Ever wonder how Greg White knows about so many different supply chain technology companies? Well, Greg has walked the walk and can talk the talk. As a technology company founder himself, Greg has a unique perspective on what it takes to be successful in today’s HOT Supply Chain Tech market. Listen in as Greg highlights a few of his favorite TECHquilla Sunrise episodes and shares how he’s helping rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms navigate the next wave of disruptive supply chain technology innovation.
Welcome to TEKTOK, a digital supply chain podcast, where we will help you eliminate the noise and focus on the information and inspiration that you need to transform your business, impact, supply chain success, and enable you to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Join your TEKTOK host, Karin Bursa, the 2020 Supply Chain Pro To Know Of The Year. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise and the scars to prove it, Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Join the conversation, share your insights, and learn how to harness technology innovations to drive tangible business results. Buckle up, it’s time for TEKTOK, powered by Supply Chain Now.
Karin Bursa (01:13):
Okay. Welcome supply chain movers and shakers. Karin Bursa here, your host for TEKTOK, a digital supply chain podcast. You know, it has been a crazy year, an unprecedented year, disastrous year disruptive year, a challenging year, a resilient year. Maybe a little inspiring as well. You choose the adjective that’s right for your situation. And you may have to look at what day it is on the calendar to decide. But if you and your supply chain team are still standing, I want you to pat yourself on the back because you’ve done it. You’re making it through. And you are dealing with unprecedented volatility. And simply surviving in the midst of so many disruptions, so many economic challenges, personal challenges, health challenges, educational challenges is quite an achievement. Congratulations.
Karin Bursa (02:03):
In fact, because of your hard work, we are also seeing a record number of publicly held companies that are reporting, not only record earnings, but record profitability. And why you may ask, well, that’s all got to do with you. It’s all about supply chain performance. So, they are actually thriving in the midst of this chaos, in the midst of this disruption. And once again, supply chain performance is on center stage just where it belongs. And our host – I’m so used to introducing him as our host. Our guest today here on TEKTOK is the one and only Mr. Greg White. And, Greg, thanks for joining us today.
Greg White (02:50):
Yeah. My pleasure. That was quite the lead in. And you’re right, it has been an incredible challenge for everybody. And I think the industry at large has really stepped up.
Karin Bursa (03:01):
It really has. And, you know, this past year for me has been one where I’ve made new connections. I’ve gained some new perspective. I joined the Supply Chain Now team. I got to know you. I got to know our audience a little bit. And it has really been just a lot of fun. A lot of fun to put our brains together and think about kind of the next moves and where the industry is going. And I appreciate our audience. But I also want our audience to know that their inspiration may be right around the corner. Greg, people find it hard to believe, but here you and I have been in the supply chain for – what do we say? I think we’ve capped it, right?
Greg White (03:43):
More than two decades. That’s our limit.
Karin Bursa (03:47):
More than two decades. Just right around two decades somewhere.
Greg White (03:49):
So, if it’s just the two of us, we can say, well more than two decades.
Karin Bursa (03:53):
We started as young children. But, anyway, we have been not only in the same industry, but in the same city, in Atlanta, in supply chain city. But Greg and I did not know each other before last year. Greg, we met in March of 2020.
Greg White (04:11):
Wow. Is that right? It seems like we’ve known each other longer, you know. But, yet, I knew that it was relatively recently. But, man, that’s incredible.
Karin Bursa (04:23):
Is that crazy?
Greg White (04:23):
It is. I mean, because, I’ve been in Atlanta since the mid-90s and I think I’ve worked at two different companies that arguably competed with yours or at least was in kind of an adjacent space in the industry. So, stunning that we haven’t met.
Karin Bursa (04:43):
It’s really hard to believe. And I’m so thankful I got to meet you through Scott Luton and through Supply Chain Now.
Greg White (04:52):
A great connector.
Karin Bursa (04:53):
He’s a great connector, isn’t he? But, Greg, you have been at the center of so many technology innovations around supply chain. Currently, your resume is very long right now. So, you’re going to have to help me out. But I see you as the host of TECHquila Sunrise, which is a podcast that you have launched to talk about technology and innovation and helping companies that are hitting some of those inflection points. You’re also co-host of Supply Chain Now, co-host of The Buzz, and you’ve got this whole other life in the area of supply chain technology as well. So, tell us a little bit about what you’re doing day in and day out.
Greg White (05:34):
Sure. Well, so I exited a company that I founded called Blue Ridge in 2018. And then, I went on to work for a company called CURO, that some friends of mine in the industry realized need some help, needed to kind of level up their performance. And I was there for just about a-year-and-a-half and we managed to make that company valuable. It was not your traditional kind of exit, but we got good value for the founders and for the original investors. And, actually, that company is still operating, and may, yet, another exit again. But after that, after I left CURO, then I started taking board seats and advisory roles. So, I’ve worked with a number of companies, particularly in the Atlanta area and particularly in supply chain tech. So, I’ve worked with a company called Yards, which is a construction tech company. I’m currently working with Verusen, who is, hopefully, soon to be a unicorn, an Atlanta unicorn that’s in indirect and direct materials management and data harmonization. A term I had to learn, by the way, Karin. And last but not least in terms of tech companies, I’m working with a company called Flourish, which is in the cannabis supply chain space, which is fun. It’s a really, really interesting space. Anyway, there’s more I can tell you about that.
Greg White (07:08):
And then, I also worked with a number of investment based firms as well. So, I’m a venture partner at Kubera Venture Capital, which is an early stage pre-seed, seed, and A round investor. And the area that I focus on, of course, is supply chain. But we invest in industry 4.0 and that sort of thing, and future of work, and a couple of other just really innovative areas. And we’ve got a really great cross section of investors there. And then, I work with PeakSpan Capital, which is a growth equity, kind of the next tier up in investment. And I’m what’s called a sector expert. So, when they find someone –
Karin Bursa (07:46):
Supply chain sector expert?
Greg White (07:50):
Yes. Right. I’m a one trick pony. But when they find a company, I helped them evaluate it. I may consult or advise with the founders or even CEO there, and help them understand what’s going on in the supply chain space. And then, I also work with an investment bank called Clarity Capital Advisors. An old friend of mine named Steve Keaveney, who was instrumental in helping me get funding for a couple of my companies. And I guess that’s kind of a give back. Though, Steve still offers way more value to me than I ever have to him. But, yeah, that’s what I do. I’m trying to keep my hand in a number of these companies. I may even have another venture up my sleeve. So, you know, we’ll have to see. We can talk about what it takes to really run a venture if you want.
Karin Bursa (08:39):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I do think you’ve got lots of things up your sleeve. So, when I think of it, it’s just we’re going to leave it there. There’s always a few surprises and a few kind of interesting twists, I think. And one thing that I appreciate so much, Greg, is that you bring this wealth of expertise in supply chain. I mean, you’ve got hands-on supply chain expertise early in your career. And you’ve been able to apply that to solve just a number of different business opportunities, business challenges. But one thing I really like is that you’re very good at putting yourself in the seat of the customer and understanding what that supply chain practitioner needs or that supply chain executive needs in order to operate with greater visibility, or more flexibility, or more resilience. And I think that that is an important skill. I can see where in these investment sectors that that’s highly valued as a part of the equation as well. So, tell me one thing, how did you get started with Supply Chain Now? How did you get engaged in the process? Because you’re such a natural in talking through some of the latest opportunities and challenges.
Greg White (10:01):
So, it all started with the Georgia Logistics Summit. So, I just worked with Sandy Lake and a number of the folks at Georgia Center of Innovation, which has governmental agency. And they have this Georgia Logistics Summit at MODEX every year. And I participated in that one year, and I just thought I just wanted to be a part of guiding that and helping to shape that. And they were gracious enough to allow me to be on their executive board. I met a ton of really great people. John Haber, obviously, Scott Luton – gosh, I can’t even name them all. Oh, Enrique Alvarez from logistics, I met him there. And it was just a great opportunity because I had been really, really heads down in my businesses until that point. And I finally had kind of lifted my head up and decided to see who else was out there doing supply chain.
Greg White (10:59):
And that’s how I met Scott. Well, that’s how I really got engaged with Scott. I’d actually been a guest on the show in 2016 and 2017, I believe, on what was then Supply Chain Now Radio. I met him and it was just such a great voice for a small company like ours that had virtually no voice in the industry, as you know, with Logility. You guys had way more voice than we did. But we were always struggling for attention above SAP, and JDA, and all the other acronyms that are out there, you know, taking the air out of the room with marketing. So, it was a great opportunity to present our point of view. Scott asked me to first advise, which was what I was doing anyway, so I did that. And then, I got involved behind the mic, which was such a kick. And he makes it so easy as we’ve all experienced. Anyone who’s been on Supply Chain Now has experienced just how professional he is, how smooth he is, and how easy he makes it for people just to be who they are behind the mic and really share their gifts in and with the industry.
Karin Bursa (12:10):
Yeah. I really agree. And I think you and Scott paired together is just kind of a great anchor set, if you will. Your skillsets and expertise compliment each other so well that I think that there’s magic there. So, congratulations on kind of finding that niche, that opportunity, and being a reason for the growth that Supply Chain Now has seen over these past two years. I mean, it’s really growing and expanding. And I feel honored to be a part of it, a small part, but a part of the team and sharing some of the exciting things that are happening in the digital supply chain sector.
Greg White (12:51):
I really think that everybody is a big part of it. I mean, especially you, because you can give us, obviously, the planning perspective, which both you and I come from. You’re much better at the planning discipline than I am. But, also, the marketing perspective, like you said, you understand the chief supply chain officers and the companies that are trying to get value there. And, you know, what you’re doing with TEKTOK, I think, is really, really valuable to help people understand how they can utilize tech to change their business. It’s what you opened with, right? Technology, not just the people of supply chain, but the technology of supply chain is a great leverage point for companies to create the kind of opportunity and profit and resiliency that you were talking about when we kicked off. And I think that’s such an important part of it.
Greg White (13:40):
And then, we’ve got Kevin L. Jackson with Digital Transformers, and digital transformation is a huge part of supply chain and vice versa. Kelly with Dial P for Procurement.
Karin Bursa (13:50):
Kelly Barner, yeah, Dial P for Procurement.
Greg White (13:54):
Procurement is not all about supply chain, but there are a lot of aspects of it that apply to supply chain and also vice versa. And then, of course, Chris with Supply Chain is Boring, which is somehow anything, but boring.
Karin Bursa (14:06):
It is. I know. I know.
Greg White (00:14:08):
But I love the irony of that. And, Scott, who none of us could do anywhere near as much producing and content as he does. He’s got so many shows, Veteran Voices, which is a great give back; This Week in Business History; The Buzz. I think, essentially, all of the livestreams Scott participates in or at least helps produce, he’s the Jason Hoke of supply chain content.
Karin Bursa (14:36):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s talk for a minute –
Greg White (14:38):
He knows how stuff works.
Karin Bursa (14:40):
How supply chain works. So, let’s focus for just a minute on TECHquila Sunrise, and really what you’re looking to bring to the industry with that particular program. Because you’ve done some interesting things that some of our listeners may not be aware of that are really innovative, and interesting, a little different. So, talk to us about that for just a moment.
Greg White (15:08):
Sure. To me, TECHquila Sunrise – it’s an important distinction because we both have tech in the names of our shows – is more about the relationship and the confluence of founders, and executives, and high growth technology, supply chain tech companies, and their teams, and shareholders, and, of course, stakeholders in terms of their clients. How do you build, and how do you fund, and how do you grow a really strong, a really powerful supply chain technology company? And it is more complex than just about any industry out there. Because supply chain touches, as you were just talking about, so many things. And so many aspects of business touch supply chain. And it has so many variables.
Greg White (15:55):
In fact, one of my guest, Jack Freeman from PeakSpan Capital, said he loves supply chain because it requires combinatorial analytics.
Karin Bursa (16:09):
Greg White (16:09):
Yeah. Say that three times fast. And the essence of combinatorial analytics is that, there are a ton of inputs which create a ton of potential scenarios and a ton of potential outcomes as well. And supply chain, it requires the ability to manage all of those inputs, all of the potential solutions, and all of the potential outcomes to remove risk and costs from the supply chain. And I think that’s one of the things that makes it such a difficult thing. As you’ve have to have experienced – I know we’ve talked about this at least a little bit – it is difficult to market supply chain because there is so much to the business. And sometimes you can share too much. Anyway, I’m about to share too much.
Greg White (17:04):
So, I think the complexity of that is something that I want to communicate to founders because it’s not something you can just come out of school and do. It’s something you have to understand a bit about the industry to be able to tackle it. And I think we’ve seen a lot of companies that could have performed a lot better if they had understand the broader context of supply chain.
Karin Bursa (17:27):
Yeah. It’s so interesting because there are so many disciplines within supply chain. You know, I spent a lot of time talking about the big picture and making big strategic decisions, and connecting those to the tactical and operational things that happen each and every day. But it’s amazing to me how much of the supply chain is still managed on spreadsheets. It’s scary. It’s frightening. I mean, some of the biggest global brands are still managing some hundred million dollar aspects of their business in fragile spreadsheets and disconnected processes. And so, it’s so exciting to see the innovation in the industry and kind of see how you’re bringing or shedding a little light on it with TECHquila Sunrise. And I know that you don’t only look at startups. You’ve interviewed, you know, John Sicard with Kinaxis, which is a publicly held specialist in the supply chain space as well.
Karin Bursa (18:29):
So, publicly held businesses, but the majority has been around some of these innovations, these new startups, these new thinking, these Cloud native applications that are coming to the market. And framing that up can be really hard. You know, there’s a couple of things as a practitioner, I want the latest and greatest and most innovative technology. I want to know that the investment I’m making today is a foundation my company is going to be able to grow with over the next five or ten years. So, I want that supplier, that vendor, that new innovator to be financially viable. And funding is a part of that. Otherwise, we’re limited to some large, heavy, slow moving solutions that don’t offer that agility or don’t allow a mid-sized company or a fast growth company to get that advantage in the marketplace.
Greg White (19:32):
Yeah. I agree. I mean, that’s one of the things that even the most knowledgeable analysts in the industry, the folks at Gartner, Lora Cecere, and others, they have struggled to push against the status quo because so many of the big established players use old and outdated techniques and move so slowly towards these innovations. And, frankly, that’s the nature of innovation. You can’t be both an industry leader and a disruptor. I mean, there are probably people that would argue against that and they’re surely welcome to their opinion. They’re just wrong.
Karin Bursa (20:13):
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Straight from the horse’s mouth, they’re just wrong.
Greg White (20:17):
I’m glad you said mouth. But that innovation is what keeps this industry moving forward. And, boy howdy, did we see the upshot of things like manual processes, and spreadsheet analysis, and old and outdated technologies when COVID hit? If we never thought we would see those kinds of issues in this industry, we certainly did. That decreased agility and decreased the capability of companies to respond, to plan as well as they could, of course. But I think what was really hurt was the responsiveness and the resiliency. Lots of companies forecast.
Karin Bursa (21:06):
I have to agree. I have to agree. Because the minute you’ve finished the plan, the plan is outdated. So, you’ve got to continually sense and replan and continually revise what those plans are based on the latest available data. And it’s so interesting because, right now, the research shows that 60 percent of supply chains have been orchestrated or designed around one thing, and that’s cost efficiency. That is not agility. That is not resilience. And I think that number, that 60 percent I think that that is underestimated. I think that far more supply chains have that. That’s their one lever, right? It’s how can I do the same thing in a predictable manner and deliver a quality product?
Karin Bursa (22:00):
But, friends, the market has changed. We need agility. We need faster planning cycles. And I know that this is something that you’ve been talking about really for years. When you think of even simple things like demand planning and the fact that you’re not planning a product, you’re planning what?
Greg White (22:20):
You’re planning the consumer. You know, there are two fatal flaws that have existed for literally centuries in supply chain. And both of those are largely dependent on the fact that the data available when supply chains were invented – which I’m not going to go all the way back to Kate Weller days – was relatively rudimentary. And so, we forecast the item when, really, what we need to forecast is the consumer, whoever consumes that item. Because, you know, there are items sitting behind me here and they’ve done exactly what every single other item does. Nothing. They wait. They wait for a consumer to act on them. One of those back there, let’s see, there it is. That’s a box of cereal.
Karin Bursa (23:15):
Is it? We get the blurry background going out so I can’t –
Greg White (23:16):
Yeah. So, you both have to like cereal and like Patrick Mahomes to want that. So, you have to understand that, who likes cereal and who loves Patrick Mahome? This guy. So, that’s one of the fatal flaws. And the other is the one that is, I think, you and I have fought against our entire careers. And that is that supply chain is a cost saving exercise. It is not. It has been treated as such. It’s been driven as such. It’s been accepted by practitioners in supply chain because their bosses in the rest of the business have made it such. But the truth is, supply chain is a risk balancing exercise. Cost is just one of the risks of supply chain. Stock-outs, failing to provide the goods to the consumer – you’re a consumer – that’s one of the risks. Sustainability impact and human rights impact, also a risk. Brand equity is a risk.
Karin Bursa (24:12):
Brand equity has become a really, really big aspect of it.
Greg White (24:16):
Yeah. If you can’t deliver. I mean, you know, we heard it said. It was said by someone who runs a philanthropy, but no product, no program. So, people come to you for one thing, and that’s for you to deliver what they want. And you have to be able to do that. And if you focus solely on cost, you simply cannot do that. Because at some point, those get to cross purposes. So, you have to shift your mind to thinking about supply chain as a risk balancing exercise and cost, just one of those.
Karin Bursa (24:50):
Yeah. Absolutely. And I mean, I love that perspective. I frame it that way, but I usually talk about it in the context of risk and reward – I’m the eternal optimist – about new opportunity, new innovation. But it’s just that, I mean, your inventory investments, your supply chain capabilities become that fulcrum or that balancing point that’s going to align your ability to innovate, produce, and move goods to market at just the right time. Not too soon and not too late. And it’s a big challenge. It’s complex. And we are not trying to minimize the complexity that’s there or the innovation that comes through the people in your organizations who know how to get it done. What we’re trying to do is, really, advocate that allow technology to do the hard repetitive stuff, so that you can use your brain cells to do the creative and to think differently. And then, engage a little different and really harness that new opportunity, or maybe differentiation for your business over a competitor’s business.
Karin Bursa (26:02):
So, Greg, let’s kind of talk a little bit about tech companies, and either the companies or the types of companies that you advise or those that you highlight on TECHquila Sunrise. When you are working with companies that are hitting these inflection points, what types of things, what conversations, are you able to shed some light on for either a technology founder, or maybe bringing in the perspective of a broader industry, or how that technology might be able to be leveraged to solve some new opportunities?
Greg White (26:44):
Well, I mean, you know, we can start with a company you might not think of immediately as high growth, but that’s Kinaxis. I mean, that’s a $5 billion company, $5 billion in valuation. And yet the conversation I had with John Sicard was very straightforward. And it was very contrarian, frankly. And it’s funny because when he and I were gearing up to have this discussion, of course, he’s a CEO of a public company. So, you do the preliminary discussions with his handlers present. He said, “You and I may have a disagreement on point X.” And he shared his point of view. And I was like, “Wow. I’m actually amazed that you have that point of view as a public $5 billion company,” because it was very contrarian.
Greg White (27:30):
He said, “Technology is not the answer. Technology is the tool. Technology is not the solution to your problem. Technology, effectively, is the hammer.” You learn how to swing that hammer effectively to build your house or whatever. And it was a really refreshing discussion. So, innovation, as opposed to disruption, which we were talking about earlier, innovation can come from anywhere. And sometimes that anywhere is just a new perspective on how to tackle supply chain problems. So, that’s one of the places I love to go, is to find companies that are innovatively tackling supply chain problems.
Greg White (28:10):
Innovative industries, like Flourish with the cannabis industry, which I will argue is a model for the future broader supply chain and broader commerce. Because of the compliance requirements, and the sustainability initiatives, and the human rights issues that are inherent in that industry. And things like provenance that they have to track by law. All of those things can be used in the broader supply chain. And I see it as a great microcosm of broader commerce in the future. Maybe 20 years in the future. I don’t know. But definitely there is a lot that we can learn from this nascent industry.
Greg White (28:49):
And brilliant minds, even investors. So, Ben Gordon, who’s with Cambridge Capital, one of the original supply chain focused investors in the industry. His understanding of the industry and his understanding of how companies make money in the industry and create value, not just for their customers, but for their shareholders in the industry. That was really inspiring. I mean, there are a ton of people, you know, people like who know how to market this stuff, which we talked about earlier, is really hard to do. I mean, it’s great to meet some of the amazing minds in the industry, and amazing minds from outside the industry or have lent their expertise from outside the industry to supply chain. And, yet, the other thing that I really feel compelled to focus on is to take the naiveté that often exists in a founder and help them leverage that naiveté into a good business. So, one of the episodes that I did is Seven Things You Need to Do to Present Your Company in Three Minutes. And let me tell you –
Karin Bursa (29:58):
Right. Three minutes is hard.
Greg White (29:59):
It is really hard.
Karin Bursa (30:00):
I will tell you, as a CMO with decades of experience being concise, brief, and memorable in three minutes to get your whole value proposition across is tough.
Greg White (30:16):
It is. It’s virtually impossible, frankly. But the truth is, the exercise of distilling your company from your 20 minute pitch to your three-minute pitch, it really forces you as a founder, as a leader, of your company to identify that which is the most important, most impactful, and as you said, the most interesting that your company offers and only that. So, it forces you to –
Karin Bursa (30:43):
And to describe it in terms that somebody who’s not a technologist is going to understand, right? What is the business problem being solved and how are you going to make my life better, faster, stronger, whatever it might be. Now, Greg, this is really important, was this the basis or the inspiration for the Take Your Shot! format?
Greg White (31:12):
Karin Bursa (31:15):
So, tell us what that is, first of all.
Greg White (31:16):
Maybe it was a little bit reversed. So, Take Your Shot! is a livestream that we do once a month, where we give supply chain technology companies the opportunity to pitch for three minutes to a venerable, venerable list of judges. People who are running –
Karin Bursa (31:35):
Prestigious. Prestigious list.
Greg White (31:38):
Long-term investors. People who are running their own tech companies that are worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. People who are running technology companies and running physical logistics companies in the industry. So, you’ve got three minutes to get your pitch across to these judges. Some of whom might actually invest in your company, if that’s what your ask is. Others that can at least give you a marketing perspective to say, “Hey, your message is not clear. It could be clearer here. Wow, it’s stellar in this way.” But the idea was to get these companies in front of a live audience, let them share their hopes and dreams in three minutes. And then, hear from these experts how they could be better, or what was really good about their pitch or discussion, or what was unclear, as we just talked about. And that really began the Seven Things You Must Do in Three Minutes video. As I’ve told several entrepreneurs since that, it takes 17 minutes to tell you the seven things that you need to say in three minutes to get your business point across.
Karin Bursa (32:46):
And to do it with passion, right? To do it in a natural, conversational way. It is an excellent, excellent skill to develop. And when you introduced that, I thought that was fantastic. For those of you that are listening today that haven’t had the chance, go back and listen to some of the past events, because it will really open your eyes to some of those challenges in the marketplace in articulating that value proposition. But it’s almost like a microcosm of Shark Tank applied to supply chain and innovative businesses that are up and coming in the marketplace.
Greg White (33:28):
It is. And we’ve even got our own version of Mr. Wonderful, though he’s much nicer than Kevin O’Leary or whatever that guy’s name is. But when you come on that show, it’s just like walking in to an investor and pitching your company. You’re going to get some tough questions. You’re going to get some, you know, thoughtful stares. You’re going to get some side eyes and things like that. If people don’t get it, they’re going to let you know. And it’s probably one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your pitch for your company is to hear, not just affirmation, but real hard core evaluation of it.
Greg White (34:08):
And it’s a lot of fun. I mean, we’re still learning with that. I mean, we had one show that went over an-hour-and-a-half because the judges get a little bit out of control in terms of sharing. But they really wanted to improve these companies businesses, and I think that’s the most important thing. Look, the important thing as a founder is to understand that everyone wants you to succeed. Everyone wants to invest in your business, but you’ve still got to earn it. And that’s the thing, I mean, I think the important thing that I’ve seen is – and what we hope to do in large part with Take Your Shot! is we want people to recognize and build great businesses, great pitches. And it’s easy to pitch a great business.
Karin Bursa (34:59):
Say that again. It’s easy –
Greg White (35:02):
It’s easy to pitch a great business. It really is. I mean, one of the questions you’ll never hear me or any of the investors that I work with, you’ll never hear me ask, “What’s your exit?” Because what we want to see is you build a great business. And if you build a great business, the exit will become apparent. It could be going public. It could be acquired by a private equity group. It could be acquired by a strategic, even a competitor or complimentary company. There are all kinds of ways to exit. But the truth is, it has to be a good business. A business has to be built to serve the consumer, not serve the investor. By serving your customer first, you will inherently serve all of your shareholders.
Karin Bursa (35:49):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good point. And I remind our audience that you’ve been through this process on a personal level. So, you’ve got the bruises and bumps and scars to prove it. You’ve been on the other side of the table, leading a team and driving innovation and new products in the industry. So, I think it’s really valuable that you’re able to take that kind of hard earned experience, and turn it around, and look at ways that you can help others, maybe, avoid some of the landmines or have fewer scars in the process. But when you go through this, Greg, what do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of a tech startup company? Like, where do they lose their way or kind of that big aha moment when you’re able to start working with someone new.
Greg White (36:49):
Most misunderstood is understanding your market. That is the most misunderstood thing. So many companies project their solution on the markets needs rather than assess the markets needs and build their solution. I’ve done it. And I’ve been fortunate and unfortunate. And by the way, all of the tips that I give are as much from screwing up as they are from doing things right. You hardly learn –
Karin Bursa (37:18):
Hey, some of my best lessons are from failures.
Greg White (37:21):
Karin Bursa (37:21):
When things go wrong or you’re forced to think differently, I think that’s driven most of the innovation I’ve seen.
Greg White (37:31):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s true. I mean, you learn a lot more when you fail than when you succeed. All you do is affirm yourself when you succeed. You don’t self-evaluate or become introspective as you do when you fail. But I think that’s the biggest thing. I’ve seen it over and over again. And, frankly, a friend of mine named Shane Matthews, he works at ATDC, the Atlanta Technology Development Center, the Georgia Tech incubator in Wichita – Atlanta.
Karin Bursa (38:03):
Georgia Tech in Wichita, that’s a merger I hadn’t heard about yet. But we do have insights [inaudible].
Greg White (38:11):
I guarantee you, Wichita does not come out on the top of that. But Shane was involved with Super Soaker. They understood their market really well. They understood it and they built products that met that market need and desire. And he is a market research hawk. And that’s what’s I learned from him was, you can’t research your market enough. And you almost have to think of it. You have to almost strip away all of your knowledge of an industry, or of a solution, or what you perceive to be the markets need and ask about it. You have to get into the market and ask about it. And it’s hard to do because it’s costly. It’s costly in terms of time. It’s costly in terms of money. Because there are right ways to do it. You have to ask the right questions. You have to ask them in the right way so that they’re not simply affirming your biases. You have to really approach it the right way. And that is clearly the most misunderstood aspect of startups.
Karin Bursa (39:17):
Yeah. I really have to agree with you there. From the perspective of even in my career, I have seen where the best technology does not win. The best, most elegantly designed, fastest, gives more precision, whatever it might be, that alone is not enough to win business. It’s the total package. What problems are you solving? What is the outcome? How does this help remove challenges or provide a unique value proposition in the market for your customer, whomever your customer might be? So, I think that that’s really valuable insight there.
Greg White (40:03):
When you say it like that, Karin, you realize it’s not just a startup problem. I mean, we had the problem at Blue Ridge. You’ve had it at Logility. Other companies have it now. You go in, you’re a hammer seeking a nail. And instead you need to go in understanding where this customer stands because a no is okay. A no that you don’t fit is okay. Because then you don’t waste time trying to put a square peg in a round hole. So, that is so powerful and I think it’s hard for companies to accept that. It’s hard for people to accept that, to say, “You mean we’re not for everybody?”
Karin Bursa (40:46):
And I don’t know about you, but if it’s going to be a no, I’d like to get to know fast. I mean, don’t drag me on or leave me on for months and months and months if it’s a no. Or as a buyer of technology solutions, if you have reservations about a provider you’re working with, just be open and candid with them. Because, one, they may be able to address it. And you may be able to take advantage of that innovation and look at ways to address whatever your concerns are. But number two, as a provider of technology in the marketplace, I want to know if I’m not a fit. And then, I want the open discussion as to why. Why is it not a fit? You know, what about it does not drive a compelling business proposition for you? Because that gives me, back to your point, good research, good data. Because, obviously, that supplier, that technology innovator thinks you’re a good prospect. Thinks that they have, you know, something that’s going to offer you a unique value proposition to your business. And if you’re not seeing it, that’s a conversation worth having.
Greg White (42:05):
Yeah. Well, and also, what is it that that customer is looking for? Because you might go in there – it’s hard not to. I’ve done it – thinking you’re being open to their needs, but you’re still projecting just enough that they’re telling you a little bit of what you want to know. And another thing on that front – and this is a struggle for startups and established companies as well – you know, if you’re talking to someone who will string you along like that, you’re not talking to the decision-maker anyway. No decision-maker wants to waste your time or theirs.
Karin Bursa (42:43):
Any time. Yeah. True.
Greg White (42:44):
So, that’s another thing that companies need to learn, is, learn when you are really talking to the decision-maker. And it’s tough to do. And I mean, like I said, I’ve been there. I’ve seen people. Sometimes you’ve got the guts to ask and sometimes you don’t.
Karin Bursa (43:03):
Yeah. So, I’m going to ask you a tough question. As you look at TECHquila Sunrise, what is your favorite episode? This is like picking a favorite child. What is your favorite episode? So, if we’ve got a new listener that hasn’t listened to TECHquila Sunrise yet, where should they start?
Greg White (43:26):
So, I’ve done about 50 episodes. They’re all flashing through my mind right now. Can I pick three? I’ll be brief.
Karin Bursa (43:41):
Greg White (43:42):
John Sicard. Definitely, John Sicard. Though, it’s two episodes, if you can only listen to one, listen to the first one. Shannon Vaillancourt, who’s the CEO of Ratelinx. You know, I talked about it a little bit off camera. It only took him 21 years to be an overnight success in the transportation management.
Karin Bursa (44:03):
That’s how it usually happens.
Greg White (44:04):
Right. That’s another thing that more people need to understand. And then, I think the other one, because it’s helpful and because I get such great response to it, is the Seven Things to Do in Three Minutes. Because I didn’t really think anyone would watch that. And I’m not sure that many people have watched it. I just felt compelled to offer that to the marketplace. And it’s gratifying when people are struggling to get their pitch down, and I or somebody points them towards that, and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh. That was just epiphanal.” And I have to tell you, that was more based on mine and other’s failings in pitching than it really was successes so much. It’s a lot about what to do and a lot about what not to do. But those are the ones that really stand out for me.
Greg White (44:58):
You have to listen to John Sicard. It’s hard to believe that a public company CEO can be so bold and so contrarian. And it was a really risky move, but a strong move on his part. And, also, to recognize that just like Shannon Vaillancourt, his point of view that resonates through their entire organization. So, you see the leadership there as well, not only strong opinion, but projecting that point of view, that distinct point of view through their organization and using it to do better business for their clients. It’s super powerful.
Karin Bursa (45:41):
Well, Greg, this has been a blast for me. As you look forward – and I know there’s a number of exciting things on the horizon – is there something coming with TECHquila Sunrise, or something you’re seeing in the industry that you want us to keep our eyes open for? I know there are things you can’t tell us.
Greg White (46:05):
Yeah. Yeah. All that will be revealed soon enough. But I think the thing to keep our eye on is constant improvement. I use this term called the blessing of naiveté. And that is, you want to constantly evaluate why we do things the way we do. And it is, as you said, with so many large companies, it is stunning, stunning to me that companies, and particularly some of these big manufacturers, that they’re using techniques that I, as a retail practitioner of supply chain in the 1990 – just over two decades ago – we stopped doing those decades ago. And to see that some of those ancient practices are still in play is concerning. So, you have to always ask the question, why do we do it this way? And if the answer is because we’ve always done it that way, think again.
Karin Bursa (47:05):
Think again. Yeah. Dig a little deeper. And I think, also, it’s important, especially if you are a large manufacturer or a business that has been established for decades, you do typically have some tribal knowledge and the way things have been done, you know, for years and years that you inherited. But one number that just keeps coming back to me over and over again is the fact that baby boomers are leaving the marketplace. And this number is from before COVID. Before COVID, so 18 months ago, baby boomers were leaving the marketplace at something like 10,000 a day. A day, 10,000 a day. And that number has got to be hired today as a result of COVID and people just looking at life decisions and what they want to do next. But my point there is more about the fact that as they exit the marketplace, they’re taking a lot of that tribal knowledge with them. So, ask the questions now. You know, ask the questions, understand why it got initiated that way, but ask it in a way also that is about efficiently completing or moving product to market based on real market demand. So that you can maybe make some new process changes, some new innovation, and stop doing maybe some time consuming behaviors that are adding zero value to your business.
Greg White (48:36):
Yeah. That is a wealth of information leaving, and we need to capture that. I mean, if you think about new age technologies like AI, AI is not an overlord. AI is a child. And that child needs to be taught in order to do what it’s designed to do. And it needs a ton of data to do it. And if we can capture that knowledge from these baby boomers, who so many of whom were doing business before you even documented it, much less systematized or automated it. They just know. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked people, “How do you know?” And they say, “I just know.” And it’s because they have incorporated that knowledge over decades and decades and it’s just second nature for them. So, we’ve got to extract that knowledge. Then, we can apply it to the new incoming generations in the workforce and also to these AI techniques, where a lot of that knowledge can be employed. But you’re right, we are at great risk of losing a lot of incredible knowledge. It’s okay boomer is what we ought to be saying. It’s okay. Tell us. Truthfully, I mean we need to respect the knowledge that is there.
Karin Bursa (49:59):
Absolutely. Absolutely. As a technology provider, one of the aspects that was interesting for me to see – and this started probably three or four years ago as baby boomers were exiting – a lot of baby boomers grew up with the technology that’s helping to manage the supply chains of global businesses today. So, let’s call it a 20 or 30 year career trajectory. And they grew up having to look under the covers, and check the technology, and do a bake off, and do these different things because the technology was brand new, enterprise systems were brand new early in their careers as well. And so, that was a different way of engaging.
Karin Bursa (50:46):
And I think that today, as we have digital natives in the marketplace, is they are accustomed to interacting with software, and looking for answers quickly, and using things like natural language interfaces as a part of the way they engage with technology. These innovations are really cool and have the opportunity to continue to evolve and change the way business happens. But we need to understand the mechanics, and things like lead time, and what does visibility mean, and these words [inaudible].
Greg White (51:21):
Everyone wants to answer to that one.
Karin Bursa (51:23):
Right. That really presents an exciting opportunity. And so, I love that your advising a number of companies in different aspects of supply chain, because I think that that’s such a great place to be in supply chain itself, all aspects of supply chain. There’s just so much opportunity. And it’s an exciting time to really make a difference in your companies, make a difference in the world, whether it’s in reducing waste in the world, or you brought up labor earlier as a part of a constraint that’s being managed, the type of labor, how much labor is put into products as well is just an interesting aspect of looking at building your brand as an individual and a contributor, but also building the brand of your company and doing that in a sustainable and responsible fashion.
Greg White (52:23):
Supply chain has crossed that threshold from brute force to nuance and science. I mean, the baby boomers that you talked about, they were the John Henry’s of supply chain or of technology. They might be able to drive the spikes faster. But they were dead tired at the end. And they did have to check the technology and they did have to see it through its evolution. Now, that so much of that technology has evolved so far that you can trust that it’s doing the right thing. And, in fact, technology will not displace jobs in the future in supply chain.
Karin Bursa (53:02):
It’s just changing them. It’s making them more interesting, quite honestly.
Greg White (53:06):
And it’s taking the jobs that no one else will. I mean, the physical and brute force jobs in supply chain will be taken by robots. And this isn’t just in supply chain. There aren’t enough drivers in transportation. There aren’t enough factory workers. There aren’t enough people in logistics facilities to move the goods. I was working with a company who’s in the welding business that they expect 300,000 welding jobs to go unfulfilled by 2023. And that number is increasing rapidly. It’s 75,000 now that are unfulfilled. So, people aren’t going to take these brute force jobs. The jobs, that I read in an article and have kind of captured this phrase, the dark, the dirty, and the dangerous jobs. They will go to robotics. And then, people, as you alluded to earlier, they’ll be able to do those things that humans are great at and computers are terrible at, and that is make instantaneous life saving or life changing decisions with insufficient data. Which technology absolutely cannot do including artificial intelligence, because it has to learn for that specific circumstance in order to use it. Whereas, people can interpolate based on their other learnings that, “Hey, that thing I learned when I was seven years old, that’s valuable here in supply chain.” So, those kinds of things will always be the realm of the human. And that’s our only hope against the robot. But that’s where humans will evolve to in their role in supply chain.
Karin Bursa (54:47):
Yeah. Well, Greg, this has been a blast. Thanks for sharing some of your insights with us today.
Greg White (54:50):
Karin Bursa (54:50):
But I want to remind folks to connect, to build your network and to connect certainly here in the Supply Chain Now community. But look in your backyard. Greg was right in my backyard, in my market, in my industry. We know tons of the same people. But we never had the chance to connect personally and get to know each other. And it has been such a privilege for me to get to know Greg and to work with the team at Supply Chain Now. And just really sharing ideas, looking for inspiration and innovation, and raising my supply chain IQ. So, I hope today’s episode has done that for our audience as well.
Greg White (55:33):
Likewise for me. Thank you. It was great to know you. I was actually only across the street at that really good Thai restaurant by your corporate office and we never met.
Karin Bursa (55:43):
I know. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy.
Greg White (55:47):
Thank you very much. I appreciate your time. And, of course, everything you’ve done in the industry is fantastic and continue to do as you’re helping companies. I mean, you’re out there.
Karin Bursa (55:59):
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Greg White (56:01):
You’re helping companies to improve.
Karin Bursa (56:03):
Supply chain is a great place to be. We, definitely, have exciting things ahead in a number of different areas. And an ability to take technology and solve real business problems and make a tangible impact on business performance and job satisfaction. So, lots of good things ahead, I think. So, for our audience, on the topic of raising your supply chain IQ, I’m going to send you to supplychainnow.com. I want you to check out at least those three episodes that Greg mentioned. Greg, what were they again?
Greg White (56:39):
John Sicard. In fact, the title of it is A Violent Agreement, because we were expecting an argument.
Karin Bursa (56:49):
Yes, you did.
Greg White (56:49):
We were expecting an argument. And then, Shannon Vaillancourt, with RateLinx. And then, Seven Things You Must Do to Pitch Your Company in Three Minutes.
Karin Bursa (57:00):
And you know what? In that pitch your company in three minutes, I’m going to challenge everybody to listen to that. Because if you have an idea that you want to pitch within your company, a project you want to take on an opportunity for innovation, those seven things are going to help you with that project, just like they would help a founder or CEO of a tech company to pitch their story as well. It’s that good. It’s fire power. So, take a listen to that. And while you’re there at supplychainnow.com, please check out TEKTOK, that’s T-E-K-T-O-K, and subscribe. Our goal is to help you eliminate the noise and focus on the inspiration and information you need to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. And we’ll see you next time on TEKTOK, Powered by Supply Chain Now.
Greg White is principal & host at Supply Chain Now – The Voice of Supply Chain and digital media publisher – where he helps guide the company’s strategic direction, and interviews industry leaders, hosts weekly Livestreams, and is creator, executive producer & host of the TECHquila Sunrise vlog and podcast. Greg is a recognized supply chain practitioner, industry thought-leader, founder, CEO, investor, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits.
Prior to his current initiatives, Greg served as CEO of Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Previously, Greg founded Blue Ridge Solutions, and as President & CEO, led the bootstrap startup of cloud-native supply chain applications to become a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC), and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder) where he pioneered cloud supply chain applications in the late nineties.
Today, rapidly-growing tech companies & venture capital, and private equity firms leverage Greg as a partner, board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies that are widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies align vision, team, market, messaging, and product to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors, and leadership teams to create breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum that increase company esteem and valuation.
WEBINAR- State of the Supply Chain Report – Priorities for Building Resiliency in Your Supply Network
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.