Macy’s makes a supply chain comeback, rail freight hangs in the balance and retail winners emerge from Black Friday weekend. On this week’s Buzz, Scott, Greg and Karin are discussing it all. Tune in to hear their expert takes as they chat with Kinaxis Director of Product Marketing Alexa Cheater on how supply chains can future-roof their strategy by reconfiguring the supply chain, exciting happenings at Kinaxis and more.
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 (00:00:31):
Hey, hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton, Greg White, and Karin Bursa with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Karin, how are we doing?
Karin Bursa (00:00:40):
Doing great, thanks. How are you guys doing today?
Scott Luton (00:00:42):
Doing wonderful. Very full. Greg, how about you?
Greg White (00:00:46):
I somehow survived Thanksgiving and managed to put on a few LBs. Not exactly what I was after, but I made it worth it.
Scott Luton (00:00:57):
Karin Bursa (00:00:59):
I just sample everything, so yeah.
Scott Luton (00:01:01):
That’s right. It’s required, Karin.
Greg White (00:01:04):
Well, I have a brother who is vegan and it turns out that Oreos are vegan.
Karin Bursa (00:01:10):
Greg White (00:01:11):
So, yes, that doesn’t make them healthy for you, but it makes them non-meat, non-dairy. So they’re basically chemically based and oh so worth it. So I have a feeling that at least two of my extra pounds are directly attributable to Oreos, and I’d like to thank Mondelez for that. Sincerely, totally worth it.
Karin Bursa (00:01:33):
Greg, is that just the standard chocolate with cream filling, or did you go for some of the fancy seasonal offerings?
Greg White (00:01:42):
So I only eat the original, not even double stuff. But we also had birthday cake and chocolate and peanut butter and another flavor. I can’t remember.
Karin Bursa (00:01:57):
Oh my goodness. Okay.
Greg White (00:01:58):
Scott Luton (00:01:59):
So plenty, plenty of Oreo skews in the White household.
Greg White (00:02:02):
My brother is a dedicated vegan. Yes.
Scott Luton (00:02:06):
Yes. Well, thank you for sharing that great news. That’s some of the best news you’re going to hear all day long. So, Oreos can find a way into anyone’s diet.
Greg White (00:02:15):
Yes. That’s true.
Scott Luton (00:02:16):
As they should.
Greg White (00:02:17):
Scott Luton (00:02:18):
But folks, moving right along on today’s show, it’s the TEKTOK version of the Supply Chain Buzz, where we’re going to be sharing some of the leading stories across global business, global news, of course, supply chain. And today, Karin and Greg, we’ve got a very special guest joining us, Alexa Cheater with Kinaxis. Looking forward to that. Had a great appreciate conversation with Alexa. So stay tuned. We’re going to be discussing a variety of news and developments and folks who want to hear from you as well. I already see some folks in the comments that we always enjoy perspective from. We’re going to say hello in just a minute. But Karin and Greg, great conversation. You teed up. Y’all ready to go?
Greg White (00:02:50):
Let’s do it.
Karin Bursa (00:02:50):
Scott Luton (00:02:52):
All right. So for starters, though, we want to invite folks to check out, you know, Supply Chain Now is very pleased and honored to be partnering with Vector Global Logistics and many others in our leveraging logistics for Ukraine, humanitarian aid initiative. Already over 500,000 pounds of targeted relief aid have been shipped and found its way into Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere. And that’s an older update. I can only imagine where we’re up to now. Next planning session is Tuesday, December 13th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time. And you’re more than welcome to come, come and give, come and just listen in on what’s going on, gather all the market intel, you name it. But just, hey, we invite you to be a part of this very important effort here, December 13th, 11:00 AM Eastern Time, and we’ve got that in the link to join in the chat. Okay. So Greg and Karin, what we didn’t touch on before we say hello to a few folks, is football. Greg and Karin, so I tell you, my Clemson Tigers lost.
Greg White (00:03:56):
Sorry about that.
Scott Luton (00:03:56):
Atlanta Falcons lost right at the end to both of those games. Karin, how’d you make out?
Karin Bursa (00:04:05):
Auburn Tigers lost, but fortunately the Georgia Bulldogs won. So I’m going to hold on to that one.
Scott Luton (00:04:12):
The odds on favorite I would call it to defend their title. We’ll see. Greg, how’d you do?
Greg White (00:04:18):
Saturday was a very good day. Of course, Georgia stomped the guts out of Georgia Tech, which is almost a given now for us Georgia fans. Sorry, Tech fans, love ya. Your team’s not good.
Karin Bursa (00:04:31):
I was worried that the half, I didn’t know what was going on there, Greg.
Greg White (00:04:34):
Yeah. You can bet they had a few strong words shared with them in the clubhouse and it worked. And Michigan stomped the guts out of Ohio State, which not only pleases me as a Michigan fan, but also clearly because I was watching it at a friend’s place, clearly pleased a lot of Georgia fans who were cheering loudly for Michigan.
Scott Luton (00:04:59):
It surprised a lot of folks that score, especially the delta between those two teams. So, congrats to your Wolverines there, Greg.
Greg White (00:05:06):
Yeah, go blue. And made a lot of people happy, I think, around the world, except for my buddy Paul Noble. We’re not allowed to talk about that game at all because we, even as very close friends, can’t be civil to one another on that topic so.
Scott Luton (00:05:25):
That’s right. And our dear friend, Tom Valentine, Old TV, big Buckeye fan.
Greg White (00:05:30):
Yeah. Sorry, Tom.
Scott Luton (00:05:31):
But of course –
Greg White (00:05:32):
He’s probably watching TV.
Scott Luton (00:05:34):
Greg’s Chief’s one again, as usual. We talked about that pre-show as well. So big –
Greg White (00:05:40):
Thanks, Lee. Yeah, we tried to give that away, but thankfully they only had their second or third string quarterback in so.
Scott Luton (00:05:46):
No one is as good as giving away games as our hometown Atlanta Falcons team. But hey, I’ve digress. We’ll save that for, hey, more sports at 11, Greg and Karin. Really quick, want to say hello to a few folks before we dive into a few stories. Jonathan’s back with us. Jonathan Hill’s from Louisiana. Great to see you, Jonathan. Tom Rafter is back. Hey, folks. Happy new week. By the way, Tom says, Greg, you’re making him hungry at all the Oreo talk.
Greg White (00:06:15):
Has the diet of an eight year old just like I do.
Scott Luton (00:06:20):
Good old Gino’s back with us, GP. Good morning to you, our resident supply chain drummer. Catherine Hines. Big thanks to Catherine, Amanda, all the folks behind the scenes helping to make production happen. Torso tuned in from Guatemala, the land of eternal spring, Karin.
Greg White (00:06:36):
Scott Luton (00:06:37):
It sounds almost poetic, doesn’t it?
Karin Bursa (00:06:38):
It does, it does.
Scott Luton (00:06:41):
Welcome in Torso. Jonathan does not want to discuss football. I get that. Jonathan, I’m with you.
Greg White (00:06:46):
Yeah, it was a rough weekend for LSU too, wasn’t it?
Scott Luton (00:06:49):
Speaking of mom, she’s back with us. She couldn’t even finish watching our beloved Clemson Tigers so bad. Hey mom, there’s good news coming, so hang in there. Love ya. And great –
Greg White (00:06:58):
What is going on with South Carolina lately though?
Scott Luton (00:07:00):
I don’t know.
Greg White (00:07:02):
I mean we’re going to hang a hundred on somebody before the season’s out. Man, their offense is on it. Spencer Rattler is –
Scott Luton (00:07:09):
You’re right. Torso’s a big Niners fan. So go Niners. Corey over here is a big kindred spirit with Torso. And finally, Josh Goody, it’s always a good thing when Ohio State, I think loses the way you meant to say. And he brings a great comment here, Karin and Greg, World Cup is on.
Greg White (00:07:30):
Scott Luton (00:07:30):
And folks, tomorrow at I think 2:00 PM Eastern Time, you’ve got the U.S. versus Iran, and it’s going to be a knockdown drag out, right?
Karin Bursa (00:07:38):
Greg White (00:07:39):
The U.S. posted a big protest. They changed the Iranian flag and the Iranian World Cup Conference or whatever is trying to get them disqualified. But during the first game that Iran had with England, they did not sing their own national anthem in protests. So I’m not sure who’s on Iran’s side, man,
Scott Luton (00:08:01):
Who’s on first, who’s on second?
Greg White (00:08:03):
Right? I mean the U.S. has scored a grand total of zero goals in two games. They have to win this game to move on. They cannot tie and move on so.
Scott Luton (00:08:17):
Karin, your big bold prediction on that game tomorrow.
Karin Bursa (00:08:20):
Well, I’m totally biased. So I’m rooting for USA for sure, but it’s going to be a tough game. No question about it. And I can’t believe they haven’t scored at all in the first two games. So, soccer scoring for me is a little challenging how they work the pool play, and then, you know, those who emerge from it.
Scott Luton (00:08:39):
Greg White (00:08:40):
Yeah. Talk round robin and points and things like that. Yeah, it’s – yeah.
Scott Luton (00:08:47):
It makes them – you know, we need to have Enrique Alvarez be our resident football or soccer for all World Cup discussions. Hello, Gary. Great to see you down there in St. Simon’s Island. Appreciate all that you do, and we’re going to have to reconnect.
Greg White (00:09:04):
Beautiful on the coast. I’ve been watching the weather, Scott, here from Atlanta, landlocked.
Scott Luton (00:09:13):
Oh, man. Well, let’s – so, welcome everybody. Nobody didn’t hit everybody. I see Laura Moore or many others. Welcome everybody. We’d love to get your take on all the news stories we’ll be walking through over the next 50 minutes or so. So, with that said, let’s see here. Let’s hit our first story. How’s that sound? Because we want to update. I’ll tell you, this has been fascinating to see this play out, the railroad industry labor situation play out over the last, I don’t know, couple months or so. So quick update first. So thus far of the 12 labor unions that make up the railroad industry, four has have voted against attentive labor deal. Negotiations continue, but if those fail, technically a strike could begin as early as December 5th. The largest strike could begin as early as the 9th, but hazardous materials wouldn’t be shipped by the railroads starting on the 5th. So it’s right around the corner.
Scott Luton (00:10:098):
Earlier this morning, as reported by Reuters here, some 400 groups called on Congress intervening, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, many others. Of course, the NFS been caught in one of those groups calling for intervention regularly for weeks now. Now, a little perspective here in the early 90s, the last brief labor strike in the railroad industry, Congress used, get this, the Railway Labor Act of 1926. Man, imagine how different things were back then. So Congress used that act to end it. And many folks are clamoring that they leverage that again here, if we get to that point. One final note, then I want to get Greg and Karin away in here. It’s for perspective. According, you know, by weight, some 30 percent of all U.S. cargo shipments are transported by rail. So, Greg, what’s say you here?
Greg White (00:11:04):
Oh boy, I wish you hadn’t asked me first. But I can’t defer, this isn’t like the coin toss at the beginning of the game, is it? Yeah. It’s a big challenge. First of all, big shout out, huge shout out to Kelly Barner who reported on this when the agreement was originally floated, noting that it did not pass or had not been adopted by all of the labor unions, and that this very thing could happen. So really impressive foresight for her. They won’t strike and they won’t invoke the Railroad Act either. You know, the thing that they are particularly concerned about that striking would almost assure is the automation of railroads, right? They don’t want cabooses with no people in them. And one, the railroads are trying to get down to one human being –
Scott Luton (00:12:05):
A person, that’s right.
Greg White (00:12:06):
On each train. I think the unions have a good point that two makes sense. And the relative impact of two labor, two human labor, whatever it is, is not that much greater than one. So, well, it’s double, but I mean in the grand scheme of things, it’s way less than the size of crews used to be. So they’ll come to some agreement and no government intervention will be necessary.
Scott Luton (00:12:37):
Okay. Karin, what say you?
Karin Bursa (00:12:40):
Oh, I say I hope Greg is right. And that we need to keep in mind that even a one day strike will have a ripple effect that will take us 3 to 10 days to recover from. So whether you’re talking about this hazmat materials or other heavy goods that are moving on rail, right? So we think of automotive, we think of grain, soybean, et cetera. You know, those are products that are absolutely vital no matter where you are in the supply chain. So I’m really hoping that Greg is right. And I also want us to remember that this is on the back of the problems coming down the Mississippi. The Mississippi drought impacted movement of heavy cargo and goods during October and November. So just as we’re getting out of that, we have this other thing kind of looming, if you will, over. And I’m sure that all of our supply chain listeners are out there looking at different scenarios for their business and what they’re going to do, or I hope they have the tools in place to do that.
Scott Luton (00:13:44):
Good stuff there from you both. Now as Tom says, real workers in the UK are also threatening to go on strike. Supply chain fund, he calls it, we shall see. You know, so the first article that we shared there, some of these updates were from this morning, a Reuter’s report. One other thing I want to share with folks is this great piece in G Captain, which is a kind of a newer source. I think we’ve covered a couple of their stories, Greg, in the past, but I love this historical piece. It’s more of an editorial, but it really talks historically about some of the labor unions that have impacted industry going back quite some time, a hundred years going back.
Greg White (00:14:22):
Well, they’re talking about the last invocation of that Railroad Act. They also talk about when President Reagan fired every single member of the air traffic controllers union.
Scott Luton (00:14:35):
Karin Bursa (00:14:36):
And said you couldn’t rehire them.
Scott Luton (00:14:37):
Right, 11,000 people.
Karin Bursa (00:14:38):
They got fired and not considered candidates for rehire. That’s, to me, that was like the double whammy.
Scott Luton (00:14:43):
Wow. So you all check that out. It’s a great piece. A lot of historical, if you’re a big history nerd, like many of us are here, you’ll enjoy that. We’ve got the link to that in the comments. Shams, great to see you here via LinkedIn. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. And Gary is echoing your earlier comment, Greg, how gorgeous it must be down there on the Georgia Coast.
Greg White (00:15:05):
Pictures would be nice, Gary. Yes.
Scott Luton (00:15:07):
Pictures are required, Gary, or it didn’t happen.
Greg White (00:15:10):
Scott Luton (00:15:11):
Okay. So moving right along. I’m looking forward to this next story between Karin and Greg. We’re talking about Macy’s, one of our favorite topics to be talking about here. So Macy’s continues to make some news. Perhaps getting off Greg’s naughty list. He keeps one like Santa Claus, Karin. As they have begun using space in 35 stores as many distribution centers which, you know, that’s nothing new, but Macy’s has decided to pull a lever on that. But that’s just part of the retailers overall transformation. Now, Greg, you chatted or you shared your take on this on a supply chain commentary going back a couple weeks, and we’re going to drop that into chat. But you’re loving, I believe, not to put words in your mouth, you’re loving what you’re seeing from Macy’s here lately. Is that right, Greg?
Greg White (00:16:02):
Yeah. For any of you who have heard me including as Ashvini Ponse, who is the chief risk officer at ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, whose husband used to work at Macy’s, that’s how she introduced herself was, hey, we love what you do. My husband works at Macy’s. But for anyone who’s seen my commentary on Macy’s before, a business that in the past I have said should have been allowed to go out of business or maybe forced out of business decades ago, as they have repeatedly gone bankrupt and wronged vendors over and over and over again. They have this new found commitment to supply chain and have really transformed things. They have a new chief supply chain officer who has interacted really tightly with their merchandising organization. And a lot of these traditional retailers are effectively run by their merchandising organization. So two things great there. They have a chief supply chain officer virtually unheard of in any of these big largely fashion retailers. And two, that chief supply chain officer has an incredible amount of power and data, not over anybody, but along with the merchandise organization and is providing a lot of data and analysis and information that helps make informed decisions.
Greg White (00:17:26):
So Macy’s doesn’t have, though they do have some, they don’t have the bulk of obsolete stock that even some of the other arguably advanced retailers like Walmart and Target and Costco have from misbuying things based on looking at historical demand. So they have shown a tremendous leap forward, frankly. And in this – in the commentary that you’ve dropped, I argue that they, they are actually now a model of how to integrate supply chain into a largely fashion enterprise. I know Scott is, I mean, obviously you didn’t read it all the way to the end, right?
Scott Luton (00:18:03):
I’m blown away.
Greg White (00:18:05):
I know, right? But this is also a next step. And I think at the same time that this is a great step for Macy’s., I also commented on Target doing a similar thing last week. And also one thing that continues to vex me is why retailers are just coming to this realization that they have the space, they have the labor, and they have the capability in the store to fulfill demand from their eCommerce. I think there’s been sort of a false wall between the two practices for so long that they’ve ignored the ability for stores to be a fulfillment center for e-mobile, whatever, commerce of all types.
Scott Luton (00:18:49):
Right. All right. So Karin, are you equally as vexed?
Karin Bursa (00:18:53):
I am. I’m impressed with the changes that Macy’s has made over the last three years so this is not an overnight transformation for them. You know they closed a lot of stores. It’s good to see that they’re using that brick and mortar infrastructure to do something that, you know, e-commerce companies can’t do or e-commerce alone cannot do, right? So they have that real estate that’s close to the markets that they serve. So I think this is really important, to Greg’s point where he doesn’t know why it’s taken so long. Many retailers, especially traditional brick and mortar plan their inventory separately by channel. They will plan, even though they say the words omnichannel, they will plan for their brick and mortar stores, inventory and buyers, and then for their e-commerce or direct to consumer. So this is an opportunity to bring all of that together, which of course, Greg impacts all the assortment plans, right, availability. But more than anything, the revenue plans for the leadership of the e-com business and the brick and mortar business. So this to me underscores that maybe Macy’s is making that needed organizational transformation in addition to all the supply chain transformations.
Scott Luton (00:20:19):
Man. Excellent. I appreciate both of your commentary, Greg and Karin on what Macy’s is doing. A couple comments here from the audience. Ted says, if you think about it, Target fulfills 95.6 percent of their e-commerce volume from their stores, which are truly many distribution centers local to the customer. And then he also mentions Best Buy, 40 percent of all Best Buys e-commerce volume is picked up in store via Boas. And then finally, I think someone you may recognize, James Mumford, Karin.
Karin Bursa (00:20:50):
Scott Luton (00:20:51):
From Sunny California. How about that? Okay.
Greg White (00:20:55):
It’s sunny here in Atlanta, just in case anyone’s wondering. Is it sunny all over the Atlanta area where you guys?
Scott Luton (00:21:01):
It’s gorgeous. It’s gorgeous out here. Karin, how about where you are?
Karin Bursa (00:21:05):
It’s a beautiful day. Beautiful.
Scott Luton (00:21:07):
Okay. Well, Greg and Karin, I really appreciate both of y’all’s take on these first two stories. We’ve got an excellent guest tuning in here today. We’re looking forward to – I’m going to go ahead and we’re ahead of schedule, Greg and Karin. Ahead of schedule, how about that?
Karin Bursa (00:21:23):
Scott Luton (00:21:25):
So we’re going to use this –
Greg White (00:21:26):
That’s like saying this kicker never misses.
Scott Luton (00:21:29):
We’re going to use those bonus minutes and then we’re going to go ahead and welcome in our guest here today, Alexa Cheater, director, product marketing with Kinaxis. Alexa, how are you doing?
Alexa Cheater (00:21:40):
I’m so wonderful. I’m a little bit jealous. The weather here is not quite as nice. It’s cold and rain, not snow. So I suppose that’s something overcast. Like it’s just not a beautiful day in Ontario, Canada.
Scott Luton (00:21:54):
But, well, but Greg and Karin, as Alexa was telling us on our pre-show, you’ve got some gorgeous land out there, some horses. So even if it is really cold, I bet you can get out in nature, just a couple of footsteps out your door, huh?
Alexa Cheater (00:22:10):
That is very true. And as a horse woman, there – doesn’t matter what the weather is, I’m always going to be out there. So you’ll see me out in every temperature, even when it’s, you know, -40 degrees Celsius and people think Canadians are too dumb to go outside. I’ll still be out there bundled up beause that’s my whole life now. When you bring the animals home, that’s your whole life.
Scott Luton (00:22:31):
Wow. I love that, and enjoy. Hopefully, you can enjoy the adult – a really cold adult beverage as you do that stuff or at least maybe after it’s all done. Okay. So Greg, Karin, and Alexa, before we get into a couple of stories that Alexis is going to share her take on today, as a world knows, or at least here in the States, Cyber Monday, right? Cyber Monday, right? We had Black Friday, last Friday. Greg had a great commentary around that. And today’s Cyber Monday. So what I want to do with a fun warmup question, Alexa, we’re gonna start with you here. I want to celebrate some retailers that really get commerce right, but in particular e-commerce, right, from that customer experience standpoint. So Alexa, we’re going to go around the horn and folks in the comments, we’d love to hear yours, those retailers you want to celebrate from really making you happy and your experience to be a world class one. Alexa, who comes to mind for you?
Alexa Cheater (00:23:24):
Yeah, absolutely. So I definitely partook in Cyber Monday deals, definitely bought probably more than I should have. My credit card got a bit of a workout. I have to give a shout out to a strong Canadian retailer here. I, as you mentioned, I have horses and I was on the hunt for some new blankets for them to keep them warm in that cold Canadian winter. And so I did order a bunch of stuff from a company called Green Hawk. For anyone tuning in who knows horses, it’s like the equivalent of Dover in the U.S. So they do a lot of stuff across the equine industry. And what I loved is that I knew well in advance what was going to be on sale. They told me three weeks ago what was going to be on sale for Cyber Monday. So I could pre-plan exactly what I was going to buy.
Alexa Cheater (00:24:03):
I could price, you know, check with other vendors and make sure I was getting the best deal. And then the whole streamlined experience from start to finish was I could do it on my phone, which I did, was very easy, ordered in, you know, less than five minutes. They told me exactly what was in or not in stock. It was beautiful. It’s already shipped out. And to tie back to what you were talking about with Macy’s, they actually have that distribution model already in place. So it’s actually being shipped from a store that’s relatively local to me. So I should have it by the end of the day today.
Scott Luton (00:24:36):
Wow. Green Hawk. So big shout out, two thumbs up.
Greg White (00:24:40):
Are they associated with Dover Saddlery?
Alexa Cheater (00:24:41):
They are not. They’re an independent, but they’re the closest that I can come up with. Kind of Green Hawk is the Canadian equivalent. They carry a lot of the same kind of stuff. There’s a bunch of horse retailers. I won’t get into details because it’s probably not for everyone on your call. But they do a wide range from like horse feed to blankets to rider apparel. They’re in a lot of different areas so.
Scott Luton (00:25:04):
But Alexa, one final question. Then, Karin, I’m coming to you next. Do they make the horses happy? That’s the, you know, the voice of the horse consumer, Alexa, two hoos up there from your –
Alexa Cheater (00:25:16):
Definitely to hoos up because I also order treats for the horses. So very, very excited that they get those later today.
Scott Luton (00:25:22):
Okay. Awesome. Love that. I almost said like a fleet of horses. What do they call? I’m not sure they call it pack of horses.
Alexa Cheater (00:25:26):
Herd. It’s a herd of horses.
Scott Luton (00:25:27):
A herd? Is it a herd? Okay.
Alexa Cheater (00:25:28):
It is a herd.
Scott Luton (00:25:29):
All right. Learn something new every day. Okay. Karin Bursa. All right. So Karin, who, you know, who would you want to give a big thumbs up to when it comes to customer experience in the retail landscape?
Karin Bursa (00:25:40):
Well, the first one I would think of is Tractor Supply which is doing a great job. So I know they’ve been with us a number of times over, over the years, but I really – I like the in-store experience but I also like the online experience. And of course, the assortment is really good from an online perspective. Service, returns, they make it easy.
Scott Luton (00:26:05):
So true. And they give great interviews. Colin Yankee, Karin, is who you’re referencing?
Karin Bursa (00:26:10):
Scott Luton (00:26:11):
He’s a great interview. And we’re big fans. Tractor Supply, they’re doing a lot of innovative things when it comes to supply chain, customer experience, and a lot more. So Karin, that’s a good one. So, all right. So Green hawks – I’m keeping taps, Green Hawk and Tractor Supply. Greg, let’s say you.
Greg White (00:26:27):
Sweetwater, still Sweetwater, always Sweetwater. Sweetwater Music is mostly professional recordings now for podcasting and in-studio recording as well. But also for music recording in all, every manner of instrument you could imagine. I was introduced to them by the pickiest consumer on the planet, Sir Rod Doherty, my former chief product officer. Also, by the way, Alexa knows Patty McDonald. So you can say hi from both of us and she’ll know what I’m what talking, what you’re talking about when you say. But he’s the hardest consumer to please, brilliant assessment and understanding of CX and customer success and customer interaction. And Sweetwater always performs super strong, easy to navigate, kind of like Alexa, you’ve experienced and what you see at Tractor Supply as well. But easy to navigate, lots of service before and after the sale. I know Ian, my sales rep at Sweetwater, and occasionally they just check in to say, did you like order or is there anything that I can help you with to, you know, tune yoursetup or whatever. So, unbelievable model of customer support.
Scott Luton (00:27:53):
Love it. And, you know, speaking, they’ve also been with us here before, their chief supply chain officer, Phil. I can’t remember Phil’s last name, Greg, right off but –
Greg White (00:28:02):
Bill, the guitar player?
Scott Luton (00:28:04):
Yeah, Rich, the Rich. Bill Rich who played us out. Alexa and Karin, as you might expect, their supply chain leader has incredible music talent and he is really cool, guys. So y’all have to check out.
Greg White (00:28:14):
Yeah, his song was customer experience and nothing else matters, like a t-shirt.
Scott Luton (00:28:23):
Love it. Hey, I’m going to give – this might be a boring pick, but it’s been very true and very consistent. So the Home Depot has really gotten it right here at Luton household. In fact, we’ve used their contract services a couple of times. And man, Greg, Karin, and Alexa, not only have we had great experiences with the contractors themselves, but the Home Depot sends out, at least in a couple cases, will send out management to check in and like do a personal follow up to make sure everything went well. So we’ve been really impressed with that, Greg, Karin, and Alexa.
Greg White (00:28:56):
Their in-store experience is better. With the app, I was just having a conversation on one of my commentaries today about yet another retail app, right. Like we all need another app . But their app actually walks you through the store if what you’re looking – it tells you where what you’re looking for is in the store, which is fantastic. It’s actually in those stores.
Karin Bursa (00:29:19):
If I know what it’s called, my problem is, I don’t always know the part or the item. I’m like, I need one of these.
Greg White (00:29:26):
Alexa Cheater (00:29:27):
The search functions getting a lot better though in a lot of those apps. I have the same problem, search.
Greg White (00:29:32):
Scott Luton (00:29:33):
Alexa, you’re very right. I mean –
Greg White (00:29:37):
Sorry, when you said Alexa like that, I thought you were going to ask to turn down the volume.
Karin Bursa (00:29:40):
Alexa Cheater (00:29:41):
Story of my life. That is the story of my life.
Greg White (00:29:42):
Yeah, I bet you get that a lot.
Scott Luton (00:29:44):
Well, hey, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more, Spousely. So Spousely is a great marketplace platform for purchasing all kinds of different folks from military and veteran and first responder, entrepreneurs. So check out Spousely if you’re looking for some unique gifts out there. Okay. A couple quick comments and then we’re going to jump back into picking Alexa’s expertise and brain here today. Ted says, call out to all retailers, which close their stores on Thanksgiving day. Brilliant. That might be – I don’t know, it might be a little –
Greg White (00:30:17):
When that was a discussion, that seems like 10 years ago now.
Scott Luton (00:30:19):
That’s good point, good point.
Greg White (00:30:22):
Really, there isn’t a reason to be open anymore, I think.
Scott Luton (00:30:26):
And Josh, let’s see here. Josh was talking about three degrees celsius in Seattle. Chance of freezing rain later. Wow. Man, Josh, stay warm, bundle up.
Greg White (00:30:36):
It has to make you feel better, Alexa.
Alexa Cheater (00:30:38):
It does, because I don’t have freezing rain in the forecast so I’m feeling a little bit better now. I’m feeling – thank you, Josh. I’m feeling a little more positive about the weather in my area for sure. I feel a bit bad for you, but you know, better you than me, the freezing rain.
Greg White (00:30:49):
If you hate your own weather, just look at Seattles, that’s what I see.
Scott Luton (00:30:51):
All right. One final point here. T-squared who holds on the fort force on YouTube says Sam’s Club and BJs are also improving their apps based on ease of use. That’s a great point. And, you know, it’s a matter of time, its got to catch up.
Greg White (00:31:04):
[Inaudible] BJs still around. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:31:07):
Okay. I want to move into our next story here today. We’re talking about some interesting perspective from our friends at McKinsey , talking about this reconfiguring, reconfiguration maybe of global supply chain as named by the folks at McKinsey . Lots of shifts, big and small taking place in this ever complex and evolving, fastly evolving business environment. So, Alexa, tell us more.
Alexa Cheater (00:31:32):
Yeah, I found this article really fascinating. Partly because it’s coming up to the end of 2022, and we are still talking about the impacts of Covid 19. Just, everywhere I turn, I still can’t seem to get away from it. It is still impacting supply chains and it’s having a long tail effect on a lot of companies. And what this article is really sharing with folks is that a lot of organizations are starting to rethink the strategy that they put in place 10 or so years ago, which was a more global approach to supply chain. Back when supply chains were thought of as primarily cost drivers, they can outsource a lot cheaper than they can doing, you know, work regionally. So off they went, they had all their distribution manufacturing pushed to China and other places where the labor was a lot cheaper. And it – and from a cost perspective, it looked great on paper.
Alexa Cheater (00:32:18):
Then we saw Covid 19. And that wasn’t working out well for a lot of companies that were focused solely in specific regions like China, like other parts of the world that were particularly hard hit where manufacturing went down, where there was port congestion, where there were all kinds of issues that were impacting supply chains globally. So a lot of companies and what McKinsey is talking about are thinking, was that the right approach? Is it time to reconsider that decision we made 10 years ago to be a really global supply chain with a lot of our, you know, moving parts outside of our own regions and where our customers are and they’re starting to pull back. I like to call it localization. I’ve heard a few other people use that term, right, global localization, where you are still having some components global, but you’re really trying to bring more stuff closer to home, closer to your end customer, closer to where your businesses is located to try and ease that risk, right?
Alexa Cheater (00:33:10):
Everyone’s looking for supply chain resilience right now, and they realized if they were single source through China or had a single supplier, they weren’t going to get that. Resilience failed left, right, and center. Businesses went under as a result. Horrific for supply chains for some of these folks that hadn’t put this in place. But what McKinsey is right to call out is that this is not an overnight shift. This is not something that you can just flip the switch on and decide suddenly I’m bringing all my manufacturing back to the states or back to Canada, and suddenly I’m going to go out and be able to buy raw materials myself. I read another article where they talk about it as the teslafication effect in the automotive industry. We used to have the Amazon effect. Now, we’re into the teslafication effect where businesses are trying to acquire raw materials or critical components themselves so that they’re less reliant on other parts of their supply chain.
Alexa Cheater (00:34:02):
And I tend to think, well, it’s good in theory. One, it’s going to take you a number of years to get there. It’s going to cost you a boatload, and we are still talking about heading into a recession very shortly here. For a lot of companies, this is not going to be a feasible plan in the next two to three years. They’re not going to have the cash to do this. So for those that are considering it, it’s kind of a think carefully before you decide to restructure your entire supply chain around, you know, the impacts of covid 19, because you might put your own business under by the cost outlay that it’s going to take to do something like this.
Scott Luton (00:34:38):
Yeah, well said Alexa. And you, you mentioned teslafication. Try saying that five times fast. The article also touched on Apple resourcing their chips from China to a new plant in Arizona. So we’ll see how all, you know, that doesn’t happen overnight as well. Greg, your thoughts? And Karin, I’m coming to you.
Greg White (00:34:57):
So, wow. You know, the whole notion of reassuring is a pipe dream frankly. Labor alone precludes the ability, to reshore virtually everything, virtually everything. And then the fact of the matter is you still haven’t eliminated your reliance on China, which has proven they are neither a good trading partner nor a good spirited world player as announced yet again at COP Out 27, where they force themselves to be identified as an emerging nation. So they didn’t have to adhere to any of the COP 27 limitations, which they did also last year. I don’t know if everyone remembers that they, when they were saddled with some strong rhetoric around their pollution, they shut down all of their power grids and claimed to have an energy shortage, thereby cutting off supply and forcing COP 26 to cop out as well. So the – and the other thing that we have to recognize is that China still holds a lot of those raw materials that Alexa is talking about, right?
Greg White (00:36:13):
Eighty-six percent all rare earth materials are mined in China and that’s the reserve. I mean that is the stores, that’s not just what’s mined. They have 86 percent of all of the earth’s rare earth minerals. So, there are a lot of practicalities that preclude this from happening, but it can’t hurt to, I think Alexa to your point, to localize to figure out what that balance is. Thing we have to recognize is that a lot of companies are fat and happy on the additional gross margin dollars, not gross margin percentage. Because if the cost of something goes up and they apply their standard, and in the case of a lot of manufacturers, 75-80 percent gross margin, if they apply that, that’s more dollars. And right now, they’re feeling flush because they’ve got all these extra dollars, but as inflation and costs slow down, they can’t absorb all of that additional influx of capital with labor and more expensive raw materials. So they do need to be very careful. That’s probably the best call out I’ve heard maybe ever on this notion of reshoring. Alexa, I really appreciate the way that you presented that, so.
Alexa Cheater (00:37:33):
Scott Luton (00:37:35):
All right. So Karin, what say you?
Karin Bursa (00:37:37):
Oh man. Man, I feel like I’m coming in clean up here. So I totally agree with Alexa on the reshoring or the nearshoring activities. I think as, you know, a supply chain technology person, it’s a lot easier to plan and replant in your planning systems than it is to change your physical network and have not just capacity and distribution and personnel all together at the same time. And the article, I think said that it takes companies 5 to 10 years to pivot on this scale. That’s a long time. And in the world we’re living in today, there’s going to be a lot more things happening in that 5 to 10 year period of time. So I think that we have to get into this constant state of reviewing what a network looks like and the risk, not just the cost associated with the current design and the current network. So I like the movement away from cost only or low cost as the primary driver to also consider risk in supply, in distribution and being, you know, dedicated to either one region or one vendor for critical materials or finished goods.
Scott Luton (00:38:55):
Well said, Karin, Greg, and Alexa. And folks, we’ve been talking about this article via Bloomberg from our friends at McKinsey . We’ve got a link to that so you can read it for yourself and give us your take in the chat. Okay. So I got a couple comments here. So Adrian, maybe a reference to rare earth metals, we dug ourselves in deep, didn’t we, Adrian says.
Greg White (00:39:18):
Or maybe just in reference to sort of channeling everything through China, right?
Scott Luton (00:39:25):
For sure. Yeah, absolutely.
Greg White (00:39:26):
Like I said, not a good trading partner nor a good, whatever you want to call, global partner of any kind, right?
Scott Luton (00:39:33):
And Josh adds shifting labor to stateside means very little if China either outright or controls 90 percent of the raw goods that you need. Good stuff there, Josh. Okay. So moving right along, this next article shouldn’t surprise too many folks. It’s a continuing trend that we’ve seen in the last few years. Like many countries around the globe, New Zealand’s government has announced that it’s so-called productivity commission is formally investigating supply chain disruptions and how to enhance the country’s overall, yep, you guessed it, resilience. So, Alexa, tell us more.
Alexa Cheater (00:40:08):
Yeah, I think this ties so well back to the McKinsey article that Bloomberg put out because really what New Zealand is talking about here is how do we diversify our supply chain? How do we bring more things local to make sure that we don’t get hit in the future? They fared fairly well during Covid 19, as the article rightly calls out so they did a good job that from that perspective. Not every country fared quite as well. Bbut they’re really talking about we need to as a government pay more attention to this. As a country, pay more attention to this. This is not just an individual business problem. This is a, you know, countrywide thing to consider. Supply chains are a countrywide or a nationwide thing that everyone needs to be aware of. You can’t work in isolation and individual companies and not pay attention to how they all interconnect.
Alexa Cheater (00:40:55):
That’s how you end up with food scarcity. That’s how you end up with countries that don’t have enough of certain things because they just let the businesses run supply chains with no kind of oversight to say, hey, are we as a country doing enough to build supply chain resilience and help these businesses build that resilience into their supply chains? And I think, as you mentioned, Scott, this is a growing trend. We, we have similar things in place in Canada, similar reviews that are taking place. The U.S. is putting all kinds of, you know, regulations and committees in play to take a look at this. This is a global kind of mentality that governments are getting into, and they’re starting to pay attention to the impact of supply chain from a business level and what it means for the country as a whole, which I found really fascinating.
Scott Luton (00:41:38):
Yeah, agreed. And Alexa, to your point – Karin, will get your take, but Greg, I think we’re still waiting on a website being built. I think we’re talking about that months and months ago, if you remember, related to the state side initiatives. But Karin, whether it’s to what the government of New Zealand is doing, or just in general, your thoughts here.
Karin Bursa (00:41:58):
Yeah. So first of all, we feel it too, right. We would be celebrating in the United States if our inflation was down to 7.2 percent. So, you know, in November, we came down to 7.75 percent from an 8.2 percent. So at 7.2 percent, we fully understand how painful that is for the average consumer. But to put that in context, that means that prices will double in 10 years at that inflation rate. So with the rule of 72, when you think about that, that’s prices doubling and that’s a lot to bear when you think down the road. So kudos to the New Zealand government for putting some actions in place and having a focus on building some resilience into their plans. But we just talked about it takes 5 to 10 years to make some of those changes. So we’ve got to get started and kind of keep the foot on the gas for years to come. This is not just a short term problem to be resolved.
Scott Luton (00:43:01):
Well said, Karin. Greg, what do you think?
Greg White (00:43:06):
My concern with a lot of these initiatives is that they are largely political window dressing and that they really don’t know a damn thing about supply chain. And they can as equally undermine the good work of supply chain professionals who long ago recognized these problems and actually know how to solve them by doing what is politically expedient and presents great optics rather than what is truly long term effective. And I think if any government is a great model for being able to actually pull that off, it’s New Zealand. They have a lot less prominence in the global economy. I mean, you know, what do we really get from them? Manuka honey and wool and, you know, a few other things but the – so their economy is a microcosm maybe serves as a good model. But I have great faith in politicians that they can overcome any advantage.
Greg White (00:44:09):
So I’m really, really and truly concerned. We’ve seen the impact here of, you know, of just doing things for optics. The ridiculous statement that the west coast ports were working 24 hours when they weren’t for months after the announcement. And of course the false, what do I want to say, enthusiasm that that created for people to continue to send ships to the ports, which only exacerbated the problem because they weren’t in fact working 24 hours. It’s silly things like that that really concern me, but we clearly have to do something. I really think the government entities should really use supply chain professionals as consultants rather than to try to –
Alexa Cheater (00:44:54):
Greg White (00:44:55):
And give them a sound basis for making some of these changes rather than making the changes that get them votes at the next election.
Scott Luton (00:45:04):
Greg, good point. And Alexa, you seem to agree.
Alexa Cheater (00:45:07):
Scott Luton (00:45:08):
Opportunity for supply chain practitioners and leaders, the fuller – to more fully even be leveraged in these times, huh?
Alexa Cheater (00:45:14):
Absolutely. And I think, Greg, you’re so right. There is a real risk here of this becoming a political gloss over where companies, you know, are getting thrown to the wind by their governments who are putting in all kinds of restrictions and regulations in place without knowing what it is that they’re really doing and the impact that that has. I’m an eternal optimist at heart. So despite, you know, some of the things that have happened in politics globally and even here in Canada, I like to think that maybe one day our country is going to get it right. And I hope that New Zealand sets kind of a gold standard for this and says, this is how you should do it. You should be consultative with professionals because you don’t know that much about supply chain and you should make – you should put measures in place that make sense for an actual purpose, not just to win the next election. So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed. I’m going to stay optimistic that maybe New Zealand can show the rest of the world how to do this correctly, instead of what some of the other countries have been kind of dabbling in lately.
Scott Luton (00:46:10):
Alexa, I love how you think. I love how you think. There’s a strong practicality there and that’s what we need more amongst other things. So Alexa, thank you for sharing. We – and we all need a nice healthy dose of optimism, practical optimism.
Greg White (00:46:22):
I think the greatest optimism we can have is like we, as a collective supply chain practitioners, could give a damn what the government says, and we’re going to do it the right way anyway, because we’re impacted by it every single day, right?
Karin Bursa (00:46:38):
Yeah. The government policy impacts especially on imports, exports when you think about it. And for New Zealand, they import a lot of product. So that comes into play in all of these decisions as well. So coming out of Asia or the European community, you know, that’s a big part of their supply chain cost basis and their supplier network as well.
Scott Luton (00:47:04):
Karin, excellent point. You know, I don’t know this is a good analogy or, but it’s what comes to mind. You know, we thought that a frog, as we dissected those in high school, were very complex organisms. That’s nothing like dissecting global supply chains, right, on so many different levels, we’re attacking it. So who would’ve thought that frog dissection would come up on a episode of the Supply Chain Buzz.
Greg White (00:47:24):
Somehow, I believe you planned it but –
Karin Bursa (00:47:29):
I made the mistake of naming my frog.
Scott Luton (00:47:32):
Well, but it is such a complex organism, you know, that we’re talking about here, global organism. So thank you for all three of you all for sharing a lot of what around what New Zealand and other governments are doing. Okay. So we’re kind of coming down the home stretch. And yes, Josh, we’ve got to share one of our favorite go-tos. Hope is not a strategy. That’s right, Josh. So Alexa, you know, Greg and Karin and I all have the pleasure of interviewing and rubbing elbows with folks at Kinaxis. We appreciate what you all do out there, doing good things in the industry. We really enjoyed Alan’s appearance with us last week. But for the three people that may not know across the globe what Kinaxis does, what does the company do, Alexa?
Alexa Cheater (00:48:19):
Yeah, absolutely. So for those that aren’t familiar with Kinaxis, we’re the leader in supply chain management software. We help companies across industries around the world kind of drive that supply chain and agility and resilience that we were talking about through the articles that we were discussing on today’s episode. But the thing that I like to talk about most about what Kinaxis is and what we do has nothing to do with the technology that we provide. Despite the fact we’re a technology vendor, I don’t really, you know, the technology is good, but that’s not where my focus is. It’s on the technique that we empower. So our big claim to fame and where we’ve really helped companies make some pretty significant strides in their supply chain is really with this technique of concurrency. And what that’s going to help companies do is move away from those dozens, hundreds, thousands in some cases of disconnected spreadsheets that are really manual, that are really time consuming, nobody really loves being in them, and that are really siloed so that you work on your supply plan and then you kind of toss it over the fence to demand or vice versa.
Alexa Cheater (00:49:15):
And you don’t really talk to the other groups within your supply chain. You just kind of work in your own little box, in your own little spreadsheet, and you go, today, I’m done. And that leads to all kinds of trouble for companies that work in those silos. So this technique of concurrency is really all about creating more than just visibility. I like to say visibility is the first step. It helps you get that transparency, which is actionable. It’s that actionable visibility, so that everyone is completely connected. So that you can’t sit there and say, well, I didn’t know that my plans were going to have that kind of impact on someone sitting three cubicles down, because everyone gets instant visibility into everything that’s happening across the supply chain.
Alexa Cheater (00:49:53):
And I know that sounds a little overwhelming. Oh God, I don’t want visibility into everything. Like, I’m never gonna be able to get any work done, but it’s also about empowering people. This technique is about empowering people to be able to focus where it matters. So you get alerts where you need them. You get critical, you know, decisions surfaced up to you so that you don’t have to go hunting through the data for that anymore. It really just makes planners lives that much easier and helps businesses gain that agility. They can plan those scenarios that Karin was talking about earlier, you know, to be able to see and model what could happen in a supply chain. Not just from a network perspective in terms of, okay, I want to change where my distribution center is located, but all the way down to that granular plan level. Okay, this order’s going to be late, what’s that going to do? Or this supply, I’m only going to get 70 percent of the materials that I needed, can I source it from somewhere else? What’s that doing to every other order? What can I do to support that? So it’s about confident decision making and empowering people through technique, not technology.
Scott Luton (00:50:54):
I love that. Man. Not only empowering people, but you’re commenting about the planners. We need to love one of our planners and make their jobs much easier, much more effective and successful, make it day in and day out. Karin, I saw you nodding your head as she made several points there about Kinaxis. Your quick, quick follow up.
Karin Bursa (00:51:13):
Yeah, just a quick follow up. Totally agree with Alexa that spreadsheets are, I mean they’re risky. It’s risky for your business. You are introducing new risk. But this idea of concurrency, in my simple mind, I think of that as the ability to plan over multiple horizons. So what Alexa was describing is certainly we can do our strategic and operational planning, but we want to get down into that execution as well. And having that all done against the same network, the same model, a comprehensive view of data, so regardless of your role in supply chain, we are connected on a concurrent basis, or our business is all on the same platform on a connected basis, so our concurrent basis. So I love it. You know, it’s all about making sure your team is working together, both in short term horizons. We’re talking minutes, hours to, you know, years and making sure that the plans that are put in place are actually executable by the physical participants in the supply chain.
Scott Luton (00:52:26):
Nice, executable. All right. So Greg, your quick, quick follow up to what Karin and Alexa both shared here.
Greg White (00:52:33):
Well, you know, I think Alexa stated it really well when she said supply chain is not a cost saving exercise. It is a risk balancing exercise. And preemption is the key to risk balancing and risk mitigation. And the ability to understand the impact of the changes you may make on a plan or a design or a process or even your timing or level of execution, the ability to understand what that impact is before you make that decision or may take that action, is really critical because it allows you to prevent the problems that don’t require disruption to muck up the works for your company, right? You want to leave only disruption to chance, not your plans or designs or execution to chance as well.
Scott Luton (00:53:20):
Love that. Okay. So Alexa, you and the Kinaxis team have brought us some really cool resources. We touched on these I think last week as well. Podcasts, events, used cases, all kinds of resources here. Why should – and we’re going to drop blinky to chat. Why should folks check out kind of what I’m going to call the resource center at Kinaxis? And by the way, I love this three point mantra here. No sooner, act faster, remove waste. Your thoughts, Alexa.
Alexa Cheater (00:53:48):
Yeah, absolutely. The no sooner, act faster, remove waste, that is what we live by here at Kinaxis. That is really the heart of what we’re trying to deliver for companies. And I would say people should come check out our resource center and take a look at what we’ve got because we’ve helped a lot of companies and those companies been willing to share their stories. And to me, that’s the best thing that’s on our resource center. We’ve got a whole bunch of stories from some really prominent companies, from some smaller companies across verticals that are going to talk to you about their supply chain transformation. It’s not so much about selling you on Kinaxis. You know, we’ve got channels for that. What I really want you to go and see are the success stories of companies like yours, companies that had the same challenges that you had. And we have tons of those in our resource center.
Alexa Cheater (00:54:26):
So I would encourage you to go take a look at those and make sure that you can learn from your peers in what they’ve done. Some of them, you know, have other systems in place as well. As I said, it’s not an ad for Kinaxis. I don’t want you to go there and say, oh goodness, all of this is salesy. I want you to look at the good stuff, the story sales team, your stuff’s good too. I work on it. But I want you to look at the real value, which is the customer stories.
Scott Luton (00:54:50):
Love that, Alexa. And you know, you strike me as someone much like many other of your Kinaxis colleagues that would welcome an opportunity to jump on a horn and have a, you know, talk about shop, what’s going on in industry, you know, not selling Kinaxis but really, you know, talk shop with folks around the globe. Is that right?
Alexa Cheater (00:55:09):
Absolutely. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to speak to people about their supply chains and what it is that they’re doing, the challenges they’re facing. You know, I love having conversations like we’ve had today where we’re talking about how things globally could potentially be impacting your supply chain and what your strategy could or should be like. I love having those conversations. So please connect with me on LinkedIn because I want to have more conversations with folks. I want to hear from you and I want to continue the conversation.
Scott Luton (00:55:36):
Got you. That’s the only way we move things forward. So connect with Alexa Cheater from Kinaxis on LinkedIn. You can also check out the link we shared and the website, Alexa is?
Alexa Cheater (00:55:48):
Scott Luton (00:55:50):
Wonderful. It’s just that easy. Well, Alexa Cheater, we’ve really enjoyed your perspective here. I love your practical optimism. That’s definitely one of my key takeaways. And we look forward to having you back. Happy late Thanksgiving because as you mentioned the pre-show, Canada celebrates there as much earlier. Regardless, we wish you a very successful, you know, end of the year and look forward to having you back again really soon, Alexa.
Alexa Cheater (00:56:14):
Thank you so much. My absolute pleasure to be here.
Scott Luton (00:56:17):
You bet. We’ll talk soon. Man, I enjoyed – Karin and Greg, I enjoyed her appearance as much as I enjoyed the preshow, where we learned a lot more about what she does when she’s not out there solving supply chain challenges. So, question, and I think I’m going to post this to both of you all. But Karin, first for you, your favorite thing you heard here from Alexa today.
Karin Bursa (00:56:39):
I just like the discussion and being very practical about how to approach transformation and the fact that these physical elements do take time, but you need to model them soon or model them in a solution, not spreadsheets. I’m going to underscore that, not spreadsheets, because to me those are going to introduce more risk. But that’s going to give you the opportunity to really evaluate what you should do in the future or how to respond in the short term to disruptions or opportunities. Let’s get back to being optimist as well, right? We want to harness those opportunities in the marketplace. So I just really enjoyed it. Thought it was – she had a great point of view on the articles as well as the opportunities.
Scott Luton (00:57:27):
Is that a harnessing the opportunities out there? Is that a little play on our earlier horse discussion there, Karin? But so –
Karin Bursa (00:57:37):
Oh no. Actually, but maybe it was. I got with you there for a minute on the discussion on horses. Got you.
Scott Luton (00:57:45):
So, all right. So, Eastern –
Greg White (00:57:49):
Karin, you’re right where the rest of the audience is on that.
Scott Luton (00:57:52):
So, speaking of good stuff, TEKTOK, Digital Supply Chain podcast, your thoughts. Share, Karin, either recent episode or what’s coming up?
Karin Bursa (00:58:03):
Yeah, yeah. So, I’m going to do both actually. Recent episode, interviewing Carol Cunningham on where to start with sales and operations planning. I think our audience will get a lot out of it. She’s rolled out S&OP from ground level at a number of different companies and so there’s some really good insights and recommendations from 20 years in the trenches. And then I’m excited about an upcoming episode that is going to feature Beth Morgan who is the founder of Boom Global Network. And we’re going to talk about research that was done on what the thriving supply chain professional needs to succeed.
Greg White (00:58:44):
Karin Bursa (00:58:45):
So I’m looking forward to sharing some of those results with our audience as well.
Greg White (00:58:49):
Scott Luton (00:58:50):
It’s outstanding. All right. So Greg, your favorite thing that Alexa shared here today?
Greg White (00:58:56):
Well, I mean, aside from the practicality and the sort of global view that she had on things, I mean, incredibly strategic view on things overall. But I think the one foundational principle that she shared there that we all, and you know, I preach all the time, but we all must continue to reinforce, is that supply chain is not a cost saving exercise. It is a risk balancing exercise. And when we start to view supply chain through the lens of not just pop cost, but also reliability and speed and ethics these days, which are really critical in all, you know, in supply chain. Then we have a more holistic picture on this complex ecosystem that you’ve talked about, Scott. And it makes it a lot more manageable because when we only focus on cost of this complex ecosystem, often all we’re focusing on is the cost in the moment, the cost of the PO.
Greg White (00:59:52):
But what we don’t – right. But what we don’t factor in is the cost of recovery, right, or the cost of expediting or the cost of our delivery being refused at the border because it was used – it was made using slave labor. Things like that. We have to acknowledge all of these risks preemptively. Somebody said they like preemption so I’m using it again. We have to acknowledge and address all of these risks preemptively because as I just saw somebody post something on LinkedIn about Hillbilly wisdom, and that is, if you don’t have the time to do it right, you better have the time to do it twice. And it’s much better to do it right in supply chain because doing it the second time or recovering from unnecessary disruptions that you place on yourself is more than twice the work.
Scott Luton (01:00:49):
Okay. All right. I would add that wisdom to South Carolina wisdom, it’s own like a pot of neck bone in terms of how we’re doing supply chain much differently across the street here lately. But Greg and Karin, excellent conversation, with Alexa here today. Really did enjoy it. By the way, we have dropped the link to – folks, you can check out, learn a lot more about TEKTOK right here. You can check out all the past episodes, including the episodes that Karin has mentioned. Adrian Bets is who mentioned really likes that risk balancing and the preemption. Thank you for being with us here, Adrian and T-Squared, finally. T-Squared, siloization is evil. That is what he says is the latest t-shirtism and you get many kindred spirits here that agree with that. So great to have you here as always, T-Squared. Okay, Greg and Karin, really appreciate your time here today. Greg White, always pleasure knocking these out with you. Thanks for your time.
Greg White (01:01:46):
My pleasure. Great to have Karin here.
Scott Luton (01:01:48):
And Karin Bursa, host of TEKTOK, Digital Supply Chain podcast. Always a pleasure to have you with us here today.
Karin Bursa (01:01:54):
Oh, love starting Monday out with you guys. Thanks for including me today.
Scott Luton (01:01:58):
Definitely, absolutely. Really enjoyed the conversation and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback already. Of course, big thanks to Alexa Cheater with the Kinaxis team, director, product and marketing over there. Hey, be sure to connect with her as we mentioned and check out their resource center. But folks, whatever you do, whatever you do, not only go out, go out and pick up your favorite package type of Oreo today, and don’t feel guilty about it. Go out and make that splurge here today.
Greg White (01:01:46):
Not one bit ago
Greg White (01:02:27):
But kidding aside, hey, it’s about deeds, not words. It’s about taking action to change how we do business with, you know, great folks like Alexa, Karin, and Greg. With that said, big thanks to our production team. Folks, Scott Luton challenge you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change that is needed. 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 programming at 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.
Alexa Cheater, as the Director, Product Marketing at Kinaxis, Alexa is focused on understanding the challenges companies face in managing their supply chains—both the day-to-day and during major disruptions. She then develops and delivers informative, engaging and sometimes entertaining content that showcases how Kinaxis innovations drive the agility, transparency and resiliency companies need to transform their supply chains to adapt and thrive in our unpredictable world. She joined Kinaxis in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Journalism (Honors) from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Connect with Alexa on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Principal, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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, 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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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, 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.
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, 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.
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
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.
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.