Louisiana currently ranks 49 out of the 50 states when it comes to health outcomes. Despite that disturbing fact, there are amazing healthcare teams and organizations working tirelessly to elevate the health of the communities they serve, one patient at a time.
Régine Villain is the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Ochsner Health System, a Louisiana-based organization that was recently recognized with a fifth place ranking in the Gartner Healthcare supply chain Top 25. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit health system comprised of 47 hospitals and 370 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf South. Their more than 37,000 employees worked together to serve over 1.4 million patients in 2022 alone.
In this episode, Régine speaks with host Scott Luton about:
– How working in a New York City hospital on September 11, 2001 affected her perspective on and response to later crises
– Working to ensure security of operating room supplies in the months leading up to the COVID outbreak and after
– The spirit of innovation that sets Ochsner apart, and how it allows them to manage their supply chain outside the box
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Scott Luton (00:30):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s show. Hey, on today’s show, we’re continuing our popular healthcare supply chain leadership series, where we’ve been talking with exception leaders doing big things in the industry. And, you know, there aren’t too many topics that impact everyone more than supply chain management and healthcare combined. So we’re delighted to continue, continue this important series here at Supply Chain. Now with a recognized leader in the healthcare industry and an organization that was recognized with a number five ranking in the most recent Gartner Healthcare supply chain Top 25. So, with all of that said, wanna welcome in regime Illa, chief Supply Chain Support Services officer with Ochsner Health Regine. How you doing?
Regine Villain (01:14):
I’m doing great, Scott. Thank you for that intro.
Scott Luton (01:17):
Well, you bet. We’ve dove into your background. We’ve been big fans of what you have been doing and, and, and some of those tough leadership path we’ve had in the last few years, and I can’t wait to get you to share some of that with our listeners. So thanks for being here, regime.
Regine Villain (01:30):
Thank you, Scott.
Scott Luton (01:32):
All right. So before we get into, uh, talking all things supply chain leadership and, and healthcare more, let’s get to know you a little better. Raje. Our, our team, as I mentioned, been doing their homework, gathered market intel on your journey, and a little birdie told me that you love, you’re very passionate about traveling. And now that things are opening back up, which we’re all very grateful for, tell us if you would, why do you love to travel and what’s one of your favorite, uh, destinations?
Regine Villain (01:57):
Wow. I gotta tell you, I’m impressed with that intel. Um, that will be correct. Um, I love, love, love, love, love to travel. And that’s something that I’ve loved for a long time. And as a matter of fact, you know, uh, when my husband and I met, uh, that was one of the things that connected us, and we actually weaved that into our vows. And we promised to be each other’s shipmates and just travel the world. And that’s what we’ve been doing since, uh, we’ve been married in the past 13 years now. And we have gone on almost every continent except, uh, gone to Australia and Antarctica. But we’ve otherwise been on every continent and we just enjoy exploring. As a matter of fact, we are planning for a trip in the next couple of weeks.
Scott Luton (02:47):
Okay. All right. Well, um, I’d love for you to unpackage some of those details, but I’ll ask you instead, if you think of all the places and man, you could write several books on travel with, with your adventures, what’s one of your favorite places that you’ve been?
Regine Villain (03:01):
Wow, that’s a very interesting question cuz people ask me that question and it really depends on what it is that, you know, the experience is. But frankly, a place that really awed me and just gave me a sense of peace and wonder was, uh, Machu Picchu in Peru. And it is one that we actually did early on in our, you know, time together. And I gotta tell you, there’s just something about that place that’s truly magical. And we really, truly loved experiencing what Machu Picchu had to, had to give. And, um, I gotta tell you, I think back about it and I can see myself and I can just see everything. And the, basically the energy of that place was just really amazing. Mm.
Scott Luton (03:49):
Okay. So when is the book coming out on traveling the World with, uh, regime and Company?
Regine Villain (03:55):
Well, you know, soon to come. It’s something that actually we’ve talked about. We’ve talked about curating our experiences for others and being able to share some of the things that we’ve learned, you know, across different cultures and across different areas of the world. It’s truly something that, you know, I’m passionate about. I know we’re both passionate about it, but frankly, you know, anytime I feel like I need to reset myself, um, traveling is what does that for me.
Scott Luton (04:20):
And it brings the world together. Love how you touched on that. Go out and better understand other parts of the world and their, their customs and traditions. They’re cuisine. One of our favorite things to talk about here, right? Oh
Regine Villain (04:32):
Yeah. Oh yeah. We can see ourselves to be footies and so we’re always looking for that curated experience, you know, great cuisine. And I don’t know if you watch the show, um, Phil, uh, yeah. Yeah. And so we love to watch Phil in any time we’re going somewhere. We’ll see if he is gone, and then we’ll look at his recommendations and we’ll usually try that. So yeah, quite, uh, quite fun.
Scott Luton (04:59):
So, regime to clue our listeners in, I think you’re talking about what’s feeding Phil on Netflix, is that right? That
Regine Villain (05:04):
Is correct. Okay. What’s Phil on Netflix.
Scott Luton (05:07):
So y’all check that out. You’re the second person here lately to recommend that, uh, to us. Okay. Well let’s get to work here. Cause you know, I wanna talk about your background, uh, and talking about more about the healthcare industry. Uh, I feel like we have to have you back for a travel series cause I’ve got a lot of lot of notes I wanna compare with you there. But let’s talk about your journey. So since graduating from the University of Florida, go Gators, right? I’ll throw that in there for you.
Regine Villain (05:32):
Scott Luton (05:33):
Um, with an engineering degree, and then Columbia University with a Master’s in Health Policy Management. So you’ve been in the healthcare industry for quite some time. You said you started at age four, uh, Precia. I think I could, I can get what you’re saying that, um, especially, you know, you’ve served in a variety of senior leadership roles, a lot of different systems and, and healthcare organizations share some of the ways, uh, let’s share a couple ways that you’ve seen the industry really evolve over your time in, in the healthcare industry.
Regine Villain (05:59):
Well, um, thank you for that. And yes, I maintained that. I studied at four. I was quite brilliant as a kid. And so thank you. But I gotta tell you, when I think of the evolution, especially, I can talk specifically about the supply chain. Uh, first of all, back then it was not known as supply chain. We were materials managers, and so we were relegated to being folks who were just purchasing things, and it was the purchasing folks. And, um, the other thing that was quite, uh, notable as well is that we almost always found ourselves near the morgue in the basement somewhere. The, uh, influence of the supply chain, as we call it today, was certainly not there back then. It was not known, it was not recognized. And so, um, you know, when I look at how I started my career in healthcare and where I am today and where we as a body are, it’s quite a journey.
Regine Villain (07:01):
I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard the journey from the basement to the boardroom, but certainly we are well in our way to that. Uh, when I think about the role that I hold at Ochsner, um, being a chief supply chain officer and support services officer, and the span of, you know, control, the span of influence that we have where we can really help our clinicians, where we can help our key stakeholders within the organization to realize, you know, their goals as well. And as we are acting as an enabler and a facilitator across the organization, it’s just truly rewarding. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, it’s quite a journey,
Scott Luton (07:42):
You know, it really is. And, uh, the last several years with the pandemic, we’re gonna touch on that in a minute. Um, the incredible work of both our, uh, our healthcare workforce globally and the supply chain workforce globally. I mean, heroes, they should wear capes. Uh, it, it’s really, and I bet regime, um, the mission. I mean, healthcare already has that mission inherently because it’s life and death, right? And it’s people and helping them. But I bet that mission took on a whole new, um, um, uh, narrative for you in the last few years. Is that ine your, your thoughts?
Regine Villain (08:19):
That is absolutely correct. I mean, when, when you talk about the patients, I mean, it’s not something that you normally hear because, you know, I’m not a physician or I’m not a nurse. However, my passion when I get up in the morning as a supply chain and support services officer is my patients. And I call them my patients for a reason, because really that’s my true north. And so during times of crisis, like the pandemic or anything, like, you know, being in what I call the corner of uncertainty in Louisiana, uh, where we have a rush of hurricanes, you know, usually every year except last year, and I’m knocking on wood that this year would last year, uh, there’s always something. There’s always been something. And so the focus in times of crisis really remains for the stability and the wellbeing of our patients. And of course, you know, the caregivers also who are taking care of ’em, because then if the patients are doing well, we also wanna make sure that our caregivers feel that, you know, they’re safe and they’re able to do the work that they’re called to do. And all of that really plays a big role in the things that I do as a supply chain officer, and that my team does as well.
Scott Luton (09:35):
We, uh, we owe so much to so many in the, these last ongoing, but certainly the last three, uh, two or three years as we’ve gotten through, uh, a really tough time. Uh, I want for context for our listeners and our viewers, I wanna kind of share a couple, uh, aspects about the NER Health Organization. It’s a non, it’s a not-for-profit health system, comprised of 47 hospitals, 370 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf South. It’s got more than 37,000 and employees all working together, kind. We’re, we’re all, what we’re celebrating here to serve more than 1.4 million patients. And that was a figure from 2022. So I love how you put your true north, my patience. I love that. That’s one of the first t-shirt isms that come out of this conversation. But what else would you add? What, what else would you think would be helpful from, uh, context standpoint for our listeners or viewers to know about the organization?
Regine Villain (10:30):
Well, as you mentioned, um, you know, Ochsner is the leading not-for-profit, uh, healthcare system in the Gulf South. And you mentioned the states that we cover, and certainly that’s something that we’re very proud of, you know, being that anchor in the region to really help, um, you know, advance the state of health in, in the state, primarily in the state of Louisiana and the neighboring states as well. Um, with that though, comes a great responsibility. One of the things that is either known or not known about the state of Louisiana is that when it comes to health outcomes, we’re unfortunately at the bottom of the ranks, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> either 49 or 50 toggling within, you know, some of our neighboring states. And so when you think about the strength of an organization, likeer, that does such great things, and that is so, so recognized for doing great things, there’s almost a dissonance with that. And so what we’ve done is that we’ve put a stake in the ground, um, in the past couple of years where we said that we need to do something better than just accepting being a 49 out of 50 state, or sometimes 50 out of 50. And so we have set out a pledge and we have also invested money in pledging to be, to go from the number 49 to the number 40. And so it’s called the 40 by 30 pledge,
Scott Luton (12:03):
Regine Villain (12:04):
Basically to bring the state of Louisiana from number 49 to number 40 by the year 2030. So it’s a healthy state initiative, and that’s one that Ochsner is leading where we have invested million dollars, you know, to, to basically, uh, do everything we can. And so that’s something that when you think about a state like Louisiana, where food is definitely something that’s very big, we think about, you know, the vibrancy of the city, uh, the music, the jazz fest, and all of those things. And frankly, there’s a whole calendar about all the things that happen in New Orleans. It’s just mind boggling. I believe there are only so many weeks in the year where there’s nothing going on in New Orleans. And I think you can count those weeks on one hand. But, um, suffice to say that, you know, when you think about New Orleans, you know, the food is what comes into play.
Regine Villain (13:01):
And so there’s all kinds of, you know, things that come with that. And so as an institution that really has a leading and a prominence in the state and the Gulf South, it’s really important for us to really lean in and help our communities be the healthiest that they can be. Uh, when we say that we’re great, we’re a great organization. We also need to be a greater organization in a healthier state. And so that’s what we’re doing, and we’re pushing and doing everything we can because we know that the future of health is in the homes, is in the communities. And so we’re working alongside our caregivers and our communities in order to really do that. So I’m very proud about this initiative because it just shows that we’re going beyond the four walls of Ochsner to really make an impact and a difference in the lives of the people that we serve.
Scott Luton (13:52):
Raje, I love it as well. Uh, and I love your passion. Uh, goodness gracious. You got passion by the truckload, and that’s great for healthcare, and it’s also great for the supply chain industry. Uh, so, okay, so 40 by 30, uh, so get in from 49 to that 40th ranking by 2030. And you know, one other thing that I don’t think you mentioned there, but where my brain goes is that that will allow, if we can get healthier as a people, and regardless of wherever, whatever community, you know, that can also pre uh, can help with preventive health issues, and, you know, if we can get more people healthier, it can free up probably more capacity on our healthcare system, you know, from coast to coast. Would any, any comments there? Uh, RA Regina,
Regine Villain (14:36):
Well said Scott. Um, that’s absolutely the case here. We’re we wanna make sure that, you know, our facilities are open to those, you know, who are in, in real, real, real need. When you think about tertiary and coronary care, uh, we wanna make sure that we’re there for those patients. Certainly we’re here in our communities to help all of those who need us, but then when we can address those things like the onset of diabetes and, you know, um, cardiac care issues and, and, and what have you, it’s a lot easier. Or making sure that we’re taking care of our pregnant mothers in a way that allows for them to have, you know, a safe, um, and healthy pregnancy. And certainly, um, safe, uh, childbirth. That’s also those things that are important because those things are considered, you know, primarily basic when it comes to the care.
Regine Villain (15:30):
And so we need to make sure that we’re leaning in and doing everything we can to help our patients and our families. Because when you think about it, you know, when I talk about the communities, there’s not a disconnect here cuz we are our communities, right? Right. Uh, when we talk about patients, we are our patients, our families, our loved ones are the patients that we’re talking about here. And so we have a vested interest in making sure that the greater we are doing better and not necessarily utilizing the healthcare system for, you know, the things that could probably be taken care of at home or closer to home. And so we wanna make sure that we are healthier.
Scott Luton (16:12):
Well said Raje. I love it. I, I’m looking forward to tracking, um, the, uh, 40 by 30, uh, initiative, uh, and the advances you’ll be making collectively, uh, as a people, as a communities that we all, uh, live and work in. I wanna ask you this next question. You know, we all make assumptions, all of us as humans and as, uh, listeners, as supply chain practitioners. You name it when we hear, hear the word chief Supply chain and support services officer, uh, which is your role there at Ochsner Health to spell any assumptions, tell, tell us about your role, uh, there at Ochsner.
Regine Villain (16:44):
Well, the chief Supply Chain officer, in my opinion, almost does everything <laugh>. I mean, we’re the ones really who have our fingers on the pulse. Uh, we have access to all, in every areas in the organization. And we’re the ones who really almost like we’re helping to coalesce everything and bring forth all the initiatives that are going on across the organization. I know that’s a bold statement, but frankly, it’s one of those where I can say, you know what? I’ll sit here and prove me wrong. Because everything that happens in an institution, not just at Ochsner, but any hospital system ultimately finds its way through the supply chain organization. That is the only area in our healthcare organization that has that distinction. Everybody else, you know, can operate in a silo and be okay because they are, you know, doing their own thing. But the supply chain does not have, you know, that luxury.
Regine Villain (17:44):
We have to be the ones who are basically bringing everything into the focus, bringing solutions, facilitating, you know, um, things. And so making sure that everything is being done. And so that to me is a distinction. And the privilege that we have with all of that comes, you know, great responsibility as well because again, the true north being the patient. And so when we find ourselves in the middle of all of those, we need to make sure that we’re operating at the top of our license, that we understand what’s going on and that, you know, we are innovative, we’re communicative, so that, you know, we can make sure that the healthcare episode is a smooth one ultimately for the patients and the caregivers. And so that to me is a distinction that nobody can take away from us.
Scott Luton (18:38):
Ra Jean beautifully said, uh, uh, distinction and honor, I think is what, what you it is to serve and serve in supply chain and healthcare. And man, sign me up. I bet you are inspirational to work for. I wanna talk more about, uh, we mentioned a pandemic. We’re gonna talk more about that, uh, in a second. But, um, before we do that, shed some light on how you have led through crisis earlier in your career, prior, long prior to the pandemic, and what those experiences taught you and, and enabled you to do when the pandemic hit.
Regine Villain (19:11):
Wow. Well, you know, from growing up in Haiti, like I mentioned before, which is an area that, um, sees a lot of hurricanes every year to finding my way in, uh, uh, New York. Uh, during nine 11, I was actually at work when nine 11 occurred. In my opinion, it’s one of the biggest crisis and lessons that you know, one could ever have. Uh, and not only did I experience it, but I experience it in the city where it happened and not too far from where it happened. I mean, that to me fundamentally changed, um, the way that I viewed things. It’s almost like the innocence of the supply chain or materials management leader that I was at that, um, point, you know, was shattered. And I realized that, you know, the mission that I have is one that is bigger than just carrying supplies from into.
Regine Villain (20:11):
It was really about making sure that, you know, we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the organization, trying to solution and figure out exactly what we would do. And of course, the tough thing. And as I talk about this, you know, I’m channeling the emotions that I felt that day and that week actually. Cuz it was more than just one day of really bent, uh, you know, built up emotion. Unfortunately, we waited, we, we, you know, we got ready. We were, you know, doing all kinds of things. We got innovative. This is the first time ever where we were able to work directly, uh, with, um, you know, some of the, uh, federal, uh, offices. And we got a helicopter full of items delivered, um, on the rooftop of the hospital, anticipating those who were gonna be coming because of this horrible thing that had just happened right in front of us.
Regine Villain (21:04):
Really, like I said, literally we could see things happening from afar, um, you know, outside of what we’re seeing on tv, but nobody ever came. And that was just so heart wrenching. Um, we waited and we waited. We were so ready, we were prepared, and we were anticipating how we were gonna help people and what we’re gonna do. We were in the war rooms, you know, planning and, and, and, and anticipating, and nobody came. Mm. That was really heart-wrenching. So that to me, um, just really changed the way that I viewed my role. And I viewed my role as an even more important role. I mean, again, I had just started my career in healthcare, in the materials management area, understanding what we did. But really that is a pivotal moment where I understood, wow, you know what? We play such a huge role and we need to be in sync with what’s going on in the organizations that we serve.
Regine Villain (22:07):
And, you know, hurricanes, uh, I lived in the southeast, uh, you, you mentioned Charleston earlier. Charleston is an area that I lived and, um, you know, experience, uh, quite a bit of, of issues here. Ebola, um, happened also. So all of those things really prepared me, prepared, um, uh, me mentally and physically as well to be able to not only deal with this, but to lead a team through that, which is really the, the most important thing. Because as an individual, I can will myself to feel a certain way or think a certain way, but it’s a different thing when I have to also make sure that my team is in sync and is able to also pull themselves up and be able to do what is expected during times where everybody is just really panicking.
Scott Luton (23:01):
So well said. You, you talked about, um, it’s one thing to compartmentalize your own personal feelings and be able to get through the day, but when you’ve got hundreds, if not thousands of people depending on you as part of your team, you know, that’s a whole different level. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I really wish we had a couple hours to dive in into, um, you know, some of those things you just mentioned that positioned you well to act with a whole new sense of purpose and experience and, and different levels of thinking as a pandemic hit. But for the sake of time, I’m gonna move, I wanna move into, um, key decisions that you made, you know, in early 2020, right? The pandemic is, and, and as I recall, was, uh, ravaging the world. It hadn’t really hit here in, in, in, in, uh, in full here in the States. Um, and a lot of folks didn’t really realize many, the majority you name it didn’t have a clue what was coming, but you did, you had a sense of, of what was coming. So tell us about some of the decisions you made prior to the pandemic really hitting here in the states there in, uh, early 2020.
Regine Villain (24:09):
You know what, Scott, it’s one of those things that I think about and it’s just like, you know, that’s bity senses. I, I talk about the senses quite a bit. Um, when it comes to the pandemic, it’s really a series of unfortunate circumstances which turn out to be fortunate in, you know, helping in the decision making. So you mentioned 2020, but it really started, um, in the fall of 2019, um, in the fall of 2019. Well, prior to anything starting to happen, I wanna say around October of 29 19, there was a well known case of, um, disruptions from one of our largest distributors around custom packs. And that was something that started, I wanna say about that October timeframe, 2019. We received a notification that the, the pacs were likely compromised. And they did basically a self recall, uh, recognizing that there may have been some issues in the, um, you know, making of the packs.
Regine Villain (25:21):
And we found out, you know, through series of communications that those packs were being manufactured in a facility out in China. And so we started to really have some intentional and intense conversations about how we could remedy that because PACS are things that are really important in the course of, you know, the daily operations of, uh, a hospital. We use a lot of PACS in our ORs. And the ORs are, you know, some of the highest revenue generating areas. And so you don’t wanna compromise, you know, somebody going into surgery or anything that has to do with surgery. And so we lean really heavily on having very, very intentional conversations about what was going on at the plant, what was being found out at the plant, what was going on in China, normally around that time of year as well. It’s a time where you start getting the notification about plant closures, cuz there’s usually that, you know, four to six week plant closure that happens almost every year with every manufacturing entity.
Regine Villain (26:25):
So I started to probe about that because I felt like that was coming really close to the timeframe. What, what are you guys doing? What are we thinking about? What’s going on here? Really pushing quite aggressively when I think about it. Um, and so ultimately I just had a sense that, you know what, not thinking about a pandemic, but thinking that from a disruption perspective we would probably be disrupted for a while. And right around that time, around that November-ish, early December timeframe, there started to be a little bit of rumbling and rumors about this thing, the sickness going on in China where people were sick, they were not able to go to work, they were staying home. And then you, you know, you started to hear things about people being quarantined. And I was simply thinking about the fact that those folks who need to go to the factory, if they’re sick and they’re starting to be quarantined at home, then we probably are gonna have an issue.
Regine Villain (27:31):
Because back then, when you talk about anything and everything from a supply chain point of view, the majority of our items came from China. And I started to think a little bit more holistically about, ooh, you know, what, plants are gonna co are gonna shut down soon. We have this issue with this particular manufacturer about the plants in China, but then I’m finding out that there’s this thing going on where some people are not able to go home and then, then there’s a whole town that’s shut down. And I just pulled my team and they can tell you that I pulled my team at the end of the year, um, towards like the third week of December. And I said, guys, let’s take a look at all the things that we would consider, you know, really important and key to our operation. Now everything is key, but you have things that you really cannot go without.
Regine Villain (28:25):
Let’s make a quick list of those items and figure out exactly where they’re being manufactured. Because I have a feeling that if those items are being manufactured in China, we’re gonna find ourselves in somewhat of a disruption, not thinking ahead that we’re talking about almost a two years disruption. But I gotta tell you that foresight and that, you know, that conversation and that instinct, that spidey sense that I had and convincing my team, because I gotta tell you, they looked at me, they said, but this is something that’s going on in China. And I had to say, guys, it’s going in China, however, we get whatever, 75% of our stuff from China, and I want to make sure that we can identify those items that we consider really critical. And let’s figure out where they’re being made. Let’s get on the call and let’s call these manufacturers to find that out. Hmm. I said in the meantime, let’s start to ramp up on some of those things and get ourselves in a position so that at least we can last for the next three to six months and make sure that we’re not going to be with that. And I gotta tell you, that was the best decision because that allowed me and allowed my team and allowed Och, auctioner to enter into the pandemic with a position of strength, relative strength because we didn’t have to start scrambling from day one.
Scott Luton (29:52):
And a lot of that different thinking where you were challenging the team and, and using those spidey senses that you, that you mentioned, all of that, one of the big wins looking back, um, that was really pivotal is you created the first provider owned, uh, personal production, uh, production equipment manufacturing facility in the us Is that right? Raje? That
Regine Villain (30:11):
Is correct. Um, a provider owned manufacturing, it’s like, who does this? Well, again, I’m fortunate to be part of an organization that allows such creativity and frankly born out of the frustration of having to rely on, you know, unreliable sources that were promising p p e throughout the pandemic. And that never came through and we were not as affected as others because, um, very early on, like I mentioned, we were in a different position. But also I also very early on pivoted away from where everybody was going because everybody was flocking to, you know, China. And I was just, you know, going elsewhere. I was going close to home, to Mexico, to South America and really leaving everybody, um, you know, fighting, uh, you know, in China. However, I gotta tell you that, um, when it came to what was going on within the four walls at Ochsner, it was intense.
Regine Villain (31:10):
It was really intense. It was, uh, lots going on, but we kept a steady foot on everything that was going on and made sure that, you know, we led with courage and we led with conviction. Um, one thing that I felt worked really well is that we also aligned ourselves and collaborated very closely with other entities across the organization. We really created a beautiful symbiotic relationship with our infection disease specialist because as you can remember, during that time, almost every hour it was changing what was acceptable, what was not acceptable, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do. I mean, you really couldn’t keep up with the changes. You know, you gotta wear a mask, you can’t wear a mask, you don’t need to wear a mask, you gotta wear, you know, so all the protocols were changing. And so aligning our cells with our infection disease specialists, you know, infection control folks and our quality folks really helped because we were able to work with each other to really make sure that Ochsner was doing the right thing by the decisions that we were made.
Regine Villain (32:22):
At one point, I remember, uh, we were talking about, for example, the flow of visitors across the organization, theoretically, again, something that does not necessarily affect the supply chain, but through that collaboration and that communication that I talked about, I was able to get them to understand that if we’re going to allow every patient to come with 3, 4, 5, 6 visitors at a time where we were asking everybody to wear a mask, to wear gloves and to do this and do that, that would be a strain on our inventory. And so because of that relationship and that communication that we built in that relationship, then we were able to change the protocol to say that patients can only be accompanied by, you know, one person. Um, and so a lot of the decisions that ultimately became public facing, we had a lot to do in helping to, you know, really make that decision because we had to make sure that we were preserving, um, the little bit of inventory that we have so that we’re not in the news with, you know, people having inappropriate, um, PPEs to wear.
Scott Luton (33:31):
Yes. You know, I, I’m sure we could talk and I bet you still, you’d still talk with your colleagues and, and fellow leadership team members about, and what the last 2, 3, 4 years have looked like. I, if you think one more before we move on, cause I wanna talk about some of your, um, uh, your recognition that you’ve mentioned on the front end and some of the cool things you’re doing, some of the improvement initiatives you are leading. If you think back again in the thick of the pandemic and you think of one of the big decision y’all made, big action, you took, what else? What’s one other thing that comes to mind?
Regine Villain (34:01):
I think for me, networking really helped network, network, network and network at every level. Not only across the organization, but outside the organization. The strength of relationship really came to bear, at least for me when it came to resolution. Um, so, uh, I can think for example of what I call everybody leaving their jersey, the color of their jersey aside and really working together. We were reaching across, you know, um, healthcare system across the United States and talking to each other and basically bringing together and leveraging our volume in order to get some purchases through, hey, you know, um, I’m about to buy, I don’t know, a million gloves, but, uh, they, they need a minimum of 3 million. Um, are you guys interested? Can you go in with us? And we’re talking about, you know, healthcare system, uh, all across the country, we’re coming together and having this beautiful, um, you know, relationship and networking where we really leaned in together and helped each other in ways that we had never done before.
Regine Villain (35:08):
And really since leveraging relationships in ways where perhaps, you know, it could have been a relationship with a vendor that did not necessarily have a relationship with Ochsner, but had a relationship with Jane and really calling on favors saying, Hey, can you help me? You know, whatin, I need to take care of my customers first, but we can certainly help you, um, you know, with whatever we can. It’s, it may not be much, but we can help help you. And at that time, every little bit helped. And the other thing that we also did, we relied heavily also on our local folks, folks that we never thought about. Cause when, uh, Louisiana started surging, especially the area of New Orleans, it was right after Mardi Gras. And you have all of those wonderful folks who are seamstresses and who have been doing costumes all year long who are now, you know, without a job.
Regine Villain (36:07):
And we were able to leverage the skill sets of those folks to get us to start making masks and making gowns that were absolutely superb. You know, we thought about the wood making folks and we got them, you know, to start working with other materials to make those visors. And so they started to make visors. We work with distillery cuz God knows we don’t, we don’t, you know, have, uh, enough distilleries here in Louisiana anymore, <laugh>. And so we put all those distilleries to work to start making hand sanitizers. Um, and so it was just a really beautiful coming together of people and communities in a way that had never been done before. And everybody was willing, everybody wanted to help. Everybody wanted to find a way, you know, a as little as as much to really find an opportunity to help. And so being able to coalesce all of that and really leverage all of that to build an even stronger supply chain during that, um, that time was just beautiful. And it just really opened, opened my mind, opened our minds to things that we could probably do differently that we never thought of. I mean, here it is, we’re sitting on a wealth in a community that is so talented, right? And we never thought about it until the crisis. And so it’s like, wow, we can actually make, yeah, we make booze and so we can make, you know, hand sanitizers with the booze, you know, maybe a little bit flavored, but hey
Scott Luton (37:44):
<laugh>. Well, so there’s so much there. Uh, but a couple couple key thoughts come to my mind. Relationships matter and that’s one lesson that we’ve all learned the last few years. Never take it for granted. Always look for ways to invest in relationships. Cause it’s easy during the, during the good times. Yes. It’s the, it’s the bad times where we’re gonna flex those relationships and leverage ’em to help protect people and further the mission. And then the second thing you mentioned, you know, the, this word, this word innovation and creative thinking and doing things differently. All those are kind of lip service things. But where the rubber hits the road is, is when you do ’em, when you come up, when you challenge norms, you challenge assumptions cause they’re challenging times. And you create new relationships, new ways of, of tapping into resources that, that, uh, you, you may have kept the arms, arms linked to that point. That is certainly a beautiful part of this journey that will teach us lots of lessons moving forward. Um,
Regine Villain (38:40):
Well synthesized, uh, Scott. Really?
Scott Luton (38:42):
Yeah. Hey, I, I try raje, I try, you tell quite a story. Um, but my last thought there before we move into kind of a different, um, different, uh, segment of the interview is just like all those other tragedies that you painted the picture of earlier in your career and how they got you ready for these moments. You know, the silver lining of the last few years. Uh, if we learn if, if we don’t forget some of these lessons, all this stuff, and, and I mean that as an industry, it’s gonna teach us how to do supply chain better. It’s gonna teach us how to do healthcare better. Yeah. And, and for you personally, it’s gonna be one more of those big experiences that’s gonna put you in position to lead better when the next curve ball comes. Cause they’re, you know, that’s the one constant, uh, constant curve balls. Um, all right. So switching gears, much lighter note. Uh, congrats to the Ochsner Health team, uh, cuz in 2022, the most recent, uh, Gartner Healthcare supply chain top 25, y’all ranked at number five. So speak to, if you would, we’re gonna talk about continuous improvement in a minute. Cause there’s always opportunity. But to achieve that ranking, to achieve all that you’ve done, all that you’ve done thus far, what’s a couple factors that allow your organization to excel?
Regine Villain (39:56):
Um, I think, uh, I mentioned it earlier, uh, as an organization and I’ve been in a couple of organizations before. One thing about Ochsner is that spirit of innovation is always there. And when I call, when I talk about innovation, I’m talking about, you know, innovation with a big eye and an innovation with a little eye, a little eye of those everyday innovations. You know, the things that you do a little bit differently just to make life easier. We don’t, we tend to not quite count on those, but those also add up to the big eyes a lot of time. The big eye innovation. And so the spirit of innovation is just part of the culture at Ochsner and allows, you know, for us to really think outside the box and challenge the status quo. And so that’s one of the things that we’ve been able to do as a supply chain organization going to that, you know, self manufacturing, which is something that, you know, has never been done when it comes to a healthcare provider entering that space.
Regine Villain (40:55):
And so therefore, by doing that solidifying and making sure that we have a more integrated, vertically integrated supply chain organization. So all those things, you know, are things that matter when it comes to Gartner as an organization about that spirit of innovation. What are you doing a little bit differently than your peers are doing? Um, and so for us, it’s no shortage of us really leaning in and doing things differently. Like I said, we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible and impossible at the same time we understand where our patients are and our communities are and what are we doing. So we’re looking into the non-acute space and trying to figure out how the supply chain can, you know, bridge the gap. What can we do differently to make sure that we’re really fully in clinically integrated supply chain? Cuz it’s really important, we cannot operate in a silo and say, okay, we’re gonna do this and we’re gonna do that without making sure that our clinicians, our physicians, our nurses, you know, our caregivers are also embedded in that conversation. So what can we do to really make sure that we are affecting the episode of care in a way that is compassionate, in a way that is safe and in a way that really matters. And so it’s entering ourselves in a space where normally you don’t see supply chain enter. And really being bold about it and, um, understanding the strategic pillars of the organization and really flexing with it or even trying to anticipate it and going ahead, uh, because really at the end of the day, that’s really what matters.
Scott Luton (42:31):
You, you kind of, um, offered me a great segue there for the next, uh, thing. I wanna talk to you about continuous improvement. Cause there’s always opportunity. I’ll tell you Raje, um, the late great Sandra McQuillan, which we just lost within the last few weeks, taught me a very valuable lesson as I went back and, and reviewed some of our earlier conversations. I didn’t catch it at the moment, but I just caught it a few weeks ago. And it speaks to continuous improvement. Cause I’m, I’m really bad about saying there’s no finish line, but as Sandra corrected me one time and she said, there’s lots of finish lines, it’s just once you cross it and you celebrate for a minute, you got the next starting line. That might sound simple now, but it’s a really powerful lesson learned, especially for leadership. Uh right. Cause your people, as they’re fighting to get those little eyes to work up to the big eyes as you put it, we need to celebrate the smallest of wins which add up to the biggest of wins. Right. So talk to us, if you would, Regina, about, um, uh, one big continuous improvement initiative for your team this year moving forward.
Regine Villain (43:32):
Well, uh, for me, I’m always making sure that, I mentioned earlier that it’s important for us to operate at the top of a license and to be seen as those people. We, we say we are right? We say that we are the folks who facilitate, you know, all of those things happening across the, um, the, uh, organization. And so we need to make sure that we’re investing in ourselves. And so as, as a continuous focus for me, um, you can call it continuous improvement, it’s really making sure that we’re investing in our knowledge base, investing in our people, in their growth in, you know, their careers and making sure that they feel very good and strongly, you know, being part of the supply chain. Cuz I mean, I can talk all I want about how important we are as a supply chain organization, but if we’re not investing in understanding exactly what a supply chain organization does and how well we need to really do it, then to me it’s really, it becomes all lip service.
Regine Villain (44:38):
So for me it’s something that, you know, I’m continuously focused on partnering with some local universities on potentially creating some really nifty programs to get our folks to invest in themselves, to continue to learn, to continue to grow and aspire to become, you know, like experts in their, um, supply chain field. And, you know, I always tell folks, you know, my, my opening to them is I would love for you to be able to sit in my chair, uh, because that’s the aspiration, right? Um, you can come and sit in my chair and I’ll go and sit in the CEO’s chair. So, you know, that’s
Scott Luton (45:16):
Love that <laugh>. I love that, you know, uh, cause people do wanna sit in your chair, of course. And I love your, um, your simple answer to that, investing in our people, uh, giving them opportunities to continually get better and, and no more do more. I, I love that answer. And, and and finally, um, you mentioned lip service. Uh, if you, you might agree with me, the last thing we need, whether it’s in supply chain or in global business or whatever, is lip service leadership. I think we’re all burned out with that. Um, okay, we’re coming down the, um, the last leg of our interview here, Raje. And I tell you, I’ve got about 18 pages of notes. I’ve tried to make ’em without, uh, without distracting you too bad. Uh, but you got me ready to run through this wall back behind me. Um, so I want to ask you this, um, for a lot of our listeners out there, you know, we, we talked in the pre-show, you know, much like we’re all consumers in supply chain, but we’re also all patients in, in, in healthcare. But there’s a lot of folks listening and viewing this right now that may have never worked in the healthcare industry. So what’s one thing you think that folks don’t know or understand about supply chain management in the healthcare industry?
Regine Villain (46:26):
Ooh, that’s a big one. All right. Okay. So one thing that um, I think is important for people to realize is that, first of all, we’re more than just purchasing people. I mean, if there’s one thing that sometimes aggravate me is when people just relegate us to being just purchasing people. Cuz that is just a very small fraction of what we do, right? And what people really simply should remember is that the supply chain organization at Ochsner and at many other healthcare systems manage, if not the entirety, but the majority of all non-labor spend, let that sink in. Mm. So all non-labor spend or the majority of all the non-labor spends is managed through the supply chain operation. And in many instances, especially when you talk about the large healthcare organizations, we’re talking about managing multi-billion dollar portfolio of spend. That is like, in many cases it’s, it, it could be a small country somewhere, right? And that’s what we do every day. We’re churning that and we’re managing that. And I have to say that many of us are doing this, you know, masterfully there’s always room to learn and to be better. But when you think about the, you know, the breadth and depth of everything that we do, that’s exactly what we do. We met the non labor portfolio spend in our healthcare organizations.
Scott Luton (48:11):
It’s massive, massive, massive responsibility, massive mission, uh, and really appreciate all that you’ve shared. You know, I know we’re just scratching the service to sit down and spend an hour with you, Regina. Yeah. Cuz there’s so much more there. But, but what a great holistic conversation that I think we’ll have many folks looking much differently at our healthcare organizations and what they do day in and day out to serve as you put it, my patients North Star. Um, all right, so folks that wanna learn more, uh, and I bet they do. Uh, I bet your to speak all the time and tell your story as you should. Uh, because not only does it reflect greatly for the healthcare industry and help us learn better there, but what a great supply chain ambassador you are. Um, how can folks connect more with you and Auctioner Health?
Regine Villain (48:54):
Um, I think it’s easy to connect with me through LinkedIn cuz I use that platform quite a bit. Uh, I just ask for your patience because, um, sometimes I don’t necessarily go into the inbox, but I wanna say that if you, if you send me a request, I’ll respond to that almost right away. And, you know, um, if you request to have a conversation with me and speak, uh, not a problem whatsoever. I certainly am an ambassador for the supply chain and in healthcare because like I said, I’m really passionate about this. I’m passionate about the business of our people, both our patients and our employees. And so thank you for the opportunity to be able to also tell my story.
Scott Luton (49:40):
Well, what an incredible story. We’re gonna have to have you back, uh, for the next chapter cause there’s so much I know we couldn’t get to in this last hour. So again, uh, Vila, thanks so much for your time. Chief Supply chain and support services officer with Ochsner Health Regime really appreciate, uh, you sharing, uh, a segment of your story here. And we’ll have you back soon and we’ll dive in much deeper. Thanks so much Raje.
Regine Villain (50:04):
I thank you Scott and it was a pleasure to have this conversation with you. And I agree we could probably speak for another couple hours and still go at it <laugh>.
Scott Luton (50:13):
Well, hey, have a wonderful trip. We look forward to getting details of your next journey and thanks again, Raje. Hey, to our listeners, hopefully you enjoyed, uh, this wide ranging conversation, passionate conversation, challenging of the norms and the status quo conversation that we had here with Regime. Um, make sure you check us out wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, find us on YouTube. That’s a really easy way these days. Tune it into our, our programming. But whatever you do, hey, deeds, not words. Take action. Take something Thatin shared here today. Put it in action and, uh, your organization, your teams, hey, even your families might be grateful that you did, but whatever you do, Scott Luton, challenging all of our listeners. Do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed, and we’ll see you next time right back here on Supply Chain now. Thanks. Bye.
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Régine Villain is the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Ochsner Health System. Previously she served as the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations at NYU Langone Health System in New York City, where she was responsible for the continuum of the supply chain operation for the Health System. Régine began her career in healthcare at New York Presbyterian Hospital where she spent 10 years mastering her skills with increased responsibilities along the continuum of supply chain. After a yearlong intro to general studies at the Interamerican University of San Germán in Puerto-Rico, Régine earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida. She then pursued her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy Management at Columbia University in New York before obtaining a certificate in Business Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Connect with Régine on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
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.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, 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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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.
Principal & CMO, 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.
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.