Supply Chain Now
Episode 1241

I think one of the biggest topics of 2024 and moving forward is going to be sustainability. How can we be responsible partners to the globe in what we're doing each and every day?

-John Wharff

Episode Summary

Never has such a bright spotlight been shone on the supply chain as a vital strategic component of business success. The industry is undergoing significant transformation across several key areas, from digitalization to sustainability and building resiliency.

Sitting down with John Wharff, Senior Sales Engineering Manager at EasyPost, we walk through five critical aspects that organizations must focus on addressing, solving, and optimizing to futureproof their supply chain strategies in 2024 and beyond.

1. Sustainability: Sustainability is no longer a competitive advantage, but an expectation. So, how can companies most successfully embrace sustainable supply chain practices?

2. Returns: According to the National Retail Federation, returns for 2023 totaled 743 billion. So, how can companies make the returns process more efficient and cost effective?

3. Reliability: How can we best improve the performance and reliability of our supply chains, and what performance standards and metrics are both realistic and achievable?

4. Data: How we can access, translate, and use data, not just for better visibility, but to also empower teams with the ability to make more informed decisions?

5. Omnichannel: How important is omnichannel fulfilment, and how can approaches be optimized to cut costs, improve the customer experience, and improve operational understanding?

Check out the full conversation with John Wharff for insight into each of these trends and more as we uncover the key blind spots, challenges, innovations, and opportunities.

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, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you may be. Scott Luton and Mary Kate, love with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream, Mary Kate, how you doing?

Mary Kate Love (00:42):

Hey, doing great, Scott. Great to be here.

Scott Luton (00:45):

Wonderful to have you back. I tell you, we had a great pre-show conversation. We should have started 30 minutes early talking pizza and movies and woodworking. But hey today, Mary Kate for the show. Great show. We’re going to be dialing in on the wild world of shipping and logistics, diving into a variety of topics and offering as always, actionable insights on things like sustainability, returns, management, the power, the sheer, immense power of big data when it’s effectively leveraged and a whole lot more. Mary Kate should be a great show, huh?

Mary Kate Love (01:17):

Great show. I love these topics too because we experience them in our business, but also as a consumer too. So I kind of put on two different hats when I’m thinking about these topics.

Scott Luton (01:27):

Yes, I like that. Well said. Great show. So folks, before we get started and bring on our esteemed panelists here today, two last reminders. First off, let us know what you think, share your comments throughout this live discussion. We’ll be sharing those throughout the discussion. And of course, if you enjoy today’s show and I hope you will be sure to share it with a friend or your network. They’ll be grateful that you did. Okay, Mary Kate, you ready to jump in?

Mary Kate Love (01:52):

I’m ready.

Scott Luton (01:53):

Alright. Going to get to work and welcome in. Our feature guest here today, John Wharf, senior manager, sales engineering with EasyPost. Hey John, how you doing?

John Wharff (02:03):

Great. How are you guys?

Scott Luton (02:04):

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Mary Kate. We had a great time with John and Preshow. We should have released that as a podcast. We have,

Mary Kate Love (02:11):

Once again, we’re talking about pizza. We always are talking about pizza.

Scott Luton (02:16):

Well, thank you for teeing me up, Mary Kay. That’s a great segue into this fun warmup question where we want to start with the one and only John Wharf. Folks, it is national Gumdrop day. You may have to look that up. Kind of think Juju fruits from the Seinfeld episode back in the nineties. It’s pancake week and it’s jello week. Quite a random collection of food. There are parades everywhere, I’m assuming, celebrating those treats. So I want to ask you this, John and Mary Kate, name your favorite, lots of flexibility today. Name your favorite candy, breakfast or dessert item, John.

John Wharff (02:52):

Yeah, so I’m going to go breakfast because I’m a monster and I don’t like candy or dessert.

Mary Kate Love (02:57):

Oh my gosh.

John Wharff (02:58):

So I am a huge enjoyer of biscuits and gravy. I think they are the best ever. There is a small diner in a tiny town down south in Utah called Marys Vale, and they have a diner that does southwest biscuits and gravy. Okay. Like spicy peppers in the gravy, it’ll change your life.

Scott Luton (03:16):

Marysville, Utah, is that right?

John Wharff (03:17):

Yep. Marys Vale. Yep.

Scott Luton (03:19):

Marys Veil. Sorry. And I know you said spicy. How about Tabasco owned that B and g. Oh,

John Wharff (03:24):

Absolutely. Yeah, you’ve got to add something to it. Give it a little kick.

Scott Luton (03:27):

Absolutely. Okay, Mary Kate, John just made me absolutely starving. I might have to step out here in a second. I love biscuits and gravy. Mary Kate, how about you we’re talking your favorite candy, breakfast, or dessert item?

Mary Kate Love (03:39):

So I’m going to go with also a small place by me here in Chicago on the south side called WO Joe’s. And I get a very specific shake from there. They have, I forget how many different flavors, but it’s one of those places that boast a hundred flavors and I get chocolate peanut butter and hot fudge all mixed together and just that combination is truly the best. So wo Jos in Chicago, south side is a must if you ever visit.

Scott Luton (04:07):

Alright folks, wo Jos in Chicago. What’s the name of the restaurant in Mary’s veil? John?

John Wharff (04:13):

It is the Prospector Cafe.

Scott Luton (04:16):

The Prospector Cafe. Great. That’s an

Mary Kate Love (04:18):

Awesome name.

Scott Luton (04:19):

I’m going to go with the most boring answer here today, Mary, Kate and John, because y’all know me. I’m a big patty melt enthusiast at the one and only Waffle House. I could eat them anytime of day. It doesn’t really sink up with my diet as we begin the year, but hey, we’ll splurge occasionally here and there. Alright, before we get going here, I want to say Claudia, speaking of Chicago, one of our favorite Chicago based leaders. Claudia, great to see you here today for your perspective. And again, we want to invite our audience there. Let us know what you think as we work our way through a variety of interesting topics, showcasing John and Mary Kate and a little bit of my expertise throughout the next hour. Okay, so John, context is really important around here, right? As we get into these big discussions, I think having folks, giving them the ability to kind of see the world through your lens and kind of better process what you’re going to be sharing. Let’s start, let’s double down on some context. So John, tell us briefly what EasyPost does and your role there.

John Wharff (05:18):

Yeah, absolutely. So EasyPost is kind of a one-stop shop for all of your shipping needs. We break it down into everything you need before you make a label. Everything you need to rate, shop, generate a label, and then everything that may come into play a post-purchase, everything from really, really small businesses up to the really, really big enterprise guys. And we try to consult and be a good partner and help them to make really, really good decisions. My role here is on the sales engineering side. So I get on all new prospect calls to help people really understand what products we have, how they can leverage our technology to really improve the processes that they’ve already got.

Scott Luton (05:54):

Love that. Mary Kate, what I heard there is John and their team, big time supply chain problem solvers taking friction out of the world and making things easier to create revenue and build relationships and deliver value to the market. What’d you hear there, Mary Kay?

Mary Kate Love (06:11):

Yeah, I love that because I think as the supply chain becomes more and more top of mind for people, there’s more and more problems to solve and you can’t do it on your own. So partnering with a company, EasyPost seems like such a great setup.

Scott Luton (06:27):

I’m with you, I’m with you. And they even have easy in the name. I bet you’ll have a lot of fun with that, John, all

John Wharff (06:31):

The time.

Scott Luton (06:32):

Yeah. Okay. So as we continue offering a little more context here, and I think this is going to be a good one, especially as what you shared y’all do and where you spend your time when it comes to global supply chain, what are some of the areas that you’re seeing companies and their leadership focus more on in 2024 and beyond?

John Wharff (06:50):

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the big ones is that just in logistics in general, there’s always a mountain of data, but a lot of people don’t know what to do with that data and how to make decisions based off of that. Another thing, kind of a hidden dirty secret that has always been in the logistics industry is the returns process and how difficult it can be and how you can lose an entire customer base if you don’t have a really good process for handling returns, uptime and reliability. I know that Covid really shook the world and there was a lot of pivoting at the last minute to try to get boxes out the door knowing that you can do it, that you’re not losing money minute after minute, everyone’s switching to omnichannel. I need to get stuff from a store to my warehouse, from my warehouse to my store, from the warehouse to the consumer, everything else. And then I think one of the biggest topics of 2024 and moving forward is going to be sustainability. How can we be responsible partners to the globe in what we’re doing each and every day?

Scott Luton (07:45):

Man, and folks, you’re in luck. We’re going to be talking a lot about where these leaders are prioritizing, spending resources, investing and what the market is expecting, what customers are expecting that. John touched on there, Mary, Kate, any of those single one-off items. John gave us a list. What sticks out the most there to you

Mary Kate Love (08:05):

Immediately? Resiliency, right? Just as you said, John, I think after Covid, everyone, every single business has said, wow, we can’t take anything for granted. We have to bring in new technology. Maybe we have to reshore or relocate some of our process in order to be really resilient. And then as a consumer, you talked about the returns process and I’m nodding along because I’m thinking, geez, I really will only shop places where the returns process is easy and quite frankly free for me. So I think I’m kind of the expert in consumer online shopping if we need to go down that route all.

Scott Luton (08:43):

Hey John, it’s great to have SMEs wherever they may be on these conversations. Alright, Jana talks about sustainability, huge focus for this year. Yeah, I agree with you. And I think it’s been, it’s like a crescendo of focus. It started back a couple years. It continues growing and growing, which I think is a great thing for industry. Maybe we’ll touch on what European Union passed here recently that’s going to continue moving the needle. And Claudia, I think you said this, John partners to the globe. Love that. I do two, Claudia, I do two. First T-shirt is there, John Warren. Alright. And speaking, you mentioned back in your answer mountain of data and we should just level set with folks as John shared with us in the green room. He’s based right now, he’s sitting in Utah and he’s got the Wasatch Mountains out the window. I bet that brings some serenity to the conversation. Always doesn’t. It

John Wharff (09:35):

Does. There is a benefit to living in a truly beautiful place and when you just need a minute, you can just look out your window and let it carry you away.

Scott Luton (09:44):

I’m jealous. I am jealous. Alright, so let’s talk about struggle and the struggle bus, because supply chain’s not for the faint of heart, global business isn’t for the faint of heart. It comes with plenty of challenges and we got to lean into those challenges and fix ’em and keep on moving. So when it comes to shipping and logistics, John, where do you see you and your team see companies struggling time and time again?

John Wharff (10:07):

Yeah, I think a lot of times ultimately something that I heard a really long time ago that kind of resonated with me is shippers are really only concerned about two things and that’s cost and customer satisfaction. And it’s really, really hard to balance those two things if you don’t know where to start, if you don’t know where your process is failing or what issues you may have with your already existing tech stack. And a lot of times there is this struggle between how do we get stuff out really fast, but how do we make sure we’re not paying too much for what we’re doing? And the only way that you can get better at it is knowing what to look for and knowing what options are there on the market for you to leverage.

Scott Luton (10:47):

Yeah, well said. What we keep in our blind spot that everyone has can be so dangerous and can really hinder us from optimizing performance, optimizing how we solve the problems, how we drive the results, how to use your point, John, in terms of cost and csat, how we can better manage these things because we all, Mary Kate, we all have blind spots. I would argue I got a bigger one than most people. But your thoughts, Mary Kate?

Mary Kate Love (11:18):

Yeah, I think, and even building on what you said in the beginning, John, about this data, so many people are collecting more and more data, but there’s not really an understanding what to do with that data. So thinking about when you’re trying to calculate the cost of a return, you need to have the right data. You need to be able to understand when is it worth it to make this return free or when do we make this, when does the customer consume that cost? So that data is so important.

John Wharff (11:48):

Yeah, I think Mary Kay, that’s a really, really interesting point because one of the things that I say all of the is as a consumer, once again as a shopper, if you’re on a website that’s providing some sort of physical good and they either offer free shipping or free returns, they’ve got something figured out, right? They’re really tightly operating because they understand where those costs are and how to make sure that they’re not going to get underwater by offering free shipping if they can’t afford it,

Mary Kate Love (12:13):

Right? Yeah, that’s a great point. And that is a competitive advantage now when you’re choosing where to shop is their shipping and return policy.

Scott Luton (12:21):

That’s right. Excellent point. And going back to several points being made here, hiring team members that are able to really understand not just how to view the data, but put it to work, working with service providers and partners and suppliers, and you name it all across the ecosystem that know how to do those same things, that’s where we can really have economies of scale and force multipliers to begin to move it at light speed. And we’re going to touch on a lot of that stuff. And for folks that stick around, we’ve got an excellent, excellent event in March that you can take advantage of to help you there. Okay. So John, going back, you mentioned a lot of different areas. We should have an hour for each thing. We really need an hour for each thing, but folks, we’re going to walk through five specific areas that a lot of organizations are trying to address, solve, fix, take advantage of, optimize, you name it. And I want to start with sustainability, John, whether it’s consumers, investors, team members, you name it, sustainability is in demand. I think that’s a good thing. Of course most understand that when sustainability is done right, it also helps the bottom line financially. Your thoughts when it comes to how companies can most successfully embrace sustainable practices, John?

John Wharff (13:38):

Yeah, absolutely. So luckily, as you’ve all alluded to, we’re now in a market that’s hungry for sustainability. So there’s more options now than there ever were before. One of the things that’s really interesting is from the EasyPost point of view, we always have a couple different stakeholders in mind and the two big ones that come up are shippers and consumers. And both of those two pieces really drive a lot of the decisions we make about what to make available on our platform. And we found out really, really quickly that there are historic landmark shippers that have been interested in sustainability for a really long time and they’ve already been playing this game all along. But what we’re starting to see is a huge surge. To your point, Scott, in consumer demand for they want more sustainable options. And one of the big things that we decided to do is after trying to find that balance between shippers and consumers, some shippers would love to offer it, but it’s an additional cost and how do we factor it into our revenue and to what we’re doing?

(14:38):

And what we decided to do is now every single label that’s generated on the EasyPost platform, we are doing it. We are offsetting the carbon for everything and it made the decision for our shippers infinitely easier because no longer are they having to calculate what’s this going to cost me, how do I offset it with product cost or anything else? And it’s been really, really beneficial because we knew consumers wanted it and everybody wants it. It’s a little slower for them to want to pay for it. And we just decided we can see the benefits. Scott, to your point, not only can it in the long run help revenue, but it’s also better for all of us in the long run to be more sustainably focused on what we’re doing. I

Scott Luton (15:19):

Love that It’s good for the entire ecosystem and we got to give to people what they want. John, I love that Mary Kate, what’d you hear there?

Mary Kate Love (15:27):

I love that. That’s genius. It’s the intersection, like you said, of consumers and businesses wanting the same thing. Now they might want it for different reasons or some similar reasons too, but we know that it’s going to be better for both and a concentration on that. I don’t see a single company who’s not focused on sustainability now and it’s because we all want it.

John Wharff (15:49):

Absolutely. It’s better for all of us.

Mary Kate Love (15:51):

Better for all of us. Yeah,

Scott Luton (15:53):

We’re right around the corner. We may already be there. Who knows? I think for a long time it was viewed as a competitive advantage and it still is in some circles, but more and more it isn’t expectation. So I love what you’re doing there, John, when it comes to enabling that out in the market. Okay, want to switch over for the second topic? We’re going to be talking about returns. So according to our friends at the National Retail Federation, hey John and whole gang over there, total returns for 2023, industry wide came in at 743 billion with a B worth of merchandise. So John returns management, I believe is why we have dedicated so much of our platform focused on returns management leadership with our friends at RLA. It doesn’t get enough attention, it really doesn’t, and a lot of folks don’t understand it. So I want to ask you, how can companies make the returns process more efficient and cost effective?

John Wharff (16:48):

Yeah, I think for a really, really long time, returns was almost seen as this cost sync where we don’t really like returns, obviously it means that someone was dissatisfied for either our delivery service or the products that we provide and it was kind of swept under the rug and it was hidden in the closet. It’s something we don’t like talking about, it’s just costing us money in the long run, we’ll figure it out eventually, right? Maybe one day we’ll have a better plan for returns, but the market has certainly shifted and we’re starting to see that not only is once again based on the data that you’re saying is the industry behind returns huge, but the ability to get return customers, the ability to keep people coming through the door, returns is a giant part of that. And your experience as a consumer on trying to return a product to somewhere where you bought it can make or break your loyalty to that brand forevermore.

(17:44):

So it’s really all about understanding the process and then deciding the specific way that you want to tackle returns. Do you want to assume there’s always going to be a return? Do you want to make a way for them to do a return? We have all these cool new services and products. A lot of carriers now offer QR codes because very few of us have printers at home. They’re back, take the box, run it into FedEx, they’ll scan it, make a label and get it out the door. And it seems like it’s not just shippers and the people who are manufacturing goods that are trying to make this process better, but it’s the carriers, it’s the platforms. Everyone understands how important and vital a goods returns ecosystem is to all of our success moving forward.

Scott Luton (18:27):

Yeah, well said John. And one where we can hopefully the law of those goods as they returned, they can make their way right back into the ree economy and be reused. I think more and more folks are purchasing. I know we are here refurbished remanufactured goods, creating new sectors of the economy, growing sectors, big sectors. Alright, so Mary Kate or should I say our chief consumer and shopping officer? You

Mary Kate Love (18:53):

Can definitely say that, yeah.

Scott Luton (18:55):

Alright. And she self-identified that, right? Claudia said return policy as a new competitive advantage. I think that’s something you shared earlier, your thoughts on returns, Mary Kate?

Mary Kate Love (19:04):

Well, number one, I’ve added to that 743 billion number as a consumer for sure. But as John as you were talking, I was thinking about when I make returns, which is often, I love when a company says why are you returning it? And usually if I’m returning clothes, it could be fit, quality wasn’t described. I love that because I know they’re collecting data to then market the product better because they don’t want returns and I don’t like to return either. So I love new technology. There’s that true fit technology where you could say this pair of jeans fits me from this other brand, what size should I get in this brand? That kind of stuff I think is decreasing returns, at least for me and I hope to see more and more of that.

John Wharff (19:50):

I remember the first time I saw one of those sunglasses companies where it takes your webcam and shows you what the sunglasses look like on your face. And to your point, the way that they got that information is so many people returning it saying they’re too small, they’re too narrow to whatever. And instead of seeing that as a huge negative, they took the data and they decided to do something about it and they’ve made a better customer experience as a result.

Mary Kate Love (20:16):

Totally. And I even wonder if it might right size, at least this is in women’s clothing, I don’t know if it’s the same in men’s, but we have this problem where you could be one size in one company in just a completely different size in another company and maybe a store’s or a company’s got away with that. But now that we’re all online, it’s like I just want to know what size stop this marketing of different sizing. It’s just we need to be more uniform. So I always wonder, are we going to get to more uniform sizing across different brands because of this?

John Wharff (20:47):

Yeah. I always ask, what does slim fit mean to you?

Mary Kate Love (20:51):

What does that mean?

Scott Luton (20:52):

Quantify, quantify, quantify. Yeah. Now John, on that sunglass example, I thought for just a second that you’re throwing us back to the infamous blue blockers commercial in the early nineties. And John, you’re laughing, I hope you know what I’m talking about a lot of folks, but you’ll have to Google it. This is one of the greatest infomercials ever. And then more seriously, I’m with you Mary Kate. I hate to return anything. I mean it makes my skin crawl when I have to return anything. So we’ll see. I think this is a fascinating aspect both on the consumer side but also from a practitioner perspective. Alright, speaking of, I think this is Amanda or Catherine says, what I’ve noticed in level on Amazon is in the product listing they’ll add a notification that says frequently returned item and then they give you options for other similar products that have low rates of returns.

(21:41):

Awesome, great call out there. And then Jana, going back to sustainability, the first one that makes a great point, displaying these sustainable efforts is just as important to our customer base and business. Jana. Absolutely. I think modeling the behavior as leaders helps drive conversations and also drive the needle. That’s a great comment there, Jana. Okay, next up our third topic we want to dive into. I was giving you a sneak peek of where we’re headed because when I think of reliability, imagine this, lemme paint this simple picture. For folks that may remember landlines, it might be hard for some folks to remember that. Imagine if our global supply chains were as reliable as getting dial tone when you pick up the phone, John, Mary Kate, every time, every time you pick up that phone without fail just about right. So let’s talk about supply chain reliability for a moment. Big challenge for many organizations. John, you first, what are your thoughts on what performance standards and metrics are achievable and how can we best improve the performance and reliability of our supply chains?

John Wharff (22:48):

Yeah, I think one of our biggest focuses from the very beginning was the idea of a truly multi-carrier environment. And the reason for that is that we all know that carriers have downtime, whether it’s scheduled or unscheduled. And then going back again to the landscape that Covid created, there was a huge influx of e-commerce shippers that hadn’t existed in the years before. Maybe they were historic brick and mortars where you had to go in in order to get service, but with all of the lockdowns, they realized we’re not selling anything. We have to be able to sell stuff online. And a lot of even the major carriers across the US started imposing limits where they’d say, we can only take 70% of what you’ve got today, good luck with the other 30%. And if you were one of those shops where you’ve got one carrier and that’s what you’ve used for the last 20 years because that’s what grandpop used, you’re in a really tough spot right there. But the ability to immediately pivot and use different carriers, different levels, different options that are available to you, all of a sudden that’s no longer a worry because if any of the carriers are down, you can still get boxes out the door. You still have options at your fingertips. I know that we had looked up kind of just rough estimates for these really, really big enterprise shippers and the amount of money that is just being lost for every minute they can’t ship is staggering,

Scott Luton (24:10):

Right? Yeah, it is staggering, staggering. Like Fred g Sanford, when he thought he was about to make the trip to heaven. That’s what I think of whenever I hear the word stagger, but in a bigger sense, John, Mary Kay, I’m coming to you next. He mentioned Grandpop. Did you hear that? Mary Kate? He mentioned Grandpop. It’s so important in the bigger sense. We can’t do business like Grandpop and Meemaw and all those people we love. We can’t do business like that anymore. There’s too big of an opportunity to do it better, right?

Mary Kate Love (24:40):

Yeah. Agree with.

John Wharff (24:41):

I think that that’s really important because it’s not always because people have bad practices or bad processes. It might be that they don’t know what’s available. If you have this process and you’ve done it forever, and yeah, it has its problems, but it works at the end of the day and it can be successful, you might be stuck in that rut and you’re not even looking for what might be available that can help streamline that process.

Scott Luton (25:08):

Excellent point back to that blind spot. In many cases, whether they’re parts of the team or leadership or you name it, wherever they’re in ecosystem, they want to succeed, right? They want to do a great job, but that blind spot, what they don’t know can bite you. To your point, John, it’s important to work with organizations that know how to tap into innovative technology and leadership and can do Mary Kate, you’re going to add.

Mary Kate Love (25:35):

Yeah. So John, as you’re talking and you said the one minute a company is down and not able to ship, I went back to my old life and I thought, oh my God, one minute of downtime and thinking about that part of the supply chain and how do we make manufacturing and operations more reliable and resilient? And a lot of my career was spent in companies that grew by acquisition and there has been a lot of effort to take data across all the different manufacturing locations to start to share not only parts, but also share their line, make sure that we’re more connected so that if we’ve got a place that’s gone down due to weather, that’s okay. Our next location can take it and we can make sure that we’re all sharing, which sounds so simple, but you all know how complicated that is.

Scott Luton (26:25):

I do. Mary Kate, I’m so glad I almost jumped over a question I wanted to pose to John. So thank you for being backing us up here. I want to talk about data because back in the day when big data began to emerge as a term, a lot of organizations spent a ton of money to collect it, but there wasn’t nearly as many very affordable and powerful technologies to use it and drive real outcomes. All that’s changed. So John, there remains plenty though of untapped data in organizations and in their technology systems everywhere. Your thoughts on how we can best access translate and use and leverage that data, not just for better visibility, which is more and more becoming table stakes these days, but even better to help power our teams with the ability to make better and more informed decisions, John?

John Wharff (27:16):

Yeah, absolutely. So I think that this is something that everybody has struggled with because the idea is we all know that we have data, we know which carriers we’re using, we know which service levels we’re doing. We know about the order information. Where’s the origin? Where’s the destination? Which warehouse is it shipping out of or is it not shipping out of warehouse and it’s better to ship it from the store, but the problem is there’s so much data, it’s very easy to become paralyzed and not really know what secrets or what hints are hiding within the data. We really, really early on realized that there’s really no point to offering software and a solution if you can’t also be a partner in consulting and analytics. If I just say, Hey, I’ll ship stuff for you and it’s great, and then here’s a hundred line CS, V about all of your data, good luck.

(28:04):

It’s not that helpful. Instead, people are expecting and they really want to know what are we not seeing? What are we not doing? I’ll give you the tiniest example ever. We had a customer that approached us and just wanted some insight into where delivery was bad, where are we really not performing? And that was the initial goal and we got there almost immediately where we could tell them, Hey, yeah, here are some changes that you can make. But within the data we also noticed that there had to be something wrong with their code because there was a bunch of stuff going out the door that didn’t make sense, it didn’t fit their business model. We were able to identify that they were able to fix it and they were able to save mountains of money on an effort that wasn’t even the exercise. It’s not what we were setting out to do, but it’s just the ability to look at the data and look for those outliers and know what they’re telling you.

Scott Luton (28:56):

Yeah. Well, John and Mary Kate, we should probably started with the ability to powerfully use data because I think it’s not a stretch for organizations that aren’t figured that out yet and their teams and a better decision making and being able to mine all of that data they’ve got at their fingertips. In many cases, you can’t optimize your approach to sustainability. You’re not going to be able to optimize your approach to returns to management. You’re not going to be able to reach that supply chain reliability that we’re talking about earlier, even if you can’t quite get to as reliable as Doone. But hey, if you get almost there, that’s pretty good, Mary Kate, speak to that. You’re just talking about your journey. Some of the powerful eureka moments speak that if you would.

Mary Kate Love (29:41):

Yeah, no, the data is a must, right? Getting the right data, making sure that the data is accurate, like John just said, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not always the most fun exercise to go through your data to put it all in a data lake, but in order to make these improvements, I’ve never been on any technology project that didn’t start with data, right? It’s an absolute must.

Scott Luton (30:04):

That’s right. That

John Wharff (30:05):

Is right. Yeah. Even speaking outside of our experience, one of the most interesting things that I ever read about is they were talking about the single biggest decrease to auto insurance that the US had ever seen, right? Okay. What caused the single biggest decrease to premiums for auto insurance was your ability to compare one brand against another and it created this ability for it put the power in the consumer seat to say, I’m going to find what’s best for me and pay what I want to pay to get my coverage. That same exercise is true for every industry, including logistics. The more comparison points you have, the better it is for you, the better it is for your customer and everyone else along your entire tech stack, your entire supply chain management system. It’s better for all of us to know what to look for and what actions to perform once we see the data.

Scott Luton (30:58):

Preach, preach, John. I love that man. Who doesn’t want to sit down and grab a beer or a cup of coffee with John and talk shop? This is good stuff. And by the way, Peter Boley all night and all day, great to see you via YouTube. Hope you’re doing well up in Canada. Good people here. So I want to go back to something that must be said. Whenever we say Data lake, that old adage, oftentimes it becomes the data bog. A lot of people say Data swamp, that’s trying to go a little more unique, but that’s why you got to have great people like John and the team at Easy Post to help make this truly easier so you can drive change faster and get results faster. Okay, so let’s talk. We’re getting back closer to the consumer side. One of my favorite things to talk about omnichannel. So John here in 2024, tell us in your view, how important is omnichannel fulfillment and how are you seeing companies truly optimize their approach there?

John Wharff (31:56):

Yeah, I think once again, it’s a slow shift from the old way that things were done into a new approach, into new, better ways to save money, improve customer experience, and to understand what you’re doing a lot better. Back in the day, you had one warehouse, it was located somewhere in the world and that’s where you shipped everything from and it worked. But now there are so many companies that they have multiple warehouses, multiple distribution centers, and they also have storefronts, and then they also may have partners that are storing inventory for them and whatever. And the ability to look at your entire landscape and see what is the best choice to make When a consumer orders something, what’s the closest store to them? Do they have it in stock? Let’s ship it from there because it’ll save us all money and it’ll get to the customer way faster.

(32:44):

If you have someone in California who orders a T-shirt, you don’t want to ship it out of your warehouse in Maine. It’s not going to be a good experience for anyone. It’s going to be expensive, it’s going to be slow. And I think more people are understanding that you don’t have to have these gigantic, huge warehouses spread across the globe. And instead what you can have is a bunch of different partners and smaller spaces and utilize your storefronts, utilize your web presence, utilize everything in order to not only make your life easier, but to keep your customers happier.

Scott Luton (33:14):

Yes, John. Or here’s a delightful notion. Maybe we should plan our network strategy rather than just getting stuff out the door. Maybe that’s a thought. Mary Kate, what’d you hear there?

Mary Kate Love (33:25):

I love this. And I was thinking about we’re used to brands starting in storefront and then going online, and now we’re seeing a little bit of a flip, right? You’re starting online and then should you make it, you usually set up a couple storefronts, right? I’m talking mostly I guess about B2C here, but I love that because I shop almost exclusively online, but if I’m downtown in Chicago, I just recently went to New York, I’ll say, Hey, there’s a brand that I always buy from. I’m absolutely going in store and I’m going to try out different products. I’m going to see different things, and it makes me happy that they’ve invested the money in a storefront so I can still have that experience, right?

John Wharff (34:03):

Yeah. It creates this really beautiful cyclical environment where you get a really good relationship with a brand through their online presence. You really like the products that they make, but at the end of the day when you’re online shopping, you’re going for a specific purpose. I’m looking for sunglasses, I’m going to go browse what sunglasses they have, but then you’re waltzing through New York, they have a storefront, what else do they make? What else am I interested in? Exactly. And it can really just create this constant drive back to you, back to your brand, what you can offer to people.

Mary Kate Love (34:34):

Yeah. It allows you to browse the brand a little bit more.

Scott Luton (34:37):

Yeah. One of my favorite components of having conversations like this one here is as practitioners, we’re still consumers. And I think some of the most powerful lessons you can learn is through your consumer lens as you’re out interacting and having those experiences and purchasing stuff, they are lessons for days to be had that we can then bring into our supply chains, our operations, you name it. It’s one of my favorite parts of the business world to study and it’s universal who isn’t a consumer, right? Right. Okay. And hey, bill Ang Kevi down there in Savannah, which is an outstanding logistics mecca. He’s here 16 students. Oh, cool. Watching John, Mary, Kate, and Scott. Hey, well, good afternoon to all of y’all. You future supply chain leaders of the now generation. Great to see you. And Bill, you got to

Mary Kate Love (35:26):

Tell those students at the end about national supply chain day.

Scott Luton (35:29):

Yes, we absolutely do. Absolutely do. Peter says, fun conversation. I just had one with a colleague about setting up a seasonal station. Try to say that seven times fast for startup and closure, different needs, but the same challenge. Challenges abound, John.

John Wharff (35:47):

I just think that, yeah, sometimes the solutions that people come up with even shock me, right? Let’s set up a temporary pop-up warehouse in a location during peak so that we can service our customers better. And yeah, that’s not the way it’s ever been done, but why not? If you have the ability and the technology do it,

Scott Luton (36:08):

Right? And of course you’re talking about the operational side. How about the more of the entrepreneurial side? I can’t remember the name of the Halloween costume company, but Spirit, they’ll move into these strip malls that are abandoned in many cases across the country, set up shop for a few weeks or whatever, make millions of dollars, and that’s their whole business model. I love that innovation thinking Mary Kate.

Mary Kate Love (36:36):

Yeah, I love that. We just had one pop up a few blocks away from us and we’re all like, makes sense, right? It’s spirit Halloween coming in for shop, but you like to see that because they’re using a space that is no longer used,

Scott Luton (36:49):

Right? That is right. And to do that, whether on the operational side or the entrepreneurial side or leadership in general, you got to think differently and you got to partner with organizations out there that are bringing innovative practices to the table with a proven track record. It’s really, really important. And John, we’ve had a lot of this conversations and the prep show and leading up here, a lot of cool things you and the easy post team are doing. I think as you describe various situations, including the one that brought millions of dollars to the bottom line, whether folks want to better tackle returns or sustainability or just get better at executing and using and putting that data, they’re mountains of data, kind of like the Wasatch Mountains of data to work for them. When you think about where do folks get started, that universal question, what would be your response to that, John?

John Wharff (37:42):

Yeah, Scott, I think you kind of hit the nail on the head. We work in an industry that is literally packed with really talented, really motivated individuals who know what they’re talking about and they’ve kind of been through the ringer and they’ve already solved these problems. So I would say the first step is realizing that you’re not the first person to have these problems. They’ve been experienced before as obviously part of the sales organization. Now with EasyPost, I hear the same problems over and over and over and over again that are echoed amongst a whole litany of different types of customers, whether they’re SMBs, their three pls or whatever. So I think the first step is just admitting that you might need some help. Like I very first said earlier on, we realized really, really quickly that just providing a service doesn’t really cut it anymore.

(38:33):

And instead, we have to be consultants. We have to be willing to dig into things with our customers and really get to the root of where the issues are and how to solve them. So I think it’s a admitting you have a problem and realizing there’s nothing wrong with that. And then B, reaching out to organizations who know how to solve these problems for you, reach out to good partners who are going to work with you and they’re going to understand your process and they’re not going to nickel and dime you. They’re not going to try to charge you out the ear for some of these services because at the end of the day, a good partner should want you to grow. And that’s one of our biggest goals here at EasyPost is we want every single customer we help to grow and to expand and to be successful because their success is our success and we can share in it and we’re all happier as a result.

Scott Luton (39:21):

Love that. And my hunch, John, my hunch Mary Kate as it relates to John and his team is they aren’t quick to say no to the what if we did this or what if we did that. They lean into how we can do things differently. Your thoughts, Mary Kate,

Mary Kate Love (39:36):

I think everyone has to be great at partnering with external organizations now because there’s absolutely no way that you can be an expert at all of these things and everything is changing. Our technology’s constantly changing, so being able to see and recognize problems or areas for improvement and saying, Hey, we’re going to work with this company for this one. We’re going to work with that company and here’s how we manage it. I think that’s a must and every company needs to be doing that today.

Scott Luton (40:05):

Amen. Hallelujah. Say it louder for the folks in the back, Mary Kate. Alright, a couple quick comments here before we share a really neat resource. PB says, that’s gold, John, you got to look at the total cost of ownership and if you do that, it doesn’t have you shut down all these ideas better you can think more broadly and get more creative. Excellent point, Peter. Claudia says collaboration is key. It’s an obvious competency but not an easy one to pull off. That’s right, Claudia. Easier said than done and done, especially if you talk about done in a way where all parties equally benefit or well benefit. Excellent point and one final one. We all need to put this in practice. Peter says, 45 years into my career still learning new things on a daily basis. And that goes back to John’s point a minute ago.

(40:53):

You got to be open-minded enough. All of us are charged to be open-minded enough to learn those new things and to look at the world differently and get well beyond how we’ve been doing things for 45 years or 15 years or maybe 15 months at this rate. Okay, so John and Mary, Kate, I hate that our conversation’s almost over, John. Let me, before we share this really cool session coming up in March, my other hunch, and I think I’m four for four today, other hunch is I bet you love to sit down and talk with folks even if they don’t work with you and the team, they might work with you and the team down the road, or maybe they already are. I bet you love talking shop talking problems and brainstorm in ways that folks can tackle these hurdles in their organizations. How can folks connect with you, John?

John Wharff (41:42):

Yeah, I think the two easiest ways are obviously just reaching out to sales@easypost.com that’s kind of watched and maintained by our very, very talented sales team as well as the technical team that I oversee. Go to easypost.com, we have all of our documentation online, really good one-pager about all of the products and services that we offer. Maybe something you key into and you really want to do it or reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. I got a very, very unique last name, so I’m easy to find.

Scott Luton (42:10):

I love that. So we dropped that email right there in the chat. You’re one click away maybe with email, maybe two clicks away to connecting with the team, connect with John on LinkedIn as well, and really lean into the really cool things they are doing. And as Bill says, Hey, some CEOs are old school and wary worry the collaborate. In fact, they don’t want to collaborate. I think someone will steal their customers. That’s right. You can’t ever make assumptions that things ain’t going to change. And if you keep doing things the same way you’ve been doing things, the customers aren’t going to find new ways and new value. That’s a great point there Bill. We can’t sit on our laurels for a second. Okay, Mary, Kate and John, or Mary Kate rather. We get to have John back with us in March and I think I’ve got a graphic here I want to share with folks because the next session, our next fireside conversation with John Wharf sounds very dramatic, doesn’t it?

(43:04):

It’s going to be a webinar. So folks, you got to register for this next one, but we’re going to dive into a neat conversation on March 6th and as we talk about proven best practices for embracing and logistics, and one of my favorite parts of this, one of my favorite parts of John’s approach clearly is he’s very practical, innovative, he’s fun to talk to. And we didn’t even get into some of the things, ways that he enjoys his downtime, which is really cool, but he’s very practical and we need lots of practicality In today’s world, we’re going to be diving into practical steps to putting your data to work for you and your team, making life easier for them, making it easier for them to be successful. And we’re going to give an example or two of how a data first strategy get this can deliver millions. Yes, millions to the bottom line. So March 6th at 12 noon eastern time, we’re going to drop the link in the chat. Y’all join us for that. So John got to ask you in 45 seconds or less, what’s one reason beyond you talking about biscuits and gravy or some other delicious food stuff on this webinar? What’s one other reason folks got to come join us on the 6th of March?

John Wharff (44:11):

Yeah, no, I think that that’s easy. It’s really easy to talk about all this stuff at a high level. We can all do it and we’ve all done it many times, but let’s drill in. Let’s talk about the actual ways that you can make this work for you today and into the future. Because kind of like you said earlier, Scott, it’s really easy to say stuff. It’s not always easy to put it into practice.

Scott Luton (44:31):

Well said. And we have an opportunity to do it. Well done. And that’s the important who’s got time? Raise your hand if you’ve got time for lip service leadership these days Ain’t nobody, right? So I just shared the link to that webinar. Come join us, come join us to free to register. And I promise you it’s going to be a great conversation. Mary Kate, whether you want to touch on one of those last things that John just mentioned about the value of this discussion we’re going to be having in March, or if you want to look past over the last 47 minutes where John brought this truckload of brilliance to us and our global audience, what’s one key takeaway that folks got to keep front and center?

Mary Kate Love (45:10):

Well, I love that we talked about how you’re not in this alone, that there’s comradery here. I think that’s one of the great things about supply chain now quite frankly, is we get to talk about problems that the majority of you all are experiencing. But what I love about this is, especially in our next webinar too, we’ll be diving deep into how you solve those problems. So join the webinar, continue to connect with one another through our channels, and I think that camaraderie is really important.

Scott Luton (45:38):

Excellent point. Yeah, that camaraderie, those conversations, the breaking the bread, that’s how we eliminate the blind spot, right? That’s how we reach different ideas and tools and solutions that we can bring to bear to make life easier for your team members and better for your customers, your suppliers, the whole ecosystem. And if that ain’t the name of the game, I don’t know what is Mary, Kate and John. Okay, so before we reinforce a couple of quick things, Claudia says, adding to Bill’s point on collaboration, have a discussion about exit strategies while you’re in good terms with your partners. Don’t wait until issues come up, Claudia, that is a million dollar or more inflation, billion dollar piece of advice there, Claudia. Alright, John and Mary Kate, quick reminders for everybody out there. First off, make sure you connect with John with him and his team. We drop links to that. We drop a link in the webinar, come on out and join us. Bring your ideas and your perspective. We make our webinars very interactive as well. Mary Kate had a very vibrant, we had a very vibrant webinar just yesterday. Lots and tons of comments from the audience and John folks got to take one thing that you and Mary Kate said here today or any of the comments and put it into practice, right? It’s about doing not just saying right deeds, not words. John, you’re nodding your head. You subscribe to that belief in life, right?

John Wharff (47:05):

A hundred percent. Yep. I think that we have all had experiences with people who are very good at talking and very bad at delivering and it gets real old real fast.

Scott Luton (47:14):

It does very, Kate, you’re smiling about that too. We’ve all been there, right? Yes, we’ve all been there.

Mary Kate Love (47:18):

Unfortunately. Yes.

Scott Luton (47:20):

Alright folks, but there’s a better way. There’s so many better ways you can go looking for it, whether you sit in on these conversations here. Oh, by the way, speaking of Mark, your calendar, because National Supply Chain Day is coming up in April. Mary Kate, what’s the date?

Mary Kate Love (47:33):

April 29th. It’s a Monday. So we are going to have a great time celebrating the supply chain, the people in supply chain and just talking about the future supply chain. So make sure to join us on April 29th.

Scott Luton (47:45):

That’s right, John Orff with easy post, delightful time here today. I really enjoy your approach and my hunch also, I think this is number six. I dunno why I’m embracing that word so much here today, but I bet you’re just like this in person when you sit down at an event or a lunch. I bet you clearly have a passion for what you do, John.

John Wharff (48:08):

I do. And I love people. I love hearing about experience and what people go through and their practices and what they think is best and everything like that. Because a lot of times a term that we throw around in the industry is a subject matter expert. Well, the SMEs that I trust the most are the ones who realize they still have stuff to learn. And I think that we can all take something from that.

Scott Luton (48:30):

Well said that self-awareness is so important. If you’re ever spending time with somebody that says they have all the answers, there’s only one thing to do and that is run in a different direction, whatever y’all might be. Thanks everybody for tuning in today. Big thanks to John and the team over at Easy Post. Make sure you connect with John. Lean into John, their thinking, their innovation, that what they’re doing. Really important. Join us on March 6th for the webinar. Join us in April. April 22nd, right? Mary Kate.

Mary Kate Love (49:01):

Yep. April 29th.

Scott Luton (49:02):

Oh my bad. April 29th. That’s going to be, I’m imprint that here. National Supply Chain Day where we celebrate the industry. But whatever you do, most importantly here today, folks, take something. Take one thing, one idea that John brought here today. Put it into action. Your team will appreciate it. I promise you. Deeds not words. That’s what it’s all about. On behalf the whole team, Mary Kate, thanks for being here today, by the way.

Mary Kate Love (49:25):

Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (49:26):

You bet. And to Claudia and Jana and Bill and all the folks at Tuned in know we couldn’t hit everybody’s question and comment. Thank you for being here, but whatever you do, on behalf of the entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (49:48):

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

 

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Featured Guests

John Wharff serves as a Sales Engineer at EasyPost, a tech company specializing in logistics solutions. With a robust background in various technical positions within EasyPost spanning the last 5 years, John brings a wealth of experience to his role. He excels in understanding client needs and effectively communicating how EasyPost’s innovative technology can optimize and elevate their shipping processes. Connect with John on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing & Host

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Allison Giddens

Host

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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Billy Taylor

Host

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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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.

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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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Greg White

Principal & Host

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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Tyler Ward

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!

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is 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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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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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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

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

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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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.

Donna Krache

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.

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