the top 25 that are European based though, that will, we’ll be in that list. We do the same thing for Asia Pacific. All of those will be out over the next probably three months. The goal is to get them all out before our first symposium, which is in September in London. Yup.
Karin Bursa (00:50:04):
And we’ll be face to face. Right. So if anybody out there is interested, that is going to take place in London at the [inaudible] and we’ll be a face-to-face events. You have the opportunity to actually engage in 3d. If you, if, uh, if you’re ready, you also
Mike Griswold (00:50:22):
Tobar in Orlando
Karin Bursa (00:50:23):
And Orlando. Yep. Absolutely. Now, Mike, you guys have also on a top 25 list for university programs, correct. When does not come out cause that’s, that’s one to watch as well with somebody who’s got a kid in college and I keep, you know, I keep pushing several of his friends and, and him as well in the direction of supply chain. That’s a list I’ve been watching for the last number last probably three or four years.
Mike Griswold (00:50:49):
Yeah. So because of some of the things that happened behind the scenes in terms of gathering the data for that, and because we’re looking at colleges and universities and, and the methodology is built around that and some of the, some of the changes don’t necessarily manifest themselves, you know, year to year, that report is an every other year report. So there will be a 20, 22 version of that. But we have analysts that, that obviously author, that report, cover that topic, still keep in touch with the college colleges and universities can still speak to that, but because of kind of the timing and the, and the, the, how long it takes some of these things to actually iterate and move it’s an every other week, every other year report. Okay. Gotcha.
Karin Bursa (00:51:39):
Gotcha. Thanks for that clarification. And for our listeners, clay did put a link to the Gartner top 25 in the show notes. So be sure to see that as well. Hey Mike, any final thoughts before we, um, before you
Greg White (00:51:52):
Leave pose Micah question, before we cut him loose, we’ve got a couple, I think he addressed this largely the common threads consider the Ivy that kept companies alive and thriving through the pandemic. You already talked, spoke to one, and I think as lay, uh, pick that up. And that is that those co those companies that were very agile, obviously that helped them to thrive. The, you had three primary findings. One was the customer driven business organization. We talked about purpose driven organizations, by the way, I love the people planet and purpose component of purpose-driven organizations. And then of course, something stunningly we’ve only sort of talked about cursorily today, and that is digital first supply chains. Right? So moving to digital has been critical as we’ve been saying all along. And Mike, you said it and heard it if you built your house on sand and somehow you managed to survive this catastrophe, don’t do it again. Right. And that catastrophe, the sand that your supply chain is built on is spelled E X, C E L XL. So if or man UAL manual. Right. So, you know, there’s obviously a lot of those findings. Was there anything else Mike, that just jumps out at you that help these companies survive or thrive, even if they weren’t up 30?
Mike Griswold (00:53:17):
Yeah, I think it’s, they have a focus and I would say even a mastery of some of the things that we would, the non-sexy part of the supply chain. So they have really good SNOP processes that they were able to leverage during the pandemic. I think
Karin Bursa (00:53:34):
That’s no P is sexy. So I’m just gonna,
Greg White (00:53:36):
Karin Bursa (00:53:44):
Mike Griswold (00:53:45):
A really good set of metrics end to end metrics, something like our hierarchy of metrics. They understand supply chain segmentation, they understand cost to serve and cost optimization. So those are all things that, you know, for some organizations are relatively new and, you know, might be the new shiny object for these top 25 companies and masters. They they’ve built some really good capabilities, some pretty mature capabilities in those areas that don’t necessarily get a lot of publicity maybe except with Karin around SNOP. But, um, you need to do those really, really well. If you have any hope of doing some of these other things that we talked about. Yeah,
Greg White (00:54:26):
Yeah. Good call. Yeah. Doing the dirty work is important. I mean, this is a dirty jobs industry and there’s no shame in that micro has single-handedly elevated dirty jobs to time. Right. So exactly.
Karin Bursa (00:54:43):
Oh, well, so thanks so much, Mike Griswold with Gardner, for being here with us hot off the press is the Gardner 2021 top 25 supply chains, um, as well as five masters. So you can take a look at that information. It is in the show notes and Mike, we are so glad you were able to be with us today.
Mike Griswold (00:55:04):
Pleasure. Thanks for having me, everyone. Bye-bye Greg, what do you think?
Greg White (00:55:11):
Well, I think you did a great job of trying to keep this thing really, really organized despite my best efforts. So apologies there. We just had a couple of really poignant questions there. This one also, is there a responsibility or duty that exists in the top 25 seat of moving respective industries forward or being a representative to the smaller businesses and startups that have potential? Mike spoke to that a little bit, but further to that, a lot of these big public companies have they do. They have corporate VCs, they work with centers of innovation that, that nurture companies in their industry, and also nurture startups that can help the industry. They have all kinds of outlets that, that, uh, can help to advance. And as Mike said, that’s an important part of the obligation that I think a lot of these companies see. So that was another great question, but yeah, thank you for driving. That was fantastic. So the other thing I would mention that I was surprised
Karin Bursa (00:56:07):
That that Mike didn’t mention, but I know he’s so focused on the top 25 right now, as gardener also has some awards that they call the chain of Vader awards. And these chain of Vader awards are more targeted at mid-sized businesses. So recognizing that the companies that are typically, you know, typically making this top 25 ranking are some of the world’s largest brands. Um, but that there is a lot of excellence that’s happening in mid-market companies as well. So look for that chain of eater award and the announcements they make typically around their symposium events as well. So there’s a, there’s always been some, some interesting approaches that come from from those businesses.
Greg White (00:56:49):
Yeah. Well, they have so many ways of highlighting and elevating companies and giving you criteria on which to evaluate companies. If, if you’re a supply chain practitioner looking for solutions, um, or if you are a supply chain service or technology organization looking to improve your own product or your approach to the marketplace. It’s, I mean, it’s a fantastic confluence of both practitioners and service providers and they do a good job of making it valuable to each separately and together. So look, I mean, there’s no doubt. This is the premier analyst organization in the world. AMR was even before Gartner off them in terms of supply chain and having the size of team and funds and everything behind them has really elevated an already outstanding team folks. You and I have known for almost two decades. So yeah, about, uh, you know, Mike, and of course he mentioned, uh, Tom and right. Either pre show or in the show, I can’t even remember now. It’s like, it’s just like, you’re sitting down at the coffee table with him right now. Um, but both of them have been practitioners. And I think it’s brilliant to be able to take someone who has been there and done that to know the practical realities of the industry, and then to start to theorize and philosophize on the industry rather than have somebody straight out of school or straight out of academia, try to relate to something they’ve never experienced. So
Karin Bursa (00:58:18):
Yeah, it is not an academic only approach here. Right. Um, you’ve gotta be able to motivate your teams on a global basis, uh, to really strive for those performance goals as well. And on that note, Greg white of tequila, sunrise, and a supply chain. Now I want to thank you for letting me join you today while Scott was away, he gave me the lended, me, his microphone for just an hour or so here. And, um, it was just a lot of fun and, uh, really enjoyed being with you on today’s episode of supply chain now to cover the Gartner top 25.
Greg White (00:58:53):
Yeah. Well likewise, thank you. It’s always good to have an adult in the room when I’m here. So I appreciate it. Appreciate you guiding and driving us. And of course, thanks to everybody in the crowd. You know, we do this a lot. We have a lot more shows. We have Karin versus show tech talk. If you want to learn about what is sexy and SNOP and other yes, PG rated at, at, at best. But if you want to learn about supply chain technology, you can do that here. Of course, on tequila, sunrise, we talk a lot about, about supply chain tech and investment and the marketplace in general, we’ve got supply chain is boring and we’re branching out. Of course, too. We’ve got this week in business history, digital transformers, dial P for procurement. You’ll see what we did there. If you’re a Hitchcock, don’t forget logistics and supply chain in Espanol.
Greg White (00:59:49):
So we are, yeah, we are constantly reaching out and you know, if there’s something you’d like to hear, also let us know. We know that you will we love our community. You guys are fantastic and it’s always great having you here. So thanks for joining us today. You want me to wrap it up or do you want to wrap it up? Should we do it together? If we can do it in tandem, you know where to find us. If you don’t know where to find us, find somebody who does, I mean, where have you been no supply chain now.com.com or YouTube, or anywhere that you get your podcasts from. As I said, we’ve got a ton of shows. I’m going to do this myself on behalf of Scott Luton, Karin bursa, clay, Amanda, Laurie, Allie, Kevin Enrique. You name them Natalie? Yes. Kelly. All everyone on behalf of the entire don’t forget that. Oh my gosh, Chris. Yeah. Chris Barnes, the supply chain doctor supply chain is boring or is it on behalf of the entire team? You know what to do, do good. Give forward and be the change that you want to see in the world. Acknowledge reality, but refuse to be bound by it and we’ll see you soon. Yeah.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain now.
Mike Griswold serves as Vice President Analyst with Gartner’s Consumer Value Chain team, focusing on the retail supply chain. He is responsible for assisting supply leaders in understanding and implementing demand-driven supply chain principles that improve the performance of their supply chain. Mr. Griswold joined Gartner through the company’s acquisition of AMR. Previous roles include helping line-of-business users align corporate strategy with their supply chain process and technology initiatives. One recent study published by a team of Gartner analysts, including Mike Griswold is Retail Supply Chain Outlook 2019: Elevating the Consumer’s Shopping Experience. Mr. Griswold holds a BS in Business Management from Canisius College and an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about Gartner here: www.gartner.com
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.