Supply Chain Now
Episode 1146

The transformation of the classroom has a big impact on what back-to-school shoppers are buying today. It's no longer crayons and pencils and pens and paper; it's iPads, computers, and all the digital stuff that is quickly obsolete.

- Constantine Limberakis

Episode Summary

The Supply Chain Buzz is Supply Chain Now’s regular Monday livestream, held at 12n ET each week. This show focuses on some of the leading stories from global supply chain and global business, always with special guests – the most important of which is the live audience!

This week’s edition of The Buzz featured two audience favorites as guests: Constantine Limberakis and Mike Griswold. With many school districts starting to ramp up for students to return, and retailers stocking the shelves in anticipation, the team kicked off the stream by reminiscing about their best Back-to-School memories.

In this livestream, created in collaboration with a live Supply Chain Now audience, Mike, Constantine, and Scott discussed:

• The significant increase in K-12 back-to-school spending forecasted by the National Retail Federation and Proper Insights and Analytics

• A recent State Department announcement that they will partner Costa Rica as an additional location for semiconductor manufacturing

• Additional insights from the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 listing for 2023

• Walmart’s experimentation with a chatbot to negotiate with suppliers who have smaller contracts or only supply equipment for the company’s own use

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 are, Scott Luton and Constantine, Dino Limbus here with you on Supply Chain. Now, welcome to today’s livestream, Dino. How you doing today?

Constantine Limberakis (00:45):

Doing great, Scott. Uh, just getting back on a Monday here, right? Get the week kicked off.

Scott Luton (00:51):

Absolutely. Looks like you’ve been reading some good books back behind you. Lots of books. Yes. Have you read all those books?

Constantine Limberakis (00:57):

Uh, some of them <laugh> halfway through.

Scott Luton (01:00):

Well, hey, it’s great to have you back, uh, here. Thank you. A lot of folks may, uh, recall, uh, you live up in the Chicago area, been doing big things in global supply chain for quite some time, and looking forward to having you here with us monthly. Uh, yes. In the months ahead. So folks get ready to buckle up, up. Now, Dino, we gotta Yes. Give a tip of the hat. Uh, Greg White out on assignment today. Um, yes, has several fool plates, but, uh, he’s here with us in spirit, undoubtedly. And, uh, that’s a good thing, right?

Constantine Limberakis (01:29):

Of course, with his Johnny Cashier or whatever shirt he’s, he’s dying on

Scott Luton (01:35):

Today, whichever one, you know, it’s a cool one. So, <laugh>.

Constantine Limberakis (01:38):

Oh, yeah, for sure. He’s always got, he’s got, he’s got that swabb look. I like

Scott Luton (01:42):

Always, always. Hey. But on today’s show, uh, as our audience, as you come to expect it, su Supply Chain Buzz, a live show that comes at you every Monday at 12 noon Eastern time. As always, we’re gonna be discussing a variety of news and developments today across global bu business, really. And hey, want to hear from you. So give us your take in the comments throughout the show. And if you’re listening to the podcast replay, which I think we usually publish every Friday, hey, we’d encourage you to join us live on a session, on LinkedIn or YouTube, or other social media channels of your choosing. We’d love to hear from you, right, Dino?

Constantine Limberakis (02:16):

Yes, for sure.

Scott Luton (02:18):

Now, in just a couple minutes, we’ve got a special guest. This is gonna be a very unique edition of The Buzz. Not only do we have, uh, Constantine with us, but we also have Mike Griswold, uh, with Gartner, who’s gonna be joining us here in just a minute. And, you know, uh, Dino, as I share with you in a pre show, one of our longest running series is Supply Chain today and tomorrow with the one only Mike Griswold. And that’s been going, I bet we’re three plus years in producing that series. That’s once a month. So, uh, you and I both are in for a special treat today, right?

Constantine Limberakis (02:47):

Yeah. Well, at the age of the podcast era, that, that’s a long time, <laugh>. That’s right, right? I mean, that’s impressive.

Scott Luton (02:54):

That is right. Um, all right, so before we bring in Mike, and for me and Mike and Constantine dive into the news of the day, wanna share a few resources with all of y’all. And by the way, we get to, uh, welcome in one of our longest, uh, Aaron, we’ve missed you. Uh, Aaron has been a part of our programming for, uh, probably at least three years and would pop in from time to time. So great to have you back in, and we’re happy that you remembered to tune in as well. Aaron, I’m trying to remember what part of the country that you’re in, try to, uh, remind us if you would. Um, all right, so Constantine, few resources for our global audience, and we’ll start with this one. With that said that we’ve published over the weekend. Now, Dino, did you know that July 16th, it’s already a thing. It is AI Appreciation Day. Did you know that?

Constantine Limberakis (03:46):

I I did not know it. I, I guess the question is, what part of the ai appreciate,

Scott Luton (03:51):

You know what, it’s gonna

Constantine Limberakis (03:52):

Just keep growing, right? I mean, it’s, you have multiple days in the calendar, I guess.

Scott Luton (03:56):

Oh, it’s so true. But I, I like this image. And two folks, you may be listening, you can’t see the image, you’ll have to check out the video, but it’s, uh, a very, very scary robot saying, you will appreciate me, Dino, you will appreciate me. So, uh, <laugh>, y’all check out with that said, uh, 22,248 subscribers to that newsletter. That’s about 41 editions, uh, old. And we appreciate every single one and all the feedback that we get, um, from across that community. Now, from, with that said, Constantine to one of our next live events, which is tomorrow. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Dino, we’re all trying to decode digital transformation these days, right? Yes. And what it means, and what it means for your organization, right?

Constantine Limberakis (04:41):

Yes, absolutely. I mean, what is, uh, you know, transforming, uh, it’s a constant, is transformation is constant, but, you know, how are you doing it and where are you doing it? I’m really interested and excited to listen in on this tomorrow.

Scott Luton (04:54):

Yes, Dino, you took the words outta my mouth. What are you, what are you doing? What, what actions are you taking? So, join us tomorrow at 12 in the Eastern time to welcome back, Lyle Eck Dahl, and our friend Greg Davis, um, who’s gonna be speaking to Greg and I about charting a path forward, very action insights, of course, sponsored by our friends at Next World. So y’all join us for that. And then finally, one other session we’ve got Wednesday, we’re gonna be talking freight, Constantine Freight, uh, specifically with Zgs and Stone Distributing. And by the way, if you like really good beer, check out Stone Distributing Dino. I know that you and I both are a fan of a adult beverage or too, right?

Constantine Limberakis (05:35):

Absolutely, absolutely. It depends. Are you a logger or an ale guy? That’s the question.

Scott Luton (05:40):

I’m anything cold

Constantine Limberakis (05:42):


Scott Luton (05:46):

But I’m with, but hey, uh, we gotta lift up the supply chain behind, uh, those that allow us enjoy our favorite adult beverages. So join us on Wednesday at 12 noon as we, uh, explore really the successful and the innovative partnership between Synergistics and Stone Distributing, and how the, uh, turbo organization plays a really big part in that reimagined relationship. So join us there, Wednesday at 12 noon Eastern time. Okay. Before we bring on, uh, Mike Griswold, I wanna share a few folks here. That’s right. Aaron, Dino, the Pittsburgh area.

Constantine Limberakis (06:21):

Yes. Hail the pit. I went to pit for grad school. There you go, Aaron.

Scott Luton (06:25):

That is right.

Constantine Limberakis (06:26):

Another one, Scott.

Scott Luton (06:27):

Yes, that is right. Thank you for reminding me. Uh, so Aaron, small world, it’s always smaller when you, when you start looking around, right? Uh, Cori Coze is back with us.

Constantine Limberakis (06:37):

Oh, yes.

Scott Luton (06:37):

How about the headshot? Dino, look at that headshot.

Constantine Limberakis (06:40):

He’s looking studly in that picture, man.

Scott Luton (06:42):


Constantine Limberakis (06:42):

All professional.

Scott Luton (06:44):

So it may not be a good time to be talking Hollywood right now, and we hope that all sides, you know, figure that out. But that looks like a Hollywood shot to me, and he says, finally got time to catch up with my favorite supply chain infotainment. So we look forward to reconnecting with Cori Coza soon. Let’s see here. Carlos is talking about AI already has a day. Wow. Uh, Darlene, great to have you here. Looking forward to connecting with supply chain professionals. Great to have you Nasreen, uh, from I, uh, Ron, great to have you via LinkedIn. Muhammad from, uh, Pakistan and Aaron celebrates We love pit.

Constantine Limberakis (07:18):

There you go.

Scott Luton (07:19):

Um, I, and I should know the mascot for pit Panthers.

Constantine Limberakis (07:23):

Panthers. That’s right, yes. Okay, good, good. Panthers. Alright,

Scott Luton (07:27):

So with all of that said, Dino, what’s one thing, let me ask you this question before we bring Mike on. Sure. What is one thing that you are most looking forward to about today’s conversation? I’m gonna put you on the spot, Dino. What’s one thing that you’re most looking forward to? Well,

Constantine Limberakis (07:42):

There’s just so many topics, Scott, but I think you keep throwing back the idea with this, this conversation we had about the Walmart and the AI negotiating. So that’s just stuck in my head. So I, I guess it’s that, it’s just, I’m interested to see what we have to say.

Scott Luton (07:57):

That’s right. We’re saving the best for last. And folks, uh, speaking of that story, just imagine trying to negotiate with this guy or gal. He, he’s <laugh>, you’re gonna do as I’m told, as as you’re told. So, uh, we’re gonna, we’re gonna, we’re gonna unravel that enigma as we get work our way through the buzz here today. So stay tuned for of four or five interesting stories and takes of what’s going on across global business. Okay? So, Dino, with no further ado, I wanna welcome in our guest today. You ready to go? Ready. Buckled up.

Constantine Limberakis (08:34):


Scott Luton (08:35):

Got <laugh>. Gotcha. Hanging onto your socks.

Constantine Limberakis (08:39):

Uh, yes, I have socks on.

Scott Luton (08:42):

All right. So with all that, I wanna bring in our special guest for today’s supply chain Buds. Our dear friend Mike Griswold, vice President and analyst with Gardner. Hey, Mike. How you doing?

Mike Griswold (08:52):

Hey, great. I lived, uh, my wife and

Mike Griswold (08:54):

I lived outside of Pittsburgh for five years in the early nineties. So I, I, uh, I love Pittsburgh. Uh, she’s a huge Steelers fan. I am not, but <laugh>, uh, it’s a great play. The people who are nice, it’s a great sports town. Um, yeah. Uh, have nothing but fond memories of Pittsburgh.

Scott Luton (09:11):

Love it. Yes. And the early nineties, that’d be the days of, uh, Bubby, Brister, I think quarterbacking those Steelers teams, maybe, huh?

Mike Griswold (09:19):

Yeah, it was, uh, a couple things, Scott, one that will be near and dear to your heart. Um, so the Penguins, I think, won two out of three Stanley Cups in the early nineties. But, um, the Pirates in Sid Bream, it was just, they, they just could not get past your Braves in those, uh, in those early nineties.

Scott Luton (09:38):

You know, I’m so glad you mentioned that, uh, Mike, I was just, I was just reminiscing, uh, this past weekend about that. And if y’all could indulge me just for a second, uh, that 92 Pirates team was one of the best, I would say, probably modern franchise history. You got Dr. Doug Drabek, who was a saw young winner, uh, and dominating that year. They had a young Barry Bonds. You had Andy Van Sly and Center. You had Jay Bell at short. Uh, you had Stan Belinda come outta the pen. I mean, they had a lot of stars on that Pittsburgh team. But then Mike, you mentioned the Penguins. Cause Mario Lemu and Yaar Moore Yager, they dominated hockey for a stretch. And I’m not the biggest hockey guru, but, uh, it was tough to deny what the Penguins did there. So thank you for letting me reminisce through those early nineties. Mike and Dino. Dino, quick comment. I mean, you, you, you went there for grad school. Did you get Yes, uh, enmeshed into the, you know, local scene there?

Constantine Limberakis (10:35):

You know, I, I lived, I lived in the area called Shadyside, right down Fifth Avenue. And that was just such an awesome experience, cuz you got Quesne University, you’ve got Pit, and you also have Carnegie Mellon. So it’s really quite a campus there. Mm-hmm. And, and it’s called Oakland. So a lot of people don’t know Pittsburgh. It’s like, well, Oakland, but that’s the, that’s the neighborhood over

Scott Luton (10:53):

There. Ok. So it’s a,

Constantine Limberakis (10:54):

It’s a neat, it’s a neat city and it’s got that history, deep history, you know, very eastern European kind of dug in and, and now it’s become like a tech city. So, uh, it’s really a cool place to visit.

Scott Luton (11:07):

Well, man, we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to make a visit and do a supply chain buzz live on scene in, uh, in Pittsburgh. Yes. And by the way, Gino, great to have you from north Alabama. Gino pleasure, uh, uh, uh, rock and roll drummer, uh, by night and save supply chains by day. So great to see you, Gino And Sylvia, our dear friend, Sylvia tuned in from Charleston back from her big travels where she visited family in Germany, including her dad, who had some great stories, which we’ll be diving into soon. Okay. So we’re gonna make a hard shift here. We’re gonna talk about, uh, back to school in a second. All right? We got some interesting figures, but I wanna start with asking you both, and Mike, we’re gonna start with you. You know, when I think of, um, you know, the, those formative years, you know, especially elementary school, when you still would get excited maybe about back to school.

Scott Luton (11:54):

When I think of things that really had me doing cartwheels, that is when like, I’d get a new trapper keeper folks, a new Trapper keeper, <laugh>. Now, now I never had any of these six. I’m not, I think I had like typical eighties like, uh, graphics on mine, you know, but a good trapper keeper to start the year that was a highlight, kept everything, everything you needed, you could keep in a Trapper keeper. And, and we used to beat those things up, uh, dramatically. But for y’all and for my starters, what, what is one thing you remember you asking your, your folks about you thought was really cool as you get back to school?

Mike Griswold (12:30):

Yeah, I, I’ll, I’ll get to that. I just wanted to go back to your AI poster, I think. Oh, yeah. Um, I didn’t know it was AI appreciated. If you read the fine print, I think it’s AI Appreciation Day brought to you by Skynet. So we just, we just need to be very careful around who’s determining AI Appreciation Day.

Scott Luton (12:49):


Mike Griswold (12:49):

True. Anyway, anyway, to your question, when I was a kid, this would be early, like in the, uh, first or second grade when you, when you needed crayons, right? I always wanted the big box of 64. My parents were like, well, I don’t know that you need 64. We’ll get you like the, the 16 or the 24 <laugh>. But, but what I liked, but what I tried to sell them on was the fact that the big box of 64 had its own sharpener in the back. It’s like, Hey, I won’t have to bug you to sharpen my crayons. I can just do it all myself. It never

Scott Luton (13:25):

Works. It’s vertically integrated.

Mike Griswold (13:27):

Yes. Yeah. It never worked. But yeah, that was, and then you’d see your friends who got the 64 and it was Crayon Envy. So it was, it was tough. It was, it was the box of 64 crayons.

Scott Luton (13:39):

Man, you really brought me back. I had forgotten about that. And the sharpened in the back. So Dino, how about you? Yes. Can you top that?

Constantine Limberakis (13:47):

I dunno if I can top it, but I’ll kind of use that same parallel of that first second grade. What’s important. Then I would say the lunchbox, you broke with the lunchbox. Cause back it was metal. And then they started going to plastic and you’re like, did you have the Superman or the Super Friends, or the Mar Marvel wasn’t as popular then? No, it was like Super Friends. It was DC and then you always had like, the cool movie, right? Starsky and Hutch. I remember. So my cousins had the Starsky and Hutch, or, you know, something, uh, you know, the, the Dukes of Hazard, if you think of we’re talking like, you know, that was what was cool

Scott Luton (14:22):

Back then. That’s right, that’s right.

Mike Griswold (14:23):

I, it came, it came with its own Thermos.

Scott Luton (14:25):


Constantine Limberakis (14:27):

Same thermos. Then you didn’t want your, I was the youngest of the bunch, so I, I didn’t want the handovers, but then every once in a while you got the hand. And I think my favorite one was the night writer one.

Scott Luton (14:37):

Oh man, that’s taking me back. Uh, I had the Fall Guy Lunchbox with Lee Majors, if y’all remember that series. Yes. Back in the day. Right? Yes. Uh, and just one other little blurb, you know, Marvel and all the superheroes wasn’t cool yet because they hadn’t figured out how to make until Superman. Right. The, the Big with Christopher Reeve. That’s when they first finally figured out how to make a, a great superhero movie. If you remember in the seventies, they had a really bad Spider-Man, uh, movie that I think went straight the TV and failed miserably. But once they figured out that formula, there’s no shortage of trapper keepers lunchboxes, and you name it, uh, with Marvel with any kind of superhero on there. But, um, Constantine and Mike, thank you both for taking me back. Mike, I think you’re about to add something. Yeah.

Mike Griswold (15:24):

To that. I can just see, I can just see Catherine backstage googling lunchboxes and all that kinda stuff. Cause she, she’s way too young to know what those are.

Scott Luton (15:32):

<laugh>. That’s right. Way too young.

Mike Griswold (15:34):

What’s a lunchbox? What’s

Scott Luton (15:35):

A lunchbox? <laugh>. Alright. Good stuff. Good stuff. Um, alright, well, we’re gonna stick with this theme of going back to, uh, back to school. Cause uh, in our first story, and I’m gonna share this graphic really quick, um, our friends, uh, first off it’s hard to believe is time for back to school. We’ve got just a couple weeks left here, at least where we live in Georgia. And according to the experts spending on supplies is projected to hit record levels according to data from our friends at the National Retail Federation. Uh, John Gold. Hope this finds you well. Uh, and Prosper Insights and Analytics, uh, via the story, uh, from retail dive spending for kindergarten to 12th grade is expected to reach 41.5 billion Dino and Mike up from 37 billion last year. But wait, hang on to those socks. I was telling you about Dino, because for college spending, that’s expected to reach 94 billion this year. Uh, only about 20 billion more than last year. That is remarkable. Mike. Um, what’s, what’s your takeaway when it comes to school spending impact on global supply chain? What are some of your thoughts here?

Mike Griswold (16:45):

Yeah, I I think it’s interesting. I I, the, the somewhat skeptic in me says some of that I think is, is inflation. Yes. Um, in terms of the, the disparity of the number, I don’t think, I would never argue that it’s not going up. Um, I think a couple of things that I think are challenging for the supply chain is, is I’m thinking in some ways the mix of what people used to buy coming out of covid, more people at least contemplating homeschooling, which is gonna be a different set of supplies. And if you’re just bringing stuff back to, to, to a traditional school environment. So, so the, the basket, if you will, I think is gonna look a little bit different than maybe it has in the past. But I think, you know, it’s the same thing to a degree that we’ve talked about in the past here, which is the demand signal, right?

Mike Griswold (17:39):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the demand signal got skewed during covid. I think it’s still in some ways skewed even to today for things as simple as paper pencils and pens. The trapper keepers, right? The, the 21st century version of the Trapper Keeper <laugh>. So, so how we think about the demand signal, I think is, is still a challenge for us. And now you’ve got people deciding how to go back to school a little bit differently than maybe we saw three or four years ago. So all of those things, uh, and I think to some degree, even the conversation we’re gonna have a little bit later about where this stuff comes from, right? Right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all of that I think is, is factoring into, you know, our ability. And I think time will tell if we’re able to, to match that anticipated demand. Uh, we’ll see. All right. But I think some of the, those are some of the things that I think are gonna make it a little bit different this year than maybe we’ve seen in the last couple of years.

Scott Luton (18:32):

Yeah. Good stuff there. Mike. Uh, Dino, what would you add to that?

Constantine Limberakis (18:36):

Well, having two kids in college, uh, I, the one thing that I’d be interested in, they’re trying to incorporate into the, some of these numbers, uh, how do they accommodate for kids that are paying for tuition and then kids that are not in the, uh, campus environment. So, you know, rents, uh, I’ve just negotiated rents with my daughters who are moving to a new apartment, right? If you think about that, that’s a big part of your cost. So you have your room and board and your tuition room and board. It’s like after that first year, second year, kids are like, you know what? I don’t wanna live on campus anymore. And, you know, considering my kids are in an urban setting in Chicago, that that’s a big deal. And I don’t, I’d be interested to see those numbers from a high school perspective. Um, and to your point, Mike, we were talking about transformation earlier, right?

Constantine Limberakis (19:29):

That transformation of the classroom has a big impact on what they’re buying today, right? So it’s no longer maybe the crayons and the pencils and the pens and the paper, which we’re all saying it’s more sustainable in the classroom. It’s iPads, it’s computers, it’s all the digital stuff that gets quickly obsolete. And they’re saying, well, I need a new one. Mm. Right? And that, that’s another aspect. So are, are you giving your, the, the, the brother, the older brother’s giving it to his younger sister or, or, or, or brother because they don’t want that anymore and they want something faster, <laugh>. Cause they also wanna game with it too on the big iPad. I mean, I dunno, that’s part of this, I think,

Mike Griswold (20:10):

Right? Yeah, no, I, I, I agree completely. Dino, if you think about, it’s a great point. I mean, if we think about what the traditional back to school shopping list looked like even four years ago, right? You could probably go, cuz I think, you know, staples and Office Max did a great job of, of creating kind of that shopping list. Here’s what your, your kid is gonna need four or five years ago. You’re exactly right. Laptops, iPads, tablets, none of those things were on that shopping list now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think they’re on every shopping list regardless, even when you get down into, you know, early elementary school. Right, right, right. There’s talk about tablets and those types of things, and you’re exactly right. Um, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the, the hand-me-down thing I think might have worked kind of in my generation. I, today’s generation, it’s, that’s the hand-me-down is like a four letter word <laugh>. It’s like, no.

Scott Luton (21:04):


Mike Griswold (21:04):

I need, I need my own

Scott Luton (21:06):

<laugh>, I’m assuming. Now here’s here, it’s been a long time since, uh, my brain has entertained seriously anything related to college. My kids aren’t there yet. Right. I got, my oldest is going into high school this year, so we are still a few years away, but I’m assuming that these days there’s no expensive textbooks that they just buy a license for the version on their computer. That’s my hunch. Is that how it works? Constantine, Mike, do y’all know?

Constantine Limberakis (21:33):

I, my experience, it’s a combo because sometimes some of the professors, they want you to buy their books or whatever. Interesting. There’s the, you know, cause you know, they’re the ones writing it, so they wanna push it. But I, I would say to your point, I mean, this idea of going back to the bookstore, I remember when I was in college and like recording all your books and getting the pizza money that you wanted, that, that, that concept is like, it, it just doesn’t exist, right. Mean you print it all the stuff and you just, you just don’t do that anymore.

Scott Luton (22:00):

Oh. So I, we gotta keep going down this memory lane because do you remember when you take your books back end of the quarter, semester, whatever, and you’d be surprised on that one book that got you like 40 bucks back and you thought you’re rich, you know, you’ve got Yes. You got money to go out with for weeks, Mike, you’re nodding your hand that, that relate you,

Mike Griswold (22:18):

Uh, can relate it. It does. Anecdotally, I, again, I’m well removed from having to buy college textbooks, thank goodness, <laugh>. But, um, I, we did take, um, you know, just maybe real quick for your background, I coach girls basketball, uh, people that have seen this know that probably had nausea about me cause I talked about it a fair amount. But we took a, we took a group of girls to the University of Utah for a basketball camp. Ok. And a group of them wanted to go to the books, the bookstore so they could buy University of Utah Apparel. Yes. So the, the college bookstore, now the bottom floor is all apparel. There were books on the top. But I, I agree with you completely, Dino, there’s a shift towards and Scott, that electronic medium. Yeah. I don’t think it’s completely gone away. You know, as you think about maybe some of the more, um, books that, that want to have graphics, you know, whether it’s an engineering book or a chemistry book. I think some of those types of books lend themselves more to like a physical picture that you can, you know, flip back and forth to. Ah, but um, yeah, the girls wanted nothing. Well, and it also, they liked to go cause they had a Starbucks. Right? So, but it was all, it was all about the apparel and the whole bottom of the bookstore.

Scott Luton (23:33):

Love it. Uh, look at the, look at the, so many comments here. Uh, let’s see. First off, LA Latarsha, welcome in from South Haven, Mississippi. Will from, uh, uh, Naperville, Illinois. Naperville Naperville Nap. My bad, up near where you’re up in Chicago land now, will says textbooks are still a thing. They’re very expensive. Aaron says, my son’s gonna be a freshman in college this year, and all of his books for the first semester are all online. There you go. Uh, Maggie says, most of mine were online, those ebook licenses can be super pricey as well. And Catherine behind the scenes, big thanks to Catherine and Amanda. Catherine just finished up her mba. Congratulations Catherine. And she said all of her books were electronic. How about that? Um, awesome. Okay. So I, I knew that combination of news and memory Lane was gonna, uh, have us, uh, chat for a little while.

Scott Luton (24:21):

So I wanna, I wanna move right along. We got some other really cool stuff to get into. And Mike, you kind of alluded to our next story here. Lemme tee this up here. So, second story here on the supply chain Buzz. We’re seemingly in the midst of a shoring tidal wave as reported by C n bbc. Now, China concerns have been around for quite some time as companies have sought to diversify from a long time dominant China only strategy, right? That’s, that’s, that’s not news, but that compounded by things like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and many other issues that are still that disruptive and presenting other layers of complexity, global trade, production, shipping, you name it. And then on top of all of that, you’ve got countries like what we’re seeing here in the us they’ve ramped up incentives to bring manufacturing back to their countries or what have you. Trying to make it easier, right? U b s, uh, the financial services firm, UBS polled some 1600 executives a few months ago. 78% of those executives based in Europe and 70% of the executives in the US plan to move parts of their supply chains closer to home. So folks, um, and Dean, I wanna start with you here. When you, when you, uh, think of reassuring and seeing some of the things that we’ve seen really going back a couple years now, what are some of your thoughts here?

Constantine Limberakis (25:41):

Uh, I think it’s a confluence of couple things. One, uh, covid the re the ongoing, uh, re repercussions of Covid two accelerated changes in the geopolitical framework. When we’re looking at this dynamic now of emerging of, you know, I’m gonna pull my academic hat on from graduate school days at Pit, where we talked about hegemony, right? Had this idea of a hegemonic power. It’s like, well, who’s posturing here between China and the United States and trying to do, go for the sphere of influence. Mm. Right? For, so for 60, 70 years, the sphere of influence, you know, is Soviet Union, United States. We had that. We won the Cold War. Now you’re still dealing with this, with now with China and an economic front. And I think the challenge here is where are these global value chains going and what are we trying to do with how we’re trying to manufacture the idea of low cost?

Constantine Limberakis (26:37):

And you have this transition of China going from a manufacturing economy to a consumption economy. Mm. I mean, if you just look at the list of cities in China, of the population that’s more than 5 million people, it’s incredible, right? I mean, it’s at least 20 or 30 cities that have that alone, and it makes New York look like just another city, right? So, and you have all this, this influx of luxury goods and other types of things where the Chinese consumer now wants, they don’t wanna have any interest in manufacturing. And so of course their price is gonna go up for manufacturing and it’s gonna get offshore on top of all those other geopolitical aspects of, you know, that that’s also happening. So I think that ma it makes sense. It’s this pushback now to say, well, we don’t want Abby, uh, subject to, to China, so we wanna go somewhere else to get our manufacturing.

Scott Luton (27:32):

Hmm. Dana, that’s, uh, that is a salvo of insights and observations. Mike, what would you add to that?

Mike Griswold (27:40):

Yeah, I agree completely with, with the observation. We did a, a, a survey not too long ago. 74% of people said they were doing something around redesigning their network. 51% were around, um, adding to the network. You know, a lot of our research has been focused on this idea of a China plus one strategy. Uh, I think Dino makes great points around who is the plus one though, and where is the plus one? We’re gonna talk a little bit, I think in, in an upcoming segment around places like Costa Rica and other places. So, yeah, I, I think it’s, it’s, if someone hasn’t thought about that plus one strategy, they’re probably behind the curve. But to me the secret sauce is who’s your plus one or plus two, right? We, we’ve seen a lot of emphasis on regionalization, both from an organization structure, right? So it used to be centralized, centralized, uh, now we’re seeing more companies trying to push decisions down, you know, more locally where, where decisions are can potentially be made better. But I think it’s this idea of, of diversification is here to stay. To me though, the bigger question is where, where do you diversify? And, and what, uh, you know, Dino mentioned cost, which is certainly a big one, but what are those kind of decision criteria that you’re gonna build to then have that checklist that says, okay, this location, I can check three of the five of my criteria. This location potentially only checks one. What am I, how am I gonna, how am I gonna make those decisions? That’s, I think, where it becomes important.

Scott Luton (29:19):

Mike, uh, well said, you and Dino and, and Mike, I love that, uh, your, your main theme there. Not only who is your plus one, but what is your equation to determining that? So it’s a billion dollar question, uh, Cora, Jose, any comments? And, and I’m not bring this up cause it would cover up, uh, half our screen here, but good stuff here. <laugh>, good stuff from Cora. He says, growing protectionist measures hinder the flow of imports and exports quickly. Shifts and trade policies and agreements, disrupt supply chains and market access, the possibility of trade disputes and physical confrontations while mounting uncertainties in domestic and global business and environments. All that heightens the overall risk landscape. And then he mentions a couple of companies, uh, Dan and, uh, the yogurt company, a food company I believe in Carlsburg, just lost over a billion dollars. Cori says in assets overnight with Russia taking over operations.

Scott Luton (30:11):

Man, that’s like a full certification right there in a comic. Cori. Thank you very much there. Um, but it is so true, a lot of which are, are sharing is so true. But who is your plus one and what’s your equation to getting there? So let’s move, Mike, you alluded to this next story that we’re diving into. Cause some companies are determining their plus. One is Costa Rica. Uh, so this comes to us from our friends at the US Embassy in Costa Rica. Um, so a second cousin I’ll call it of shoring is Nearshoring, where we have seen tons of activity there. But, you know, Mexico is an example. Uh, and of course pointing out that in the Western hemisphere, the relationship between Canada, US and Mexico is very unique around the world and it’s created a lot of opportunities. Costa Rica might be the newest beneficiary of the next round of chip related nearshoring.

Scott Luton (31:05):

The US federal government led by the State Department and the government of Costa Rica are exploring a partnership that will lead to new production of semiconductors, all powered by the Chips and Science Act of 2022. Now, one little side comment here, little business history. Intel had moved chip production from Costa Rica to Asia back in 2015. And then in 2021, just six years later, the company announced a 350 million microprocessor assembly and test plant in Costa Rica. So, what’s old is new again. And Michael, I’ll stick with you here. Your your thoughts around, uh, Costa Rica for some being the new plus one.

Mike Griswold (31:45):

It’s interesting when you, when you think about Costa Rica, I mean, I, I think you could play word association and chip manufacturing in Costa Rica would never come together, right? It’s, it’s, see, it’s a vacation if they’re number one. I believe my wife and I were there a couple years ago. I mean, their number one industry is tourism. So if you think about like, you know, setting a chip manufacturing plant in Costa Rica, you know, what is that gonna do potentially to, to their number one industry, which is tourism? First of all, I think Costa Rica, not withstanding, you know, if we think about that checklist of, of who your plus one is Mm. I think things like, you know, skilled labor, however you wanna define skilled, right? I don’t know what it takes to make chips, but is there, is there a, a, a willing and able labor force to be able to, to, to take advantage of whatever manufacturing you’re putting in a, in a, in a location?

Mike Griswold (32:41):

So to me, I have, I mean, I don’t really have a perspective on Costa Rica per se. Um, you know, I I, Intel is one of our top 25 companies. I know they do a lot of research around this. So if they ended up in Costa Rica, I, I’m sure they did a lot of due diligence around that. But, you know, to me it’s, it’s, does someone want you there? That’s probably first and foremost to some of the, the points that Kari made, right? You know, the last thing you want is to try to put yourself in a place where they don’t really want you for whatever reason. Right? Right. <laugh> what you make. It could be what you make, it could be just frankly who you are. Right? Um, and then do you have, do you have the labor? I think the other thing to think about, which isn’t, I don’t know, it’s necessarily a, a Costa Rica challenge, but if you look at some of the, some of the moves over in the far east, um, Vietnam, in those areas, you know, typhoons and hurricanes, right? Is that, so you’re gonna go from China, which has one set of challenges to another area that’s potentially got natural disaster challenges, right? Right. That checklist, I, again, I think becomes really important. Um, and it will be interesting to see how that is embraced within Costa Rica, both by the people and then that number one industry, which is tourism.

Scott Luton (34:01):

Yes. Um, excellent commentary there. You know, I think, um, labor do the, do the government wants to their water, the incentives, access to energy, certainly access to water for anything chip related, uh, chip manufacturing related. Uh, but Dino, what would you add? What’s your reaction to, uh, Costa Rica jumping in here? Well,

Constantine Limberakis (34:19):

You know, so having visited Costa Rica a few years back, you know, people think Latin America, central America tourism, which is absolutely spot on. But the thing about Costa Rica, we have to keep in mind is it’s probably got the highest literacy rate of any country south of the United States. Wow. It’s invested tremendously in education. They don’t have a standing army. They are huge soccer fans, by the way. But the point yes, I’m make is they’re very much into, uh, I would almost almost calm somewhat of the Switzerland of, of, of, of Central America and South America because of the high, high literacy rates that they have there. And so, if you have a dealing, again, supply and demand and low cost, there’s a reason why companies like Intel had decided to invest there. So you’ve got a highly educated labor force. The cost of probably doing business is low.

Constantine Limberakis (35:14):

It’s in the same hemisphere. And so they’re playing off with this idea of where they may wanna try to do manufacturing. And you’re also seeing a little bit of this with China playing this game in Brazil. Mm. So that’s part of the reason why they made a lot of investment in South America hearing about this story with the new president in Brazil being chummy with China. So it’s an interesting play. Like who’s gonna be the sphere of influence? La South America and Africa are gonna be the two places in the world that we’re gonna really wanna watch. Mm. So if we’re gonna take influence in Costa Rica and have that become an offshore for manufacturing it, it’s an interesting dynamic. And I was quite surprised by it to your guys’ point. But it makes sense when you look at the infrastructure, right? And what, what they’re trying to be as a country in their region, given our influence over them and how we, how we work with

Scott Luton (36:08):

Them. Well said. Hey, central and South America both have been, uh, good recipients, uh, of these nearshoring uh, trends. It’s been really interesting to see new operations setting up overnight, and then the results are getting, so we’ll keep our finger on the pulse. Uh, certainly all things chip related. That’s been fascinating to see that all these developments, uh, globally and certainly in the Western hemisphere and, uh, especially what’s going on down there in Costa Rica, by the way, and Coro, we’re just gonna a fourth panelist here today, <laugh>, but I like his comments. Coro says, Groundhog Day, I had the Intel case in grad school. Intel, a case study of foreign direct investment in Central America back in 2000. Time flies. That’s right. Time flies. Yeah. Um, all right, really quick, wanna make a quick blurb. We’re all about resources here at supply chain. Now, I wanna make sure folks, we shared a couple of events on the front end, but join us this Thursday as we dive into a case study when you get t m s and e r P integrations, right?

Scott Luton (37:05):

The impact that can have on simplifying and making your shipping really, really successful. So join us at 12 noon eastern time for that link to register is in the comments. Okay, man, Dino and Mike, y’all are quite the, y’all jump right in. You’re quite the dynamic duo. I’m not sure who’s Batman and who’s robbing, but y’all make a great combo here today. And I wanna get into this, this, this is gonna be a testing this, this is gonna test my statement I shared here. So Mike, uh, one of your last appearances here, of course, we shared the supply chain, uh, the Gartner supply chain, top 25 for 2023, which came out just, just, uh, what, 45 days, month and a half ago, 2, 2, 2 months ago or so. Uh, so folks we’re gonna drop the link that you can download the full list there from the team over at Gartner. And you we’re also gonna drop the link for when Mike joined us last, where he dove into some of his key takeaways from the top 25. And we’ve got the pyramid, the magical pyramid, uh, iconic pyramid, uh, visually, uh, displayed right now. So here, Dino, you know, as you dove into that research and then some, uh, and you look at the, some of the brands and logos and organizations represented, what’s, what’s, uh, a couple of your observations on the top 25 supply chain top 25 for 2023?

Constantine Limberakis (38:23):

Um, well, the one, the one that it took me, uh, a particular interest is I was looking at Schneider Electric, an old colleague of mine who was a, uh, I worked at, at CoreCentric, uh, used to work there. And I, I looked into them a little bit and it’s kind of one of those companies, and you’re like, you know of them, but you’re, you don’t know. They’re not as familiar as a consumer brand. And I, I went and looked at their site, I looked at a lot of the information, and they’ve really dove, they’ve really dived and dived in, dived into this, into this. This isn’t a grammar class. It says no <laugh>. And they’ve, if you see the way they present themselves, and they’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the idea around the sustainability and what they’re trying to do to promote electricity and promoting how companies use electricity.

Constantine Limberakis (39:12):

And it makes total sense to me where they’ve always constantly been this leader, uh, because it’s something that they’re trying to always achieve, not only for their customers, but they’re also, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re drinking their own Kool-Aid, right? They’re doing what they say they’re doing as part of their business. And I think we’ll continue to see that, whether you’re putting the framework around E S G, which I still struggle with around that acronym, but broader on the sustainability, that is something all of these have in common. And how are they trying to innovate with that? That’s what’s key. How, how are they using that to their advantage? And I think that’s probably some of the criteria, Mike, that you guys were looking at. Cuz that’s important. Beyond just saying I’m checking the box, right? It’s something that is transformative as part of what they’re really trying to do and, and making money doing that, but doing it in a way that is gonna be for the future. Not just saying, we’re we wanna make a list, right? So I can truly see that about these companies and what they, the list that, that,

Scott Luton (40:10):

That’s there. Well said. Dino, Mike, I’m gonna get you to weigh in just a second, but just to clarify to our listeners out there that may be listening and not watching. So Schneider Electric came in at number one of the top 25 list. So Dino was talking about that organization, uh, and Coro evidently is a big Tesla fan. Tesla came in number 14. So, uh, Elon Musk famously said, uh, I’m gonna paraphrase his, his comment, man, this supply chain stuff is pretty tricky, <laugh> well, they’re, they’re figuring it out slowly but surely. Hey, uh, Mike, uh, you heard Dino’s, uh, commentary there on top 25, and of course you’ve, you’ve ed up some of your key takeaways. What else comes to mind?

Mike Griswold (40:48):

Well, I think, I think Dino hit on the, the, the Schneider electric observation is, is spot on in terms of their transformation journey. Um, you know, they, they, like many others in the top 25, have done a really good job of, of articulating what does transformation look like for them, and then making progress towards that. You know, I think when, when I look at those companies near the top of the list, they do not succumb to what I would call the shiny object syndrome. They have a transformation roadmap. This is what they’re gonna, um, embark upon. Yes, they’ll be course corrections, you know, for example with, with Covid as an example. But in general, they’re, they’re highly focused on, on what they wanna accomplish. The other element that I, I wanna speak to, uh, and Dino alluded to it, is 50% of the methodology is really a, a community perspective.

Mike Griswold (41:42):

Their peers as well as the Gartner experts. And Schneider does a great job. Dino pointed this out of talking about what they’re doing with their supply chain. Now, if you, if you look at that, you know, you could argue that it’s just a lot of stuff, and I would say it is, but it’s a lot of stuff that relates to what they’re doing, how they think about the supply chain, their willingness to share with the rest of the community, to try to give everyone an opportunity to raise the level of their own supply chains, which is part of the reason we built the top 25, you know, 19 years ago, was to raise the entire supply chain profession. And I think Schneider’s a great example of someone that, yes, they’re highly focused on what they wanna do, but they also recognize that as someone that has a good supply chain, they have a responsibility to help others and help others raise the level of their own supply chain.

Scott Luton (42:42):

Mm, love that. Well said. And again, we wanna celebrate nine 19 years of great work that I believe just one person’s opinion truly has elevated the industry and has given tons of, of, uh, research and content and, um, and, uh, some of the formula out for folks to study and improve their own organizations. I should also point out here, uh, if the, if the top, if the Gartner supply chain top 25 is new to you, please use the link we drop in the comments and go check it out and download your own copy to the Gartner, um, material there. But I wanna point out, so while Schneider Electric is the top of the list, over to the right of the pyramid, you see Amazon, apple, p and g and Unilever, and that is the master’s category. Those are folks that basically, Mike have been doing it so good for so long, you had to create a special category. Did I get that right, Mike?

Mike Griswold (43:33):

That’s pretty close, Scott. Yes.

Scott Luton (43:35):

Okay, excellent. All right. Lot of good stuff there. Uh, Dean, I’m gonna give you the final word before we start talking about, uh, the company on number nine of the rankings. Your final word there, Dino, I, I know this is not new to you. It, it certainly has elevated industry, right? Would you agree, Dino?

Constantine Limberakis (43:53):

Yeah, I I think it’s, it’s raised in awareness, uh, of how companies are understanding what they’re trying to do. And it creates a little competition, right? I mean, if you see a logo there and you know you’re a direct competitor, obviously that’s, uh, that’s a great way to try to promote and, and keep things going. There’s a great book that I read a few years back by Paul Kennedy, whose calls the rise of, of, of, of nations. And it was talking about the reasons why co competition in Western Europe made it such way that drove innovation and it forced people to think a different way of trying to accomplish tasks that have been done the same way for hundreds and hundreds of years. And at this case, it’s acceleration of, um, people are seeing supply chain now. They’re saying, okay, if I see somebody on that list now, because supply chains become strategic, mm, not just shipping something, it’s post covid. Everyone knows what supply chain is. I think it’s even become more important cuz it’s gonna be that driver saying, I wanna outdo my competitor. So you guys are kind of doing a service to the market in some regard that way too.

Scott Luton (45:00):

Love it. Uh, great work Mike and team, and we look forward to the next one. And, uh, you know, Mike, if you can’t notice Dino, I love his perspective of supply chain from that history point of view. Do you know, you see those two worlds coming together? Yes. I love it. Yes. Um, all right. So as I mentioned, uh, number nine on the Gartner supply chain top 25 list is our friends at Walmart. And there’s a particular development that hit my radar late, I’ll admit, uh, but in the last week or so, and this comes to us via the p y probably the, the payments magazine, P Y M N T S, uh, you, you know, in the technology world, as Greg likes to say, you gotta misspell things to be cool in the technology world. <laugh>, he says a lot. Uh, anyway, so I want to dive into, uh, Walmart.

Scott Luton (45:50):

So this year, Walmart has been using a chat bot developed by the company Pactum to negotiate cost and purchase terms with some of its of its vendors. The retailer has limited the experiment largely, and, and Dina, I think you got an update here, but to, uh, mostly to smaller contracts as well as for only equipment that Walmart uses. But the early results are pretty promising. Some 75% of Walmart’s vendors per the headline here, prefer dealing with chatbots. That’s interesting. And the automation, this is my favorite part, perhaps, has allowed Walmart’s procurement teams to work on more critical and bigger deals, creating more value for the company. Now, before I get, uh, y’all two to respond, I guess this image here is what we can come to expect with su what supplier negotiations <laugh> are gonna look like in just a few years or maybe a few months. Um, all right, so <laugh>, Mike, let’s start with you. Your thoughts here of what we’re seeing, uh, with this, uh, this experiment with Walmart.

Mike Griswold (46:51):

Yeah, it, it, it’s not surprising that, that Walmart is doing this if, if you kind of just casually watch the headlines, Walmart, while obviously a very successful retailer over the last probably five years, has also been a very successful, uh, acquirer of technology. Everything from things on the customer side to now working with things on the AI side. It’s interesting kind of where this is starting. If, if we, if we go back to the early days of things like the marketplaces and the auctioning sites that were used, they started very similarly with those types of, of purchases and, and creating an auction environment for things like equipment and supplies. So it doesn’t surprise me that that’s the place to start. You know, I think that we’ve always, from a Gartner side, you know, seen this idea of AI machine learning really as, as an augmentation as, and in some instances an automation tool.

Mike Griswold (47:51):

You know, I think what Walmart is doing is probably an early indicator of, of one of the ways that maybe we would sell celebrate AI appreciation day, is the fact that they can do some of these types of, of contracts, uh, and these types of negotiations that are, that are relatively straightforward, right? Think about equipment. They’ve got, you know, a, a pretty well-defined specification. There’s probably not gonna be a lot of deviation in the specification. You can automate those discussions. You know, Walmart certainly has an idea around, you know, what they think is, is a price they wanna pay for that, that product or service. You can build that into the tool. So, so to me, this is probably an early indicator, right? Again, if we think about the supply chain top 25, right? What, what could other companies learn from this? You know, I, I think, I think they are, they’re onto something.

Mike Griswold (48:48):

The, the bigger question will be where, where does it make sense to go next? And, and how do you that transition into, say, other categories, other types of products, how do you manage that? And again, what’s the criteria that you might develop that says this is a good candidate for a chatbot negotiation. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is a bad candidate, we would never do that, right? So that the organization itself has those, those guardrails. But I, I think we probably should have seen this coming at some point, right? Yes. That, that this is a natural kinda, um, use case. You know, we talk at Gartner a lot about, you know, use cases, you know, some instances you have, you know, I think blockchain is a great example of a problem running around trying to find a use case. I think this is probably the opposite, right? Yes. This is a, a well-designed use case for ai.

Scott Luton (49:49):

Yeah, well said Mike. And you know, you mentioned de I’m coming to you next, but quick comment. You mentioned how Walmart more and more in recent years has really become savvy with incorporating new technology, acquiring new technology, working with, you know, startups and the like. You can see those results in the drone advantages drone program, uh, drone delivery advantages they’ve gained over their big rival Amazon. But I would also add just my opinion, I’ve noticed Walmart also hiring a lot of ex Amazon, uh, talent and, and experts and leaders. That’s fascinating as well. Um, Dino, so when it comes to this story here, I think you got a kick out of it as much as I did. Uh, especially the image, your thoughts.

Constantine Limberakis (50:32):

Well, one thing I always find it funny that we try to anthropomorphize, uh, AI always, like they always have to have some human body. Like that’s one, robotics is one type of ai, but you know, I don’t know if we’re ever gonna get there because if you think about the concept of the chatbot, I mean, we’re using this every day in our language when we’re talking to Siri or, and Alexa, right? Right. So that concept, I mean, we we’re always trying to figure out, well, how is this gonna replace us? Right? And I think that the challenge here that they’re solving for is something that was close to my heart because I had covered this topic when I was at Hackett and at Aberdeen about the concept from procurement for tail spend. So that’s really the big issue here. It’s this non-strategic spend, it’s not the strategic suppliers are talking about.

Constantine Limberakis (51:14):

Mostly it’s this non-strategic spend where you had 2000 suppliers and they’re trying to figure out how to get through all this. So if you can imagine how many suppliers and how many different locations were in Walmart, it has all these facilities, right? And they’re trying to normalize the terms and conditions so they can take advantage of their payment. Uh, you know, payment days outstanding. So this is a capital, uh, a capital management, uh, working capital question because if they can make sure they normalize that and they can manage that cash more effectively and take it longer on a, on a normalized basis across all of those indirect suppliers, they, that’s a huge working capital advantage for them that they may not have had by not having a, a way of, uh, taking advantage of the ai. And this AI is essentially what the way I’ve read it is it’s taking stuff that we’re familiar with already, right?

Constantine Limberakis (52:06):

We understand chatbots cuz we use ’em all the time. It takes the machine learning, but it also takes the amount of data. And I’ve also seen this evolution where it’s, it’s playing in the contract lifecycle management. So taking in contracts as part of that and trying to make sure then that everything’s being negotiated in a consistent way and knowing that there’s a limitation of resources on the procurement side. And they’re saying what you were saying, Scott, is they wanna focus more than on the strategic stuff and they wanna have this kind of tactical stuff, uh, being managed by machine so that way they’re not being over resourced, uh, in inundated, but at the same time making sure they’re still managing it and they’re not, you know, forgetting about it. Because then that’s where things go awry. And I think that’s just my observation of we’re pactum and then there’s a lot of other, there’s a lot of innovation happening in this space. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s exciting to see that a big company like Walmart has embraced

Scott Luton (53:01):

It. It is letting the humans, to your point to one of your last points, say, letting humans do human stuff that they’re best suited for. Um, a lot of, cuz fascinating. We’re gonna keep our finger on the pulse. You know, we, we interviewed a a Walmart executive, uh, uh, just a month or two ago, and really had a fascinating time talking about some of the cool things they’re doing from a supply chain perspective. We’re gonna have to get a procurement leader from Walmart to talk about this, which just it, I had to hang onto my socks as I was reading more and more about what they’re doing over at Walmart and Mike and Dino. You know, we talk about the customer experience and the employee experience. Well, the supplier experience, clearly they’re liking this and, and there is effective, and, and it works for them. So we can expect there to be a lot more of it. I would imagine, Mike, I’m gonna give you the final word here today.

Mike Griswold (53:48):

Yeah, great points. Um, from Dino. I think the other thing that it does, uh, and I agree completely around kind of how do you manage the tail around this from a supplier perspective. I think the other thing, and if I was, if someone said, so, Mike, why do you think the suppliers like it? I think in some ways this levels the playing field. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? You’re, it’s basically, you know, you’re, you’re the whole emotional aspect. Some of the other, let’s call them maybe incentives that one company might offer that another company. Couldn’t Those all go away? Everyone is now on a very level playing field. I think any type of compliance, potentially challenges, those are all gone now because everyone, you know, the, the, the chat bot has no emotions. I love d uh, Dino, your observation around, whenever we talk about this, we always have to turn them into something that looks like us <laugh>, right? For whatever reason. I don’t know why that isn’t. It’s our nature. It’s our nature. That’s, we wanna relate. That’s a great observation on your point, uh, on your part, <laugh>. Um, but, but I do think, you know, that 75, I think it’s, it could be because people feel like it’s a level playing field now. Yeah. We’re all talking to the same chatbot that has the same kinda, uh, outcome in mind.

Scott Luton (55:03):

Yeah. And you, you’re, and this is obvious, but you’re taking emotion Yes. And personality out of the conversations and speaking from experience, that’s a great thing at times, you know? Um, all right. I, we, we gotta have the two of y’all back and, uh, I’m already looking forward to your next appearance, uh, with us, Mike. Uh, usually the first Wednesday of each month, so y’all can find, uh, to our audience. You can find Mike with us, uh, the first Wednesday of each month, usually at 12 noon supply chain today and tomorrow with the one only Mike Griswold. So stay tuned for that. And Dino, you’re gonna be with us, I think the third Monday of each month on the buzz. So I tell you, you and Mike make quite the tandem, but I gotta, I gotta, before you leave Mike and Dina, I gotta share Mohi, our dear friend, Mohi is back with us.

Scott Luton (55:48):

And, and by the way, happy birthday, Mohi. I think it was your birthday a couple days ago. He says it was good to see McDonald’s in the top 20. McDonald’s came in at top 20, in the top 25 French fries are not that bad. I disagree, completely disagree to the best in the business, <laugh>, uh, Mohi. But he said, Mohi says they gotta improve the supply chain of that really bad coffee to go up the ranking’s. Just non expert opinion, no offense to the cheap coffee drinkers. Hey, Mohi, great to see you, uh, and thanks for your perspective as always. I’m, we’re gonna come see you in Wichita soon, I promise. Um, all right. So Mike, uh, before we wrap, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you and the Supply Chain Enablers team, uh, at Gartner. How can folks connect with you,

Mike Griswold (56:30):

Uh, LinkedIn, and just drop me an email, Mike Griswold, Gartner dotcom, and, and I just wanna echo d know it was very nice to meet you and a great segment.

Constantine Limberakis (56:39):

Yes, you as well, you guys. Well,

Scott Luton (56:40):

Mike, man, that’s high praise coming from the Mike Griswold, uh, Dino. So folks, reach out to Mike and of course, uh, check him out here first Wednesday of each month, and Dino, uh, this, I think this is your third or fourth appearance now, I think you, you, you hit home runs as Mike suggested. How can folks connect with you and all the cool things you you got going on?

Constantine Limberakis (57:00):

I’ll just have to ditto on Mike there. LinkedIn, email, uh, you know, always, always open to have a conversation and a debate or whatever that is that you wanna talk about.

Scott Luton (57:11):

<laugh> and talk history. Talk history from a very educated and passionate standpoint, which I can really appreciate. And by the way, uh, speaking of history, uh, Cori says, Hey, Constantine is totally cheering for Greece. Greece is showing the best economic growth in Europe with a 5.5%, uh, growth rate far above the EU average. How about that?

Constantine Limberakis (57:32):

Yeah, yeah. Well, they finally turned that around over there. And, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s good to see that, uh, you know, that, that that’s, uh, that’s had an impact in the past few years considering some of the stuff they had to deal with 10, 15 years ago.

Scott Luton (57:44):

Heard that. Okay, we gotta leave it there. Big thanks again to Mike Griswold with Gardner. Uh, Mike, looking forward to seeing you next month. Me too. Uh, we are as well, big thanks to Constantine Limbus, uh, uh, guest host here and supply chain guru. You can check out, check them both out on LinkedIn and of course, tune in here as I make their appearances. But whatever you do, folks, as we sign off, hey, deeds, not words. Check out the great expertise that Dino and Mike drops here today and do something with it. And with that said, on behalf our entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton signing off for now, challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. We’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (58:25):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our 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

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

Constantine Limberakis is the VP of Product Marketing at PartnerLinQ. He is focused on creating brand awareness and promoting new ideas around the digital transformation of supply chains. A thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management, Constantine has over 20 years of experience solving business challenges, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of roles in management consulting, product marketing, and market research. Connect with Constantine on LinkedIn.


Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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.

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Kim Reuter


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.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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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.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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.

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Allison Giddens


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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