Supply Chain Now
Episode 1131

You can't have a circular economy without reverse logistics. You've got to figure out a way to recover and bring those products or materials back so that you can figure out a way to recover them.

- Greg Skrovan, Global Director of Reverse Logistics, Intel Corporation

Episode Summary

Reverse logistics teams always have an important role to play in a company, but at Intel, they are uniquely well-positioned for impact. They truly have an opportunity to manage the entire product lifecycle, from planning to design through sales, warranty, and return.

Greg Skrovan is the Global Director of Reverse Logistics for Intel Corporation. He has over 30 years of international supply chain experience in multiple industries, and he regularly shares his insights and expertise on supply chain and sustainability. In fact, growing awareness about supply chain’s role in the sustainability movement is a primary motivator for him, stressing the need for good business decisions to also be good for the planet.

In this episode, Greg joins hosts Scott Luton and Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association, to share:

• The mission, objectives, and outcomes associated with Intel’s Global Circular Economy Program

• The critical role that data and analytics play in both product circularity and supply chain sustainability

• How his work in reverse logistics affects his decisions as a consumer – and vice versa

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain. Now the voice of global Supply chain Supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from Those Making Global Business Happen right here on supply chain now.

Scott Luton (00:31):

Hey, hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton and special guest host Tony Sciarrotta here with you on Supply Chain. Now, welcome to today’s show, Tony. How you doing?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:40):

I’m doing terrific, Scott. Good to see you again.

Scott Luton (00:42):

You as well. You’ve had some travels we’re gonna hit on in a second. But, uh, really have enjoyed this, uh, series, big show here today. We’re talking with yet another business leader doing big things, especially when it comes to the technology world as we continue our march forward with the Reverse Logistics Leadership Series here at Supply Chain. Now, you ready for this big show here today, Tony?

Tony Sciarrotta (01:04):

Absolutely. Scott, let’s kick it off.

Scott Luton (01:06):

All right. All right. So with no further ado, let’s introduce our featured guests here today. Greg Skrovan, van Global Reverse Logistics and Circular Economy Director at Intel. Greg, how are we doing? Hey,

Greg Skrovan (01:19):

Scott. Nice to meet you. Glad to be here.

Scott Luton (01:21):

You as well, really have enjoyed learning more about you and all the great things you’ve been doing in your career at Intel, and then some. And Tony, I appreciate your always, as always, your facilitation and bringing some of the heavy hitters across the reverse space here to this series.

Tony Sciarrotta (01:36):

And Scott, we’ve always been proud of, uh, the series that you do on supply chain now focused on the other side, the dark side of the logistics world. Right.

Scott Luton (01:46):

Well, and you know, we’re working hard together to put a bigger spotlight on that because industry needs to know more. Consumers need to know more. And I appreciate what both of you gentlemen are doing to do that. Uh, so Greg, great to have you. So we were doing our homework, uh, on you as, as we always do with all of our shows. Now, I understand that on a good day to use your words, we can find you on a bike, on a hiking trail or on a golf course. So, Greg, what’s one place that’s one of your all-time faves to do one or all three of those things?

Greg Skrovan (02:18):

You know, I, I, I would say the, and it’s actually coming up, uh, later this month, we do a Grand Canyon hike where we go ri to rim. So we start the south end of the Grand Canyon and hike all the way through to the north. And, uh, it’s just beautiful. It’s beautiful to see the canyon both from the top, the, the middle and and the bottom. So I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing that over, uh, over Memorial weekend.

Scott Luton (02:40):

Greg, that sounds like a great day. Not a good one. Uh, now Tony, switching over to you. Speaking of a good day. You’ve spent several good days at Jazz Fest here a few weeks ago. So tell us one of your highlights from Jazz Fest, uh, this year’s Jazz Fest down in New Orleans.

Tony Sciarrotta (02:56):

Well, this year’s, uh, this has been almost 25 years of my going to the best music festival in the world, Scott. And there’s no exception to the amount of things that happen, including sweltering, heat, rain, everything. But when Mumford and Sons was on stage and then John Batiste joined them and then trombone shorty join them, you have something that just doesn’t happen out there very often. And it’s an incredible mix of energy, enthusiasm, music, the crowds go crazy. And, and there’s nothing that compares to that experience of being there that close to that, you know, once in a lifetime event.

Scott Luton (03:35):

Man, I love that. And I love how you’re implying how it brings people together, and we need a lot more of that Yeah. In humanity and industry. Um, okay. So we’re gonna have to, I’m sure you, both of y’all have lots more stories about those adventures, but let’s move forward. Uh, so Greg, 26 years at Intel, man, I bet you have just about seen it all between that time and all the leadership positions you’ve held. I wanna start though, what, uh, who or what I should say influenced your journey to get into reverse logistics?

Greg Skrovan (04:05):

Yeah, that’s a, it’s a great question. I, you know, I, I would start by saying over about, probably about the last 10 years as I’ve become more aware about sustainability. Um, I, I’ve really thought more about from a supply chain professional perspective. So many of the decisions that we’re responsible to make around driving the profitability of our companies is kind of our core bread and butter. It’s how we pay our bills. But what I’m seeing is this emerging responsibility that we have to ensure that the decisions that we make from a supply chain perspective are also good for the, for the planet, good for the environment. Um, so that’s becoming more and more important to me as I’ve progressed in in my career. And that’s, you know, when you think about sustainability and, and trying to continue to, to keep it going forward, one of the challenges that I think anyone has always had that that’s been in this space is how do you get the roi?

Greg Skrovan (04:58):

How do you get the capital funding? How do you get the human capital funding to, to, to continue to move forward with some sustainability projects? And what I found is the circular economy has really, has been that that entry point where with the circular economy, it’s that break from that, that, that make use dispose economy to that make use, reuse, reuse, repair, resell. Um, and with that, you can show that I can make decisions that are good for the environment that are gonna reduce waste to landfill, but they’re also gonna save some money or bring some additional revenue in, into, into my company. Um, and so when I look at reverse logistics, to me, that’s that sweet spot where you can’t have a circular economy without reverse logistics. You’ve got to figure out a way to recover and bring those products or those materials back so that you can figure out a way to recover them.

Greg Skrovan (05:51):

So that’s what really draw me into reverse logistics. And that, that was, it was a pleasant surprise as I got further and further into this, this function of the supply chain, that, that was such a critical aspect. And the funny thing is, it’s, it’s those of us in reverse logistics, and Tony probably has seen this for many, many years. We’ve been doing this long before it was called a circular economy, right? So this, that to me has been what really has been, it, it’s like a shot of, uh, of adrenaline into my system as I could see that I can still do those great things that I wanted to do from a supply chain professional perspective, but at the same time, I can now start to do some things that that can at least, um, help from an environmental perspective and a sustainability perspective.

Scott Luton (06:34):

Greg, I love it. Cause it gets cooler by the day and that’s a great trend, right? It’s a great trend. Um, and then the second thing, and Antonio, I wanna get you to weigh in here. Cause I saw you smiling and nodding your head as he was making some of those points related to the epiphanies he had. Uh, and, and kind of the missional aspect of what, why he’s doing what he’s doing now, uh, at Intel. Tony weigh in on that.

Tony Sciarrotta (06:56):

Well, and, and and I, what I appreciate about Greg and, and Intel in general is they didn’t just focus on the how do we get them back and do something with them. The circular economy is, uh, also about how do we start, right? Do it at the beginning so that you can bring these things back easier and reuse them easier. And, and it’s so critical cuz Intel, not many people recognize the name except it’s a little tag on your computer. They drive the world Mm. In terms of being able to reuse these things. And, you know, the proudest example is, is their development of the, the past app Pentium Chip, they moved into Core I seven, I five, et cetera. And they’ve kept that for a long, long time. So people don’t go out there and say, oh, I’ve got a I seven, it’s not good enough.

Tony Sciarrotta (07:45):

Cuz there’s an I 15 now. Right? And, and just that little things like that, it’s a very little thing, but it really drives that whole circular economy and Greg’s right. This whole, we’ve been doing it for, for years, Greg, as you said. But to have a name on it and, and called it the Circular Economy, is a reason we gave an award to Intel this past year at the Reverse Logistics conference for the first Circular Economy award, which is only given to manufacturers and retailers because of activities that Greg and his company are doing. Wow.

Scott Luton (08:19):

Okay. So Greg, what comes to my mind there is you aren’t, you’re, you’re changing the paradigm. That’s, that sounds really a cliche, but you’re building a whole different tomorrow. And that’s what we’re gonna dive more into here today. But Greg, uh, before we do for context, respond to what, uh, uh, Tony and I were, were taking away from why you do what you do. Yeah.

Greg Skrovan (08:40):

You know, it’s one of the things too that I I feel very lucky is that, you know, Intel for years and years and years has been a, for kinda in a forerunner in really driving sustainability, corporate responsibility. Um, we do it because it’s good for the planet, it’s good for our communities. Um, it’s good for our customers, our investors. So, you know, I’m lucky to be working for a company that has embraced it and encouraged it for as long as we have. Um, and so that’s, it’s really helped provide the, you know, the, the ecosystem and, uh, the support to be able to drive and look for different things to do. Cause it’s really what we’re encouraged to, to do is to be fearless and to look for other ways to, to drive benefit and to drive change, not only for the company, but also for for our environment. So it’s really, it’s been a, a great opportunity to be able to feed off of that. And the whole team benefits from that as well.

Scott Luton (09:32):

So I’m hearing the culture empowers that and encourages, enables it. I love that. Um, so let’s talk about your role as global reverse logistics and Circular Economy Director at Intel. Um, tell us a little about what, what you do.

Greg Skrovan (09:45):

So I, I lead the, uh, a global team. So we, we basically have reverse logistics operations across the globe. I think probably eight or nine, um, countries now in which we operate. Um, and we essentially provide warranty post-sale support for all Intel products, um, globally. Um, and what’s unique about this role, I think the reverse logistics role is we’re probably one of the few supply chain functions that manages across the true product lifecycle. So my team engages early on with, with product groups as they’re, as they’re conceiving a new product, and we work with them to understand what, what are their aspirations, their needs from a warranty perspective and a service perspective. Um, so we’ll, we’ll partner with them to try to, to figure out their warranty solutions, design the reverse logistics supply chain to bring product back. And then, um, I think most recently be getting more involved to, to help them design circularity into their product.

Greg Skrovan (10:42):

So that’s, you know, when I came into the reverse logistics organization, I felt it was gonna be, most of our time would be spent executing a return, kind of the glorified version of the, of the return desk at Target or <laugh>, Walmart or wherever. But we, we spend so much time on the front end designing and working with the product groups and the business units and our sales team. And then you get to the bread and butter where we’re executing and managing that, that customer experience and ensuring that they’re made right when they have a warranty issue. Um, and then we do all of the recovery activities to ensure we’re driving the profitability of that product. And then lastly, we, we have a role to kind of protect Intel’s, um, brand. So where the reverse logistic sits, our organization sits within supply chain or within Intel in particular, we, we have visibility to a lot of data.

Greg Skrovan (11:32):

Um, and that data can drive a tremendous amount of valuable insights to a number of different partners across our supply chain organization. So whether that’s providing data around return, so we can see is there a certain product that has a higher return rate with one region versus another region, or is one customer having a higher return rate than another? Um, or is there a certain period of time when we’re starting to see the spike in the return? So we sit on a lot of data that we’re able to provide and, and, and share with our, our partners and create some indicators and monitors there. Um, we also are able to help mitigate fraud, which is a huge issue, especially in, in our industry. So we’re constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the, of, of the, of the bad guys in ensuring that we can, um, as product comes back to us, we can detect what is legitimate product and, and what is fraudulent product that, uh, that we can ensure that we don’t warranty and we don’t, we don’t support. So we really provide kind of services across those areas of, of our business.

Scott Luton (12:30):

Uh, the bad actors, uh, I’ll tell ya that they, they keep at it day in and day out. But Tony, I wanna bring you in on a couple things here. Greg shared a lot there. Two of the notes I made is, I love how Intel is intentionally investing in to that, uh, designing for circularity. I love how, uh, Greg was talking about how as, as new products were coming out or, or are being developed, they bring his team in to really focus on how we can design better for circularity. Let’s start there, Tony. That’s gotta be music to your ears. Certainly is to mine.

Tony Sciarrotta (13:00):

I’m so, uh, proud of Intel because before there was a reverse logistics association. Intel drove an organization across multiple companies to get together. And the focus was on making things easy to use. Cuz Greg alluded to it, that customer experience is the driver for returns. And if you can make the customer experience better, number one, they won’t return the thing. But number two, it’s loyalty because they’ll tell people, it’s like this intel driven product was so easy to use, I didn’t have any trouble with it. It exceeded my expectations. And that’s the driver. And, and ease of use Roundtable was an awesome, uh, development. We had to meet quarterly, um, with Intel people and, and by the way, not just Intel, but they were so open about bringing the entire industry in the Dells, the hps, the Ciscos, the Apples, everybody. Because if we’re making high tech products that don’t talk to each other, don’t work nice with each other, somebody’s getting something back. And that, and, and I cannot say more because we, again, Intel we think of as they’re kind of hidden, right? They’re behind the scenes, but in this aspect, they try to lead the industry, the entire industry, and proud that Intel is one of the few companies that can lead an industry Hmm. When you think about it. And, and that’s not meant to make them glor glorify them or anything, it’s just a recognition of if anyone can do it, Intel could do it. And they did for the last 25 years. Man,

Scott Luton (14:31):

Greg, that has gotta make you feel great. What Tony just shared there. Uh, lemme just add one more thing before you respond, is you were talking about the, um, the data-driven approach and the data science and, and you know, because as Tony’s laying out and, and Tony as we’ve talked about, I don’t know, several dozen shows if not more, you know, you’ve got different segments, uh, of the returns industry, and you got of course that psychology Tony, you were just alluding to. And if we can crack the code on that, of course using data and a lot more, um, we can get better at impacting those decisions and get, and, and to also, Tony, what you mentioned, we can get better at driving real change in industry, you know, and that that’s good for the, the globe that’s good for, uh, our families, our our team members, and a whole lot more. So Greg, respond to that and then I’m gonna, I’m gonna get into some of your wins and we’re gonna get you to reminisce a bit.

Greg Skrovan (15:23):

Yeah. It’s, um, I think one of the things that, that always sticks in in my mind is when we’re able to, it’s almost like solving a, a mystery or a game in some cases when you can figure out, hey, we’ve, maybe we, we’ve, we’ve able to use some data or see some trending data that solved the problem that we maybe didn’t know was a problem yet. Um, I think we always think about, all right, how do we use data to solve a problem that’s already happened. But I think what’s so cool about where we sit is we can be proactive and use the data as more of the leading indicator to figure out what, what could happen and then hopefully avoid us having to spend as much time fixing it up, you know, fixing it afterwards. So that, that’s really been the, the special part.

Greg Skrovan (16:04):

And whether, again, it’s, it’s seeing that, hey, why is one, one particular region having a higher return? And you dive into the data and you really try to understand. And in one situation we saw that it was, um, particular use case for this product was in, was in these, uh, internet cafes, that particular part of the world that had very poor ventilation. And we were seeing that, that’s why we’re seeing such a higher return rate over here with this particular customer, is because they’re selling to these clients that are putting in these conditions. So that helped us then adjust in some ways our performance, but in working with them to, to let them know, Hey, this is what you need to do to avoid having some of the issues that you’re having. So that all comes from that data and the, and the really it comes to having the, the, the people which we have that are, uh, have the skills to, to make something from the data and to be able to figure out what those insights are,

Scott Luton (16:55):

Root recalls, analysis, uh, driven by the data and a whole lot more. Uh, all right. So I wanna share, uh, a list of some pretty incredible wins and accomplishments. Uh, Greg, you have, have enjoyed you and your team over the years. So let me share these, and then I’ve got two questions for you. This might be my favorite part of the interview. So, uh, drove, you drove 99% of product returns to be reused or recycled with less than 1% ending up in a landfill. As well as you and your team work to improve, reuse, resale asset recovery rates, increase those by 20%. Uh, you spearheaded over 77 million in value the first two years of the program. We’re talking about the global circular economy program at Intel, so 77 million in value, and you collaborated with the product engineering groups, which you were talking about earlier mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, to design repairability into 75% of the product line. So not only are you designing for circularity, but you’re designing specifically for repairability mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and folks, I got more, uh, you develop new rev, uh, new revenue streams, rather by cultivating new secondary market resale opportunities. So there’s so much here in these three bullet points. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So two questions for you, Greg. First, what are you most proud of? Let’s, let’s take, let’s, let’s break these up. What are you most proud of first?

Greg Skrovan (18:19):

Uh, yeah, you know, I would say the thing that I’m most proud of is, is how we’ve achieved a lot of those accomplishments. Um, and again, where, where we really started to see the momentum was where we were having the discussion with those business units and understanding what their aspirations and goals were, um, and then being able to, to pull them along as a team. So many of those accomplishments that you noted, they really stemmed from having those discussions and saying, all right, what, what are you trying to do? What is your goal from a, a recyclability perspective? Or what is your goal from a recovery perspective? Um, and that’s where it starts. I think as long as you’re having that dialogue, then you’re no longer, you know, pushing that rope uphill. You’re, you’re kind collectively working towards that, that end goal. So that to me is the thing I’m most proud of, is the fact that we didn’t do this alone.

Greg Skrovan (19:08):

That we, we did it through listening and understanding, and then you bring other people along. I mean, there’s a, a multitude of partner groups within Intel that we’ve worked with to achieve a lot of these, a lot of these goals. So that, that would be the single biggest thing. I would kind of do a a sneaky answer to your question, but, you know, I think the fact of how we were able to do it is my product proudest accomplishment versus trying to pick out one individual one, um, that that stands out as, as the proudest.

Scott Luton (19:38):

Yep. All right. So today, I’m gonna get your thoughts here in just a second, but I wanna, I wanna boil this down, uh, uh, to all of our listeners out there, they may not have, uh, latched on some of those terms I use. So this is, this is three of the key things. Uh, and as we walk through those accomplishments, you keep stuff from going to the landfill and we’re talking lots and lots of stuff, right? That’s a big win. You’re allowing consumers to be able to repair their stuff easier, you know, and, and, and I would, and I don’t have data in front of me, but as a user of lots and lots of technology, I’d much rather repair my stuff that I’d know how to use and I enjoy using rather than have to chunk it and start back over. So that’s a big win. And then thirdly, from a business standpoint, and from a, from a, um, beyond all those good reasons, you’re creating new revenue streams. So you’re adding, uh, top line and pro, probably bottom line revenue to the business. And that’s all of that are all three of those things are really big. Tony weigh in, uh, as, as we talk, as we talk about those wins and we talk, uh, we hear from Greg of what was most important to him, your thoughts,

Tony Sciarrotta (20:42):

My thoughts are back to, uh, what, what Greg’s saying about the ability to influence this is different than normal supply chain. It’s not just that we’re the dark side sometimes and, and appreciate your comments about, we are bringing light to it because the reverse logistics supply chain aspect drives across every silo in an organization because the data that we get is all about that customer experience. It’s about reuse, it’s about, uh, e s G scores, right? Uh, the terminology that’s being thrown out there, that’s where returns live is within the E S G bubble. And the difference we can make isn’t just that we can stop returns, cuz that’s not gonna happen. But can we make the product better so that there’s less returns? Only the reverse logistics people can influence that. And they do. And when you talk about it, Scott, about making a difference at a company or making a difference in the world, we drive it.

Tony Sciarrotta (21:41):

And, and it, again, it’s not just about reducing returns, it’s about doing things with them. And, and Intel is so focused on that. And by the way, the, the aspect that Greg referred to as well as, you know, getting corporate people to start talking to each other and, and with this data and saying, we’re getting this stuff back because people find it hard to use, the customer experience doesn’t come out when you sell something forward or ship something forward. It’s only when it comes back that you start to get that what’s going on here, <laugh>, when you sell it, it’s easy when it comes back. It’s like, what’s going on and how do we do something about it? And it’s the world of Greg and I did not grow up to be reverse logistics managers or directors. We didn’t grow up to do that. But when we got in it, if there’s any passion in you at all, and there is within Greg and others, you start to see how you can make a difference for your own company and, and others. So, um, I love the way he referenced the fact that reverse goes back across all silos at any company. Yeah.

Scott Luton (22:45):

Greg, I’m gonna give you a chance to respond. Those are some big thoughts from Tony. Give you a chance to respond, uh, Greg. Yeah,

Greg Skrovan (22:51):

Absolutely. And I wanna comment also on, on your, your, um, your comment there, Scott, on the Repairability piece. I think you could do a, a, a a 12, uh, 12 series, uh, mini-series on Repairability, I think if, uh, if you wanted to, but it’s a big topic. But I think what what’s unique is when, from a reverse logistics perspective, you know, where, where we get involved and we have a particular business unit that, that produces the, they’re called next unit of compute. They’re mini pc, N U C. Um, and they have some very, very aggressive, um, aspirational goals of a hundred percent repairability and, and a hundred percent recovery of products. They want to be the most sustainable manufacturer with an intel. Um, so that’s one of our, our bright spots in partnering with that group. And in that scenario, you know, we’re working, working with them to ensure that as they, as they produce these units, they’re set up for, for repair, so that when they come back to us, we can repair them and put them back out into our inventory.

Greg Skrovan (23:48):

So we’re self basically self-sufficient, self-funding our repairs. And then they have another group of the same group of engineers, but they have a, a related focus where they’re going to your point, how do we make these devices so that once they’re out of warranty, they can be repairable, the consumers can repair them. So we’re focusing on it, let’s repair it when it’s in warranty so that we can reuse it and, and continue to extend the life. And then we also wanna maintain that sense of repairability through the end of life of that product, at which point Tony and I aren’t necessarily involved anymore. Um, but it’s in the consumer’s hands. So that’s such a, a huge opportunity in the circular space, is that repairability, but it only really happens if you’re engaging on the front end and you’re engaging to design it for repairability.

Scott Luton (24:34):

No, Greg, uh, you’re, you strike me as someone that never stops thinking about how it can be done better. I, I’m picking up the passion and, and just kind of how you speak to this, what you do as your core mission for why you’re here. Um, so let’s do this. What would you hope, you know, I think as Tony has mentioned mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it’s really cool to see the direct impact that you and, and your, uh, team members at in Intel are driving that in and of itself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is really impressive. Right. And then of course, as Tony’s talking, uh, speaking to it, the impact you’re having, uh, indirectly influencing the industry to, to follow your lead or, or do better, you know, you know, setting a new bar and challenging the industry to, to do, to do it different. So what would you hope that other le business leaders that are listening to this conversation, whether they’re in companies of Intel’s size or whether they’re startups or all points in between, what would you hope they’d take away from these wins in this conversation?

Greg Skrovan (25:34):

You know, I, I think one of them is this, this aspect that we need to start thinking multi-dimensionally in the decisions that we make. And whether it’s reverse logistics or forward logistics or procurement, I think we need to start thinking about both the financial impacts, the operational impacts of the decisions we make, but also the sustainability impacts. Um, cuz whether it’s, it’s your routing decisions from air to, to ocean or to, uh, or it’s being better at planning so that you have less waste at the end of your manufacturing process, or it’s the reverse logistics activity that we’ve talked about here. I think we all need to be thinking more from the standpoint of, you know, am I making decisions that are, that are good for the planet and good for my, my company? And I think there’s a huge opportunity there to do both of those things and, and to be extremely successful as a company and as an individual by thinking, uh, multi-dimensional from that perspective.

Scott Luton (26:28):

Completely agree. Tony gets you to, before I move forward with my next question for Greg, your thoughts, Tony.

Tony Sciarrotta (26:34):

Well, in Intel is, is amazing in their focus of trying to make things easier to use for people, but trying to get the industry to collaborate. And I think that’s what Greg is trying to, is sharing that business leaders around the world with companies to run. If you’re trying to reinvent the wheel, at least look at where it’s been and use some of what’s been there. And, and that is an Intel prime directive. And the other is, if you’re gonna build a better mouse trap, make sure it works with the other mouse traps, <laugh>, okay? And that is another driver. I can’t emphasize this one enough. And, and the world’s gonna see a change in the next five years because of Intel. And they’re herding cats together, getting all the technology companies together and saying, Hey, let’s look at using one standard plug the u s BBC so that nobody has to have a drawer of cables anymore.

Tony Sciarrotta (27:33):

And it’s coming. Greg may acknowledge it, but I’m gonna certainly brag about it. Apple announced they’re gonna release a phone with the u s BBC plug, so the world is going to run on one cord. And, and the implications of that, Scott, is no more drawers full of cables, but also just the compatibility of going anywhere and be able to use the same plug. I can’t tell you how amazing it is that Intel accomplished this, and it’s part of their commitment to have a better world. And I’m not saying, Greg, you were, and I are not directly involved in that, but it’s an intel drive that I, I can’t say enough about. So congrats on that accomplishment.

Scott Luton (28:13):

Tony, you’re always been my people. You’re speaking my language. Amanda and I, we’ve got three kids that between them have about 17,000 technical device technology devices, and all of ’em use different, different plugs, <laugh>. So, hey, I can’t wait until we have the opportunity to make things simpler. And that, and, and Greg, that’s a great segue to my next question for you. You know, speaking of family, uh, I’m gonna talk about things from a consumer standpoint, but first, does your family know what you do, Greg? And have they have they had some eureka moments?

Greg Skrovan (28:43):

Yeah, you know, I, I think it, it was maybe one of the only, uh, benefits of, of Covid and our whole supply chain constraints, uh, situation is that, uh, my kids, my, my mom, uh, my neighbors finally know what I do. So, you know, no more blank stares and nodding and smiling when I explain supply chain now, now everybody get it gets it because they couldn’t buy toilet paper and, and, uh, and, and tissues and such during the pandemic. So it’s, uh, it’s definitely coming around. Supply chain is no longer, uh, just something that’s done in the dark corners anymore. It’s become a, it’s become mainstream

Scott Luton (29:18):

And we all celebrate that. And by extension, the returns management space, the reverse space, because in that same time period you’re talking about, of course we all know we ordered so much and unfortunately returned a lot during that period. And I bet we made some awareness gains there as well. And that’s where I wanna go with this next question. So as a consumer, how has your career impacted your own buying and returns decisions and behaviors? Greg?

Greg Skrovan (29:42):

Yeah, that’s a really insightful question. And, um, you know, I, I, I honestly, I think it goes both ways. I think it’s influenced my, uh, my, my career decisions. And I think it’s also influenced my con my consumer decisions and, and action. But I think, like most people, before I purchase almost anything, one of the things I’m gonna think about is how good is the warranty? How easy is it gonna be to get service after the sale? How easy is it easy? Is it gonna be to return it if I need to return it? Um, so I think about that all the time as a consumer, and I bring that to the office as we’re designing warranty solutions to, to ensure, you know, that we’re thinking in that same vein. Um, the other area that I, I think I’m really thinking about more as a consumer is the waste aspect of it.

Greg Skrovan (30:29):

And when I’m done with something, whether it’s a power cord or a laptop or a, whatever it might be, how can I recycle this? Is there a takeback mechanism for this? And I don’t, it’s so easy just to throw it in the, in the dumpster or even easy to throw it in the recycle bin when there’s not a chance it’s gonna be recycled. So it’s really forcing me to try to be more educated and understand what is the takeback, what is the recovery opportunity for this particular product, um, when I’m done with it. So, and again, I I try to embed that into what we do as a, as an organization and make sure we’re thinking of that. And as I mentioned before, the circular economy, and it’s not new, it’s, it’s just we’re, we’re, we’re communicating it in a way. Now that’s, that’s putting some, some, some, uh, some intelligence around it. But it’s, it’s been around a long time and it’s really helped me in those two areas and probably what I gravitate to the most as a consumer are those two areas. Scott,

Scott Luton (31:24):

Greg, I appreciate you sharing, Tony, I’m coming to you next, but I can, I hate return to anything I can count on, probably on one hand how many things I’ve returned the last, I don’t know, three or four years. I bet. And, and unfortunately, and and many of our listeners will know this, and Tony, I’d love for you to kind of spike the football on it, maybe, but if you don’t know a lot of returns, unfortunately, they’re, you know, they’re not, it’s not like Intel where they’re diverting stuff from landfill, lost a lot of returns end up in the landfill. Tony, speak to that and speak to what Greg was talking about in terms of how it’s impacted his, uh, decision making as a consumer.

Tony Sciarrotta (31:58):

Well, my, my li my wife will love this answer because what I’ve learned is if you buy better, you wind up buying less. And, and that’s an, an, it’s a reality. Okay? Any, any other way you want the rice to the bottom to get cheaper and cheaper components inside of a computer drove returns. You, you make a choice with an intel and you don’t just look for something cheaper because you know they’ve been around forever and it will last. Hmm. And, and so I’d like to buy a core I seven computer and have it be good for the next 10 years as opposed to thinking I gotta replace it every year or two or three like we do with cell phones, right? So the technology aspect of, of something that can last longer is amazing in a high tech world, we’re always looking for the newest and latest and coolest technology.

Tony Sciarrotta (32:49):

Um, but by the way, I borrowed that slogan, it didn’t actually come out of the tech world. It comes from Eileen Fisher Apparel, that’s their philosophy. Buy better, buy less. Cuz they’re not the cheapest clothing, but they last longer mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that that’s not just an application for technology, it’s for all of us, for all of the products we do. And sometimes the reality disconnects with that. And that’s why we’re glad to see compatibility, stressed, simplicity, uh, interconnectivity, all of these things being stressed in many areas. Um, so I really appreciate that aspect of how has it affected our lives by better and by less.

Scott Luton (33:32):

Tony, love that. And to our listeners, uh, two quick challenges here. For whatever it’s worth, we’re learning from these conversations and plenty of others more and more now, thankfully, the impact of, of returning everything you buy, right? And, and hopefully there’s not much, uh, what’s that? Hopefully there’s not much bracketing going on where you’re buying six pairs of shoes and trying ’em out at home and sending five back cons. Consumers, and we’re, and all of us are consumers, we gotta stop stuff like that. And, uh, do do your homework before you. Bye. And at least if nothing else, be aware of the decisions you make to return stuff. Just be aware that that’d be a good starting point. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, alright, so Greg, let’s shift gears here because Tony mentioned while you and he, neither one of you, you know, uh, graduated from college saying, I’m gonna go into reversal logistics, right? You both did not do that, thankfully, you both made it in, right. But how can we, let’s talk about the, the talent pipeline coming into the reverse logistics space. Cause we’re seeing some evolution there. So Greg, how can we develop more talent for this critical space, this critical part of global supply chain?

Greg Skrovan (34:43):

Yeah, you know, I, I think back to, uh, many moons ago when, when I was choosing my, my, uh, my degree at, at university and I was one of the, probably the unique folks that right when I started college, I knew I wanted to, to study supply chain. And the reason for that is I grew up in Michigan, so I had the automotive industry all around me. So I was seeing the just in time deliveries, I was seeing that whole ecosystem every day that I went out. So I got interested with that and that’s what really continued to drive my interest in studying supply chain. And I think we have to do the same thing from a reverse logistics perspective is that, and I, I am the same way. We, I worked at Intel in 19 years before I really even understood we had reverse logistic six organization.

Greg Skrovan (35:28):

Wow. So, um, it, I think we have to raise that awareness that if you look at the, the score model when we talk about, you know, plan, make, ship, and return return is usually hardly ever talked about. It’s just that arrow at the back of the, of the score model. And I think we have to be able to tell that narrative. And I think the opportunity is going back to the circularity aspect to it. Um, especially our, our, you know, the younger generations, sustainability is so important. So if we can tap into that and say, hey, you’re interested in, in all of these other aspects of supply chain, which is becoming more and more important. So we gotta, you know, ride the coattails of that and really tell the narrative of how you can impact, you really want to impact the environment. One way to really do that is through river reverse logistics and recovery and how we can, we can recover product and, and reuse it and break this cycle of the make, make use dispose.

Greg Skrovan (36:22):

Mm-hmm. Um, cause it provides all of the other aspects that the supply chain functions provide. I mean, we we’re supporting customers, we’re we’re driving cost to efficiency, we’re we’re driving process improvements. We’re, we’re operating in global networks, which is what gets all of us supply chain geeks excited. Um, but it, it really provides that sustainability piece, which I think we could benefit from, um, telling more of that narrative, um, as we try to get more people interested in, in reverse logistics. And I think also going back to your, to your question earlier, you know, bringing, bringing it in it back to the decisions we make every day as consumers and, you know, you wonder how, how the heck can I buy all this stuff and take it back six months later and, and, uh, return it and how’s the company gonna make money in that kind of a model? And it, you know, it’s from being efficient and kind of continuing to drive efficiencies and improvements, I think, you know, being able to, again, it goes back to telling that narrative from the sustainability piece and from the consumer experience piece of it, um, is what we really need, need to drive and, and do. And, and I think Tony can probably speak to some other areas. That’s how we get, get people more involved earlier on as well. But right

Scott Luton (37:29):

Now, I, so let me, let me insert here before Tony, before you weigh in the narrative you’re speaking to, uh, Greg, and the need to talk more and preach more from the mountaintop or shout it from the mountaintop, that’s a great idea because that, again, back to purpose and making a difference and what you can do in the rev reverse logistics space, supply chain too, but certainly reverse logistics. What a great idea and a, and, and a great call out. Secondly, Tony, holy cow, imagine, uh, Greg really has illustrated the challenge we have, right? Because if bright connected, informed, passionate people like Greg, who has spent 19 years as he mentioned in supply chain before connecting the dots and understanding there’s a, the reverse infrastructure as well. That’s the challenge we have, right? Yeah. Tony, speak to that and speak to the talent issue.

Tony Sciarrotta (38:19):

Well, and I’m, I’m just so grateful again, Scott, that you get to be the voice of this space of this industry. That we don’t have enough voices out there. We don’t have enough vice presidents of reverse logistics. We don’t have any sea level people involved in this that I am aware of around the world. And that’s what we need. Because you’re gonna aspire to something that you think there’s a career path and, and it’s hard to see it in reverse. Um, it, it’s, it’s not a clear cut path. But, but, and it’s also take special talents, um, because not only do you have to make yourself visible as Greg acknowledged it, even at Intel to, to make everyone in the company aware of it. That’s what I did at Phillips. I drove the, the reverse and the return space so loudly that everyone suddenly knew, wow, we’ve got something going on here.

Tony Sciarrotta (39:10):

And you influence other departments. So while there’s not a lot of degrees available yet, um, we’re working hard to provide education courses coming up, that’s what’s needed. Um, we’re working hard to develop a certification program so that Greg can send people from Intel through a couple of courses and get some kind of certification related to sustainability, circular economy, packaging, um, ease of use, uh, consumer focus, consumer experience. Those are all related and they all come together in our space. So, um, we need more talent. We need to right now simply assign people. You’ve gotta pick the passion of people in your company and just tell ’em to go do it because they will find a reward at the end that they make a huge difference. Uh, but as for degrees, uh, I think we’ve told a story before, Scott, universities measure themselves as a business, unfortunately on their graduates, how fast they get a job and how much those jobs pay.

Tony Sciarrotta (40:14):

And maybe if we pay reverse logistics people a little more, we’ll get some recognition there as well, right? So there’s all of those factors that are interconnected, Scott, the pool is out there waiting to be developed, and we hope to see that. And, and again, especially with your help getting the supply chain world to understand, take some of your best passionate people out and do something else with them and, and use them where there’s a lot more going on and they can make such a huge difference. I’m sorry, I love the supply chain. I love you forward, guys, but there’s only so much you can do with a pallet and a box. Okay? <laugh>, there’s only so much you can do to improve your company’s earnings, but if you’re on that reverse side, oh my God, there’s huge savings and, and potential and, and Greg’s numbers show it, right? That’s why we had to give that award. It’s like, oh my God, that’s amazing what they’ve done. And, and it can happen at many, many companies. Scott, you

Scott Luton (41:12):

Gotta volunt tell ’em, uh, as Tony is encouraging, you gotta volunt tell your bright people to get into that side. Alright? So Greg, Greg, uh, I admire Intel and the culture and the investments they’re making, but, but beyond all of that, it, it does take people, even in this digital technology driven era, it takes people that wanna make a difference, that wanna apply their expertise and their passions and their, their intelligence to the good fight and bring people with them. And Greg, that’s what, that’s what I admire most around this conversation here today. Cause you’ve got so much now, now that you’re 26 years in with Intel, and I think if my math is right, and that’s not what I’m known for seven years in the re uh, in the reverse space at Intel, getting your stories out there to impact that narrative you spoke to Yeah. And get other people to join in to fight, that’s where we’re gonna see some force multiplier effect. Greg, yes. Uh, your last word. And then I wanna make sure folks know how to connect with you and the intel team so they can either compare notes or gain some inspiration or have you come in and speak or what have you. So your last word, Greg.

Greg Skrovan (42:15):

Yeah. You know, I, I think for me, it, it still, it comes back to you can’t have the circuit economy without reverse logistic. And I think that is, is so important that, you know, that, uh, one retained from this is whether it’s, it’s utilizing returns as a source of supply when we’re in constrained situations. Whether it’s the sustainability aspects of it, whether it’s retaining customers, keeping them happy, winning new customers, um, by making it easy to work with you. Um, I think it’s, it’s, there’s, there’s so much opportunity there and in that space, and I, again, I think it’s, it’s so important just to, to, to tell the story, tell the narrative. And, uh, I love the reference of, you know, the passion that the folks will, will come in because that’s what we see in, in our team. It’s just, uh, people are there because they have that passion.

Greg Skrovan (43:00):

And you can see it click when you’re talking to new people and they’re, yeah, I applied for this job. I’m not quite sure about reverse logistics, but, um, tell me a little bit about it. And, uh, when you tell that story, you can see where it connects. Mm. Um, I think that that’s, and that’s what’s so great about the rla. I love going to the RLA conferences because it’s the really, the true conference where you can have that discussion and you can talk to people that share that same passion. And it’s a, it’s a great opportunity if you’re interested in reverse logistics or you’re in reverse logistics. Cause you, you get to be there and, and, and see so much of that. So, you know, kudos to Tony and his team for that, for that conference and all they do. And we were so pleased to, to be recognized for what we do in circular economy. And it’s just another step in, uh, in raising the awareness, not just what we do at Intel, but just of, of the other supply chain professionals that are out there doing this work.

Scott Luton (43:50):

Love that, Greg. And we’re gonna talk more about the RLE in just a second. How folks can connect with Tony, but how, how can they connect with you and the Intel team to learn more?

Greg Skrovan (43:58):

Sure. Um, I’m on LinkedIn, so happy to, to engage with anyone on, on LinkedIn. And I would also encourage people to visit Intel’s website. Um, and to take a look at our csr, um, our corporate sustainability report outlines all of our, our goals. And we’ve been talking a lot today about reverse logistics specifically. Um, but Intel has some very aggressive goals around 0% or zero waste to landfill for all of our manufacturing and construction processes. And just a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with our website and connect with us on social media, um, as well. We’d love, love to get the feedback in the dialogue.

Scott Luton (44:33):

Hmm. Outstanding. Uh, Greg, I appreciate that. Really do, uh, Tony, before we wrap here, let’s make sure folks know how to, Greg gave you a call out, uh, shout out rather, how can folks connect with you and the reverse logistics association,

Tony Sciarrotta (44:47):

Www.rla.org org. Uh, it’s all there. Uh, as an association, uh, our goal isn’t to, you know, build a better mouse trap. It’s to share, it’s to share best practices, share connections, uh, share opportunities to work together. Uh, Greg said it so well that people show up there who are passionate and, and it isn’t so much competition. It’s everyone trying to make a difference and do better. Um, very proud to say on our website, all of our people are visible. All of our members are visible. And our events, uh, yesterday we had a Women in Revers logistics webinar open to everyone in the community that we share. Uh, so if you’re registered, which is free to join the community, you can attend certain events and you get information. For example, uh, we will be in Amsterdam, June 13 and 14, uh, with an r l a summit there, uh, a three day, two day event, not three day, two day event, uh, with some great speakers and great participants, including Greg is sending two of his, uh, Intel colleagues there.

Tony Sciarrotta (45:54):

Okay. For us, uh, to, to have us a part of the event. Dell and HP and Cisco will be there, Amazon will be there, uh, a lot of retailers and manufacturers, and they’re the ones who have to live with this, right? At the end of the day, the manufacturers and the retailers, they make stuff. They sell stuff and they have to deal with the stuff that comes back. So, uh, we’re proud of the companies that help support them, but it’s really the focus of the Intels and the other retailers of the world to help make that difference on the front side. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so there we are. We’re, we’re all over the place, as Greg said. Uh, Scott, as you know, we are the only association doing this around the world that is a responsibility and a curse sometimes. <laugh>

Scott Luton (46:41):

<laugh>. Alright, so r la.org, check it out. As, as Tony mentioned, it’s all there. It’s all there. Hope, brand new world, walk in, walk through the door. And, uh, as Greg is implying earlier, uh, learn, be aware, but then we gotta get to work, right? Um, all right. Uh, I hate to, I could, man, we could go into a couple more hours here cause I know there’s some stories and some, some other things we couldn’t get to here today, but we gotta leave it there for now. Uh, Greg Scran, uh, global Reverse Logistics and Circular Economy Directorate in Intel. Greg, thanks so much for car some time out with us.

Greg Skrovan (47:17):

Absolutely. You’re welcome. Enjoyed it. It was a great way to spend that. Good morning.

Scott Luton (47:22):

I’m with you. Uh, I’m with you, Greg. We have to have you back. And of course, Tony Sheroda, uh, with rla man, I appreciate all of you do and all that you do and your passion for doing it. That’s one of the reasons why we, we, we get so, uh, get along so well together. Thanks for, uh, bringing Greg into the fold and their story, and I appreciate what you do.

Tony Sciarrotta (47:41):

Thank you very much, Scott. I appreciate what you do. And proud to have Greg and Intel as a member of the advisory board that helps drive our direction of the association. Their voices are always in my head, just, uh, I’m, I’m not mental, but the things that Greg just said, um, I always think about for our members, for our association, for people like you, Scott, and for the planet. It, it all matters. Thank you for your time too.

Scott Luton (48:08):

It all definitely matters. It all definitely matters. All right, so folks, if you’re brand new to some of these things we talked to, uh, talked about here today, take action and lean in, learn more, reach out to some of these folks we’ve talked about or, or Tony, Greg for that matter. Um, but it’s all about deeds, not words, right? Uh, lip service leadership, man, we have too much of that. Let’s take some action. So on behalf our entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time. Right back here, ASPAC Chain now. Thanks your buddy.

Intro/Outro (48:42):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain. Now.

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Featured Guests

Greg Skrovan is the Global Director of Reverse Logistics for Intel Corporation and heads Intel’s Reverse Logistics Circular Economy Program. His organization is responsible for designing and operating global warranty and service programs and reverse logistics supply chains for all Intel products. Greg has over 30 years of international supply chain leadership experience across multiple industries and supply chain functions. Greg also represents Intel on university outreach and supply chain recruiting programs and serves as an industry lecturer on supply chain and sustainability. He actively shares his insights and expertise on supply chain and sustainability as a global thought leader across the industry. Outside of Intel, Greg serves on the Board of Directors for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and is the Chair of the Sustainable Supply Chain Committee. He is also a member of the Reverse Logistics Association’s Advisory Board. Greg graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Supply Chain Management and holds a Master’s in International Supply Chain from Georgia Tech University. Greg is based in Phoenix, Arizona where he lives with his wife and two children. On a good day, he can be found on his bike, hiking a trail, or on the golf course. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.

Tony Sciarrotta serves as Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association. He was nominated and selected by the Board to serve as the Executive Director on August 1, 2016. Since Mr. Sciarrotta had been an active member serving in committee leadership of Reverse Logistics Association since 2005, he had also served on the Board of RLA from 2005 to 2012 while employed at Philips Consumer Lifestyle as their Director of Sales & Marketing. So it was a simple decision for the selection team at RLA to approve Mr. Sciarrotta. Since his experience, qualifications and service to RLA was more than substantial to meet the requirement that was needed as the next Executive Director. Mr. Sciarrotta has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Reverse IT Sales & Consulting. Tony brings so much experience to the RLA team, including 25 years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. His background helped prepare him for a developmental role as director for returns management activities, and in 1998 Tony was assigned to create and manage a cross functional department to reduce returns and their associated costs. He was successful at implementing effective returns policies and procedures with a variety of dealers, and in 2005, Tony assumed responsibility for maximizing asset recovery of all returned consumer goods. Tony has specifically targeted best avenues for reselling returned goods at the model level, by using tools developed with finance support. In 2013, after establishing best-in-class results for returns in the consumer goods industry, Tony retired from Philips and now sits on various committees and industry groups. Learn more about the Reverse Logistics Association here: https://rla.org/

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Katherine Hintz

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.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Allison Giddens

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.

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Billy Taylor

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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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