Supply Chain Now
Episode 850

You can’t practice everything. You have to be able to make a game-time decision or a business decision in the heat of the moment, but you’ll want to draw on past experiences, past capabilities, and the things that you've practiced.

- Mike Griswold, Vice President of Research, Gartner

Episode Summary

Mike Griswold is the Vice President of Research at Gartner, specializing in retail with a particular focus on forecasting and replenishment. He is responsible for Gartner’s annual Top 25 Supply Chain ranking and joins Supply Chain Now on a monthly basis to discuss the latest in retail supply chains from an analyst’s perspective.

As a girls’ basketball coach, Mike knows the sport inside and out, and we all know he is an expert on all things supply chain. So we decided to put the two together and see if Mike can provide some insights on the ‘bracket busters’ facing the supply chain world (and pick up a tip or two for our March Madness brackets as well!).

In this episode, which was created as part of a Supply Chain Now livestream, Mike shares his winning advice with co-hosts Greg White and Kelly Barner:

  • An example of a supply chain strategy that looked “final four” but went out in the first round
  • The supply chain philosophies and approaches that best weathered the storms of the last two years
  • How to know when to make a change in the face of disruption and when to hold tight and follow the plan
  • An early peek at the how the companies being evaluated for this year’s Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 are handling macro events

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Kelly Barner (00:32):

Hi, everybody. Welcome to today’s supply chain now livestream Kelly Barner, and Greg White here with you. How you doing today, Greg?

Greg White (00:39):

I’m doing great. It’s great to be back together with you again, Kelly.

Kelly Barner (00:44):

I know, and we are actually bringing in Mike Griswold in a few minutes for his monthly return, which will be a fun conversation. Um, just to sort of tease the theme behind today’s discussion. We’re gonna be talking a little bit of March madness, bracket breakers. It’s one of those few things you don’t actually have to know anything about sports to play. Right? You can do it based on what’s your favorite city, which one is the most fun to pronounce? We had a lot of fun with Gonzaga back when you were in the, in the green room. Um, so we’re gonna favorite

Greg White (01:14):

Colors,

Kelly Barner (01:15):

Right? Yeah. Favorite team colors. Exactly. Do you know somebody that went to any of the schools? Uh, because everybody’s brackets seemed to BR right off the right off the bat, are you a big bracket play guy, Greg?

Greg White (01:26):

I, you know, I should be, I, I love the game, but uh, no, I, you know, I hate to lose, so I,

Kelly Barner (01:34):

So why play

Greg White (01:35):

Right. Kind of that kind of that, uh, you know, when somebody’s offering you a billion dollars or whatever it is for a perfect bracket, how, how unbelievably difficult it is, right?

Kelly Barner (01:46):

Yes, absolutely. So we’re gonna talk through some of that, although more on the supply chain side than the basketball side. So don’t wanna get anybody too excited.

Greg White (01:55):

Well, with Mike here, we will definitely get some basketball talk in. We will,

Kelly Barner (01:58):

We’re gonna lace that in a little bit chain.

Greg White (02:00):

Yeah,

Kelly Barner (02:01):

Exactly. No. Before we bring Mike in a couple of quick programming notes for anybody that has not yet checked out the nomination opportunities around the supply chain and procurement awards, April 1st is our deadline. So we’ve got everything from technology trailblazers to unsung heroes. It’s actually gonna be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the best that supply in and procurement have brought out. And we’ve heard an awful lot of great success stories over the last couple of years. Yeah. So let’s take some time to celebrate those, get your nominations in and slightly shorter term next week, over at art of procurement. My other hat that I wear, we’re running digital outcomes Tuesday through Thursday, uh, a couple of hours each day. It’s lot. It’s virtual. It’s completely free. So you have no excuses. There won’t be brackets or a billion dollars, but great speakers, great focus on digital outcomes. So I hope to see everybody there,

Greg White (02:55):

Maybe a billion dollar outcome from it. You never

Kelly Barner (02:58):

Know maybe a billion dollar outcome. Exactly. And maybe you don’t get to keep it, but maybe it’s good for your career to deliver a billion dollar outcome. Right?

Greg White (03:06):

That’s right. Chalk that chalk won up for you. That’s right.

Kelly Barner (03:10):

Exactly. So adding that to the list of things to do today, deliver a billion dollar outcome. Just putting that on the list somewhere after lunch, mid afternoon, during quiet billion dollars. But before we bring Mike in, let’s say hello to a few folks, somebody we’re missing today. Oh, Scott had better luck on the roulette table than he did with his brackets.

Greg White (03:31):

Wow. Well that tells you a lot table. Its tough

Kelly Barner (03:37):

Too. Absolutely does. So sorry. You’re not here on screen Scott, but we’ll, we’ll try to do you justice. And we also have Josh here with us. Hello, Josh. Now, as everybody says hello from all over the world, including Pakistan, which is very cool. Don’t hesitate to share any little tips or how you make decisions. If you do brackets, either with family are in the office, we’re gonna be pulling up some of those. And we have got gene from France. We have people from all over the place with us here today.

Greg White (04:10):

So Josh, it seems like every time Josh reaches out to us, Kelly it’s raining. So when he says slightly less rainy, I think that might be a good thing because he was in a, they use, if I recall the last time we, we heard from him. So

Kelly Barner (04:23):

That tells you everything you need to know about somebody’s weather slightly less rainy. It’s true. You know, somebody asked me how the weather here in Boston was today. And I said, we have some good melting,

Greg White (04:36):

Good

Kelly Barner (04:37):

Tell you, I don’t say like sunny in the lower cause that sounds depressing to people who live in Florida say, oh, we got some good melting going on outside the window.

Greg White (04:48):

It’s tough this time of year. Because you know, when you’re farther in the Southern part of the us, uh, like today it’s gonna be 75 or something like that in Atlanta. And yes, uh, you really forget it. I mean, until you watch the weather channel or something, you really forget what the weather is like up north and how significantly different it can be when you used to drive everywhere.

Kelly Barner (05:11):

That’s right.

Greg White (05:12):

You know, you got the point now that you can fly two hours from Atlanta to Boston. I, I had have to confess many years ago. I got in a bit of a hurry. I forgot to take an overcoat.

Kelly Barner (05:24):

Oh yeah. That is a classic mistake coming in.

Greg White (05:28):

Yep.

Kelly Barner (05:28):

Yeah. But see, this is where I think we need to add more to these conversations around weather. We need to be sort of like what’s your pest forecast cause anybody that’s ever talked to me about the weather knows that my way I process all that is to say, yeah, but we don’t have to Angelas or alligators. I would rather have a snowstorm with a nice day of melting than have tarantulas and alligators all day. And I just, I assume I don’t care if you’re in Austin, Texas, or Tallahassee, Florida or Atlanta, Georgia. I just assume your backyards are all full of tarantulas alligators. That, that goes a long way towards feeling better about dealing with snow storms

Greg White (06:02):

In the winter. Let’s we’re gonna let you have it. So you don’t feel so bad about the warm weather down here.

Kelly Barner (06:07):

There you go. Well, before we lose anybody who has a RA phobia, let’s go ahead and swish in Mike Griswold from Gartner. Hey Mike, how are you? Hey

Greg White (06:19):

Mike, Hey

Mike Griswold (06:20):

Everybody.

Greg White (06:21):

How’s the weather where you are.

Kelly Barner (06:22):

Yeah, exactly. And what bugs are in your backyard?

Mike Griswold (06:24):

So we Idaho doesn’t have, we have snakes, we have rattlesnakes, but for the most part, those are not where, where the people are. Weather here is nice. Greg wife. And I went out and golfed yesterday gonna be 60 today. Um, so yeah, we are starting to, uh, to start to turn the corner. Uh, every year I have to mow my lawn before my birthday, which is at the end of March. And I’m on schedule for that, uh, as well too. Really?

Greg White (06:49):

Yes.

Mike Griswold (06:49):

Yeah. I, my, my lawn mowing season is, uh, end of March through probably Halloween.

Greg White (06:55):

Wow. Yes.

Mike Griswold (06:57):

Yep.

Kelly Barner (06:57):

That’s a not too far off from Boston. Yeah.

Greg White (07:01):

You get a little bit of a break.

Kelly Barner (07:04):

Well, Ben

Greg White (07:05):

Boise is a, is a bit of a unique, uh, climate. Isn’t it? It is. You don’t get the heavy snows and whatnot

Mike Griswold (07:13):

Expects. I’m not a skier. So Boise itself, uh, which sits in the, in, uh, the base of a mountain range, but we see itself, we might get 20 inches a year. We have a, a climate very similar to Phoenix. You know, we’ll have 12, 13 days over a hundred, but that’s like a hundred, five. It’s not like a hundred and you know, 160,000 degrees that they get in Phoenix. So it’s, uh, it’s manageable, low humidity. So, which is bad add for me because I grew up in Western New York and now when it gets above 20%, I start to wh so I’ve yeah. I’ve I was spoil I’m spoiled here now. I mean, I grew up, I mean, similar to your well weather Kelly, you know, 85 degrees and 90% humidity was our summers. Yes. So

Kelly Barner (07:58):

Exactly.

Mike Griswold (07:59):

I I’ve gotten soft when it comes to humidity. I’m afraid,

Kelly Barner (08:03):

But not soft, hopefully when it comes to basketball. Oh no. And so we’re gonna do some, some bracket breaking today. Um, before we get into the actual supply chain talk, any tips, you know, we were asking before you joined us on screen, if people have fun ways that they decide who’s gonna in, cuz we know it has nothing to do with normal season results or basketball skills or money that the school has or likelihood of winning any unique approach that you have to filling out your bracket.

Mike Griswold (08:31):

So like, like Greg, I I’m a fairly serious bracket, filler outer. Uh, and I’m also of the belief that you get to submit one bracket. You know, these people that

Greg White (08:42):

Had

Mike Griswold (08:43):

Six, it’s like, it’s still hard, but there’s a lot of different bases you can cover with more than one bracket. My favorite picking technique though, was what mascot could be, what other mascot? So if you were like the, I think it’s the UC Davis, sea SLS, you had no chance, right. Everyone was gonna beat you. But if you were like, you know, a lion or a bear or the, you know, LSU tigers, right. You know, you do pretty well until you got into people that had firearms like U mass musketeer, you know, savior, Musketeers people with firearms Cowboys. So yeah, it really just depends on, on how literally do you wanna take the mascots?

Kelly Barner (09:24):

Yeah, no, that’s true. Well, I’m married into the Penn state cult call it cult. Oh boy. It’s um, and so exactly so, but my children were all trained when they heard right. Buckeye. Oh yeah. It’s just a nut that falls from a tree. Yes. Right. So maybe could, could a Buckeye like roll onto a sea slug. That would be a really tough

Mike Griswold (09:45):

One. That would be a tough

Kelly Barner (09:45):

One. If you had to use that in your bracket. Yes.

Mike Griswold (09:48):

Yes.

Greg White (09:49):

Well then you got the ones that are really hard to predict like a bill can,

Mike Griswold (09:54):

Right? Yes.

Kelly Barner (09:54):

Which, what is that?

Mike Griswold (09:55):

It’s a bird, it’s a

Greg White (09:56):

Goat.

Mike Griswold (09:56):

It’s a goat like

Kelly Barner (09:58):

Pelican.

Mike Griswold (09:59):

I thought it was a,

Greg White (10:00):

We got a conflict here. Yeah.

Mike Griswold (10:01):

I dunno. Whatever it is. It’s different. You don’t hear it a whole lot.

Greg White (10:06):

I’m gonna have to look it up now, look it up. I thought it was a, like a mountain goat kind of thing. Okay. I’m sure somebody is gonna have someone

Mike Griswold (10:13):

Will know the answer to that.

Greg White (10:15):

Yeah,

Kelly Barner (10:16):

Exactly. Somebody that went to whatever school either has something that looks like a Pelican or something that St.

Mike Griswold (10:21):

Louis, right. St. Louis bill agains

Greg White (10:24):

BIS All right. Yep. The bill is a charmed doll. So

Mike Griswold (10:31):

I think we’re

Greg White (10:32):

So, so you can’t, so that one doesn’t win. That’s like, if you were the, uh, so and so state fuzzy babies or something like that. Right.

Mike Griswold (10:42):

You might get some sentimental votes, but yeah. Other than that, no.

Kelly Barner (10:45):

All right. Well

Greg White (10:46):

Interesting. Yeah.

Kelly Barner (10:47):

The goal right of brackets and, you know, we were talking about potentially being able to win a, a million dollars, but if you can get to the final four and still have your bracket intact, that is, is a yes. Pretty huge deal almost as big a deal as being in the final four. So let’s kind of flip this over to supply chain. Mike, as we look back at all the disruption and unpredictability we’ve had over the last couple of years, when we think about some final four strategies or predictions for final four, what were those things should have worked, should have made it to the final four, but actually crept out in the first

Mike Griswold (11:22):

Round. Yeah, there there’s one, as I was thinking about, about that question, there’s one that, that we’ve talked a lot about. Now, you, you could potentially put an asterisk next to this one because of the pandemic. But I also think people were thinking about this before the pandemic and that’s this idea of just in time. I think what we found during the pandemic was just in time, got kicked out in the first round, up until the pandemic, just in time, you know, what was, was kind of the way people were thinking about how they wanted to manage inventory primarily because they had a much more predictable demand signal. The pandemic comes, the demand signal is all over the place, if it or even non-existent right, depending on what you were selling and what channel you had. And, and people found that just in time now meant basically no stuff.

Mike Griswold (12:15):

So, and it would be interesting to see as we come out of the pandemic, the way we’re headed now, will we revert to something that looks like just in time or have people evolved their thinking to say, you know what we need need inventory to, to, to be more responsive, to be more agile, to be more resilient. And we just have to carry some more stuff. Now, maybe we don’t need to carry it at the levels we carried at pre pandemic. Right. You know, I, I never met a retailer who wasn’t over assorted or had way too much inventory. Right. In fact, as we were coming into the pandemic, we had a lot of our retailer and consumer products companies talking to us about skew rationalization. Right. If you recall, very early in the pandemic, you know, we, we saw dramatic changes in choice, right? You may have been had four choices of ketchup. Now you had two, you know, I think there was a hope from us in the analyst community that, that we would use this as an opportunity to kinda rightsize our portfolios. I think unfortunately what’s happened is we’ve started to see and hear some of that skew lation start to come back. So to me, it’s, it’s that just into time concept is the one that I think pre pandemic, everyone saw is a slam dunk. If I use a basketball metaphor and I think, oh,

Greg White (13:43):

That was pretty good.

Mike Griswold (13:44):

Yeah. I, I, I stayed up all night thinking of that one, but, but now I, I think people are asking themselves the question, what is the right inventory strategy and, and how do we, how do we adopt that moving forward?

Kelly Barner (14:00):

Yeah. Well, and Greg, you actually had a, a story in your, your curation of stories this morning, specifically around retail and the debt, right. That companies are gonna be willing to carry. And that a little bit goes along with that just in time, because if you, it come completely changed your strategy on how much debt you’re willing to carry. Yeah. Um, if you’ve gotta hold more inventory, any additional thoughts there either, or if you wanna give a different strategy that should have made it to the final form got dropped off along the way, or, or thoughts based on Mike’s suggestion.

Greg White (14:31):

Mike alluded to it. I mean, in, in talking about, you know, in talking about Jeff us in time and it’s demand forecasting, demand forecasting, we all thought was final four. Yeah. You know, Mike and I have talked for many years about the fatal flaw of statistical regardless of, of how you approach it. Statistical forecasting has some really fatal flaws, which is to presume that the future will be some slight derivation or even radically different derivation of the past. And we saw during the pandemic that that was absolutely not the case to quote every stock broker ad you’ve ever seen past performances and no indication of future value. And, you know, I think what we discovered is that we have long rested on our laurels using techniques and forecasting that regardless of how much we change the algorithm, the foundational principle, which is taking the past and averaging it in some way, and then adapting it to try to reflect the future is it is more than a hundred years old.

Greg White (15:35):

And it is more than a hundred years outdated. So, you know, we have to think about what really makes demand occur. And we have to predict that predict people, predict their actions, predict the influencers on those people. And I don’t mean in like on TikTok. I mean, those things that actually make you buy, right? Yeah. That, that cause you to have a run on toilet paper, which we saw during the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, um, you know, there was nothing that could have predicted that. In fact, that was a, that was a viral effect of standing in Costco say, and seeing somebody fill up their cart and you’re, oh my gosh, right. We could be locked down. And if I don’t get mine now I may never get it. So, you know, we have to identify those things that can direct us to the cause of demand. All demand is causal. No demand is statistical statistical demand. Forecasting is a, it’s a surrogate for knowing the, that made a demand occurrence buck occur.

Kelly Barner (16:37):

Yeah. Well, let me pull in a couple of things. So this, I just have to share this because just no, right. Josh is sharing that.

Greg White (16:46):

There

Kelly Barner (16:47):

You go. Traffic delays,

Greg White (16:48):

New Mexico

Kelly Barner (16:49):

Because of tarantula migrations. No, I, I just not go home. Like that’s how, you know, it’s it’s time to move. Right. Um, if you’re dealing with tarantula migrations and that’s affecting your supply chain, you are in the wrong place. I’m sorry, Josh. That is just not, not okay. And thank you, Scott. Who’s got our backs. ABI is a mythical, good luck figure who run represents things as they ought to be. In other words, got it. Not a tarantula migration, just being totally clear on that point. So we’ve talked a little bit

Greg White (17:26):

Very that’s what a bill can represents. Yes.

Kelly Barner (17:28):

No tar

Greg White (17:28):

Lack of future tarantula migrations. I, I

Kelly Barner (17:31):

Like that. Exactly. Or the non factors that cause

Greg White (17:37):

Demand to, to rent.

Kelly Barner (17:38):

Yeah.

Greg White (17:39):

Oh yeah. Right.

Kelly Barner (17:40):

Got it. Just, just working all the way back through the back through the chain there. So we, we talked about what should have made it to the final forum. Didn’t how about Cinderella stories, Mike? Right. How about things that maybe they were old school strategies that were rediscovered, maybe they were sort of foundational or fundamental techniques that we hadn’t thought about in a while that proved themselves to be Val, any, any Cinderella stories you can think of this particular discussion.

Mike Griswold (18:08):

I’ve got two and I’ll, I’ll start with, with one of them. And then if we have time, I I’ll bring up the second one. I I think, and, and I think Kelly, you described this really well. And as I was thinking about this question to me again, somewhat pandemic related, it’s, it’s how people and companies are going back to work. And, and the reason I think that’s a Cinderella story is I, I think early in the pandemic, everything got shut down and we went to remote work cuz we had to. But I think, you know, as we were talking to clients, I think there was across multiple industries. I think there was a belief that this was, was a, a temporary and, and we can, you know, you can define temporary any way you want. But I think there was a general belief that this remote working was gonna be temporary, that at some point everyone would, would get out of their house and they would drive to work and they would be back in the office.

Mike Griswold (19:09):

I think what makes this as Cinderella story is the fact that a that’s not happening and B people are becoming much more comfortable with a hybrid type of approach. And they’re actually finding they can, they can be really productive and their businesses can succeed and they can thrive in a remote hybrid environment. And I think if, if you were to have asked people two years ago, do you see yourself in a remote hybrid environment? I think most people would’ve said no out of fear that we, we just couldn’t get the work done. And to me, the fact that we’ve gotten more work done, we’ve got people with, with an opportu to get better work life balance. We’re getting people, um, providing for many people more flexibility. And we’re, we’re being made aware that businesses and industries that we thought were, you know, had to be in person all the time, like retail as an example, what we’re finding is that’s just not the case.

Mike Griswold (20:15):

And, and to me, part of a Cinderella story, if we think about basketball is, is the fact that, you know, it’s a school that, you know, you really you’ll wanna root for, but they, they, you know, you, you don’t really see them having a chance maybe out of, of the first round. And I see that a lot with this, how companies are going back to work, right? We, we really wanted people to be able to, to work remotely. We didn’t know that we didn’t really have confidence that we’d be able to, we, the broader industry will be able to do that. And now we are, and you’re seeing story after story of companies that are completely reconfiguring how their office looks, they’re getting rid of large campuses and they’re going to much more smaller, more satellite type of, of office location. So to me, this was a fascinating thing to watch, and it was a fascinating thing for us at Gartner to be hearing and writing about and, and giving people advice about this. So that’s one that I think is a, is a Cinderella story is, is kind of how we’re going back to work.

Kelly Barner (21:24):

Greg thoughts before we have Mike sure. Second to Cinderella story.

Greg White (21:28):

Uh, yeah, I think automation is a, is a big kind of Cinderella story as well. Uh, you know, and, and it goes to how people are working. And I think the Cinderella story there is not that automation is being used or that it’s becoming prolific it’s that it’s becoming imperative. It’s an absolute necessity because some humans will never go back to do the Jobs’s that they did before. That’s and, and I think the, you know, the, um, fortune happenstance of that is, is we can cease to apologize something I talked about also in a, a summary recently we can cease to apologize for automation and cease, worry about it taking people’s jobs, because it’s literally taking jobs that’s that no one would take for two years. So, and I, I think that’s, that’s a good thing because, you know, when you think about repetitive use injuries and other dangers and the doldrums and, and the mind numbing nature of some jobs that we have had humans doing for yeah. Decades, sometimes centuries, it’s better that we use our, our true gifts and let automation, you know, use its true gifts, let humans do human things. I say, yeah. Right. And let technology do technology things. So yeah, I think that’s one and the, not just the pace, but the recognition that it is absolutely necessary going forward. That’s probably the Cinderella store I’d land on.

Kelly Barner (22:54):

When I think back from more of a procurement standpoint through this whole thing, you know, for a lot of years now, it’s been very sophisticated. Where do you get stuff from? Who do you buy it from? How many suppliers do you put in place? How long is the supply chain over the last two years? It was just get it period. Right. Whatever has to be done. Old school. Yeah. Wicked old school. Right. You know, there were cities and companies setting themselves up as importers of records so that they could bring things in directly. And it was, it was interesting. I had the opportunity to speak to the now former CPO of New York city who was still running it at the time. And he talked about waiting through like gray markets to get PPE and how awful it was, but there was never a question about whether they were gonna do it. Right. And so when you think about kind of an unglamorous thing to do that is absolutely essential. You know, I think from a procurement standpoint is just doing whatever is necessary to bring that stuff in, to keep companies running, not exciting. Right. But without that, so many things wouldn’t have happened over the last couple of years.

Greg White (24:01):

I think you could argue that procurement in and of itself is a Cinderella story. I mean, the right, the things that had to be done to keep factories, going to keep yes. Brands on the shelf to resource, right. To find new materials, new means of, of, of construction or production, all of those things had to change. And it is, I mean, it, it really speaks to the resourcefulness of people that most people don’t even know what the hell they do every day. Right.

Kelly Barner (24:30):

Exactly. So Mike, I’m curious, what’s your second Cinderella story.

Mike Griswold (24:34):

So the second one is an interesting one, I think because it’s, it’s been around for a little while and, and I, we’re definitely on the Gartner side seeing evolution and it’s, it’s this idea of control towers. If we think about control towers, not necessarily a new technology, it historically was used to really track physical assets. Where’s my trucks, where’s my ships. Where’s my containers. I think what makes for me is control towers. A Cinderella story is, is how that has evolved to really being one of the key visibility technologies that companies have used during the pandemic. And it has shifted, um, shift is probably not the right word. It’s now evolved to not only worrying about physical assets, but now we’re tracking data. We’re tracking inventory, we’re tracking orders, we’re tracking forecasts. You know, we’ve had, um, we’re in the middle of our top 25 season and we’ve had a number of briefings from companies that are using control towers and satellite imaging as an example, to monitor where their raw materials and how their raw materials are being processed. So everything from oil to tobacco, right? Using control towers, satellite imagery, to start to link the production and the use of these raw materials. So to me, it’s, it’s this evolution of a technology that fit a real need. Where’s my stuff to now really being an enabler of I’ll use the resiliency and agility words again, to be real enablers of that. And that to me, I think, was something that I don’t know, people saw coming as an additional use or a new use for control towers.

Kelly Barner (26:22):

Yeah. Well, and, and anything that we can take and augment or modify as new things become available, right. It takes something fundamental like a control tower, right. And it vastly expands what we can potentially do with it, which is huge. Now, when you talk about that resilience mic, let’s sort of switch you over to your coaching mindset for a minute here, and you find yourself in the second quarter of the game, it is not going according to plan. Right. Sounds familiar. How do we know, or how should companies know when they should trust the plan and stick to it? And it’s gonna work itself out by the final buzzer. And when do you make that risky call to make a change, make a switch because of what you’re seeing and experiencing.

Mike Griswold (27:05):

Yeah. I think that, it’s an interesting question. I mean, one of the things that, that we try, if I, if I put my coaching head on is, and I think it works for business is th there are times for you to try new things and that’s in practice. So you wanna get in practice or in, if I, if I then pivot to kind of the business world in, in, in building your day to day capabilities, you wanna understand what do you do well, and what do you necessarily still need to work on? And when you get into a game or you into the real world, you need to be able to execute the things that you’ve quote unquote, practiced. That’s what you wanna be executing on. That’s what, you know, if, if in practice, we’ve, let’s say we’ve put in a new play, right. You know, we, we are not gonna run that play at the end of a game if we’ve never practiced it.

Mike Griswold (28:05):

So what I tend to see some organizations do to your question, Kelly is trying to pivot into either markets, areas or capabilities that they’ve never practiced. And, and yes, you, you cannot practice everything, right? You do have to be able, able to make a game time decision or, or a business decision in the heat of the moment, but you really wanna draw on past experiences, past capabilities and past things that you’ve practiced. Uh, Chuck Noel used to I’ll date myself right today is old stuff. Day I’ll date myself, right? Chuck Noel is, uh, was coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventies. One of the best coaches in NFL history. He had a quote that says, you know, we don’t practice stuff to get it right. We practice stuff. So we never do it wrong. And when I think about kind of companies today, you know, where, where I see companies struggle is either kind chasing a shiny object that they don’t necessarily have use cases for, or know how it’s gonna fit within their broader company or supply chain strategy or companies, you know, doing things they haven’t practiced or not putting enough time into the things that they should be practicing.

Mike Griswold (29:24):

So if you think about, if, if I use a basketball analogy, right, you know, you need to be practicing every day, very simple things like dribbling, passing, and catching, even at the varsity level where I coach you still have to practice those things. If I think about the real world, things like sales and operations planning, right, is, is one of the things that has, has, you know, passed the test of time. You need to be able to do that. You need to have practiced it and you need to be good at it. So to me, kind of, if I, if I bring that my answer to a close, sorry, I was kind of a long one. It’s it’s do what you, you know, you can do well and make educated guesses on what you think you can do well, based on what you’ve practiced.

Kelly Barner (30:09):

Well, and it’s funny, cuz there’s a, there’s a commercial out right now and it’s really good. So it was probably paid for by some insurance company. I don’t remember where it’s, it’s the right up against the clock. And somebody comes from the stands maybe and the coaches, little white board and maps out this wicked complicated thing. And trust me, coach, it’s, it’s gonna work. And I’m pretty sure it ends with him hitting either a ref or the mascot in the face with the basketball, which is probably not the objective of that play. Yes. Right. So that’s not the goal, right. Not working towards that. It’s not about like we have nothing else to lose. And so we to hit the ref in the face with the ball, Greg, when we, when we take sort of this idea of knowing when to pivot and risky situations and apply it to maybe opening our consideration to some of the newer startups that have entered supply chain over the last couple years, cuz there’s been a ton of ’em huge influx of money, lots of people that are now for the very first time I’m gonna, you know, solve supply chain for the rest of us.

Kelly Barner (31:04):

How do we apply that idea of knowing when to change plan, but instead making it, knowing when to move from something more proven like a control tower, even augmented with something slightly new and try a completely new technology. How do you, how do you make that decision?

Greg White (31:19):

It’s interesting. You know, I made a career of doing that technology companies that replaced old technology or old techniques in supply chain. I’m at one today, you can’t see their logo, but it’s VEON. Um, who’s doing a similar thing and I, you know, what I have seen companies do in the past, and I know they will do is when the pain it’s the devil, you know, versus the devil you Don know, right. When the pain of what is harming hampering or, or killing your business becomes greater and more feared than the fear of the transition, both to new technology and new business processes and, and um, talent, um, pools. Then that’s when companies will typically make the, the, the shift, what I’ve long told my sales teams in many of the companies that I work with and advise now is companies don’t run fast towards ROI.

Greg White (32:16):

They run fast away from what is hurting their company. And if you have the solution to what is hurting their company, the, the will come to you. But I think that that’s one of the things that companies have to recognize is that they have to recognize that something is hurting or has the potential to hurt the company before it does, right. A preemptive strike against fragility. We talked about resiliency, Mike, but preemptive strikes against fragility is what’s really required now. And more companies need to be looking at the ability to reduce, to eliminate in the Chuck Knowles standard, to eliminate fragility, to eliminate the risk of failure in order to be successful. So when C, when, if you’re attacking a disruption, um, you have to first anticipate some kind of disruption and not the, you know, not the, the specific black Swan event, but the result of an event like that, if something bad happened, what would be the worst impact on the business? And then you build a, uh, a strategy, a tool set processes, people or technologies to attack and either prevent or rapidly respond and recover from those kinds of disruptions.

Kelly Barner (33:33):

Yeah. So lemme pull in a couple of comments from the audience, but first of all, Peter, no worries. I got them. Note, you are gonna be late, right? No need to, no need to stress it today. If you do have any bracket tips, though, we will take them. Likewise from Steven. I did not get a note on you though, so sorry, but, but I like the

Greg White (33:51):

Cover you’re in touch with the teacher.

Kelly Barner (33:53):

I know exactly. So we’re glad you’re here, but yes, Scott today is old stuff day. And so thank you first of all, for joining us. Thank you also for this week’s episode of this week in business history, Oreos are old stuff does not mean you should eat old Oreos, but the history of, of Oreos most popular snack in the country, um, definitely worth celebrating. So indeed Mike. Exactly. And now they have gluten free so we can all celebrate. So Mike, a minute ago you were starting to talk about the top 25 supply chains. Yes. And I know that the big release, all that information isn’t coming out until early summer, but are there any early insights or observations or things that you can share from us either about what those clearly very proven supply chain learned didn’t work or maybe some newer, more innovative strategies that you are seeing work for them?

Mike Griswold (34:46):

Yeah. I think the, the big, the big topic that I see being discussed more and more is sustainability. And, and within that, this idea of environmental, social and governance ESG. So if I rewind the clock and in this, and, and to me, the sustainability piece is one of those few things that was moving and continues to move regardless of the pandemic. So it is one of the few things I think within the supply chain that really was not influenced by a pandemic. People were, were moving in this direction. People continue to move in that direction. And if anything, we’re seeing Excel, we are seeing an acceleration of people’s ESG and sustainability ambitions. You know, despite the, the last couple of years, I think what we’ve seen at least what I’ve seen in talking to these companies in the last couple years is, is a definite change in mindset from even three to five years ago where we companies felt a need to, to talk about sustainability.

Mike Griswold (35:57):

They, you know, if you gave them true serum, you probably would’ve had mixed results around whether people actually believe what they were saying relative to sustainability, but they were saying it anyway, cuz they felt they needed to. And then low and behold, right? We start talking about, you know, these topics and, and we start to see, you know, trucks get more efficient. I drive less miles. I start to make more money in transportation. So people started to see kind of, not only obviously a social benefit, but they actually started to see a financial benefit around this as well. And then they said, well, maybe we’re onto something. So it, it is just kind of snowballs from there where we’re seeing more and more organizations, you know, not only talk about what they’re doing and actually doing stuff, but we’re seeing it baked into the supply chain.

Mike Griswold (36:51):

And I think, you know, if again, if we go back a few years, almost anything that you saw from a ability perspective came out of a corporate communications department. That’s, you know, the, this we’re doing this and it’s the byline is, is the corporate communication department fast forward to today. Almost everything you see from sustainability is coming from the supply chain, whether it’s a chief supply chain officer, whether it’s a chief sustainability officer works with the supply chain, the supply chain has. And I think for, for many, many great reasons, the supply chain has inherited this. And I think for what we’ve done with it is fantastic in terms of how, as a supply chain profession, we’ve taken this, this topic of sustainability, we’ve, we’ve run with it and we’ve advanced it. And more and more companies, if you look online are accelerating goals that maybe they had for 2030, they’re now gonna deliver them in 2025, we’ve got more companies being cognizant of things like a circular economy.

Mike Griswold (37:57):

How do I, I mean, we had great with our high tech companies around things like laptops and what they’re doing with old laptops and turning them from a chassis and frame perspective into new laptops. Microsoft has a mouse made completely from recycled plastic from the ocean, right? The companies are doing and becoming very creative. I bought, Greg will appreciate this. I bought a pair of golf shoes from Adidas made completely of recycled plastic. Haven’t tried ’em yet saw those haven’t tried ’em yet, but they were in, they were in my school colors, black and gold. So I had to buy ’em. So we’ll see. But there there’s more and more around circular economy. Biodiversity is now a topic. People recognizing that what they take out of the ground is, is as it’s as important to figure out what am I gonna put in the ground to replace that or use instead of that. So to me that that is such an, an important topic. And now when we layer in some of the, the social areas like diversity equity inclusion, we’re now seeing supply chains. Talk about that. So when I think about our top 25 companies, that’s, what’s really standing out to me now is how is how vocal and how leading these companies are in that ESG arena.

Kelly Barner (39:18):

Yeah. Now if we turn that into a bracket, here’s what I would be curious about Mike. Sure. In some cases I have a feeling operational teams are really hustling to keep up with the talk that’s already been done. And in other cases, companies are finally talking because they actually have the results and they are so excited not only to share their impact, but because there’s a competitive advantage associated with, with being good on this. If we have kind of a last final pairing here on, which is driving more of a difference, is it those verbal commitments that force the operation to come in and, and back up those words? Or is it that the work is actually be being done and now companies are getting to a point where they’re comfortable talking

Mike Griswold (39:58):

About it. Yeah, that, that’s a great question. This is, if I put it in the brackets, this is the nine eight matchup, right? The number nine seed, the number eight seed it’s it could go either way, but you have to pick someone in your bracket, right? There are no ties. Yeah. I would pick in. And it’s a great question, Kelly, in this bracket, I would pick it’s the, because companies are feeling pressure externally, right? We’ve got data that suggest that, you know, around 60% of customers are looking for a sustainable company when they buy stuff 70, 70, or 78% of people would actually boycot a, if they had, you know, a negative social impact because we’re getting these external influences, I’m going to answer your question from the standpoint is companies are now being held accountable to targets that they set and that’s, what’s driving them and the operations folks have to catch up.

Mike Griswold (40:56):

Yes, there are, there are some companies that maybe were a little bit hesitant to talk about what they were doing because maybe they didn’t feel, uh, even though they were doing really good stuff that may have felt that it, it, it wouldn’t stand up to what everyone else is talking about. But I think in today’s environment, companies are being forced to reexamine very public and disclose the things that they’re doing in this area. I mean, we, we’ve got top 25 companies that are now linking executive compensation to things like sustainability goals and de and I objectives. So that to me is, is where people are headed. At least that’s what we’re seeing in the top 25 companies.

Kelly Barner (41:39):

Yeah. What do you think, Greg, would you make the same pick?

Greg White (41:42):

Yeah. Unquestionably companies catching up to what they’ve been saying for years. Right. And the operations teams are finally, uh, finally get some actual support from management to be able to yeah. To attack some of those initiatives. Right. I think, I mean, it, I, I think everybody knows whatever you wanna call it, greenwash or lip service, whatever you wanna call it. That’s been going on for decades, frankly, around a lot of ESG initiatives. And now, again, not rushing towards something they’re running away from the fact that now negative perception, negative cost can all impact the business negatively. And, um, finally seeing the dollar signs and yeah. I mean, ultimately, hopefully the Goodwill that, that is generated by, by actually delivering on those sometimes decades old promises.

Mike Griswold (42:37):

Yeah. Greg. Yeah. And Greg, you, and I didn’t talk about this beforehand, but you raise a great point. We actually have a note from a couple of people on my team that are writing a note about greenwash. We have now I think gotten to the point where we actually have a name for it, right. Greenwash. And we actually have an environment of highly educated consumers and stakeholders who are now able to kind of sift through what is, I don’t wanna say true and untrue, what is true and what is maybe embellished? And the reason we write that we we’re writing that is there are, and you, you alluded to it, Greg, there are significant negative consequences. If someone thinks you’re greenwash that wasn’t the case, maybe three, four years ago, it is definitely the case now. And, and I encourage people when, when they’re putting out there publicly part of their organization, the things that they’re doing keep in mind, people will fact check you and you know, you need to have, you know, doing what you say you’re doing, do not be embellishing on what you’re doing.

Mike Griswold (43:48):

And if you maybe aren’t where you wanna be, you will get a lot more credit fessing up to, Hey, we’re a little bit behind on our 2025 goals than saying, you know, not only are we gonna hit 20, 25, we’re gonna do more stuff in 2030. People will see right through that. And, and greenwash is a huge risk for companies. And it’s only gonna get, I think, a greater risk as we, as we open up other areas for sustainability. And we just continue to get an educated set of stakeholders that will be able to call BS if you’re BSing

Kelly Barner (44:25):

Well. And I would actually say, I mean, it’s ironic, but the risks that have been taken around talking about sustainability, some of which counted as, as greenwash in the end have actually been a boon for the movement. I, you know, since early January, I’ve been focused on kind of the supplier diversity movement as part of ESG as part of my LinkedIn accelerator. And I actually think it’s a hesitancy on the part of, of companies to talk about diversity in all of its categories, because it’s people that we’re talking about. I actually think it’s holding the movement back a little bit. So it’s almost like there’s some amount of healthy greenwash that starts to build a little momentum. You don’t wanna be the one that gets caught. You don’t wanna be the one getting held accountable, but bringing it to that point where it consistently part of the conversation, there is something to be said for that in terms of how quickly the movement itself builds up momentum.

Mike Griswold (45:17):

Yeah. I agree with you completely supply supplier diversity, responsible sourcing, right? Those are huge topics for us now and on Gartner and they are, they are definitely topics of conversations within our top 25 companies. You know, I think of the things that you mentioned, Kelly, that I agree with completely is, is that diversity discussion period is a tough one for companies, whether that’s just that the composition of their workforce, whether it’s the composition of their suppliers, right? You talked about supplier diversity, I think, you know, and I would SU and I’m not gonna suggest that top 25, 5 companies have that figured out cuz they don’t. But I do what I do see in top 25 companies is an acknowledgement that it’s a hard conversation and an acknowledgement that it’s conversations we’re gonna have and a recognition that we will not always get the conversation. Right. But we’re still gonna try. Right. And that to me is as important, right. Is recognizing that we will not be perfect in this, but we’re still gonna try. Right. And we’re still gonna work through it cuz it’s important.

Kelly Barner (46:22):

Absolutely. Well, Mike, it was an absolute pleasure having you on for the live stream, giving us your bracket, tips, any final predictions you wanna make about mad before we have you share your contact information with folks and ride off into the Gonzaga sunset.

Mike Griswold (46:39):

Yeah. So I mean, if you’d asked me on sat before Saturday, I’d I’d thought I had an idea, but on Saturday in case people had missed it seven, seven of the top 10 all lost first time that’s ever happened in the history of the poll. So to me in, in years past, and I think Greg would agree with this in years past, there’s been a couple of teams that have kind of separated themselves. And the chances that one of those two teams or three teams was gonna win the tournament would, would, would be likely, I think this year it’s pretty deep. There’s probably eight or nine teams that, uh, on any given, um, you know, weekend right. Or stretch of a weekend can, can win the whole thing. So yeah, my, if you’re looking at the top 10, I would say that the winner is gonna come out of the top 10. I don’t think they’re gonna come out, uh, any deeper than

Kelly Barner (47:24):

That. Awesome. And if folks wanna get in touch and learn more about you or learn more about Gartner, what is the best place for you

Mike Griswold (47:29):

To go? You can email me directly happy to have that. Mike do Griswold gardner.com. I’m, I’m continuing my journey in LinkedIn getting better every, every day. Still not where still not where people, most people are. I’m sure with LinkedIn, but that’s another way, um, as well. And, and, but email, but I’m, I’m still an old school email guy, so feel free to send me emails.

Kelly Barner (47:51):

Awesome. Thank you so much, Mike, for being with us.

Mike Griswold (47:54):

Thanks, Mike. My pleasure. Great to see everyone have a great day. Bye-bye

Greg White (47:57):

Good care.

Kelly Barner (47:58):

All right, Greg. Well, that’s, that’s interesting. Now I do feel a little bit more comfortable talking about basketball now that we’ve had Mike here for a little while.

Greg White (48:04):

Well, Mike’s an old pro, right? Uh, yeah. And, and a head coach for anyone who doesn’t know had he coaches, ladies basketball at a high, at a high school at, I think right now, two different levels, varsity and junior varsity. So he knows of what he speaks because he lives it and quite well apparently. So

Kelly Barner (48:25):

How about basketball and supply

Greg White (48:26):

Chain? Undoubtedly, you know, a practitioner, right? When I, when I started working with Mike, which was some years ago, he had come out of industry as a practitioner of supply chain and procurement, by the way, somewhat. So he knows what he’s talking about and he’s got a vast amount of resources around him to help continually research how things are changing. And that’s, you know, that’s one of the beauties of groups like Gartner, who just continually, they have no other agenda than producing the information that helps us improve the craft. And they do that, not just in supply chain, but that’s the part we care. Yeah. Um,

Kelly Barner (49:06):

Well, and here’s the interesting thing. I think about something like a, a brackets, you know, football squares, if people did that at the, at the super bowl, is that it, it sort of makes the conversation more inclusive cuz it levels the, the playing field. I can’t help, but wonder if we’re going to going forward seeing a dynamic a little bit like that around supply chain because you know, you mentioned the great toilet paper scare of, you know, 20, 20, every buddy is now an expert on supply chain, at least in their own mind. And it reminds me of that story. I, we attributed as being a, a Boston story, cuz there’s always trucks getting stuck under overpasses, but who knows, it could have been anywhere where the truck is totally wedged and traffic’s all backed up and the little girl rolls her window down and says to the police officer, why don’t you just let the air out of the tires? And of course that gives them just enough space to be able to probably drag the truck through. At that point, you can’t help, but wonder if there’s somebody out there that wasn’t in supply chain, maybe wasn’t even operational, but is gonna look at some element of the challenges we’ve been facing or the opportunity and a unique enough way to totally revolutionize things. I can’t help, but think that’s a real possibility.

Greg White (50:14):

Yeah, I agree. I think people have been trying to do it for years and they have, you know, as we talked about with the forecasting technique, they have been stymied by the, this is the way we’ve always done it crowd. And there are a lot of things that got exposed. A lot of those ancient techniques that we use in supply chains that got exposed. And hopefully that ignites someone with both the intellect and the ambition to, you know, to take an, a different look at it. It is an incredibly complex problem. I can tell you that some of the problems I solved, I was vexed by for nearly a decade. So it’s an incredibly complex environment and that makes it exceptionally difficult. It’s not like it’s not as simple as a truck stuck. Right. But right. It’s not impossible. And um, and there are lots of really smart people doing it.

Greg White (51:03):

And we’ve observed over the years, people coming supply chain from physics and finance and various and sundry other, uh, businesses that take a completely different perspective and give us a new perspective. And I think Mike spoke to that, not just that, but uh, to this new perspective on supply chain, but also to the growing trans in supply chain. Yeah. You can’t hide in a dark corner of the, of the planet anymore and do bad deeds and not be found out. And I think that is a critical aspect of it too. I mean, there, there, one of the things we have to confess I’m able to confess because I don’t work for any of these people out there is that there are some intentional obfuscation. There is intentional misdirection. There is intentional pricing strategies that are not conducive to market forces are not responsive to market forces. There are all kinds of those things, but as those are surfaced and as transparency and things like control towers, give us a viewpoint to those things. Those things will change just like they have in other industries and other parts of the, of the world and other parts of society.

Kelly Barner (52:20):

Yeah. Well, it’ll be interested to see if there are any bigs to kind of stay with our bracket idea in, in this year’s top 25 supply chains, because sometimes the supply chains that have done the best under other conditions are sort of structured against being able to adapt quickly enough to succeed in different conditions. That’s right. One of my favorite business books of all times pencils out and everybody write this down. Yeah. The end of competitive advantage by Rita Gunther McGrath. I love that book. She talks in it about the fact that the things that allow companies to get big enough to kind of dominate a, a unique space that they cover up for themselves is the exact same thing that makes them at risk of disruption. That’s all right, because you have a little somebody, a little agile service as somebody that does it totally differently. Shoot in from the side and start to steal your market share. And you either don’t see it, you dismiss it by mistake or you recognize the, the failing in your system and you just can’t get things to move differently. Fast enough. It’s, it’s back to that moment in the game where you realize the plan isn’t working. Yeah. Right. Can you change the plan?

Greg White (53:30):

Yeah. As evidenced by companies like Sears and robot who literally in, in could, could mail you a house via mail order, the entire house and dramatically, I don’t even know. They weren’t even, it wasn’t even a dramatic failure because cuz they just sort of faded away during a time when a new age of mail order, right. That being e-commerce was thriving, a company that should have been able to adapt. That’s just one example and there are thousands more. Um, so yes, the disruptors will always disrupt the, the leaders and the leaders will always defend their methodology because they have so much invested in it. I think what we’re seeing Kelly though in, you know, in, in today’s day is more companies starting to absorb these disruptors or embrace these disruptors, agreed and make it a separate portion of their business and ultimately migrate their business that direction. Unless they go out of business, go the way to one like JC Penney, I think JC Penney’s outta business

Kelly Barner (54:28):

And the voice they choose to give those companies and the thought leaders at those companies. Right. Right. Do they just absorb sort of the capability, absorb the market, share, absorb the approach and the philosophy or do they actually allow the people that build that business to affect their larger business? That’s probably gonna end up being a question of advantage.

Greg White (54:45):

Yeah. Well and Walmart jet is a great example when they bought jet.com. I don’t know if people even remember that, but they bought jet.com and it took them years to integrate that into their standard business because they knew that the dynamics were dramatically different and they let the founders continue to run jet, which became walmart.com and walmart.com is an enormous force in eCommerce these days.

Kelly Barner (55:09):

Absolutely. So Greg, we’re coming to the end of our hour here. We had a great conversation with, I know, I know it, it wasn’t that fast. Yeah. Just brings so much with them and we had some great comments come in from the audience. Um, and now of course, even if we weren’t doing brackets, do you say doing brackets, playing brackets, I’m obviously not a bracket person.

Greg White (55:30):

Uh, but what’s

Kelly Barner (55:31):

The verb to brackets.

Greg White (55:32):

Yeah. Uh, busting is the only one I know busting is the only,

Kelly Barner (55:36):

That’s a bad sign. Yeah. But certainly we’re gonna look forward to hearing with everybody, keep sharing as your brackets, either break or, or you find Cinderella stories, but thank you for spending the, the hour with us live. Um, thank you for listening on demand. If you’re catching this later and Greg in lieu of Scott being here, it wouldn’t be a supply chain now live stream. If I did not say do good give forward and be the change that you wanna see in the world. Thank you so much for joining us. Everybody for today’s live stream, have a terrific rest of your day. Thank

Greg White (56:08):

Everyone. Thanks Kelly.

Intro/Outro (56:11):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time. A on supply chain now.

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Featured Guests

Mike Griswold serves as Vice President Analyst with Gartner’s Consumer Value Chain team, focusing on the retail supply chain. He is responsible for assisting supply leaders in understanding and implementing demand-driven supply chain principles that improve the performance of their supply chain. Mr. Griswold joined Gartner through the company’s acquisition of AMR. Previous roles include helping line-of-business users align corporate strategy with their supply chain process and technology initiatives. One recent study published by a team of Gartner analysts, including Mike Griswold is Retail Supply Chain Outlook 2019: Elevating the Consumer’s Shopping Experience. Mr. Griswold holds a BS in Business Management from Canisius College and an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about Gartner here: www.gartner.com

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Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

Greg White

Principal & Host

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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