PIM brands may not be a household name, but their products can be found in almost every kitchen cabinet in America. They are the world’s largest maker of fruit snacks and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chocolate and non-chocolate confections as well as other snack foods and treats. Ramiro Fernandez is PIM Brands’ Chief Financial Officer. He has also held leadership roles in iconic companies like Kellogg’s, Frito-Lay, Pepsico, and Mars, Inc. Listen in as he speaks with host Kevin L. Jackson about the data that is required to fuel PIM Brands’ continued growth and ensure consumer loyalty.
Welcome to Digital Transformers, the show that connects you with what you need to build, manage, and operate your digital supply chain. Join your host in a timely discussion on new and future business models with industry leading executives. The show will reveal global customer expectations, real world deployment challenges, and the value of advanced business technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process engineering. And now we bring you Digital Transformers.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:33):
Hello, everyone. Kevin L. Jackson here at Digital Transformers. And I’m enjoying myself in sunny Orlando at SAP Sapphire, where I’m getting to meet, I tell you, quite a few of the digital transformation leaders across multiple industry verticals. And I’m not afraid to say, talking about one of my favorite industry verticals today. That’s food and beverage with Ramiro Fernandez of PIM Brands. Thank you very much for sharing some time with us. Did you bring any food?
Ramiro Fernandez (01:08):
Kevin, I brought some food and my stepdaughter kept it away from me. I was going to bring you some of our products, but it got confiscated this morning.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:15):
Oh, God. OK. You know that —
Ramiro Fernandez (01:17):
Sorry about that.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:19):
— foiled [phonetic] by TSA again. Well, OK. Tell — I guess we got to learn more about PIM Brands, right?
Ramiro Fernandez (1:27):
Kevin L. Jackson (1:28):
It’s not really a household name, is it?
Ramiro Fernandez (1:32):
No, it’s not.
Kevin L. Jackson (1:33):
It’s not, is it?
Ramiro Fernandez (01:34):
Yes. So, we changed the name. Ironically, we were — the name used to be promotion in motion, which is also not a —
Kevin L. Jackson (01:41):
Promotion in motion.
Ramiro Fernandez (1:41):
— household in name.
Kevin L. Jackson (1:42):
Ramiro Fernandez (1:42):
Yes. But, the — so, people know us because of our products. So, people know about Welch’s fruit snacks.
Kevin L. Jackson (1:47):
Ramiro Fernandez (1:48):
Yes, so everybody — as soon as you say, Welch’s fruit snacks, they know who PIM Brands is. But we also have a few other products. We make the sun made chocolate covered raisins. We have Sour Jacks. We have Toggi, Tuxedo — the chocolate covered almonds. So, we have a pretty decent size portfolio of food products. And then we also have a pharma division. So, as you know, there’s a lot of vitamins nowadays that are made —
Kevin L. Jackson (2:14):
Ramiro Fernandez (2:15):
— Gummi, they gummy based. So, we actually make products for other companies as well. So —
Kevin L. Jackson (02:21):
Wow. So, that goes together? I mean, making candy and then, you know —
Ramiro Fernandez (02:26):
It’s the same format, yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:27):
— gummy drugs?
Ramiro Fernandez (02:28):
Well, they call them drugs. As I said, mostly vitamins.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:32):
Ramiro Fernandez (2:33):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:33):
Ramiro Fernandez (2:34):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:34):
Ramiro Fernandez (2:34):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:35):
And we got to keep track of that.
Ramiro Fernandez (2:36):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:38):
So, but you have quite an impressive history, if I should say that. I mean, hair foods, PepsiCo, Mars. Give us —
Ramiro Fernandez (02:50):
Kevin L. Jackson (02:51):
Ramiro Fernandez (2:51):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:52):
You got — I mean, I love cereal. Tell me — all right. Tell me a little about your background.
Ramiro Fernandez (2:57):
Kevin L. Jackson (2:57):
Did — how did you get into food and beverage?
Ramiro Fernandez (03:01):
Yes. So, actually I — just a little bit of background, I studied chemistry. I got my masters in chemistry. And then I got my finance and accounting degree at — in Rochester. So, I worked for a chemical company in various roles in finance and accounting, controller, audit, all those, and — which is really great experience. But one thing that I lack was, I really — I always had a fascination with food. And the thing was to me was like, why do people as — why do consumers choose one brand versus the other one? So, I was working for a chemical company in Chicago. And I started looking — I really wanted to expand my business background because I definitely had done a lot some — a lot of work in accounting. Some in I.T., implementing systems. But I really wanted to be a broader business person.
Ramiro Fernandez (03:51):
So, I really was fascinated with sales and marketing, working for a specialty chemicals company, I didn’t really have the chance to do that. So being in the Midwest, I was approached by Kellogg’s to join their company because they needed somebody with a strong finance background, but also a systems background. So, I joined Kellogg’s in the I.T. area as the financial systems manager, but then I quickly. after a year, got involved in the business. So, that was my first experience with food. I loved it.
Ramiro Fernandez (4:21):
So — but what I like is, I like companies that are global, very strong reputation, right, and great quality products. And Kellogg is really it. I mean, Kellogg’s, when I joined them, they were — they had been around for 90 years. Now, of course they’ve been around for over a hundred and they’ve grown quite a bit. But as a company that very value based, you know, a lot of principles, great, like I said, great products and global reach. So, I — the experience with Kellogg’s, I worked in a number of different finance roles and I really enjoyed the cross-functional aspect of the finance roles that you have in the food industry.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:58):
You know, I actually didn’t mention your title when I introduced you. I kind of did that on purpose because you are the chief financial officer right at PIM Brands.
Ramiro Fernandez (05:10):
PIM Brands, yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (05:12):
And your background said that CFO that has, “Driven innovation, competitive strategy, and supply chain projects throughout his career.” You don’t normally see that type of descriptor by a CFO. It’s typically man with hammer and whip that —
Ramiro Fernandez (05:35):
Yes. Well, again, I think —
Kevin L. Jackson (5:36):
So, how did did that happen?
Ramiro Fernandez (5:38):
So, again, I think, you know — so I — I’ve worked in, like, worked for Kellogg’s, I worked for Frito-Lay, great company with direct store delivery.
Kevin L. Jackson (5:45):
Ramiro Fernandez (5:45):
I spent six years over there. And then Pepsi. And then I worked for Mars, the global, obviously pet care and confectionary. So, they each, they each have different business models. So. I was really — everywhere I went, I was able to learn something new and contribute in a different way. So — and Mars, especially — well, Frito was the — to me, was like the — one of the most challenging experiences because Frito’s all about knowing your business cold. But being at direct store delivery has a lot of challenges. And Frito-Lay has really — is –they always look for innovation in terms of cost efficiencies, how good a market, how to leverage their portfolio, price, revenue management, all those different things.
Ramiro Fernandez (6:29):
So, you start building your career and then you build on different things. So, I worked for companies that — the direct store delivery, the companies that went through brokers, company that went through distributors or straight to the customers. So, I really have been able to leverage and learn quite a bit about different route to market models. The other thing, Kevin, is that I also worked — when I worked for Mars, I spent over five years working international. So, I did a lot of work in different markets.
Kevin L. Jackson (06:58):
Different markets and cultures. That’s —
Ramiro Fernandez (06:59):
And cultures, yes. Absolutely. Which was a wonderful, wonderful experience. We did a lot of work in emerging markets. So, whether it was Russia. We did work in India, in Saudi Arabia, in — I mean, you name it, we did a lot — in China, I spent a lot of time in China working on that area. So — but again, you also look for different ways of going to market and how you can be efficient. So, my experience — I mean, all the experiences that I’ve had had allowed me to just become more well-rounded.
Kevin L. Jackson (07:26):
Well, one question. You said you worked for, Frito-Lay and you worked for PepsiCo. I was wondering, is that before or after? Didn’t —
Ramiro Fernandez (07:35):
Frito — Pepsi owns Frito-Lay.
Kevin L. Jackson (7:37):
Ramiro Fernandez (7:38):
Yes, yes. And so, I spent it — again, I spent most of my career at the Frito arm, and then I went to Pepsi up in New York in the beverage side, CSD, Carbonated soda drinks.
Kevin L. Jackson (07:49):
So, that was even in the same family, completely different cultures?
Ramiro Fernandez (07:54):
Very different. I mean, one is very heavy into, obviously direct store. It’s all about selling and customer service and being everywhere you can to points of distribution. On the Frito side, Pepsi was really a premier company in terms of marketing. So, they really managed our portfolio with, you know, obviously Pepsi, Mountain Dew, all those other brands. And the same thing, global, global, global reach. But a very, very different culture. I enjoyed both. I liked the — to be honest with you, I liked the Frito —
Kevin L. Jackson (08:26):
You liked it better?
Ramiro Fernandez (08:27):
Yes, yes. It’s just because you really — Frito you had to, you know, you knew everything about your customers. You knew every — how to keep on growing. It’s a very — you know, Pepsi is also competitive, but Frito is competitive every single day out there. So, I liked the fact that you have to really understand sales distribution. So, I was in a role that you really have to be, again, much more well-rounded.
Kevin L. Jackson (08:53):
So, it sounds like, sort of — what did — which role or what culture did you bring with you to PIM Brand, right, because, it — to me, it sounded like it aligned more with Frito-Lay, yes?
Ramiro Fernandez (09:09):
So, I like the Frito aspect than I worked for — again, I worked for Mars at a number of different roles in finance. And the last one, I was in charge — I was the CFO for the Caribbean and Central America, so we’re managing 28 countries. Same thing, different route to market models. I really liked the — but I always liked the smaller divisions within a big company. So, you know, Pepsi is huge. Obviously, Frito is big, Mars is, you know, is a $40 billion company.
Kevin L. Jackson (9:35):
Ramiro Fernandez (9:36):
So, they’re all big companies. And then I went to Herr Foods being a regional salty snack company.
Kevin L. Jackson (09:42):
Herr Chips, yes.
Ramiro Fernandez (09:43):
Yes, I love these —
Kevin L. Jackson (09:44):
You said, salty snack.
Ramiro Fernandez (09:45):
Yes, salty snacks. Yes. So —
Kevin L. Jackson (09:46):
Herr Chips. Wow.
Ramiro Fernandez (09:47):
And I knew them very well because I had gone to school in Philly. So, I knew the Herr foods company.
Kevin L. Jackson (09:52):
Ramiro Fernandez (09:54):
In — yes, in Philly. And then there was us down there.
Kevin L. Jackson (09:56):
Oh, yes. My family is in Baltimore, right.
Ramiro Fernandez (09:58):
Kevin L. Jackson (09:59):
So, it’s in —
Ramiro Fernandez (9:59):
You know them well?
Kevin L. Jackson (10:00):
Ramiro Fernandez (10:01):
Say what, to me, it was great. I liked the — so, a couple of things. I liked the family-owned businesses. So, that was important. And I liked the smaller companies where you can make a difference. You get to know, you know, people throughout the whole entire company. And again, you can get involved in many different areas where there’s setting strategy or executing the plans or working with I.T. So, I really had the opportunity at Herr Foods to do that.
Ramiro Fernandez (10:26):
Then, one thing that I like to have about PIM Brands, I met the CEO who was the original owner, and he is a true entrepreneur. He’s always looking for ideas and he is all about growth, and very fast growth. So, we’ve actually been recognized by BCG as one of the fastest growing B mid-size companies last year because we continued delivering double digit growth. So, for me, it was an opportunity to keep on working for a family-owned business, for an entrepreneur and somebody who really wanted to drive change within the organization.
Kevin L. Jackson (10:59):
Well, actually that model seems to me to require a lot of data, because as you said, you need to understand and know that customer intimately. Is that true?
Ramiro Fernandez (11:12):
Absolutely. So, data nowadays — I mean, as everybody talks about data. For us, it was important because the company had grown so fast. Again, double digits year after year after year that some of the — the foundation was there, but some of the fundamental processes had to change. And we had not kept up with the investments on the — in the I.T. side.
Ramiro Fernandez (11:35):
So, talking to the CEO, Michael, we — you know, one of the things that we definitely agreed to when I was joining the company was to, invest in any ERP systems and really start investing in different types of systems so we can drive automation. Your point is well taken. There’s just — there’s so much data out there. It’s so important to know your consumers and your customers as well. But equally important is really understanding your internal data, right? And as we really wanted to focus on how do we put in processes in place, that gave us much better information.
Kevin L. Jackson (12:11):
Is that where your relationship with SAP started or was it before then?
Ramiro Fernandez (12:16):
No. So, I actually have known SAP for a number of years — well, before I left Pepsi, Indra had made it — I know Indra had made it.
Kevin L. Jackson (12:24):
Ramiro Fernandez (12:25):
She made it a commitment that was going to be one of her legacies to invest in SAP. I left it a year and a half after that. Mars was a big SAP shop. And, you know, they actually implemented SAP across the world and they’re one of the — their main customers. And so, I’ve known an SAP for many, many years with the big companies. So —
Kevin L. Jackson (12:47):
Not a smaller company —
Ramiro Fernandez (12:48):
— it’s a midsized company. It was —
Kevin L. Jackson (12:49):
A midsized company.
Ramiro Fernandez :
— you know, to me it was a question, can we —
Kevin L. Jackson (12:54):
Can you actually do it?
Ramiro Fernandez (12:55):
Quite frankly, it was concerning, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (12:56):
Well, SAP is known for its complexity.
Ramiro Fernandez (13:00):
Kevin L. Jackson (13:01):
Also known for maybe difficulty in actual implementation.
Ramiro Fernandez (13:05):
Kevin L. Jackson (13:05):
Did you start from scratch? I mean, what sort of foundation did PIM Brand have with respect to an ERP?
Ramiro Fernandez (13:14):
Kevin L. Jackson (13:14):
Ramiro Fernandez (13:15):
So, we were using — we are using — so, we’re in the middle of the implementation. We have — we had another ERP in-house. And again, I think the lesson learned was the ERP wasn’t really not implemented the right way, so it would be scalable.
Kevin L. Jackson (13:28):
OK. Less scalability is critical.
Ramiro Fernandez (13:30):
Right. And then for — it was implemented, you know, five, six years ago when the business needs were different. So, we started looking — hey, we really want to keep on growing scalable. We grow in international. We grow in domestically. We’ve grown in different lines of business.
Kevin L. Jackson (13:44):
Ramiro Fernandez (13:45):
So, we wanted to have a partner, quite frankly, that would take care of the innovation from a technology perspective, but really help us manage the processes and information. So, we did our due diligence. We talked to four different companies. It took us close to, you know, like nine months of a lot of, you know, interviews and demos. And we talked to different — of their existing customers just to find out. And then we did — and we chose SAP back in the August timeframe.
Kevin L. Jackson (14:21):
So, one question — I mean, the name of my show is “Digital Transformers”. So, I guess my question is, were — was in your mind, was it that I was digitally transforming the company or I was just getting a better ERP system, or both?
Ramiro Fernandez (14:40):
No, I think it’s — honestly, it’s both.
Kevin L. Jackson (14:42):
Ramiro Fernandez (14:42):
Because — so, our business needs — two things we were — we wanted to concentrate on. The first one is, OK, back to the growth area, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (14:49):
Ramiro Fernandez (14:50):
So, we wanted to become a lot better with the — with S and OP, Sales and Operations Planning, IBP integrated business planning, because we want to be much better in terms of our service to our customer. So, with a lot of growth, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (15:04):
Ramiro Fernandez (15:04):
We were not always able to supply at the right time to our customers, because the demand has been so high for our products. So, we’re investing in capital in producing more gummies, but we wanted to invest in that area on the supply side. And then we also wanted to get much, much better information in terms of our product cost, the customer profitability, so that we can drive efficiency in the business so that we can continue investing in our business.
Ramiro Fernandez (15:33):
So, answer to your question, we wanted to have the right system to provide that scalability as we continue growing, but also give us the ability to have information not only internal, but also bring in that external information so that we can handle the demand a lot better.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:48):
So, also, you needed to really understand those, not only understand the demand signals, but able to interpret them and take action on them quickly before the demand overtook the available supply.
Ramiro Fernandez (16:05):
Kevin L. Jackson (16:06):
So, from your point of view, what is this journey? How has it been? You said your only part through –part way through.
Ramiro Fernandez (16:17):
So, we’re actually — yes. We’re — so, the same thing that we did with the ERP, we did with the implementation partner. So, we spent a lot of time making sure that we have somebody who can bring in that industry expertise.
Kevin L. Jackson (16:28):
Ramiro Fernandez (16:29):
Concentrating on those areas of the IBP and also the customer product profitability. So, we interviewed and then we started implementing in January. We’re going to go live in October, November of this year. So far, the — and one of the things that we have also done is that we’ve decided — SAP has the, you know, they have a lot of customers worldwide. They have the best processes in place, right.
Kevin L. Jackson (16:54):
Ramiro Fernandez (16:54):
Let them innovate on the process part, right. We’re going to leverage all that. We going to be good at what we’re good at, right, which is baking and selling and marketing fruit snacks. Right?
Kevin L. Jackson (17:06):
Ramiro Fernandez (17:06):
So, the — so — and then — so we’re basically implement — we’re staying away from customization.
Kevin L. Jackson (17:11):
OK. So, out the box?
Ramiro Fernandez (17:12):
Yes. As much as we can, I think we’re — and we’re doing a great job, but we’re really being adamant that we go into implement best practices.
Kevin L. Jackson (17:20):
Ramiro Fernandez (17:20):
OK. And that’s going to allow us to really leverage the expertise from everybody out there as we implement some of these new processes.
Kevin L. Jackson (17:28):
This is like industry specific expertise. But there, you know, there are a lot of templates already available in SAP —
Ramiro Fernandez (17:34):
Kevin L. Jackson (17:35):
— that have been designed to support your specific industry.
Ramiro Fernandez (17:38):
Kevin L. Jackson (17:39):
So, that — does it accelerate — did that accelerate your deployment?
Ramiro Fernandez (17:43):
Absolutely. Because I, again, they — you know, when you look at some of the food companies that use SAP, I mean, they really have all the big players. Right?
Kevin L. Jackson (17:50):
Right, right, right.
Ramiro Fernandez (17:51):
And not only the big ones, they also have a lot of companies that are either the same size as we are or smaller. So, the fact that they can work with companies across that range, really — it really helps us out because they — when the system can help you out. And again, the scalability part was the other one that was extremely important to us.
Kevin L. Jackson (18:12):
So, I’m going to go a little more into your relationship with SAP. I mean, admittedly you said you’re not one of those huge companies. You’re, I mean —
Ramiro Fernandez (18:23):
Kevin L. Jackson (18:23):
— mid-market. Midsized.
Ramiro Fernandez (18:24):
Kevin L. Jackson (18:26):
And some may say that SAP is just too much for a mid-sized company, but SAP really has a very strong partner network, specifically designed to support mid-sized companies, organizations. Did you find that to be helpful?
Ramiro Fernandez (18:43):
Yes. No — yes, absolutely. Again, a couple of things. Again, same thing, the customer base, you know, was clear and they were very open with us in terms of letting — allowing us to speak to some other customers. And the implementation thing, we did not go with the biggest implementation partner out there. We wanted somebody who really was going to give us the attention that we need to implement the system the right way.
Kevin L. Jackson (19:08):
So, that partner program really is what made it palatable?
Ramiro Fernandez (19:15):
Kevin L. Jackson (19:15):
Ramiro Fernandez (19:16):
Yes, yes. And again, I think the fact that they’ve been — they have been around forever. They continue investing in innovation. I came to Sapphire last year before we made the final decision. I had been here before, but I was able to network with a lot of companies and learn. Some people were existing customers, some were potential customers. So, you know, just exchanging ideas, that also helped me out in — as we made the final decision.
Kevin L. Jackson (19:40):
How about your broader business ecosystem? Did your relationship with SAP have any impact on that in today’s connected world? It’s more than just you, right?
Ramiro Fernandez (19:52):
Yes. So, we’re actually excited about that because we are going to do — so, we’re going to do two phases of the implementation. Next year we’re going to do Ariba, so we’re quite —
Kevin L. Jackson (20:01):
OK. For your suppliers?
Ramiro Fernandez (20:02):
Yes, exactly. So we’re quite excited about that. Again, as you start looking at some of the challenges that every business has had this year, including supply chain, we want to open things up and also drive a lot of efficiencies through Ariba. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (20:17):
So, so SAP sort of helped you, or their partners, helped guide you and providing that expertise. Not only in the industry vertical that you’re working, but as you move forward and how to build your ecosystem and the digital transformation aspect of leveraging all that data. And there’s so much new data out there because we were talking earlier about how the consumption of food has really changed. Two years ago, you know, it was all about getting out of the house and going to a restaurant, right? And now, it’s all about staying in the house and having, you know, somebody deliver your food.
Kevin L. Jackson (21:08):
The choice of food actually has broadened because of that. And everyone is leveraging e-commerce to access, purchase, search, compare all types of products, I — including food, right.
Ramiro Fernandez (21:29):
Kevin L. Jackson (21:30):
How has that affected you? I mean, has it changed your business model?
Ramiro Fernandez (21:36):
So, especially during Covid, you saw a lot of people — like you said, a lot of people moving to online shopping.
Kevin L. Jackson (21:41):
Ramiro Fernandez (21:42):
Kevin L. Jackson (21:43):
Ramiro Fernandez (21:43):
So, because we’re shelf stable, so we actually had the ability we sell in, you know, in the Amazons, the Walmarts, the Targets of the world. So, we’re definitely present in all those different platforms. Has it changed? Absolutely. You have to compete everybody, you know, you — there’s a lot of brands out there, more and more every single day. Digital commerce is huge. Social networking is still very big.
Kevin L. Jackson (22:07):
Oh. So, social networking has become — is a big part of that in e-commerce?
Ramiro Fernandez (22:11):
You have to pay attention to it right now because it really is the way that people are learning about food. And so, you have to participate. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (22:20):
You know, I — I’ve just recently started doing some dabbling in the TikTok. And I’m really a B2B, business-to-business, kind and I always thought maybe TikTok is not the right channel. But I find there’s tons of businesses on TikTok because it’s an entertainment channel. And I would imagine that’s where the customers are. So, maybe, you know, which channels. Do you leverage all these social media channels to inform and educate your clients on your brand since they’re not looking for PIM Brands, they’re looking for, you know —
Ramiro Fernandez (23:00):
Welch’s fruit snacks?
Kevin L. Jackson (23:00):
Yes, Welch’s fruit snacks.
Ramiro Fernandez (23:01):
Yes, I mean, again, social media is — it is a big part. And then again, people are watching less and less TV every single day. And then there’s the way you communicate with your consumer, it really is a lot through social media. So, we really, our marketing, we have a great marketing team at PIM Brands, and we have a digital marketing team. So, they really are concentrating on how to reach a consumer through different digital medias.
Kevin L. Jackson (23:26):
So, SAP is probably helping you with the CRM, as well as understanding the demand. You mentioned earlier about how to — you needed to really understand the demand so that you can use that data to manage the, I guess, the raw materials, that you need —
Ramiro Fernandez (23:46):
Speed production, exactly.
Kevin L. Jackson (23:47):
— on your production.
Ramiro Fernandez (23:48):
Yes. So, as you think about it, you have data now, you have data from your consumers, you have data from your customers, and then you have your own internal data, right. History of past purchases. So, we’re trying to integrate all that data, different data flows in order to have a much cleaner demand for of — the demand signal. And from there, then we’re going to start deciding on what are we going to make.
Ramiro Fernandez (24:14):
Obviously, we also promote, right? So, when you go to a — wherever you shop, but, you know, we run promotions because we want to increase, you know, the frequency of purchases and we want to drive more volume growth. So, that lift that you get from a promotion is equally important. Some of, you know, you may get a huge spike in your demand once you — when you’re promoting some of this account. So, bringing all those different signals, it’s something that SAP is helping us out with.
Kevin L. Jackson (24:41):
So, you really are an innovative CFO.
Ramiro Fernandez (24:46):
I don’t know what — yes. I think, again, I’m not going to say that, but I think that — I think — again, being in the food industry, you have to learn about those different aspects of the business and then really learn what’s going to drive the business and it’s important. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (25:00):
I mean, CFOs around the world are applauding. So, what’s your recommendation to companies that are, you know, dealing with, maybe a legacy ERP and looking at how the business — their business is changing and the importance of digitizing? What would be your recommendation?
Ramiro Fernandez (25:23):
I think I said a couple of things. First of all, don’t look back too much, right, because you look forward. Where do you want to go? And make sure that what — you know, try to adopt best practices. Do your due diligence, quite frankly, again, we spoke to a number of partners and you got to choose the company that you believe is going to help you out with that.
Ramiro Fernandez (25:45):
And then the other one is definitely get people in the organization involved. So, you don’t know what you don’t know. So, I think it’s important when you talk to the SAPs of the world, they’re so big and they have so much going on. There’s only so much you can do in the short term. But really help them create that vision for where you want to go, but then manage that transformation, right.
Ramiro Fernandez (26:06):
So, we know that we are not going to be able to do everything on day one, Kevin, right. But what we’ve learned from the — what we learned from the past — the previous ERP is that, you know, what the system actually could do a lot more than we were taking advantage of. So, to us it’s going to be extremely important to keep on learning.
Ramiro Fernandez (26:28):
So, I think networking with other companies. Working closely with SAP. Go into user forums and understand what are the capabilities and make sure that the organization has that learning mentality, and also that change management mentality that it’s OK to keep on changing and adopting.
Kevin L. Jackson (26:47):
Wow. We don’t have a lot of time, but you said that about change.
Ramiro Fernandez (26:53):
Kevin L. Jackson (26:53):
And it popped in my mind is culture.
Ramiro Fernandez (26:55):
Kevin L. Jackson (26:55):
Was that a — I mean, you are an executive company. You’re trying to lead innovation. And culture often can be the thing that stops.
Ramiro Fernandez (27:05):
Kevin L. Jackson (27:06):
And — how did you deal with the cultural issues?
Ramiro Fernandez (27:09):
Yes. I think that’s one of the biggest — so a couple of things, you have to — and you’re spot on. I think culture really is one of those things that most people overlook. I’m a firm believer that you have to respect the culture of the company and maintain it. That being said, you know, the company has gotten to where it has — where it’s right now, because it had a very strong culture.
Ramiro Fernandez (27:31):
We keep on growing. We keep on bringing talent from — different talent from the outside. Everybody wants to drive change. You have to be respectful of what God is there, but really have the right mentality to drive that change going forward. So, will the culture change? Yes, it will. But you had to maintain that — those core principles of the organization.
Kevin L. Jackson (27:51):
Well, in today’s world, change is constant. And we actually talked a little before we started filming about, especially in food and beverage, that the lifetime of a brand is getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Is that a commentary on the attention span of humans?
Ramiro Fernandez (28:15):
Yes, it is. Well, and also right now, like we’re talking about social media. Right now, it’s really — I mean, quite frankly, it’s not that difficult to launch a product now.
Kevin L. Jackson (28:23):
Ramiro Fernandez (28:24):
Right? And then a lot of people make products for other companies. So, you really see a plethora of new products in the marketplace right now where there is in —
Kevin L. Jackson (28:31):
Plus, a new competition.
Ramiro Fernandez (28:32):
A lot of new competition across the board. So, this is the food and beverage industry. It’s extremely, extremely competitive. Now, if you have a very high-quality product, you keep on investing in your brand, that’s going to — but you have to be consistent on the quality, on the message to your consumers. So, maintaining that message to the consumer is extremely important.
Ramiro Fernandez (28:53):
But no question about it. It is a very dynamic industry. The test profile changes a lot. Moms are still the influencers. Mom are the gatekeepers for a lot of the purchases. So, you have to get to make sure that your top of mind with that particular — the shopper.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:10):
So, that makes data even more important.
Ramiro Fernandez (29:13):
More important, exactly. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:14):
Wow. So, thank you very much for spending the time with us. I know this is a very busy week for you, and we appreciate you taking the time. Did we miss anything before we end the interview here?
Ramiro Fernandez (29:28):
No, I think, honestly, I’m excited to be here. I think, I’m — again, I’m learning a lot down downstairs. You look at artificial intelligence. You look at all the things that can happen and then your mind starts, you know, going a thousand miles an hour. But I think — no, I think we hit a lot of the good things. Again, I mean, to me it’s a great industry. I’m — we’re happy to partner with SAP and we look forward to many, many, many years of solid relationship going forward.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:54):
Well, thank you very much. That was a great insight and information you provide. And I hope you, you know, took note of all how to become an innovative CFO. It’s not all about, you know, beating up based upon the numbers, right? It’s really about understanding and knowing the business end to end. And a lot of that is — a huge percentage of that is knowing your customer, right?
Ramiro Fernandez (30:22):
Kevin L. Jackson (30:23):
Knowing the business coal, I think is what you said. So, with that, we are going to end another Digital Transformers, learning more about how the digital transformation of not just your industry, but every industry is affecting your business and career. Kevin L. Jackson, thank you very much.
Thank you for supporting Digital Transformers and for being a part of our global Supply Chain Now community. Please check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you subscribe to Digital Transformers anywhere you listen to or view the show. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Digital Transformers.
Ramiro Fernandez is the CFO for PIM Brands, Inc.. Before joining PIM Brands, he was the CFO for Herr Foods Inc. a regional salty snack company. He has served in a wide range of leadership roles for iconic companies, including Finance Manager for Kellogg’s, Director of Finance Frito-Lay Mid-Atlantic, Director of Finance Pepsico North America, and CFO Chocolate and Petcare of Mars Caribbean and Central America, Global Revenue Management Director for Mars, Inc, VP of Finance for Latin America for Mars Chocolate. Ramiro is passionate about cross functional collaboration and enabling teams to get involved in driving business goals. Connect with Ramiro on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.