Supply Chain Now
Episode 1221

Automation is the tremendous opportunity that continues to give and give and give.

-Scott Luton

Episode Summary

The Buzz is Supply Chain Now’s regular Monday livestream, held at 12 noon 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!

Welcome to 2024! In this first Buzz of the new year, hosts Scott Luton and Greg White discuss some of the top news stories and trends in supply chain and industry today. Listen in and learn more about:

  • The latest updates regarding the Red Sea, and the ramifications that continue to deepen due to attacks on vessels by Houthi rebels
  • The latest Purchasing Manager’s Index from ISM, indicating contraction in manufacturing growth in December 2023
  • Predictions for the start-up market in 2024
  • How 2023 was a tough year for beer
  • And more!

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. We’re interview are Scott Lutton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream, Greg, how are we doing?

Greg White (00:43):

I’m doing well, Scott. How are you doing? Happy New Year. I guess because it’s still just past a week, right?

Scott Luton (00:51):

It is, it is. And of course, as you know, it may not be everyone’s first buzz of the year, but is the first buzz of the year of 2024 our first buzz here.

Greg White (01:02):

Right.

Scott Luton (01:03):

Alright, Greg, let’s get into our first topic here today. Most folks may not be surprised where we’re going to start. We’re going to be starting with this update, what’s going on in the red seat as the ramifications continue to deepen due to attacks on vessels by hhy rebels. Now as reported here by supply chain dive, certain ocean shipping lanes, their rates have increased from 55% to 151% with the biggest increase being, as you might imagine, that Asia to Northern Europe route, right? But that doesn’t yet even include all the surcharges that’s going to be kicking in this month, ranging from either 500 bucks to 2,700 bucks per container. Now, some shipping companies, Greg, like our friends at Maersk, are announcing that they’re going to be extending the diversion of vessels from the Red Sea for a while. Of course, many vessels are being diverted all the way down south and around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, adding a week or more of shipping time and plenty of extra costs. And unfortunately there’s no end in sight with this situation right now. Greg, your thoughts on what we’re seeing here?

Greg White (02:05):

It’s a little bit of opportunism in terms of the cost increases, which is not uncommon. And of course the are deeply depressed. We’re deeply depressed now, so everybody’s trying to make their money back. So that’s in a way a shame to see, but I think it’s necessary to go around that area. You’re a target by going through that area. It started out with just shipments to Israel and it’s expanded to pretty much any ship that flies any flag is going to take fire going through there. That’s right. Yeah. Iran, up to Iran, things supporting terrorism. So I don’t know what you do about, well I don’t know what you do about that, but I have a feeling there’s somebody that knows what you do about

Scott Luton (02:43):

That, right?

Greg White (02:45):

Well above our pay grade, but in the meantime you just have to deal with it, right? Or route it the other way around depending on where it’s coming from, right? That’s

Scott Luton (02:52):

Right. So we’ll keep our finger on the pulse as things continue to unfold. Of course, we’re all seeing reports. Many of y’all probably have seen the same things that the war in the Middle East could expand with Israel and Lebanon. So as always, praying for cooler heads prevailing and finding a path to regain some of the peace that we had at least back in the summer months. Alright, Greg, moving right along. Let’s talk about the manufacturing industry. One of our favorites around here. If you hear us say resource once, I bet you you’re going to hear us say resource 17 times on the buzz because finding good, valuable, credible resources that can really help. Hey, that’s an ongoing quest of ours. So I want to share this. Y’all heard us talk about this before, but we say a lot of acronyms. I’m going to break it down for a minute here, Greg, the Institute for Supply Management, A-K-A-I-S-M.

(03:40):

It’s purchasing managers index, AKA, the PMI, right? So it’s a report released each month that gauges a variety of things, especially as to what’s going on in the manufacturing industry. So here recently released in the last couple of days, the PMI for December came in at 47.4%. Now what does that mean? You ask? Well, Greg, for context, anything below a reading of 50% indicates contraction in the manufacturing industry and above a 50 means there’s economic growth in the same. So the December numbers indicate, put that logic overall contraction, but a little bit of good news, the number is a bit higher than the previous month. A couple observations from the data from this recent report, new orders were down in December. Input costs for manufacturers are up things like steel, aluminum, plastics, you name it. And employment in the manufacturing industry was almost flat when you look at December, 2022 to December, 2023. And we all know that finding talent is one of business leader’s top concerns, especially manufacturing. Right? One last thing, Greg, before I get you to comment here. Timothy Theore, I think is how we pronounce his last name. He’s been chair of the Institute for Supply Management, again, ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee for quite some time. He said that he sees the PMI showing growth starting in March, 2024. Now I might be a little more bearish than he, but Greg, what say you

Greg White (05:03):

That seems awfully quick for turnaround, doesn’t it, Scott? Yes. Yeah, possibly. Obviously consumers have been very resilient. That means we just keep on spending money. We don’t have, at least in America, that’s what it means is the credit card debt continues to reach a new record almost every week or month. But the employment is a challenge. But I really think that this lull, that little bit of this lull and the fact that employment has stayed steady is actually a good thing. They had a lot of open jobs. I think this will motivate manufacturers force, maybe manufacturers to start to look seriously at automation because these new generations, they’re not going to come in right into the, what do we call ’em? Dark, dirty, dangerous, and dull jobs. And manufacturer unfortunately is considered one of those. So people have been staying away in droves from the manufacturing industry for a couple of years, a few years now, and I think it’s a great opportunity to mechanize or automate or AI or autonomous or whatever you can do wherever you can do it, and create some of those efficiencies and frankly, just keep the lines running because there just aren’t a lot of people that want to get involved in that.

(06:16):

We’ve been defending jobs that should have been automated decades ago anyway in manufacturing in a lot of cases. So it’s probably time to go ahead and do that as that generation mainly baby boomers exits the workforce at about 10,000 a day.

Scott Luton (06:29):

Wow. Excellent points, Greg. And I agree with you. Automation and tremendous opportunity that continues to give and give and give. Especially one of the things that was in with that said over the weekend was a Wall Street Journal article that talked about examples where companies like Kimberly Clark and Newell are using warehouse robotics more and more. In fact, Kimberly Clark has back in 2019 if I got these numbers and y’all can check it out. And with that said, I think they were leveraging 30 warehouse robots and that has increased over 300 across its North American footprint to do, amongst other things to overcome the hard search for talent. So excellent point there, Greg.

Greg White (07:05):

I mean, I think in certain economies there’s still a place for labor. Labor is still less expensive and relatively available in the Far East, for example, but not in the states as much, right?

Scott Luton (07:16):

Yep. Alright. As Eno says before we move on to our next one, COVID-19 Ukraine, Russia War, red Sea attacks, seems disruption is now a constant in global supply chain. Greg. I think it’s been a constant for decades, you think?

Greg White (07:30):

Yeah. Yeah, it has. We hear about it 24 7 now, right?

Scott Luton (07:35):

Right.

Greg White (07:36):

We talk about the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, which finally has people had people. I don’t know if we still have those people interested in or at least aware of the supply chain and if not the intricate complexities, but that it is very complex and can be impacted by a lot of things. So yeah, I think that it’s true. I wouldn’t say these are more disruptive times, it’s just that now people give a damn about supply chain whereas they didn’t before

Scott Luton (08:05):

As

Greg White (08:05):

Evidenced by many conversations. Many very brief conversations at cocktail parties where someone says, what do you do? And you say you’re in supply chain and you can literally watch their eyes glaze over.

Scott Luton (08:16):

Good stuff. I’ve been in some of those cocktail parties the last couple of years. Alright, this next story, Greg, I’m really looking forward to getting your take here. Talking startups and of course you’re the startup Whisperer is one of, I think the names I have coined for one. Greg White. Thank you. I’m going to share a couple of things here and then we’re going to get Greg’s take, right? So we’re talking about the 2024 startup market, and as y’all know, many of y’all may know startups are everywhere. Of course we saw a lot of them, especially a couple of years ago in the global supply chain space. So neat read from our friends here at Medium who they gathered a few leaders of comment on the startup environment for 2024. This new year here, I’m going to cherry pick from some of their predictions and then we’re going to get Greg White’s predictions.

(08:59):

So a lot of companies are going to die, startups are going back to the office. Chatbots aren’t the next big thing. Quick comment there. I just had my really first practical and successful exchange with a chatbot last week or so. I really missed it myself. Yeah, let’s see here. Bigger and badder cyber attacks are coming, no doubt there. Be prepared for more mergers and acquisitions and mega deals they say. And then I really do love this one. The human factor will only get more important. All that is from this medium article. So y’all check that out. But then Greg White as a fellow founder and entrepreneur, but also you’re a big investor in startups around the world, coast to coast, you name it. What’s your thoughts around what we’re going to see in the startup space in 2024

Greg White (09:38):

While it’s becoming news now, it’s been prominent in the industry for almost a year now. Remember about this time last year, we were talking about the banking meltdown. I dunno if everybody remembers that, but Silicon Valley Bank, the largest bank in venture capital, let’s just say in technology investment with Belly up and a number of other banks with ’em. So it’s really been over the course of the last, let’s say nine to 12 months, that investors are much, much more discerning the fomo, fear of missing out, where you give unsavory, unethical founders endless amounts of money and they burn it to the ground. Although we have heard about a few companies that have gone completely away after literally getting billions of dollars of investment, those days are gone and investors are expecting a line of sight to things like cashflow positive and profitability and things like that.

(10:30):

So it’s a different world and there’s no doubt, it’s funny when you said the mergers and acquisitions and mega deals, I think that should be number one because of what is number one, A lot of companies are going to tail off at very least are already are or die. And that’s a great opportunity to take somebody who has a good team or good product or a good market or any combination of those that’s just not working right now and recapitalize that and make good use of that technology to make business of the world work, consumer experience whatever better. So there are a lot of those opportunities because these companies that were high flyers during the Go-go days when everybody was spending other taxpayers’ money, they’ve sort of come back to earth now and yet they are still good companies. They just couldn’t meet the, or follow up on the expectations set during the Covid days, right?

(11:26):

So we’ll see a lot of that. And it’s interesting, I don’t think chatbots, I don’t think chat GPTI don’t think LLMs are a big thing. They’re very, very cool and there’s a lot of great uses for them, but they’re basically administrative tools as a friend of mine called ’em a parlor trick, but they’re in generative ai. There are some really good tools that can really make a, so it’s a good gateway to learning about generative AI and the value and possibilities of it and then turning it into really and truly valuable complex problem solving tools. Okay.

Scott Luton (12:04):

Alright,

Greg White (12:05):

There you go. There’s a dissertation for you.

Scott Luton (12:07):

Take that to the bank from the one and only Gregory S. White and we look forward to more updates on some of your exploits and ventures later this year. Greg. Alright, so folks, check out that link there. Amanda dropped it here. So Greg, we got one more story that we want to get to here today. Now we’re going to have a little fun with this. We’re talking beer, right? Or as my son Ben would say, when he was younger beard, he always liked adding a D at the end there. Interesting article from CNBC that says not only was 2023 a tough year for beer, but that beer drinking here in the US is at its lowest level in a generation, Greg. That’s right. For the first time since 1999, beer shipments are going to come in below 200 million barrels and Americans for the beer that they are buying, they’re doling out more money, buying more expensive beer. Did you know that the imported beer, I’m going to mispronounce this, but Greg, you’ll hook me up. Modelo Al, I say that right Greg,

Greg White (13:06):

Pretty close. Yeah.

Scott Luton (13:07):

Okay. Really close. Became the most popular beer in the US in 2023, and that stuff’s not cheap. So Greg, your thoughts on what we’re seeing across not only the beer industry, but maybe the greater beverage industry?

Greg White (13:18):

Well, this is all spawned by Bud Light. The downturn in Bud Light can’t be taken up by any accumulation of beers. Modelo, which is also owned by Budweiser, except in the States where it’s licensed to another company, I think it’s Constellation Brands or somebody like that. Modelo is the most popular beer. What happened was the top beer fell off and Modelo went up some, but it still doesn’t even closely approach what Bud Light was selling. So this is funny. Met a guy in Vegas who worked for Anheuser-Busch. And the impact of it is not just on on the beer industry in general, because I’m guessing that some of those people must have just quit drinking beer. I mean, I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I think that’s really what has happened here. And it has to be, I mean, I’m sure lots of other beers have seen a downturn, but really the only one that could impact the industry singularly is Bud Light because it was so far in away the most popular beer, at least in America, which I’ve never understood, stood

Scott Luton (14:22):

At least not since college, right?

Greg White (14:23):

Never a huge fan of the flavor of Bud Light. Really? Yeah,

Scott Luton (14:27):

If we’re talking about college days, if it was cheap and cold, it had me, right? But

Greg White (14:33):

Yeah, well, I mean I could tolerate the flavor if it was really cheap beer like Wheatman or Black Label or something, some of those really awful ones.

Scott Luton (14:43):

Bush Light and the Walkie’s Best or something that come to mind from back in the day, folks.

Greg White (14:47):

Yeah, back when a premium beer was Mic

Scott Luton (14:50):

Light, right? Isn’t that crazy?

Greg White (14:52):

The Globe, right?

Scott Luton (14:53):

It’s crazy. Folks check out the article. One of the points that this read from CNBC shares is that Sugar, I think they called it Sugar First. Alcoholic Beverages have grown dramatically and are cutting into more of the beer types of beverages.

Greg White (15:07):

So those are the seltzers, things like that.

Scott Luton (15:09):

Yeah, I’ve seen countless commercials maybe when I’m watching either the NBA or the NFL, and it’s this tea flavored, I’ll call it beverages, t and t, it’s got the old track from Oh, the band as the backdrop. See? Yeah. Yeah. And I grew up drinking and I love Sweet Tea. I’d had drink Sweet Tea in decades, but I guess I’m a purist. I’m not sure how I can wrap my head around Alcoholic Sweet Tea, Greg. I don’t know. Does that sound good to you?

Greg White (15:36):

Yeah, I mean I think it’s possible to do, Scott. It is possible to

Scott Luton (15:39):

Do

Greg White (15:40):

So. I love Arnold Palmer and Arnold Palmer, which is Sweet Tea and Lemonade mixed together. And it’s funny, I would order those at lunch and people would be like, you drink at lunch, just tea folks

Scott Luton (15:55):

Pop

Greg White (15:56):

Caffeine. But they have renamed this drink, either a dirty Arnie for ar Arnold Palmer or a John Daly, and it’s basically, it is an Arnold Palmer with vodka in it. And on a warm day, one might be tempted

Scott Luton (16:13):

Again, if it’s cheap and cold, we could be tempted. I know I could be tempted.

Greg White (16:17):

There is nothing cheap right now. Oh my gosh. It is incredible what you pay for everything.

Scott Luton (16:23):

You’re so right. You’re so right. Whether it’s grocery store or getting a bite to eat or you name it.

Greg White (16:28):

I’m surprised the beer consumption has gone down with, I saw an article today, I think it was in Forbes, maybe insider, I’m not sure, but how much it has gone up to raise a child. So in 2021 or 2022, it went up 41% because the cost of Staples is what’s really up of basic items. And then it went up again over 20% the following year. So it was already, if you include college, pretty costly to raise a child. Yeah, I don’t know what the number is these days, but it would be

Scott Luton (17:00):

About 7 billion I think.

Greg White (17:02):

Feels like it. Yeah, I know you could buy a Ferrari for it. I do know that.

Scott Luton (17:08):

Well, good stuff, Greg. Before we wrap here, and I’ll tell you, this is an express version. So folks, hopefully you’ll have a great rest of your Monday, but I do want to mention Greg today, I think today, and Catherine correct me if I’m wrong, and please drop the link there in the chat if you would. We published a great episode, Greg, do you remember when we sat down with Sean Olsson from Supply Pike and of course Supply Pike is working with suppliers of the big retail behemoths to be able to get what’s their line, Greg, get paid, get Better, I think, and Sean Olsson is an ex Amazon team member and bring some really interesting views and expertise to the table. So y’all check out that podcast we just released. We’ll drop it in the chat and make it easier for you. But Greg, that was a great episode and Sean was, man, I could have spent three, four hours talking supply chain retail and maybe music with Sean Olsson, if you remember that. Yeah,

Greg White (17:56):

Well I love the lesson, right? I mean, which is lots of people are getting into, they want to drop ship, or by the way, don’t drop ship, create a product, drop shipping is not very long lived. I can give you hundreds of examples of that. But they want to get into that Amazon marketplace and Amazon is because it’s a high volume and a very efficient organization. They’re very unforgiving when it comes to your ability to perform. And they have every right to be, and that is precisely what Supply Pike does, is they act as intermediary to make sure you are ready to go when you flip the switch and start selling on, let’s just say Amazon for argument’s sake,

Scott Luton (18:34):

Right? Well, really good stuff. We dropped a link there. Y’all take a list and let us know what you think. Sean is a bright and enjoyable chat. Great episode. We enjoyed creating here for y’all. Alright, Greg, what a great start to the year. Really, the year didn’t just start. We’ve been cranking it out. I don’t think we did stop, but this is the first buzz of the 2024 New Year. Looking forward to big, big things coming. Greg, always a pleasure to knock out these episodes with you.

Greg White (19:00):

Likewise,

Scott Luton (19:01):

We’ve got a big, I’ll tell you, I think our live schedule really starts to kick in folks. You’re going to have to bring a seatbelt to keep up with us in about two or three weeks. We got a lot of stuff to get to you. A lot of exciting businesses, dynamic and expert business leaders that are going to be bringing it. And so get ready for not just best practices, but new innovative practices, right Greg? Yeah.

Greg White (19:24):

Here’s something. Learn something, do something.

Scott Luton (19:28):

Ooh, I like it,

Greg White (19:29):

Huh?

Scott Luton (19:30):

Here’s something. Learn something, do something. Or am

Greg White (19:33):

I, it sounds much cooler when you say it like that.

Scott Luton (19:37):

Well folks, whatever it is, y’all know it’s on the do, right? Yeah. Don’t just listen, whether it’s us or anyone else out there, don’t just watch. Take something from these conversations here today and do something with it, right Greg?

Greg White (19:52):

Yeah, no doubt. Deeds not words. Scott, can I say that? I know that’s your thing.

Scott Luton (19:56):

Please. Deeds not words folks. It’s about action. The new year needs a lot more and new action, right? Alright folks, thanks for being here. Thanks for an outstanding 2023. Thank you for an exciting 2024. We appreciate all the feedback, all the comments, whether it’s on live shows or some emails or social messages, we get, keep the feedback coming, right? We really are grateful for our global community, global ambassadors, global practitioners out there doing big things and sharing it with us. So with all that said, on behalf of our team here, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see next time right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (20:40):

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Greg White

Principal & Host

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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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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

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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.

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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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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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Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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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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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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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Greg White

Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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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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