The Supply Chain 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!
In this episode of the Buzz, Scott Luton and guest host Allison Giddens welcomed special guest, Vice President of Sourcing Execution for Georgia-Pacific, Carrie Shapiro, to get her take on the top news stories and some trends she’s noticing in global supply chain. Listen in as Scott, Allison, and Carrie discuss:
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton and Alison Creche Giddens with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream, Alison. How you doing?
Allison Giddens (00:42):
I’m good. I’m good. Happy Monday. How are you?
Scott Luton (00:44):
Happy Monday. We’re doing great. We’ve had a productive morning. We’ve overcome some hurdles, technology related and supply chain related, so hey, and it’s gorgeous outside, right?
Allison Giddens (00:54):
It is. It really is. I don’t have a window that opens in my office, so I’m trying to figure out how to do this without necessarily causing bodily harm.
Scott Luton (01:04):
Stay tuned. We’re going to get the update 11 tonight. We’ll see. But hey, today, Alison, great to have you here. Greg White is out there on assignment somewhere across the globe making it happen, but today it’s the buzz, a live show that comes at you every Monday at 12 noon Eastern time. Alison, we’re going to be discussing a variety of news developments, topics, themes across global business. And as you know Alison, we’ve got a big guest joining us around 12:25 PM Eastern Time today as we’ll be joined by Kiri Shapiro, vice President of Sourcing execution with Georgia Pacific. Stay tuned for that, Alison. She’d be a great guest, huh?
Allison Giddens (01:37):
Yes, I’m excited. She’s awesome.
Scott Luton (01:39):
She is. And we had a little fun pre-show celebrating Georgia Tech and Georgia rivalry, so stay tuned. If nothing else, stay tuned for that. And we want to hear from you. Give us your take and comments throughout the show. We’ll be sharing those. And if you’re listening to the podcast replay, we usually drop the replay on Fridays after the Monday live show. So if you’re checking that out, hey, join us for a live show and pack a Turkey sandwich and bring your perspective and make sure you share your voice. That’s really important. Alison, we’re trying to help folks be heard, right?
Allison Giddens (02:09):
Yes. You got Turkey sandwich or APBJ. Good old fashioned PBJ.
Scott Luton (02:15):
You know what? That’s a great suggestion. I’m not sure the last time I had a PB and j,
Allison Giddens (02:19):
I was just thinking about that last week. I’m like, that’s what I need to do. I need to go to the grocery store, get a loaf of bread because yeah,
Scott Luton (02:28):
Comfort food, right? Comfort food,
Allison Giddens (02:29):
Scott Luton (02:30):
Alright, so speaking of other things, that’s absolutely vital beyond comfort food, as we navigate our journeys, let’s talk about resources. We’re in the resource providing business. So one of the things we want to share with y’all, US Bank released the freight payment index last week for Q 3 20 23. It’s full of actual insights and critical data and key takeaways to really help business leaders interpret what’s taking place in this domestic freight market as challenging as it may be. And Allison, it’s a free resource, free to subscribe. How about that?
Allison Giddens (03:00):
Scott Luton (03:01):
Money back guarantee, Alison,
Allison Giddens (03:03):
Scott Luton (03:04):
So folks, if you want to get the quarterly report, check it out. We’re going to drop the link there and your one click away. Alison, one of the things I really enjoyed you beyond your sense of humor, which I enjoy regularly, but some of your writing, and it wasn’t a month or two ago, I think it was, where you put together a shipping experience since you lead a manufacturing operation in Atlanta, that was gold. Alison.
Allison Giddens (03:26):
That was gold. Glad we got to find a link for that. So glad you enjoyed that. I did not enjoy it at the time.
Scott Luton (03:32):
You enjoyed riding a lot better than experiencing, is that what you’re saying?
Allison Giddens (03:36):
Scott Luton (03:37):
All right. Well, hey, y’all, check out the US Bank Freight Payment index. Really, really good stuff there. And one other resources I want to give you a front and center is our LinkedIn newsletter, which we’ve had a blast put together with that said we’re, let’s see here, Alison, we’re about 56 issues in, so let’s just over a year we’ve been putting this together. So this time we’re sharing news and data from across industry. And Alison, it’s a content tidal wave out there. So reminders of upcoming live events for the week that comes. That’s one of the great reasons that folks subscribe. And let’s see here. Greg always gives me a hard time. I get exact, but 23,271 subscribers thus
Allison Giddens (04:18):
Far. That’s not bad. That’s not too shabby. No.
Scott Luton (04:20):
We’ll take it. Alison, did you ever check this out?
Allison Giddens (04:23):
Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s kind of how I know what’s ahead.
Scott Luton (04:25):
Allison Giddens (04:25):
Mean, like you said, it’s information overload everywhere, right? So you can get lost in feeds. So it’s nice to be able to go to one place and say, oh, there’s my snapshot. There’s my stuff happening next week.
Scott Luton (04:37):
I love it. Alison, always the shrewd business leader and content digester. Is that a word,
Allison Giddens (04:42):
Dude? Yeah, that’s the word I’d use to describe me. Oh yeah.
Scott Luton (04:46):
Well, Alison, it’s interesting going back to what you were saying a minute ago, it’s content overload. It’s a tidal wave of information and really trying to pick your spots and pay attention to the information that will help you navigate rather than all the noise out there, I think as you put it.
Allison Giddens (05:02):
Yeah, and it could be noisy, and then you have decision fatigue on, all right, which ones am I going to keep on my radar? Which ones in my calendar? So it’s nice to have a one-stop shop.
Scott Luton (05:12):
I agree with you. Alright, so Alison, we have got to get to work. Are you ready?
Allison Giddens (05:17):
Got a lot going on. Let’s do this.
Scott Luton (05:19):
We do. Now we’re going to start with more challenges out there, right? I want to talk about a supply chain bottleneck that evidently continues to get worse. We’ve covered this I think a couple different times, but it continues to persist. What we’re talking about is electrical transformers. So as reported here by PV Magazine, transformers of course are critical for all sorts of industries from new home construction to battery energy storage systems, which learns a new acronym, BESS. And folks, you’ve seen them, whether you think you’ve seen ’em or not, the cylinder looking things on those utility poles, those are transformers. Or you might see a green box on a sidewalk oftentimes outside of buildings or homes, those are transformers. And for what I understand, I’ll defer to the electrical engineers and really smart people out in our audience, but they take the energy coming in from the power grid and transform it into a type of electricity that our homes and other businesses can tap into.
So kind of important, but we’re seeing shortages of these transformers globally. In particular, the supply appears to be tightest in the US and European markets. And of course, Alison, you know what happens when supply goes down, pricing goes up. That’s the only thing I remember from my economics class back in the day. According to Kevin Chang with wood McKinsey, the minimum lead time for transformers of all sizes has reached over a year. Now, rose Quint with the National Association of Home Builders says that the supply of transformers has been in decline since 2018. At that time, the Trump administration placed tariffs on transformers imported from China amongst other things, and that has led by some accounts to roughly 90% decline in Chinese made transformers. So of course, that’s certainly one of the big challenges there. So Alison, your thoughts on what we’re seeing?
Allison Giddens (07:00):
Yeah, not too long ago, I think it was might’ve been earlier this calendar year, early 2023, I visited a manufacturer that actually manufacturers transformers in northeast Georgia.
Scott Luton (07:10):
Allison Giddens (07:11):
Yeah, and it was fascinating, and they were saying a lot of this back then, but they said this has been a problem for a lot longer than even before 2018. And one of their points they made was transformers really ultimately haven’t really changed since the fifties, sixties, seventies. And a lot of them in suburban America and rural America, a lot of them have not been changed since then, or swapped out, or
Scott Luton (07:35):
Allison Giddens (07:36):
Refurbished, you don’t really refurbish, but replace, I suppose is the better word, but a lot of those just hasn’t happened. So now not only are you dealing with the growth of areas needing the improvement in the electrical grid and infrastructure, but you’re also having to replace the existing stuff. So it’s scary not only for growth, but for resiliency of the electric grid.
Scott Luton (08:01):
It’s a great call out because we have plenty of infrastructure challenges in general, right? It’s been well documented. We’ve all probably seen it at times. And then what I understand, Alison, I think it was either in this PV magazine article or somewhere else, but as we’re looking to upgrade, to your point, the infrastructure so that it can power new things, these transformers are going to have to be new and improved in the latest and greatest technology. So it looks like we’ve got our hands full regardless. And Josh, great question. Is it raw goods or shipping constraints? It’s really beyond the tariff related. It’s raw goods, it’s labor, it is shipping, it is, I think for domestic production of these transformers. I think either this source or someone else told me that tariffs have been placed on the types of metal that go into the making of transformers. So really Alison, that’s like a Baskin Robbins 54 flavors of challenges related to these production and supply of the transformers. Is it 54 flavors?
Allison Giddens (08:52):
I think it’s 31.
Scott Luton (08:53):
Allison Giddens (08:53):
Close. Yeah, it’s
Scott Luton (08:54):
Allison Giddens (08:57):
It’s a lot of flavors. If you mix, I think it’s an additional flavor. I think that because we are in such a precarious position right now with supply chain in general, that all it takes is one of those tiny little problems, whether it’s a workforce development or workforce shortage issue, which one would argue is not that tiny. But all it takes is if you’ve got productivity in one of these assembly plants or in one of these manufacturing facilities, you’ve got 10% less production. Just think how that resonates. Just think how that impacts
Scott Luton (09:28):
Allison Giddens (09:28):
Overall supply chain.
Scott Luton (09:30):
Also, going back to where you started, you mentioned a plant tour. Folks, if you haven’t been leaning in and taking advantage of the plant tours out there, whether you’re in Georgia or across the globe or whatever, you’re really missing out. We’re going to maybe touch on this later, but Alison, I love how y’all open your plant for students to come in and open their brains and change maybe their assumptions about the manufacturing industry. So love the good stuff y’all do there. Catherine, it’s a great reminder, folks, you tune into the live version of the buzz every Monday at 12 noon eastern time, and the replay is right there for you. If you guys step out and save the world on Fridays, we drop that in our podcast channels. Well, let’s talk about some holiday shipping predictions for 2023 as our friends over at ThomasNet here, they’re making some holiday shipping predictions for 2023. So before we get into some of these, do you want to add your own bold prediction for the holiday shipping season 2023?
Allison Giddens (10:26):
Well, I think that people are going to be spending some money this year, which is kind of interesting because I don’t remember where I read it, but I do remember that credit spending
Scott Luton (10:38):
Allison Giddens (10:38):
Gone up a little bit. So it’s just kind of interesting because you hear of people talking about how the job market is starting to simmer down and you’ve got people kind of starting to not necessarily hoard cash for the future. But I think that was the thought that people were going to hang on to some cash with a big unknown question mark. But I keep seeing people spending a lot of money like there’s no tomorrow. So I don’t know. What are you feeling?
Scott Luton (11:06):
Well, so back on your first point about credit. Yeah, I think it’s first time that us credit debt has surpassed a trillion dollars, if I read that right? So they’re definitely leveraging that. And then here’s a, did you note Allison and everyone out there? About 40% of consumer goods that arrive on US East coast ports while all that traffic comes through the Panama Canal. And as we’ve discussed here numerous times, Alison, the Panama has been dealing with drought conditions that has impacted the passing through the canal. Less water, as y’all might expect, presents a number of challenges including container ships being forced to carry fewer containers. So let’s all pray for rain and lots of it while they explore other construction solutions. So that was one of the things that our friends at ThomasNet pointed out a few others, the smearing effect. Now the not new to me, the term is new because it refers to how shopping for the holiday season isn’t just contained to end of the year these days. And of course, that presents additional supply chain management complexity for sure. And Allison, if we have anything in abundant supply, it is supply chain management complexity. Would you agree?
Allison Giddens (12:12):
Scott Luton (12:13):
Oh yes. Consumer demand is up. And you were kind of speaking that earlier, but only a smidge, a variety of data research points to single digit gains on spending year over year. And this last one, cyber attacks of course, are way up. Cargo theft is up. In fact, ThomasNet reports that there’s been a 600% increase this year alone in bad actors pretending to be trucking businesses so they can steal freight, Allison.
Allison Giddens (12:39):
Scott Luton (12:40):
How about that?
Allison Giddens (12:41):
That is wild. But I think to your point too, on the consumer spending in general, I’m fascinated because you hear a lot of the talk about how groceries are so much more expensive nowadays. So I mean, food is a huge part of the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, everything in between. So as consumers start buying more for the food part of the holidays, does that impact the overall budget that they have for spending on gifts? And if so, is it just going to make people bust their budgets quicker?
Scott Luton (13:10):
All of those things, I think, and I’ll tell you, speaking of theft, man, you finish up shopping at the grocery store these days and you feel like you’ve been
Allison Giddens (13:18):
Robbed bit. No kidding.
Scott Luton (13:20):
Alright, Alison, before I ask you additional thoughts, Josh says, I predict a backlog on Barbie themed toys and double the credit card debt. I can get behind both of those observations and predictions. Alison, your thoughts, what else sticks out in your mind?
Allison Giddens (13:35):
I hear a lot, so I’m kind of involved in the nonprofit space too, and I hear a lot about how nonprofits are really hurting this year for lots of reasons. I don’t know. I would like to say that maybe there’d be a trend where we all stop buying stuff and start supporting our local favorite nonprofit instead. I mean, think about, that’s a great present to get people who say they don’t need anything or could get themselves anything when they want it. So what do you get the person that has everything you find a nonprofit that maybe speaks to you and donate in their name? I love it. So I would love to think that that is a possible trend. So if I say it out loud, it’ll happen, right? Is that how that works?
Scott Luton (14:15):
Speak it to the universe is what we say around here.
Alright, so I’m going to come back to that. You brought up a great topic. I want to ask you a question in particular. So folks, to kind of bookend our second topic here today as we’re shooting through some holiday shipping predictions for 2023. Alright, back to these nonprofits, Allison, we’ve been involved through the years just like you and a variety of nonprofits. And the one thing that really sticks out is despite where the economy is, if it’s just rolling or if it’s just down in the dumps or whatever these nonprofit needs, they’re still there. But to your point, the giving levels can drop because folks are feeling the pinch or whatever. Or maybe there’s just more stuff. So in particular, I want to ask you about the Dave Creche Foundation, one of our favorite nonprofits. I love how practical this is. So Alison, tell us what y’all do at the Dave Creche Foundation.
Allison Giddens (15:02):
Sure. So we help kids play sports when their families can’t afford it. We’re based in metro Atlanta, but we really encourage, I mean, if you’re not in metro Atlanta and you are somewhere else out in the universe, nothing’s stopping you from doing something similar or setting up something similar. But yeah, it’s just everything from when a kid’s parents are going through a tough financial time or short-term and we help pay the fees. So it’s a good mission, good cause, and we’ve got a great board, great volunteers.
Scott Luton (15:30):
Yes, it is the supply chain. Now team can personally vet and recommend the Dave Creche Foundation to you. We’re big, big believers and supporters. And look at this. This was accurate as of this morning, Alison. It may have changed a little bit, but talk about need meet solution over 1300 kids as these fees skyrocket because schools have budgets as well, right? And challenge as well. Dave Creche Foundation steps in, covers the fees in some cases the equipment needs as well. Alison, right?
Allison Giddens (15:56):
At the very minimum, we’ve got some great contacts that specialize in that arena. So we kind of connect the resources to the people that need them.
Scott Luton (16:03):
Allison Giddens (16:04):
We’re grateful for y’all’s support for sure.
Scott Luton (16:06):
Well, we’re here. Love the great things you’re doing, the meaningful, real outcome driven, helpful things y’all are doing, folks, y’all can learn firstname.lastname@example.org. Is that right?
Allison Giddens (16:17):
You got it.
Scott Luton (16:17):
Alright, so folks, check out the Dave Creche Foundation if you really want to get behind a great local effort. And I liked Alison’s, other points you made. If you’re out there in Cleveland or Anaheim or across the globe, I bet if you give Allison a ring, it may have some best practices for how you can set up a similar initiative in your neck of the woods. Thank you, Alison. As much fun as we’ve been having here, folks, we’re about to go to ludicrous speed. Got a great guest here. So Alison, we had a lot of fun in the pre-show as well. Delighted to welcome in our guest who’s doing big things in industry, especially the manufacturing and the forestry industries. And when she’s not at work, she’s volunteering at places like Path Builders where she’s helping women fulfill their immense potential in their careers all around doing just great work. I’m going to welcome in Carrie Shapiro, vice President of Sourcing Execution with Georgia Pacific. Gary, how you doing?
Carrie Shapiro (17:09):
Great. Good afternoon. Thanks for having me. Hey, listen, my kids had transformers on their Christmas list.
Scott Luton (17:14):
I knew in some way, shape or form that joke was coming today, Carrie, and hopefully they are autobots and not decepticon. That’s all I can say. Love it. All right, so Carrie, great to have you. We had a great time prea. Big thanks to all of your team as well to help making things happen. And Alison, we had a little fun, as I mentioned, I think on the Georgia Tech and the UGA rivalry. I’ll have to go check that out. But where I want to start with in the little fun warmup question is in certain parts of Australia, it is recreation day today, now here in the metro Atlanta area where all three of us reside and work and enjoy. It’s been gorgeous. 70 degrees and sunshine. This is a perfect time of year. So I’ll ask you both and start with you. Carrie, what is one thing you like to do outside for recreation here in Atlanta?
Carrie Shapiro (17:57):
Well, I love shooting hoops in the driveway with my boys and they have now come to a point where they both beat me. So we try to play horse, that’s one sport that I can beat ’em at. The other thing I love to do is garden, which we’re coming out of that season. So I’ve been covering up my plants with cold weather we had last week, but I love to be out in the yard and digging in the dirt.
Scott Luton (18:17):
Love that. And you’re right, we have reached, in fact today, as of this morning, Alison and Kerry, I had an automated sprinkling system. Oh, this is a timer that goes off at like six in the morning for my little weeded garden in the backyard. And I finally turn it off today, which makes me sad. It’s the end of the season a little bit. One quick follow up, Carrie. When it comes to basketball, are you schooling your kids on dunking or the fade shot or the sky hook? What’s your go-to?
Carrie Shapiro (18:43):
I’m a shooter so I can shoot the three point better than they can. They’re more the jump shot and the layups, but I’m trying to take ’em to school on the three pointer.
Scott Luton (18:53):
I believe you. I absolutely believe you. All right. So Allison, same question. I might be tough. The top between basketball and gardening, what’s one of your favorite things to do outside this beautiful time of year?
Allison Giddens (19:02):
I like going to different festivals and things like that that pop up around town, autumnal festivals, whether it’s a barbecue fest or a beer fest or things like that. I know Metro Atlanta is not short on festivals, but I was really boring this weekend. This weekend I just opened windows and cleaned. So I don’t know if you really call that recreation, but
Scott Luton (19:24):
Well hey, at least you’ve got some windows at home you could open as opposed to your office. Right?
Allison Giddens (19:28):
There you go. See, yes, it’s
Scott Luton (19:30):
Always a brighter side. And Al, is that the word you said?
Allison Giddens (19:34):
Scott Luton (19:34):
Al. So that like a seasonal, okay,
I’m expanding my vocabulary here, Allison. Very grateful for that. Alright, and I agree with you there no shortage of festivals. There was a really big, I think a first year music festival at Piedmont Park a week or two ago that seemed to go really well. But you hit the nail on the head, barbecue and beer, sign me up. Never fear wherever it may be. That’s where I’d love to be this time of year. Alright, so let’s keep driving. We got some three big topics we want to get into with Carrie in just a second. But Carrie first for perspective and context and we can’t get enough context in this crazy world we live in right now. Can you share a little information about Georgia Pacific for the two or three people that may be unaware in your role there?
Carrie Shapiro (20:13):
Yep. Hopefully you guys know gp. Georgia Pacific is one of the largest producers of forests and consumer products. Manufacturing is our bread and butter. We have about 120 manufacturing facilities across the us. We employ about 30,000 folks. So a big employer in not only Georgia but across the US
We also make Dixie plates, we make packaging, we make building products. So hopefully you all have seen the Georgia Pacific name in your buying patterns and you go out and get those Dixie plates for our holidays coming up and fill it with your expensive food that we talked about earlier. So my role at GP is on the sourcing side and I’m tasked with transforming our sourcing organization over the next several years to really build more robust supply chains, build more competitive buying practices, and really participate in this digital transformation that we’ve all been seeing over the last several years. So big heavy lift. I’m excited to be leading this team and getting to talk to you guys today about supply chain.
Scott Luton (21:12):
We are too, Carey and man, what a incredible and not daunting. I think you and Allison both strike me as fearless, but a big project that you’re leading there. And Alison, one of the thing is that folks are driving through Atlanta as a holiday destinations. Of course the GP tower is an iconic part of the Atlanta skyline. But Allison, am I overselling that? It sounded like a pretty important project.
Allison Giddens (21:35):
Yeah, I mean when you hear digital transformation you figure that they already kind have their game plan. But from the sound of it, it’s kind of like here you go, here’s the puzzle. And we’re not sure if we have all the pieces, but we know you’ll figure it out. So I think daunting is an appropriate word
Scott Luton (21:52):
Allison Giddens (21:52):
Daunting can be a good thing, it can be challenging. Challenges aren’t all bad.
Scott Luton (21:57):
They make us better and stronger. And not to be too dramatic, but taking what we’ve learned over the last three or four years and applying it so we can really navigate the next constant curve balls big or small, they hit organizations. That’s a critical part.
Allison Giddens (22:11):
I heard Carrie say the word robust supply chain and it’s funny. So used to hearing resilience supply chain robust, that’s different.
Scott Luton (22:19):
Allison Giddens (22:20):
I like that.
Scott Luton (22:21):
It conjures up all kinds of images, a lot of good stuff. We’ll have to have you back and get an update from you as you and your team continue to make progress in these daunting times that we live in. But Carrie, I’m sure you got a lot of things on your plate, but we talked pre-show about three topics across global supply chain, manufacturing, you name it, that are really seem to be front and center for you. Where are we starting? Let’s start with the first one there. What is that?
Carrie Shapiro (22:42):
So I think a trend we’re seeing is really building that word robust and agile supply chains. So what we think about agility, it’s we can pivot when there is a disruption, when there’s volatility across our world, which we see every day. Building an agile and robust supply chain enables us to pivot more quickly than we have ever in the past. And part of that is having visibility to your whole supply chain. And it’s got to be real time, it’s got to be dynamic. I think we’ve come up in a world of static looking in the rear view mirror and we are much better positioned to have real-time visibility so we can be responsive and really make good calls, make better business decisions. I think we’re seeing more supply chain collaboration, so better partnerships with our suppliers and our customers. So in the vein of that visibility, they can see our inventories, we can see theirs, and we’re better together, we’re better with the full picture rather than just a snippet of the picture. So we’re seeing more and more of that. And the challenges in that are just enabling big giant ERPs to have the visibility and how do we put stuff on top of it to be able to see it real time with accurate data. I think another thing that is really important in agile supply chains is simplification.
Scott Luton (23:51):
Carrie Shapiro (23:51):
Have really complexified, if that’s a word,
Our supply chains to the detriment of our businesses to the detriment of the folks working inside the supply chains. And so to the extent we can better understand our current states and really simplify those supply chains, we’re much better served. And then the other piece of that visibility and the agility is enabling smart ordering where we have opportunities to automate and really see what our levels are. How can we really be smarter about those transactions as opposed to just, hey, we order three, we’re going to order three every third day. And that’s kind of what we do. It’s really that agility of responsiveness to what’s happening in production, what’s happening with your lead time, what’s happening with your suppliers. I think that agility is really important and an important trend that we’re seeing across the supply chain industry.
Scott Luton (24:37):
Yes, and Allison want to get your take here, but Carrie, I love how you share some examples of what that means to the GP team. I think as we hear these different words and they’re used all the time in conversations that context in terms of how we’re going out there and grabbing agility and put it in a headlock and bake it into our enterprise. I love those examples you shared there, Alison, what’d you hear?
Allison Giddens (24:57):
I really liked the fact that y’all are working with your suppliers to everybody get on the same page and everybody sing from the same sheet of music. And I think that’s been a huge challenge and maybe it’s lower hanging fruit than we’ve given it credit for a long time. It’s been really interesting and in my business to see when we’re having an issue, say with the completion of a project, and yet I need more material to have those conversations with the supplier and say, Hey, here’s what I’m looking for projections in terms of the future and how can we make sure that the problems that we’re experiencing now we don’t see again. And it’s just these conversations that everybody looks at themselves and goes, why haven’t we been having these already?
Carrie Shapiro (25:42):
Right? You know what? When you have a good partnership with your suppliers and your customers, that’s so much easier to do. That’s such an easier conversation when we’re keeping stuff close to the vest and only worrying about ourselves. That’s a difficult thing. But the partnership is the key
Allison Giddens (25:55):
Scott Luton (25:56):
Yes, we could spend a couple of hours I think just on this first topic, cause I loved how you talked about better decision making, better, faster, and more confident decision making, the supply relationships which are so critical, making it easier for our people to not complexify, I’ll just steal your word there, but making things simpler. That’s real powerful and your people appreciate it, right? Heck
Carrie Shapiro (26:15):
Scott Luton (26:15):
More successful at their jobs. And then finally I heard it put somewhere and so y’all bear with me. I’ve heard supply chains are like rivers agile ones flow around obstacles while rigid rivers might just end up being damned. That’s what I heard Carrie and Allison. That’s what I heard. Okay. Carrie, man, you have brought it today. Rained down like a thunder stunk that you may do with your kids out while you’re hooping in the driveway. Let’s talk about risk management, Carrie.
Carrie Shapiro (26:43):
Absolutely. I mean, I think we’ve all are still reeling from the post covid era and understanding our risk is the first component of risk management. Where do we have volatility in the supply chain? Where do we have single points of failure that we have to really shore up? I think we’ve seen more onshoring after what we saw in the ports and with ocean freight eight x what it used to be at some parts of Covid. I think we’re seeing more multi-sourcing. So thinking about really where do I have single source supply bases that can get me if there’s a labor shortage or if there’s a plant closure or if there’s a port congestion or excessive tariffs. How do I shore up that risk with multiple supply sources? And then really that picture of inventories. I mean I think if we are using the math and we build algorithms that build that volatility in as opposed to everybody kind of hoarding, it’s much healthier and much more effective. We do a fair amount of algorithmic work rather than I think I feel it’s like how much does the supply chain tell us I should hold based on volatility factors, based on lead time factors. And that’s really having good data, having accurate information and building that into your system.
Scott Luton (27:56):
Alison, I’ll come to you next, but when she mentioned inventory, my dear friend Mark Preston once told me, think of inventory, if you remember the old Geico commercials where it had this stack of bills with eyeballs, think of your warehouse are filled with those little dollars with
Carrie Shapiro (28:10):
Eyeballs, stack of cash. Yeah,
Scott Luton (28:11):
Lots of cash. That’s right. Alison, your thoughts about risk management, some MCC caries comments there.
Allison Giddens (28:15):
It’s not lost on me that in risk management now and especially in an industry like gps is you’re having to anticipate things that you have no idea what they’re going to look like in the future. I mean, we saw it with Covid, nobody could have predicted a pandemic. I don’t care who tells you that they know things,
Scott Luton (28:34):
Allison Giddens (28:34):
Couldn’t have predicted what we saw. So what’s the next pandemic? What’s the next world crisis, what’s the next shortage? And these are all things that I think if you’re in systems thinking and you’ve got to see how it all connects. These are all things like a business like gp, heck, any business really needs to be thinking ahead that far,
Carrie Shapiro (28:54):
Right? Yeah. Then the world economy, I mean you think about what’s happening in Ukraine and in the Middle East, that’s all having an effect on our supply chains. Maybe not today, but certainly in the future. So it is a jigsaw puzzle for sure.
Scott Luton (29:05):
It really is. I was getting ready for a couple of recent interviews. I was doing some Googling on some of these themes and every so often I’d pull up a resource from 2018 or 2019 even and talked about some of the challenges in global supply chain and it just, it’s
Allison Giddens (29:18):
Scott Luton (29:19):
You can almost tell them
Allison Giddens (29:20):
Scott Luton (29:22):
And you don’t even know what’s coming really. And we’ve all, of course, we all suffer from that or benefit from hindsight, but nevertheless, speaking of Allison and Carrie to add to this, McKinsey recently released its findings from its 2023 supply chain pulse survey. Now, I bet this won’t surprise either, y’all and of course our audience, which is the smartest audience in all of global digital media. But the topics, risk and resilience still dominate the priorities for executives based on their data. And also twice as many companies say they’re leveraging nearshoring this year as opposed to last year. And with more respondents and a related note are saying they’re setting up regional supply chains more so than global supply chains. And Carrie, you’re nodding your head, that makes a lot of sense to you.
Carrie Shapiro (30:05):
Yeah, see much more localization of supply. So I may not carry it, but I have it 20 minutes away and we see a surge in distribution because of that. And again, where you have partners in distribution, you really should rely on them and help them build out a more robust supply chain with you.
Scott Luton (30:20):
I’m with you. I love your view, Alison. I love her view on that supplier trust filled and open and transparent and where the whole ecosystem can benefit those types of relationship with suppliers. That’s what I’m talking about, Alison, your quick thought there.
Allison Giddens (30:33):
I agree and I think it goes, it speaks, reminds me of that there’s kind of a story that goes, and I’m going to abbreviate it here. It talks about there’s a rare egg, okay, you have a rare egg and these two scientists come across it and then one scientist says, I need this to help solve my problem. And the second scientist says, no, no, no, I need it to solve mine. And they get into this fight and the egg almost breaks and then through conversation they start learning, no, this scientist needs the yolk and this one needs the shell.
Scott Luton (30:59):
Allison Giddens (31:00):
Had they not had these conversations, both problems couldn’t have been fixed. So I think to Gary’s point, it’s when you talk to your distribution channel and you talk to your stakeholders there, then for all you’re after the same thing.
Carrie Shapiro (31:15):
We talk a lot about mutual benefit with our customers and with our suppliers, and that’s exactly the rear egg story of mutual benefit.
Scott Luton (31:21):
Agreed. When we’re getting really frank and we’re really involving folks across the ecosystem in these conversations. And you get down to brass tacks, it’s amazing the solutions where everyone can win, how often those can come to the table. So I love that. I’m going to steal that egg analogy from you there Alison. I wish we had a couple more hours, but we have one final topic to get you to weigh in on and that’s automation. Of course it is everywhere and it’s going to continue to be everywhere for a long time. Carrie, what does that mean to gp?
Carrie Shapiro (31:49):
There’s a couple components of automation. You kind of think about the physical automation where we have automatic vehicles moving, transporting, be it inside a warehouse in a yard. We see a lot more automation there. More automation on the robotic side associated with case packing and packaging. And when you think about jobs that are quite frankly, mundane, repetitive, those are all opportunities for automation and robots. And as we think about a labor market that’s super, super tight, those jobs naturally have an opportunity to be automated. So we can ask our workforce to bring their brains to the party instead of their backs and really enable jobs that pay better, that have better paths to success and more progress and prosperity and more money quite frankly, to pay for that expensive food and to fill stockings at Christmas, it’s about building out jobs that are much more fulfilling for folks and that automation does solve that riddle.
The problem is we can’t automate fast enough. So lead times on robotics and on guided vehicles are really long. The other piece of automation is kind of the back office automation and that’s where we’re talk about AI and really intelligence associated with automation. What I see certainly as we run into 24, our softwares and our tools that we use to help us in the supply chain are just getting way smarter so that AI is building better models, building better productivity, learning faster, quite frankly, than a human can. And so we see benefit on the supply chain side of those tools as they get more robust and really more effective. I think as we talk about the ability of AI to aggregate data to see new insights. So we’ve been at it for 50 years, we see the same sets of insights, we use the same sets of data and really what computer bottling can do is just take that data, ingest it, and spit out insights that we’ve never seen before. I think the challenge is getting folks to believe it. And so one of the things we do a lot is experimentation. Hey, let’s carve off a chunk of data and see how we can pilot what’s telling us to do. So it’s not wildly disruptive in the short term, but if we start to see benefit, then we can scale that across the large enterprise. So I think lots of stuff happened in automation, both physical to address labor shortages and then on the AI side with predictive modeling and using AI to make our supply chain smarter.
Scott Luton (34:11):
Yes, and I love on the front end of your response there, giving more fulfilling and rewarding and work that will lead to more promotions and money. Man, I’m sure your workforce army of 30,000 folks really can appreciate that. Allison, your thoughts on automation? Carrie offered up some great nuggets there.
Allison Giddens (34:27):
I really like that term. She used on have the workforce bring their brains and not necessarily their backs.
Scott Luton (34:33):
Allison Giddens (34:34):
I think that there’s this whole misnomer that the robots are coming to take over your jobs. No, they’re coming to take over the jobs nobody else wants,
Carrie Shapiro (34:40):
Allison Giddens (34:41):
And then we’re going to plug you in to use your brain over here. That’s refreshing.
Scott Luton (34:46):
I’m with you. And I can’t ever have a conversation about robots without mentioning one of my favorite commercials in recent memory, and I think it was an insurance commercial. The setting was at a coffee shop and the barista, he or she put the wrong name and put Rob Ott and the robot got really angry about that and was using his laser vision. It was such a great commercial. Anyway,
Allison Giddens (35:08):
I thought you were going somewhere with the transformers. I thought we were going coming full circle with
Scott Luton (35:12):
Allison. I should have. Oh man, that’s missed
Allison Giddens (35:14):
Scott Luton (35:14):
But hey, many aspects of automation. We could be here for hours to talk about all the different ways from AGVs, AMRs, RPA, machine learning IOT, blockchain, every acronym under the sun, of course artificial intelligence. Here’s a little factoid for you. Did you know that AI just in the supply chain market alone is expected? That market is expected to be worth some 40 billion by 30 just seven years from now just in that one portion of the market? How about that? Okay, Kerry, thanks again. Thank you. From agility to risk management to automation, really appreciate your thoughts both as a leader and as what it means for the Georgia Pacific family. I got two more questions I want to pose to you. Last month, of course in October, we celebrate manufacturing day every year. I think it’s the first Friday of October, right?
Allison Giddens (35:58):
Yep. You got it.
Scott Luton (35:59):
And I mentioned there’s lots of plant tours year round, but particularly that day, great manufacturers like Alison opened the doors and let the now generation and the next generation come in and learn in September. Kerry, I believe you spoke at a women and manufacturing event, whims a great organization out there. It seemed to be like a who’s who, a rock and roll performance. Maybe Gino was drumming there at the WIM event. I know that you had probably pages and pages, but what’s one key takeaway from your conversations there that you can share here?
Carrie Shapiro (36:25):
Well, there were probably a thousand women that represent manufacturing at that conference. It was really empowering, but I will tell you that women are decidedly underrepresented in the manufacturing space. So if women are 50% of our workforce, they’re only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. And so I think it supercharged me in wanting to build out a better pathway to recruit, retain, promote women and manufacturing roles. We just don’t have enough visible leadership. And so that’s one thing I really am passionate about is being a visible leader in the manufacturing space. I’ve had a great career in manufacturing and I’ve had kids and I’ve had balance. I feel like I’ve had it all. I haven’t had it all at once, but I’ve had it all. So manufacturing can be a really great space for women. It’s not the dark, dingy, dusty world it used to be. Modern factories are really great places to work and manufacturing affords teamwork like no other. So I think it’s a great space for women and we got to do a better job of promoting that.
Scott Luton (37:22):
Amen, a hundred percent. I think we all have such a responsibility, maybe an obligation may be the better word, to really provide and nurture and encourage those opportunities to expand and to promotion opportunities as well. It’s not enough just to have more folks from all walks of life in industry, but we’ve got to work hard to make sure there’s advancement opportunities for all as well. Alison, my hunch, I’ve known you a long time, my hunch is singing your love language here, your thoughts, Allison.
Allison Giddens (37:51):
Absolutely. You can’t be what you can’t see. So we have to be the people for the next generation to say, Hey, I want to do that when I grow up. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. So by me seeing someone like Carrie and others in industry, I’m like, oh, okay. We’re in good shape. We’re in good shape.
Scott Luton (38:08):
Ah man. I’m with you. To kind of close the loop here, Alison, you founded or co-founded the Georgia chapter of Women in Manufacturing. Is that right?
Allison Giddens (38:17):
Yes. Must have been 13, 14 years ago, something like that. But yeah, the chapter’s super active as are many of the whim state chapters. There must be nearly 50 if not 50 state chapters. But yeah, if you’re watching this from wherever you are, in fact I want to say the international organization just kind of expanded to an international piece
Carrie Shapiro (38:38):
Allison Giddens (38:38):
So even if you’re not listening to this in the lower 48, check us out all over the world.
Scott Luton (38:44):
Love that. Okay, so Carrie, thanks again for your time here today. I know you’ve got several full plates, but if folks want to compare notes or maybe talk shot with you or invite you in, maybe to be a keynote perhaps, how can folks connect with you and the GP team?
Carrie Shapiro (38:57):
So you can get me on LinkedIn, Gary Shapiro and gp.com. You can see us in your retailers and Dixie plates and brawny towels and angel soft tissue and quilted northern tissue so you can see us all over the place.
Scott Luton (39:11):
Well really, we’ve had the benefit of interviewing a variety of team members at Georgia Pacific over the years. And I tell you, Carrie, y’all just keep setting the bar and each one of y’all really appreciate how you approach today’s conversation. So thanks so much for joining us Alison. Before we let Carrie go, I’m going to move this question up. We’ll talk about Carrie as if she’s not here. And of all that, Kerry dropped a whole truckload of brilliance here today. Alison, what was one of your favorite things that Carrie shared?
Allison Giddens (39:34):
I think she’s taken it up a notch. So instead of just kind of talking about supply chain resiliency and figuring out what’s next, the fact that we’ve talked about things being robust and transparent, no longer doesn’t sound like Carrie, doesn’t sound like gp. They’re no longer settling for, alright, how do we do par or just above it? How do you do the four steps above par? How do you do above and beyond? So that’s my takeaway.
Scott Luton (40:01):
Well said, Alison. Business as usual, they’re no longer carrie’s water. It hasn’t for years and I appreciate Carrie, what you and your team are doing. So big thanks to Carrie Shapiro, vice president of Sourcing execution with Georgia Pacific. We’ll see you soon. Carrie,
Carrie Shapiro (40:13):
Thanks so much.
Scott Luton (40:14):
And by the way, big thanks to Layla, Tom, Rachel, and the team as part of the GP team as well. Really appreciate you helping to bring Carrie and her valuable perspective here. Alright, Alison, really have enjoyed our hour here today. Really appreciated your perspective. And Carrie, I thought was a home run guest.
Allison Giddens (40:32):
Scott Luton (40:32):
Already asked you about the key takeaway. I’ve got my 17 pages of notes here. But how can folks, if they want to get involved with what you do in industry or the Dave Creche Foundation or maybe want to have you come in and keynote or share your observations, how can folks connect with you? Allison,
Allison Giddens (40:47):
I would love to hear from folks on LinkedIn. I’m very easily accessible there. I hang out often. So Allison Giddens on LinkedIn,
Scott Luton (40:55):
Be sure to connect, follow. You’re not going to want to miss, like we were talking about on the front end. I love folks, Allison, I think you and I are kindred spirits here. We take the day-to-day, what takes place, whether it’s at work or at home, and there’s all sorts of leadership and business lessons and really just life lessons and you have a gift for putting all that together and then writing it down and sharing that with folks because I think a lot of folks benefit from that. So make sure you connect with or follow Allison Giddens out there across the social interwebs. Alright folks, thank y’all for being here today. Really enjoyed what a great episode of the Buzz. Greg White, we miss you. You’re on assignment out there making big things happen. He’ll be back with us next week. Allison, I’m cheering for both your Bulldogs and your yellow jackets because you’ve got dual degrees and
Allison Giddens (41:41):
Stuff. I do, I do. So, yes, yes.
Scott Luton (41:43):
I’m just team Allison, if I’m keeping it Frank, it’s a
Allison Giddens (41:46):
Good answer. That’s a good answer.
Scott Luton (41:47):
I’m a big fan that for being here. Always a pleasure to knock out these shows with you.
Allison Giddens (41:51):
Thanks for having me.
Scott Luton (41:52):
You bet. Alright folks, to all you listening or watching out there, here’s your homework. Take something that Carrie said or Alison said, or folks dropped in the comments, take something and put it into action. Not only will your businesses benefit, but your people sure will appreciate. Let’s find a way to make life easier for them these days here in 2023 before we head into a brand new year. But whatever you do, Scott Luton challenge you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our email@example.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.
Carrie Shapiro is Georgia-Pacific’s vice president of sourcing execution. She’s one of many leaders guiding change and transformation within the manufacturing and forestry industries. Carrie is responsible for guiding and transforming procurement operations, and her experience and expertise in manufacturing and supply chain operations enables her team to consistently make an impact across the organization. She previously led as vice president of GP’s Dixie Operations for five years, overseeing the manufacturing of Dixie® paper products, a billion-dollar brand familiar to many households that use paper plates, bowls, and cutlery. Outside of her responsibilities at Georgia-Pacific, Carrie serves as a mentor with Pathbuilders, where she assists high-achieving women to meet their fullest potential in their careers. She also works with budding engineers in the Denning Technology & Management program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Additionally, she is a long-standing member of the Next Generation Manufacturing Women’s Roundtable. Carrie is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Connect with Carrie on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.