Supply Chain Now
Episode 1022

Cash is king. What cash allows you to do is navigate conditions as the sentiment continues to change.

- Ranga Bodla, Netsuite

Episode Summary

Inflation is the highest it’s been in decades, standing at 8.3% as of August 2022. Sky high prices have plagued the United States economy for months, pinching the wallets of millions of households and forcing the Federal Reserve to hike rates in attempts to cool it all down. Consumer budgets have been hit hard by everything from housing costs to filling up a gas tank.

For businesses, the bottom line can be impacted drastically. And we’re all left wondering… what’s next and what can we do to prepare?

In this livestream session with co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton, Ranga Bodla, Vice President of Field Engagement and Marketing at Netsuite, talks about:

• How the general sentiment about the economy is changing and what kinds of signals people are watching for a sense of direction

• Broadly impactful input costs like energy and shipping containers

• Ways in which inventory management strategies continue to challenge businesses

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

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 (00:00:31):

Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Scott Luton and Greg White here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s live stream. Greg, how you doing?

Greg White (00:00:39):

Doing quite well, Scott. Seemed to have survived Dia de los Muertos and didn’t get a single or take a single bite of candy.

Scott Luton (00:00:49):

Wow. That’s like setting records.

Greg White (00:00:52):

I feel very good today.

Scott Luton (00:00:54):

Wait. I do too. It’s a gorgeous day outside. I think it’s a [inaudible] like 72 here in the Metro Atlanta area, so it’s gorgeous and we’ve got a great conversation teed up, Greg. Today, we’re going to be diving into ideas and approaches. We’re navigating all this inflation and managing through this changing, ever-evolving economy. And we all know lots of change at business leaders are digesting bite by bite in recent months, right?

Greg White (00:01:20):

Yeah. And we’re going to get another change of probably three quarters of a percentage point tomorrow, right? [Inaudible] meets – they’ve started meeting today. They’ll announce tomorrow whatever they’re going to do.

Scott Luton (00:01:32):

Wow. Those mortgage rates for the – I feel sorry for those new home buyers, first-time buyers, but hey –

Greg White (00:01:40):

Right. Good news is the houses aren’t nearly overpriced as each.

Scott Luton (00:01:43):

That’s right. That is right. Well, hey, let’s say hello to a few folks that are already here. Most importantly folks, we want to hear from you. We’ve got a great guest that we’re going to be introducing in just a second, great conversation teed up over the next hour, and hey, let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll share that throughout the hour. Josh Goody back by popular demand. He who hells from Seattle, West Coast.

Greg White (00:02:07):

We demand a weather report. Request.

Scott Luton (00:02:09):

Josh, always enjoy your perspective as we work through these conversations both the funny stuff and your serious contributions.

Greg White (00:02:20):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:02:22):

Jerry Levy from Smyrna, right here in the Metro Atlanta area, via LinkedIn.

Greg White (00:02:28):

Well, it could be. Yeah. There – I think it’s Smyrna, Georgia. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:02:34):

I think it is. Home –

Greg White (00:02:35):

[Inaudible]

Scott Luton (00:02:36):

Home of one of your favorite Italian restaurants of all time, if I’m not mistaken, Greg, right?

Greg White (00:02:41):

[Inaudible] Speak the name of it. Yes. Trying not to have the whole city of Atlanta [inaudible]. Only legit Italian place according to my Italian friends in the Atlanta area. I bet Jerry knows where we’re talking about.

Scott Luton (00:02:55):

Maybe so, maybe so, Jerry. I see Greg’s protecting those reservations. I love that. And Jerry says he bought candy that I hate or that he hates, so he won’t eat it. That’s a great tactic there, Jerry.

Greg White (00:03:08):

That is a great tactic. I wish there was candy that I hated.

Scott Luton (00:03:10):

That’s right. Joey Kay is back with us from the Minneapolis area. Great to see you, Joey, via LinkedIn. Let us know how you’re doing. Michelle tuned in from LinkedIn. Let us know what part of the world you’re tuned in from. Hey, Josh has given that weather report, “50 degrees and rainy and celebration for the top of the table in a Premier League.” Greg, is that a bar up your way maybe?

Greg White (00:03:36):

Yeah, it is. Josh, are you a Gunner or are you a Chelsea fan? You’ll have to remind me. If he’s a Gunner, we’re going to have a strongly worded conversation after this. I haven’t looked at – I haven’t looked at the standings lately.

Scott Luton (00:03:54):

Well, hey, the World Cup is right around the corner. Looking forward to that. One of the best sporting events of the year. Tamisha, great to have you here, via LinkedIn. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. [Inaudible]

Greg White (00:04:06):

I wonder if she is from Smyrna. Yes. I wonder.

Scott Luton (00:04:10):

We’ll see. Tamisha, let us know. She may have been referring that restaurant that Michelle does not speak its name.

Greg White (00:04:16):

And let’s see how diplomatic she was. Oh, he is an Arsenal fan.

Scott Luton (00:04:20):

Sven from Germany, via LinkedIn, great to have you here. Let’s see here. He found Skrewball peanut butter whiskey with eggnog mix. How about that? Goodness gracious, Josh, that’s quite a – that’s quite a concoction.

Greg White (00:04:34):

Did he find it yesterday? And did you consume it yesterday?

Scott Luton (00:04:39):

Siam him tuned in via LinkedIn from Philadelphia. What a great city that is. Great to have you here. Michelle’s tuned in from Naples. We were making that connection earlier. And finally, Gene Pledger from North Alabama, good morning.

Greg White (00:04:54):

Everybody knows where Gene is from. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:04:55):

That’s right. And TSquared who holds down to fort for us on YouTube. Love his work there. “Good Tuesday afternoon,” he says, “Bring on the supply chain management nourishment.” So, with that said, there’s our segue. I want to introduce – Greg, are you ready to do it? You ready to bring in our esteemed guest here today?

Greg White (00:05:12):

Let’s start the swooshing.

Scott Luton (00:05:14):

I’m looking forward to it. So we’re going to bring in Ranga Bodla, Vice President, Field Engagement and Marketing with Oracle NetSuite. Hey, hey, Ranga, how are you doing?

Ranga Bodla (00:05:30):

Good morning or good afternoon, I guess depending on where people are tuned in.

Scott Luton (00:05:34):

That’s right. That is right. That’s why I try to capture it all on the front end, morning, afternoon, evening, based on wherever you are in the world. But thank you for catching that Ranga. And clearly, we’ve got a lot of activity in the cheap seats, the sky boxes or whatever we want to call it. So, I think everybody’s using that sugar rush still. Right?

Greg White (00:05:55):

[Inaudible]

Scott Luton (00:05:56):

All right. So, speaking of, Ranga, see what I did there? Speaking of, I want to start with a little fun warmup question with you, right? If you’re like us, and maybe not Greg, ‘coz Greg’s doing really good, shying away from the candy. But if you’re like our household, we’ve got candy coming out of our ears like inventory of across the retail world right now. Ranga, what is one or maybe a couple of your favorite Halloween candies each year?

Ranga Bodla (00:06:23):

So, I’m going to go with all of the peanut butter-based candies as my favorites. So, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, don’t see them as much but even a Butterfinger, you know.

Greg White (00:06:40):

Ooh. Yeah.

Ranga Bodla (00:06:41):

Those are definitely my favorites.

Greg White (00:06:43):

[Inaudible] the whole night getting it, not even [inaudible].

Scott Luton (00:06:46):

Well, now did you know. So, Greg, I’m going to come get yours too. We’ve talked about this once or a thousand times, but the Butterfinger was named after a writing campaign, I think back in the ‘20s or ‘30s, you know, a hundred years ago. And the winner actually used a buddy’s nickname that happened to be a bit of a clutz. And so, that’s where the Butterfinger came from, the name of the candy bar. I’ve never made a connection. I thought maybe as I reference to how buttery the candy bar is, but it was a nickname of a buddy. How about that, Greg?

Greg White (00:07:17):

Totally worth it, right? I mean, I think it makes perfect sense for the candy bar.

Scott Luton (00:07:22):

I agree. So, all right, so Ranga said everything peanut butter, and we’re going to have to connect Ranga with Josh Goody, who is getting creative with some peanut butter stuff up his way. Greg, what’s some of your favorite candies each year when you are eating them?

Greg White (00:07:38):

Yeah. Gosh. I mean, I’ll eat anything the kids, you know, wouldn’t in their bag. But I have to say, I’m not a huge peanut butter chocolate fan except on Halloween. And I love the teeny tiny little Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, just the right amount of chocolate and peanut butter, but just the little ones. Right? And Ranga, you know, we’re in the south, so you have to be really careful with anything that has chocolate because like last night it was about 77 and the chocolate candy, you almost had to put it back in the fridge before you could eat it or eat it when you got it.

Scott Luton (00:08:18):

You know, one last comment about candy, I love how they’ve gotten smarter with the packaging. There’s like less packaging you get to take off these days with some of those single serve portions. And the portions have evolved a little bit too.

Greg White (00:08:31):

Yeah. Is it true? Well, of course, they have. And we’re about to talk about why, that’s why Ranga is here today. Did they take the little white square out of Reese’s Cups? Ranga, I feel like – if you – I didn’t have any of those.

Scott Luton (00:08:47):

Ranga?

Ranga Bodla (00:08:48):

The white –

Greg White (00:08:48):

I assume that they’re not in there anymore.

Ranga Bodla (00:08:50):

You know what? I think you’re right, actually. I do think they did take out the white square. And it’s just, you know, it’s just got the packaging, the brown packaging around it. But, no, to your point, Scott, there is definitely some shrinkflation going on. I definitely have seen that as one of those tactics that I think companies are using right now in these inflationary times.

Scott Luton (00:09:19):

Well, so let’s stick with that thought. One final little factoid. Some folks would argue that the candy organ – the candy industry is – or shrinkflation started back in the ‘50s, where some of the original vending machines, they were making them differently. And the vending machine companies wanted the candy companies to change the types of products that go into the vending machines. And the candy machine – the candy companies said, “Hey, why don’t we just make smaller candy bars?” And they fit perfectly. And so, a lot of folks point to the candy companies as where shrinkflation started decades ago. But, hey, I digress. We’ll get off the sugar conversation for just a minute because, Ranga, I think what would be helpful for our business conversation here today is starting – you’ve got your finger on the pulse with folks out in the industry, business leaders, what’s going on. Shrinkflation’s just one of many fascinating things taking place whether you’re fans of it or fans against it. But what are some of the things that you’re seeing out there in the industry, especially with folks trying to deal with this changing economy?

Ranga Bodla (00:10:24):

So, you know, Scott and Greg, I think the private biggest thing I would say right now is sentiment continues to be rapidly changing. You know, if you – it’s actually almost hard for me to believe we’re in November now. You know, if you look all the – you know, if you compare right now to say back in February, the shift and sentiment and, you know, just that timeframe is pretty staggering. But, you know, it continues to move all over the place. You know, every CFO survey, every big business survey, you know, I feel like it is a shifting, it continues to shift rapidly is what part of the biggest thing, right? And, you know, people are watching – they’re watching all the signals.

Ranga Bodla (00:11:17):

I mean, you guys were talking about it just a second ago. You know, tomorrow, you know, the Fed is going to announce – I mean, I think everyone’s pretty sure, you know, three quarters of a point more in terms of what they do with rates. Everyone’s watching GDP, you know. I think was that last week or the week before? You know, the GDP numbers came out. They’re like, oh, well, you know, it turned out it was more positive than we had expected. Everyone’s watching the inflation side of things. Unemployment that continues to be a big one ‘coz, you know, they’re looking at that – there’s these layoffs happening. There’s these different things that are happening, but unemployment’s still relatively low. You know, I mean, we’re still, what, three and a half, 3.5, 3.6.

Ranga Bodla (00:12:07):

And now the conversation is more about productivity. You know, there have been some declines in productivity. So folks are asking that question. And, you know, honestly, it’s kind of hard to make sense of it all. Like stagflation, inflation, you know, we’re at recession, not recession. You know, it’s kind of like, where are we in all this. And, you know, in the absence of it making sense, which frankly it does not make sense, ‘coz you’ve got one signal, it’s saying one thing; you got another signal, it’s saying a different thing. I think folks are really – what I hear from folks that they’re really looking at and trying to figure out is what can I control? What’s in my span of control that I can actually focus on? What am I actually seeing in my specific business? And how can I invest where things are going well and pull back where things are going less well?

Ranga Bodla (00:13:08):

You know, I think there is a segment out there that’s just saying, you know what? I’m just going to keep things as is. I’m going to hope for the best. But as I always say, you know, hope is not a strategy. And so, I honestly don’t think that’s a good plan. You know, I think there is a – I was having this conversation yesterday with some business leaders and it was this notion of, you know, the – you know what, maybe the best thing to do right now is to do nothing, just through the status quo. And I actually think, you know, the status quo is sometimes viewed as not a bad thing. But I think the status quo, in particular in the current environment, can actually lead to stagnancy. And so, I think there’s a little bit of a danger with that. And so, I think it’s really important to say, what can I control looking at that? And then what are the levers that I can do, I can pull to invest where things are going well and pull back on things that aren’t going well.

Scott Luton (00:14:13):

Yep. All right. And we’re going to get into some best practice for navigating this environment in just a minute. Now, Greg, Ranga has set quite the holistic table. I mean, really, we’ve been kind of a round industry and then some in the last few minutes. What comes to your mind, Greg, whether with what Ranga was just sharing or some of your observations out there?

Greg White (00:14:33):

Well, I mean, shifting sentiment is very diplomatic, Ranga. It’s decidedly to the downside, at least the people I’ve been talking to, even though, and this is true, even though we technically broke out of a recession, we technically weren’t in, well, we technically were in, but we continued to deny we were in. But we technic – now – but now I’m sure we can say it’s a recession because we’ve broken out of it. We actually had a 2.6% GDP increase last quarter, largely on the back of inflation, of course, not really more purchasing, but more costly purchasing of essentially the same goods that people have been doing. And that’s – I mean, I see a lot of people. I’ve never seen so many people so aware of these aspects of things. I think that’s one of the blessings and curses of all of the data and all of the information that’s available out there. But at least people are informed.

Greg White (00:15:27):

And I think, you know, we’re going to talk about how to tackle this. But for an economy that is arguably out of recession, there’s a lot of negative sentiment out there among consumers. Now, why does that matter or the reason that matters is because, as you know, I say, Scott, the consumer is the beginning and the end of the supply chain. No matter how much we think we’re driving demand as practitioners or brands or retailers or whatever, all we’re doing is trying to influence the consumer to choose our product or to choose to place demand against our products. So, that really matters as to some of the other things that we’re talking about in terms of business and what businesses can do in this environment.

Scott Luton (00:16:20):

All right. So, off to a fast start, Ranga and Greg, and I appreciate that. I want to share just a couple of comments here. Jerry talks about how energy and his view is the inflation driver. Think of all the products, he says, that we buy that rely on energy prices, plastics, chemicals, everything that’s shipped, all shipping companies using that energy and children and so forth. And so, we’ll see if we can weigh in on that, see if we agree with that or not. Siam loves that hope is not a strategy, hashtag truth, she says. A nice, Ranga, t-shirtism there. I would argue hope is a strategy. It’s just a really poor one.

Greg White (00:16:57):

Well, I got – actually, there’s actually a sales book talk about appropriate title. That the title is Hope is Not a Strategy, because if you’ve ever experienced it, so many salespeople, they hope more than they drive sales.

Scott Luton (00:17:12):

Ah.

Greg White (00:17:13):

And I think it was a very bold, brash statement back in the ‘90s. But I think it applies universally. You know, these days it’s absolutely true.

Scott Luton (00:17:25):

Ranga?

Ranga Bodla (00:17:26):

No. You know, one thing, Scott, that Jerry just brought up in energy and we may talk about this more later, and I do agree that energy is a driver in inflation. But what’s interesting, particularly in the supply chain and logistics side of things, we were just talking about February earlier, where arguably things were a little different and just look at where container costs have shifted. So, you know, container costs were at, like, I think it was, I want to say it was all the way up to 20k container back, you know, [inaudible].

Greg White (00:18:03):

[Inaudible].

Ranga Bodla (00:18:04):

Yeah. And now, you know, I’ve been seeing people post, you know, 2 to 4000. You know, so container costs have shifted. So, you know, yes, energy is a driver, but I also think that, you know, it’s interesting too because that the shipping costs have actually changed in six to seven months, which has been kind of an interesting change and shift.

Scott Luton (00:18:28):

Right. Right. Great point there. And thank you, Jerry, for bringing that energy. It’s one of those things that affects us all every single hour of the day. And by the way, hello Delano and Glorimar. Great to have y’all with this as well. All right. So, I want to shift, I want to shift like that sentiment out there. So, I want to get into some things that folks can lean on to help them navigate through this really changing economy. Greg, what comes to my mind whenever I said that is those shifting sands we’ve talked about forever. I feel like on 500 episodes about, you know, companies that build their foundations on that shifting sand. You know, time and time again, they’re going to find themselves in trouble. But, Ranga, you know, I think we’re going to talk through four ways, four things, four topics that folks can lean on to successfully navigate this current environment and some of the things that you and Greg have been speaking to. So, where do we start, Ranga?

Ranga Bodla (00:19:24):

So, I think there’s really four things that we should talk about. We can expand on that and as, you know, as part of the conversation. But first and foremost is cash management. I mean, you know, it’s talked about – it’s been talked about before, but I think it’s really important right now is cash is really king. Cash, cash is cash management, free cash flow. And we’ll talk about more about that in a moment. Second, forecasting. I think that is another key pivotal item. The third is automation. And then fourth is inventory and – or inventory management. And I know Greg, Greg was – you know, Greg was asking the question, what does that really mean, and we can talk about what that means. But I think, Scott, those four things, they’re always critical. Look, they’re always critical elements that companies can do and should focus on. But I think right now, in particular, they are critical for public companies, for private companies, and for anyone to navigate the current landscape and inflationary times.

Scott Luton (00:20:37):

That’s right. So, folks, buckle up. We’re going to dive into all four of these things and get Ranga’s and Greg’s take. And really quick, one quick clarifying comment that you were alluding to with inventory management ‘coz pre-show we were talking, Greg’s like, “Let’s clarify there. What do y’all mean by that?” And I can tell you between what Ranga and Greg are going to talk about is it’s not just accounting stuff, right? It’s not just accounting stuff. So, y’all stay tuned as we get through that fourth item. All right. So, let’s dive head first in a cash management, Ranga, speak to that if you would.

Ranga Bodla (00:21:07):

So, you know, I think probably the biggest thing is cash is king as I said, you know, especially now. What cash allows you to do is obviously figure out and navigate. Like, as I mentioned, the sentiment continues to change. We don’t know where things are. And, you know, if things continue to – you know, if they get suddenly worse from a revenue perspective. This is where it’s really important to understand what is my actual cash position. I think it’s really easy when times are good to not pay as close attention to where your cash positions are and where things are. Particularly right now, it’s really about assessing where your cash flow is. What’s my actual free cash flow? How much room do I have to invest in those? So, you know, first of all, first and foremost, you got to start do, you know, that basic cash flow analysis. What’s my working capital?

Ranga Bodla (00:22:08):

You know, what’s the amount of money that I’ve got available to not just run my business operations, but also complete my transactions? And that could be, what is my cash on hand to go and do that? I think second is, is maximizing that cash on hand. So, you know, everybody should be looking at ways to reduce their expenses, improve their margins. You know, profit, you know, is something that people are paying attention to every, these last few earnings calls of all these companies. You know, there was a big conversation about free cash flow. I mean, anyone saw Amazon. You know, there was a lot of concern about the fact that there was no free cashflow flow in that earnings report.

Ranga Bodla (00:22:54):

That’s a big change from a year ago, where, you know, maybe it was less. You know, people were focused on the growth element of it and not necessarily on the growth or even the actual piece on the free cashflow flow side. I think in that cash on hand, you got to kind of look at the unit economics as well, you know, looking at what’s the contribution of different products at the bottom line. You know, I know we’ll talk about inventory later, but that’s going to play into the inventory strategy because if you’ve got really expensive product that, you know, has a longer shelf life and you’re putting it out there, then, you know, that’s cash that’s sitting on your shelf or sitting in the container or sitting in a warehouse that’s not helping optimize your business. And then, you know, just being proactive with that financial management. You know, what we’re staring down, we know we’re staring down inflation right now. We know we’re potentially staring down recessionary times. Like you said –

Greg White (00:24:00):

Right. Even that is mixed messaging, right? Of course.

Ranga Bodla (00:24:04):

So, you don’t want to just wait until, like, you can’t just be about wait until month in to look at where things are. This is almost like a daily checkboard or a daily checklist or even maybe weekly. But, you know, it’s really access to that data in real time to understand how the business is sparing and where you need to make changes ‘coz you can’t afford to just wait. You know, I’m going to wait for my quarter to close out and then make changes. You got to think about, do I have the right set of KPIs to make changes tomorrow, Friday, you know, whatever, the right measure is, but really managing that on the cash flow, the cash – managing that cash position, very critical, because you got to look at everything. How much is going out? How much am I getting in? How quickly am I getting it in? All of those pieces. And they all kind of work together, but I think that’s probably the first and foremost piece. I’ll stop there or pause there for a second, Scott.

Scott Luton (00:25:08):

Yeah. Yeah. All right. So, Greg, weigh in on cash management. Some of the things that Ranga has shared here today.

Greg White (00:25:15):

Yeah. Well, it’s the ultimate optionality cash, right? I mean, when you think about it from an investment standpoint, optionality is what you’re looking for, the opportunity to make the decision to be defensive, right? Maybe recession really hits and hits hard. So, you’ve got cash to just survive or to take advantage, right? To be opportunistic and really capitalize on it. And it’s going to depend a lot on what your business is, what segment of the industry you’re in, how your competitors or finance, things like that. But cash gives you that optionality to be strongly defensive, right? Maybe just save the company, which is a lot of times what happens in recession, companies just barely survive and capitalize on the upswing in the economy because they’re competitors to Ranga’s point who are less cash aware, or maybe overly indebted. They’ve gone belly up and now there’s market share to capture.

Greg White (00:26:13):

So, there’s that, or there is the possibility that, that some of those, and we’ve started to see this, some retailers, right, are as many are over leveraged and they’re starting to struggle or even go bankrupt. And some are fairly big names, right? And there’s a big hole in the market. So, if you’ve got cash, you can capitalize on that as well. So, yeah, definitely in these times, you definitely want to be pairing down debt. You want to be accelerating your receivables. You want to be pairing down – well, we’ll talk about this, but you definitely want to be optimizing your inventory for those things that don’t require a ton of cash and a ton of speculation, I mean, or that have a really short shelf life, right? So, Target, Costco, Walmart and others have gotten caught on the back foot by overinvesting in home goods. I always go to the example of patio furniture because I arbitrage some patio furniture this summer. So, they’ve over extended themselves on those things, and if they had sold through those, they’d have a ton of cash. But as they haven’t sold through those, they have to sell them off at a loss, which has sort of a double impact on their cash position. So, yeah, definitely cash, cash, cash. Scott, we’ve talked about this, you know, knowing that recession was coming toward cash, right?

Scott Luton (00:27:47):

Yep. Costs beget costs begets costs, and secondly, cash. It’s better to have it than not have it. So that in addition what Ranga and Greg you’re sharing.

Greg White (00:27:57):

Right. It is not money that is the root of all evil. It is the love of money that is root of all evil.

Scott Luton (00:28:02):

Right. All right. So, for the second time, and I’m going to try to get some of these comments we’re getting here in a second. I’ll try to bring those back in in just a minute. But for a second time, let’s dive into forecasting, Ranga.

Ranga Bodla (00:28:14):

Yeah. So, I think this is again, than, you know, just building right off of cash, you’ve got a forecast, forecast again and forecast again and forecast again. You know, not all businesses are alike. You know, all businesses are different. Your business is going to have to be willing to change in different ways as the inflation picture changes. But once you understand your cash flow position, it’s time to build forecasts that consider those unique circumstances of your organization. So, you know, one of the biggest pieces here is having and actually having a forecast or an FP&A strategy that has a lot of scenario planning built into it ‘coz what you want to be able to do is be proactive rather than reactive.

Ranga Bodla (00:29:09):

I mean, I love what you were saying, Greg, like, you know, that optionality, like, you know, some cases it may be survival, in some cases it may be taking advantage and gaining market share depending on where you are. And so, you know, there’s – you want to be able to run those [inaudible], you know, see what – maybe there’s going to continue to be, what are the different inflationary effects? Maybe, they’re wage-based, maybe they’re product-based, maybe they’re energy-based. You know, these are all going to have different impacts on your business and you kind of have to play that out. You know, I do think this is, and, you know, this is the balance. You know, investing in technology here to improve your visibility across your business is critical.

Ranga Bodla (00:29:59):

Because if you don’t have a good handle on where those things are, it’s kind of hard to forecast. Now, some of this may be as simple enough that you can do it, you know, in – you know, without technology. But, you know, depending on the organization, you’ve got to – the forecasting piece could be done without technology to be clear. But I think it is really important to be able to have kind of that real time kind of regular continual management of that and be able to make those changes. So, you know, to me that’s, I think probably the biggest thing on this forecasting piece because it’s critical right now.

Scott Luton (00:30:41):

Yep. Agreed. Greg, speak to forecasting.

Greg White (00:30:46):

Forecast without technology at your own peril. I mean, Ranga doesn’t want to sound pitchy, right? ‘Cause that’s part of what NetSuite does, but my God, please absolutely do not forecast without technology. Because, I mean, there have been study after study after study, 86% of the time, I can’t name the particular study. We’ve tried to dig it up before, but 86% of the time when people forecast demand, they are wrong. And far wrong. And I think the part of the reason for that is, is all we have as human beings is the past as a frame of reference and as we’ve experienced for the last nearly three years now, the past is no indication of the future, not future value, not future demand, not the future references of the consumer, which is really what you’re forecasting, whoever your consumer is, whether that’s a B2C, an actual consumer, whether that’s B2B, a customer of your raw materials, or direct materials or finished goods, whatever it is. You’re not predicting the item. You’re predicting your customer and how your customer will be influenced to place demand on your item, if at all. Right.

Greg White (00:32:02):

The big mistake that – to go back to our patio furniture example – that the retailers made was they looked at what had happened in the past, which stunning error for companies so big, it’s my opinion. But they looked at it and they didn’t realize that people had been freed largely from COVID lockdowns and were starting to get back to work and travel and things like that. They didn’t realize that people’s sentiment had shifted. And Ranga has already talked about sentiment here. So, you have to include that. And that’s very difficult to do by looking at the past and again, without technology.

Scott Luton (00:32:39):

Agreed. Okay. Quick segue and I’m going to take some comments. So, you know, going back to forecasting without technology, it’s kind of like playing a football game with no helmets these days, right? Yeah. It used to happen like that, but we don’t want to do that. Don’t go backwards.

Greg White (00:32:52):

But you wind up with brain damage.

Scott Luton (00:32:54):

Right. The four pass is a good thing. Okay. I’m going to share a couple of comments based on these first two things, Ranga and Greg, cash management and forecasting. Let’s start with Tamisha. And by the way, Tamisha, a little birdie has told me that you and Amanda worked at AmericasMart a while back. So, [inaudible]

Greg White (00:33:11):

[Inaudible] yes was knowledge of a certain Italian restaurant which is probably nameless.

Scott Luton (00:33:15):

That’s right. So, Tamisha says, “Cash and knowing the rules of money, employers for themselves and their employees. It affects productivity in a major way. Definitely helpful to explore other opportunities available to add cash to the bottom line.” Well said, Tamisha. Josh talks about how he can’t tell us how many labs collapsed over the last 18 months. And I think Josh is in that laboratory environment industry, I believe. “Cash is king,” he says. “Company estate sales made it so we could supply growth at a 45% discount.” Ouch. How about that?

Greg White (00:33:48):

Can’t you just see the grandparents of some company going into estate sales and, you know, basically company liquidations and haggling over lab equipment and office furniture and the like? “I’m getting 70 dollars.”

Scott Luton (00:34:02):

TSquared says, “A tasty cake honey bun that would normally be a dollar shouldn’t now cost $3.28.” And he’s not going to mention the establishment.

Greg White (00:34:13):

Wow! That is enormous inflation. And there’s a lot of that out there, right? That’s right. So, Ranga, to your point, the shrinkflation. So, during the pandemic, the quality of name brand goods got bad. So I switched to the grocery brand for Rice Chex, rice bits, whatever you call them. Went from $1.50 – well, $1.39 for a 13-ounce box to now 2.50 for a 12-ounce box. So, I mean, you’d have to help me do the math there, guys, but that’s a dramatic change in product –

Scott Luton (00:34:46):

It is.

Greg White (00:34:47):

Nonetheless.

Scott Luton (00:34:48):

So, let me add one final comment here from Gene. Gene, again, going back to that cash management that both of y’all were talking earlier. Gene says, “Our cash position throughout the pandemic has been our saving grace in taking advantage of critical inventory that was allotted to those who could pay. Best defense is a good offense.” Excellent. Thank you for sharing that, Gene.

Greg White (00:35:07):

I wonder what kind of inventory that is. Yeah, that’s – but that’s a fact, isn’t it? I mean, the FP&A, by the way, Ranga, you’re talking about is forecasting planning and allocation, right?

Ranga Bodla (00:35:19):

Yep.

Greg White (00:35:20):

So, allocation is a truth. Those with the capital get the inventory, right? And that’s exactly what Gene’s talking about.

Scott Luton (00:35:29):

So, Ranga – all right. So, we’ve tackled cash management. We’re backing up. We’ve offered up some observations on what’s going on out there in this changing economy, right? We’ve talked in particular about some things that folks really need to lean on, starting with cash management and forecasting. Now, let’s talk about automation. So, Ranga, tell us more about automation.

Ranga Bodla (00:35:50):

So, this is not just about technology, but automation is another critical element here. And what we’ve started to see, and I talked earlier about the unemployment side of things. It’s still really hard to hire. It’s still really hard to find people. And this is regardless of industry. You see it out there that it’s unemployment rate. The unemployment rate has continued to stay fairly low, you know, three and a half, 3.6, 3.7, whatever. It’s stayed well below 4, you know, for the better part of the last couple years. Automation is one of those areas that can actually help in this area of unemployment. Because if you’ve got – here’s the benefit. Right now, if you’re making some of those automation choices today, it’s going to help, you know, regardless of what happens next.

Ranga Bodla (00:36:47):

So, you know, if we’re in two more quarters or a year or two, whatever it is, right? It doesn’t really matter. The automation will help you ‘coz you’re not having to then hire those folks. And, you know, in some cases it’s not about replacing employees ‘coz it’s not that you’re getting rid of folks. It’s taking what you have and helping them do their job better. And, you know, in particular, this is where technology can play a part where you’ve got people doing really manual things that you can automate with technology. You can paper over errors or issues that, you know, again, particularly right now, it’s like people don’t want to do these manual things. And if we can solve those things with technology, I think automation’s a critical element and, again, can help you on saving costs just ‘coz you’re again helping, you know, reduce on terms of the hiring you need to do and protecting the team you already have.

Scott Luton (00:37:55):

That’s right. And for those organizations out there really focused on hiring top talent, that top talent is going to expect automation and forward-looking technology in their roles. So, win, win, win, win, win. Greg, speak to us about automation and some things that Ranga was mentioning.

Greg White (00:38:10):

Buckle up. So, one of the things we talked about is that, and I fully believe this, I’d hope, honestly, hope I’m wrong, I’m almost certain that I’m not, but I hope that I am. And that is that some people will never come back to some job, right? There will never be enough truck drivers, for instance. So, automation, autonomous, whatever you want to call it is a necessity. People are staying away in droves from manufacturing and warehousing jobs, precisely some of the roles that Ranga is talking about. And, automation is not just augmentation of the human staff. It is in some cases a replacement and not a replacement of people who have jobs, replacements of people who refuse to take the jobs, right? I mean, micro kind of sounded the alarm that 7 million men, men specifically, 7 million men, have remained out of the workforce. These are able bodied, right? Verified, able-bodied human beings. And that’s what helps – that’s what makes sort of this mixed signal, Ranga, you talked about of some of these economic factors. That’s what makes it so confusing. How could so many people not be working and yet the unemployment rate be so low? It’s because they’ve dropped out of the workforce.

Greg White (00:39:27):

So, some of those people may be waiting for the right opportunity. They may be waiting for the economic conditions. They may be still, you know, and we know this is true, some people are still living on, or at least partially living on stimulus money. But that’s coming to a quick end as consumer credit increases, people are charging their credit cards up. But nonetheless, there are some jobs that will never go back into human hands. And it’s better both for the humans, in my opinion, in some of these jobs, these dark, dirty, dangerous and dull jobs, it’s better to have automation or robots or whatever do those jobs. But also some of the jobs that require consistency and lack of emotion and things like that, those are better jobs for automation as well. And let human beings take those jobs that elevate them and capitalize on what our gifts are, right, which is making rapid life-changing decisions with inadequate or unavailable data or inaccurate data even.

Scott Luton (00:40:36):

All right. So, automation, we could spend hours talking about some of the things going on there. It’s fascinating. It really is to what you, Greg and Ranga, have already shared. But let’s talk about inventory management because – and let’s start with Ranga. I think Greg asked a valuable question. I think it’s important for you to kind of give your definition as context for why folks should lean into it. So, let’s talk more about inventory management, Ranga.

Ranga Bodla (00:41:02):

Yeah. I think, and probably, I almost should use the term inventory strategy. And I’m really glad that Greg brought up the patio furniture example there because, you know, the reality is, what do people do when – what have we seen happen as prices have gone up? As prices have gone up and shipping has gone up, a bunch of companies all made the choice, “You know what? Oh, I got to buy now.” You know, it’s almost like the – it’s almost like the planning for the holidays. Like, you know what – there’s going to be delays in shipping, there’s going to be delays in all of these things. So, I got to over buy in October because, you know, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get my Christmas presents in December if I wait till then.

Ranga Bodla (00:41:51):

It’s sort of what happened with companies. They overbought, particularly overbought when shipping costs were high. We just talked about those freight costs and container costs. You know, if you bought a bunch of stuff in February because it was cheaper, but then you’re paying 20 grand a container, I mean, you had some serious costs. And so, I think you have to be really careful with how you stockpile and build inventory. And I can’t remember who made the comment. You know, they made the – somebody the comment about, you know, if you’ve got the cash, you know, inventory can be allocated to you. But again, it has to be done smartly. Like if you know where you’ve got a product that sells and that people are going to buy it and it’s got a good, it’s got a short lead time, that’s one thing.

Ranga Bodla (00:42:40):

But if you don’t know that and you’re just buying it in your stockpiling ‘coz you think costs are going to go up, you’re tying up cash that could allow you to make other choices. So, you have to be really smart about what you stockpile, how you stockpile it, how much you stockpile it, and that’s going to really impact your cash flow. It’s going to impact your forecast and, you know, you kind of have to, you know, manage all these elements. But I think it’s really that critical last element here in this inflationary conversation of making sure that you’re not tying up precious cash for inventory. While at the same time, you do need to make sure you have enough inventory ‘coz if you don’t have product to sell, then you know, you’re stuck, obviously.

Scott Luton (00:43:28):

Yep. Well said. I’m coming to next, Greg, but really quick. Siam. And Siam you got a new profile pic, by the way. That’s why I didn’t recognize you earlier. You’ve been with us on many of these. “No plan, over buying, bad,” she says. I love that.

Greg White (00:43:43):

That’s a college course.

Scott Luton (00:43:45):

So, listen – y’all folks, listen to that. Okay. So, Greg, comment on inventory strategy as Ranga mentioned.

Greg White (00:43:52):

Well, I mean, typically, look, I came from a company a long time ago. Their sold business was what was called forward buying, which we talked about a little bit offline. And it is hedging inventory against future price increases. But there are a lot of stipulations there. One, it has to be high volume product to begin with. It has to be highly in demand. It can’t be speculative or short shelf life or short life cycle product. Like, man, Ranga, you’re right, this patio furniture example is the perfect example. As Ranga said, you’ve got to be careful where you put your cash in inventory. Don’t put it in risky inventory, in inventory you’ve paid too much for that has a short season or life cycle to it, right? And, you can only get one time, you can only make one buy.

Greg White (00:44:46):

Don’t take your risks, don’t take your – don’t extend your strategy, right? Don’t forward buy on product with a short life cycle or is seasonal or is fashion or any of those things. And that’s where a lot of these companies got stuck because it wasn’t just patio furniture, it was also lounge wear, which Ranga, he’s a shoe horse, right? So, he loves shoes. I mean, I bet he didn’t buy a lot of new pairs of shoes during the pandemic because who would see them on Zoom, right? And now that people are getting off Zoom, they can’t just wear sweatpants all day long. So, they’re starting to buy more formal goods, clothes, or at least casual clothes that they’re comfortable being in front of human beings. And so, you have to – again, all of this ties back to two things.

Greg White (00:45:37):

One, predict the consumer, predict your customer. And it’s all about cash. Every single one of these things is all about cash. Cash is the point of forecasting better, of providing better automation, of better inventory strategy. I love that term. Inventory strategy, inventory strategy. Everyone, impart that into your mind. Because that is the entire point of what we’re trying to do. We talk about supply chain not as a cost saving exercise, but a risk balancing exercise. We want some speculative, just like you want in your stock portfolio, but you want more stable, right, and sure thing in it. And you have to balance your costs and your risk out there in your inventory. So, this is a great listen-up moment, just listening to what Ranga is talking about here.

Scott Luton (00:46:34):

Agreed. Agreed. And by the way, I know y’all love that patio analogy. I think there’s some kind of global supply chain analogy related to eggs because they’re just as fragile, but we’re paying a lot more for it, right? So, we’ll come back to maybe an egg analogy later on the conversation.

Greg White (00:46:49):

[Inaudible] shelf life too. I mean, you can’t keep them forever, right?

Scott Luton (00:46:52):

Right. So patio furniture and eggs analogies for global supply chain. Ranga, all right, so we’ve tackled cash management, forecasting, automation, inventory strategy, right? As we start to kind of come down the home stretch as it were, Ranga, beyond these four things, beyond the observations you’ve already shared, what’s next for global business? What can business leaders expect moving forward?

Ranga Bodla (00:47:18):

You know, I think probably the biggest thing, and I love this phrase. I heard this earlier from somebody – building certainty in uncertain times. And you know, I use the analogy, there’s a lot about what we are in right now that feels very similar to March of 2020. And what I mean by that is in March of 2020, we all went home for a couple weeks and we’re like, “Oh, we’ll be back in a couple weeks.” And then it was a couple weeks, and then it was a couple weeks. The difference now is, you know, for the most part everything’s opened up. You know, people are back out, they’re out shopping. But it’s similar in the sense of we don’t know, is this a two-quarters? Is this one quarter? Is it, you know, a couple of years? Like, are we at the beginning of this? Are we at the end of this?

Ranga Bodla (00:48:14):

I can’t remember if this is in the pre-conference or earlier, but Greg made the point. Like, you know, we said, we just escaped the recession. But, you know, it was mostly due to paying more for stuff, you know, and I think that’s really what I think business leaders have really got to think about and look at is how do we, how do they build certainty in uncertain times? Because that’s where we’re at. And I think that’s where it’s going to be for a while now, is try to figure out what you can control, what you can get your arms around and where you can influence and make changes to drive things because there’s a lot of stuff that’s frankly out of your control. And that’s not going to change.

Scott Luton (00:49:07):

Right. Okay. I got to share two things here. Tamisha says, “I had to replace my Zoom pants, then I’m back meeting businesses and families face to face.” I love that, Tamisha. And Jerry says, “I was at a gift shop yesterday. Plastic pumpkins were half price. Cashier said they accidentally ordered a thousand instead of a hundred in June. Going back to that forecasting.”

Greg White (00:49:27):

Directly to Ranga’s point, right?

Scott Luton (00:49:29):

Right.

Greg White (00:49:30):

There are a lot of things that are out of your power, so don’t mess up the things that are in your power, like ordering a thousand instead of –

Scott Luton (00:49:37):

Man.

Ranga Bodla (00:49:37):

That’s a lot of plastic pumpkins.

Scott Luton (00:49:39):

No kidding. Okay.

Greg White (00:49:40):

That is 10 Halloween’s work. Just think of it that way.

Scott Luton (00:49:44):

All right. So, I want to level set on the back end of the conversation too. I think a lot of folks assume what NetSuite does, but in a nutshell, Ranga, what do you and the team do at NetSuite?

Ranga Bodla (00:49:57):

So, you know, I was – I always talk about NetSuite as it’s an application that allows organizations to run their business. And what we provide is a single cloud-based application with the vertical experience. And that starts with the foundation of financials. You know, oftentimes we’ll include CRM, commerce. You know, it really kind of depends on the business, but we built an application to run a business that’s run in the cloud and it’s that single cloud-based experience to enable a company to run their business wherever they’re at. You know, whether they’re on the beach, they’re at home, they’re in their office, that’s kind of a nutshell of what I – of how I position NetSuite. And in fact, we helped a lot of businesses over the last couple years be able to run their business, you know, even in the current scenario.

Ranga Bodla (00:50:49):

And, you know, I’m not trying to be pitchy or, you know, try to overly sell it. But, you know, I always say this to people, our customers are some of the best customers in the world. And, you know, what they say privately is what they say publicly. And they all have their – they all have their challenges. They all have their things they love. And it’s one of the things I love about my job is I get to talk to a lot of them all the time to hear what they’re experiencing.

Scott Luton (00:51:19):

Well, you got one right here. Looks like Josh Goody from Seattle loves -a big fan of NetSuite. So, thank you, Josh. I appreciate you. Your timing is impeccable. And, Ranga, I really appreciate what you shared there ‘coz I’m sure rubbing elbows with customers that are leveraging NetSuite to push your business forward in these times we’re all fighting through. I bet that’s a very rewarding aspect of what you do. Greg, I’m going to come back and get your key takeaways on the back end of the here in just a second or two. I want to talk about the resources. So, Ranga, you brought a cool resource to bury here today. It’s a business guide focused on seven steps to recession-proof your business. So, a quick question for you, Ranga, why should folks check out this business guide?

Ranga Bodla (00:52:08):

So, this is a great business guide to check out. We’ve got a number of resources like this. I think probably the biggest thing just as we’ve said here, is we don’t know whether we’re in a recession or not. We all feel like there’s definitely aspects of it that feels like a recession and we’re in a slowdown. We know that. These steps are things that businesses can take regardless of the situation. So, you know, even if it – even if suddenly everything just accelerates tomorrow, it should be great. You know, that’s not going to be the case. But, you know, there’s some great steps in here that people can take regardless of whether we’re in a recession or not in a recession or whatever you want to call it.

Scott Luton (00:52:56):

Well, folks, y’all check that out. We have dropped the link to this business guide in the comments. So, you’re one click away, get a little bit information and download. I’ve already reviewed it and this is not a pitchy business guide. You’re going to get some really good agnostic information, good leadership insights here, so seven steps to recession-proof your business. Okay, Ranga and Greg, I’ll tell you, it’s been a whirlwind conversation. I’m looking forward to, Greg, your final takeaways here. But before we do that, Ranga, let’s make sure that folks know how to connect with you and the NetSuite team. How would you suggest that?

Ranga Bodla (00:53:34):

So, I think there’s the three things I always say. If they want to connect me directly, obviously, I’m always open on LinkedIn, love to connect with people, that’s definitely there. Connecting with NetSuite, you know, it’s netsuite.com. We’ve got a number of great resources. We regularly run different events, virtual and in person, as well as provide business guides and you can get that at netsuite.com. You know, if you’re interested in having a further discussion with us, we’ve also got a whole live chat over there too. So, any of those three mechanisms are great ways in which to reach us.

Scott Luton (00:54:14):

Wonderful. Well, Greg, I know we’ve enjoyed Ranga’s perspective here today. I’m going to get your key takeaways in just a second, but before we do, we’re going to bit ado to –

Greg White (00:54:23):

Right. To Jerry Levy.

Scott Luton (00:54:25):

Yeah. Yeah. Jerry says, “Thanks guys. Love these seminars. Very informative, headed to his 1:00 PM class.”

Greg White (00:54:32):

No running in the halls, Jerry.

Scott Luton (00:54:33):

I bet if you’re not headed to class, folks are headed to their 1:00 PM leadership or management meeting. Ranga, I really appreciate your approach here today in informing our audience with what you’re seeing out there. Ranga Bodla, Vice President, Field Engagement and Marketing with Oracle NetSuite. Thank you so much for your time, Ranga.

Greg White (00:54:52):

Thanks, Ranga.

Ranga Bodla (00:54:52):

Thanks, Scott. Thanks, Greg.

Scott Luton (00:54:58):

Greg, man, on the front end, I was like, man, this – we’re going to need an extra an hour or so because of the good stuff here and we efficiently, you and Ranga and all the comments, we worked our way through it. But I love how you packaged that in those four categories, right? I mean, there’s certainly some others out there, but those four are perhaps some of the most critical things for business leaders to keep their eyes on, but that’s enough for me. What’s some of your key takeaways from what you heard here today and what we talked about here today?

Greg White (00:55:29):

Well, I think at the final point, the seven steps to recession-proof your business, there’s never a wrong time to recession-proof your business, so get that stinking book sooner than later. I mean, we didn’t -nobody saw the recession, arguable recession we had in the first half this year coming. And many people don’t believe that the next, I mean, whatever the continuation of it or whatever you want to call, will come in 2023. It will. Trust me it will. But, you know, it’s rare that a recession doesn’t sneak up on you. It’s just one, you know, in one moment and everyone can look back and say, in one moment the economy was booming and then all of a sudden, it’s not. So, you know, and to be clear, right, to this point, this is why it matters to recession-proof your business.

Greg White (00:56:22):

No economist has ever, always forecast a recession. They’ve always been wrong at least part of the time. So, even the pros can’t know, how can you? So, why not be ready. Again, it’s part of that risk balancing strategy for your business, for your supply chain. And all these things that Ranga has talked about, I’ve experienced them, right? I’ve been a practitioner, I’ve been a retailer, and I’ve been a technology provider to them. And I’ve experienced it. I’ve helped him through just like he’s doing with his team at NetSuite, helping companies to get back on top of the pile of cash rather than having it fall on top of you. And there are two things that he addressed here that are the biggest uses of capital in any company, labor, right? And automation is the answer to that because labor is either expensive or it’s hard to get. And two is your inventory. Inventory is usually the largest asset owned by any company that makes or sells product, unless they also own their real estate, which is such an illiquid – illiquid asset that you can’t do anything about it anyway. And it’s [inaudible]. So, managing those two things really very carefully smartly, and with – did I say smartly? I did say smartly.

Scott Luton (00:57:46):

I will go with it.

Greg White (00:57:47):

Intelligently. And with that risk balancing per point of view in mind is absolutely critical.

Scott Luton (00:57:56):

Yep. Well, speaking of inventory, there’s going to be a flooded market of plastic arms, pumpkins probably in everyone’s neck of the woods, right?

Greg White (00:58:07):

Holy mackerel! Imagine buying 10-year supply of anything.

Scott Luton (00:58:09):

Oh, man. Hey, folks –

Greg White (00:58:11):

You can feel like they may have bought a 10-year supply of toilet paper in 2020.

Scott Luton (00:58:17):

Folks, check out that the business guide we mentioned. Make sure you connect with Ranga and his team. I’ll tell you what, if you’re not already having these conversations, if you haven’t already taken action, hey, still deeds not words. Jump in there, make it happen. I hate to say it’s never too late, but hey, I’m optimistic. It’s never too late. Just do it now. Act now. Also, I’d also encourage beyond connecting with Ranga, there’s a lot of great conversations he’s been part of. You can check that out probably at netsuite.com or on YouTube. I was doing some homework earlier. I really enjoyed his perspective. Okay. Big thanks to Ranga.

Greg White (00:58:52):

You didn’t get to answer some of these questions. I mean, they’re coming in fast and furious, so we didn’t get to get to them. So if you want to hit me after on LinkedIn, I’m happy to go through at least one take on some of these questions that y’all have.

Scott Luton (00:59:07):

Wonderful. So, get your questions in. There will be no quiz later today, I promise you, but hey –

Greg White (00:59:12):

Only for me, apparently.

Scott Luton (00:59:13):

Big thanks to Greg and the whole team. Hey, big thanks to Katherine and Amanda and the whole production team for helping to make today’s session happen. Big thanks to Ranga and all of our friends at Oracle NetSuite, doing great work there. I really enjoyed his perspective here today. Greg, always a pleasure to knock out these conversations with you.

Greg White (00:59:28):

Likewise.

Scott Luton (00:59:29):

But, folks, again, take action. You know, don’t hope, as we talked about. Don’t protect the status quo. There’s always something you can be doing – small, big, you name it. It’s all about deeds, not words, but Scott Luton and our whole Supply Chain Now team challenging you to do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.

Intro/Outro (00:59:56):

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

 

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Ranga Bodla has over 20 years of combined product management and marketing experience in the software technology industry. As the VP of Field Marketing & Engagement for Oracle NetSuite, Ranga Bodla is chartered with driving the overall strategy and go-to-market for success across all of NetSuite’s industries including Wholesale Distribution, Manufacturing, Retail, Software, Services, Non-Profit, Advertising, Media and Publishing. Connect with Ranga on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Greg White

Principal & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about Supply Chain Now

Check out our new Supply Chain Now Media Kit

Subscribe to Supply Chain Now and all other Supply Chain Now programs

2022 Q3 U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index

Leveraging Logistics and Supply Chain for Ukraine

WEBINAR- Undermanaged Spend Categories: How GPOs Can Help Mitigate Your Risks

WEBINAR- Supply Chain Planning: Growing your Process Maturity in 2023

Check Out Our Sponsors

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.

Connect on :

Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

Connect on :

Vicki White

Controller

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Greg White

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Karin Bursa

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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’.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Soliva

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.

Connect on :

Jeff Miller

Host

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.

Connect on :

Amanda Luton

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Ben Harris

Host

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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Alex Bramley

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.

Connect on :