Supply Chain Now
Episode 1252

You can use MRO as a meaningful strategic differentiator because not only is preventative maintenance always cheaper in the long run than reactive maintenance, and organizations are using MRO as a sandbox for new techniques and technologies that they want to experiment with before moving those into other parts of the organization.

-Danny Ramos

Episode Summary

Why is it time to treat maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) as a first-class citizen? How can these processes be properly optimized? What makes business leaders hesitate to adopt new technologies?

To discuss this, and a whole lot more, not one, but two experts from Verusen joined hosts Scott Luton and Mary Kate Love for this episode of the Supply Chain Now, with Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Paul Noble alongside Senior Manager of Product Management Danny Ramos in the hotseat.

Paul has just returned from Las Vegas from the SAP Innovation Days for Supply Chain conference, and kicks things off by highlighting some of the key themes that he and other attendees discussed on the ground. Chief among them is the supply chain tech stack and the ways organizations are seeking to unify systems, and how MRO is being folded into these transformational strategies.

This is important, the duo says, because MRO is essential to running businesses effectively. “You can’t produce a product if you’re uncertain of what’s happening,” Paul says succinctly, while also stating that the notion of supply chain being a competitive advantage has been overlooked for too long.

Tune in to the full discussion to hear both experts’ fascinating insights:

· The role of AI in enhancing MRO efficiency.

· Boosting supply chain visibility to reduce risks.

· The direction of travel for supply chain tech stacks.

· And much more!

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey. Hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you may be. Scott Luton and Mary Kate Love with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Mary Kate, how are you doing today?

Mary Kate Love (00:42):

Doing great. Super excited about this one.

Scott Luton (00:45):

We are too. We are too. And, hey, we even tackled on the pre-show the dream NBA finals matchup, the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks. And as I think of it, they may be in the same division, but anyway, so maybe they couldn’t make the finals. But regardless, folks, NBA basketball side, as Mary Kate said, looking forward to a great show today. We’re diving in on a topic that many organizations overlook, I would say, to their financial peril. That’s maintenance repair operations, MRO, and the absolute goldmine of bottom line opportunities and beyond that it poses. And we’re going to be talking, as Mary Kate knows, with a few business leaders that have a proven track record of helping organizations to right size their MRO materials in store rooms, across their networks, and especially on their balance sheets. Mary Kate, this should be a great show, huh?

Mary Kate Love (01:35):

Yeah. I love this because it’s a purpose-built solution that can plug into your existing ERP system and drive results pretty immediately, so I’m super excited about this. And they’re a former employer of mine, so doubly excited.

Scott Luton (01:49):

That’s right. They’re innovative great people making big things happen, new things happen across global business and global supply chain, so we can’t wait to have them back.

Scott Luton (02:00):

Hey, two quick things before we introduce our guests here today. Let us know what you think, share your comments throughout the live discussion. Just like Ben and Maria did, let us know what you’re thinking about the topics we uncover here today. And, of course, if you enjoy today’s show, folks, do your neighbor, do your friends, do your colleagues a favor and share it with them. They’ll be glad you did.

Scott Luton (02:17):

Okay. Mary Kate, we’ve got a lot to get to work on here today. I want to welcome in our featured guest, Danny Ramos, Senior Manager, Product Management with Verusen, and one of our OGs here at Supply Chain Now, Paul Noble, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer with Verusen. Hey. Hey. Paul, how are you doing?

Paul Noble (02:37):

I’m doing well. How are you all? Good to see you.

Scott Luton (02:39):

Wonderful. Great to have you back. And, Danny, how are you doing man?

 

Danny Ramos (02:42):

I’m doing well. How are you all doing?

 

Scott Luton (02:44):

Wonderful. We’re coast to coast just about.

Paul Noble (02:47):

All-star crew here.

Mary Kate Love (02:49):

Yeah, I think so.

Scott Luton (02:51):

All right. So, Paul, Danny, and Mary Kate, before we get into a lot of cool things related to optimizing supply chain, certainly optimizing MRO and a lot more, I got a fun warm-up question for all three of y’all. So, did you know this week way back in 2008, video streaming service, Hulu, was launched. The service now has close to 50 million subscribers. Now, speaking of streaming services, now there’s almost 50 million of them from Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Apple Plus, Billy Bob, super fast flicks, you name it, lots of streaming services. So, the question is – and, Paul, you’re going to be the lead off hitter here, the old Kenny Lofton from back in the day.

Paul Noble (03:32):

Oh, very good reference.

Scott Luton (03:34):

What is one of your favorite all time movies or shows that you still stream somewhere on a regular basis?

Paul Noble (03:41):

Yeah, no, I mean there’s a lot. The one that’s top of mind right now – new season is out – Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, or Max now as they’ve rebranded. Great show. Larry David has put together two of the top, probably five or ten, best comedic series of all time with Seinfeld [inaudible].

 

Mary Kate Love (04:03):

Yes. Huge Seinfeld fan over here.

Scott Luton (04:07):

All of us, I bet. And we got to make sure we can’t have Larry David and Elmo be in the same room with each other. All right. So, Danny, that’s going to be a tough one to top. Danny, what’s your go-to?

Danny Ramos (04:20):

The show I kind of keep coming back to is The Good Place. Probably watched through it – my wife and I – a handful of times, but it’s nice, lighthearted, good background noise.

Scott Luton (04:28):

Love it. The Good Place. I’m going to have to write that one down and check it out. All right. Mary Kate, we got Curb Your Enthusiasm, we got The Good Place. What about yours?

Mary Kate Love (04:36):

I really like travel shows, as kind of like Danny was talking about, some comfort background noise. And I’ve been watching Somebody Feed Phil. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen it. Awesome show if you like food and travel.

Scott Luton (04:49):

Yes, I agree. And it’s funny, Phil’s a real funny guy.

Mary Kate Love (04:52):

Yeah. He wrote Everybody Loves Raymond, I think, right?

Paul Noble (04:55):

Yeah. Yeah. He did.

Scott Luton (04:56):

Well if I’m not mistaken, I saw the Raymond from that show. I can’t remember his name right off the actor, real funny.

 

Paul Noble (05:01):

Ray Romano.

 

Scott Luton (05:02):

Yeah. Ray Romano joined Phil for an episode or two and those discussions were really cool.

Mary Kate Love (05:07):

Yes. Yeah.

Scott Luton (05:07):

All right. So, Mary Kate, Paul, Danny, we got a lot to get into here today. I appreciate y’all weighing in on a fun warm-up question. I want to get into the conversation by level setting a little bit. Now, Paul, man, you’re out in the big City of Las Vegas for the SAP Supply Chain Innovation Day Conference. And, hey, quick piece of advice, bet the farm on red 19, we were talking about that in the warm-up show. But, hey, what’s some of your key takeaways from that awesome event this week so far?

Paul Noble (05:33):

It has been a really great event. It’s not a huge trade show like SAP does with Sapphire, but it’s focused and intimate, a lot of collaboration between customers and their respective SAP, AEs, and supply chain experts. The great thing has been, as we kind of segue into the discussion around MRO, everyone’s been over the past couple of years building their supply chain tech stack. It starts with upgrading ERP, EAM, centralizing to a single global instance and things of that nature. And now they’re plugging in purpose-built solutions and looking for ways to connect the dots between ERP, EAM, and procure to pay systems and get the most out of their investment there and enable their people with intelligent, innovative solutions. So, what we’ve seen is MRO is really top of mind and being folded into transformational strategies that has us very excited that we’ve been building and ready to support customers to deliver both economic and operational value.

Scott Luton (06:37):

Mary Kate, I’ll get your quick comment first. That’s the good place in my mind. That’s the good news. You’ve got organizations that take technology and empower their teams. Mary Kate, your quick comment.

Mary Kate Love (06:47):

Yeah. I love to hear that because we’ve seen people kind of ignore MRO or think this is just part of business and we can’t really innovate or get better here. So, we’ve all seen the benefits of being able to innovate with MRO or being able to visualize your data, so exciting to hear that people are catching up.

Scott Luton (07:05):

I am too. And visualizing so folks can really see what we’re talking about. I think for a lot of visual learners like me out there, that’s so important. So, getting that data out of spreadsheets, getting that data off legal books and being able to put it in ways where we can really see it in a powerful fashion.

 

Scott Luton (07:20):

Danny, keeping the conversation going, I got a two-parter for you, my friend. You come highly regard so you can do this stuff in your sleep. I know Danny. So, two-parter, first off, what have you been hearing from Verusen customers? There’s a growing ocean of Verusen customers these days. Y’all been growing left and right. And secondly, I’m always curious especially about adoption. Adoption is so critical these days. From what you’ve seen, what makes business leaders and their organizations really hesitant when it comes to adopting new technology?

Danny Ramos (07:48):

Great question. I mean, I think to answer that first thing, what we’re hearing pretty frequently is folks are kind of going back to trying to cut costs. The pendulum has kind of swung back from where folks were in the pandemic and we’re really trying to shed a lot of the fat that they’ve added to their inventory and accumulated there, which interestingly leads to some hesitation around some new technology

 

Danny Ramos (08:05):

The other thing, folks are really trying to do a lot more with less. So, trying to consolidate and centralize some of their inventory management to do some smarter buying, to be more efficient with their deployment of their existing assets, and also to get more out of their existing technological investment. And that feeds right into where that hesitation comes from. Typically, when we hear folks pushing back on making technology investments, it falls into a couple of different buckets. So, either folks have already spent millions of dollars digitizing their operations and they’re disappointed by the results. They’ve been promised these digital transformations, they’ve been promised all of these great things, and some of them materialize and some of them don’t. And I think some of that scar tissue makes folks a little hesitant to introduce new technologies.

 

Danny Ramos (08:45):

The other big thing that we hear really frequently is people don’t think their data is good enough. They operate under an assumption that their data is too poor to do anything useful with it, so they can’t do anything with it, and that prevents them from moving on to new things. And, really, the last bucket that we see pretty commonly is there’s just a hesitation to introduce new processes and new tools for folks that are already overburdened. There’s already a lot of technology that’s been introduced in the last 10 or 15 years and adding one more thing into the flow sometimes feels like a little bit too much for some folks.

Scott Luton (09:14):

Danny, man, I’d love to dive a couple hours into each of those things. Mary Kate, I want to get you to weigh in here. That scar tissue that Danny referenced during the first part of his response is so critical because folks have heard it all before and sometimes, to Danny’s point, it does truly come to fruition. Other times it crashes and burns because a lot of executives buy, they throw their defense for the teams to kind of figure it out. Your thoughts, Mary Kate.

 

Mary Kate Love (09:36):

I mean, totally. Like I was on a huge ERP transformation project and what I love about Verusen is that it can really go a mile deep. So, they’re solving a very specific problem and they’re not pretending like an ERP system that could say and do everything and anything right. This solves a very specific problem. And I just want to call out the fact that Danny said, your data doesn’t have to be perfect because that holds so many people back from starting things like this. And I just love the fact that no one’s data is perfect, so you can still work with imperfect data.

Scott Luton (10:11):

Yes. Excellent point. That’s right. And it’s a really important point for folks that are listening to this conversation and watching this conversation to take with them into their post-event conversations. You don’t have to have perfect data to do big things. All right. Mary Kate, Paul, Danny, good stuff here.

 

Scott Luton (10:29):

And, Navin, you asked a great question, and thanks for being here, by the way, via LinkedIn. We’re going to touch on this, I believe, in this next question I’m going to pose to Danny. And Navin is asking about what is MRO? So, to tee this up as we move forward, lots of organizations, no matter what the economic conditions are, they’re still planning to pursue significant cost reduction opportunities over the coming year. They got to, right? And a lot of that uncertainty for where we’re going adds more fuel to that fire, in my view at least. So, Danny, a little bit of speaking to Navin’s question there and then this one, why is MRO optimization such a big time untapped gold mine for many organizations? And give us some examples of the types of opportunities that exist around cost savings here.

Danny Ramos (11:11):

Absolutely. I mean, I think one of the things that we see is that the organizations that are really setting themselves apart are those that recognize that treating MRO as a first class citizen is critically important and also leads to really meaningful competitive advantages. You can use MRO as a meaningful strategic differentiator because, not only is preventative maintenance always cheaper in the long run than reactive maintenance, but these organizations are using MRO as a sandbox for new techniques, new technologies that they want to experiment with before moving those into other parts of the organization. So, that differentiation of MRO is a strategic point, to MK’s point earlier, some folks just say this is the way we’ve been doing things. It doesn’t have to be that way any longer. There’s meaningful strategic ground to make up in MRO.

 

Danny Ramos (11:52):

I guess some of what that looks like is a big push to centralize control of inventory, and especially things like critical spares. That’s something that we help organizations with all the time. And for a lot of organizations that are handling MRO at the local level, so each facility is kind of their own wild west doing whatever they want to do, it seems like a pipe dream to be able to centralize. But there’s a ton of incentives for doing so. It helps with those pushes to cut costs and bring that working capital down. It really helps those organizations be more proactive with part sharing instead of reactive when a line goes down and they got to grab something, they’re scrambling. And it also does things like allow for more strategic sourcing because you can push for friendlier contractual terms if you have a better idea of what the overall organizational spend is for your MRO parts.

Scott Luton (12:36):

Well said. Mary Kate, Danny just offered a litany of things we could spend hours talking about and lots of good conversation, but what do you think in Danny’s response there, what’s one thing that folks really need to wrap their head around, especially when it comes to MRO and optimizing that within?

Mary Kate Love (12:50):

I literally wrote down preventative maintenance is always cheaper than reactive maintenance. I love that call out. I can relate to that. I think everyone can relate to that. But, also, I love this idea of being able to share or have visibilities between facilities within the same company. Because I’ve worked at a lot of places that have grown by acquisition using different items in their tech stack, and you’re not always able to see what pieces are on hand across different facilities in the same organization, so that’s huge too.

Scott Luton (13:19):

Agreed. Agreed. One of the things that Danny said, “Hey, don’t give into that. We just can’t centralize.” There are opportunities there, and much like imperfect data, there are actionable opportunities there. So, man, we’re giving Danny a high five and he disappears. That happens sometimes. Paul, I want to keep driving here. We’ll get Danny back.

Paul Noble (13:40):

He dropped the mic.

Scott Luton (13:41):

That’s right.

Mary Kate Love (13:42):

Yeah. He literally dropped the mic.

Scott Luton (13:44):

That’s right. And by the way, Ben just chimed in too, “So true. Having visibility across facilities is a game changer.” I completely agree, Ben. And it’s a game changer more within your reach out there than what you may be thinking here today at this moment. All right. So, Paul, what do y’all mean when you talk about MRO optimization? Let’s get really clear because it’s not just cutting inventory costs, right?

Paul Noble (14:08):

So, if you look, MRO is really a big insurance policy. So, you’re keeping things on hand that you need so that you don’t have the risk of downtime. You want to produce your products, so I’m going to store these things, critical items, noncritical items, things that keep my people safe so we can produce product. And so, if you’re looking at it as a risk exercise, you look at data. Data feeds the ability to understand what’s going on. You look at inventory. That’s what I’m going to carry and I would carry no inventory if I could, but I can’t, so what do I need to carry to make sure that I don’t have risk of downtime? Then, where do I need to supply that inventory?

 

Paul Noble (14:50):

It’s really confirming what we’re doing, is, let’s look at all the data, let’s create and establish demand, buy material, buy plant across a network of plants, what does the company need so we can produce our products reliably and reduce that risk. And let’s do it in a capital efficient way. Let’s cut down the insurance policy without opening ourselves up to risk. And that’s really been the trouble. It’s been attacked. OPS looks at inventory, “Hey, let’s carry more. That’ll keep us less risk averse. Hey, where do we need to source it from?” And it became, to Danny’s point, very reactive and the insurance policy has just ballooned over the years and just keep adding more and more and more.

 

Paul Noble (15:33):

So, what we’re doing is, essentially, let’s look at everything, cross-people, cross-processes, cross-systems, cross the entire organization, let’s establish that demand. And then, let’s strategically look at what do I need to inventory? Where do I need an inventory? Where do I need to buy? Where do I need to source it from? And put a risk profile to that. So, what we’re really doing is managing risk, building trust that you’ll have what you need where you need it, and just simplifying that dramatically because it is pretty complex.

Scott Luton (16:01):

Well said, Paul. The 1985 approach would be just to keep adding inventory, keep adding inventory. But that is not the smartest approach and it’s certainly not the 2024 or even 2030 approach. So, good stuff there, Paul.

 

Scott Luton (16:15)

Before we keep driving here, I’ll throw in this great comment. Memory, it’s so great to have you back with us. Always enjoy your contributions here. She says, “This is one category that is overlooked and it has a treasure trove of value capabilities to contribute to the bottom line. Most risk here -” and this is what Paul was talking about “- lies because it’s a section people react to rather than take a proactive approach.” And I think we were talking about that on the frontend. Memory, great call out. We appreciate what you’re doing out in industry as a practitioner. By the way, that was Shakespearean as Memory just kind of constructed that feedback, wasn’t it?

 

Scott Luton (16:49):

Danny, I want you to talk AI. We can’t have a supply chain conversation in 2024, it’s government mandated that we’ve got to drop in AI. Tell us how AI is truly changing how people utilize that data we’ve been talking about and those valuable actionable insights that we can pull from it.

Danny Ramos (17:04):

Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think the big thing is that AI really unlocks the value of data that organizations have been amassing over the years. Whether that’s because you’ve been digitizing some of your supply chain, because you’ve been growing through acquisition, you’re pulling in disparate systems, AI really helps you make sense of that in two really kind of profound ways. It helps you make sense of large amounts of data in ways that humans can’t. It doesn’t matter how good you are at Excel, it doesn’t matter how impressive your power BI dashboards are, AI can just handle more data than the human mind is capable of. And that’s going to become even more important as the data organizations continues to grow through IoT and other things like that.

 

Danny Ramos (17:43):

I think the other thing going back to an earlier point is it can make sense out of your dirty data. So, the old adage of Garbage In Garbage Out doesn’t really apply in the same way in a world where AI is available, because you can take that data that might be of – let’s call it – poor quality or not the best quality and still draw meaningful insights out of it. It’s easier to figure out where you have like parts. It’s easier to figure out where you might have some contract leakage. It’s easier to figure out some of these kinds of things that would’ve been kind of scattered to the wind before. And it can also take bits and pieces of that institutional knowledge that might live in ERP and actually bring some of that to the surface and bring some of that information out so others can use it. All of this really just means you have better visibility into what’s actually happening at the ground level. And with that, you can do more interesting things. You can do some of the part sharing, some of the collaboration, and some of the stuff that we’ve been talking about earlier this afternoon.

Scott Luton (18:30):

Yes. Sheer capacity and powerful clarity. If I had to take a lot of what you just shared there, those two incredible things. And I like that scattered to the wind, like dust, like some song in the ’80s I can’t remember who sang that. Mary Kate, let’s get back to AI and the powerful ways that it is working with data. Your thoughts, Mary Kate?

Mary Kate Love (18:50):

Yeah, listen, I think we’re collecting more and more data. Everybody’s collecting more. They don’t know what to do with it. So, AI is a perfect solution to that. Like Danny said, there’s no way we could process all the data that we take in on a daily basis. And putting AI on top of it to make sense of that data and to make the data easier for you to search, easier for you to visualize has a huge impact down the line.

Scott Luton (19:14):

That’s right. Absolutely agree. Great point there. All right. Hey, man, Navin is bringing it here today. And maybe this is something maybe Paul and Daniel have to grab a cup of coffee with Navin afterwards. But maybe we can work this in because Navin is talking about that low MRO maturity versus the high MRO maturity. And we’re probably going to be speaking to the benefits of that forward thinking organizations in just a moment versus the laggards. Because, folks, the other big takeaway, one of many here is, if you’re a laggard and you’re not leaning into powerful outcome driving ways with AI and many other innovative technologies, the distance between the performing organizations and the folks that are slow to embrace and adopt is getting bigger and bigger. Randy, thank you very much. Kansas saying dust in the wind. That is right. Thanks so much for being here.

Paul Noble (19:58):

Shoutout to Greg White in Kansas.

Scott Luton (20:03):

That’s right. That is right. All right. So, Paul, Mary Kate, and Danny, we’re covering lots of ground here today. One of the things that Danny touched on in his response there and Mary Kate did as well is visibility. And, Paul, one of the things you mentioned in your last response was risk, risk mitigation, risk management that is inseparable from supply chain leadership and business leadership these days. So, Paul, how does visibility help companies remove risk?

Paul Noble (20:27):

It’s important because, for so long, systems, processes, people, challenges have limited the availability for satisfying what I need as an individual at a facility from an MRO perspective versus what is that demand that I need, how does that impact the company, what does the company need holistically. So, you have all these decentralized individual demands, but let’s look at that demand and give visibility to that cross-function, cross-business unit, cross-system. We can look at the holistic demand, satisfy that through supply, and get you what you need by material, by plant, but also satisfy the overall risk profile of the business.

 

Paul Noble (21:09):

That’s why the title of this webinar where there’s a lot of gold locked up, you wouldn’t have a $10 million insurance policy on your home if it was only a $500,000 home. Why are you doing the same thing with MRO? Why are you carrying $400 million in stock when you could more easily satisfy the needs of the individual and work with your suppliers more effectively and extend that network outside of your four walls? That visibility, it is possible. You are ready whether you think you are or not and we can meet you where you’re at in your maturation.

 

Paul Noble (21:45):

So, we have a discussion here at SAP, a co-presentation with Georgia Pacific, one of our earliest customers, super mature company as it pertains to MRO. We could take them to the next level. If you’re lower on that maturity profile, we’ll meet you there. We’ll help you get to centralized strategies and that visibility so you can work again with your counterparts in procurement and operations and reliability and engineering. It takes a village to run MRO effectively. We can help there.

Scott Luton (22:18):

Yes you can. You’ve demonstrated it time and time again. And as Paul alludes to, they’re working with the organizations at Verusen that are further down the path of the maturity curve and finding really big opportunities. And those are just kind of starting and they’re kind of taking initial steps and finding big opportunities there as well. Good stuff there, Paul. Mary Kate, so I loved Paul’s analogy there.

Mary Kate Love (22:37):

Yeah. I was just going to say I love a good analogy in that insurance policy when it’s good.

Scott Luton (22:41):

Yes. So, give us your take on anything Paul just mentioned there, Mary Kate.

Mary Kate Love (22:46):

Yeah. So, the insurance policy, that totally makes sense. It makes it click probably for myself and a lot of people. But I also love this idea of visibility because you can’t really make – or, actually, you definitely can’t make the best business decisions without that visibility. So, that is step number one that everyone needs to have.

Scott Luton (23:06):

Yes. Yes. And you are ready, as Paul wrapped up his response. I think the four tops saying a great song featuring those words there. Hey, music’s on my mind today, folks. But, Paul, good stuff there. And I love this theme that’s emerging amongst other things, is that, folks, you are in better position than you think to take advantage of innovative things in supply chain and not do business as usual as if it’s 1985.

 

Scott Luton (23:31):

Let’s see where we’re going next. Paul, I want you to put your shades on for a second, I don’t know if they’re handy. But we’re kind of talking about current opportunities, right? Current opportunities. But where do you think the future of supply chain technology is headed, Paul?

Paul Noble (23:44):

I recently wrote an article in Forbes talking about here are these systems of record that everyone has. Most organizations have an ERP or thinking about or in the process of upgrading that, moving from on-prem to cloud, we have a procure to pay system. These are all processes and systems of transaction and systems of record, EAM system as we’re talking MRO, and we’ll be talking here at SAP about asset management. So, all of these systems of record are essential to run your business, but they can only do so much.

 

Paul Noble (24:17):

So, the future of supply chain from our perspective is purpose-built intelligence solutions that can be the connective tissue between those systems of record. Let them be the transactional systems. Let us fill in with Verusen for MRO and across the stack when you’re looking at direct materials, finished goods, logistics. You’re going to be plugging in intelligence systems across that stack. And that really to us is what the future is going to look like so that you can pass the baton appropriately and run more efficiently and get to your outcome of track and trace. All the holy grail things that everyone says it’d be beautiful if we could do this, but we can’t because of data and all this, that’s changing. And so, that’s how you need to look at how are you architecting that stack to support your business and these purpose-built solutions, like Verusen and like many others that are emerging across that stack, are going to be super important to getting you there.

Scott Luton (25:11):

Yes. Mary Kate, being the Seinfeld buff that you are architecting your stack, that’s George Costanza’s dream, I bet. But when Paul is talking about the art of the possible there though, I mean, again, it’s all at our fingertips to act in ways that a lot of folks assume they’re just not in position to do. Your quick thoughts here, Mary Kate, before I move to Danny.

Mary Kate Love (25:32):

Yeah. I love thinking about that where the systems of records, they go a mile wide but an inch deep and you need to have a mix up of purpose-built solutions that are able to go a mile deep and an inch wide. And so, that’s finding the right partners, that’s finding the right solutions and plugging them into your existing systems. It’s not a whole overhaul of all your systems. It’s being able to plug and play the right partners, essentially, for your company.

Scott Luton (25:59):

Well said, Mary Kate. Mary Kate, on that last point, those partners, that ecosystem we’re building, the ecosystem that involves, of course, all the organizations but also the technologies, such a great callout there.

 

Scott Luton (26:11):

All right. So, Danny, I want you to put a five point on this here, especially the question as to how. So, how is Verusen working to close that gap between functional areas, like maintenance and reliability and the good people there, and then with their procurement counterparts and the good people there? How is Verusen doing that?

Danny Ramos (26:27):

We’re doing it in a couple of different ways. I think one of the primary ways is providing a shared sense of visibility. We’ve talked a lot about systems of record and augmenting those with systems of routine. And these disparate groups can use a tool like Verusen to get a sense of what reality is across their organization, across their facilities, across their systems. Instead of being tied to procurements and procure to pay, you have your operations folks in EAMs and ERP. You can start to bring everybody together to a shared sense of the truth.

 

Danny Ramos (26:56):

And the other thing that we’re doing there is we’re pulling in the human element. So, we’re capturing inputs from folks on the frontline, and it becomes a lot easier to accept some changes to your ways of doing business if you feel like you’ve had a say in the matter. And then, those two things kind of coming together, so that shared visibility and capturing some of that institutional knowledge is really letting these two organizations within companies make some really data-driven decisioning. So, if we can get procurement and operations folks to agree to a shared version of the truth coming out of their digital systems and we can give the folks responsible for actual maintenance a voice, then we can help these organizations get to much more effective decisions.

 

Danny Ramos (27:32):

And it helps eliminate in a lot of ways, too, kind of the emotional nature that has been a big part of MRO, where folks are making decisions because of an outage that happened ten years ago and they’re going to keep a bunch of stock because of that. So, we can build more trust between these two groups. And as those two groups start to collaborate more with each other and see that it’s not the end of the world, they’re not going to have a ton of outages, the risk isn’t really going to grow substantially, they can really start focusing on what’s best for the organization and taking some of those next steps into a greater maturity.

Scott Luton (27:59):

Danny, well said. I knew you were going to drop the T word there. Because then if you didn’t, I was going to, that building trust. Mary Kate, I bet we could all raise our hand, I bet a lot of folks in our audience could raise their hand if you’ve been in a manufacturing operation with three or four different functional areas and everyone brings their spreadsheets and they all disagree. There is no shared sense of truth as Danny put it. And when you can address that and you can bring teams together and gain that alignment, and also, by the way, empower the human element, the trust you gain and the mountains you can move with said trust is world-class. Mary Kate, your quick thoughts there.

Mary Kate Love (28:34):

Yeah. I love this because it’s combining human intelligence with data, and that’s the ultimate goal. Because like Danny said, if you ever worked in a manufacturing facility, you’ve heard the story about the unplanned downtime that happened six years ago and how they solved it in this crazy way. And so, that’s great and we don’t want to forget that, but we also need to use data to make our decisions. And having that kind of single source of truth or the shared truth, like Danny said, can only help within an organization.

Scott Luton (29:05):

That’s right. That is right. All right. Paul, as we start to wrap, we’ve got some great resources that we’re going to make sure we share with folks. We’re going to make sure folks know how to connect with the one and only OG Paul Noble, who’s, again, in Vegas. You can catch him and talk supply chain and maybe talk some casino action. Of course, Danny on the other coast based in Jacksonville, but he’s out and about making things happen across the industry.

 

Scott Luton (29:29):

But, Paul, as we want to spike the football on the conversation here today, beyond everything we’ve talked about, which I believe is going to open up some eyes, which I also find interesting about the comments, is, there’s a lot of folks that already get what you’re talking about and it sounds like already they’re saying, “My organization, they’ve ignored this massive opportunity. And then, finally, finally they’ve put it in a headlock and it’s delivering big outcomes.” But beyond everything we’ve talked about here today, tell us why, Paul. To that end, tell us why MRO optimizations got to be a top priority for organizations out there.

Paul Noble (30:01):

It’s essential to running the business. You can’t produce your product if you’re uncertain of what’s happening. And I think as we’ve come out of a trying time from a pandemic perspective, and supply chain is a competitive advantage, and all the things that we’ve talked about over the last couple of years, I think being able to turn to a part of your business that can help kind of lead the way of unlocking not only capital but also the way you approach things from an availability and a demand perspective, I think it is really important to bring those hardworking people together and give them the tools that they need to be able to reliably produce what they’re charged to do from a job perspective. I think it’s been too overlooked for too long and there is a simple and effective and fast way to really wrap your arms around it and be able to be kind of a shining star within the organization that’ll lead and influence how you attack things across your business in other ways.

Scott Luton (31:03):

Yes. And, folks, you are ready more than you think, to steal Paul’s challenge from earlier in the conversation. All right. I got to go back to the analogy, too, Mary Kate, because I think a lot of folks may not get everything, all the ins and outs related to MRO. I think everyone can relate to insurance. As someone that has driven, I think, five Honda Accords in my lifetime – yes, I may be the most boring person in the world. Hey, I love Honda Accords – there’s no need to get an insurance policy as if you’re driving a Ferrari if your need is a Honda Accord. And that is a great analogy, I think, when it comes to the approach that Paul and Danny are talking about.

 

Scott Luton (31:38):

Mary Kate, your quick comment. I’ve got a question, a very practical question in terms of how to get started, which I think we hear all the time during and after a lot of these types of shows. We’re going to get Paul and Danny to weigh in on that. But, Mary Kate, whether it’s our favorite analogy out there or a Seinfeld reference or something, maybe you having insider knowledge of what Verusen has been doing for years, what is something else that folks really got to know from what Paul and Danny are saying here?

Mary Kate Love (32:04):

I think that it’s easy. It doesn’t require this huge months long project with your IT. And it’s not scary when it comes to implementing this. I think it’s easy and I think it empowers people. It doesn’t work against the people in your organization. It just empowers them to make better decisions.

Scott Luton (32:23):

Well said. And I’ll tell you, whether you’re addressing MRO opportunities or really any other aspect of global supply chain, enabling and empowering your team to make better decisions faster, that they’re confident in, that they get more right more often, man, that’s a big part of the game at least.

 

Scott Luton (32:40):

So, Paul and Danny, here’s the billion dollar question because inflation is such, I want you to tell us, because we get this question a lot, I love this conversation, but how do I get started? Paul, what would be your answer for folks that may want to partner with Verusen and what’s that first step there?

Paul Noble (32:56):

We’ve continued as we’ve gone to market over the last couple years – I think we’re fourth year in market supporting customers – we try to make it as easy as possible for us to define a business case for you. So, reach out, let’s have a conversation. We don’t want to do business with you if you’re not ready, but odds are you are, and let’s have a conversation. And we have a pretty simple business case tool that we can turn around for you in less than a week or about a week that can find a business case of let us tell you what the data is showing us and let’s have a conversation around it. It’s MRO health check and it’s been really successful in being able to bridge the gap of that FOMU, that fear of messing up, or Am I ready? Do I have enough? Is it too complex? Is it overwhelming? No. Let’s simplify it. Let’s have a conversation and we’ll be your partner to get you there whether you are on the lower end of that maturity curve or you want to go to the next level and you are very mature from that perspective. So, I think that’s the easiest way to get started is let’s have a simple conversation, let’s show you how we attack it. And we’ve been very, very successful in doing that.

Scott Luton (34:05):

Well said. And you’ve used that acronym with us before, Paul, FOMU, fear of messing up. Mary Kate, we got to keep it real. Every organization has varying degrees of that FOMU that either hinders people from taking action and doing things and making decisions. Or in other cases, leadership has really empowered them. Hey, we’re going to mess up some of the times, but we’re going to get big gains by making decisions. Your quick thoughts there, Mary Kate. And we’re going to work to get Danny back because he’s got some cool things also as it relates to where do we get started. Your thoughts, Mary Kate.

Mary Kate Love (34:38):

Yeah. I love that acronym. And I do think it starts with leadership of being able to say we need to try these new things. And, again, I want to reiterate, it’s very easy to get implemented and set up. So, this fear of messing up is probably one that you carry from a project ten years ago or something else that you did, so I just want to reiterate how easy it is to kind of work with these purpose-built solutions.

Scott Luton (35:03):

Love it. We all love easy in this world of hard and complex challenges for sure. All right. So, Danny, in the pre-show, we were talking about some of the cool things that Verusen has rolled out for folks to kick the tires and get more comfortable and better understand how y’all operate. What are some of those things that maybe folks need to know here?

Danny Ramos (35:21):

Absolutely. I mean, I think beyond what Paul was talking about, our ability to help you generate that business case before we get too far into the sales process. Another thing that we’ve been doing over the last few months here is actually doing some pretty informal little demo webinars on a biweekly basis so folks can actually take a look at the application, see what we got, see what we’re doing without necessarily committing to a full sales conversation or all that kind of stuff. So, it’s an easy way to kind of get your feet wet and see if we’d be a good fit and assess whether or not we’re going to be able to help you out.

Scott Luton (35:50):

Love that, Danny. Love that. It’s important to give folks lots of opportunities to gather information and get a sense of how what y’all do, or any approach, any team kind of fits within their organization so they’ll know that they’re not wasting , as Mary Kate said, because it’s easy, and Paul said, you’re ready. So, why not step through this window of opportunity and make things happen? Your people will certainly appreciate it.

 

Scott Luton (36:13):

So speaking, Danny, Paul, and Mary Kate, of resources, I think we’ve got three that we want to share from the Verusen team. And here’s the first one, and I love how this is entitled, Stop Relying on Manual Processes for MRO and Indirect Material Management. Now, as we’re talking pre-show, Mary Kate, Paul, and Danny, you look at most research out there, error rates for manual data entry range from one to four percent, that’s kind of the well-established range. But I will share with y’all, in certain environments I’ve been in ages and ages ago, it is easily double digits. I knew that firsthand because I was part of a data integrity team. So, folks, stop relying on manual processes.

 

Scott Luton (36:53):

Number two – count them – five reasons manufacturers haven’t achieved MRO optimization. And, folks, we’re going to drop the links right there in the chat. You’re one click away from checking these out. And these are great succinct, I think, two-and-a-half page reads, which is my favorite part, because in this complex environment we’re in, who’s got time for a 27 page or 270 page white paper?

 

Scott Luton (37:14):

And then, this last one, it’s time to move beyond a traditional ERP strategy. And folks are saying out there across our listening audience, hallelujah. Amen. Preach it louder for the folks in the back. I love these three pieces here, Paul and Danny. Mary Kate, if you had to pick one of those though, what’s one of those messages that resonate the most with you?

Mary Kate Love (37:34):

I’m going to go with the ERP moving beyond a traditional ERP strategy, because an ERP system is not going to do everything and anything for you. We all need the ERP system. It’s great. But we need to find purpose-built solutions to be able to solve specific problems in our companies.

Scott Luton (37:51):

Well said. I agree. Okay. So, Paul Noble, back by popular demand, OG. I’m not sure what appearance this is, but it’s probably got to be in the 20s. I think you still rank on top of the list. But, man, Verusen, y’all have been helping a lot of organizations grow left and right, leaning on your innovational approach to doing business different. I’m partial, but that resonates with me. There’s a reason why we’ve enjoyed our conversations and we get a lot of feedback from these shows.

 

Scott Luton (38:23):

So, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with Paul and Danny. Paul, let’s start with you. Beyond Vegas, so folks who are out in Vegas, they might catch up with you this week at that great event, but how else would you suggest people connect with you?

Paul Noble (38:35):

Yeah. Obviously any of the Verusen channels, @verusenAI, and most of the social channels. And paul@verusen.com, if you’re thinking about questions, partnering, opportunities, or just want to have a conversation, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to have that conversation.

Scott Luton (38:52):

Wonderful. And if you need help with your jump shot, Paul, you’re the particular guy too, right? Love that. All right. So, Danny Ramos, great to have you here. Really have enjoyed our conversations, appreciate our conversations, and a lot of what you shared here today because it is a wild, wild west out there, as you were talking about. We need proven solutions that make things easier, give folks more clarity that brings down that fear of messing up and allows people to make decisions that really impact in a positive manner the bottom line, and this is what we’re talking about here today. How can folks connect with you, Danny?

Danny Ramos (39:25):

Absolutely. I mean, certainly through all the same kind of Verusen channels that Paul alluded to. Unfortunately I’m not quite as OG as Paul, so you got to use danny.ramos@verusen.com if you want to email me, instead of just the first name. And, obviously, I’m on LinkedIn as well. You might see more facial hair on LinkedIn, but I promise it’s still me.

Scott Luton (39:43):

It is the same good guy that knows what they’re doing and is moving mountains out there. Danny, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you better and I really enjoyed your perspective here today. All right. So, Mary Kate, while we still have Paul and Danny and before I sign off, and, folks, I really enjoyed a lot of the comments and questions. And we couldn’t get to all of them, but we encourage you, hopefully we can connect and power some conversations beyond today’s livestream with you and the Verusen team. Mary Kate, you got some insight baseball, right? Because you’ve seen being a part of the Verusen team and now, of course, part of the Supply Chain Now team, this conversation we’re talking about it, this is going to be a great one because not only are we familiar with it, but in some cases, we’ve seen the outcomes it can power. So, out of all the brilliance that Danny and Paul backed up the truck and dropped out of the center here today, what’s the one thing that folks got to take home with them?

Mary Kate Love (40:28):

I’m going to go back to the preventative maintenance is always cheaper than reactive maintenance, and that’s trademarked by Danny. I love that because you’ll do anything to avoid unplanned downtime and so you’ve got to be proactive about that. You cannot be reactive.

Scott Luton (40:43):

I like that as well. It’s a kind of different version of a Ben Franklin-ism, if I’m not mistaken. I love that, Danny. And Mary Kate said you trademarked it, so that is Danny’s. We’ll owe you some licensing fees later.

Danny Ramos (40:56):

Keep an eye out for the t-shirts and the mugs.

Scott Luton (41:00):

All right. Well, folks, really have enjoyed the conversation. Very efficient conversation here today. Thanks for being out there and being a part. Thanks for all y’all’s submittals. Big thanks to Paul Noble and Danny Ramos with Verusen. Great work. Keep up the good fight doing big things out there. I look forward to reconnecting with you both soon. Mary Kate, I really enjoyed today’s conversation. Thanks for being here and bringing in your color commentary, as always hitting home runs. Always a pleasure to knock out these conversations with you.

Mary Kate Love (41:27):

Yeah. This was great. Super awesome to be on it again with Danny and Paul.

Scott Luton (41:31):

That is right. But, folks, now the onus is on you. Be sure to connect with Paul and Danny. Have that conversation. Don’t sit on the fence. Check out these resources we dropped. One click away there. Links are in the chat. Do business different folks. Your people will appreciate it. Deed’s not words. No one’s got time for lip service leadership. Do business different. And on that note, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change. We’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (42:02):

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

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Featured Guests

Paul Noble, As Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Verusen, an innovator in supply chain data, inventory and procurement technology, Paul Noble oversees the company’s vision and strategic direction. He has extensive experience in the industrial supply chain and distribution space, as he was recognized as a Supply Chain Pros to Know by Supply and Demand Chain Executive in 2020, 2021 & 2022. Prior to founding Verusen, Noble spent over a decade with The Sherwin-Williams Company, where he specialized in supply chain/manufacturing and led its Eastern U.S. Industrial Distribution business unit. Noble graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Management and Marketing from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn. 

Danny Ramos is a Senior Manager of Product Management at Verusen where he helps current customers and prospects get the most of out of their MRO investments by ensuring they always have the right spare parts or materials they need in the right place at the right time. Connect with Danny on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing & Host

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Additional Links & Resources

Stop Relying on Manual Processes for MRO

5 Reasons Manufacturers Haven't Achieved MRO Optimization

It's Time to Move Beyond a Traditional MRO Strategy

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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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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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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.

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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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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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Tandreia Bellamy

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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

Host

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

Host

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

Host

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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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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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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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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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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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