Supply Chain Now
Episode 1297

Getting people engaged, empowering people to make decisions and equipping them with the right tools, tech, or data to allow them to make decisions gives them more confidence in what they do. If they have a positive sentiment and a strong mindset, they will really drive results to the next level.

-Stefan Schulz

Episode Summary

With rapid advancements in technology, manufacturers are revolutionizing their operations to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency, throughput, and productivity.

In this episode, sponsored by Microsoft, hosts Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson welcome Stefan Schulz, Senior Vice President, Business Supply Chain Quality and Operational Development at 3M to the show, as they explore how industry titans leverage technology to drive manufacturing success, especially for their workforce.

Listen in as Stefan, Scott, and Kevin discuss 3M’s global supply chain footprint, the importance data-driven decision making, tools and innovations in manufacturing technology, the use of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, empowering the workforce through engagement and training, and so much more.

Tune into this insightful episode to learn how 3M and other manufacturers are leveraging technology to fuel factory success, stay ahead in a competitive global market, and also leave with practical advice for optimizing your own digital transformation journey.

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, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you may be. Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Kevin, how are you doing today?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:43):

Hey, it’s a great day, I tell you. You wake up in the morning, you look outside and see the sun coming in and just smiling, animals. It was just a great morning.

Scott Luton (00:53):

Are you producing a Disney movie or something or are you — you’re painting quite the picture.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:56):

Yes, yes. Andy came around and it was like, wow.

Scott Luton (01:01):

Well, I’ll tell you, it’s a gorgeous time. It’s a bit warm in our neck of the woods. It’s a little bit cooler up where our guest is. But my favorite part about this is we’re talking about one of my favorite topics, one of my favorite part of global business, the manufacturing world. Kevin, we’re going to be diving into how a titan in industry is leveraging technology to drive manufacturing success, especially for the people. It’s one of our favorite things to talk about.


Scott Luton (01:24):

Also, we’re going to be offering our listeners advice on optimizing their own digital transformation. So, folks, stay tuned for an informative, enlightening, and entertaining conversation with a couple of wonderful people here in Kevin and our guest I’ll be introducing in just a second. Kevin, it will be a good show, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (01:42):

You know what? You can’t do anything without manufacturers. Think about one thing that you don’t manufacture, maybe food. I can eat food, but even that has manufacturing involved.

Scott Luton (01:53):

Undoubtedly, undoubtedly. And of course the global economy also depends heavily on what’s going on in the manufacturing industry. So, hey, we should say today’s episode is presented in partnership with our friends at Microsoft who’s doing some really cool things in the industry, helping to move us all forward successfully. More on that a bit later.


Scott Luton (02:11):

All right. With all of that said, I want to introduce our featured guest here today. So, our guest has quite an established track record of success in the manufacturing and supply chain world. He’s been an integral part of the 3M team for nearly three decades, serving in a wide variety of leadership positions. We’re very pleased to welcome in Stefan Schulz, senior vice president, business supply chain quality and ops development with 3M.


Scott Luton (02:36):

Stefan, how you doing?

Stefan Schulz (02:37):

Hi, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me today.

Scott Luton (02:40):

You bet. Really enjoyed our pre-show conversation. Kevin, we got a great show teed up with Mr. Stefan Schulz, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (02:46):

Yes, absolutely. I can’t wait to learn all the secrets at 3M.

Scott Luton (02:52):

Well, I’m sure all their legal representation may have something to say about that. But we’re going to start in a really easy spot because we’ve been doing a little homework on you, Stefan. And now we know you live up in the beautiful twin cities part of Minnesota. We also understand you love the travel and you also love photography. So, I want to ask you, Stefan, where is one of your favorite places you’ve traveled here in the last couple of years that also is really photogenic.

Stefan Schulz (03:20):

Yes, we traveled to New Zealand, definitely one of my favorites. There are so many scenic spots in a short distance. You can drive, like, 10 minutes an hour and you get to something that’s totally different. And as a big fan of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth”, I was — really liked to follow the “Lord of the Rings” while I was there.


Scott Luton (03:39):


Kevin L. Jackson (03:39):

Oh wow. I’ll tell you, when I was there, I was looking at the sheep.

Stefan Schulz (03:45):

They have a lot.

Scott Luton (03:46):

Did you take pictures, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (03:47):

Oh yes, I got pictures somewhere. That was a while ago. Beautiful country.

Scott Luton (03:53):

Yes, it’s what I’ve heard. I’ve never been. Stefan, one more quick follow-up question. What about the food in New Zealand? Was that an equally favorite part of your travel there?

Stefan Schulz (04:01):

I really enjoyed it. It didn’t stand out as some other places in Asia, for example. I would say like wow — like, if you go like Thai food or Indian food. But yes, the New Zealand food was good. A lot of lamb, of course.

Kevin L. Jackson (04:16):

Yes, sheep.

Scott Luton (04:18):

And I bet the beer was delicious. We’ll have to circle back on that.


Scott Luton (04:22):

All right. We got a lot of good stuff to get into here today, as Kevin put it, learn more about 3M’s thought leadership and what fuels performance, especially from a manufacturing standpoint here today. And I want to start with level setting a bit, Stefan, could you tell our audience a little bit about 3M’s supply chain footprint?

Stefan Schulz (04:38):

Yes, it’s quite a sizeable footprint. We have 110 plants and 95 DCs spread around the whole globe. So, the largest footprint is in the U.S. and Canada, which we call USAC. And then we have even size in EMEA and APEC and then there’s a smaller footprint in Latin America. We have 380 core assets, which really means, like, monumental assets like quotas or filmmaking non-wovens [phonetic] and hundred of converting and assembly lines. And they are divided in 37 different core technologies, making hundred thousands of items.

Scott Luton (05:15):

So, Kevin — all right. Stefan and the ecosystem that he just painted is one of the larger scopes I bet we’ve interviewed in the last few shows. 110 plants, 95 DCs around the globe. Kevin, what did you think? It sounds like an easy technology project to lead, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (05:33):

I don’t know. All those points of presence in all the different countries and cities and cultures. I mean, addressing the last mile of your supply chain must be really a chore, especially trying to keep that quality up.

Scott Luton (05:47):

That’s right. Keep the customers happy. And, you know, Stefan, you also have a really interesting role, right? Senior vice president, business supply chain quality, to your point, Kevin and ops development with 3M. So, what do you do in your role, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (06:03):

Yes, so I’m leading what we call business supply chain, so that’s a function that is working horizontally around our vertical functions. Plan, source, make, deliver. They’re connecting the business and the business needs to our supply chain and they’re also helping on the commercialization, which is the launch of new products. This group also owns the quality and it’s product quality, operational quality and delivery quality.


Stefan Schulz (06:28):

Then I also own our digital and advanced analytics team, which has been very essential on our digital journey and our transformation because they are creating transparency of our data. I also own the strategy for enterprise supply chain. And I have another group that’s leading the business transformation, which is the deployment of our ERP system.

Scott Luton (06:49):

Goodness gracious. Kevin, Stefan just described like — I don’t know, seven plates of different responsibilities. I need a nap just after hearing Stefan described everything he’s leading there. Your thoughts, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (07:01):

Well, the three foci, I guess, on quality, the product, the operations and the delivery. Wow. If you’re not hitting those cylinders on time then everything, kind of, breaks.

Scott Luton (07:13):

That’s right. I picked up on that as well. All the different definitions of quality is critical in a global enterprise like 3M and I look forward to learning more, which I know we’re going to dive a little deeper on. The transparency of data that seems to be something that Stefan and the 3M team is passionate about creating as they continue to go down their own digital transformation. Clearly that’s important, a big priority for the team, Stefan, as we move forward.

Stefan Schulz (07:35):

Yes, that’s at least one of our key challenges that we have addressed over the last years. Utilizing the digital and advanced analytics team. We seize size of footprint and the complexity that we have. It is essential that we create transparency of our performance. And so, we have invested a lot in the last couple of years to pull all the data from our factories, from our DCs into one data container that would allow us to do holistic analysis of the data and drive the right conclusions looking at this.

Scott Luton (08:06):

And that’s just the tip of iceberg, folks. We’re going to dive deeper into that and a lot more with Stefan. I want to back up for just a second before we go any further, Stefan, because like any part of industry, there’s been plenty of disruptions, old and new across industry certainly that have impacted manufacturers recent years. If you had to pick a couple that you would prioritize that you all have worked through and continue to work through, what comes to mind, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (08:30):

As you know, we have all been facing large disruptions in the pandemic and after the pandemic. I think a lot of supply disruptions, getting the material into your factories, well this has all improved over the last two years, months. It’s not completely solved. So, we are still struggling with raw material availability and qualifying alternative sources. Transportation has improved a lot, but I currently see due to geopolitical issues around the world is, I would say, getting more tight. So, getting the material flowing through our factories is one of our largest challenges.

Scott Luton (09:07):

That flow, that core element, the lifeblood of operational orchestration and symphonies. Kevin, what did you hear there?

Kevin L. Jackson (09:15):

Well, it’s sort of like understanding the heartbeat. You got to keep the heartbeat going and supply chain is the heartbeat of just about every industry, especially, manufacturing.


Scott Luton (09:26):

That’s right.


Kevin L. Jackson (09:27):

If you don’t get that raw material at the right place at the right time, the heart will stop. I guess that’s really what Stefan is talking about.

Scott Luton (09:35):

Especially, again, going back to just the overall, all the complexity of enterprise like the one Stefan has described here. All the moving pieces across the whole global enterprise. That is quite a challenge to keep the heartbeat moving as you called it Kevin.


Scott Luton (09:50):

All right. We’ve got to lean on technology, like, perhaps never before, especially in industries like manufacturing. And I know just your earlier responses how you are leveraging technology to fuel factory success across the globe in all the many different regions and facilities.


Scott Luton (10:06):

So, Stefan, next, if you could shed some more light on how you’re using technology to drive improvements in areas such as production efficiencies, improved OEE, and for folks out there that might be a new acronym, that’s overall equipment effectiveness. You may be increasing throughput or decreasing cost. Stefan, what are some of the ways that you’re powering factory success with technology?

Stefan Schulz (10:28):

It goes back to the visibility of the performance or the transparency that we are creating and then we really want to take a holistic approach in how we address that, because at the end all these points that you mentioned from the productivity, the equipment effectiveness, this throughput is kind of connected.


Stefan Schulz (10:46):

So, what we are doing is we have created tools that will allow us to see the total asset performance of all our factories or all our key assets. It means it shows the utilization, it shows the downtime, it shows also the open capacity that we have. Once you add the yield output and then you add the performance, you can calculate the OE.


Stefan Schulz (11:08):

And getting that harmonized across all factories because you can imagine every factory has their kind of own way on which kind of defect codes they use or how they report has been a big effort. But it allows us the prioritization of resources that identify the largest opportunities and then focus on these four key improvements.

Scott Luton (11:29):

So, Kevin, I love the ability to not only see more data more easily and collect it much more easily so that you can identify those largest opportunities you have around the globe and then that’s where you target the invest resources to make the biggest gains. That’s, kind of, a little bit of what I heard Stefan describe it. He said it more eloquently than I did. But, Kevin, what did you hear?

Kevin L. Jackson (11:51):

Well, what I heard was visibility equals data. Every aspect of the business, you have to understand what is the benchmark. You have to have visibility into what’s happening now through the data. And that’s the only way I could see, you know, Stefan actually wearing all the hats that he has. All those hats have to have tons of data. You must be, you know, hard to hold your head up there.

Scott Luton (12:21):

Big hat rack. Big hat rack in his office for sure. Stefan, when it comes to OEE, help level set a little bit for folks that may be trying to understand that a little better. What’s your target percentage you all have there across the enterprise, Stefan, or is that how you approach it?

Stefan Schulz (12:36):

We would love to get this to an 85-ish percent level. We have a few assets that are on that level, but we also have many that are performing on a different level. That could be impacted by a lot of changeovers that we have. It could be impacted by complexity of the portfolio that we run. There are also a lot of process that require long, long setup time.


Stefan Schulz (12:58):

And so, we are using tools to calculate the right economic order quantity. Really, we don’t want to run too long because that would run into inventory and create other challenges, but statistically we are running towards that would calculate at what is the optimum point and the compromise between having a low yield loss and not creating too much inventory.

Scott Luton (13:19):

All right. A lot of good stuff. We need a whole show dedicated to the last 10 minutes, Kevin.


Kevin L. Jackson (13:24):



Scott Luton (13:24):

I want to ask you one more thing because, Stefan, earlier as we were talking and even before the show started here today, we could tell you had a profound appreciation for the gains you’ve made, but we could also tell you’re already thinking about what’s next in terms of how you’re going to be leveraging technology out in your plants. So, when it comes to continued asset performance and how you continue to fuel progress there, what does come next?

Stefan Schulz (13:46):

That’s a great point. I mean, we can never stop so we always have to look forward. So, on the area of further yield optimization for example, we are looking into predictive quality models, is really using the signal from the machine and our vision systems for example, to create a model that would predict the outcome at a certain kind of machine setting, which has a big advantage that we could adjust the process while we are running and not just figure out later on when we made the product that it was not good. That’s definitely something we are driving.


Stefan Schulz (14:15):

Then we are looking into A.I. as, I think, as most companies are doing. We are now trying to figure out how we can use A.I. technology to do a next step, and that, I think, has great opportunities in the area of productivity and how you optimize some of the menu work that you have. So, we look and how people are moving in an area, the A.I. can observe this if you use cameras and can come up with some proposals and how you improve the process. This is just at an early stage I would say we are just piloting it in part of the operations, but I’m pretty sure it will open us a lot of new opportunities.

Scott Luton (14:51):

Yes. Kevin, it sounds like he and the team over at 3M are taking a very surgical, methodical approach to where to leverage A.I. with the right problem in mind. Is that what you heard there?

Kevin L. Jackson (15:01):

Yes, absolutely because a lot of organizations, when it comes to supply chain, are using artificial intelligence to improve, like, transportation planning and sourcing. But to be honest, you know, with all those points of presence around the world, definitions of things like onshore and offshore and nearshore just don’t seem to matter when it comes to 3M. So, I can imagine that their leveraging of A.I. could improve or help them see the vision of where to support their customers with the best sourcing.

Scott Luton (15:40):

Big opportunities abound, no doubt. And as Stefan said, we can never stop. We can never stop.


Kevin L. Jackson (15:46):

Never stop.


Scott Luton (15:47):

Continuous improvement abounds for sure. Let’s talk about one of our favorite topics to talk about Kevin and Stefan, that’s a human factor, right?


Kevin L. Jackson (15:55):



Scott Luton (15:55):

I love — yes. I love to talk about the wonderful people that make up our industry, right? So, Stefan, as we make that shift over to the human factor, how is 3M utilizing, you know, some of these digital tools that you and Kevin and I have already kind of mentioned to enhance workforce performance? You know, things like how are you enhancing communication, collaboration? You’ve spoken to the data capture piece or how are you leveraging technology for immersive, more effective training for onboarding or upskilling? Because we know across the globe the priority for many organizations is how can we upskill our current team? What comes to mind there, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (16:31):

Yes, let’s start at the machine operator level. Here we are focusing very much on optimizing every reporting step and take out manual efforts. First of all, people like that. I think all of us together don’t like doing a lot of manual reports. I think that’s something that nobody would say like wow, this is on my top favorite list of tasks to do.

Kevin L. Jackson (16:54):

Right, right.

Scott Luton (16:54):

That wasn’t on your list, Stefan, as you went to New Zealand. It wasn’t part of that great reports there was it?

Stefan Schulz (17:01):

No, it would definitely — definitely not. It also — it has always the risk of creating failures. So, this has been very successful for us and we are deploying tools like workflow across all the factories. The other thing as you said is like training and also standards on how you set up the machine.


Stefan Schulz (17:17):

When I started, everything was done in paper and sometimes you had a standard that had like 20, 30 pages and really nobody liked to read through these pages. Today, this is all done electronically. We have areas equipped with tablets and on these tablets they can call up all their standards. A lot of things I explained in by videos, so, like, how you clean, align. How you set up your equipment. It also allows direct interaction with the workforce so they can enter their proposals for improvement and it’s directly flowing into the engineers that can check these proposals and can improve this on the fly versus now going out in the past and having to change these hundreds of paper sheets.


Stefan Schulz (17:59):

So, this is very much welcomed because it’s an interaction and the people feel involved. And the process and can help designing their environment.

Scott Luton (18:08):

Oh, Kevin, what did you hear there?

Kevin L. Jackson (18:09):

Well, earlier I think you said it’s just like on YouTube. You go on YouTube to get that just in time training and it’s always there, always ready, but you know, you still have to read but it’s much easier when you’re watching a video and having fun while you’re working.

Scott Luton (18:27):

It’s so true. You know, it might sound a bit cheesy in terms of enhancing the fun factor, but it’s real and I think as Stefan paints this picture and some of the plants I’ve been in and out of throughout my career, you can get a sense when you walk the line and you go to the Gemba as it is and you talk with people, you can get a sense in some factors where folks feel engaged. They feel valued. They feel like the company’s investing in them, right? And you can see it in their disposition.


Scott Luton (18:53):

And then you walk through other places where folks feel like just another number. And when I hear some of the cool things that Stefan has put in place, especially how can we make the life of the people easier? How can we make reporting instead of it making it one big chore at end of the day, right? How do we make it almost automatic where they don’t even have to worry about that?

Kevin L. Jackson (19:12):

Well, you know, they seem like they got the memo, right? Don’t forget the people bring them along.

Scott Luton (19:19):

And clearly that’s a priority at 3M. One last thing, I love this, Stefan, this next generation improvement idea mechanism you’re talking about. Where they upload their idea, right, to the tablet or to the platform you’re describing. It goes to the engineering team. Not to put you on the spot, Stefan, but is there any win that’s one of your favorites that’s come out of that system already that you might can share just an idea or two around?

Stefan Schulz (19:45):

I don’t have a specific, but there are a lot of examples where people that work on machines for, like, 20 years plus share all their insights. And I mean, let’s be honest — I mean, you come there as an engineer, you work on the line every day for a few hours, but there are people that work on that, like, their whole life.


Scott Luton (20:02):



Stefan Schulz (20:02):

And they have a lot of knowledge. And in many cases, these are the small things on how you tweak the machine where they come up with something they have observed and hand in their proposal. Listening to this input is very important and we had multiple examples where we are using this input to then optimize the process.


Stefan Schulz (20:21):

The other way of doing this is just running kaizen events on your lines and then involving the whole crew and let them work for, like, a week within their specific areas. We are running meanwhile kaizen events, typical kaizen events I would say across all the plants per week. And these are usually go — take four days plus a fifth day report out, and then we directly on the fly implement the improvements, and this has been received tremendous positive feedback from the workforce.

Scott Luton (20:48):

Love it. So, I’m hearing that ongoing continuous digital feedback mechanism that’s really easy for the experts, that’s the machine operators to contribute to. I love that idea. And in conjunction with that, these regular kaizen events which also, you know, more common out across industry of course that of course invites and engages the workforce to contribute and drive real change.


Scott Luton (21:11):

One more thing. You mentioned earlier about improving ergonomics as well, right? And it seems like you all have been leveraging technology to help there on the plant floor, too. Is that right Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (21:22):

Yes, that’s new pilots that we are running at the moment also using Generative AI video analysis. So, you would film an area, let’s say you have an area there where there’s a lot of traffic within a factory. So, you have a lot of forklift trucks, for example, passing by and you have course the people in this area. And so, you could film that and the A.I. could analyze that and could really say easily where are the risks and also make you some proposals based on the machine learning process how you can improve this area.


Stefan Schulz (21:55):

The same is true if you have, like, repeating tasks, the A.I. can propose how you can improve. I would say, to reduce ergonomic risks. It would really look at how you bend your arm, say move your arm or your total body, and based on the algorithm that’s behind that is trained with some, I would say medical history, it can make your proposals how you can improve that.

Scott Luton (22:20):

I love it. Kevin, if there’s anything worth investing technology into, it’s protecting the welfare of our workforce and that’s some of the things that Stefan is describing there. Your thoughts, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (22:31):

I like the way they’re using artificial intelligence to encourage two-way communication from the factory floor back to the decision makers so that it’s, you know, a win-win all the way around. You know, A.I. isn’t there to take your job away. It’s to help you do your job better or actually to get the machines to do what they’re good at, these repetitive tasks and get humans to do what they’re good at, and that’s using their brain.

Scott Luton (23:00):

That’s right. I love that. You know, I got one more workforce related question for you here, Stefan, in just a second, but before we leave this topic of ergonomics. So, I’ve been in and out of some three or 400 plants in my journey, but my dear friend Mark Preston, who may be listening, he’s been in and out of several thousands of plants, right?


Scott Luton (23:17):

And one of the tips he always would talk about as he would meet with manufacturing leadership teams and ergonomics came up is, hey, look for people’s elbows, right? Because if you don’t see elbows, oftentimes that means they’re reaching for stuff, right? And that can make for a longer day or it could put them in a position where they might make a strain or be uncomfortable. So, he was always looking for elbows as he walked through plants all the time.

Kevin L. Jackson (23:40):

That’s a good note. Yes, yes.

Scott Luton (23:42):

It is. Hey, hey, looking for those elbows. All right. So, I want to go back to, kind of, more broadly talking about technology and how 3M is using it to really, Stefan, increase that factory worker, you know, the machine operators and beyond satisfaction. You know, making them happy where they are while we’re making it be easier for them to find more success.


Scott Luton (24:05):

And these greater themes that I’m hearing you speak to. You’re making the investment in people. You’re engaging in involving your workforce. All of that has got to really help drive the happiness factor, the satisfaction factor, while making the workforce more effective, right, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (24:22):

Absolutely. I think keeping your people happy and engaged and having a high motivated workforce for sure is a foundation of having good results. And also, to attract talent, and I think we have all seen in the last couple of years getting the right talent and getting enough talent into your factories is not always easy. And so, we need to make sure that we retain our talent, that we also further develop and upskill our people.


Stefan Schulz (24:47):

So, first, I mean, as I said, taking our tasks that are not that popular, like, the reporting part is one. Then, I would say, creating a predictable and stable environment where I said, like, we would use a predictive quality or improving OEE. People don’t like to be confronted with unexpected downtime. So, really make the process running smooth.


Stefan Schulz (25:08):

And then investing in technologies where people can engage and train them is, I think, is important. And investing into education to handle these new technologies, which are usually relatively, I would say, easy to handle once you, I would say, got into it. And then the last thing we are currently looking into is also, like, when people are working within their kind of role, you are in a kind of silo and you don’t necessarily understand how your job is influencing the whole supply chain.


Stefan Schulz (25:37):

So, we are now currently looking into a program where we make sure people understand what a supply chain is. And it doesn’t matter where you are in the supply chain, you understand the whole end-to-end. And when you realize that what I’m doing here in my role impacts, I would say, is a supply chain four steps later, it has a big impact on the way they work.


Stefan Schulz (25:59):

We did that with the digital and advanced analytics team in the past. They were always working in the background and we’re analyzing the data, but now we really pulled them in and showing them how their data is impacting our results and what we are doing with it. So, they are now working also frontline with the teams and the motivation of that team was completely boosted by that.

Scott Luton (26:19):

It sounds like a more innovative take on value stream mapping or process mapping or a blend of the two. Is that what you’re describing, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (26:26):

Yes, yes. I really want to get to the end-to-end, and I know that’s a word that or a phrase that is, like, very commonly used in the while we talk end-to-end, but we have not always in the past connected the dots between the steps that we are running through. And we believe when everybody understands, like, what’s my role in it and how can I contribute, but also what we want to accomplish at the end, it will have a large impact on the results.

Scott Luton (26:49):

Well said. Kevin.

Kevin L. Jackson (26:50):

Yes, I can hear that they’re trying to educate the workforce on the end-to-end and this is really another side of upskilling and re-skilling, right? And that’s the best way to deal with change. And that’s what digital transformation is all about, you know, dealing with change in a collaborative manner.


Scott Luton (27:11):



Kevin L. Jackson (27:11):

I really like your approach.

Scott Luton (27:12):

Well said, Kevin. I’m hearing, you know, they’re attacking that blind spot that we all have. You know, Stefan mentioned that silo type mentality that oftentimes, to no one’s fault, just occurs, when — especially when you talk about a big global organization, right? And leaning into that and making more systems level thinking or supply chain level thinking so that folks understand, oh, if I do this, this is the ripple effect down and making those connections, that’s critical.


Scott Luton (27:39):

I think the other thing, Stefan, is my hunch. But what I’m picking up is it seems like as you and the team roll out these improvement initiatives, whether it’s technology or less technology, you all do so in a manner where you’re really educating and communicating what’s in it for the team so that they’re in the know and you’re doing it more with the team than to the team.


Kevin L. Jackson (28:00):



Scott Luton (28:00):

That’s kind of what I’m picking up. Your thoughts there, Stefan.

Stefan Schulz (28:03):

People need to understand, like, what’s the benefit of doing it. I mean, first really want to have focus the people on the success of the overall company, but of course that comes together as like, OK, what’s like my personal, kind of, benefit?


Stefan Schulz (28:15):

So, I think it’s, like, getting the engagement of the people, empowering people to take decisions and equip them with the right tools or data to allow to make decisions that have, like, relatively low risk because people usually, like, don’t take a decision that at the end is wrong. Even I said, like, we want to learn from mistakes, but at the end we want to give people, I would say, confidence in what they do. So, that all comes together. I think if you have a very positive sentiment in your workforce, a strong mindset will really drive your results to the next level.

Kevin L. Jackson (28:52):

Well said.

Scott Luton (28:53):

What did though, Kevin?


Kevin L. Jackson (28:54):



Scott Luton (28:55):

All right. So, what did you hear there? What was your favorite part of Stefan’s response there, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (29:00):

Well, I liked the way that he brings a whole team together, right? He said it himself, what’s in it for me with him? Make sure that everyone knows, you know — I mean, you know, I like the supply mesh as opposed to the supply chain.


Scott Luton (29:14):

Right, right.


Kevin L. Jackson (29:14):

The fact that it’s not serial and it’s not point to point, you have multiple points that you have to interact with within this supply mesh.

Scott Luton (29:23):

My take was a little bit different on what he said because I loved his emphasis on empowering people to be confident in what they do. And, you know, when folks hear that it may make sense to them, but really, I would challenge them. You want a confident workforce because a confident workforce has people that believe in what they do, they believe in how they’ve been trained and educated and how the organization’s investing in them and they know they can be successful, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (29:48):

Competent workforce is a happy workforce.

Scott Luton (29:51):

Yes, that confidence, it cannot be overstated and I love that empowering quality that he spoke to there. So, a lot of good stuff there.


Scott Luton (29:58):

All right. So, you, Stefan, a minute ago, a second ago, you mentioned mistakes. That’s a great segue from one of the last questions we’re going to pose you because, you know, you’ve all been on this digital transformation journey for quite some time and you probably have a book in the wings from all the lessons you’ve learned from your journey.


Scott Luton (30:15):

But this idea of folks you’re going to make mistakes make, I bet that’s one of the lessons, powerful lessons that you’ve learned. What lessons have you learned and what advice would you offer folks that are out there either leading or participating in their own digital transformation, Stefan?

Stefan Schulz (30:30):

Yes, first I have made a lot of mistakes. We have made a lot of mistakes and I think everybody a few listening to that or watching this will make mistakes. And I think that’s OK, yes. The first mistake I think that we have at least done, you implement something for the sake of having it implemented. Something that’s like fancy and you just jump on it and want to find an area where you can apply a new technology.


Stefan Schulz (30:53):

What we have really learned is think about what you want to accomplish. So, what is the outcome of the result? And then look like how you can address it. And when I talked about creating the transparency through the data first, that has helped us a lot in identifying areas for challenges that we have. For example, once you get the data you can say, like, well this machine is really not running or this comes down here, have a yield problem, or here even if a tool that provides me a good proposal, but humans do — never accept it.


Stefan Schulz (31:23):

So, here I could even now apply a machine learning process or an A.I. for decision-making and say like, well I let the model run that decision to drive things forward. But make sure you are doing things for the outcome. And not to say that, well I have introduced a great process or a great tool. And then when you think about it later on, it’s like what did the tool or the process do for me? You can’t find it in your numbers or in your results. Then you obviously, I think, have done something wrong. And then acknowledging that this was a mistake, I think, is absolutely fine.


Stefan Schulz (31:53):

The other proposal is — or finding that we have done is when it comes especially to the new tools like A.I., I have not seen anyone who has mastered this yet. We at least look always like, OK, how can we use it? And putting out a couple of bets on things and try it out or use different companies or different tools to address the same thing in my view is also fine. Some will work very well and some you will realize do not work at all. And I think that’s just again, a learning journey. And over the next couple of years I think we will well better understand what works well for which area of problem.

Scott Luton (32:27):

Stefan, if every solution’s working, if every new initiative is working, we’re probably being a bit too conservative with the ideas that we are looking to execute. Would you tend to agree with that roughly?

Stefan Schulz (32:38):

Yes, I mean — just like, I don’t think things can always work. It’s coming again, do you pick the right tool or the right solution for your problem? But then understanding your problem well enough to define what you want to solve for, I think there’s a chance. In most cases, I don’t think it’s a problem of the solution or the tool is probably that you did not understand what you need for your specific problem.

Scott Luton (33:00):

Yes. And, Kevin, I don’t think we have working crystal balls in supply chain to give us the absolute core problem each and every time that we’re looking to apply a solution, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (33:13):


Scott Luton (33:13):

Root cause is a nice thing to have, but you don’t always have that absolutely as you look to improve the organization. Your thoughts there, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (33:21):

Yes, I always say if you’re trying to do something new and you’re not nervous, you’re not doing it right, right? You got to be stretching yourself. You got to be following your imagination. And that can be nerve-wracking. And really, as Stefan said, there’s nothing wrong with failure, you know, that’s when you learn.

Scott Luton (33:39):

That’s right. That is right. Also, I like what Stefan said, not implementing new solutions for the sake of implementing. You know, focus on the outcomes. What are we looking to do?

Kevin L. Jackson (33:48):


Scott Luton (33:50):

Yes, that’s right. That’s right. Leveraging data, that’s right, and not hunches is one of the things he kind of spoke to. And, you know, everyone is looking to take A.I. and find something to do with it. But again, I think one of the themes in the whole interview here today was, hey, what are we doing? What are we trying to solve? What are we trying to accomplish, right?


Kevin L. Jackson (34:10):

What’s the purpose?


Scott Luton (34:11):

That’s right. What’s the purpose? And then only then you find the right tool or solution or approach, you name it. And all of them still aren’t going to work. But to your point, Kevin, we’ll learn from those that do and those that don’t.


Scott Luton (34:24):

And one last thing, Stefan, I like that you mentioned it’s OK to admit something was a mistake. I think that is an enduring quality for leaders out there because I think it brings more trust into the equation.

Stefan Schulz (34:35):

Absolutely. That’s maybe a personal thing, but the more people you have in your organization or in your, like, leadership team who can say like, well, OK, I did a mistake, but I have no problem in acknowledging that and learn from that mistake. I mean that’s, I think, what is important. You can make a mistake, hopefully you’ll not make it like twice or three times.

Kevin L. Jackson (34:55):

Don’t make too many mistakes.

Stefan Schulz (34:56):

And then you move on from there. But I actually see that as a strength, and that has been through my whole career. When you work with people that cannot acknowledge that they did something wrong. It’s always difficult to handle, but if you have worked with people and also yourself are just, like, open and say, well, OK, I did a mistake. That’s just like human and then we move it from there, it makes your life so much easier.

Scott Luton (35:16):

Agreed. Well said. Man. So, folks, if you want to learn more, we’d encourage you to check out the organization 3M’s website It’s just that simple. Big thanks to Stefan Schulz, senior vice president, business supply chain quality and ops development with 3M. Stefan, thanks so much for being here.


Stefan Schulz (35:39):

Thank you.


Scott Luton (35:40):

You bet. But before we wrap today’s conversation, Kevin, I can’t wait to get a couple of things from you. Stefan dropped a lot of brilliance on us here today. And really just frank, some things were working, some things don’t focus on the people and the technology and the right solutions, that transparency of data, there’s a lot of power in that. But what was one of your favorite takeaways from Stefan’s perspective here today?

Kevin L. Jackson (36:03):

Well, as a technologist, you may be shocked to hear it is coming from my mouth, but don’t jump on the shiny technology and try to apply technology and say, I did a good job. I used technology. And this is especially true when it comes to artificial intelligence.


Kevin L. Jackson (36:24):

And this is actually one reason why I’ve been really impressed with what Microsoft has done when it comes to artificial intelligence. They are not just using technology for technology’s sake. In fact, they recently announced a new manufacturing data solutions on Microsoft Fabric. This is their end-to-end software as a service-based platform.


Kevin L. Jackson (36:50):

And along with that, they’ve released the co-pilot template for factory operations on Azure A.I. These solutions really help manufacturers unify their operational technology and information technology. So, it’s not jumping on the shiny technology. This use of this data can accelerate and scale data transformation for artificial intelligence. These co-pilot templates for factory operations help manufacturers create their own co-pilots for frontline workers to use this unified data.


Kevin L. Jackson (37:30):

So, it really helps with that two-way information flow and help the people out on the factory know what’s in it for me. Frontline employees can use natural language, query the data for knowledge discovery and training and to resolve issues and to do asset maintenance.


Kevin L. Jackson (37:50):

So, you know, this is really important. This is not technology for technology’s sake. It’s really knowing the end goal, you know, and moving forward with everyone. Don’t leave any human’s behind.

Scott Luton (38:04):

Oh, I love it. I love it. The velocity of innovation continues to speed up. And as Stefan said earlier, we can never stop.


Kevin L. Jackson (38:12):



Scott Luton (38:12):

We can never stop. A lot of good stuff here today. Hey, Kevin, before we wrap, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you and your popular podcast series, “Digital Transformers”. How can folks find it?

Kevin L. Jackson (38:21):

They’re here at Supply Chain Now where “Digital Transformers” always highlights the companies and organizations that are transforming their industries just like Stefan. So, you catch me also on X under Kevin_Jackson or LinkedIn. So, see you out there.

Scott Luton (38:43):

You’re everywhere. Everywhere. Folks, find “Digital Transformers” with Kevin L. Jackson wherever you get your podcast from and tune in. Let us know what you think. A lot of good stuff here today. Really big thanks to Stefan Schulz with 3M and your perspective. Loved it today, Stefan, I wish we had a couple more hours.


Kevin L. Jackson (38:58):



Scott Luton (38:59):

Big thanks to Kevin L. Jackson. Always a pleasure to knock these conversations out with you. Big thanks to our Cloud partners over at Microsoft as well. Helping us to amplify intriguing conversations like this, and the ideas that go with them to our global audience. And speaking of most importantly, big thanks to all of the listeners and viewers out there across the globe. Keep your ideas coming and your feedback. We really greatly appreciate it.


Scott Luton (39:22):

All right. So, Kevin and Stefan, here’s the challenge though, right? Stefan, you dropped a ton of good stuff on us here today, and I would just challenge our audience to take one thing, one thing that you or Kevin shared today, and take that idea and put it into action, right? It’s all about deeds, not words. We’ve had enough lip service leadership.


Scott Luton (39:43):

It is about making, as we said earlier, making life easier for the people to be more successful and to be empowered and confident in what they do and feel appreciated. Tremendous opportunity there. So, take one thing, put it into practice deeds, not words. And with all of that said, on behalf of the entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton challenging you, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed, and we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (40:10):

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

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Featured Guests

Stefan Schulz is an accomplished executive with a wealth of manufacturing and supply chain experience. Currently serving as senior vice president, business supply chain and operational development at 3M, Stefan has been an integral part of the company for nearly three decades and has served in various leadership positions. His educational background includes a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Applied Science in Flensburg, Germany. Connect with Stefan on LinkedIn.


Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Kim Reuter


From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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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.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Allison Giddens


Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Tandreia Bellamy


Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker


Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr


An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams


Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera


Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey University, class 2019. Upon graduation she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (GCLOG) 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. Former Data Analyst within the airport industry in Latin America at Pacific Airport Group, performing benchmarking reports and predictive analysis of future market behavior.

Currently working as Sr. Staffing Analyst within the S&OP team in Mexico at the biggest ecommerce company in Latin America: Mercado Libre. Responsible for workforce forecasting and planning through the analysis of demand, productivity, capacity, cost & time constraints. Sofia self identifies as Supply Chain Ambassador, sharing her passion for the field in her daily life. She has been recognized as upcoming thought leader in the field and invited to participate in several podcasts (Freight Path Podcast, Supply Chain Revolution Podcast, Let’s Talk Supply Chain, Industrificados) to discuss topics such as digital transformation, automation and future skillsets for supply chain professionals.

She is a frequent featured guest at Supply Chain Now and appointed co-host for their new series Supply Chain Now en Español. Global Ambassador for ISCEAs Sustainable Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSSCP) and keynote speaker at World Supply Chain Forum 2021 by ISCEA Indonesia.

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Karin Bursa


Karin Bursa is the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year and the Host of the TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast powered by Supply Chain Now. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise (and the scars to prove it), Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and share their success stories. Today, she helps B2B technology companies introduce new products, capture customer success and grow global revenue, market share and profitability. In addition to her recognition as the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year, Karin has also been recognized as a 2019 and 2018 Supply Chain Pro to Know, 2009 Technology Marketing Executive of the Year and a 2008 Women in Technology Finalist. 

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Vin Vashishta


Vin Vashishta is the author of ‘From Data To Profit’ (Wiley 2023). It’s the playbook for monetizing data and AI. Vin is the Founder of V-Squared and built the business from client 1 to one of the world’s oldest data and AI consulting firms. His background combines nearly 30 years in strategy, leadership, software engineering, and applied machine learning.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Greg White

Principal & Host

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Constantine Limberakis


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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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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.

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Vicki White


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.

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