Supply Chain Now
Episode 698

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Reverse Logistics Series on Supply Chain Now, host Scott Luton welcomes special co-host, Tony Sciarotta with the Reverse Logistics Association, and Rich Bulger with Cisco.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey. Hey. Good afternoon, everybody. Scott Luton and Tony Sciarrotta with us here right on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Tony, you’re back. How are you doing? Great to see you here today.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:43):

I’m back. So, things are good, right? I’m glad to be here, Scott. It’s an honor to try to fill in for Greg White, I have to say. I’m used to seeing his picture and his face. But we’re good. We’re doing well.

Scott Luton (00:57):

Well, great to have you. One of our favorite series here at Supply Chain Now is our Reverse Logistics Leadership Series. And you’re right, we are missing the one and only Greg White here today. He’s got family in town, and that’s some time we need to protect. And he’s showing his family around, all the great things around the Metro Atlanta area, as we slowly but surely take some steps into the post-pandemic era. Although, we’re keeping our finger on the pulse of all the developments there across the country and across the world. But, at the very least, he’s going to be able to reconnect with his family and that’s really important.

Scott Luton (01:30):

So, Tony, today, we’re continuing our Reverse Logistics Leadership Series, which, of course, we conduct in partnership with the high flying Reverse Logistics Association, which you lead, right?

Tony Sciarrotta (01:43):

Yes. And I have to add, Scott, it’s not too much of a detour, but just to say how great it is in the last week or two to have been able to go to an actual business lunch in-person and shake someone’s hand or give a hug. I mean, world changing events like that, you’re so grateful that you know a lot of people in the business community, Scott, have done the vaccination. So, it’s just amazing. And I cannot wait until we get a chance to get back together in the amazing studios down in Atlanta.

Scott Luton (02:17):

I love that. I love your optimism. And you’re right. In fact, we are at this very moment planning our third iteration, our biggest studio yet right there in King Plow. So, we will see you soon and we’ll share a cheeseburger, perhaps, afterwards, break some bread.

Scott Luton (02:34):

But, for today, we’ve got a huge show teed up. We’ve got a wonderful repeat guest, which we always love our repeat guests. We’ve got Rich Bulger with Cisco joining us once again. Tony, you ready to talk with a business leader from one of the world’s most admired companies?

Tony Sciarrotta (02:49):

I don’t know if I’m in the same class. I am honored to have Rich with us again. It’s great.

Scott Luton (02:54):

So, as you said there, again, Tony was kind enough to introduce us to Rich when we were in Vegas at the RLA Annual Conference 2020, was that right, Tony?

Tony Sciarrotta (03:05):

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was February of 2020, just ahead of Modex and just ahead of the world changing. And it’s 18 months, but it’s 18 months, long months.

Scott Luton (03:19):

It feels like 18 years. But, nevertheless, we had a great conversation so it’s great to have him back sharing some of what he is seeing across the reverse logistics landscape and beyond. So, stay tuned. He’ll be joining us here momentarily. But before we do that, Tony, let’s make a few announcements. We’ll say hello to a few folks. And then, we’re going to dive in with Rich.

Scott Luton (03:37):

I want to bring this in. So, folks join us August 18th, we’ve got a great webinar coming up with our friends from Quip and Alloy. Greg and I are going to be interviewing Imran Patel and talking all about their omni-channel evolution. One of Amanda Luton’s favorite companies, which, by the way, that was the case before we scheduled this webinar. So, learn about Quip on August 18th, 12:00 noon Eastern Time. The link to join is in the comments.

Scott Luton (04:04):

Then, September 7th through 9th, Supply Chain Now is the virtual exclusive provider for the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit. A high breed event, you’re going to have a small gathering in Franklin, Tennessee, where the keynote is taking place. And we’re going to be broadcasting the virtual version there in September. Register to learn more at supplychaininsightsglobalsummit.com.

Scott Luton (04:29):

Okay. So, Tony, now, that we’ve paid the bills a bit, we get to say hello to a few folks. Are you ready?

Tony Sciarrotta (04:34):

Right. Absolutely.

Scott Luton (04:35):

All right. I should start with the team behind the scenes. So, today, we’ve got Amanda, Jada, Allie, and Clay, all helping us produce today’s livestreams and engage in all the commentary we have. And, by the way, Tony, we’re going to give Jada a high-five for nailing that intro.

Tony Sciarrotta (04:53):

That was awesome. That was awesome, Jada.

Scott Luton (04:56):

Hey, it’s the small things in life that add up to the big change we want to see. So, I love that, Jada. And thanks to the whole team there behind the scenes. All right. So, a slew of folks. We’ve got a new participant here, The Great Freight Sage Logic. Maybe a band via YouTube. Great to see you here with us today. Srinivas is back with us from India tuned in via LinkedIn. Srinivas, hope this finds you well. Great to see you. Rhonda – Dr. Bompensa-Zimmerman is back. Rhonda, it’s great to have you on our learning session last night, The Mini-Master Class put on by a variety of folks. Tony, you were going to say something?

Tony Sciarrotta (05:35):

I saw the name Peter Bolle show up, and we’ve had conversations about the other parts of the world as well. He’s up there in Canada. And there’s that frustration of when are they going to let us cross the border again? They don’t like us up there anymore.

Scott Luton (05:51):

Well, that is excellent commentary, and that doesn’t surprise me. Peter knows everybody. Peter Bolle, all night and all day. And I’ll touch more on that in just a second. Clay is with us. He’s watching that Braves trade deadline wire as well. Hey, Azuka, great to have you back. Now, Azuka, was a homerun livestream guest with us a month or so ago, with Jenny Froome – a couple months back, perhaps, inspired the world. And great to have you, Azuka, via LinkedIn. Thanks so much for joining us. Susheel is back with us. Great to see you. Vitori via LinkedIn, welcome, welcome. Boima via LinkedIn. I hope I said that right. If I didn’t, let me know. Great to see you here today. Now, you’ve mentioned Peter Bolle – and my French is horrible, so, Tony, if you want to take a stab at what they say in Montreal, by all means.

Tony Sciarrotta (06:40):

Hey, that’s as far as I can go with the French-Canadian. Sorry, I’ve got family, but they don’t go as far as Montreal, just Toronto and Windsor. And, actually, we’re working with some companies now in Quebec province, and they are the nicest people on the planet. It’s amazing to talk with them.

Scott Luton (07:02):

Agreed. And Peter led off our Mini-Master Class on professional development advancement, finding jobs, and you name it, yesterday. He shared seven key things for advancing your career, and it was homerun stuff. I’m so glad we had him as a lead off hitter, so to speak. And, Peter, appreciate all that you do. So, thanks so much for joining us yesterday. Sanjeev is with us from India via LinkedIn. Hello. Welcome. Welcome. Rhonda, I appreciate your feedback around our marathon webinar yesterday. And, really, to see the interaction and hear the feedback and hear the questions and the responses, man, it’s an awesome time spent by a wonderful panel. Let’s see here, Ziggy is back with us via LinkedIn. Great to see you, Ziggy. Suresh, Sofia – the supply chain ambassador. Sofia, it’s great to see you yesterday on the webinar. And, finally, Joseph also via LinkedIn. Great to see you, Joseph. I apologize for the folks we couldn’t get to, but welcome everybody. We have a wonderful conversation teed up here this morning. So, Tony, with no further ado, are you as excited as I am to bring on our featured guest?

Tony Sciarrotta (08:12):

I am. I’ll also add, it’s always amazing the people from all over the world who focus on this area. I mean, we’re a global association. We have a lot of attendees that participate. It’s just amazing how everyone can be focused and be very passionate about this space, including our friend, Rich.

Scott Luton (08:33):

Agreed. Agreed. So, on that note with no further ado, I want to bring in Rich Bulger, Director of Global Reverse Logistics with Cisco. Hey, good afternoon, Rich. How are you doing?

Rich Bulger (08:44):

I’m doing well. How are you all? You’re making me blush.

Scott Luton (08:48):

Well, you’re one of those standout guests across some great programming that we did in-person in Vegas and all those 18 months ago. It felt like 18 years ago. But really enjoyed the passion and the perspective you brought. And really appreciate the opportunity to share that once again with our global community here.

Rich Bulger (09:05):

Yeah. You bet. One of the things, Scott, I’d love to tell you is, after that interview that we did in Vegas, I can’t tell you how many people reached out to me just based upon our conversation. Kind of like Tony mentioned, it’s very impressive the global reach that Supply Chain Now has conveyed its message out.

Scott Luton (09:25):

Wonderful. I really appreciate that. Those are some marathon sessions. And as Greg, and Amanda, and Vicki like to point out, as we signed off one of those days, Tony, I got my name wrong. And usually I struggle with everyone else’s name after those long days. I wasn’t seeing straight. But, Rich, you were a highlight and really appreciate you carving some time out from your really busy schedule to be here with us today.

Rich Bulger (09:45):

Always a pleasure.

Scott Luton (09:46):

So, Tony, I’m going to start. I want to ask both of y’all some questions. And, Tony, you’re kind of officially my cohost today, but you’re not going to get away from answering some questions too. So, today, folks, is National Paperback Book Day. Now, the first paperback book were published in 1938, from what our homework has told us. Even in this digital era, there’s nothing quite like putting your hands on a good book and reading other folk’s perspectives and journeys, you name it. So, my first question – before we get know and reacquaint ourselves with Rich – Rich, what’s one of your favorite books of all time?

Rich Bulger (10:24):

So, I actually got it behind me. It’s been behind my desk now for a while. It’s a book that I read when I was in the military. It’s Colin Powell’s Autobiography, My American Journey. Colin Powell is a hero of mine for multiple reasons. You know, he grew up poor as an immigrant, from parents of immigrants. And he joined the military. He was the very first person to go from traditional officer candidate school to commander of the Joint Chiefs without going to West Point. He’s truly a self-made man who pulled himself up by the bootstraps. In addition to being the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was the epitome of what a soldier should be.

Rich Bulger (11:09):

And I’ve read his book when I was 19, I was in the army. I joined at 17. And the 101st is an air assault division, rapid deployment. You [inaudible] the world in 72 hours. You learn how to rappel out of helicopters. I hooked my five ton truck up to a Chinook helicopter, and my truck flew away. Grueling type of training. But once you get done, you get a coin, an air assault coin. So, the tradition behind the coin is, you always have to keep it in your wallet and it makes a sound when you drop it. But if anyone ever challenged you to show your coin and you don’t have it, you either have to do pushups or buy a beer.

Rich Bulger (11:47):

And I’ve had the chance to hear Colin Powell speak at Vanderbilt when I was 19 years old. And he wrote about the coin, the tradition, and he said, he’d never been successfully challenged. So, I got to meet one of my heroes, tell him that his book was one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever read. And I hope as a soldier, he understands my question without taking any disrespect from it. But Nashville and Fort Campbell were about an hour away, and I asked him if he came this close to the 101st Airborne Division without his coin, and he didn’t have it. So, [inaudible] in front of about 2,000 people and he told me [inaudible].

Scott Luton (12:23):

Well, I am so glad we started there. I love that anecdote and I bet there’s a lot more. I appreciate your service to our country. You know, I was in air force – and don’t tell anybody – but I don’t have my coin within reach. I owe you a beer as well, Rich. Now, I got to add here as well, Peter says, “Wow. You have Dave Grohl’s doppelganger on today.”

Rich Bulger (12:52):

[Inaudible] David Grohl all the time.

Scott Luton (12:55):

I bet.

Rich Bulger (12:55):

And I tell you what, I’ve been called many things, but getting compared to the rock star, I’ll take it.

Scott Luton (13:01):

Good job, Peter. The check is in the mail, man. So, Tony, it’s going to be tough for you to top that [inaudible]. By the way, when I hear the name Colin Powell, the first thing that comes to mind is integrity. And, of course, there’s so many quotes and leadership stories and service and much else. I appreciate you sharing that. But, Tony, what’s one of your favorite book?

Tony Sciarrotta (13:24):

I can’t go there. After that story, let’s just not. I thought it was cute to talk about The Escapist and books that I read, like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and one of his latest ones. Dean Koontz always talks about animals. A lot of dogs, they’re very featured. And it brings to life our dog and just animals in general that are service animals. But let’s go onto the next one, because, after Rich, I loved that. That was tremendous presentation discussion about Colin. I absolutely admire him as well. Someone we’re not going to admire, but it’s The Escapist.

Scott Luton (14:03):

Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So, I want to share two recent reads that’s on my radar, Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Ray Wang is a network colleague of mine. He was just interviewed the other day by one of the major news networks, big tech leader. Y’all check that one out. We’ve gotten a ton of feedback as we’ve kind of sent it out to some of the folks jumping on our livestreams and whatnot, is, The Memo by Minda Harts. And I had a good fortune of rubbing elbows with Minda on a couple live streams, and she is quite a thought leader that’s promoting really effective and successful diversity and inclusivity for leadership across the business world. So, you all check out those two titles.

Scott Luton (14:45):

Okay. So, more about Rich Bulger, he is our star of the show here today, along with all the folks in the sky boxes here. So, Rich, let’s just refresh our folks memory of you and what you do at Cisco. Tell us some more about your role and a little bit about this most admired company in, really, the world.

Rich Bulger (15:06):

Sure. I’ll start with Cisco. You know, Cisco is one of the leading technology and security companies on the planet. You know, we manufacture very big things and very small things and software that connects the world. We do everything from a massive server farms that are helping transmit the information that we’re relying on to have this conversation today, to desktop phones and a lot of corporate offices, to telepresence machines. We’re a global company with a vast portfolio. And I run the reverse logistics.

Rich Bulger (15:41):

So, RL 101, anything that is sold can get returned. And you’ve got returns that you don’t want to have, credit returns, where you buy something, the customer realizes, “I didn’t want it. I bought too many,” and they have to send it back. The mission is to try to drive those down. Then, you have some of the good returns, the things that you want to get back. Truly circular programs, like the lease return, where a customer uses it, and you want to go through and encourage getting it back.

Rich Bulger (16:09):

I run Cisco’s global reverse logistics, so my team handles all RMAs from the stock rotation straight in and take that. I’ve got plants all over the world. I’ve got one in the Netherlands. I’ve got one in the U.S. I’ve got a major one in Hong Kong, Japan. We’ve got about 15 different locations all over the world that either do in-country receiving or help us shepherd product across borders. I’ve got partnerships with over 65 different recycling locations. It’s hard enough as it is to get a new thing from where we make it to a customer. When you deal with return products, especially internationally, no country wants someone’s trash imported into their country. And most people think that what is used has no value or is garbage. When, in fact, the residual value on a highly technical, highly durable product, like Cisco, there’s a lot of value that you can generate if you know how to do it. And I’m part of a phenomenal team of folks that are really good at taking something complex, making it simple to help Cisco not only drive its top line revenue, because we hit top line revenue from reverse logistics, but do it in an environmentally sustainable fashion that helps us all be proud of the work that we’re doing.

Scott Luton (17:33):

I love that. And I know, Tony, handling returns successfully and effectively so that you can pull them back into a circular economy is near and dear to your heart. Quick comment before I go to some of the comments in the stream. What’d you hear Rich say?

Tony Sciarrotta (17:49):

I heard Rich say a lot of great things. And not only that, you have to recognize, they’ve come from negative numbers. Maybe, Rich, 10 or 15 years ago, the returns were a negative number at Cisco. And they did a complete turnaround. And most important, Rich didn’t throw it out, but you did, Scott. We focus now on this circular economy concept. This is sustainability on steroids. And companies like Cisco that recognize it, again, not just turning around a negative, but actually making it part of their whole chain from ideas to birth, to production, to taking it back. And Cisco is a world leader in this class. And, again, it turns out that it isn’t just about doing it because it’s important and environmental, you do it because it also is valuable. And as Rich said, it can be profitable in many, many ways. I mean, there’s losses involved in reverse logistics and returns always. But you mitigate those by projects and programs that Rich and Cisco have created. It’s just a phenomenal way of thinking of it. And, again, we are being circular and reverse. You can’t be circular without reverse. And then, we’re there.

Scott Luton (19:00):

I’m with you. And, you know, the remanufactured market, if I’m not mistaken, it’s going to be a $25 billion market in the next couple of years. So, there’s a lot of interest in that. There’s a lot of interest in buying everything non-new, which is great to see from a consumer standpoint.

Tony Sciarrotta (19:15):

You were small on the numbers there, Scott. You said 25 billion, let’s give that a factor of 20.

Scott Luton (19:21):

Goodness gracious, Tony.

Tony Sciarrotta (19:22):

We’re talking the secondary market in North America alone is 450 billion plus. And I’m talking about things that are sold from everywhere, from the big lots stores and the e-commerce sites that sell refurbished goods, all the way down to the pawn shops, Craigslist and eBay. That’s where all this stuff is being sold. That secondary market is gigantic. And there’s a gentlemen, Zach Rogers, at Colorado State who can give you even more details about it. It’s phenomenal, Scott.

Scott Luton (19:50):

See, I know you do a great job standing in for the one only Greg White, because he also tells me exactly when I’m wrong. And so, you’re going to fit right in perfectly. But I appreciate that clarification. It is massive. It is massive.

Rich Bulger (20:04):

You were actually close, because that 25 billion is about the used market cap for products in my space. Okay.

Scott Luton (20:11):

Thank you, Rich. Thank you. Great save. I appreciate that. I got a little of my credibility back.

Rich Bulger (20:16):

A little bit. A little bit.

Scott Luton (20:18):

Let me share some comments here. Sofia, yes. I’m going to have to. Well, see, instead of doing pushups, I’m going to give Rich an adult beverage. So, it’s one or the other. But it’s a great reminder, Sofia. I’ve got to start carrying at least one of my coins around. I think this is Donald, and Donald completely agrees with you. I think this is Donald Born here. He was with us yesterday as well. “Colin Powell book is awesome. Love how he speaks to recognizing his staff that cleaned up his office. Because of their work, they give one to the first impressions of the U.S. to heads-of-state worldwide.” Excellent point there. Clay, he just started To Sell is Human. That looks like Polly – Polly from Raleigh shared it with him. That’s wonderful. And then, finally, maybe a mutual colleague here, we love Charles Heeter in our livestreams. Always wonderful POV. He says, “Curtis Greve tasked me with automating Walmart reverse logistics back in 1990.” But he says, he responded to Curtis, “But I don’t know how to program.” Curt said, “Go buy a book.” I love that. Awesome.

Scott Luton (21:17):

All right. So, moving right along, y’all keep the comments coming. We’re going to try to reference them as much as we can.

Rich Bulger (21:22):

Can I respond to what Curtis said?

Scott Luton (21:23):

Please. Yes.

Rich Bulger (21:23):

I got one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten recently from my team and it’s also behind me, it’s a whole bunch of duct tape and super glue. And, you know, when you go through and you’re looking at programming and other things, they can be expensive. Especially recently – I know we’re going to talk about COVID and the pandemic – we’ve been challenged to do more with less. But I oftentimes go through and say, “You know, we have a target of where we want to go. We’re here now. How can we get better then with the capabilities in the past that we have right now if we have to use duct tape and super glue? We’re going to make a change.” I started getting these Amazon boxes from my team. And the gift from you said, “Since we can’t afford to get you three years and $3 million, here’s some duct tape and super glue to hold you over.” Just like that. Curtis’s story of a challenge, particularly in RL which doesn’t tend to get a lot of love, as leaders, we’re tasked with figuring it out. So, I love the initiative of you’ve got a problem, you don’t know how to do it, and a leader challenging you to buy a book and figure it out.

Scott Luton (22:39):

Yes. Agreed. So, this might be getting ahead of us a little bit, but I’m going to go ahead and ask it because this is a great question from Sofia, and it really speaks to the broader issue we have as reverse logistics and returns and that whole aspect of retail. So, Sofia says, “Such an interesting and important role, Rich. Curious to know some of the strategies that Cisco has used to reduce returns triggered by the ‘didn’t need it’ reasons.” Any comments you want to share there, Rich?

Rich Bulger (23:08):

Yeah. One of the most important things is to gather intelligence and use that intelligence to share it. A lot of people think that reverse logistics is seven guys in a forklift. When you go through and you send something back [inaudible] for Tony to give you a call, and Tony hasn’t called you, shame on him. But reverse logistics at scale is a treasure trove of information.

Rich Bulger (23:32):

So, you can see things that cause returns to come back, like undeliverable. A thing went to a wrong address. Why did it go to a wrong address? Might’ve been something as simple as the address field wasn’t long enough to capture the full address and things got truncated. You get to see the damage that comes back to the products. So, if the customer rejects something because it was damaged in shipment, well, how do you share that information with the packaging engineers? How often does that happen? Is there a particular carrier, a particular geography? Is there a particular unit that’s coming back with a dead on arrival classification? What caused it? How can you build it better?

Rich Bulger (24:13):

If you take RL as a sales mission of how do you go through and make sure we keep the money that we have and build better things to provide a better experience, you can change the world. One of the things I’ve found is, a lot of the return policies that were built, were built when Cisco became a company. So, over time, reverse logistics – and, you know, this is one of the things to underline if you lead a reverse logistics team – has to change just as fast, if not faster, than the sales channel if you want to be effective. So, things that we had with return reason codes and tolerance levels and thresholds, we’re allowed to return X percent of your stuff, worked when the majority of our partners bought and held things.

Rich Bulger (25:03):

As we’ve changed to more of a just-in-time model, our customers are having things sent directly from the manufacturing site to their customer. So, they’re not holding on things as long. They don’t need to buy and hold. So, those thresholds didn’t make sense in today’s model. So, if you know the lay of the land, and you can see and read the tea leaves, and organize the information and connect dots, there’s a lot of things that you can do to make sure we maintain top line revenue.

Scott Luton (25:34):

I love that. And I also love what you’re speaking to, which sounds like, you know, user experience and that customer experience, y’all go through that and know all the details and find those ways.

Tony Sciarrotta (25:44):

And, Scott, let’s throw in the fact that Rich’s company, Cisco, is primarily a B2B, which really drives their production capacity and capabilities and improvements, there’s a tighter link there. Let’s go to the consumer world where it’s a nightmare. I mean, if anyone’s ever looked at Amazon reasons for returning this lately, it’s a mess and it doesn’t really identify it clear enough what the experience issue was. And let’s go one step further, let’s pretend we’re back in retail stores and you’ve got the return desk at Target or Walmart, just stand in that line and watch those people for a few minutes. They’re going to say whatever they can say to get their money back the fastest. They’re not going to tell you what really went wrong with the product, if something went wrong. And that’s the frustration of “didn’t need it,” because Rich and what I did at Phillips 20 years ago, was to categorize the types of returns, the damaged ones. Those are so important.

Tony Sciarrotta (26:40):

He’s right. You can make a difference. You can make incremental differences, but it becomes huge numbers. “Didn’t need it” is the challenge. We call it the holy grail. The no technical fault found returns are inexplicable. The engineers would fight you and say, “Why are you taking things back that are not defective? They work. Why are you taking them back? You’re too liberal.” “It’s defective,” like Charles Heeter says here. That’s the call at that desk, “It’s defective. Just give me my money back.” And it doesn’t help us as a manufacturer world or the retailer world to understand how do we fix this. But when you get behind the scenes with surveys and reaching out to people and trying to understand it, you can get somewhere. And then, that little bug called net promoter score comes into play. And that helps all of us. And I know Cisco is a big proponent of that as well. So, just that “didn’t need it” that Sofia brought up, she’s right. It’s a vast wasteland of answers needed.

Scott Luton (27:40):

Agreed. Specificity and then some. All alright. So, I’m going to circle back to Rich and we’re going to shift gears and talk about eureka moments. Kind of leave your role for a second and we’re going to come back. But before I do that, I want to share Kelly Barner’s comment here. So, Kelly leads Buyers Meeting Point and also leads Dial P for Procurement here at Supply Chain Now. “Such a fantastic point from Rich Bulger about the need to keep policies in line with the current needs of business. Policy redevelopment may not feel sexy, but nothing hurts a business like a policy that is out of alignment with reality.” Kelly, always so well-spoken there. I appreciate that.

Scott Luton (28:16):

Okay. So, Rich, moving right along for the sake of time – I’ve got 12:30 here – and we got an hour, Rich. We’re going to maximize it. Tony, you ready? So, you know, one of our favorite questions to ask around here is eureka moments. And the pandemic age, certainly one of the silver linings, offered no shortage of eureka moments, unlike many other things. So, Rich, if you surveyed the last 18 months or so, what’s been one of the more powerful eureka moments that you’ve experienced?

Rich Bulger (28:44):

There’s a lot. One of them, the most important, I think we’re all discovering as a global culture, we are going through a massive acceptance of new technology and evolution. It is happening at breakneck speed because you’re surprised what you have to do when there’s no option. You know, those who were adamantly opposed to telework, telemedicine, tele-education are now big proponents of it because they’ve seen that it works. I often train my team – and when I was working in retail stores – whenever you roll out a new initiative, you’ve got to make it simple, you have to show that it works, and you have to create an inspection point to make it easy to continue the momentum. But the entire world has shifted remote, which has changed things.

Rich Bulger (29:41):

A lot of the places I would typically get on a plane to go see happened yesterday. You know, I wanted to go visit one of my sites. You know, you learn a lot through reporting. You learn a lot through what people say. But you also learn a lot when you can go through, do a surprise inspection, walk out on the floor, how many things are there? What do my shelves look like? You know, go back to the third rack on the right, what is the label on that? And what data is on there? I didn’t need to send a contingent out there. One of my colleagues was in that site, he called me and said, “Hey, I’m here.” I’m like, “Great. Can you throw up a WebEx? Can you use it on your phone, walk through? Go to the left, go forward, show me the label on that one third to the right.” And I was able to get a sanity check for the state of my operation the day before our financial year closes without having to physically be there. So, part of it was me getting over the fact that I needed to go places to learn things. And the other part is, how do you do it? We’ve all evolved through this process.

Scott Luton (30:49):

Agreed. And I should reference, Antonio, I love your response here too. So, Minda Harts, who I referenced earlier, had a great quote that I think is so relevant these days, business leaders have to make work, work for everyone. I mean, this is the latest and one of the biggest challenges we have as leaders right now through these uncertain times. So, Tony, do you want to follow up on his point there. And then, feel free to take us into this next segment with Rich.

Tony Sciarrotta (31:14):

You know, I’ve lived on this reverse side for a while. It’s starting to affect my nature. I generally try to be a happy-go-lucky guy with the most optimistic view of the world. But I saw a photograph, an aerial shot of a thousand trailers sitting outside of a motor speedway filled with returns. And what I worry about is we don’t know how bad it is out there. Not so much on the B2B side, that Cisco is focused on tracking everything and they are great at it. But all these massive amounts of e-commerce returns are out there somewhere. That’s why warehouses are full, why companies, like Milestone Trailer and Leasing, are maxed out. This stuff’s all hiding out there to be touched someday. And then, that’s a negative eureka moment, but it’s a eureka moment. We got to do something about this stuff. It’s sitting there. It needs to be handled.

Tony Sciarrotta (32:06):

So, that’s a couple of important areas. But let’s ask Rich, if we could come back to you, and talk about two or three topics, you mentioned technology, but maybe a couple of others in our space, the reverse logistics returns world, that you’re watching and tracking the most right now.

Rich Bulger (32:23):

So, I think the whole circular economy reverse logistics space is something that a lot of companies gravitate towards. You know, it sounds good. I want to be good for the environment, but the devil and the details of how do you do it. And while circular economy is important to some, the other things that are also important to them, there’s sometimes a gap. So, I’ve been working a lot on a strategy I call Customer 2. And Customer 2 is –

Scott Luton (32:55):

Customer 2, I got to clarify for our slower folks, a numeral two, is it as in also?

Rich Bulger (33:01):

It’s the number two. So, think about what a lot of the executive and sales leadership’s really lean into, it’s selling the gear from Customer 1, I call it Technology 1. If they have a racetrack type of model, and our goal is to keep customers on the racetrack, how do you get the customer from Technology 1 into Technology 2 as fast as you can. It’s an upgrade cycle. So, the mental mindset is attract, renew. And once they’re attracted, you get them from technology 1 to Technology 2, Technology 3.

Rich Bulger (33:39):

And our culture at Cisco is oriented around that racetrack model. As we go in and we say, “All right. Well, how do we enable it? How can I speak to executives in a manner that they will listen?” I’ve started going through and building a model that I call Customer 2. When the customer goes from Technology 1 to Technology 2, my job is how do I get the technology from the hands of Customer 1 into the hands of Customer 2 and maximize the value that it’s associated with. So, if you think about how reverse logistics reads, it reads left to right every time. How do I get product back? How do I make it simple to let customers turn in their product for value for lease? How do I go through and push it through the operations when I should? Can I determine that the residual value of the product is greater than the processing costs? And residual value includes the value of the equipment. It also includes the value of the software that’s attached to it. It’s also combined with the value of the services that’s attached to it. I feel a little bit behind the racetrack on this. And one of my eureka moments was my thought process was kind of holding us back a little bit.

Rich Bulger (34:56):

The car industry has been doing this for years. You know, you go through, you drive a car on the lot to upgrade it. My $20,000 used truck is worth $24,000 to someone else. That’s why the car industry will pay me 20,000 for it. It’s a lot more than that now because there’s a shortage. But your new car will have the value of the car. It will have the value of the finance. It will have the value of the services going into the warranty department. Those same three pieces of value exists in the used car market. The used car market has to think a little bit different. Your supply, how you get things in. You don’t order to a sales forecast. You have to maximize the value of everything that’s on the truck. But putting that into a racetrack model to communicate that there is value in getting Technology 1 from Customer 1 to Customer 2. And how do you do it is one of the things that has been my eureka moments, because that application of our continuity marketing with model for used equipment is starting to gain traction.

Scott Luton (36:03):

I want to ask a quick follow up question, and I’ll defer to both of you, returns experts. But, Rich, are you thankful that you’re in the electronics industry and not the apparel industry? I would assume that one of the things that we face is just the trust factor, you know, as new buyers, they want to trust that it’s quality and not defects. You know, all the things associated with secondhand merchandise at times. Is it easier, do you think, in the electronics industry than it is in some of the other sectors?

Rich Bulger (36:34):

When I left my old home, a major telco doing a lot of retail – I left three years ago – Cisco was attractive because it was out of my space and it was global, not the U.S. When you say apparel or a different industry, I think of a Venn Diagram. You have things on the outside. It’s made with fabric, not made with metal. You got things on the inside. You’ve got to bring it in and know what you receive. You’ve got to be able to identify the cosmetic and functional condition of it. You’ve got to know what markets exists out there. They might come in different box sizes and have different points of value versus no value. But there are a tremendous amount of organizations that are making a ton of money on used apparel.

Rich Bulger (37:29):

I’ve got a friend of mine that has started a shoe business on eBay when he was in his teens using –

Scott Luton (37:39):

[Inaudible].

Rich Bulger (37:39):

[Inaudible]. All he would do was buy sneakers off of eBay, know what the value of those sneakers were, clean them up, take pictures, price them appropriately, and sell them for more money. That phenomenon, there’s tons of companies right now that are making a lot of money reselling used clothes.

Tony Sciarrotta (38:04):

Not used. Vintage. Vintage.

Scott Luton (38:06):

Vintage. I like that.

Rich Bulger (38:08):

[Inaudible] new to me.

Scott Luton (38:11):

So, Rich, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but there was a famous, well-publicized story not too long ago of someone that was reselling Air Jordans that may have been related to a key executive. Is this one and the same?

Rich Bulger (38:27):

No. No. This is different. Because that one had – based on what I understand – an in with the manufacturer. This is similar to the car industry. You buy low, you sell high, your knowledge of what the value is and your ability to get the used gear to the right customer at the right time in the right quantity. E-bay blew the doors wide open on the resell market. And as long as you’re doing it with integrity. And there’s a lot of companies out there. Cobbler.com right now is a place where you can send shoes to get refurbished and sent back to you. But you make it simple, you add a value, and you know your customers. How do you organize those three? You can do it with apparel. You can do it with electronics. You can do it with toilet seats.

Scott Luton (39:22):

Yeah. You name it, there’s a market for everything. Well, I appreciate you clarifying. Tony, I thought we were about to have even an unexpected sidebar story to Richard’s appearance. But I love that. I love that story. I love the entrepreneurial field there. There is a market for everything. I want to share a quick comment. And I want to brag on Tony for a second. And then, Tony, we’re going to move forward for the sake of time with your next question.

Scott Luton (39:45):

I want to share this from Rhonda, “I’m a fan of thrifty shops and estate and garage sales. I can’t say I have any furniture or decor that’s not repurposed or refurbished.” How about that? “With the exception of a mattress,” that’s an important distinction. “My parents are into antiques and that rubbed off on me. Also, pop says, if you can duck it -” I’ll let you all finish the quote out “- have all colors of duct tape. And it’s my first go-to in sticky or tricky situations.” Wasim, welcome from Bangladesh via LinkedIn. Great to see you. And then, you got a fan – y’all both have plenty of fans, I’m sure. But this comes from Sarni who is tuned in via LinkedIn, “Amazing POV from Tony Sciarrotta on the non-technical return claims on e-commerce website, as there are only technical issues listed on the website with major subjective claims.” Thank you for that feedback, Sarni.

Tony Sciarrotta (40:33):

Thank you, Sarni.

Scott Luton (40:34):

All right. So, Tony, feel free to respond or we can move right ahead for the sake of time.

Tony Sciarrotta (40:38):

No. We have to jump back for just a moment, because your entire audience needs to understand, Rich is amazing at figuring out how to talk to senior execs. His first meeting that I met him and watched his presentation about asset recovery market was a storybook using Dick and Jane. And, now, Rich has just thrown out the idea of Customer 2. That is so simple and is going to immediately resonate in a CEO’s brain. It’s like, “Oh, yeah. We can do that with the returns. We can go to Customer 2.” It’s a beautiful capture of Rich’s creativity. And I always love hearing great new voices, great new ideas, and that one’s perfect. Customer 2, it’s a whole new world out there. And, by the way, it’s not just the CEO that’s difficult to get to understand these things. It’s the finance people, right? CFOs are like, they don’t understand anything, but they’re going to understand Customer 2.

Rich Bulger (41:36):

I actually got a picture behind my desk – you’re letting me go through my entire [inaudible] was my first associate director of finance that I had when I became an operations and marketing director. I called him. Mr. No. The operation of the marketing is risk, finance is risk management, there’s a natural tension between the two. And back in 2010, when I was helping Verizon set up their first trading programs, the finance team is like, “Hey, we don’t buy phones. We sell phones.” And I’m like, “By buying these, I can make money on what we buy and it will help me sell the customer the next thing.” He said no so much, I promoted him to Dr. No.

Rich Bulger (42:23):

But when I was tasked to take over his carrier’s monetization programs for used equipment, the person who was running the team had left and I had to bring in one person to help me lead that group. So, I’m like, Who will think in terms of billions? Who has high integrity? Who will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear? So, I called Dr. No, and brought him in. I interviewed people. If you ever interview with me, you will interview in front of the picture of Dr. No. You will hear stories and you will get asked questions. Dr. No runs my value generation team at Cisco. We’ve been working together for ten years, so I call him a reformed finance director. But you’re right, getting them to see the light is hard. But once they see the light, beautiful thing.

Tony Sciarrotta (43:15):

Exactly. And so, as we talk about the global industry learning lessons from the pandemic, Rich, and you’re coming up with some of the ways. You talked about finance, Mr. No or Dr. No. And my joke is always, you need a finance person as a drinking buddy. That’s my story. Because if you can get them on your side as a drinking buddy, you’re generally in a good place. So, you’ve done Dick and Jane. You’ve done Customer 2. Do you think global leadership has learned a little bit now from what’s happened in the last year with the reverse and returns issues? Or are those trucks just going to keep piling up with returns out there? What’s your sense?

Rich Bulger (43:56):

Well, I think they have to. One of the biggest aha moments that we didn’t have time to get into is, not only have people adapted to technology, they have also started to adapt to new to you equipment. I’ll give you an example. Right now, we are in the middle of global shortages of raw materials. Typically, in a normal used supply versus new supply curve, used equipment is worth less than new equipment. There is one exception. And that exception is, when there is not new equipment available. Used generator [inaudible] for a lot more than new generators in Texas when we had the ice storms because there were no new generators and there was a large demand for generators. My 2015 Dodge Ram truck was worth $20,000 used at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, I can sell it for almost what I paid for it.

Rich Bulger (44:54):

The amount of value generation we’ve been able to get from used equipment because the manufacturing cycle has opportunities right now, sometimes there is a need to get your hand on something right now. And if you can’t make new, used is the option. And supply and demand 101, if there’s demand and limited supply, the price increases. So, the residual value of used equipment, not just in my space but across the entire portfolio, has went up to a point where leadership cannot ignore the value in the opportunity.

Tony Sciarrotta (45:32):

And, Scott, I can go right to that and tell you that if anyone looks at our website, rla.org, and you look at the advisory board, Rich, of course, is one of them with Cisco. But I have at least four or five, six other board members seeing exactly what Rich is seeing right now, that used market, that demand, they are actually waiting for returns to come in so they can turn around and move them quickly. There’s that high demand. And that is a result of the pandemic, that, major global companies are taking it seriously, taking control of their returns as opposed to liquidating it for pennies on a dollar. And, again, I’ve seen some other comments coming through. In the apparel industry, this is brand new to them. I mean, it was generally always liquidated. We don’t care where it goes. We give you enough money, get rid of it. We don’t want it back.

Tony Sciarrotta (46:16):

But, now, you’re seeing, like I said, vintage, pre-loved clothing, websites for the sneakers. And even the manufacturers now are wising up, this is global leadership by Nike, Adidas, North Face. They’re all saying, “We’ll take it back,” because they understand what Rich is saying about the racetrack. Building a new racetrack and keeping customers with you. So, that’s part of what global leadership has learned. I agree. Great comments. And, again, simplifying it, Rich, that’s perfect.

Scott Luton (46:52):

Right. So, I’m going to share a couple of comments and then I’m going to shift gears for the sake of time. I’ve got a couple more questions for you, Rich. But this is from Azuka, “The vintage apparel market in Nigeria in Africa is huge and happens on different levels, same as cars and most consumer products. What is missing is the service element, values as well as tech.” I love that Azuka. Fahira, “The thrift clothing/accessories business is probably at its peak right now amongst teens and young adults on Instagram and other marketplaces. It’s getting so popular, the price is sometimes marked up so high that it starting to become a somewhat controversial topic.” How about that?

Tony Sciarrotta (47:31):

Good point. Yeah. Good point.

Scott Luton (47:33):

Peter says, “There’s so many opportunities out there. Folks simply need to take the blinders off and turn on the lights to creative thinking.” And finally, Ziggy says, “Shortage of Topo Chico, not cool for us Texans.” All right. Fill me in. What is Topo Chico?

Rich Bulger (47:51):

I’m going to get a beat over the head with this. I’ve been a Texan for six years now. I grew my hair long. I bought a truck. I’ve learned how to cook brisket, but I don’t know what Topo Chico is.

Tony Sciarrotta (48:06):

He just explained it.

Scott Luton (48:08):

Peter comes to the rescue of all of us. He says, Topo Chico is carbonated natural mineral water. How about that? And yes, he had to Google that. Thank you, Ziggy. I appreciate you keeping us on our toes.

Scott Luton (48:19):

Okay. So, shift gears, I know you’ve got a hard stop not too far from here, Rich. Cisco gets lauded all the time. In my opening, we talked about it is one of the world’s most admired companies, time and time again, the most sustainable company. I mean, you name it. You look at any of the major awards out there, Cisco is usually on the top of the list. Here, one I cherry picked, so Fortune Magazine has ranked Cisco number one on their list of the World’s Best Workplaces for the last two years. And that kind of falls right in line with what we were talking about earlier, as Minda says, you’re going to make work, work for everyone. Rich, what’s special about the culture and the environment in your words?

Rich Bulger (49:01):

So, I think it would depend upon who you ask. If you go through and you bring in a hundred employees from Cisco and ask them a question, I feel as though you would get a hundred different answers. Because Cisco has invested a tremendous amount in people, in culture, in diversity and inclusion. They are intentional. They’ve got a phenomenal C-suite. And I’m not saying that because they’re the top of my food chain. I’m saying that because I admire who they are as people. I’m on the weekly calls that they have. I watched how they navigated through the campaign. I see where they invest. And there are good people at the top of Cisco.

Rich Bulger (49:47):

My personal preference, number one, I love the people I work with. I love my team. I love my boss. I love my peers. There’s good, smart people, and bright bulbs at Cisco. But what brought me to Cisco was, a pledge that our CEO made at the World Economic Forum in Davos related to circular economy. Lives that we would take back 100 percent of customers used gear from anyone, anywhere in the world at no cost. He pledged to go through and create initiatives that would make our customers want to want to send us back their product. Purchase trade in as a service. To go through and engage in things that extend the useful life cycle of the product. That’s really what Customer 1 and Customer 2 in my head, because how do you drive renewals and extend the useful life cycle? You’ve got to transition from Customer 1 to Customer 2. And in the event that we have to take something off of our racetrack, if the value to recirculate is less than the value we expect to get back from that thing, well, then you should responsibly recycle it, do it in a closed loop fashion, to our degrees, the metals and the plastics, and not molest the earth.

Rich Bulger (51:01):

So, the intentionality that he had on circular economy brought me here. I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with the mission of the company. And not only are we rated the best place to work by Fortune, Gartner has awarded us Top Supply Chain for two years in a row. And we continue to perform very well. I had an old CEO that said, “We’re not in the business to make people happy. We’re in the business to get results. And results make people happy.” Phenomenal culture, winning in the market, and empowered to grow are a few of the things that I would say Cisco [inaudible].

Scott Luton (51:45):

I love that. And as Gartner likes to say, winning in the turns, a lot of what you touched on here today. I want to share this comment as we start to wind down. Kim Winter – Kim Winter is in Dubai – he is a mover and shaker, well-connected. Kim introduced us earlier this week to Mark Ormrod, who is a former Royal Marine Commando that is now triple amputee based from a devastating injury in Afghanistan in 2007. And, folks, we’ll be releasing the interview on Veteran Voices, and it’s remarkable. So, Rich is talking about some of the service on the frontend of today’s interview, look for that. And Kim, big thanks what you share there and for being the great connector that you are.

Scott Luton (52:29):

Okay. So, Tony, before we ask Rich the final question, very quickly, in two minutes or less, I mean, I heard that sense of purpose and mission and the culture there, but what stood out there in Rich’s last answer to you?

Tony Sciarrotta (52:45):

The recognition that the company loves people trying different things and not worrying about failure. They’re very forward-thinking. I mean, it’s the old adage of, a hundred failures can equal one success and that’s all you need sometimes. But the forward-thinking, I just want to point out, too, it’s not just their CEO. But Rich’s predecessor, Jack Allen, who I dealt with, was one of the first people with a reverse logistics title in the industry. We don’t have many. We have no C-suite, very few VPs. You can try LinkedIn, you won’t find them. But, now, Jack Allen has a Director of Circular Economy in his title, Rich? Is that correct? So, how’s that for a first? How many companies have a director of circular economy? That’s phenomenal. That’s very forward-thinking. And that’s why I love Cisco as well.

Scott Luton (53:34):

Agree. That’s almost as extraordinary as Jack Allen himself, a previous guest here. We love Jack. Okay. So, as much as I hate to bring this to a close here today, Rich, I want to be respectful of your time. How can folks connect with you and, of course, Cisco?

Rich Bulger (53:49):

LinkedIn, probably the best way to get a hold of me. That box gets a little bit crazy. You know, cisco.com is the best way to get to know Cisco as a group. I’m also part of the Reverse Logistics Association on their advisory board, so you can find me on their website as well. I, actually, wanted to plug this, I am a student of the American Public University. They’ve got a master’s degree program in reverse logistics online. One of the only ones that I have found. So, I’m halfway through my master’s program with them. The American Public University is an offshoot of the American Military University. They helped train some of our soldiers as they’re serving our country. The civilian portion is the American Public University. So, I’m in class with a whole bunch of people that have a desire to be in reverse logistics with a ton of experience. So, find me in the halls there as well.

Scott Luton (54:45):

I love that. Okay. I’m going to make a bold prediction here to your last comments, Tony. You know, there may be no chief reverse logistics officers yet, but one of the first ones will be this young man right here, Rich Bulger. So, we’ll see. I love the passion. I love the purpose. I love all that you shared. And your leadership and Cisco’s leadership, I really appreciate that. So, with no further ado, we’re going to bid ado to Rich Bulger. We really appreciate your time. Director of Global Reverse Logistics with Cisco. Have a great weekend, Rich.

Rich Bulger (55:20):

My pleasure. Thank you.

Tony Sciarrotta (55:21):

Thanks, Rich.

Scott Luton (55:22):

All right. Tony, man, just like last time, he is a rock and roll thought leader in supply chain, certainly. But – gosh – what he’s doing in reverse logistics and returns is nothing short of extraordinary.

Tony Sciarrotta (55:36):

Nothing short. And I got to say, I’ve known him for about three years now, and I was very worried because you know Jack Allen and how phenomenal he is as the leader. And then, they find somebody else like that. I think it’s not just about luck. It’s about that focus that the company has on looking forward and looking for those people who can fill those shoes. And he clearly does fill those shoes for that company and for the industry. And, Scott, I appreciate you giving people, like Rich and others, a chance to be a voice. And we’ve always said, Supply Chain Now has got a great voice. And you are the only one amplifying the reverse voice. And I appreciate that. It means a lot, especially to our members. So, just get to say that as well. Give a plug for you guys.

Scott Luton (56:26):

Thank you very much. We really enjoy it. You know, you are one of our favorite guests and cohosts, and what are doing, putting a big spotlight on a sector of industry, typically, that hasn’t had that is only going to move everything forward. So, appreciate that.

Scott Luton (56:43):

We’re going to sign off here. I love this comment from Charles, “Darn. Such a great conversation and panel. Just when I turned my cap on backwards, the show is over.” Charles, I tell you, he always brings it. And then, a question for you, Tony. I picked the wrong one. Fahira says, “Any tips on how to catch up with the Reverse Logistics Association if you’re still a student?”

Tony Sciarrotta (57:06):

Great question and great tips. If you go to rla.org, you will find a lot of information is easily available. And then, we do have a student program, we have an academic program, because they are very near and dear to my heart. You heard Rich go on about APU. But we have a very attractively priced student membership, if you need it. But, really, you’ll find a lot of research information, a lot of industry statistics, a lot of these podcasts with amazing voices. If you just listen to a few of those, you can become an expert. Considering there’s not a lot of experts in this space. There’s a lot of supply chain experts, but there’s not a lot of reverse experts. So, you can catch up, you can get so much info. And it is free to join the community at rla.org. Everyone listening, it’s free, membership, different benefits. But you’ll get so much information and so many benefits just by joining the community.

Scott Luton (58:07):

I love that. rla.org, y’all check it out. That is going to bring us to a close here today, Tony. Tony, again, I appreciate your time today. I know you’re extremely busy. Tony Sciarrotta as you’re powering the voice of reverse logistics. You know, interacting and working with Rich and leveraging his leadership and your board’s leadership. A ton of events and programming, y’all check out the upcoming conference, which you can find more at rla.org. On behalf of our entire Supply Chain Now team, big thanks to everyone that showed up at the comments. Everyone showed up behind the scenes powering today’s livestream, Amanda, Allie, Jada, and Clay. Big thanks to Rich Bulger, out homerun featured guest. Of course, Tony and our friends at RLA.

Scott Luton (58:51):

Hey, this weekend, folks, I challenge you, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time right back here as Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Tony Sciarrotta (59:01):

Thank you.

Intro/Outro (59:04):

Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com, and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.

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Featured Guests

Rich Bulger joined Cisco in January of 2019, after a 17 year career with Verizon Wireless. He runs a global team focused on leveraging Reverse Logistics to help achieve Cisco’s Circular Economy goals and objectives.

Rich is focused on transforming Cisco’s Reverse Logistics operations, and evolving the way we collaborate with internal and external partners. He’s bringing a data-driven approach, combined with advanced technology tools, in order to optimize the returns process, improve the level of data security, and increase the overall economic benefit.

Prior to joining Cisco, Rich developed & lead Verizon’s trade in and monetization strategies for their B2B, retail, indirect & online programs for over 9 years. He set up the infrastructure and began the first two district pilot for their retail trade in program and helped grow the program company wide. After he moved over to run Verizon’s reverse logistics and sales team, he developed the direct to consumer grading logic and enabled them to be the first U.S. Wireless carrier to sell product in “Good, Better, & Best condition” on ebay/Amazon. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Reverse Logistics Association.

Tony Sciarrotta serves as Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association. He was nominated and selected by the Board to serve as the Executive Director on August 1, 2016. Since Mr. Sciarrotta had been an active member serving in committee leadership of Reverse Logistics Association since 2005, he had also served on the Board of RLA from 2005 to 2012 while employed at Philips Consumer Lifestyle as their Director of Sales & Marketing. So it was a simple decision for the selection team at RLA to approve Mr. Sciarrotta. Since his experience, qualifications and service to RLA was more than substantial to meet the requirement that was needed as the next Executive Director. Mr. Sciarrotta has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Reverse IT Sales & Consulting. Tony brings so much experience to the RLA team, including 25 years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. His background helped prepare him for a developmental role as director for returns management activities, and in 1998 Tony was assigned to create and manage a cross functional department to reduce returns and their associated costs. He was successful at implementing effective returns policies and procedures with a variety of dealers, and in 2005, Tony assumed responsibility for maximizing asset recovery of all returned consumer goods. Tony has specifically targeted best avenues for reselling returned goods at the model level, by using tools developed with finance support. In 2013, after establishing best-in-class results for returns in the consumer goods industry, Tony retired from Philips and now sits on various committees and industry groups. Learn more about the Reverse Logistics Association here: https://rla.org/

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Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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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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Jamin Alvidrez

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

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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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 singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.

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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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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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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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Jada Carson

Marketing Coordinator

Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back!  She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator.  Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.

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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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