Supply Chain Now
Episode 1028

Everybody wants to talk about 'best in class.' But before you can be best, you gotta get better first. [...] And the fastest way to get better is to embrace the GPOs.

-Johnathan Foster

Episode Summary

They say the proof is in the pudding, so if you want to understand the value of a group purchasing organization (GPO), look no further than the successful partnership between Lanter Delivery Systems and OMNIA Partners. In this episode, tune in to hear Greg and Scott chat with Johnathan Foster of Lanter Delivery Systems and Robert Mietus of OMNIA Partners on how GPOs save you money and free up your time to focus on change management, why they’re ideal for smaller to mid-sized companies, the important role of data, how to overcome common challenges and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey. Hey. Good morning. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Greg, how are you doing?

Greg White (00:38):

I’m doing pretty well, Scott. Watching the weather a little bit, but, yeah, doing good. It seems to have turned in our favor, so that’s good.

Scott Luton (00:47):

That’s great to hear.

Greg White (00:48):

So, by the time this airs, nobody will know what we’re talking about, would they, hopefully?

Scott Luton (00:51):

Yeah. That’s right, hopefully. I’ll tell you, our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all the folks across the southeast dealing with yet another storm. But on a much lighter note, Greg, looking forward to a great show here today, as we’re going to be talking about really forward looking procurement leadership and its impact on organizations and industry in today’s ever-changing environment. This should be a great show, huh?

Greg White (01:14):

Always. I love talking about leadership, and particularly all this procurement and supply chain jazz. It seems suddenly people are interested in that.

Scott Luton (01:26):

And that’s a great thing. That’s a great thing. So, with that said, no further ado, I’d like to welcome in our esteemed guest here today, Johnathan Foster, Senior Director of Procurement with Lanter Delivery Systems. Johnathan, how are you doing?

Johnathan Foster (01:39):

Oh, I’m doing lovely. Yourself, sir?

Scott Luton (01:40):

I’m doing wonderful. Thanks for your time here today. I can’t wait for your perspective. And, of course, Robert Mietus, Director – Managing Director, rather, for Central for OMNIA Partners. Robert, how are you doing?

Robert Mietus (01:52):

I’m doing well. It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago, so you can’t complain.

Scott Luton (01:55):

Man, from one of our favorite global cities in Chicago, I’ve already got all kinds of food memories going through my mind. Thank you so much, Robert, for making us hungry. Okay. So, what we want to do is kind of continue on that theme, we want to get to know y’all a little bit better. We’ve enjoyed the pre-show conversation. Of course, we’ve enjoyed a variety of conversations with our friends at OMNIA Partners. Johnathan, welcome to the family here. So, let’s get to know y’all a better and, Johnathan, we’ll start with you. So, tell us where you grew up and give us some of your anecdotes from your upbringing, Johnathan.

Johnathan Foster (02:27):

I’m from North Central Arkansas, middle of the Ozarks, what I affectionately call God’s Country. So, beautiful place to be from, especially in the fall. And my family, I guess, would say humble beginnings, very blue collar, centered around the logging industry. And I find a lot of those mindsets of that hard work still permeate today in my day to day. I like to say I’m bringing a blue collar mindset to a white collar world a lot of times.

Scott Luton (03:07):

Oh, I love that. Greg.

Greg White (03:09):

Yeah, that’s a beautiful part of the country. So, when I was younger, I lived in Springfield, Missouri, and we went to the Ozarks, Bull Shoals, up and down the White River all the time. So, it is a really, truly beautiful part of the country, and definitely can relate to that hard working thing. So, you’re not likely to be a quiet quitter, are you?

Johnathan Foster (03:31):

No. [Inaudible].

Scott Luton (03:33):

You know, going back to your comment there, Johnathan, about kind of bringing that blue collar mentality to work, there was a great defensive coordinator for Virginia Tech, and his name’s going to escape me right now, but his whole moniker was like bringing this lunchbox. And it was like an analogy he taught with his team, you know, day in and day out. You got to bring it every single day. So, I love that. I love what your upbringing taught you. So, I got to ask you one more question before I flip over to Robert. So, growing up in Arkansas, what is one food dish or meal or restaurant or whatever that was inseparable from your upbringing, Johnathan?

Johnathan Foster (04:09):

Biscuits and gravy.

Scott Luton (04:11):

Biscuits and gravy.

Johnathan Foster (04:14):

My grandma’s table, my momma’s table, wherever, throw me some biscuits and gravy and you got a happy balding southern guy. Bald southern guy now.

Scott Luton (04:26):

Oh, man. I love it. Okay. So, now that we’re really starving for lunch – thank you so much, Johnathan – Robert, same question. You know, tell us where you grew up and kind of give us some of the flavor of your upbringing too.

Robert Mietus (04:37):

Oh, sure. Yeah. So, born and raised here in the Chicago land area. I guess similar to Johnathan, my parents are blue collar. Dad was a bus mechanic station engineer for a corrugated box plant. My mom was a cleaning lady. Actually, I had jobs with my dad starting in high school. So, you know, I did random maintenance work around the plant. And my uncle worked there, too, so whenever he went out and took a break, I was the machine operator for the jumbo corrugated machine. I probably can’t do that these days, but I learned a lot through that experience.

Scott Luton (05:14):

Oh, that is so cool. What a special experience, Greg. I mean, to be able to work with your dad day in and day out at the plant, right?

Greg White (05:22):

And, also, with big machinery. What’s better for a kid, it’s like a full size toy those things. That’s awesome.

Scott Luton (05:34):

So, same question as a follow up question, Robert, I bet you’re going —

Greg White (05:38):

We’re going to talk food in Chicago, aren’t we?

Scott Luton (05:40):

We got too, man. We got too.

Robert Mietus (05:41):

How much time do we got?

Greg White (05:42):

Yeah. Right.

Scott Luton (05:43):

So, to help narrow it down, you know, growing up in Chicago land – what a special upbringing that is as well – what’s one food dish inseparable from your childhood?

Robert Mietus (05:54):

Oh, sure. So, I guess every Chicago, let’s say, suburb or location has their special pizza dish, and it’s different than the next town over, different than nobody’s ever heard of it, but it kind of brings you back to your childhood, so to speak. So, I’d say Phil’s Pizza down on, you know, 87th and State Road is my local pizza joint.

Scott Luton (06:21):

Love that. Shout out to Phil, Greg. Phil of Phil’s Pizza.

Greg White (06:25):

Yeah. Hey, you know what? It’s good to hear about some of the other places besides the usual stops, right? There’s no shortage of outstanding food in Chicago, and pizza has to be the top.

 

Scott Luton (06:38):

That’s right.

Robert Mietus (06:38):

And I would just add onto that, Chicago’s grown up from pizza and hotdogs, I would say we’re one of the best culinary cities in the world. So, we’ve got the best of the best.

Greg White (06:49):

On my vote.

Robert Mietus (06:49):

Come and step up.

Scott Luton (06:51):

But I’m not sleeping, and I’d suggest you don’t sleep on biscuits and gravy. So, Johnathan, we’re going to have to make a trip back to Arkansas and break some bread there. Okay. Well, hey, thanks for giving us a chance to get to know y’all a little better and letting our audience get to know you both a little better. Where are we going next, Greg, with the dynamic duo here?

Greg White (07:11):

We probably ought to find out what these guys do for a living at some point, don’t you think?

Scott Luton (07:15):

Sounds good.

Greg White (07:16):

Maybe we can start with you, Robert. Give us an idea, you know, what your role is, and tell us a little bit about OMNIA, and maybe share some of the basics around GPOs and that kind of thing.

Robert Mietus (07:32):

I’d be happy to. So, I basically help companies, enterprise level companies, so Fortune 1000 typically, leverage a group purchasing organization. So, just to kind of give you a quick version of GPO 101, a group purchasing organization leverages the spend of its members to get better pricing terms and conditions than they can get on their own.

 

Robert Mietus (00:08:02):

So, just for some context, we have over 15 billion spend going through OMNIA that we leverage. And we’re typically going to be the top customer of our supplier partners. So, not only are we delivering a great – call it – price upfront, but we’re also making sure that our members are customers of choice. So, we expect that you get, you know, great programs and great service as part of it. And then, we have resources, the support, solutioning and the drive for continuous improvement over the course of the program. So that, not only are you seeing day one savings in terms of piece price, but we’re also identifying how do we improve the program from demand consumption, improve service levels, is there a better way, standardization, harmonization. Depending on the category, there’s lots of ways to drive down total cost of ownership and, in some cases, improve even some revenue streams for companies.

 

Robert Mietus (09:07):

So, my role and responsibility is working with companies, especially on the frontend of our engagement and relationship to truly partner and identify how to unlock all those resources and best utilize the model to improve the return on effort within our model.

Greg White (09:27):

Very cool. Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked a lot about GPOs and a lot with some of your colleagues, and it is just fascinating some of the stories, some of the benefits that companies have got. So, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun talking about what you can expect and what you can get out of a GPO.

Scott Luton (09:48):

Greg. I was just going to say —

Greg White (09:49):

All right. Johnathan – go ahead.

Scott Luton (09:50):

… what came to mind as he was explaining that is, you know, that old phrase, it takes a village, but then what do you do when you have the village? You got to leverage the village, and bring the power of the numbers to bear. So, I love that, and looking forward to learning a lot more from your perspective, Robert. Greg.

Greg White (10:11):

Johnathan, I see that you are consuming the real fuel of the supply chain and procurement industry – coffee. That’s what really keeps supply chain moving.

Johnathan Foster (10:23):

One hundred percent.

Greg White (10:24):

So, we know a little bit about you, but tell us a little bit about your role at your group, and a little bit about how you guys started working together. You have a great story about what you brought to your current company, so I can’t wait to have the audience hear you share that.

Johnathan Foster (10:47):

So, about 16, 17 months ago, I was a consultant for a pretty large procurement organization. I led the U.S. supply chain and logistics part of their practice. And I heard about this opportunity to start a procurement organization within a relatively mid-sized, mid-tier company that had never formally created the function. I heard about an amazing leader who I worked for. But it was really the challenge that I think we all look for and really an interesting company. I had been in the logistics space, this will be my 22nd year, so I’ve actually called Lanter, the biggest company I’ve never heard of, and they grew organically.

 

Johnathan Foster (11:41):

And it’s really an amazing story where we deliver 1.5 million packages a week. And most people, you know, besides the automotive, the ag, and the heavy truck that we deliver parts in the middle of the night for, really didn’t know us. But we had grown, and our CEO likes to say, we jumped in and figured it out. Our company’s really good about jumping in and figuring it out.

 

Johnathan Foster (12:05):

But what my leader and a couple others recognized is, we could take and embrace procurement and supply chain differently. So, they created a role, they hired me. And, for me, I came in and they said it’s a greenfield, figure out how you want to do it. Well, I have a corny saying, and maybe it’s still the consultant in me, but I like it, and it really goes to this saying is, everybody wants to talk about best in class, but before you can be best, you got to get better first. And I like that approach. And the fastest way to get better is to embrace the GPOs, especially when you’re so immature like we were.

Johnathan Foster (12:56):

So, I knew coming into this role that I had done business with other GPOs. And I knew that I was going to compete and actively solicit GPO partners. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know OMNIA. But as I was leaving the procurement consultancy I was, one of my peers said, “Hey, don’t sleep on OMNIA.” And then, as I got here and as I was doing it, one of my former mentors said, “Hey. OMNIA, you need to look at OMNIA when you’re looking at these companies.” I like to use these things on the side of my head, not just the one on the front, and get my ego outta the way. And so, these are people I listen to. So, I pursued OMNIA, you know, at least in introduction. I competed four GPOs, all great companies. But based on maturity, based on barriers to entry, based on just cultural fit within my organization, it was very clear that OMNIA was the right partner for me. And if I’ve got anything right in the first 15 months, I got it right. And they have embodied what I needed as a partner.

Greg White (14:18):

Man, starting from scratch, I mean, it sounds overwhelming, but it’s almost a blessing in disguise because you don’t have any baggage as such. I’m curious, you know, there are so many companies that are probably in the position you were, probably not the size that Lanter is, I mean, as you kind of reflect on that, do you think that is a way to go, just start by going with a GPO?

Johnathan Foster (14:51):

A hundred percent. And what I’ve seen a lot of people in my industry, everybody wants to think they’re the best negotiator in the world. I’m as good as I need to be or maybe I get lucky sometimes. But what I like is, if you can get past your ego and you can say, “Hey, look. How can I get out there and I can improve my organization at pace?” What it allows you to do is adopt contracts that are already mostly negotiated. There’s some nuances you can influence, but it’s mostly done. So, what it allows you to do, specifically in a place like where I’m at, I can focus on adoption and change management. Because I was introducing something brand new, and so I could focus on that, and then my compliance. So, it allowed me to impact the organization and make things much more sticky. And I would tell you candidly, again, I’ve been doing this with a head full of hair, I would say there’s some categories here that, absolutely, I would say, we are getting best and we’re doing that through an adoption. And frankly speaking, that is being a part of the GPO, specifically through this OMNIA program.

Scott Luton (16:17):

So, we’ll jump into that head first. Not dump into that, jump into that head first in just a second. I want to just really quick make sure we level set. So, Lanter Delivery Systems in a nutshell, just for the handful of people out there that hadn’t heard of them, Johnathan, what do y’all do at the heart of the business?

Johnathan Foster (16:37):

So, we deliver automotive parts, ag, heavy ag, tractor parts, heavy truck. We deliver that when most people are sleeping. We have 95 percent of our product we pick up this afternoon and evening, and it will be delivered tomorrow morning by 8:00 a.m.

Scott Luton (16:54):

Okay. Wonderful.

Johnathan Foster (16:55):

And so, that is our role.

Scott Luton (16:56):

And folks can learn more at lanterdeliverysystems.com. Of course, we’ll include that in the show notes. So, Johnathan, you have jam packed there. And, Robert, I’m coming back to you for a quick second. Did you hear what he said? Because evidently biscuits and gravy are going to be the theme throughout. He said, don’t sleep on OMNIA Partners and don’t sleep on biscuits and gravy there. Starting from scratch. So, Robert, what else would you add? You know, Johnathan was kind of describing the genesis of how you’ve worked together now, I think 14 months roughly. Elaborate a little bit more on that. And then, Greg and I, we’re going to take it kind of in a different direction in terms of what else GPOs can deliver. Robert, your thoughts.

Robert Mietus (17:33):

Oh, absolutely. And Johnathan’s been a great partner, so we really strategically aligned with his vision, his goals and objectives, and really leveraged the ecosystem within OMNIA. And when I say ecosystem, it’s not just the categories that we have. We’ve got over a hundred supplier partners that companies could leverage, but it’s also other members that are going through similar experiences. We’ve got lots of experience with people, process, technology, and can help provide some avenues to improve on those and some guidance and connect with other members that have the unbridled feedback of the good, bad, and ugly of what they’ve gone through of any sort of initiative. So, you know, I think there is untapped value there. Just leveraging that entire ecosystem, not just kind of the prenegotiated contracts that we have to bear.

Scott Luton (18:28):

Love that. Okay. That’s perfect foreshadowing for where we want to take the conversation next. And, Greg, as you know and many of our listeners may know, we recently conducted a great webinar focused conversation, really dialed in on the value GPOs bring to the table, in particular when it comes to helping business leaders mitigate their risks in this ever complex environment. And to piggyback on what Robert shared in the last point there, Greg, one of our favorite phrases that came out of that conversation was three bids and a cloud of dust. Greg, speak to what Mark was sharing in that conversation, and I’ll keep moving forward with our guests here.

Greg White (19:04):

Yeah. You know, that’s sort of the old school way of doing things. And I think there’s value in that, of course. But it doesn’t have to always be that way. And I think what we’ve seen is this evolution of companies to leverage the group. We talked about that the other day on that webinar, you know, leverage the power of the group. Because I think we talked about $2 million categories that companies have shared that they don’t even look at. They can’t even really adequately manage because that’s a relatively low amount of spend, for some companies. But imagine whatever that threshold is for a particular company, that’s even lower amount relative to the total at OMNIA. But think about this, they have a hundred customers with a 500,000 or 2 million category. So, it adds up to be something meaningful for them, and it allows them to put the appropriate resources behind it and make sure that that gets managed appropriately. What should we call that, Scott? That’s the new type. That’s the RPO. The GPO is the RPO, the run-pass option offense.

Scott Luton (20:25):

We’ll go with it. We’ll go with it. Maybe Robert is about to share some –

Greg White (20:28):

GPO, RPO, that’s a lot of O’s.

Robert Mietus (20:30):

Greg, there’s value to managing that category strategy, right? Because three bids and a cloud of dust, there’s diminishing returns on that strategy. It works on a transactional buy. But if it’s a recurring spend, what you’ll notice is what you bought last year isn’t necessarily what you’re going to buy next year or the following year, or definitely in year three of that contract. So, you’ll see some price creeps, some diminishing returns if you just shell that contract in the top drawer and never see it again. And the supplier is going to make it up on the back end, they’re a highly profitable account.

 

Greg White (21:02):

Yeah. Of course, they are.

Robert Mietus (21:02):

Whereas, we actively manage the agreement, make sure that it’s market competitive every day of the week. But more importantly, we’re making sure that we’re driving program improvements through the life cycle, that contract. So, you’re actually seeing continuous improvement and continuous value being delivered year over year. And we report on that to help our members just put it up the chain so they could see the shareholder return or EBITDA improvement that we’re helping drive towards the organization.

Greg White (21:32):

And you can see through the cost to quality as well. Because when you do that three bids in a cloud of dust, you always find a new sucker every year. Nobody falls for it twice. And so, you have inconsistent quality as you were talking about, or maybe even inconsistent products. And because every vendor thinks we’ll get in there with low price, and price is a huge part of the decision making almost all the time, we’ll get in there with a low price and then we’ll be able to build something up. Well, sometimes they can’t. And when they find they can’t, they don’t bid again next year. So, you don’t have that consistency a lot of times.

Scott Luton (22:12):

So, Johnathan, you were going to add something to this discussion.

Greg White (22:15):

Oh, sorry, Johnathan.

Johnathan Foster (22:17):

Not a problem at all. I was just going to say more than the price, they’re managing the relationship and allows you to build a relationship. And more than anything, I think if the last couple years have taught us anything, relationship matters and relationship with your suppliers matters.

Scott Luton (22:35):

Excellent point.

Greg White (22:35):

I think somebody said at the beginning of the COVID outbreak, it’s too late to make friends now. If you’ve mistreated or haven’t been in touch with a particular supplier, it’s too late now. And I think that’s really, really important because you guys mentioned the term customer of choice, you are that customer of choice simply by virtue of being part of a GPO. And I think that’s important. They managed the relationship and then you get the waterfall effect of that.

Scott Luton (23:06):

That’s right. All right. So, let me jump in here, and, Greg, you and Johnathan, the point you made there, relationships matter, that has been a steady drum beat common theme through – gosh – a thousand episodes here at Supply Chain Now. And that’s a great silver lining to what we’ve been through, right? I think there’s going to be a lot of good being created and value being created because of those lessons learned.

 

Scott Luton (23:28):

So, as we’re teeing up this segment, and then we dove into a lot of goodness there, been there, done that goodness, we really want to pick your brain, Johnathan, I’ll come back to you first. A moment ago, you saw Johnathan, he was backing up that Lanter Delivery Systems truck to the deck. It was chalk full of a bunch of experiences and lessons learned and he was about to unload it. Now is the time, Johnathan. So, talk to us about how you’ve seen, you know, GPOs, OMNIA Partners in this case, really help your organization and you as a business leader through this really complex environment.

Johnathan Foster (24:05):

Yeah. So, if you look at certain categories, we work at pace. We call it Lanter pace, which means we work pretty fast. We take a lot of pride in being adaptive in taking our customer’s demands and trying to solve them. But what that does is it doesn’t allow a lot of time for a lot of, “Well, let’s stretch this out multiple months” or “We need to make change.” And when we do that, if I think about adoption, it needs to be relatively easy. So, I don’t disrupt my operations team who are on a mission to take care of our customers. And so, if I look at the first couple things we tackle, if you look at MRO, you look at office supplies, you look in our rental car programs and travel, these are categories. And you were talking about that small spend, I call that as a consultant. We call that the tell spend. And that tell spend, these are important categories, but they’re relatively easy adoptions.

 

Johnathan Foster (25:22):

So, you can come in, you can leverage an office depot contract. Let’s just say, you come in a national enterprise contract and you can get really good aggressive pricing, but you can get a relationship that supports the mission of your organization. So, it is a fast way of coming in and making an impact. And so, that’s what we learned. Because, again, who’s this long-winded country boy coming in here trying to impact our organization? And what it did is it let me show significant double digit gains, a base, compared to what we were able to get on our own. Do that, do it at pace, and do it where it was relatively easy to adopt. And so, that to me was what we’ve been able to accomplish in short order. I don’t know if I answered the question exactly.

Scott Luton (26:23):

No, you really did. And by the way, new moniker, the Waylon Jennings of global supply chain right here in Johnathan. Greg, I’m not sure where Waylon Jennings s grew up. I’m going to bet Arkansas or somewhere in that region. But, Johnathan, keep it coming.

 

Greg White (26:37):

There’s no shortage of long winded country boys in Nashville either, by the way.

 

Scott Luton (26:43):

All right. So, a lot of good. You know, that speed to change, that speed to value, that is so valuable regardless if you’re a startup or if you’re a medium sized business. Enterprises, big global organizations don’t change. You know, they turn like aircraft carriers. However, initiatives within them. You know, that speed is really, really important. So, I appreciate you sharing there. So, Robert, piggybacking what he shared there in terms of that speed to value or what else do you see GPOs in general bringing value to the table?

Robert Mietus (27:19):

Oh, sure. When we speak about speed to value, one of the biggest hurdles to get there is, typically, data, especially in the indirect world, and especially in a lot of the categories that we discussed, and especially when it’s a brand new organization. And, typically, if you’re doing it on your own, it’s a chicken in the egg. You got to get good data to get a good contract. But you can’t get the data until you get some sort of program in place. So, what do you do? Well, we help cut through that. And it doesn’t matter what your spend is, it could be a hundred thousand, it could be a million, it could be ten million, we’ve got pre-negotiated programming and you’re getting the best pricing that’s out there. So, we can help solve for that data complexity.

Robert Mietus (28:05):

But we also want to make sure, because it’s an important part of change management. Because if you don’t know what the value that you’re delivering is, and if you don’t have any data, it’s hard to kind of sell it to the stakeholders. I’m also an ex-consultant, or I would actually call myself a current consultant within the role that I’m in, but you can have the best program in the world, but if your stakeholders aren’t on board, if you can’t sell it to your stakeholders, you’re not going to have any adoption or compliance, which is a big topic today.

 

Robert Mietus (28:33):

So, I’m always a big fan of getting some sort of data. Let’s go figure it out. Let’s find out who a major stakeholder is, a major influencer that’ll help advocate on behalf of the program if we could deliver that value prop to that stakeholder. So, let’s have some sort of baseline. And with a key influencer, make sure that there’s value that will hit the bottom line. And that we could report on it through the ongoing program execution. And then, we have a business case so that the organization could be onboard. And then, any stakeholders that are maybe laggards on that technology curve, so to speak, we can help guide them along because it’s clear and undoubtable that there’s value and benefit to them in the program. And so, I always like the clear hurdles because without clearing those hurdles, that kind of diminishes the value and makes things a lot harder at the end of the process.

Scott Luton (29:30):

And, Greg, I’m going to get your take here. But one of the things I heard you speaking to there, Robert, is the power of confidence to add that velocity. Confidence in data, confidence in the direction, you name it. I mean, that really helps build trust in the path that we’re going and speeds it up in many ways. Greg, what’d you hear there between what Johnathan shared and Robert shared?

Greg White (29:52):

Well, you know, we talk about this a lot, it’s leverage. I mean, it’s the power of the group. It’s the power of being part of something really, really big and having something really, really big be part of your organization. You know, you can benefit from the relationships, you can benefit from the economic effect. We called it scale economies shared. As we talked about the other day, this is the best kind of business. That’s the Googles, the Amazons, the Costcos, the Walmarts, the Ford Motor Company who took an $800 car down to a $200 car because of production efficiencies and shared that with their customers. In this case, that’s exactly what GPOs and OMNIA, in particular, are doing with their members, is, they’re taking the power of scale economies and sharing that with all their members. And it’s every single one of those scale economies that may be, of course, fiscal. It’s certainly relationship. But there are all kinds of other benefits as well. It’s also the input of the other members of the organization where you can share ideas, share thoughts, or learn from the things that OMNIA learns from all of those varied businesses that they work with.

Scott Luton (31:15):

Well said, Greg. Very holistic. So, I want to move forward. Kind of forward looking here, Johnathan, tell us about what’s coming next for Lanter Delivery Systems. And really quick for you, as we talked about pre-show, I keep wanting to add a constant end on the frontend. And here on the tail end of Halloween, has anyone ever been Green Lanter at the organization? Because if not, someone needs to step up and dress up as a Green Lantern next. But anyway –

Greg White (31:46):

Green Lanter.

Scott Luton (31:47):

Right. I digress. Sorry, but I can picture my son, Ben, getting a kick out of that. All right. So, kidding aside, as we look into 2023 and beyond, I mean, clearly y’all have come so far, Johnathan, with some of the cool things you’re doing, both what you’re leading, what you’re leveraging, Robert and the whole OMNIA Partners team to do, what’s next? You know, what’s next for the organization?

Johnathan Foster (32:11):

Yeah. So, I want to build off a point you just made, and then I’ll talk about our go forward. For me, my old man used to say, that there’s only so much, yourself, that you can sell in any given day. Make sure you’re selling it to the right people. But, mentally, there’s only so much time I can focus on any given category, and I touch all of the categories. And what the GPO allows me to do is put some and focus my team on adoption while I focus my attention on maybe bigger, more strategic programs that are outside the GPO as well.

 

Johnathan Foster (32:46):

So, it’s what time they buy me mental space that allows me to impact. So, when I go forward, we’re focusing on a couple things. We’re focused on a couple strategic things that are outside of the GPO program. But I’m also working inside and partnering with Rob and the team of what I call second pass. Where, we’re still making first pass on certain categories, but we’re going to come through. And if you look at safety vests, right now, yes, I’m getting a better price through my MRO supplier. But what I’m able to do now is optimize on where do I get within that skew, that best vest that meets my safety requirements in that.

Johnathan Foster (33:25):

So, I’m going to focus in on that, and then focus on where my leakage is. And then, you know, where and why, and have an honest question of why. And the great thing I love about OMNIA in this program is we can say, “Well, we’re hearing this, we’re hearing this.” And I have a partner, almost like a big brother, to help me solve that. I’m not trying to solve everything by myself. I’m collaborating to find that. So, it gives me the mental space on these other areas, but also these tail categories of where are these leakage. So, that’s what is next for us.

Scott Luton (34:06):

No sitting on laurels there at all. Greg, I’m going to get your comment in just a second. I’m going to give Robert an opportunity to speak to that first. And, Robert, I’d love for you to speak to what Johnathan just shared there. But as a quick follow up, I love for you to speak to – I mean, Johnathan gets it clearly – are all the folks that you’re working with as – I don’t want to say evolved, but as savvy as Johnathan and his ability.

Robert Mietus (34:33):

Yeah. Not everybody is as quick and agile as Johnathan. He’s been a great partner in looking to drive significant value in a fairly quick amount of time. And he’s very collaborative and very open and transparent with the good and also the areas for improvement. And we appreciate that because we all have areas for improvement that we need to recognize. And if we don’t recognize, we can’t improve upon. So, he’s been a great partner from that perspective. I wish everybody was like Johnathan.

Scott Luton (35:08):

I’m with you. I’m with you. And it looks like the path ahead is going to have more of the same, but more of the new as well, right, Robert?

Robert Mietus (35:17):

Yeah. I would kind of break it off into three tranches. One is, within OMNIA, because of the partnership that we have with Lanter, we’re actually looking to invest in a spend visibility tool to help identify spend under management, where that leakage is, and really help develop strategies on driving that compliance/adoption. But first, we got to recognize where it is, develop a plan to address, and then go upon it and execute upon it, as well as provide some resources to help with the execution of that. Secondly is the continuous improvement over the programs that we do have implemented. So, now, we have some data, some good data for, you know, 20 categories that we’ve worked with Johnathan on. And so, now, is there a better way?

 

Robert Mietus (36:09):

And so, we’ll start doing some data mining and then identify is there a better cost option? Is there some OEMs that we could go back and get a second level of discount by being able to leverage some spend with specific OEMs, demand, consumption, reduction, et cetera. So, there’s a whole continuous improvement strategy that I would consider part of that second tranche. And then, third, there may be some new areas that we partner on, like facility services or maybe IT, that we can work together on for a new wave of opportunity. But first, we got to solidify the foundation on what we built first so that we can build upon it.

Scott Luton (36:49):

Okay. Man, Greg, lots of clarity between these two here. Your thoughts on what they just shared.

Greg White (36:55):

I think the best thing about what Robert and Johnathan are talking about is you don’t have to be Johnathan to benefit, and it’s probably better for you. I mean, from a relative impact standpoint, if you’re not a Johnathan, if you’re a Billy Bob – which Johnathan, you must have met. I know I did in Springfield – if you’re not as adept as Johnathan, you’re not as visionary, you’re not as educated or evolved – I like evolved, by the way, that term – I think you can get even more benefit. If you can’t have the focus or don’t have the strategic ability, that’s something that a GPO can help you with as well. The foresight or the vision of what procurement could be for your organization and what other things you could be spending your time on if you’re not spending it on, we got to say it again, three bids and a cloud of dust.

Robert Mietus (38:00):

And, Greg, you have a good point there. What we’re trying to help accomplish is taking some of the tactical things off people’s plates and help them become more strategic and focused on driving significant value creation across the organization. And we’re a tool in that tool set to help them become more strategic.

Scott Luton (38:20):

Okay. Man, I love that. All right. So, we’re coming down the homestretch here because I’m either going to go get some Phil’s pizza or I’m going to get Grandma Fosters biscuits and gravy, one or the other for lunch here today. But, Robert, I want to pose this next question to you because, as we talked about at pre-show, there is a wonderful movement afoot for years now, where much like years ago, supply chain finally got a seat at the table and gotten recognized for the value it really brings and how much it is to the business. But procurement has seen a lot of that as well now, which is great, a wonderful development. You know, this conversation has really been speaking to the power of procurement and in a very forward looking way. So, I’m going to go around the panel and get everybody’s take here. So, what are your thoughts – we’ll stick with you, Robert – on the evolving role or more evolving, evolvement maybe, the evolving role and perception of the procurement function, I’ll call it.

Robert Mietus (39:13):

Oh, sure. I’m going to leverage some of my other experiences. I’m also past president of ISM here in Chicago, and helped start a procurement executive round table over the past few years. And so, what we’ve seen is supply chain and procurement has really helped companies that utilize it in an appropriate way make that a strategic advantage for their company in the marketplace. And Greg had mentioned a couple examples earlier, what Ford did, and the Costcos and the Walmarts. Their business cases for when you unlock the power of supply chain and procurement, you basically kind of take over your industry by being able to turn that into competitive advantage, because you’re able to have better cost products, better value products, can deliver it. I needed an hour and a drone pops up and gets me what I need. That’s kind of where the industry is going. And so, not only are we getting the seat to the table, so to speak, but making sure that we utilize it to become that strategic advantage and help our companies accelerate in our industries.

Scott Luton (40:35):

Well said. And those savvy sea level leaders and other leaders are taking more advantage. They’re seeing the light and they’re leaning into the value offering you just spoke to there, Robert. Johnathan, what are your thoughts along the same lines? You know, folks are finally having the eureka moments on the impact that procurement expertise can have.

Johnathan Foster (40:56):

I think it’s an interesting time. So, as you pointed out earlier in the conversation, early part of the COVID periods, you know, people figured out that relationship, that maybe they had been neglecting, really did matter. And they treated that three clouds. And, to me, the three clouds and you burn the relationships and you move on, you’ve now burned a relationship. Even if you don’t award business, keeping a relationship with that supplier and taking the time to explain why you didn’t do that, so that you keep that. But I think what’s evolving and what’s coming is how many people forget those lessons.

 

Johnathan Foster (41:37):

So, if we do have a recessionary period, you know, I made the brilliant career decisions to go into the heavy construction industry in May of 2008 – not a more lovely business to be in. But I learned a lot of lessons about that period and how we treated our suppliers as our business really struggled to stay alive. And as companies, if there is uncertainty in a company, how they treat them, because, you know, when I was at a big carrier, we had a saying that said, “Shippers had long memories,” but so do carriers and so do your suppliers. So, I think when you’ve spent the last couple years in saying, “Hey, we’re in this together. I need you. We’re partners,” how you treat them and how you treated them in that bid and how you treated them when things maybe flipped the other way in your favor, I think that’s what’s coming, is, I think we’re going to say, “Okay. Do these scars stay with us? Are we just going to rip off that Band-Aid and act like it didn’t happen?” I think that’s what’s going to be interesting.

Scott Luton (42:45):

Well said, Johnathan. Like baseball closures, we can add them to that list. They got to have a terrible memory. Greg, it’s interesting to hear Robert and Johnathan speak to kind of the evolving role and influence and presence of procurement out there in the C-suite. What’s your thoughts here, Greg?

Greg White (43:04):

I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement, frankly. I mean, as much as people in the procurement industry or segment, whatever you want to call it, have seen a lot of that, I think there’s still a lot of room for enlightenment in the executive suite. And I think you have to keep pressing. It’s very similar with supply chain. And it was very similar maybe with procurement, but very similar with supply chain as we started to come out of the disruptions of the pandemic for people to backslide into their old ways. And I think you have to keep the spotlight on the fact that this is such a powerful portion of your business. And I think, again, the difficulty that, Johnathan, you described there in maintaining the relationships but also maintaining the focus on improvement, I think that’s just another case for why you would outsource this. And I think more and more businesses will do that over time.

Greg White (44:11):

You know, we talk about this a lot, the new brands, the new retailers, they are buying companies or outsourcing to companies and letting those companies run on their own, gaining the benefit of those shared economies, and sort of doing what they do best. I know Lanter has a lot of internal skills, but you know that what they do best is deliver parts. And it also allows you that freeing strategic discussion that we had earlier. It allows not just Johnathan to do that, but the entire organization. And whatever your organization is, to focus more on your core values and on your core gifts and skills, and strengths, and make those stronger. You don’t have to worry so much about some of these other things that are really super complex and hard to master and hard to staff for and hard to scale in your business. It’s just so much better to be able to have someone create a great skillset for you, and the scale of those relationships, and allow you to focus a lot more on your core. So, you don’t have to have 25 people in procurement. I don’t know what size your organization is, Johnathan, but having started from scratch, it’s probably fairly small if you went immediately to a GPO. And even if you have all those people, those people can be doing more strategic things, like you talked about.

Scott Luton (45:41):

Absolutely. It goes to the heart of building more competitive advantage in the business. So, I love that, Greg, great comment there. And, Johnathan and Robert, I really appreciate y’all weighing in on what we’re seeing, some of the trends out there in terms of the rise of procurement. Not to be dramatic, but it’s been cool to see the last few years. Okay.

 

Scott Luton (45:59):

So, as we start to wind down here today, I want to make sure folks know how to connect with you both, whether they want to compare notes with you, Johnathan, whether they want to have you come in and speak to their group or association or something, and, Robert, they want to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with you and kick the tires on the OMNIA Partners value prop. So, Johnathan, I’ll start with you. As we mentioned earlier, the company website, lanterdeliverysystems.com, and how can folks connect with you?

Johnathan Foster (46:26):

I would say LinkedIn is probably the best path. Just shoot me a connection, shoot me a message. Happy to have a conversation.

Scott Luton (46:33):

Over a hot cup of Duncan Coffee, right?

Greg White (46:36):

Yeah, that’s right.

Scott Luton (46:37):

Love it. We really appreciate your time with us here, Johnathan. Robert, same question to you, how can folks connect with you? How can they connect with OMNIA Partners? And tell us about just how easy it is to get started, maybe?

Robert Mietus (46:53):

Oh, absolutely. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. My contact information is there. It’s probably the easiest way to share. If you want to learn more about OMNIA Partners, it’s omniapartners.com, so fairly easy to remember. And then, it’s free to join. No commitments. No obligations. So, it’s fairly easy, especially in the enterprise space, we have to earn our value every day and every year. So, we try to make sure that we tailor our strategy to meet our members’ objectives, and so we try to make it as easy as possible and eliminate all hurdles.

Scott Luton (47:25):

Okay. So, Greg, on the webinar that we referenced earlier, a lot of folks were surprised at that in terms of being able to join for free. It’s like they’ll prove it, they’re willing to prove it, huh?

Greg White (47:39):

We’re willing to prove it. I mean, we need to eat our own dog food, Scott. Seriously, we’re signing up We’re signing up, Robert.

Scott Luton (47:47):

Let’s do it. Well, hey, really enjoyed today’s conversation. It really touched on a lot of different aspects, both procurement related, and general business, and leadership, and change, and innovation related. So, big thanks to Johnathan Foster, Senior Director of Procurement with Lanter Delivery Systems. Thank you, Johnathan. Robert Mietus, Managing Director for Central for OMNIA Partners. Robert, thanks so much.

 

Johnathan Foster (48:15):

Appreciate it. It’s been a pleasure.

Scott Luton (48:16):

You bet.

Greg White (48:16):

Thanks, gentlemen.

Scott Luton (48:17):

But, hey, we’re not going to let y’all go just yet, because I want to put Greg on the spot here. We’ve covered so much –

Greg White (48:21):

You’ll make make them listen to that, aren’t you?

Scott Luton (48:22):

Yes, I’ve got to. Because, you know, I’ve got about 17 page of notes here between Johnathan and Robert’s expertise and experiences and whatnot. But, Greg, as we wrap here, if folks forget everything else, what’s the one thing that our listeners have got to leave this conversation with in mind?

Greg White (48:43):

Well, I’ve said this before, and we do talk about this internally, it’s group. Purchasing organization, that’s valuable. But group is the power here. The power of bringing everyone together, of having all of these external organizations creating these shared economies. And allowing you to leverage the power of that huge group. It takes a village thing, but it’s much bigger than a village, and it’s much more interactive than that. Because everybody has one common interest, their procurement. And we’re focused on a singular thing as this group, and it is incredibly powerful. And I mean it when we say we’re doing it because it’s just too powerful for us.

 

Greg White (49:37):

And I think of this as our business case, Scott, right? This is something that I think you and I in particular, possibly two of the worst negotiators. The only way Scott and I can win at negotiating is negotiating with each other and then we both lose, which I guess is a win. But I think for organizations as small as ours, less than $10 million a year in sales, or as big as Sony, who obviously needs some procurement help, Robert, because for three years they have not been able to produce enough of their PS5 consoles, and it’s the same issue every year, they can’t get supplies. So, I dare you to go get them, obviously.

Robert Mietus (50:20):

Let’s go. I’ll give you an update after the [inaudible].

Greg White (50:24):

But it is. I mean, even companies that size can benefit from this just because of the focus and, again, the power of that scale economy.

Scott Luton (50:33):

That’s right. I couldn’t say it better. So, I really have enjoyed today’s conversation. Hey, we’re going to change that cliche, it takes an ecosystem. And once you have the ecosystem, hey, leverage it for all the good that it can bring. So, this conversation’s really been a testament to that. So, again, big thanks to Johnathan and Robert and Greg. Big thanks to all of our listeners out there. Hopefully, y’all enjoyed this conversation as much as we have. But, hey, it’s not about just listening and taking it in. It’s about taking action, doing something with it. Deed’s not words. On that note, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton signing off for now, challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change. We’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (51:15):

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

Robert Mietus is the Managing Director at OMNIA Partners, Past President for Institute of Supply Management – Chicago Chapter, and 5 time Supply and demand Chain Executive Pro-to-Know. Robert has over 15 years of experience in managing supply chain, procurement, and turnaround initiatives. Robert has managed over $5B in initiatives and identified over $1B in cost reductions and value improvements from supply chain strategies to conduct global strategic sourcing initiatives in 50+ countries, e-Procurement implementations, sales and operations planning (S&OP) implementations, supply chain redesigns, working capital improvements, make versus buy analysis, internal process redesign, organizational development, and supplier development and innovation initiatives. Robert graduated with High Honors from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration concentrating in Supply Chain Management. He has achieved certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from APICS. Connect with Robert on LinkedIn.

Johnathan Foster is the Sr Director of Procurement for Lanter Delivery Systems and has over 21 years of experience leading various procurement, consultancy, and logistics teams. Connect with Johnathan 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

Learn more about OMNIA Partners

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 :