I don't think there's a bad time to launch an S&OP initiative. And I think if you wait for the perfect time, you're not going to get it.

-Carol Cunningham

Episode Summary

Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) consistently ranks as one of the top three priorities for management teams. A strong, repeatable S&OP process designed to accelerate and improve decision-making. It will help to synchronize strategic goals with operational activities and objectives. You can measure results in areas such as improving service levels, freeing up working capital, increasing forecast accuracy, reducing organizational friction, and boosting revenue growth. If S&OP is so pivotal to business success, why do many companies struggle to achieve the full benefits? This TEKTOK episode will explore where to start for S&OP success.


Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast, where we will help you eliminate the noise and focus on the information and inspiration that you need to transform your business, impact supply chain success, and enable you to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Join your TEKTOK host, Karin Bursa, the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise and the scars to prove it, Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Join the conversation, share your insights, and learn how to harness technology innovations to drive tangible business results. Buckle up, it’s time for TEKTOK, powered by Supply Chain Now.

Karin Bursa (01:13):

Well, welcome back, supply chain movers and shakers. Karin Bursa here, your host for TEKTOK, where we are helping you replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Today I am joined by Carol Cunningham, who is the senior manager of sales and operations planning (S&OP) with Energizer Global Auto Care. Carol and I are going to talk about where to start to drive S&OP success. This is going to be interesting!

If you’re a fan of the show, please subscribe to TEKTOK and leave us a review. And, don’t forget to follow us on both LinkedIn and Twitter. Now, let’s talk about sales and operations planning. S&OP consistently ranks as one of the top three priorities for management teams. That’s right — top three priorities. And you’ll notice I said for management teams, not just supply chain teams. When S&OP is done well, it instills a repeatable process that to drive a number of advantages for your business.

Karin Bursa (02:20):

You’re going to achieve tangible benefits in areas like increased forecast accuracy, freeing up working capital, improving inventory turns, and boosting your customer service levels. And you’re going to see somethings like the ability to reduce friction in your organization and to drive overall revenue growth. Well, the list goes on. And I’m sure Carol will have a few new ideas for us as well.

I want you to consider strategic initiatives as part of your sales and operations planning process. So, think in terms of your commitments for environmental social governance (ESG) initiatives. If you’re looking at new sustainability programs, or launching new products into your product portfolio, or opening new regions or new sales channels. These are strategic business initiatives that can be supported and accelerated with a strong and resilient a S&OP process. But I’m getting ahead of myself because our discussion today is about how do I start and build a foundation for a successful sales and operations planning process. And today’s guest has been there and done it. In fact, Carol Cunningham has helped a number of companies implement sales and operations planning and gained momentum around their S&OP processes. Carol, thanks for joining us today on TEKTOK.

Carol Cunningham (04:02):

Happy to be here, Karin. Thank you.

Karin Bursa (04:04):

Carol, the first time you and I met years ago, we had an instant connection based on our mutual excitement about sales and operations planning. We are both very passionate about the benefits and the need for a strong S&OP process. You have had hands-on experience with S&OP in industries like consumer goods, healthcare, and industrial products. Those industries have very different demand and supply profiles, very different product velocity. So, I’m really excited to hear what you have to say to us today. I also want to make sure that our TEKTOK movers and shakers know that in addition to your experience as a practitioner, you are certified in the area of supply chain planning and S&OP. In fact, you are a certified instructor for APICS CSCP. So, you’ve been teaching many of these techniques and have valuable insights for us on where we should start and opportunities to drive a more successful S&OP process. Let’s start with the basics, Carol. How did you get started in S&OP?

Carol Cunningham (05:25):

It was a long and winding path that got me here. I started off in operations warehouse and distribution management. And honestly, it happened to be the first job I got. I was a history major. Thought I’d be a librarian and wear white gloves on my hands the rest of my life. That didn’t quite work out. So, I got into that field and, you know, operations, there’s a lot of excitement there. There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of learning. I got involved with APICS, now ASCM. I was able to get to the conference when the theme was S&OP. I had never heard of S&OP until then. And I remember sitting in a ballroom where Tom Wallace and Bob Stahl were speaking about S&OP. Karin, it was one of those moments I jokingly say, you know, the sky opened, the light shown down, the angels singing and it said, “Carol, this is for you!”

Carol Cunningham (06:17):

Because what I love about S&OP is you touch everything. It’s as much about people as it is about process and technology or anything else. And so, for me, that started my journey. I knew this is what I want to do. But remember, I was running warehouses and operations and traffic and, you know, I had DOT trucks and things like that. So, I maneuvered myself into the planning organization and became very annoying for the next two years telling everybody how much we needed S&OP. That’s where I got my nickname, the “S&OP Evangelist,” because I really believed in it. And so, eventually got the opportunity and it’s just been happening ever since. I’ve had many opportunities to take companies on that journey and that’s been a real privilege. I love it! It’s been a good thing for me.

Karin Bursa (07:05):

Well now, Bob Stahl and Tom Wallace, talk about building a strong foundation. They were early thought leaders in this area of sales and operations planning and help to make it more strategic, not just operational in nature. I’m a big fan of their work over many decades teaching the industry how to do more than just balance demand and supply.

Carol Cunningham (07:30):


Karin Bursa (07:31):

Let’s start with just a little inspiration. Can you share a quick example of where S&OP has provided tangible benefits or has been critical to boosting performance in a business?

Carol Cunningham (07:46):

There’s so many different ways and examples. What comes to mind first is, when you think about – S&OP is not a quick fix. It’s not a magic bullet. It takes time, right? But one of the first things you start to see is a positive impact on service to your customers. You have to keep that without bloating your inventory at the same time. So, being able to increase your OTIF (on time in full) to your customers, your case fill rate, whatever your metric is, while simultaneously keeping your days of inventory within target and not ballooning, that was the biggest win and the most rewarding immediate impact. For me personally, big wins come in how you’re breaking down the silo walls and people start to share and communicate better.

You know, the soft stuff is the hard stuff, and it’s just as important as the metric improvements. And then, especially with looking at case fill rate, the other part of that is minimizing that cost of poor quality and being able to not have as many fines. So, those were the first ones I thought of when thinking about the big hits that resonate well because they impact the bottom line. It’s a good proof of concept.

Karin Bursa (09:00):

Getting your team and organization focused on the customer is powerful. Everybody wants to serve the customer the customer well. However, they’re not always focused on doing it as profitably as the business would like, but the desire is there. Let’s be honest, we’ve both seen bad behaviors where different teams will hoard a little inventory here and there or boost the production quantity because they think they “know better than the planning systems.” But the goal in many of those situations is high service. So, I love that you started there and then talked about some of the other benefits as well. I think some of that experience you had in the warehouse fulfilling orders, left you with a hands on experiences that helped you get motivated around better planning.

Carol Cunningham (09:55):

Right. Exactly. That last minute rush at the last day of the month. Right?

Karin Bursa (09:59):

Exactly! Another bad behavior that many businesses are guilty of adopting. It’s no secret that business leaders have been drowning in an environment of uncertainty since COVID-19 increased complexity. Many have been re-evaluating their product portfolios to make better use of available capacity or navigating around some supply shortages. The bottom line is, we’ve been operating for almost three years in an environment that feels like relentless chaos. There are more variables than we’ve had in the past. Carol, why is now a good time to launch an S&OP initiative?

Carol Cunningham (10:47):

I don’t think there’s a bad time to launch an S&OP initiative. If you wait for the perfect time, you’re never going to get it. Exactly what you said, I think if companies had a well-established S&OP process before COVID happened, they might have had better ability to react to those changes and different patterns of demand. Now, nobody can predict black swan events. But that infrastructure being in place, that S&OP process being in place, that mindset being in place ahead of time helped a lot of companies get through more successfully. For right now, I would ask anyone who’s thinking about S&OP, what are you waiting for? There are good things to be gained. It’s not an easy thing but if you start and work in first with one product family, start out small if you need to. Your business is not going to get less complex.

Carol Cunningham (11:40):

It’s only going to get more complex. The world is smaller than it used to be, and those patterns of stability and where we thought we knew better than any type of algorithms or planning software that’s changed. And truthfully, it may take time for the statistical models to catch up, but you need to have that cross connection, that cross-functional collaboration that goes beyond what your data can tell you so that you can pull things out there and be transparent and be everything on the table. S&OP will give you a framework that can help you navigate that complexity.

Karin Bursa (12:21):

You said so many good things there. Number one, you talked about data and doing more with the data. I think people sometimes lose sight of the fact that S&OP is really architected to facilitate decision making. So, we’ve got to bring people to the table, your insights in the business process. And it is a process that we go through. Technology is certainly a critical enabler – especially now that we’ve got big data, new data sources, and different demand or market signals. When we look at that, it can be a little overwhelming to start with. Let’s step back from that and talk about just where do we start in general.

Carol Cunningham (13:12):

S&OP has to start with a mindset shift of how you run your business. You need to start with the “WHY.” You have to understand what it is you’re trying to do. It often starts off in supply chain because everybody thinks it’s about balancing supply and demand. If that’s all you get from it, sure you’re going to get some results, but you’re leaving so much on the table that you could gain from the process. So, I think you need to start with education. Education will give you an understanding of the full concept. You can bring some help in if you need to, send people to conferences or webinars, at least invest in the team to make sure everybody has a common understanding of what S&OP can do for the business. And then, put that mindset through and work on building that first. All of the other things are so important, but people have a tendency to jump right into the mechanics when we need to think about the foundational aspects first.

Karin Bursa (14:12):

I like your focus on the mindset because this becomes a business process, not a supply chain process. As a business process team, we need an understanding what the business goals and objectives. What are we trying to solve for? What is the strategic initiative for our business? Is it to gain market share? Is it a certain revenue number or increased profitability? That will inform the decision-making process, and we get better and better over time – kind of like building muscle memory.

Carol, one thing I see with companies that are starting their S&OP process is they get stuck inside a very tactical window. The research tells us that most successful S&OP processes focus on a planning horizon anywhere from 24 months up to 3 years (36 months) for a rolling period. What’s the typical planning horizon you’ve seen for S&OP?

Carol Cunningham (15:32):

It’s different depending on the industry. In my experience, consumer package goods seem to be a little more near-term focused. I don’t think anybody should be looking under three months. If under three months, that’s the tactical window where S&OE (sales and operations execution) is very effective. I think a minimum S&OP horizon is a rolling 12 months. That’s where I’ve seen the most success and the most comfort. Keep in mind, the further out you go beyond 12 months, the larger your assumptions become. And sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow. Within that rolling 12 months, you’re just looking at the next season or the next quarter in line with where you are now. However, if you are in aerospace or a similar industry, 24 months is a minimum horizon.

Carol Cunningham (16:17):

So, it all depends. It’s more appropriate to say, ‘We’re not talking about this month. We’re not talking about next month.’ We’re not even, and not even just the fiscal year boundaries. Yes, you talk about those with S&OP because you want to make sure your financial stuff is included, but the window of S&OP needs to be going out further. It’s a rolling horizon. You want to make sure that you’re looking further out to anticipate potential problems, not just the known problems. If you stay in that short term, three to six months, you’re just solving what you know about.

Karin Bursa (16:57):

What you know about and typically inside that very short horizon. Even a frozen fence as far as being able to produce or procure more product. You’re firefighting. It is sales and operations execution (S&OE). It’s executing the plan that’s been in place. Yes, there is flexibility. You don’t have to be rigid about what the plan for a 90-day period. You need to be responsive to those short-term signals. But that is not S&OP. You’ll never get out of firefighting if you don’t focus on those longer horizons. I agree with your recommendation Carol to focus on at least a 12-month rolling horizon and I’d like to encourage our audience to strive for 18 or 24 months, because that allows them to get in front of the same season and plan for those more strategic business initiatives like growth, new products, new channels or even a shift in channel volume as you grow your business.

Carol Cunningham (18:18):

S&OP serves a great function or the bridge between strategic plans and tactical exeecution. So, it can’t be in the full zone of either. We’re not looking at three to five years in S&OP and we’re not looking at the first three months. We’re looking at that window of opportunity to make sure that those strategic initiatives are being executed the way we’ve wanted.

Karin Bursa (18:47):

One of the compelling reasons to leverage S&OP is the ability to evaluate multiple business scenarios, multiple ways that we can grow the business. There’s more than one good answer. It’s a good strategy to look at multiple scenarios, compare them, understand the tradeoffs on how we get the results we want based on where we are today. And I want to stress that S&OP is in fact about making decisions. Making informed decisions. In a recent conversation with a chief supply chain officer (CSCO) told me, “Look, S&OP drains the emotion out of our meetings, and it increases our confidence as the executive team that’s making decisions.” When I asked him, “Tell me more about that.” He said, “First of all, we’re making fact-based decisions that we then apply our insights and business expertise to. We may even add a little of our own intuition, but we are able to start with the facts versus starting with the emotion.”

Karin Bursa (20:02):

Now, I love that. But what I hear quite often is that a lot of S&OP initiatives struggle for two big reasons. The first is lack of executive sponsorship. And the second struggle I often hear, is that “we have a culture that is resistant to change.” Carol, how do we get stakeholders excited, engaged, and focused on customer service as well as making better decisions faster?

Carol Cunningham (20:50):

That is key. Executive sponsorship is absolutely essential to success. You can’t handle culture issues unless you’ve got the support of leadership because they set the tone. They’re leaders for a reason.  If everyone understands this is an executive S&OP process, not (limited to) a supply chain S&OP process, there are compelling reasons for people to give it some serious weight, right? So, you’ve got that first, but then change management part of it is key. If you start with clear education and understanding of WHY and make a compelling case using case studies to help people understand what good looks like for S&OP then you have to personalize success.

Carol Cunningham (21:46):

I found myself going around to different groups to uncover their number one issue, concern, or what gives them heartburn. How can S&OP can help them? How do I demonstrate that? I mostly ran into resistance from salespeople that felt they didn’t have time to be engaged in S&OP. They often believe giving you the customer forecast is all they must contribute. I met with one sales executive and said, “Look, you want to make your number? I’m your best friend. I’m going to make sure that we take care of things in a way that is going to increase your sales and at the same time we’re going to hit our inventory goals. We’re not going to have stockouts. If you collaborate with me on S&OP, I promise you that we’re going to help you make your goal.”

Carol Cunningham (22:47):

I went to finance and said, “I we can get everybody engaged in S&OP and we understand what our financial targets are, everybody will have ownership and they’ll want to be part of it.” We wanted to make S&OP the coolest place to be in a company. This is where real stuff gets done and it’s exciting! So, it’s full facilitation and thinking about where the pain points are, doing some research within your organization and making a compelling business case. It takes time but it’s worth it.

Karin Bursa (23:21):

It does take time in part because as you get started, you may be fixing problems that may have been longstanding challenges for the organization. Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand and have it all go away in 90 days. It takes time to build muscle memory. Carol, S&OP is often led from the supply chain but it’s not just a supply chain planning process. It is a total business planning process. You mentioned sales and you mentioned finance. Certainly, new product innovation is part of S&OP as well. But when we think of S&OP, where does it belong in the organization?

Carol Cunningham (24:16):

It often starts in supply chain to balance demand and supply, but that’s just the starting point. It really needs to come out to be independent. This is what I would recommend. I like the fact that it could be a group of folks that have cross-functional, are able to work with every group, understand their perspective, understand what they could bring to the table, understand how that impacts the rest, but then also be able to challenge one another on assumptions without prejudice. If you’re independent, you don’t have a horse in any one race. Any of that natural functional bias can be mitigated. I know we’re a long way from that. Most companies will lead S&OP from supply chain, but it doesn’t have to be deeply embedded in supply chain.

Carol Cunningham (25:11):

I also strongly believe that you cannot make S&OP another project on somebody already very full plate. This is not a project. This is a full-time role. And if you give somebody too much to do – it’s like 2-in-1 shampoo, right? You don’t get the full benefit of either the cleanser or the conditioner. So, don’t create 2-in-1 shampoo in the role of S&OP. You want to really make sure that you have somebody that is dedicated to running the process. S&OP includes a lot of administrative work as well as a process facilitator that can do the research and work cross-functionally and bring people together and ask the right questions. So, I don’t think supply chain is where it should stay. It should not be in sales either. Some organizations have it under finance, but in my perfect world, it exists separately probably under the wing of the chief supply chain officer (CSCO) who has that triangle for cash, cost, and service.

Karin Bursa (26:12):

I agree that S&OP is in the CCOs span of management, but that doesn’t mean the CSCO is the only executive engaged in it. Occasionally, I do see it reside in finance from, but then S&OP tends to be more focused on areas like working capital or inventory turns, and little less on overall service or operational performance. That’s one caution I would offer. Although I’ll take a CIO or CFO that is really embracing all of the elements of the business.

Karin Bursa (27:02):

Sometimes I see it get pigeonholed in demand planning because there’s a belief that demand forecast accuracy is a critical driver. I agree forecast accuracy is a lever for the business, but it is not the only measure for the business process. What qualities and skills should we look for in an S&OP leader? I think a strong understanding of the business as well as being supply chain savvy around critical constraints are two important skills. But they must have something special…they have to be good collaborators and good communicators because they are helping to tell a story about the business. Carol, what do you look for in an S&OP leader?

Carol Cunningham (28:11):

I agree that that’s a very pivotal role. Sometimes people who have been deeply embedded in a business for a very long time don’t have an the perspective beyond what they know. So, sometimes you might have to bring it in. I’m not saying that’s always the case, but there are benefits to that. I mean, you bring some up who knows your business, that’s great, but they must be able to think beyond what’s been done in the past. So, I think establishing credibility is extremely important and that can be achieved with experience; certifications are a great way to show that too and a bit of understanding of what S&OP can bring to the company. Other qualities would be, they have to be intellectually curious. You know, you can’t take the pat answer or the easy assumption.

You have to be willing to think, but why and what if we did this? And what does that mean and how does that impact this other area? If you think about it, you’re dealing with people in very functional areas and experience, depending upon your organization and your culture. So, the S&OP leader’s role is to connect the dots between those and be able to say, you know, well this – okay, this is really good for the plant, this is really good for this, but what would be the impact on absorption and in the finance? And what else do we need to be thinking about? What is that going to do for space in the warehouse? What’s that going to do for service, or whatever it could be?

Carol Cunningham (29:38):

And so, good end-to-end supply chain knowledge, credibility through education, and they’ve got to be very organized because there is a lot of administrative work. You are literally herding cats sometimes to make sure everybody is doing what they need to do because to them, S&OP may be a sideline. To you, it’s your main line, right? You’ve got to make sure people are engaged and things are getting done on time and that the monthly cycles are set, and meeting cadences are adhered to. I also run a process governance committee. So, we meet quarterly to effectively measure the process itself.

I would also recommend that it’s somebody who has a thick skin. Because sometimes you’re putting a microscope or a spotlight on things that get uncomfortable sometimes. The genius of S&OP is that it brings transparency, openness, accountability, and collaboration to the business. You have to be willing to put the moose on the table as Tom Wallace always said. So, someone who can bring that up in a way that’s effective, not confrontational. A lot of soft skills and emotional intelligence are needed.

Karin Bursa (30:54):

Those are some great examples and attributes for a leader anywhere. But it really underscores this need to develop soft skills. I think you made a comment when we started our conversation about “the soft stuff is the hard stuff.” It’s hard to assess when you’re interviewing somebody. It’s hard, or difficult is probably a better word, because all of the different personalities that are involved in the process. And I also think you need an ability to absorb criticism or critique of the process. And that doesn’t mean that as a leader that you’re failing or that the process is going to fail. It oftentimes means that there’s a lack of understanding of why something is important. Carol, what has been effective for you when you’ve had pushback or resistance to the rollout of an S&OP process?

Carol Cunningham (31:55):

You’re going to run into it. So, understand that it’s normal. It’s not about you. And what you’re dealing with is different people’s ability or the timing of when they’re going to absorb everything that is involved. The first thing for me is to remember it’s not personal. Number two, you need to talk with them. Find a way one-on-one and listen to what they have to say. Just ask, “I’m sensing some resistance. Is it just that timing of the meeting is bad? Or, is something else going on? Or, is there a concern you have that I can help you with?” And if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find an answer or do the needed research.

Carol Cunningham (32:48):

You must find out what that concern is. I’m also big on proof of concept too. How can we show a quick win in an area that matters to them? Even if it’s just here we have this topic that’s been of great concern to you, we now have a full dissection of it almost within S&OP, showing every angle, everything, and we have a great dialogue about it, that they have been trying to get people to engage in for some time and getting, you know, feel like they’ve been beating their head against a wall. You know? Or say, “I’m going to champion this topic with you, let’s work together. Let’s get this into S&OP.” And I think sometimes it’s just as simple as working on the communication.

Karin Bursa (33:35):

I really agree with you. And that they have an understanding that we’re not trying to find fault with them. We’re trying to build a resilient process that serves their business needs and the broader needs of the company as well. Often, the critique isn’t necessarily about the person leading the S&OP process, it is an opportunity to either explain how the process works, because not everybody in the company understands, even when we say something simple like balancing supply and demand, they don’t necessarily understand the complexities in balancing supply and demand. After COVID, we’ve got more businesspeople that are in tune with supply chain challenges than ever before. So, it’s a great time to take advantage of that and just bring them along from an education perspective. Given my 25 plus years in supply chain technology, I can tell you technology alone is not the answer. The technology to support S&OP is absolutely critical, and it can reduce some of the complexity and boost numerous insights. But I find that most S&OP processes get started on spreadsheets. Has that been your experience?

Carol Cunningham (35:08):

Yes, to start off, but then I was also fortunate enough to make a good case to get us into planning software pretty quickly. As I’ve moved into other companies, technology has been one of the first things I made a case for it. And I likened it to this way, if your job is to go cut down a tree and I hand you a butter knife, you’re going to be able to eventually cut down that tree. It’s sharp, it cuts things, but it’s not the right tool for that result. But if I hand you a chainsaw, you’re going to be able to cut the tree faster. If you start S&OP on spreadsheets, you’re going to be limited to a certain degree unless you have amazing master data and a small organization that’s not that complex. So, technology quickly becomes a critical enabler of S&OP success.

Carol Cunningham (35:52):

Technology is one of the most important tools — you cannot sustain S&OP and do scenario modeling which is one of the key functions in spreadsheets. How sophisticated can you get on a spreadsheet with any accuracy or reliability? You know, one little fat finger mistake and you’ve blown the formula. So, I would advocate that at some point you’re going to need to make sure your technology is enabling your S&OP process. It is a game changer! An absolute game changer because you gain visibility, graphics, great analytics, you know, just a couple of clicks and be able to say, “Well, what if this happened?” “Boom, boom, boom, here it is.” And there’s lots of solutions out there that could do that for a company at various price points and levels of investment. The technology piece of S&OP is very important.

Karin Bursa (36:55):

I do certainly agree with you to have a resilient and repeatable process, you’re going to need to make a move away from spreadsheets quickly. I also find, Carol, that spreadsheets frequently introduce new risks. You made the comment about ‘fat finger errors’ on a cell or on one of the equations that we’re using. It doesn’t take much to introduce additional risk into your process. I hear an argument from time to time that planners are familiar with and know how to use Excel, that they’ll be able to do this very quickly.

Karin Bursa (37:55):

However, the risk that gets introduced far outweighs that familiarity. And S&OP is a complex process. It is a process that supports evaluating multiple business scenarios. I love the example you just gave about being able to visualize and very quickly understand and compare plans. There are solutions in the market for all levels of complexity or business size that can be considered. Great insights, Carol. If you and I agree that S&OP is pivotal to business success, why do so many companies just struggle achieve the full benefits of an S&OP process?

Carol Cunningham (38:46):

I think number one, they don’t have a dedicated S&OP leader. I think that’s the first part. It’s somebody else’s project and/or a hat they wear once a month. You’re not going to get very far with that. Number two, I would think that you have not done enough education. I can’t emphasize the importance of education to help everyone understand the objectives, how the process works, what good looks like, and the fact that it is going to be a journey, it’s not an event. We’re not going to launch S&OP and suddenly be done working on S&OP. It’s an ongoing journey and part of mindset shift I mentioned. Sometimes they get stuck because their scope is too small, whether that’s literal on what horizon they’re looking at or the outcomes they want to achieve from it. They’re not brought in new product development or innovation, or they’ve not brought in more of the financial aspects, you know. So, I think if you get stuck, it’s because you’re thinking too small probably, and not doing enough growth throughout the process.

Karin Bursa (39:56):

I like your recommendation to start with an area that will offer a quick win that is meaningful to the business. We want to feel the tangible outcome of the effort. We want to be able to either see a change in process or inventory performance or service that’s tangible. Those stories can help engaged business leaders into heroes! As leaders make important decisions more effectively for the business, it gets them excited and builds momentum.

Carol, I’ve really enjoyed the conversation today, and I could keep going. I know you could too. What final piece of advice do you have for our TEKTOK listeners who are looking at starting or improving their S&OP process?

Carol Cunningham (40:58):

I would say first the piece of advice is to research, get involved in professional organizations such as ASCM, IBF, etc. There’s such a wealth of shared knowledge out there. You’re not in it alone. And connect with peers and other practitioners. It has saved me from going down so many bad roads. Lean on your community, lean on other resources like this TEKTOK podcast, or webinars and conferences. Do the education part first and be patient. The S&OP effort is worth it in the long run. Just keep going forward.

Karin Bursa (41:33):

Great recommendations. And thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us here today. I know that we’ve just started to scratch the surface and I appreciate you boiling it down for us. Carol, how can our listeners reach out to you and connect?

Carol Cunningham (41:48):

I am on LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/passionateaboutplanning.

Karin Bursa (41:56):

Oh, look at you. Passionate about planning. Nicely done. Carol Cunningham, thank you so much for sharing your insights on sales and operations planning with us today and helping us to make sure our S&OP initiatives are more successful because it does add up.

Carol Cunningham (42:14):

Thank you.

Karin Bursa (42:14):

Until next time. Remember that our goal with TEKTOK, the digital supply chain podcast, is to help you eliminate the noise and focus in on the information and inspiration you need to transform your business and replace risky inventory with valuable insights. If you’re a fan of the show, don’t forget to leave us a review and subscribe. And thanks for tuning in to TEKTOK, powered by Supply Chain Now.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Carol Cunningham, After graduating with a degree in History and Political Science, Carol took a job in operations to pay the rent. Within a year she had fallen in love with the field and never looked back. She has over 20 years of supply chain management experience including distribution, logistics, inventory management, business analytics, demand planning, forecasting, and her great passion S&OP. She was CPF certified by IBF in 2019, CSCP certified by ASCM in 2012, CS&OP certified by the S&OP Institute and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in 2014. Currently, she is the Sr Manager of S&OP for Energizer Global Auto Care. Connect with Carol on LinkedIn.


Karin Bursa


You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about TEKTOK

Subscribe to TEKTOK on your favorite podcast platform

Check Out Our Sponsors

Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Vicki White


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.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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.

Connect on :

Kim Reuter

Host, The Freight Insider

From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

Connect on :

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

Connect on :

Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

Connect on :

Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

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.

Connect on :

Adrian Purtill

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.

Connect on :

Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

Connect on :

Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

Connect on :

Tandreia Bellamy

Host, Supply Chain Now

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Greg White

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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!

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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’.

Connect on :

Constantine Limberakis


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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

Connect on :