NATO was formed in 1949, in the aftermath of World War II, to ensure peace in Europe. Under article 5 of the treaty, an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on all – and therefore a military response is required. Since 2006, NATO countries have committed to spend a minimum of 2 percent of their GDP on the military – a promise most have not upheld.
Now there is a proposal to standardize military equipment across countries. The hope is that this will make battlefield coordination easier and simpler. In practice, however, it would lead to far more negative consequences – cancelled contracts, broken supplier relationships, and unhealthy national interdependencies – than they realize.
In this episode of Dial P, Kelly Barner reviews the classic dilemma presented by multi-stakeholder strategic sourcing projects and the unintended consequences they can have:
– You don’t get something for nothing… what would NATO have to trade to get military standardization?
– What are the geopolitical implications of causing over concentration in the global industrial military complex?
– How detrimental is it to this effort that so many of NATO’s members do not live up to their spending commitments?
Welcome to Dial P for procurement, A show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders. Give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value. And now it’s time to dial P for procurement.
Kelly Barner (00:31):
If you’re a return Dial P listener, you know that I am always calling for input. I will give absolutely anyone’s idea a try. In fact, audience directed episodes have been some of the best episodes of Dial P we’ve produced so far, and I’m lucky to say that I have a lot of good friends in this listening audience. One of them happens to be Mr. Scott Luton from Supply Chain. Now the group that I think of is Dial P’S mothership. Now Scott likes to catch up on the Wall Street Journal on the weekends, and that’s how it’s happened that on October 23rd I got a photo of an article titled NATO Aims to Better Align Arms Purchases in Response to Russian hostility with a simple note, neat possible dial piece story. Scott was absolutely right, and as I read and researched, it dawned on me that some of the most common sourcing and procurement challenges are just as much of a problem in the highest stake situations in the world, including international military defense alliances.
Kelly Barner (01:40):
In this episode of Dial P inspired by that article, I’ll review how NATO is trying to change the way its member countries arm themselves going forward, the challenges of having accurate demand forecasts and the many complexities of the buyer’s journey. And finally, why having production capabilities in one area is tightly linked to all of the other capabilities within a given country or industry. But before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the co-founder and managing director of Buyer’s Meeting Point. I’m a partner at Art of Procurement and I’m your host for Dial P here on supply Chain. Now, I’m constantly scanning the news for complex articles to discuss things that are interesting, but which may escape people’s notice. And based on some of the stories you’ve all sent me this year, you do the same and you catch things that I miss.
Kelly Barner (02:46):
If you ever have an idea for an episode, all you have to do is connect with me on LinkedIn and send through your idea. It is that simple. Dial P releases a new podcast episode or interview every Thursday. So be on the lookout for future episodes and don’t forget to go back and check out some of our past episodes as well. Before we get back to today’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask. I genuinely hope you find value in the time we’re about to spend together. An awful lot of work goes into making sure that you do, and so I would ask, please find a way to engage. Give us a review on iTunes, offer up some stars on another listening platform. Share this post wherever you found it, like or comment on LinkedIn or Twitter. Maybe there is just one colleague you know that needs to listen to this episode.
Kelly Barner (03:42):
Send them the link. As always, I am so grateful for your interest and attention to what we’re building here at Dial P. We have important work to do. Now let me start this week’s story with a brief review of NATO itself. The North Atlantic Treaty organization was formed in 1949 and the years following World War II to bind North American and European countries together in the effort to preserve peace in Europe. Under Article five of the treaty, an attack on one country is to be received as an attack on all and the member countries are therefore obligated to join in the military response if anyone is attacked in order to effectively uphold that agreement. In 2006, the members made a commitment to spend a minimum of 2% of their national GDP on their military. Spoiler alert, they didn’t do it. Now, as of today, there are 30 members of nato, and fairly soon there will be 32.
Kelly Barner (04:50):
Finland and Sweden are going through the process of joining a process that requires all of the member states to vote in favor. Just as important is the detail that the Ukraine is not a member of nato, which is why when they were invaded by Russia, countries sent armaments, countries sent support, but we did not attack Russia back. Ukraine has flirted with the idea of joining NATO in the past and for various reasons they never actually followed through. After Russia invaded, President Linsky requested a fast track admission, but given the reality and the consequences of Article five, there is very little appetite right now to bring them in his members. That would quite literally lead us straight to World War iii. Now, I mentioned earlier that most of the NATO members do not meet that threshold for minimum military spending. And it’s interesting because when you look at the countries that meet the requirements and the countries that don’t, there’s a pretty clear split between eastern and Western Europe.
Kelly Barner (06:01):
Eastern European countries are far more likely to hit that threshold. After all, they’re so much closer to Russia that the threat of military action probably feels a little bit more real than it does in the West. Now, unfortunately, the countries in the west also happen to have, in most cases a larger gdp, and so it’s not as simple as one country, one 2%. Those two percents all add up to very different amounts of money. In 2014, only three countries were meeting that 2% threshold estimates for 2021 and 2022 were eight countries and nine countries respectively. So even if those estimates hold and play out, we’re still talking about less than one third of NATO members paying to meet the commitment they agreed to. And 2014 was an important year. That was the year that Russia annexed Crimea. So NATO members watched this happen and you almost heard the resounding uhoh, This is real.
Kelly Barner (07:11):
There could be war in Europe, and they instantly enthusiastically committed to get caught up on their spending. But then you know how it is, you get busy, you kind of forget the urgency fades and the moment passes. Fast forward to 2021, Russia aids the Ukraine and NATO’s members said, Oh, I knew there was something I meant to do. I meant to spend that money on my military, and everyone once again enthusiastically recommitted to spending 2% of their GDP on their militaries by 2024. Now, I don’t mean to be alarmist, but 2022 is pretty much over one year passes in a flash when it comes to military spending and production. And so that 2024 goal is not as far away as it seems, and it’s actually likely to take them a lot longer than that to achieve what they want despite country level enthusiasm. Defense contractors say that all of these loud national promises that have been made are just starting to materialize as orders.
Kelly Barner (08:27):
They say it may take years for all of the orders to be placed, let alone delivered against. Now, here’s a specific example that hits really close to home. Since January of 2021, the United States has pledged $17.5 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, but the Pentagon has only placed $3 billion in new orders, and it’s been almost two years. $3 billion is still a lot of money, but it’s only 17% of what’s been promised. And even once it’s promised, it takes a very long time to get the production machine in motion. So talk continues to be cheap, and in the case of military spending, it may be the only cheap item in the store. So let’s talk about what makes this article a classic illustration of strategic sourcing challenges. Let’s think about just the current NATO member nations. So we’re not gonna worry about any new joining members and we’re not gonna worry about Ukraine for just a moment.
Kelly Barner (09:38):
Every single one of them may be using different weapons systems, different ammunition, and it does make it very hard to work together on the battlefield. Parts are not interchangeable. People don’t know how to operate and repair each other’s systems, and yet if NATO is ever called to follow the agreement of nato, they are going to have to coordinate. The article that Scott sent me talks about a current proposal at NATO for the member nations to standardize their weapons systems in ammunition so they can coordinate interchange parts and supplies and overall become more efficient as a group. So it sounds like a good idea. Now I’m gonna be honest, if that sounds like a great idea, maybe you’ve never led a sourcing project where you are trying to get a group of budget holders or category owners to agree to pick the same supplier or provider.
Kelly Barner (10:39):
It makes herding cats look like child’s play. I can think of two examples from my own career where I had to figure this out. In one case, it was a number of companies, each of whom had a different pest control provider, and they were trying to agree to consolidate with the same company making matters more complicated. One of them handled all of their pest control in house by a group of guys that had worked the job for decades. And so they weren’t just saying goodbye to a provider, they were actually laying off longtime employees. In another case, I was helping a group of business units try to consolidate and standardize how they manage their uniforms. You can buy them, you can rent them if they’re rented, usually there’s a cleaning service which is viewed as an HR benefit. These are very delicate changes that you have to make.
Kelly Barner (11:35):
And to be honest, if they’re doing a good job, the representative of each company or each business unit has a responsibility to advocate for the people that they represent. In a way, you’re going to have disagreement by design. Now, let me apply that complexity to what NATO is talking about, and I’m gonna stay simple because armaments are not my area of specialty. Let’s say I’m leading a NATO sourcing project to buy submarines. I’m gonna sit down one member from each of the 30 memo nations at my table and ask them, Who do you currently buy your submarines from? Or at the United States, who do you buy submarines from? Oh, general dynamics. Okay, very nice. Canada, you’re next. How about you? This inr? Okay, I’m gonna note that down in my spreadsheet. How about you France? Where do you like to get your submarines from? Naval Group?
Kelly Barner (12:32):
Okay, got it. The way this tends to play out, especially in matters of national defense, is that if a country can, it will buy things from a company located within its borders. So as much as we can all agree that standardizing purchases is a good idea, and certainly there would be advantages on the battlefield, which one of those countries wants to go to the company located within their borders, where citizens, and let’s be honest, voters may end up losing their jobs over the decision and say, Sorry guys. We all have decided to buy our submarines from Canada going forward. And the fact of the matter is, if we really are going to standardize things across those 30 NATO member countries, all of the countries except one is going to have to go home and have that conversation. So you can quickly see where this is a good idea with super complicated execution.
Kelly Barner (13:34):
And then circling back, remember that most of the countries are not living up to their spending commitments and purchases keep getting delayed. So now you’re doing a little bit of more mental math and you’re saying, not only do I have to go home and deliver this bad news, I’m gonna take a short term political hit, maybe catch some really bad headlines in the news in exchange for a benefit that may never materialize. When we think about any one of these companies, there’s a whole ecosystem that surrounds them that each country has national interest in preserving. So if you have a submarine manufacturer within your borders, there are going to be schools that educate people. There are going to be firms that specialize in servicing and upgrading and providing maintenance, and so you’re not probably just standardizing your equipment for the sake of NATO related activities.
Kelly Barner (14:38):
That whole ecosystem is going to force you to standardize around all of your military activity. So if you’re going to make the commitment and go down the road with Canadian or French submarines instead of United States, it doesn’t really matter if you’re putting them in the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic within the military. You want things to be relatively standardized. And so now the need to standardize within NATO is expanding out to what gets standardized globally. Now, the Center for Strategic and Industrial Studies has a very interesting article related to this point. They talk about the decrease in manufacturing in armament spending compared to the increase investment in related technology, especially within Western countries. They point out that as the military goes, so goes the whole supporting supply chain. If the United States completely stops making submarines, because we all agree to allow France or Canada to be in charge of that, we lose the knowledge base and think about the geopolitical complexities.
Kelly Barner (15:47):
Now we’re dependent on Canada. Now we’re dependent on France if we ever want to have submarines, and we also know that because we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy decades of peace. In Europe, military production has been on a downward trajectory. Now with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, companies are spinning their wheels and trying to ramp production back up as quickly as they can, but how will that align with the actual orders that are placed and what will the delivery timeline look like? We also know, and this is a huge conversation in North America and in Western Europe, that manufacturing capabilities have been in question as well. Now, the good news here is that manufacturing does tend to be somewhat transferable when you think about the Defense Production Act. Even in response to Covid, the federal government was able to go to Ford and say, Ford, we need you to stop making cars and trucks and we need you to make ventilators.
Kelly Barner (16:50):
And they were able to do that from both a production and a talent standpoint. But so much of our manufacturing capability and knowhow has been outsourced to China that we may have actually created dependencies from a manufacturing standpoint that will impact how successful we can be in an arms race. And certainly as we’ve seen with Russia and Ukraine, we cannot count on China to come down on our side. Now, the other classic lesson that procurement professionals have learned along the way is that while consolidation and standardization seem to and in truth do offer a number of benefits, they also carry their own risks. They’re great for economies of scale, having fewer suppliers to manage, fewer contracts to oversee and more standardization, but they’re bad for innovation, they’re bad for the sake of risk mitigation, and they’re bad for having options. Whether you need a plan B or whether it’s the next time the contract is coming up for renewal and you’d like to see a little bit of competition, procurement learned this the hard way When too many companies, by most of their volume, from too few suppliers, not only do you have less innovation and less competition, you also lose perspective on the risk that exists deeper into that supply chain.
Kelly Barner (18:16):
So your suppliers, suppliers, now, you’re dependent on one very large supplier to manage all of that for you. If NATO succeeds in this standardization effort, they may be creating a very real problem for themselves down the road without even realizing it. Then again, if past history is any indication, this is going to be a big deal focus problem until NATO gets distracted by something else, and it’s not what we ultimately all have seen and need to understand about supply chains, whether it’s b2c, b2b, or military. They are far more complex and far more connected within themselves and to the surrounding capabilities than most people realize. You don’t get something for nothing, and there are plenty of things that NATO would have to trade in order to achieve standardization. They need to be very careful about that decision making process and make sure it works out for them in the big picture.
Kelly Barner (19:16):
And from a risk perspective, how might it complicate our geopolitics if 90% of all submarines come from one country? If you’re not sure about the answer to that question, listen to the Dial P episode about baby formula. It’s pretty eye opening. Now, that’s my point of view about what’s going on here, but I would like to know what you think. What are the concerns? If this was your sourcing project for submarines, how would you handle it? And honestly, do you think it’s going to matter? Will NATO actually make the purchase? Until next time, I’m Kelly Barner, your host of Dial P for procurement here on supply chain now. Thank you so much for listening and have a great rest of your day.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Dial P for procurement, and for being an active part of the supply chain Now community. Please check out all of our shows and firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you follow Dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of Dial P four, Procurement.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
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.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.