The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which took effect on June 21, 2022, is aimed at stopping human rights abuses taking place in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. All goods coming from the region are assumed to be the result of forced labor unless the importer can prove otherwise – an uphill climb to be sure.
Despite the good intent behind the law, many challenges remain. The United Nations recently found that human rights concerns exist, but China still holds a seat on the U.N. Human Rights council. Of all the supply chains affected by the law, solar panels are facing the greatest scrutiny and disruption so far.
Can the impact of the UFLPA live up to the expectations?
In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner follows up on the UFLPA post-enactment to see how the good intent of this new law is playing out in practice:
• What the UFLPA is hoping to accomplish?
• What has the implementation of the law been like so far?
• What questions remain unanswered?
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Kelly Barner (00:31):
On June 21st, 2022, the weaker force labor protection act took effect. It only took days for the first enforcement activity to take place. Us customs officials sees large shipments of solar panels planning to hold them until the importer could document the source of the poly Silicon used to make those panels. Top China based solar panel manufacturers include Longie green energy technology company, Ginko solar company, and Trina solar company. And they are allegedly among those involved. According to PV magazine USA, a news based website that covers the us solar photo Vota community. Now given the uncertainties of the process of getting these panels through customs, many of the panels have actually been removed and shipped elsewhere outside of the United States. Ginja province harbors about 41% of the world’s manufacturing capacity for poly Silicon, a critical ingredient for making solar panels. This is according to clean energy associates, a group that audits the solar supply chain.
Kelly Barner (01:47):
This has been an enormous story because as a result of this new regulation, us customers could see 10 gigawatts or more of supplies delayed. And if you don’t happen to know how many solar panels 10 gigawatts is, I certainly didn’t. That’s equivalent to nearly half of what was installed in the United States last year, in addition to supplies being scarce panel costs have risen 30 to 40% due to the new law. So in this episode of dial P what we’re gonna take a look at is the intent versus the effect of the weaker forced labor protection act. What’s it supposed to accomplish? What has the implementation of the law been like so far and what questions remain now before I go any further, let me introduce myself. If you’re new to dial P for procurement, I’m Kelly Barner, I’m the co-founder and managing director of buyers meeting point.
Kelly Barner (02:51):
I’m a partner at art of procurement, and I’m your host here on dial P on supply chain. Now I am constantly scanning the news for complex articles that I think are worth discussing. These are topics and stories that are interesting, but may escape. People’s notice. I also like to follow stories beyond the headlines. You can call your legislation, whatever you want. What we need to hear is a lot less talk, and we need to see a lot more action. Dial P releases, a new podcast episode, or interview every Thursday. So beyond the lookout for future episodes. And don’t forget to go back and check out our past episodes as well. Now, before I get back to today’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask. I work very hard to make sure you find value in the time that we spend together. If you do, I would love for you to give us a review on iTunes, offer up some stars as a rating on your podcast platform of choice or share this episode post wherever you found it on LinkedIn or Twitter, you can even send this directly to a colleague that you think would benefit from hearing it as always.
Kelly Barner (04:08):
I’m incredibly grateful for your interest and your attention. So thank you for giving me this time. Now let’s go back to this topic by having a quick review of who exactly the are. And if you haven’t come across this, at least in audio form Uighurs is U Y G H U S not exactly phonetic connection between the spelling and the sound. If you’re new to this topic, I also recommend you check out the live stream that Scott Luton and I did with Constantine limbus from risk methods earlier in the year, it was incredibly informative and will give you additional foundational information about the U F L P a, but generally speaking, the Uighur are residents of the mostly Muslim Xinjiang, autonomous region of China. Now that’s what China and the rest of the world calls this region, but the Uighurs and the people who live in that region consider themselves east.
Kelly Barner (05:08):
Turkistan not Xinjiang China. This region of the part of the world has been under intense scrutiny because of reports of state sponsored force, labor, internment camps, and reeducation camps, which the Chinese actually call labor transfer programs. So, as I mentioned, the U F L P a is a law that took effect in June of 2022. It’s a us federal law that assumes all goods coming from Xin. Jang are the product of forced labor companies can petition to have goods from this part of the world, exempted and allowed to import into the United States, but it is intentionally difficult to do so. The burden of proof is on the importers to demonstrate that their product is not the result of forced labor, not the other way around achieving compliance with this rule is a huge and difficult undertaking. According to the diplomat.com Xinjiang gives the world 20% of its cotton, 40% of its poly silicone supply for solar panels, 13% of wind turbines, 25% of tomato paste, 11% of Walnut supply, and 10% of all rayon.
Kelly Barner (06:29):
So think about this in comparison to the Ukraine’s impact on the world food supply. It is on that scale, but the difference is it is spread across many more industries. And these goods from gen J are actually being imported into more parts of the world than food is from Ukraine. Especially once we start to look multiple tiers into the supply chain, the risk that some of these products and materials could reach the us either in defiance of, or without the notice of the U F L P a is extremely high. And as you can imagine, because China is involved, this is a highly sensitive political issue. In fact, the United nations recently released a really significant report on the Uighurs. It was released just minutes before midnight on Wednesday, August 31st by United nation’s high commissioner for human rights, Michelle, ESLE now the importance of her releasing it minutes before midnight on Wednesday, August 31st is that those were the final minutes of her four year term.
Kelly Barner (07:40):
And she has indicated that she does not plan to seek reappointment to that role. The report generally supports claims by Western governments and human rights watch groups that there are high levels of disappearances and use of reeducation and internment camps in gen Jang. Talk about a news dump. She basically released this report at the very last minute, and doesn’t intend to be around, to deal with the political fallout. Now that could be good or bad, but it certainly raises the question and the import of who her successor will be. What difference will this report make? The United nations has come out and said it does not constitute a formal investigation, but it certainly could trigger one. And the real challenge is that China sits on the 47 member, UN human rights council. They have a year left in their term, and it both seems like a conflict to have them as part of this massive investigation and also sitting on the council that will review and decide whether or not to act on the report.
Kelly Barner (08:51):
So between how that moves forward with China on the panel and who comes in to replace Michelle bale leaves, huge questions about what’s next in terms of global response and enforcement against what’s happening in Jinjiang. Now, China has taken a very strong position against both the U F L P a and also this United nations report. They had an opportunity to read it before it was released and they lobbied for it to be kept private. Now, on the other hand, the United States accused the United nations of dragging their feet on the release. The Chinese justify their actions in Genji as being in response to quote terrorism and extremism. And certainly in the us, we can appreciate a government wanting to respond. However, the United nations does require even responses to terrorism and extremism to remain in alignment with generally accepted human rights, standards and practices, which internment camps and reeducation camps don’t align with.
Kelly Barner (10:00):
Now, I thought it was interesting. And I do like to provoke thoughts. So this was the quote I chose to go with this week’s episode. Here’s a piece of the response, the formal response from the permanent mission of the people’s Republic of China to the United nations office at Geneva, their response was released in conjunction with the report itself. And I thought this one quote was particularly telling quote at present gin, Jang enjoys, social stability, economic development, cultural prosperity, and religious harmony people of all ethnic groups, and Jinjiang are living a happy life in peace and contentment. It is the greatest human rights protection and the best human rights practice end quote. Now, I haven’t been to Jinjiang, I’ve only read the reports in the articles of the region, but that certainly doesn’t align with most of the discussions worldwide. Now, what has been the impact of the U F L P a so far?
Kelly Barner (11:01):
We’ve already talked about the huge impact had in the solar panel industry, cotton is a significant issue. Tomatoes are a significant issue. And specifically there’s a type of red date that recently has been found in grocery stores around Washington DC, which seems ironic their packaging even bears the logo of the Xinjiang production and construction core. One of the reasons there’s elevated concerns around these red dates is because the fruit is the practice of what’s called inter cropping, where two crops are grown in the same area at the same time. And these specific dates are grown alongside cotton, which is one of the number one materials of concern coming out of this province, because we know it is historically associated with forced labor. So that sort of general news coverage, big picture, uh, international perspective on the topic, but let’s look at it from a supply chain perspective.
Kelly Barner (12:05):
Obviously, if you operate a company being in violation of the U F L P a is incredibly bad legal legally, and from a brand reputation standpoint, if your company is accused of violating it, it will require costly legal investment to clear your name. And even if you do manage to achieve that, the damage will be done, no one ever reads those re retractions in the newspaper, right by then, it’s just too late, but that’s first tier. What about the second and third tiers of the supply chain? Cotton and tomato products from Vietnam are of particular concern as Vietnam is a large and longstanding trade partner with China, including suppliers in Xinjiang. So there’s concern that product marked as coming from Vietnam may actually still be tainted by forced labor in gen Jang and involves some very large company names. For instance, back in March of this year, Amazon was accused by the tech transparency project, a research group run by the nonprofit organization campaign for accountability of having third party suppliers on its e-commerce platform.
Kelly Barner (13:18):
That source materials such as cotton from Xinjiang now, March was before the U F L P a took effect, but it still points to a problem deep in the supply chain, there was all kinds of buying and sourcing involving China, sorting out when products and labor from Xinjiang are involved is very difficult. So companies really have to invest in their supply chain mapping, keep it up to date and be incredibly precise. And this isn’t just Amazon. The same watchdog group found that apple had worked with suppliers connected to labor transfer programs known in Western lingo as reeducation camps. So what’s the takeaway from all of this complexity, from my perspective, it’s the difference between intent and effect, especially around enforcement, us customs plans for enforcement need to be made abundantly clear, partly for the sake of transparency. Everyone involved needs to understand what’s required and what’s at stake, but also as a deterrent, if we’re trying to change the thought process and the strategy and the total cost structure around sourcing from this region of China needs to be very clear to everyone just how big the risk is.
Kelly Barner (14:41):
And this enforcement needs to be absolutely even handed all companies regardless of brand size and headquarters location need to be involved. I think the bar for standard compliance should be even higher for consumer brand companies that are very outspoken about their ESG practices. That’s their environmental, social, and governance related programs. You can’t on the one hand, be espousing your sustainability and human rights investments, as well as your governance ability to remain compliant. And at the same time, not necessarily supporting legislation like the U F L P a that raises the standards in order to have the same effect in 2020 companies like apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola spoke with Congress and provided feedback on a draft version of the U L P a legislation that the business and human rights center characterizes as trying to weaken the bill. So consumer brands that speak out strongly about not having human rights abuses in their supply chains.
Kelly Barner (15:56):
It’s one thing to say those things, but when the burden of proof is demonstrating that you do not rely upon forced labor, many thousands of miles away from where your consumers live, that really does elevate the stakes. The reality is that these circumstances are very hard to root out. They are deliberately being concealed and conditions are always changing. This is made especially difficult to monitor because China’s zero COVID policy makes it nearly impossible for anyone to get into mainland China, to inspect facilities, let alone into Xinjiang province. The additional complexity here is that many of these large brands also sell in China. So they have to be very careful about how they make public statements about their support of adjustment, to compliance with the U F L P a Walmart’s Sam’s club wholesale operator faced intense criticism from Chinese consumers after products made in Xinjiang were removed from their app.
Kelly Barner (17:07):
So in other words, they’re removing products that the Western world would consider inappropriate and illegal to sell. And they got push back in criticism from Chinese consumers for the exact same step. This also happened to Intel. They spoke out about the issue of forced labor in Jinjiang and received a backlash from Chinese consumers. Now, near my beginning, I spoke about the United nations report. This is incredibly important because the U F L P a is a us law. If we truly wanna root out and stop forced labor and other unacceptable human rights practices happening in Xinjiang, the entire world needs to unite around this. And I think in addition to documenting what’s happened, this report is a great first step, but in order to be taken seriously, the United nations needs to seriously consider China’s seat on the human rights council. The European union is a little behind the United States on this matter, but they’re moving in the right direction.
Kelly Barner (18:13):
They have released statements of concern, and they have a draft policy of their own version of the U F L P a that’s going through discussions. It just hasn’t yet been enacted. Now, part of what’s in the U L P a is a requirement that the us Mexican Canadian trade agreement, the us M C a it has to develop a strategy and issue a joint guidance for importers. So the us is using their role in this trading block with Canada and Mexico, to get the Canadians on the Mexicans, to put similar policies in place. That way it’s not just the United States. It ensures that imports to Canada and imports to Mexico. Also face that similar burden of proof demonstrating that products and materials are not the result of forced labor. The last complexity here that I find so interesting, and I simply can’t wait to find out where this ends is the choice that many Americans are currently being forced to make between hitting their environmental sustainability goals in the form of solar panels and the natural desire for social advancement against the horrible practice of forced labor.
Kelly Barner (19:27):
So if we can’t get our solar panels to hit our green objectives without violating standards of human rights worldwide, that is an interesting choice. And that’s my point of view. I always thank you for listening to dial P and then immediately advocate that you don’t just listen. This is something that needs to be thought through and discussed. Join this conversation wherever you found the podcast and let us know what you think can the Western world bring their operational practices into alignment with their statements and posturing with regard to human rights in China, is it even feasible to operate without having Xinjiang sourced or related products in the supply chain? Will the United nations stand up and demand that China stop the internment and labor and reeducation camps in Jinjiang and last, but certainly not least our procurement and supply chain professionals worldwide, willing to stand on that wall and hold the line against Uighur human rights abuses. Please let me know what you think and share this episode with your network. If you have something you feel more comfortable sharing with me directly, you can reach out on LinkedIn or through buyers meeting point.com. Ultimately, we need to work together and have the tough conversations to figure out the best solution to this very real problem until next time I’m Kelly Barner, your host for dial P for procurement here on supply chain. Now thank you for listening. Thank you for being part of this community and have a great rest of your day.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of dial P for procurement and for being an active part of the supply chain. Now community, please check out all of our shows and firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you follow dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of dial P four procurement.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.