Supply Chain Now
Episode 780

The one thing that kills customer service departments is bureaucracy. If somebody had a bad situation and you want to give them a $5 credit and you have to get that approved through the VP - you're doing something wrong.

-Chad Molen

Episode Summary

Between unpredictable disruptions, a lack of visibility and a whole slew of shortages, it can be pretty tough to deliver a positive customer experience these days. But don’t be discouraged: Dan Reeve, Director of Sales at Esker, and Chad Molen, Service Delivery Manager at NIMBL, have joined co-hosts Scott and Allison to break down what companies need to be thinking about, improving and protecting to up their CX game. Join them for a thoughtful discussion on the importance of prepping your people for new technologies, dialing into the right analytics, adopting more flexible processes and 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 (00:31):

Hey. Hey. Good afternoon everybody. Scott Luton and Allison Krache Giddens right here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Allison, how are we doing?

Allison Krache Giddens (00:40):

We’re doing good. How is it November?

Scott Luton (00:42):

How is it November? And how is almost halfway through November?

Allison Krache Giddens (00:45):

I don’t know.

Scott Luton (00:47):

Well, hey, you know, all that means is it gets us closer to Turkey day and lots of good food without the need to buy gifts.

Allison Krache Giddens (00:54):

Nice. Nice. And it’s a forgotten holiday. We often skip it, right? I mean, it feels like we go Halloween and then Christmas.

Scott Luton (01:00):

Oh, gosh. Yeah. The H holiday that we should never, ever speak of again. My kids love it, and so, you know, you got to be game for it, but it’s one of my least favorite holidays, for sure.

Allison Krache Giddens (01:13):

Why? It’s free chocolate and no obligation to house family.

Scott Luton (01:17):

True. But you got a bunch of randoms knocking at your door.

Allison Krache Giddens (01:21):

That’s a really good point.

Scott Luton (01:23):

All right. So, enough about our stirring holiday conversation. Today, Allison, we’re going to be talking about customer experience, CX is all the rage. And global supply chain has a lot to do with that. We’re going to be talking about how we optimize customer experience for both internal and external customers, because, Allison, you got to work hard to have one really big, happy family, right?

Allison Krache Giddens (01:47):

You’re right. You’re right. It takes a lot more than just hitting the button and hoping it all works out.

Scott Luton (01:53):

No kidding. Although, I think that’s a strategy some companies have out there. We’ve got our friends from Esker joining us once again, along with a leader from NIMBL Worldwide. So, stay tuned as Dan and Chad join us for what we promise to be an informative and intriguing conversation. Okay. So, Allison let’s say hello to a few folks before we swoosh in our guests. How about that?

Allison Krache Giddens (02:17):

That sounds good.

Scott Luton (02:18):

All right. So, we’re big fans of Sofia. It looks like Sofia is a big fan of “The one and only Allison Giddens,” as she says.

Allison Krache Giddens (02:25):

I had a check in the mail to her and it should be there any day.

Scott Luton (02:31):

Well, I’ll tell you, for as big of an ambassador for industry, and especially manufacturing, Sofia is a wonderful ambassador, and newly nominated recognized award winner for supply chain. And she’s already done a TEDx.

Allison Krache Giddens (02:46):

That’s awesome.

Scott Luton (02:46):

I tell you, Sofia has been on a roll. And I love her writing as well. Peter Bolle, all night and all day, “Best holiday of the year, Thanksgiving.” Peter I’m with you. That’s got my vote. Allison, what say you?

Allison Krache Giddens (02:58):

It’s high up there. It’s probably top ten.

Scott Luton (03:01):

Top ten. Arbor Day is top ten.

Allison Krache Giddens (03:05):

Yeah. A big fan Arbor Day.

Scott Luton (03:10):

So, seriously, Thanksgiving, for me, it probably is the top of the list because you can focus on gratitude, focus on food, focus on family, what you’re grateful for, and no gifts.

Allison Krache Giddens (03:22):

That’s true. See, I’m a fan of Christmas, but it’s because you know how they talk about your senses, kind of memory of senses. I smell pine and cinnamon and I love those smells. So, I think that’s why I think Christmas is high up for me. My birthday, I’m a fan of my birthday. That’s a magical holiday.

Scott Luton (03:42):

Okay. All right. Hey, a lot of emotions come out when we start talking holidays. But, Peter, me and you are on the same team. We have to start a lobby there. Bill Stankiewicz is with us here today. He’s on his son’s PC, so it appears as Doug. Allison, we both know Bill.

Allison Krache Giddens (04:03):

Bill. I haven’t seen Bill in forever.

Scott Luton (04:05):

I owe him a phone call, I do know that. And I’m really glad that you’re here with us today, Bill. We’re looking forward to your supply chain perspective. You’re helping to make Savannah a mecca when it comes to supply chain logistics, making all that happen. So, great to see you here, Bill. Okay. Let’s see. We’ve got a couple of other votes. Peter’s up to putting a final coat of plaster on the ceiling. Peter doesn’t get any sleep. He’s either doing big things in industry or he’s working on home improvement projects, Allison.

Allison Krache Giddens (04:36):

How is he doing that and typing comments? Like, how does that work?

Scott Luton (04:41):

On that poor computer.

Allison Krache Giddens (04:43):

Talk and text.

Scott Luton (04:43):

We’ll see. That’s right. Hey, Clay Phillips, Diesel Phillips, because the engine is always running is with us here today in the background. Fellow UGA fan like Allison. They’re having a heck of a season. Lamont Hardy calling in from San Diego via LinkedIn. Great to have you here, Lamont. Looking forward to your perspective.

Allison Krache Giddens (05:02):

San Diego is one of my favorite cities.

Scott Luton (05:04):

You know, I’ve never been. I’m ashamed to say that. But, Lamont, you have to send us some pictures. Let’s see. Mark Evans is with us here, “Looking forward to hearing what Chad has to say.” We are, too, Mark. And we’re going to swoosh them in, in a moment so that he can share his goodness with Allison, Dan, and I. Jonathan Phillippi – Phillippi probably – via LinkedIn, “Any tips for newbies in supply chain management?” Jonathan, that’s an excellent question. And what we’ll do, we’ll try to maybe drop in a few tips throughout the conversation. And if we don’t, because we’ve got a lot to get through when it comes to internal and external customer experience, maybe we can hook up after today’s livestream, and I’ve got some resources for you. Sofia, “I’ll be checking my mail, Allison.” All right.

Allison Krache Giddens (05:50):

I wish she had forgotten about it.

Scott Luton (05:51):

All right. And sorry we couldn’t get to everybody there. Looking forward to your perspective throughout this conversation. Allison, are you ready to introduce and bring in our esteemed guests here today?

Allison Krache Giddens (06:03):

Yes. I’m excited and I can’t wait to hear all about what they’re going to say.

Scott Luton (06:06):

Let’s do it. I want to welcome in Chad Molen, Service Delivery Manager with NIMBL Worldwide, and our dear friend, Dan Reeve, Head of Sales for Esker U.S. All right. Hey. Hey. Dan and Chad, how are we doing today?

Chad Molen (06:20):

Great. Hi.

Dan Reeve (06:21):

All good.

Scott Luton (06:22):

Well, you know, Dan, who always moves at the speed of a thousand gazelles, have you had a big busy, productive week this week?

Dan Reeve (06:31):

You know, I went to a tradeshow. The first tradeshow I’ve been to in, obviously, a while. If only all tradeshows where a ten minute Uber ride from your house, wouldn’t that be great? And, you know, I was tired. And I have to remember what it’s like to go and talk to 50 people in a day. You know, reinvigorating, nice to be back talking to people. Nothing wrong with doing what we’re doing right now, but nice to be talking to people in-person.

Scott Luton (06:58):

I’m with you. Breaking bread, shaking some hands.

Dan Reeve (07:00):

Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

Scott Luton (07:02):

Well, we look forward to hearing more about that experience. And, Chad, I really enjoyed getting to you know a little better in the pre-show. It sounds like we’re supposed to spend some time in Wichita, but now you’re out in the beautiful Metro Denver area, and you’re getting out hiking and doing other things. So, great to see you here today.

Chad Molen (07:18):

Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Scott Luton (07:21):

Now, we’re going to go ahead and spill the goods. So, if your significant other is listening, Chad is taking you to dinner, I think, tonight or tomorrow night. I’m spilling the beans on you, Chad. Are you getting in a hike this afternoon before or do you do that mainly on the weekends or what?

Chad Molen (07:36):

Well, that would probably be a good idea so that I have more room for that big fat steak that I want.

Scott Luton (07:40):

Okay. All right. Well, again, pictures. Pictures or it didn’t happen. All right. We got one fun warm up question I’m going go around the horn. But really quick, I want to make sure I call out a few folks. Tsquared holds down the fort for us on YouTube. Great to see you here today. He’s looking forward to the Friday lunchtime supply chain management nourishment. I love that Tsquared. We’ve got a visitor from Greece here with us today via LinkedIn, Iordanis. Iordanis? Does that sound about right? Regardless, let me know if I butcher names. That happens from time to time. We want to make sure we get it right. But welcome. Looking forward to your perspective here. Steve is tuned in all the way from Kenya via LinkedIn. Great to see you here. Of course, Allie’s behind the scenes helping to make production happen. Big thanks to Allie, and Bree, and Matt, and Amanda, and Jada, and Clay. Okay.

Scott Luton (08:32):

So, let’s do this before we get down to the heavy lifting. So, today is National Happy Hour Day. So, there’s a couple of different groups that claim they founded happy hour. I found there was a U.S. World War I battleship, where it’s one of the stories where it originated. But regardless, happy hours are fueled by adult beverages. So, I’m going to go around the horn. Allison, I’m going to start with you this time. Give me your favorite adult beverage.

Allison Krache Giddens (09:01):

Okay. So, I get made fun of for this, vodka-Coke. I know that sounds weird and people say no rum goes in Coke. And I say, “No, it doesn’t. Vodka goes in Coke.” [Inaudible] try it, it’s good because you can’t taste the vodka.

Scott Luton (09:15):

All right. Vodka-Coke. Okay. That’s a new one for me. That’s a new one for me. And by the way, Helmut, great to see you here from the South of France. I think Dan was there earlier. All right. So, we’ve got one vote for vodka-Coke. You never know, that might be what Allison’s taken a sip of right there. Chad, I’m coming to you next, what is your adult beverage of choice?

Chad Molen (09:36):

I mean, you know, being from Colorado, it’d be wrong if I didn’t say that beer was my favorite, and IPA’s in particular. So, we have some of the best breweries in the country here in Colorado. And there’s nothing like finishing the day on a Friday and cracking open a really great cold beer.

Scott Luton (09:58):

I love that. I can almost hear that Busch Beer jingle in my head as you described that. All right. So, Dan, you’re the cleanup [inaudible] here today, your favorite adult beverage.

Dan Reeve (10:09):

You know, I get made fun of for this too. I’m not sure if this is right. But [inaudible] make fun of me for drinking. They said it’s more of a feminine or lady’s drink, I’m not sure if you’re even allowed to say that nowadays. But I like Baileys. Yes, I like beer. But I like to finish off the evening or a go-to cocktail for me is Baileys. And I think it’s because as a kid, my mum, that was her favorite tipple. Probably age eight, nine, or ten, I’m not sure what the right age was, I was allowed to start sipping a little bit of that as a treat.

Allison Krache Giddens (10:46):

You weren’t driving, it’s fine.

Chad Molen (10:49):

And that will help you to sleep faster.

Scott Luton (10:53):

Right. That’s true. All right. So, I got to share a couple here. Lamont has never heard of vodka-Coke either. Sofia says, “Tequila and grapefruit juice. Viva, Mexico.”

Chad Molen (11:06):

[Inaudible].

Scott Luton (11:06):

Peter, “Single malt scotch of most any type, Jack and Coke, followed closely by Crown and Coke.” Sheldon says a Brown Cow. I’ve heard of that before, Tia Maria and evaporated milk. Man, that sounds like a drink that will help you take little snooze as well.

Scott Luton (11:28):

I want to go back to something really quick and point out a couple of resources. So, you know, Jonathan asked about a newbie – in his words – when it comes to supply chain management. Sofia, you dropped a great resource here because our friend, Rodney Apple does great work. Formerly of the Atlanta area. He’s in Nashville now. But check out his Supply Chain Careers programming, and you’ll get a lot of tips. And, of course, if we can weave it in today, Allison, Chad, and Dan, a quick tip on folks as they’re kicking off their career and trying to advance and move right on up the ladder. One final one here, Mark says, “The Smokin’ Gun martini, vodka martini, slightly dirty, with a jalapeno stuffed olive, and a single drop of smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce.”

Allison Krache Giddens (12:14):

Wow. That’s artistic.

Scott Luton (12:17):

So, Chad, that can be your opening drink tonight at that nice steak dinner. We’ll see.

Chad Molen (12:24):

That locked it in. Absolutely.

Scott Luton (12:24):

Locked it in. All right. So, let’s get down to business. We love talking food and we certainly love enjoying each other’s company here today. But y’all have a lot to offer, especially when it comes to one of the hottest topics in the industry right now, I would say. So, we’re going to be talking about not only digital transformation, but also customer experience. And, Chad, I want to start with you. So, you led a digital transformation initiative at a company called Viega a few years back. So, if you would, talk to us about some of your primary eureka moments or key takeaways from that work, especially what you might think is timeless or related to what we’re going through now.

Chad Molen (13:04):

Sure. So, the situation I was in at Viega was very similar to what’s happening now. You had kind of this crucible of huge increase in demand. The team, basically, was kind of spread out, a pretty young team, entry-level folks. And the work was tedious to put it lightly. I love SAP and I support SAP in my role. But it can be a little daunting for folks that are coming into the company and working in an industry with a lot of complexity when it comes to orders and things like that. And in some cases, the orders, the quality of them is not the best. So, trying to sort all that out, working a lot of days overtime to get all those orders put in, it was a very difficult situation.

Chad Molen (13:59):

So, we had a high amount of turnover. We had people that just were frustrated with the work itself, with making errors, and things like that. So, that translates to your customers, which is never a good thing. So, we had a major issue. And with the growth that we foresaw, there was absolutely no way that we were going to be able to take that in with our current resources. So, I connected with Dan and we put together a review of different software that was out there, and got started on this digital transformation.

Chad Molen (14:36):

So, a couple of key takeaways for me, honestly, is, your people need to be prepared for it. So, you really have to look at what are their capabilities and, again, it’s entry level positions. But you’re looking for things like resiliency and change management, the ability to change quickly, ability to learn. And so, I think one of the aha moments that you asked, Scott, that I think is probably the biggest thing is, you can implement technology, but if your people are not ready for it, it’s not going to be as successful as you expect it to be.

Chad Molen (15:13):

And a perfect example of that is, with Esker, one of the things that I like about it is it uses machine learning and AI type technology. And you have to teach the system how to look at the orders. And so, I had a lot of folks that were using the system, but they didn’t understand the teaching part of it. So, one day I was walking around and I was looking at what people are doing and, basically, saw that they were just typing things in. And I said, “No. You’re supposed to teach the system that this means this.” And all of a sudden, that was kind of the big light bulb for me as you can bring the technology, but you need to lead the people to the technology and use it correctly.

Scott Luton (15:54):

I love that. And optimize it and customize it for what your operation needs. Rather than kind of using it right out of the box as the store delivered it. Teaching machines, I’ll tell you, it’s an amazing time we live in. But one of the things I heard there – and, Dan, I’ll come to you next based on what Chad just shared – I heard simplification, how important simplification is. But what was one of your favorite parts of what some of Chad’s takeaways were there, Dan?

Dan Reeve (16:22):

Yeah. I think it brings up an interesting point, which is, if you’re going to introduce a technology, you’re so much better served if you get folks, one, choose something whether they like the interface, because then they can’t use the interface as an excuse to not sort of go through the change. And two, exposing folks to the technology early and making them part of the decision-making cycle.

Dan Reeve (16:49):

In my role as a sales director, sometimes sales reps will take me and break me out of the case and take me on the road. Now, remember, a classic case with one of the largest gas stations in the U.S., so 500 or 600 gas stations they have – I won’t name them – they have a very large organization, and they were looking to transform their procure to pay process. And I have to tell you, I walked out of that meeting with 20 people in there and said, “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” You know, it seemed to be very disjointed. I know there’s some folks in the room that clearly want Esker but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. We got a call two days later and the folks had said, “Come on then. We want to do business with you, but let’s just negotiate a little bit.” I’m like, “Negotiate? You’re not even going to buy us. Here we are. We want you.”

Dan Reeve (17:35):

In 20 years, I thought I knew a thing or two about sales, maybe I don’t. I’m confused. What’s going on? They said, “The users. You engage the users. You ask them questions. You didn’t treat them as just users. You treat them as individuals, important viewpoints, and you let them happen.” And they said, “We like [inaudible]. We think we could adopt it.” So, that was an interesting learning. And since then, I’ve spoken to some other former customers of mine who said, “Dan, the thing that you guys do differently is, some sales folks will come in and they only sell to the executive.” Well, there’s other people in the room and they’ve got to go through this changed journey. You view people as equal, not just based on the title. So, I think change and giving everybody access and bringing the whole organization along versus just executives is pretty important.

Scott Luton (18:20):

We don’t want to steamroll anybody, right? Humans still make global business happen today. Of course, technology is a big part of that. I’m coming to you next, Allison. I want to share just a couple of quick things. Sibongiseni – Sibongiseni. I hope I got that right – Lewis from South Africa tuned in via LinkedIn, great to have you here today. And hey, Delano. You hit the right time to join us, because if it’s about CX and digital transformation, we’re talking about that a lot here today, so welcome to the conversation. Okay. So, Allison, as we kind of wrap this first bullet point and went to talk about Chad’s experiences there at Viega, what else did you hear there, Allison?

Allison Krache Giddens (19:01):

A lot resonated with me in my industry, which is really overlapping with everything that Dan and Chad are doing too. And that is the good information is needed to make good decisions, a friend of mine recently said that, a friend and colleague in some cybersecurity stuff I’m a part of. And then, the idea was to bring people into the conversation and get some buy-in from all the stakeholders. And, ultimately, it was about the exchange of ideas. And that’s what I’m hearing from both Dan and Chad, is, it’s not just about, you know, prescriptive solutions. It’s all about a little bit of feedback. Getting input from those that are going to be in the midst of it all. So, that’s what I’ve heard really predominantly between both Dan and Chad that’s solid.

Scott Luton (19:45):

I love that. You got to learn from the experts, the folks that do it. They’re some of your best resources there. Sheldon says, “The more change requires change in human behavior, the greater the risk of failing to meet the success criteria.” Well said there, Sheldon. And, Stephanie, great to have you here today via LinkedIn, so welcome, welcome. Okay.

Scott Luton (20:05):

So, we’ll do some level setting. We’ll do some level setting beyond what Chad shared. And I think Chad’s story is a great starting point because some of the factors there and the conditions were directly relevant to what we’re seeing now, just a lot more of it. He touched on the burnout that is taking place really across global business. We got to find which and then we’ll touch on – because Dan always talks about this – we’ve got to find ways of liberating and making it easier for folks to do more rewarding work. You’ve got all this talent in these organizations. But before we get there – Dan, I’ll come to you – because I want to level set with some of the things that are part of the current state, so where do we want to start there, Dan?

Dan Reeve (20:51):

Well, I think you’ve talked about the Great Resignation on your previous shows. I also have shared that the finance, the supply chain, the customer service leaders that, like Chad, have engaged with Esker often say, “Yeah. There’s a big picture initiative for digital transformation.” But what are we really trying to do? We’re trying to be easy to deal with. And that means, be easy to deal with both for your suppliers and your customers. And right now, taking care of your suppliers is important. I know a lot of people are focusing on what can we focus on, and that’s cash control and spend control. But, ultimately, right now you probably can’t afford to be bottom of the rank when it comes to that supply. You’ve got to, maybe, make sure that supply can remain liquid and pay them early. Because if you want to get your goods and services on time as possible right now, well, you can’t leave those folks hanging.

Dan Reeve (21:39):

So, you know, one of the things I heard from the IOFM, Institute of Financial Management, tradeshow last week, the executive editor there is Jess Scheer, and he said, “Look. Look around the room, 75 percent of the audience is gen-Z or millennials. I can tell you, you’re not going to be able to hire folks to come in, for example, the accounts payable departments.” The same story for receivables or auto management and planners. You’re not going to be able to hire folks to go and take care of suppliers. If you’re going to ask them to do sort of the manual tasks yesterday, these folks have all been through what we’ve been through, and they’re reconsidering the type of work they want to do. Many organizations are struggling to hire or retain staff.

Dan Reeve (22:20):

And he say, “Well, I think people are interested in doing is coming in, using the customer service, their creative analytical skills. And, yes, that might mean in payables, the ability to transform the department into a profit center.” Because you pay the supplier earlier and then you engage in supply chain financing – which we might cover later, Scott – or maybe there’s other mechanisms to make sure that you’re protecting your organization from spending in the wrong area or Maverick spend or fraud. But you’re still earning early payment discounts. He says, “Millennials will see that as an opportunity.” Just as servicing the customer, like when Chad freed up his staff to go and be rock stars and better serve the customer. And, therefore, one more business and more loyalty. I think there’s a lot of pressure to put people and putting technology in just for the sake of it. And putting it to sort of enable outcomes.

Scott Luton (23:13):

Enable outcomes. But to your earlier point, there is a ton of pressure out there, tons of pressure. Chad, I’ll come to you next. Based on the great resignation or anything else that Dan shared, and there’s a couple of things that we want to kind of lay out for the current state, what we’re experiencing, what sticks out in your mind, Chad?

Chad Molen (23:30):

A note of caution, and that is that, again, if you put in technology and you try to automate a bad process, you’re going to end up worse off than when you started. So, that’s a real key thing. And the thing that frustrates me that a lot of companies that are really stuck in right now is that, if you remember Stephen Covey’s analogy of the sharpening the saw. You’ve got a lot of people that are trying to cut down trees with Dole sauce, and basically every time you talk to them about, “Hey, what about this or what about that?” They’re like, “I can’t get away from this tree I got — at it.” So, you know, the reality is, you’ve got to take time, step back, look at your processes, and map them out. And then, you look at a combination of people and technology to resolve those issues.

Scott Luton (24:24):

Well said. And a lot of folks are sharpening, working with some world-class sharp saws, but they’re taking down the wrong trees. They’re taking down their neighbor’s trees. You got to make sure we’re attacking with technology and innovation, the right things. Allison, what else would you add to this first kind of what we’re seeing?

Allison Krache Giddens (24:42):

I liked what Chad said, fed into a lot of what Dan said. And I’m going to give a shout out to Deborah Dull, the all-knowing guru of circular supply chain, and it is about engaging your customers and vendors and suppliers. I think it’s really easy in industry to prioritize our customers and kind of forget about the employees and kind of forget about the vendors, because – gosh – they’re lower on the totem pole. No. If we think of things more as circular, and if we can get the contributions from the vendors and the employees and the team in general, then we know whether or not this is the right tree to be cut down in the first place.

Scott Luton (25:20):

I love that, Allison. I love that. And Deborah is a guru for sure. Circularity and inventory is one of her favorite things to talk about.

Allison Krache Giddens (25:27):

Don’t tell Deborah I’m suggesting we cut down a tree. That is not part of the circular supply chain.

Scott Luton (25:32):

All right. I want to share a couple of quick comments from the audience. Sofia is dropping the newest McKinsey podcast, talking about some of the reasons behind why people are quitting and how to retain them. And some of what we’re talking about today goes right to that. Sheldon says, “The Great Resignation is a battle between the past and the future between employee values and firm values is the great realignment.” I like that.

Scott Luton (26:00):

Well, I don’t want to get ahead of us, so we’re going to talk about how we can beat some of these market conditions. I want to circle back to you, Dan. What’s the second thing you’d share about the current state?

Dan Reeve (26:11):

Well, I think probably more disruptions are likely. And I was reading something the other day and it was talking about how, you know, you still got pockets of COVID popping up in different areas. You’ve got companies in Europe – give me a second to pop my notebook – there was a company in Europe who provides one-third of the plastic that goes into the majority of automobiles. And they were saying, “Hey, we’re buying lots of parts. We can’t sell because the key components we need to, therefore, meet the demand that we have we cannot fulfill.” So, we’re actually sitting on a huge amount of inventory. We’ve got orders. We’re sitting on a lot of inventory. We can’t turn that cat. We can’t recognize an invoice. And we can’t actually supply the whole combined unit. So, a really difficult situation.

Dan Reeve (27:01):

So, I think it’s likely we’re going to see continued disruption, continued frustrations. And, therefore, if we’re going to talk Stephen Covey, we’re going to have to focus on what we can control in our circle of influence. What can we control ourselves? In our world, a lot of the finance leaders are saying, “Okay. We better focus on cash. We can at least make sure we’re fishing with cash. We can at least try and collect on time or early payment discounts.” And I realized that another part of that is inventory. Now, I’m not an inventory expert, but I realized that there’s there’s companies like, “Well, if we could turn inventory faster or minimize it, that might be another way to improve working capital.”

Scott Luton (27:46):

One quick follow-up to that. And then, Allison and Chad, I’m coming to y’all next. But on a related note, we’ve talked about this before, we’re talking about it pre-show, that drain on customer service teams. Because if we are making it harder for our customer service, our inside sales teams, you name it, the internal customer, it’s going to be much tougher to control the cash flow and, to your point, optimize those things that are more within our control, because we know there’s more things out of our control coming. So, speak to that for just a quick second, Dan, you know, really reducing that strain on internal customer service, inside sales, you name it.

Dan Reeve (28:26):

Yeah. I think, the organizations that engage with us, often, what they are trying to do is make sure that they can free their stuff up. And we’ve said that can be through automation, AI, and other technologies. Marisa Brown from AQPC talked about this, she says, “You know, in the future, what you’re trying to do is free up your staff to go and do real value engineering. And, therefore, they’re more likely to stay.” So, that might mean, “Hey, I have so many payables that we’ll go and work with procurement and breakdown silos.” Or, “I have so many customer service who can talk to sales, and procurement, and the customer.” You might even give them a little initiative or a pet project to work on where they can go and use those skills and they can feel that they’re making a difference. So, Marisa sort of talks about the value of deep work.

Dan Reeve (29:19):

I think the problem is, right now, how do you sort of free people up when it’s just the volume of questions and queries and email is overwhelming. You know, I think many of us have perhaps looked at and said, “Work-life balance, that isn’t going to happen. So, instead, how do I make sure I’m at least getting some balance or some grounding of what I need to do for me, my health, and my family, and all the rest of it? It’s an interesting time. It’s like, you know, push and pull in so many different directions.

Scott Luton (29:48):

All right. So, a lot there to kind of unpack a bit there, Chad. But out of everything you heard Dan just shared there, what immediately comes to mind as a priority?

Chad Molen (29:58):

So, first and foremost, unfortunately in a lot of companies, customer service tends to be the most mistreated and non-valued part of the organization. So, first and foremost, I would say, please take care of your customer service people. Do crazy things to keep the motivation and the energy. One thing that I did that I absolutely loved during the height of the quarantine was, I would walk around my neighborhood and I would video myself talking to the staff. And I would talk about just random topics or different things. Or sometimes it was just being honest and saying, “Hey, the situation that we’re in right now really sucks.” And some of you are, like, single parents, and dealing with a lot of things that typically is not a part of your general work environment. So, that is what I would say first and foremost.

Chad Molen (30:56):

Secondly, I would say that, this is really where your good customer service people can play a huge role and the analytics that Allison was talking about. So, if you put analytics to play with your backorders, with orders that are coming in, and you have people who know the products well enough and know the customers well enough, they can call them and say, “Look, you ordered these things, but we don’t have them right now. So, we have these other things,” and maybe they’re like a bulk item, so they’re like the same exact item, but that it’s a bulk item so that you buy more, or it’s a different color, or different things like that. That stuff is invaluable because nine times out of ten, I mean, in the industry that I was in before with plumbing and heating, if it’s behind the wall, who cares? They just need the product. They need to get their work done. So, give them an alternative and they’re going to take it.

Scott Luton (31:49):

There’s a reason we don’t have pink pipes or blue pipes or designer pipes. Right, Chad?

Chad Molen (31:54):

Yes.

Scott Luton (31:55):

I love that. So, those are two big points. Allison, you were nodding your head, I think, throughout Chad’s answer. What resonates the most with you?

Allison Krache Giddens (32:04):

It makes me think about, I recently ordered something online from a small business out west. And they contacted me and they said, “We’re so sorry we don’t have the item that you ordered. But I can make a recommendation to this instead.” I said, “Okay. That’s fine. Sure. That’s good.” They sent it, and then I decided I liked it, so I was going to order something else. So, I’m back to the website, ordered something, got an email from the person. She said, “I’m so embarrassed.” You know where this is going. “That’s not in stock either. I feel so bad.” And she was so genuine in the email tha it was obvious that this is a goofy time for everybody. She was all prepared to have me cancel the order, which I did not do. I said, “Send me what you think is the best comparable version,” and she did. And I’ll probably be a lifelong customer because of that. So, I think that speaks exactly to what Chad’s saying.

Scott Luton (32:56):

I love that. And I love that Dan Gingiss has a new book out focused on customer experience, and he talks about what you’re speaking to, that experience where there’s follow-up, there’s humanism. Clearly, you’ve got someone that wants to do a good job. I would argue and I’ll defer to the experts here, if your technology doesn’t free up your people to spend time on that, instead of they’re completely consumed in the blocking and tackling, you’re going to limit your customer service professionals to do things like that, Allison. Dan, Chad, any comments there?

Dan Reeve (33:35):

Yeah. Sure. One that comes to mind is, a few years ago, [inaudible] changed their tone and said, it’s no longer price and product alone. You need to come compete through service. Then, they went a bit further and said, where it really comes to the fore is when you fix issues, how quickly you resolve. Again, back to hiring folks with customer service skills. I mean, now that’s not just customer service. That’s bringing folks in with empathy and collaboration and customer service skills into finance as well as customer service. How quickly can those folks apply those skills?

Dan Reeve (34:10):

In your case, Allison, you probably felt heard and understood. There’s some empathy. There’s some tact. And it’s not just a bot response. So, I think people do want quick responses and quick information, but still we appreciate a little bit of tact and empathy, and that, I think, is a great example of that organization freeing up staff to go and do that sort of thing.

Dan Reeve (34:30):

A few years ago, I was in Tennessee and a CIO who worked for Esker said to me, “Dan, it would be nice if you could show me all the things that customers wanted that we couldn’t supply.” And I think he was in a similar mindset. Maybe I need to be going back to those folks and sort of saying to them, “I couldn’t give you that. Let’s talk about that. Let’s not brush it under the carpet, so I couldn’t give you that. But, you know, should I be changing what I stock? Tell me more about that.” So, they were seeing that as an opportunity to reengage with the customer.

Scott Luton (35:01):

All right. So, Chad, I’m coming to you for a really quick response. I’m going to share a couple of comments. And then, we’ve got to move to what are we going to do about it? So, Chad, your quick take.

Chad Molen (35:09):

It’s really important to think outside the box on the delivery situations. And I had a fun kind of story. It was challenging for me, but I had a lot of fun with it. And that is, that a customer had a pallet of material that was sitting at a hub here in the Denver area. And they were literally, like, five miles away. And so, I just kind of got fed up and I said, “You know what? I’m going to take our training van. I’m going to drive out there. I’m going to find it. I’m going to put it on the truck. And I’m going to deliver it to them.” And I tell you, that customer we earned was, you know, for life. And I can’t do that with every situation. But, again, kind of going back to those analytics situations, if you use a little bit of combination of data, and your own intuition, and just do the right thing, you’re always going to win in that situation.

Scott Luton (36:03):

I love that, Chad. I love that hammer meet nail type of thinking. You know, it’s within our control to earn customers for life. I want to point out – and Amanda or Allie, if we can drop this in the comment – The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss is a wonderful read. It goes to the heart of CX, the heart of what we’re talking about, how to create remarkable experiences that your customers can’t wait to share. And all three of our panelists here have talked about that.

Scott Luton (36:30):

All right. I want to share a couple of quick comments. Peter points out a great listen on the Una Sourcing Hero with Jeffrey Ostrander. That is a great listen and I listen to that myself. Peter, great call out. “Dan’s right on the money,” Sheldon says. Right on the money as always, Dan. “Balance cash, service levels, and cost.”

Dan Reeve (36:50):

I love Sheldon already, for sure.

Scott Luton (36:54):

Mark says, “Forget work-life balance. Read the book One Life by Morten Albaek. It is life-changing.” How about that? Sheldon says, “Chad’s on point, too, that data is going to give you insight. You got to be transparent, build customer intimacy through your knowledge. Hell leverage. It is a competitive advantage. Good stuff, Chad.” All right. I love that.

Scott Luton (37:19):

So, let’s do this. I want to get around, Chad is a perfect segue. He jumped in that van and went and made that happen. He took action. So, on that note, how can we act on these current challenges and the challenges that are right around the corner? And let’s see here, Chad, I want to start with you here. We have three great problem solvers, but, Chad, you seem to take your problem solving very seriously. So, how can we do something about these conditions that we’re handed?

Chad Molen (37:48):

I love solving problems. I mean, that’s what gets me up every day. So, for me, it always comes back to people, process, and technology, and it’s in that order. So, first and foremost, you’ve got to understand what you need from a people perspective. You got to size up your staff and figure out real quickly who’s ready, who’s not, who’s salvageable, and who do we need to help move on to a new opportunity. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but, you know, if you remember back to the – I think it was a Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, he talks about getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off. And so, I don’t have any bones about making those hard decisions.

Chad Molen (38:34):

And then, the next thing to look at your processes. The stuff that you guys talked about as far as flexibility, it’s really good to have tight processes, but you need to have some flexibility in there to give people the right information. And the one thing that kills customer service departments is bureaucracy. If somebody had a bad situation, and you want to give them a $5 credit, and you got to get that approved through the VP, you’re doing something wrong. So, the last thing is, once you kind of have those things tied up, then move on to technology. Look at automating all of the nonsense that you don’t really want people spending their time on. But do it very selectively and do it carefully at an appropriate pace. Because if you do it too quickly and you don’t have good change management, you’re going to crash and burn.

Scott Luton (39:32):

I love that. Don’t have people compiling transactions, automate that. Have the people analyze the transactions. Using their experience to find those signals that can improve the external and the internal customer experience and just the business itself. So, I love that, Chad. And then, of course, that’s a proven framework, people, process, technology. Allison, what would you add to that?

Allison Krache Giddens (39:57):

Chad, that reminds me of that first part of the equation of empowering your people to be able to do what they need to do. And that is the book, Delivering Happiness, about Zappos and about, in the early days, how he empowered his people to just do just that. “You don’t like your shoes? All right. We’ll send you a new pair.” I mean, crazy concepts to spend 25 bucks to save a hundred later.

Scott Luton (40:28):

Great call-out. And rest in peace, Tony Hsieh. I believe that’s how we pronounce his last name. Tragedy. All right. But still, the legacy is left behind. The culture behind Zappos, that was one of the earliest companies that hit the CX radar and to make CX such a thing. So, Dan, a home run hitter today. You’re the Jorge – actually, Jorge Soler, he’s not in the cleanup spot, Allison. He’s lead off. He just looks like a cleanup hitter, right?

Allison Krache Giddens (41:02):

He does and that swing does too.

Scott Luton (41:03):

That’s right. So, Dan and Chad, bear with us as we continue to celebrate the World Series Champs.

Allison Krache Giddens (41:08):

We’re still on kind of that high.

Scott Luton (41:10):

That’s right. The Atlanta Braves. Okay. So, Dan, we kind of switched over to what are we going to do about it, between old proven approaches and some new cutting edge stuff, what else would you add?

Dan Reeve (41:21):

Yeah. So, we’re talking books today, I think on the last show I talked about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams. Now, I’m onto a book called Multipliers. I think, often, your customer service staff, your supply chain planners don’t forget. And it is easy to do so, I think, as many of us hold a leadership position. It’s easy to assume that, you know, we have to come up with all the answers and we know best, and that can be draining. And I think, often, it can be invigorating and a retention tool if you’re asking your folks, “Hey, guys, ladies and gents, what ideas have you got? Reach out to your suppliers, what ideas have your suppliers and your customers got?” And people might enjoy just being part of the process, “Hey, look. I’m laying out the struggles we’re facing. Does anybody got any ideas?” Even crazy stuff.

Dan Reeve (42:15):

And I think departments and employees, one of the things over the course earlier this week, I was talking about the power of influence, some of the keys where people like to be part of the process, people like to be informed. Yes, people want opportunity to grow and develop. But just being part of the conversation and being given the opportunity to sort of contribute — 

Scott Luton (42:38):

Right. Definitely. Engage, be part of the conversations being had. Dan, by the way, my hunch would be if you put your book on Amazon, it’d be a bestseller. It sounds like you’ve got to put chock full of some golden observations there. So, let’s put the books up, let’s bring the crystal balls out. I tell you, just when you think you can’t see anything new and stuff that hasn’t happened before, something else crazy happens. I want to start with Chad. So, as Allison and I had our holiday conversation on the frontend, we’re already midway through November, it’s crazy. Which, on one hand kind of thankful to get through the year that has been, 2021. But, Chad, name one thing that’s right around the corner that you believe business leaders should expect in the new year?

Chad Molen (43:36):

I think like Dan said, you know, that there’s going to be continued disruption. I think there’s a mass exodus – not mass exodus, but a mass move to the Cloud in every way, shape, and form. And if you think about that from a company perspective and the amount of resources and effort that goes into maintaining systems and things like that, that’s probably one of the biggest things that I see. And, you know, it kind of aligns with, like, SAP, the system that I support. Their focus is on moving people to the cloud. It’s on extracting that information out of the system to use it to make better decisions. So, analytics is coupled with that.

Chad Molen (44:16):

And, honestly, I think people aren’t really doing analytics, like what we’ve talked about here on this show. They’re not using that information to make the decisions. And that’s a combination of predictive analytics, a combination of the old school sales reports. But you have to have the people again to be able to interpret that information to make good decisions. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of focus on moving to the Cloud and using information that they now have more available to make better decisions.

Scott Luton (44:48):

I love that. Ten years, as Greg White would say if he was here with us, Dan and Allison. It only took the Cloud ten years to be an overnight success. All right. So, I want to come to Dan next. Allison, you’ll be Freddie Freeman in a second. But, Dan, what else would you add when it comes to what to expect? What business leaders should expect in 2022?

Dan Reeve (45:10):

I think I’m going to talk about, obviously, disruption. But to be specific, the Harvard article I read the other day said, we’re seeing customers cancel orders as short as 48 hours. So, I think all that means is supply chain planners and customer service folks need to be freed up so they can be checking. You ask for that quotation, “How are we doing? And I’m hurting more from you. I was expecting the order in now.” More time to follow up – I don’t know if the word to use is Panda – more time to service the customer to make sure that you are indeed winning that business. Or have the opportunity to say, “All right. Well, is there anything I can do to make it easier?”

Dan Reeve (45:47):

Pre-pandemic, customer service leaders, some forward thinking folks like Chad and another gentleman I know in Chicago, they were freeing up their teams to go and visit customers. Yes, that’s right. And I know you don’t normally get to go and see the customer. But I want you to go and learn their business, engage, build a relationship. I think that stuff is all applicable, maybe even more important now. We can’t just take that business for granted. We don’t want to get orders cut off within 48 hours canceled. Do we have to sort of go and work harder and protect that business?

Scott Luton (46:22):

Right. Excellent points there, Dan. Allison, what else would you add?

Allison Krache Giddens (46:29):

It reminds me of that saying, “What’s the definition of crazy? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, I think going forward, the crystal ball, at least in my head, is, we’ve got to be willing to think of things differently. And engaging people like Dan and Chad are great because they’re not only thinking about the next step, but they’re thinking of the two steps after that, and engaging the right people along the way. So, I think the resiliency factor and the change management comes back down to what Chad said earlier, don’t think about the next step. Think about the two steps after that.

Scott Luton (47:06):

Yes. Like you’re playing chess and not checkers, right? I want to add, Lamont talking about a point Chad made earlier, “Sometimes you have to be proactive to provide the best customer service possible.” Tsquared says, “Hey, data is going to give you insights so long as it’s clean data.” That’s a good point there, Tsquared. Geoff LeRoy is with us. Geoff, hope this finds you well. It’s been too long. Also, down in the Savannah market doing some big things. “I send my customer service reps to our industry sales meetings on a rotating basis to further develop the relationships.” I love that, Geoff. And Happy Thanksgiving to you a couple of weeks early. It’s the only thing anyone’s getting early this holiday season. All right.

Scott Luton (47:49):

So, I hate to start to wind the conversation down, but the clock says we must. And, Dan, we’ll circle back to you. We’ve enjoyed having you and the Esker team a part of these conversations a variety of times. How can folks connect with you and the heavy hitting lineup that is the Esker team?

Dan Reeve (48:10):

Sure. You can reach me at daniel.reeve@esker.com or find me on LinkedIn at Daniel Reeve at Esker. 

Scott Luton (48:17):

Wonderful. And it’s not Allison, like I made in the first episode with Dan. It’s not like Dan Reeves, a former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach. There’s no S. It’s daniel.reeve@esker.com. Hey, I want to circle, Dan, if you had to put a nutshell in your least salesy informational but key bullet point to deliver to our listeners, what does Esker do in a nutshell?

Dan Reeve (48:43):

Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a case of finance leaders, supply chain leaders, folks who are in order to cash, they’ll often turn to us because they are trying to free up their staff to be rock stars. Take better care of customers or suppliers. Why is it? You know, we got that cash conversion cycle and people are trying to spend it faster so they can be more effective with their cash.

Scott Luton (49:05):

I love that. All right. I appreciate you sharing that. All right. So, let’s go to Chad Molen next. Chad, you’ve dropped so much, and we hadn’t even gotten into the food aspect of some of the things you do when you’re not solving problems at work and whatnot. But how can folks connect with you if they want to hear some more of your thoughts?

Chad Molen (49:26):

Yeah. It’s too bad we aren’t just breaking after this to go grab one together. But you can reach me at chad.molen@benimbl.com or you can connect with me with LinkedIn or NIMBL’s website is benimbl.com.

Scott Luton (49:44):

I love that. And really kidding aside, whether it’s a steak or some of your hikes you’ve got coming up, we got to see some pictures. We’d love to share that with our community. Dan, it’d be tough to top Dan. Dan spent some time in Corsica a month or so ago and sent us some gorgeous pictures that we shared. So, keep those pictures coming or it didn’t happen.

Scott Luton (50:07):

Allison, I love our work together. And beyond Win-Tech, I know it takes a bunch of your time. Of course, you lead the nonprofit, the Dave Krache Foundation, which helps to equip the Atlanta area kids that can’t afford the sports fees and just the high cost of playing organized sports. I love that nonprofit work. How can folks connect with you, Allison?

Allison Krache Giddens (50:29):

The best way to reach me is LinkedIn. I’m pretty active there. So, find me Allison Giddens. I’m on there. You won’t miss me.

Scott Luton (50:35):

And it’s a great follow and connection there. Okay. Well, Allison, Dan, and Chad, we finished a little bit early, so we had a little fun question on the frontend, so I’m going to throw one more fun question on the backend before we swoosh Dan and Chad out. And that question is going to be, what is your prediction? We’re deep in the college football season. Allison’s a big UGA fan. They’re having a hall of fame year. But, Dan and Chad, if y’all had to pick who you think is going to win it all in college playoffs this year, who would that be? And, Dan, I’m going to put you on the spot first.

Dan Reeve (51:14):

I have to be honest, I haven’t followed it. All I care about is the Badger game next weekend. I’m flying back to Madison for the big Nebraska game. As long as you beat those Uconn Huskies, I’m happy. I don’t care what else happens. What are we not getting?

Scott Luton (51:28):

I love that, Dan. I love that. I’ve never been to Madison. And, of course, we’ll talk with Bree and numerous others about the great state of Wisconsin. We’ll have to check out how the game goes.

Dan Reeve (51:40):

I will add something though, Scott. I have been to an SEC game. I’ve been to one game. I went to visit the CIO of Coca-Cola Bottling. And he said, “What are you doing tomorrow?” And I said, “Not a lot.” He said, “Well, I’m going to take you to a game.” So, I did go to a college game there in Atlanta. So, now, I came back to Wisconsin that night and I was wearing a Georgia Tech t-shirt. And let me tell you, a lot of people called me out for it and said, “You can’t wear that here today. This is a different conference.”

Scott Luton (52:13):

Well, hey, you’re going to have to come back. We’re going to do this in-person next time.

Dan Reeve (52:17):

I like those games. Georgia Tech was a good day out. I enjoyed it.

Scott Luton (52:20):

Wonderful. We’ll have to do this in-person next go round. But thanks for sharing that. Chad, whether you’re going to pick a winner or if you want to share something about your team, what would that be?

Chad Molen (52:30):

Well, unfortunately, I have to tell my ignorance and that I’m not big into college football. Coming from Kansas, college basketball is where it’s at. But I will say I’m always a big fan of the underdog and I’d love to see UGA get out there. So, yeah, all the best there.

Scott Luton (52:50):

Awesome. Awesome. And to your point, the big season in Kansas just kicked off as college basketball kicks off. And, gosh, I don’t know how many rings y’all have won there. But I enjoyed during my two years in Wichita learning a lot more about college basketball. All right. Now, Allison, you don’t have to predict. You probably don’t want to predict.

Allison Krache Giddens (53:08):

I’m not allowed to predict. My husband would, probably, kick me out if I said what my heart wants to say. But I’ll tell you that I think we’re going to do well. I’m just going to leave it at that.

Scott Luton (53:19):

That’s a good place to leave it. A good place to leave it. I’ll tell you, I really appreciate and I liked the approach y’all took here sharing some timeless and some new ideas, talking also about the current state that we’re all experiencing in different ways. And, of course, the relationship between Dan and Chad, I think that’s really neat. I will have to dive in that deeper in a future episode. Big thanks again to Dan Reeve with Esker. Big thanks to Chad Molen with NIMBL Worldwide. We’ll have you both back soon. Have a great weekend.

Dan Reeve (53:52):

Yeah. Thanks very much.

Allison Krache Giddens (53:53):

Thank you, guys. That was fun.

Scott Luton (53:56):

That was a great time. I tell you, I loved what they shared and there’s so much we could have dove in. I could have easily booked another few hours here. I want to share a couple of comments, and I’m coming to you, Allison. I’m coming to you, Allison, for your number one key takeaway from today’s conversation. Let’s see here. Mark says, “Think about change management as part of the sales process.” Shashi says, “Customer service reps should be part of the SNOP meetings.” That’s a great point there, Shashi. Let’s see, the same, there must have been a little glitch there. Michael Avera says, “Camp Randal gets jumping during the fourth quarter.” Camp Randal?

Allison Krache Giddens (54:37):

I don’t remember, maybe Coach Randal. There are fewer things more entertaining than coaches on the sidelines of basketball games – I mean, of football games. That is a [inaudible]. What? What? As a Georgia fan, I’m an undergraduate Bulldog. And I have a master’s from Georgia Tech. So, I play both teams. But I hope that Georgia Tech goes 11 and 1 every year.

Scott Luton (55:08):

Okay. All right. Well, hey, I bet that would make our dear friend, Mark Preston’s, year. Mark, hope this finds you well. Of course, Mark is, amongst other things, on the board with the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. So, great to see you. He says, Go, Georgia Tech. Beat Georgia. Lightning just might strike.” Lamont [inaudible], “Go Big Blue for basketball.” Matt Giddens says that is correct.

Allison Krache Giddens (55:33):

See. See. I am proud of us thus far, that’s what I will say. Go, Dogs.

Scott Luton (55:38):

So, that is Wisconsin Stadium that Michael was talking about, Camp Randal. That’s a new one for me.

Allison Krache Giddens (55:43):

Oh, I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking coaches. Okay.

Scott Luton (55:47):

Matt knew it. Michael knew it.

Allison Krache Giddens (55:48):

Okay. Then, I’ll hear it later, I’m sure. That’s cool.

Scott Luton (55:51):

Okay. Shashi, “Amazing, Dan and Chad. Lots of good -”

Allison Krache Giddens (55:56):

Wait. Wait. Wisconsin? Was that the one – and Matt and a bunch of other people probably know this – where they played jump around, I think, in one of the games? The whole stadium went nuts. Like, it shook because everyone participated. No, that was UV Stadium.

Scott Luton (56:13):

No, you’re right. Bree says every game. Bree says every game. So, you’re dead on the money. Nice, Allison.

Allison Krache Giddens (56:20):

Yes. I redeemed myself, I know.

Scott Luton (56:22):

So, you showed your credentials there, that’s why your on Supply Chain Nerds Talk Sports sometime. All right. So, Allison, as we wrap and I tell you, that was good. I really enjoyed today’s conversation between Dan and Chad. What was your one favorite takeaway?

Allison Krache Giddens (56:38):

I think it was all about being able to do things differently and recognizing that things need to be different. And whether that’s a customer experience, your external customer or your internal customer, which technically is your employee, to a degree your vendors or suppliers. And it’s not just we can’t think old school anymore. This is no just a totem pole of stakeholders. This is a circle.

Scott Luton (57:04):

Well said. I would just add to that one of my favorite themes that we talked about today, and we’ve talked about a lot when we talked to Dan with Esker, is, it’s time. It’s past time to liberate the people on the team that work really hard and are dealing with all the stresses of the current environment. Invest in those challenges. Invest in ways to automate the blocking and tackling, the menial work, and free them up to add a lot more value to the organization. That is what must happen. It’s a big part of global supply chain moving forward. But to do so, to Chad’s point earlier, when you choose what technology or what have you, whether you choose to work with an Esker or others, man, when you implement it, do it the right way. Don’t just take it off the shelf. Implement it and then they’re dealing with a stuck system. Invest in the time to get it set to what your operation needs. And more importantly, what your people need.

Allison Krache Giddens (58:04):

It can be daunting, because with the shortage of workforce, all these things might seem great and pie in the sky. But it’s like, “I don’t have time to do it. I’m just putting out the fires as it is.” But yeah, you’re right. If you take the time to invest in those kinds of things, then set yourself up to be rock stars later.

Scott Luton (58:22):

You’re right. And that was one of the terms of today’s conversation. Dan loves the rock star element. Okay. Well, folks, hopefully, you enjoyed this conversation as much as Allison and I have. Allison, great to do this with you here today.

Allison Krache Giddens (58:37):

This was fun. Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (58:38):

Definitely. Big appreciation to what you and the Win-Tech team do. And, of course, the Dave Krache Foundation. Y’all check that out. Big thanks again to Chad Molen with NIMBL Worldwide, and the one and only rock star Dan Reeve – I always call him Dave. Maybe he’s got a customer by the name Dave – Dan Reeve with Esker. Always a pleasure.

Scott Luton (58:59):

Folks, if you enjoy this, be sure to find Supply Chain Now wherever you get your podcasts from. But most importantly, if you’re taking anything away from here, we challenge you, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time right back here on Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (59:17):

Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check 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

Dan Reeve is a Sales Director, approaching 22 years with Esker. Dan works to help companies free up front-line troops to be finance and customer service rockstars through the application of machine learning and AI.

Dan was fortunate to serve 10 years as a Combat Engineer in the British Army, then was attached to the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He traveled the world, served alongside Americans and many others, and learned everyone has a good idea, every Army unit thinks they are better, and what can you learn and apply so that you are indeed better prepared and more professional next time.

Dan’s career highlights include getting paid to represent the Royal Engineers in Army shooting competitions, being selected to Army Mountaineering expeditions (climbing Mountains, getting paid, seeing the world, and having a good time with the locals in Nepal, India, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain).  Connect with Dan on LinkedIn.

Chad Molen is a Service Delivery Manager at NIMBL, a global SAP consultancy spanning four continents and 20 offices worldwide, with a laser focus on business transformation through leveraging SAP technology and further empowering our clients with U.S. based Application Management Services (AMS) to both Midmarket and Fortune 1000. For over 20 years Chad held leadership positions in the aerospace and plumbing/heating industries across supply chain, sales, customer service, and continuous improvement. He has a passion for helping companies develop a service culture centered around people, process, and technology. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Allison Giddens

Host, Supply Chain Now

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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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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Allison Giddens

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.

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Greg White

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.

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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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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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