Supply Chain Now
Episode 845

Return volumes have gone up 16%. I could make a big bold prediction and say it's probably going to climb 50%. Realistically, I think it will be around 25 – 30… that, and that the Vikings are going to win a Super Bowl in the next 10 years.

-Chris Bleess, Vice President, Sales and Partnerships at Service Central Technologies

Episode Summary

This episode was recorded at the 18th annual Reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the center returns management, reverse logistics, and more.

Host Scott Luton was joined by Chris Bleess, Vice President, Sales and Partnerships at Service Central Technologies, a provider of cloud-based SAS applications for aftermarket services. They can manage aftermarket repairs in a retail setting, via large depots, and through their service provider network.

In this conversation, Scott and Chris discuss:

  • The complexities of ‘right to repair,’ especially for manufacturers with proprietary tools
  • How high he thinks return volumes will get in 2022
  • How mass personalization and customization will affect the eCommerce shopping experience – and maybe the returns process too

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 entities Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now.

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with supply chain now, welcome to today’s show. Uh, got a great show tee that we’re continuing our coverage here at the 18th annual on reverse logistics association, conference and expo. It’s the center of the returns management and reverse logistics universe right here in Las Vegas. And I’m joined by my most recent best friend here. Wonderful guest featured guest, Chris Bleess, vice president for sales and partnerships with service central. Chris, how you doing?

Chris Bleess (01:01):

I’m doing well. How about yourself?

Scott Luton (01:03):

Doing wonderful, doing wonderful. Enjoying our time out here. This is again, a place to be right for an aspect of industry that is so important. You know, all of us consumers, all of us enjoy our e-commerce. Right, right. And this not only powers that, but, but helps to take care of the products that we all like to return.

Chris Bleess (01:20):

Right. Right. And we, and we love our ability to return earned products. Yes.

Scott Luton (01:23):

Right? Yes.

Chris Bleess (01:24):

This, the more simplistic, the better

Scott Luton (01:27):

I’m with you. Simple is good.

Chris Bleess (01:29):

Exactly.

Scott Luton (01:30):

All right. So we’re gonna get into more of the, uh, heavy hitting topics today, right? The, the, the super of the day topics. But before we do that, I wanna get to know you a little better. I enjoyed our little brief pre-show conversation. So we got scoop on you a little bit early, earlier, but for starters, Chris, where did you grow up?

Chris Bleess (01:46):

Um, let’s see. I was, uh, I lived, uh, I grew up in a town about 50 miles Southwest of, uh, Minneapolis. Okay. When I was 12, my dad, my dad there at that time worked for green giant green

Scott Luton (01:57):

Giant. Okay.

Chris Bleess (01:57):

Green giant is he’s from a little town blue earth, Minnesota. Yep. Which is where green giant got started. Right. So

Scott Luton (02:03):

Lots of green, giant canned peas in

Chris Bleess (02:06):

My lifetime. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Canned peas in fact. But those were your favorite.

Scott Luton (02:09):

Yes. Kelly Barner. I actually, she all, she prefers frozen peas and I grew up with canned peas and we have a, we have nothing better to do. We argue about what’s better, right? Canned peas versus frozen peas. So what your take take

Chris Bleess (02:23):

I, so frozen peas and butter sauce. Okay. There you go. You gotta have the frozen in the butter sauce. Oh, that sounds great. But, but canned peas were not my favorite, not my favorite canned corn. I’m good with canned corn. Oh,

Scott Luton (02:35):

Hey, I’m good with that broccoli. Of course. But broccoli, I digress. So Minnesota,

Chris Bleess (02:39):

Minnesota, not

Scott Luton (02:40):

Far from where green giant was found, is that right?

Chris Bleess (02:42):

Right. Right. And then when I was my dad for, to promote, he was in, he was in logistics. He was ran the warehouse to promote, he had to move around. We moved to Bule, Idaho, which is about 15 miles west of twin falls. If you’re familiar with Idaho. Yeah. Southern Idaho. If, if you remember that’s where, uh, evil canal tried jump in the snake river canyon. No,

Scott Luton (03:03):

I, I know evil canal. Right. But I missed that one act. Yeah. But he jumped everything else.

Chris Bleess (03:08):

He jumped everything else. He failed at that. Right. Okay.

Scott Luton (03:11):

That one didn’t work for

Chris Bleess (03:12):

Him. Huh. So we were there for about four years and then moved to, uh, Chatanooga Tennessee. Love T yeah. Love that area. And then, uh, in 1990 ended up in just north of Dallas, about 40 miles north of Dallas, a little town called Denton. And I’ve been in Denton, Texas, or in that area ever since, so. Okay. Yeah. Majority of my life have spent in Texas, but uh, I still call Minnesota kind of my second home.

Scott Luton (03:37):

Do you? And the one and only Evan Taylor ever get together and, and compare Texas notes.

Chris Bleess (03:42):

No. No.

Scott Luton (03:44):

All right. So we’re getting, we had a little fun with Teve yesterday, as we were talking about the Texas isms. All right. So a lot of cool towns there, Midwest, Chattanooga’s a great city. And now of course, Dallas, and before we talk sports, you shared with something, hopefully it’s okay for me to mention it. You and your wife do a lot of, uh, bass fishings. Is that right?

Chris Bleess (04:03):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

Scott Luton (04:03):

So what’s your, go-to near where you live in terms

Chris Bleess (04:07):

Of lake in, in terms of lake where we’re about 10 minutes. I can be on the water on lake Lewisville about 10 minutes. Okay. Um,

Scott Luton (04:15):

I like how you got, I like how you got that. Uh,

Chris Bleess (04:17):

I got it down. It’s down. Yeah. And that’s, that’s hooking my boat up and having it in the water. Right. I like Sam Rayburn. It’s a huge lake it’s if you’re bass fishermen, you know, Sam Rayburn, Toledo band, uh, a lot of those big lakes where they’re, where they hold the bass masters and the major lake

Scott Luton (04:34):

Big tournaments.

Chris Bleess (04:35):

Oh, big tournaments. Yeah. Big tournaments. But you know, and I’m about two hours from lake fork where all giant bass come from.

Scott Luton (04:42):

Okay, man, I learned more about bass fishing in the last two minutes. I knew my entire life let’s so one last thing your, so your dad was in logistics and supply chain. That’s pretty, really cool. Yeah. Is that, do you think that had a big influence of what you’re doing in reverse logistics? You

Chris Bleess (04:56):

Know, maybe, maybe not in the jeans maybe. Yeah. It’s probably in the jeans. I, I was a framer and was in construction when we first moved to Texas. Okay. And we moved to Texas in the middle of June and can get a little hot. Right. And I decided right away that, you know, that wasn’t my thing.

Scott Luton (05:15):

Find something else other than construction.

Chris Bleess (05:17):

So I found something else I got into, uh, into mobile repair and installation back when I was installing those big mobile phones and drilling holes in people’s roofs. Right. Yeah.

Scott Luton (05:27):

I love it. Okay. So let’s talk sports for a second. I promise we’re gonna get to reverse logistics, momentarily sports team, your favorite sports team all time. What would

Chris Bleess (05:36):

That be? Uh, Minnesota Vikings, the

Scott Luton (05:38):

Vikings,

Chris Bleess (05:39):

You know,

Scott Luton (05:39):

You know, Terry Allen, some big Clemson fan Terry Allen was drafted by the Viking’s had a great career. Yeah. It was like five yards of carry. Yeah. Uh, he couldn’t say healthy. That was always a challenge. Yeah. Fran tar going a little bit further back. Right? Ran Tarkin. The receiver Moss, Randy MOS. Randy MOS,

Chris Bleess (05:55):

Bud grant, coach, bud grant. Yeah. See all the old guys. Right. And I still

Scott Luton (06:00):

The purple people eaters purple

Chris Bleess (06:01):

People. Yeah. Yeah. Still love the new guys. Right. Peterson and, and everybody that’s been there. You know, I thought one year we actually had a chance to win the super bowl when Brett five came over. Right. Right. And that was new Orleans took out his ankle unfortunately. But, uh, but you know, we’ll there sometime

Scott Luton (06:17):

They, yes, undoubtedly. Yeah. Uh, great people deserve a great, uh, trophy. So we we’ll track that over the next couple years. There

Chris Bleess (06:23):

You go.

Scott Luton (06:24):

Let’s now talk about favorite movie or book.

Chris Bleess (06:28):

Oh man. I love gangster movies. Okay. So good fells casino. Oh man. Love those. You know, you can’t can’t pass those up. Nope. Come on. They’ve come on the TV every, you know, every once in a while you gotta watch ’em on a Saturday afternoon.

Scott Luton (06:41):

Yes. Uh, I’ve seen it 20 times. There is a series coming out and it’s not good fellows or casino. I, I believe it is about the development of the godfather. The, the first movie. Oh, okay. It’s, it’s a television series. I just read about it other day and it, and it’s, it’s evidently got some great reviews. Cause it kind of tells the backstory, the different players. Right. Including the folks that they base some characters off of. So we’ll have to, um, we’ll have to

Chris Bleess (07:06):

Check that out. It sounds kinda like the Irishman, right?

Scott Luton (07:09):

What a great yeah. Martin Scorsese, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I feel like we could talk pop culture for quite some time, but we gotta get down to work. So let’s talk first, before we get into what service central does Eureka moments. Right. We have, we’ve had lots of ’em lately. Yeah. 20, 21 I thought brought ’em by the truckload. But whether it’s last year or here recently, what’s been a, a key Eureka moment for you, Chris.

Chris Bleess (07:32):

Well, I think for me, Eureka moment has been, and, and you know, a lot of, lot of people talk about patient, right. But over the last couple years, you’ve had to learn to have a lot more patience with a lot of things, you know, being in a lockdown and you know, we’re a society where we love the on demand. Yes. Yeah. Where’s my on demand movies, Uber eats delivery. Right. Right. And the expectation is I get it now. Right. The know I’ve learned to have a lot more patience than what I’ve had in the past. No. You know, I I’ll get upset, get a little frustrated if we

Scott Luton (08:06):

All do

Chris Bleess (08:07):

Down, that’s my on demand. Right. My internet that’s, you know, gotta have that. If I can’t watch my movies, you know, stream that’s my on demand. Can’t work. Yeah. So, yeah. So I think it’s, it’s been patience in, in learning both in personal life and in business that things are gonna come, you’ve gotta have the patience. I’m not saying you can’t, you know, don’t focus, don’t work on it. Don’t drive to make it happen. You still have to do that, but you’ve gotta have patience and, and, um, and, and wait. Yeah. In some cases and

Scott Luton (08:35):

With you and with you lots and lots of empathy on top of that. Right, right, right. I am very fortunate that my dear wife, which is just over your left shoulder, Amanda, she was blessed with world record amounts of patience. Oh, there you. Right. Yeah. So, uh, we’re very thankful for that. All right. So I think

Chris Bleess (08:52):

Every, I think every wife has, has world record amounts. Yeah.

Scott Luton (08:56):

Agreed. Agreed. And we’re, we’re better off for it. Right. Right. Okay. So let’s talk about, so your role at service central vice president for sales and partnerships, let’s first talk about what service central does and then let’s talk about where you spend your time.

Chris Bleess (09:10):

Yeah. So we provide really cloud-based SAS applications for aftermarket services really focused in the aftermarket services space. Okay. Our goal kind of our mission is connecting consumers, service providers, third party authorizers, such as, you know, insurance provider and OEM globally through technology.

Scott Luton (09:31):

Okay. All right. And, and that, that technology, the, in, they use to improve returned or processing.

Chris Bleess (09:39):

So we have three distinct products. Okay. Um, our repair queue product is a point of sale application for retail service. Okay. So if you think about, you know, the walk in retail, you’ve got your device, that’s broke, you’ve got a broken screen. You’re gonna walk in and gonna get it repaired on the spot. Right along with that, we have a Depot application. So large depots managing returns, triage, disposition focused on forward fulfillment. Um, our we’ve got a, a large application that supports that. Okay.

Scott Luton (10:08):

Really quick when you said Depot, is that big enterprise, but also do doing government work.

Chris Bleess (10:14):

Yeah. Yeah. It could be so large three PL managing anything in returns.

Scott Luton (10:19):

Okay. Right. All right. And what was the third?

Chris Bleess (10:22):

The third is, uh, service network and that’s really where we bring the two together. And the authorizer and service network brings basically gives the authorizer the ability to connect the net network of service providers. Okay. And being able to, to direct a customer for a walk-in return.

Scott Luton (10:39):

Okay. Where, and the company’s based where

Chris Bleess (10:42):

We’re based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Really?

Scott Luton (10:44):

Yeah. Okay. Our home base. Yes. We’re gonna have to reconnect after the event.

Chris Bleess (10:48):

We’re right across the 2 85 from the brave stadium there.

Scott Luton (10:51):

Oh, well then we’ll definitely we’ll reconnect. Grab a sandwich and then Braves game, world champion. There you go

Chris Bleess (10:57):

Is right.

Scott Luton (10:57):

Yeah. Okay. So, and where do you spend your time in your role?

Chris Bleess (11:01):

I spend my time, um, focused on, uh, driving, driving sales revenue, looking for partnerships to expand and really benefit and bring value to our, to our customers. Mm,

Scott Luton (11:13):

Outstanding. Can’t do anything about revenue these days, right? Yeah. Or those days, or next day doesn’t matter. Right. All right. So now I wanna broaden our conversation out a little bit. You know, this clearly is really the place to be when it comes to reverse logistics, returns management, some of what you just described here in Vegas, at least this week, when you think about that aspect of global business, right. Turns and reverse, uh, logistics. What’s a couple topics that you’re, uh, really focused on right now.

Chris Bleess (11:39):

Well, I’ve been, uh, uh, really tracking volume, right. Looking at volume and, and, uh, it, it continues to, to grow right. Continues to climb. We’re making it easier. Right. That’s

Scott Luton (11:51):

As Tony sh I like to say when you make it easy for consumers to return stuff, right. Don’t be surprised when they return stuff. Right.

Chris Bleess (11:59):

Exactly. Exactly. I think, um, I was chatting with someone or, or yesterday, and they had mentioned that, uh, since June returns have increased 16.5% wow.

Scott Luton (12:10):

Just

Chris Bleess (12:10):

Article that they saw. Right. Uh, and, and just since June, so, you know, kind of keeping my eye on that and what that means to our customers cuz our that’s what our customers do. Right. They manage that volume. That’s coming in the door. In addition, I, you know, I’ve been kind keeping track and, and staying close to right. To repair

Scott Luton (12:31):

Yes. Hot topic.

Chris Bleess (12:33):

It is a hot topic. Right. And I’m all for right to repair. Sure. Uh, you know, there, there’s a way of doing right to repair and doing it right. You know, concerns coming from the industry of what right. To repair could mean and, and how that could impact health and safety. Right. And so tracking what Apple’s doing, what they’ve recent offered, I’m very interested in how they’re going to actually, uh, disperse that and, and make that become available. Yes. How are they gonna manage those, you know, the parts that those consumers are going, gonna use the training and the process and the tools as well. Cause

Scott Luton (13:10):

Don’t doesn’t work.

Chris Bleess (13:11):

Right. Right. And, and I think we all know in this industry that apple has proprietary tools, right. Software to manage that repair process. So it’s, it’ll be interesting how they actually, uh, move forward with this and, and make it available to the, to the green

Scott Luton (13:27):

Republic, agreed, smartphones, tractors, automobiles. There’s so many things that right to repair is gonna, um, continue to impact. And, and we’ll see, we’ll see if we can come up with, you know, in my mind, it’s that good balance between the companies protecting their proprietary, you know, property, this, that, and the other, and consumers being able to have choices, right. Choices that work for ’em. Right. So it’ll be interesting to track anything else

Chris Bleess (13:51):

To, well with, you know, you talk about choices, part of right. To repair and the groups that I’m also part of is the, uh, reversal logistics, supplier quality group. Okay. Uh, with C T I a right. Driving the wise certification. And I think, you know, as, as part of right to repair and as these, um, independent service providers focus and, and really support the wise certification, that’s gonna also bring awareness to, uh, the consumer that there’s different parts available out there. Right. There’s OEM parts, there’s aftermarket parts, right. The quality of those parts vary. So, um, you know, kinda keeping up with that and, and really, really interested in where that’s gonna go,

Scott Luton (14:29):

It’s intriguing. It really is intriguing. Okay. So let’s, uh, as we start to wind down our time with Chris police game with service central break out your big, bad crystal ball. Yeah. So when you think of the rest of the year and what some things we can come to expect, what is a big, bold prediction for us?

Chris Bleess (14:49):

Well, you know, I talked about returns volume, right? It’s, it’s gone up 16%. I could make a big bold prediction and say, it’s probably gonna climb 50%. Right. Realistically, I think more around 25, 30%, but that, and that the Vikings are gonna win a super bowl and in the next 10 years,

Scott Luton (15:06):

Okay, I’m gonna hold you to that. So let’s see. It is, uh, it’s 20, 22. So we’re were saying about 2032, the Viking’s gonna bring one home, you

Chris Bleess (15:14):

Know, that’s new coach, so yes.

Scott Luton (15:15):

It’s gonna happen

Chris Bleess (15:16):

At, at some point.

Scott Luton (15:17):

All right. You know, I was just talking one last point and then we’ll make sure folks how connect with you. I think one of the things that I’ve been giving a lot more thought to is how can retailers really make sure to give the consumers, make it as easy for consumers as possible to find, to do their homework and get what they need, whether it’s the right adapter for a laptop, whether it’s the right shoe sizes. You know, we had a great conversation with my size, uh, yesterday. Yeah. That really helps consumers get exact measurements on their clothes. If we can really, you know, I think one of the things we gotta do is make it as easy as possible. So consumers can get the right product and that’s gonna help us tamp down on this ti wave of returns, which seemingly only gets bigger and bigger. Right.

Chris Bleess (16:02):

Right. Well, yeah. It’s funny you ask that. Right. I’m I’m in my room this morning and a commercial comes on for Warby Parker. Yes. Glasses. Yeah. Glasses. Right. And, and they’re now offering you the ability to take your cell phone, right. Your smartphone, and do your eye test right at home. Wow. And then make your glasses for you and send them right. Love it. So, so they’re gonna one you’re in my, you know, kind of, haven’t gone through this process yet, but, but thinking this through, okay. We’re re Parker’s managing the eye exam, so they’re not gonna get any of that translation wrong. Right. As long as you’re following the process for the eye exam, you and they make their glasses where you can order five, right. Try. ’em on, get the feel yep. Or through the app. Right, right, right. Through the app, see what it looks like on your face. So I think, you know, all this future technology, meta and everything else that’s coming along is, is going to, you know, at some point, make it much, much easier. I, I saw, I think it was Instagram and they were, I can’t remember what shoe company it was, but you could try on your shoes virtually. Right. You know, through your phone, hold it up. Hello. That’s what it looks like on my foot.

Scott Luton (17:12):

I love it. Yeah. Mass personalization and customization, certainly in the order of the day. Yeah. So it sounds like Warby parkers up some cool things. I appreciate you sharing that example. I like good practical examples, you know? Yeah. That’s it really connects what’s going on in industry to what we all experience day to day out as consumers. So, alright. So Chris BLEs with service central, how can folks connect with the,

Chris Bleess (17:34):

You can, uh, connect with me on my LinkedIn page, which is actually under Christopher BLE and or through our website, which is, uh, service central.com and go through our contact page there. Or if you’re at the show, uh, stop by our booth.

Scott Luton (17:49):

Wonderful. And we’re gonna make it all easy. We’re gonna include those details on the episode page. So you’re wanna click away from connecting with Chris and service central big. Thanks. Uh, Chris, please for joining us here today with service central, we’ll have to carve out some more time to talk about bass fishing. Next, go round. There

Chris Bleess (18:04):

You go. Do that

Scott Luton (18:05):

Folks stay tuned for our continued coverage. About lot more coming, uh, right here from the 18th annual reverse logistics association, conference and expo and whatever you do, uh, hopefully enjoyed this conversation today. Be sure to find supply chain now, wherever you get your podcast. But most importantly on behalf of our entire team here, Scott Luton signing off challenging and do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And with that, we’ll see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (18:32):

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

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Featured Guests

Chris Bleess, As VP Sales and Partnerships, Chris leads a team focused on growing revenue, expanding a network of service providers, and enhancing customer experience through integrated solutions. Chris has more than 25 years in aftermarket services in operations, customer and supplier management, and sales with Samsung, BlackBerry and 3rd-party service providers. Chris serves on multiple CTIA RLSQ committees setting standards for the repair and refurbishment of pre-owned devices and is an active RLA.org member. When not working, you can find Chris enjoying the outdoors and spending time with his family. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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.

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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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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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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 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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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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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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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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

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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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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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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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. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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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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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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