Supply Chain Now
Episode 737

When we talk to our members about what's important to them right now, it is a desire to stay focused on their core business. They see an opportunity to have partners that can be trusted pre, mid, and post-pandemic. This is a big piece of what we're trying to do.

- Kevin Heath, COO, OMNIA Partners

Episode Summary

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

In this episode of The Buzz, Supply Chain Now hosts Scott Luton and Greg White are joined by Paul Noble, Founder and CEO of Verusen, and Kevin Heath, COO at OMNIA Partners – live and in person for the first time in 18 months at OMNIA Partners Connection 2021 in Miami Florida!

Paul, Kevin, Scott, and Greg discuss supply chain news stories pulled from recent headlines as well as what they hope to discuss at this year’s Connection event:

  • The impact that one missing part of material can have on a company’s ability to operate, and how well-intentioned efforts to deliver savings often prevent supply chain agility
  • How leadership teams suddenly presented with an overwhelming amount of data can ensure it is a blessing for the enterprise and not a curse
  • How companies like OMNIA Partners and Verusen are working together to serve as a value-oriented extension of their business partners.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges, and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.

Scott Luton (00:31):

Hey. Hey. Good morning, everybody. Good afternoon, good evening wherever you are. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on today’s special edition of The Supply Chain Buzz. Greg, how are we doing?

 

Greg White (00:41):

I feel like I’m alive and in-person for the first time on The Buzz.

 

Scott Luton (00:45):

Well, there’s a reason for that. So, folks, welcome, first off. Secondly, this is the first time we have taken our Supply Chain Buzz live since, really, we’re shutdown. So, stay tuned. We got two homerun guests here today to celebrate with us and to bring a ton of supply chain insights to you. And, of course, we want to hear from you as well. So, we’ve got two OGs, two Supply Chain Now OGs. We’ve got Paul Noble, Founder and CEO of Verusen, and Kevin Heath, COO with OMNIA Partners. Paul, Kevin, how are we doing?

 

Paul Noble (01:17):

Doing well. Great to be with all of you.

 

Greg White (01:20):

Yeah. With. It’s great to even say that, isn’t it?

 

Kevin Heath (01:22):

It’s good to be back.

 

Paul Noble (01:22):

Tough luck, yes.

 

Kevin Heath (01:24):

It’s good to be back together. It’s been 18 months of a lot of transformations.

 

Greg White (01:28):

MODEX.

 

Kevin Heath (01:29):

Thanks for having us. MODEX, that was it.

Scott Luton (01:20):

Well, Kevin and his team, he just said thanks for having us. But, really, we owe him thanks for having us here. We’re broadcasting live from Connections 2021 down here in beautiful Miami, Florida, the magic city. Which, of course, is hosted by the ever hospitable – say that seven times fast – OMNIA Partners team having a blast. And, Kevin, man, when y’all put something on, you go big.

 

Kevin Heath (02:00):

Yeah. The team does a great job. You know, we have a large group here today. I think we’ll have 500 people over the next couple of days. And it’s an important time for us to get people back together. Try to get back into a routine. So, we’re excited. Thank you.

 

Scott Luton (02:14):

Awesome. Awesome.

 

Greg White (02:14):

Yeah. Great. It’s been great so far.

 

Paul Noble (02:15):

It has. We’re just getting started.

 

Greg White (02:18):

That’s right.

 

Scott Luton (02:16):

That’s right. It’s still day one. And, Paul’s, got two – not one but two – keynotes here this week. So, we’ll touch on that more.

 

Greg White (02:24):

You’re putting him to work.

Scott Luton (02:28):

Yeah. Well, you know, you got to be a heavy hitter. If you get that seat at the table, you’ve got to deliver.

 

Greg White (02:33):

Yeah. And he literally has the seat at the table.

Scott Luton (02:35):

That’s right.

 

Paul Noble (02:35):

There we go.

 

Scott Luton (02:36):

All right. So, what we want to do is say hello to some of the folks that are tuned in live as folks are rolling in now. Let’s see here, we’ll start –

 

Greg White (02:48):

Of course.

 

Scott Luton (02:49):

– with Peter Bolle, all night and all day. Peter tuned in from Canada up there. Peter, I hope this finds you well. Ahmed is tuned in via LinkedIn. Ahmed, let us know where you are tuned in from. Brodie Brown is with us also via LinkedIn. Great to see you here. Nurf – is Nurf back?

 

Greg White (03:10):

He’s Nurf. No longer Nurfad. He’s kind of dodging the authorities a little bit. But he’s back.

Scott Luton (03:17):

Yes. Well, we’re only kidding. Nurf is not on the land at all.

 

Greg White (03:23):

Not at all.

 

Scott Luton (03:23):

But he’s back on social. He’s great to have. Lisa Jennings is tuned in via LinkedIn. Great to see, Lisa. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. We couldn’t do this – of course, y’all should see we don’t have a camera, but we’ve got an awesome tram front of production operational talent over here.

 

Greg White (03:40):

Trust Us.

 

Scott Luton (03:40):

Trust Us just off camera. Amanda, Vicky, and Sarah. And Clay Phillips and Jayda are also behind the scenes making it happen here today. So, hello, hello. And Nurf reminds everybody, he’s tuned in from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. One final one. Gene Pledger is tuned in. Gene, thanks for your kind comments last week on our growth. He says from NA. He got the joke. LA last week. He’s from North Alabama, not lower Alabama, LA as we call it around here. Okay. Well, welcome everybody. Y’all picked a great show to tune in to. So, Greg, where are we starting here this afternoon?

Greg White (04:20):

It seems odd because we haven’t done this live, so I’m not really sure where we’re starting.

Scott Luton (04:26):

Yeah. You’re right. Normally, I can keep my eye on you in the upper right hand corner of my screen. Now, I’ve got to turn my whole head.

Greg White (04:32):

I know. I feel like there’s so many cameras and so many people to look at. This is actually pretty exciting. It feels like a new era, a new energy.

Scott Luton (04:40):

It’s Christmas morning here on Supply Chain Now. Okay. Well, this is where we’re going to start. Folks, it is World Tourism Day. World Tourism Day. If you’re like me, I had no idea that that was a thing. But it is a thing. Before we get into some heavy hitting supply chain topics – really, global business topics, we’re going to pull our panel on one of the coolest places they’ve been, let’s say, in the last four or five years. So, of course, our travel is being constrained a little bit in the last 18 months or so. But, Paul, I want to start with you. You were sharing some things pre-show about some of his world travels. Where’s the coolest place you’ve been here?

Paul Noble (05:14):

Yeah. Obviously, I’m excited to get back on the road when we can internationally. But I had the opportunity and anyone that knows me well has heard this probably, Tokyo, Japan. We had the ability to go there early 2019. SAP was launching a new innovation center and invited us to talk about how they’re infusing early stage technologies into the SAP ecosystem through SAPIO. And so, myself and a couple of team members went over there to participate. And wow, what a time.

Scott Luton (05:51):

Do you have two two keynotes there as well?

Paul Noble (05:53):

No. Just one. One big event. A handful of meetings. We’re meeting customers. But more importantly, from a travel perspective, we’re able to see the great culture, food, and landscape in and around Tokyo. It was a blast. So, I recommend it, if you’ve never been, or when you can.

Scott Luton (06:12):

So, one little wrinkle to add the Paul’s story he shared with us pre-show is, that’s where he caught the Atlanta Falcons/New England Patriots Super Bowl, which we can’t share any more. If you don’t have that turned out for this [inaudible].

 

Greg White (06:25):

What was [inaudible]?

Paul Noble (06:28):

28-3, I think from the guy from New England.

 

Greg White (06:30):

Too soon.

Scott Luton (06:31):

Yes. Tom Brady and the Patriots broke Falcon’s heart for sure. But we’ll keep on moving. Congrats.

 

Paul Noble (06:38):

And we’ll be back soon. We have a new partner, NTT Data, that we’re going to market with.

 

Greg White (06:43):

Just a small company.

 

Paul Noble (06:45):

Yeah. This little company, NTT Data. They’re great. And we look forward to go and see them when we can.

Scott Luton (06:51):

Wonderful. Well, hey, we’ll do a Supply Chain Buzz there in Tokyo live, soon perhaps.

 

Greg White (06:55):

Let’s do it.

 

Scott Luton (06:56):

Okay. So, Paul, Tokyo is your favorite spot. Kevin, what’s the coolest place you’ve been to here recently?

Kevin Heath (07:04):

Yeah. As you know, pre-pandemic, I had accepted this role with OMNIA Partners in January of 2020. And we had a trip on the calendar to go to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. And just an outstanding place for a family trip. We loved it so much so that now that we’re coming out of the pandemic, we’re headed back there for Thanksgiving. Highly recommend. It’s a beautiful piece of the country.

 

Greg White (07:29):

[Inaudible].

Scott Luton (07:36):

He just raised the bar on expectations for Thanksgivings everywhere. So, I appreciate you sharing. And we’re getting some comments here from our skyboxes. Folks, let us know where you’ve enjoyed going. Peter says he was in Singapore years ago for a Star Alliance procurement meeting, “What a fantastic trip that was.” By the way, hello, Farshad, tuned in LinkedIn from Tehran. Great to have you here. And Azaleah Jackson, a new resident of Nashville is tuned to here today. So, great to see you. And one final thing, so Nurf says, “My favorite city is the same favorite city of the U.S. sitting President, Del Rio, Texas, baby.” I had no idea. Okay. All right.

Greg White (08:20):

Always put [inaudible].

Scott Luton (08:23):

[Inaudible] right here on Supply Chain Now. Okay. So, Greg, you’re not getting out of this question. What’s a cool place you’ve been?

Greg White (08:28):

I’ve been to a lot of cities, but I have to say that probably one of my favorites is Oslo, Norway. I know that sounds odd to pick Oslo. But the former king of Norway has kind of a hunting cabin. They’ve turned it into a resort, golf courses. It’s the quietest place on earth. And I used to do a trip all the way around the world a couple of times a year and I would always land there for a few days before we did our European conference. Because even the birds and bugs are polite enough to keep it quiet. You can sleep with your windows open. It’s 60 degrees in June. So, it’s just wonderful in Oslo.

Scott Luton (09:06):

Peace in Oslo, right. Swinging and get your metal and take off. Even the bugs cooperate in Oslo. How about that? All right. So, kidding aside, Nurf says, Zadar, Croatia, coastal city and gorgeous, is one of his favorites to go to. So, I appreciate you sharing there, Nurf. Folks, let us know. We’ll take your comments throughout today’s livestream about your favorite place to go. If you can throw in there why you like it, that’d be great too. Okay.

 

Greg White (09:35):

I feel like I’m cheating off. I’ve been looking at your paper over here. Just like high school.

Scott Luton (09:43):

Just like high school. All right. So, next, so speaking of World Tourism Day, of course, most of us are tourists down here in Miami. Gorgeous, gorgeous weather, gorgeous city. We’re down here for Connections 2021 hosted by the heavy hitters over at OMNIA Partners. Paul, we talked about you’re like the star power down here, two keynotes. What are you looking most forward to about the event?

Paul Noble (10:05):

I think it’s a unique opportunity at this point in time, right? Supply chains are very chaotic, I think to say the least. And one of the things I’m most excited about is getting different parts of the network together to talk about how we’re going to move forward and attack these challenges. And, you know, that’s one of the great things about OMNIA Partners is the network that they have and the alliances across that network. There’s a lot of great opportunities. Procurement is incredibly strategic, more than it’s ever been before. To be able to talk and hear about the challenges and align with those is what I’m most excited about.

Scott Luton (10:47):

I love that. Greg, speaking of star power, we’ve got Kevin Heath here as well. So, Kevin, what are you looking forward to this week?

Kevin Heath (10:54):

You know, for us, so much has changed over the last couple of years. Businesses have changed their models. There’s significant disruption that we’ll talk about here in a little bit. For me, it’s really similar to what Paul said, it’s having the network back together. You know, we’ll have some of the largest companies in the world. We have a good population of small to medium-sized businesses that’ll be here. And then, a significant portion of our members will be here, both in the public and the private sector side. And, really, understanding what the world looks like for them on a go-forward basis so that, collectively, we can be here to support them.

Scott Luton (11:27):

So, Greg, we talked a lot about companies that, especially during these challenging times, invest in events like this. Folks, don’t just come out and gather market intel and exchange that. But it’s about building relationships. You’re take and what are you looking forward to?

Greg White (11:41):

I think that companies, especially small and medium businesses, they need to outsource, if you want to call it that, or partner with companies to do more of the things that aren’t really their core competency. Companies have struggled a long time. They’ve been really good at selling, not as great at marketing. Or really good at marketing products, but not as great at producing them. And, now, there’s just an incredible opportunity when you have a GPO or a procurement organization to work with that allows you to be able to do what you’re best at and sort of shop what you need help with. And in this market where Amazon is running over everyone, and other big competitors or super competitors are out there challenging smaller companies, it’s a great opportunity. And I’ve always thought that smaller companies should have the opportunity to be able to leverage other entities to do what is not really their core competency.

Scott Luton (12:35):

Well, democratize, and to do that to compete effectively, you’ve got to have resources like the OMNIA Partner’s team. You were going to say something.

Kevin Heath (12:43):

Yeah. I was just going to follow up with what Greg said. You know, we’re seeing a lot of that. When we talk to a lot of our members and what’s important to them right now, they really want to stay focused on their core business and what it is that they do. And they’re seeing an opportunity across supply chain to really have partners that can be trusted pre, mid, and post-pandemic. And so, it’s such a big piece of what we’re trying to do and in our message.

Greg White (13:08):

Yeah. We see a lot of that. You can see a lot of that with a lot of the E first companies, the e-commerce or direct to consumer companies. They are starting by outsourcing a lot of what is not their core. And you can see where it creates huge leverage for the company to be able to accelerate much, much more quickly.

Scott Luton (13:27):

Good point. We’re not talking about that or that, just some striking off your list, in case you didn’t know. To keep you focused. No baseball, no culinary exploits. [Inaudible]. All right. So, I want to say hello, we’ve got a couple special – all of our guests in the skyboxes are special. But Andrea Scobie is with us as well. Of course, she’s part of the leadership team here at OMNIA Partners.

Greg White (13:52):

She could actually be here with us. She’s tuning in from somewhere around the building.

Scott Luton (13:56):

That is right. Azaleah says, it’s time for vacation. Maybe she’s going to checkout Iceland. And Jose is with us via LinkedIn. Jose, I think Singapore is one of your favorite places. Let us know where you’re tuned in from and I appreciate your message last week. And then, finally, Natalie – I don’t know. Are y’all Big Brother fans? We are Big Brother fans – says, “Zingbot and the Big Brother reference was not expected today.” So, she enjoyed that. Amanda and I, we love Big Brother.

Greg White (14:27):

That went right past me.

Scott Luton (14:29):

We got to bring in Zingbot at some point, Amanda. We had a lot of fun with that. Davin and Dr. Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman, great to see you all here as well. Okay. We’ve got to get into the heavy lifting, right? We’ve got a couple big stories we’re going to dive into. We’re going to get Greg, and Paul, and Kevin’s take on them. So, Greg, first off, what are you looking forward to this week? And then, we’ll get into it.

Greg White (14:51):

Well, I think a lot of what we just discussed, the opportunity for some of these SMBs to see what is potential out there. Some of the suppliers that are engaging. It’s not all about parts and pieces. We’re going to talk about that here in a second, it’s about people and relationships. And when you’ve got an organization like what OMNIA Partners is putting together, it gives a smaller company so much more leverage. Look, everybody knows by now, I’m a fan of this business model because I think it creates so much leverage for these smaller businesses. And the time is right. It’s accelerate. Not just get passed over, get run over. So, we have to enable these small businesses to be able to build and accelerate.

Scott Luton (15:36):

Morbid Monday here on Supply Chain Now. Okay. But well said. I agree with you.

 

Greg White (15:40):

It’s true.

 

Scott Luton (15:41):

That’s right. Canceling laws. Okay. I want to start, so, Paul and Kevin, y’all ready? We’re entering the guru zone. We’re going to dive into and get y’all’s take on some things taking place across global supply chain. So, the first one – and Paul, we’ll start with you – we’ve got this really neat story from NPR where it talks about how one single missing part can unleash the cracking in global supply chain. And you know what? I’m only slightly exaggerating there. So, Paul, tell us more about this story and then give us your take.

Paul Noble (16:11):

Yeah. So, this was sent to me by Jeff Peters – shoutout to Jeff – the other day, and it hit home and he knew it definitely would. So, our business is focused on materials. And there’s a lot of focus on logistics and supply chain. But I think a lot of people overlooked that. From a materials perspective, one small disruption, whether it’s a gasket on an asset or a microchip in a vehicle, can shut everything down. And then, things begin to pile up. So, as I looked at this story, it really hit home of a lot of the things that, you know, we’re talking about. We’re talking with chief supply chain officers, chief procurement officers every day about really trying to understand what they need, where they need it, when they need it. Give agility – and that’s a buzzword everyone, blah, blah.

 

Greg White (17:09):

We’ll keep track.

 

Paul Noble (17:10):

Yeah. Bingo. As much as cost savings is important, you need to understand the risks of how you’re partnering with your most strategic suppliers where you have first, second, third sources. And it’s a combination of both. It’s something that we talk a lot about. What we call material truth, it’s part data. It’s how that data is presented to take action to people. And it’s a combination of what do you need that doesn’t induce more risk into your supply chain. And that’s going to move up and down with the craziness of supply chains all across. And it can be a ship getting stuck in the Suez. Or it can be, you know, something not available to keep production up and running. So, that’s what hit home to me. And, again, it’s just very much the tip of the iceberg of how to get a handle on that.

Scott Luton (18:02):

So, I want to come to you, Kevin. And then, you in a second here, Greg. But Wauconda, Illinois was part of this article. In fact, they started with Nicole Wolter, who runs HM Manufacturing. And you all know what Wauconda, Illinois is known for.

 

Greg White (18:17):

Gears and pulleys? I just read that in the article.

Scott Luton (18:21):

Well, I’m going to add that the list. So, Blues Brothers, Wauconda was one of the places they filmed that.

 

Greg White (18:27):

Is that a hundred miles to Chicago? [Inaudible] gas and –

 

Scott Luton (18:34):

Sunglasses. But, secondly, in 2005 I think it was, a 3,000 person snowball fight – the largest in the world – took place right here in Wauconda. And I guess that’s one of the ways that we’re recruiting businesses into Wauconda, Illinois. It’s breaking records. But the other thing that Nicole Wolter said in this article – and, Kevin, I’ll come to you next – is, “It’s a circus. And I’d like to get off this ride.” So, Kevin, whether it’s article or something that Paul said, what are some of your takes here about what we’re seeing?

Kevin Heath (19:05):

We see the world similarly, Paul and I, as we’ve been together for a long time. But, you know, it can be a part, it can be people. We are seeing significant disruptions around the world. It’s chips. It’s labor shortages. And the impacts are compounding. And people think that parts can’t be produced because of the one missing part. But you can stack that up, if you can’t get the parts out of there, even if you have all the materials, we’re hearing stories of companies shutting down because they have no place to put goods. You can’t get a container ship. So, this disruption is real. You know, I was talking to a friend the other day, there are 75 fully loaded cargo ships sitting in San Francisco Bay right now that can’t get unloaded. So, whether that’s your missing part or that’s what’s keeping you from making more parts, the disruption is unprecedented in anything I’ve seen 30 years.

Scott Luton (20:00):

A world record, a historical record of 75 ships. And as the article points out – as we’ve been tracking for a while, Greg – it is taking more than a week to unload each ship. So, Greg, some of your thoughts?

Greg White (20:11):

I think we have to redefine what efficiency is in the supply chain, because we have defined efficiency so often as cost minimization. And, now, we have to recognize that that is hardest when it comes to risk and supply chain. And I think that’s one of the things that we have to tackle here. And, also, this article is really good. It’s really interesting some of what these people saw. I love the analogy of it being like a recipe. You’re trying to build a really complex meal and you don’t have that one recipe, that stops the entire thing from happening. And I think for so long, companies have presumed that they’ll be able to get everything. As you said, Paul, they may have even had secondary or tertiary suppliers, but they weren’t really serious about keeping that at that agility and resilience thing in their supply chain. So, that’s impact. Now, we have to get really serious about systematizing and really having secondary options that [inaudible] business.

Paul Noble (21:17):

It’s seems like very cliche, but supply chain, obviously, now supply networks, and you really are only as strong as your weakest link. And the focus on that, not over-complicating an already incredibly complex situation is going to be, you know, what helps navigate out of this [inaudible].

Scott Luton (21:38):

Excellent point. Two thoughts there. Number one, going back to something Paul said, you know, if you’re going to compete on price, you got to know about repercussions. You got to build and manage to them. And then, secondly, on the food comparison level settings, universal. it’s like Mi Hao from Corning, I found out after the fact – Amanda, didn’t we? – I was mispronouncing Mi Hao’s name throughout the three-day conference. The efforts, Michael, remember? It’s Mi Hao, and Mi Hao put this wonderful comparison of supply chain excellence. There’s all about Michelin stars, restaurants, and cooking. So, I love that. It’s a great colab. Everyone can relate to food for sure.

 

Scott Luton (22:18):

Okay. So, I want to callout a couple of quick comments here. I want to welcome in Asmaa from Jordan. Great to have you here, Asmaa. We’d love to know what you’re thinking as we walk through these articles. John Martinez is back. Now, John is a fellow veteran that just got on with a company down in San Antonio, I believe. So, John, let us know. I may have gotten that wrong, let us know. Folks are good about letting us know when we get stuff wrong.

 

Greg White (22:40):

And they get plenty of opportunities.

Scott Luton (22:45):

John, I’m going to come back to your comment a second. Speaking of which, when you talked about copying from my paper, Davin says, not only will you have more wrong answers, we’ll have a lot more of the same wrong answers. Thank you for that, Davin. I appreciate that.

 

Scott Luton (23:00):

All right. So, back to the serious adult stuff. John says, “We are seeing lead times of up to 18 weeks for some of our materials. What would you recommend to combat not putting in bulk orders to remain as lean as possible? We are moving towards being a JIT, just in time manufacturing, operation.” So, is that a question or a comment in there? Would any of y’all want to just add a quick response? Paul?

Paul Noble (23:26):

Sure. We talk about it a lot. I just wrote an article in Forbes about this.

Scott Luton (23:33):

Wait a second, Paul. Wait a second. Two keynotes and now you’re in Forbes. Holy cow, man.

Greg White (23:36):

Not now. He’s been in Forbes forever.

Paul Noble (23:39):

Evangelizing. We got to talk about this stuff. Everything pre-pandemic was lean, lean, lean, right? And then, obviously, with the shift, it’s, “Hey, let’s get away from lean. Let’s get agile,” which is often buy more, inflated inventories, do those types of things. You can have both. And in the short term, certainly, have to get back on track. But as you’re planning and you’re looking at who you’re going to partner with, what technologies you’re going to adopt, it’s not one or the other. Prepare to be able to pull the lever when you need to would be my suggestion.

Kevin Heath (24:16):

Paul, one of the key things you talked about there is partnerships. And one of the things that we’ve seen and been able to do across our membership is really be that trusted source of supply, because it went back to the relationships. And we know that there’s going to be a new normal that comes at us. And we don’t want to be the person that was only there in the spot market. We want to be the person that’s there long-term. So, I think that combination of data, technology, planning, trusted relationships, getting good insights with your suppliers into what your day-to-day supply chain looks like is another opportunity for everybody.

Paul Noble (24:50):

Yeah. I agree. And would look at strengthening partnerships and adopting technologies that can get you there faster. Set it a couple of times over the last to both customers and partners. You can’t project your way out of this one. So, don’t think you can build it and take focus away from what you do as a business. Lean on partnerships, strengthen those partnerships. That’s the only way, again, we’re going to get through this.

Greg White (25:17):

It’s really about risk. We have to acknowledge where the risk is very precisely. Where in the past, we would just inflate inventories, everything. You have to identify where your real risk is, where in the supply chain it is, whether it’s with your supplier or with your shipper, with your lead time or the variability of that lead time. And do so for those items where you recognize that. Because you will have items that you may not need to change policy at all. But you will have items where you’ll need to change policy significantly in the days of treating everything the same there over, when they should’ve been over before. But, now, they are [inaudible].

Paul Noble (25:53):

Sometimes it takes something serious.

Kevin Heath (25:55):

Greg, I think you’re talking about risk, but I think it’s also understanding what problem you’re solving for. Because the problem we’re solving for today to get through the pandemic and to get supply chains back to an efficient point is so different in the solution that we need for whether it’s a chip shortage, a part shortage, or a labor shortage long-term. So, I think it’s a combination.

Greg White (26:14):

It’s extreme because we shut down the economy of the entire planet all at once. But, often, these sort of ends of the spectrum kind of activities, they give us a good insight. And I wouldn’t say we’re coming back to normal, but, look, let’s face it, supply chains have always been about risk. It’s always been about addressing, and preventing, and managing, and then assessing, and retargeting how we attack disruption. This has just been the biggest disruption in the history of the planet.

 

Paul Noble (26:46):

And it’s building that trust in untrustworthy data. Trust in each other across internally and external partners that I think might be a segue for you.

 

Greg White (27:00):

Well done. You could swap sits.

Scott Luton (26:58):

I want to get to Azaleah’s comment here, because partnership is where that last segment started. Azaleah says, “Partnerships are precisely what will keep small businesses alive from today forward. Some companies will do digital transformation better than others. But you can see how companies are piggybacking off others to transition into that more smoothly.” And, of course, one of y’all mentioned the lean on me, hey, Bill Withers has a seat in the table in global supply chain.

 

Scott Luton (27:30):

Okay. So, I forgot that segue but, Paul, thank you. I’m going to come back to the second article. There’s so much to leave that last article, that NPR piece was a great piece. And, folks, even if you’re not in supply chain, you can read that and you can really take away a lot of the common and unique constraints of these crazy times we’re living in, especially for supply chain practitioners.

 

Scott Luton (27:53):

But let’s move to the second story from Supply Chain Dive. Paul, this is right up your alley. You know, this is a tidal wave of data. As this article – which Supply Chain Dive is one of our favorites – Rudolf Leuschner – I think I got that right. Rudolf Leuschner from Rutgers, he says, “Hey, folks are no longer screaming for the data. They’re screaming because they have too much data.” So, Paul, give us your take on this article and give us a hot take after that.

Paul Noble (28:22):

All right. Obviously, data’s important. And I went back to the equation earlier, is that, you have more and more data available, and it’s not just about having the data. It’s about understanding the data and presenting it to people that are experts and can provide direction on how that can be utilized in the business. So, it’s this combination, right? Where there’s a part of the story that exists in systems today, but it’s about trust. And people just do not trust their data today. And so, as we look at more information coming in, more external signals to just your traditional materials or production schedules and things, and you’re looking at external signals, sensor data, weather data that can go into these traditional algorithms, and help build trust and help be more predictive, you have to look at it differently.

 

Paul Noble (29:18):

So, if you are turning to the technologies and processes of the past to get you to the future, you may need to look at things a little differently, because that’s what got you here. And we talk about that a lot, right? There is a place for master data management. There is a place for data governance. But it’s kind of a long road. You need to do it in parallel with things that will get you there quickly, or it’s going to be difficult to be as agile as you want to be.

Scott Luton (29:47):

And you mentioned the material truth a little while back. And you just said there at the start of your answer that folks don’t trust the data. Because everyone’s got their own spreadsheet. And leadership is trying to find that material truth or that data truth, whatever you call it to, make good decisions faster, oftentimes, in this day and age. So, I know you want to address that. But, Kevin, I want to get you in really quick. Based on what Paul just shared and based on this article about this tidal wave of data, any take from you?

Kevin Heath (30:17):

You know, to pull off a little bit of what we were talking earlier, OMNIA is a procurement organization. We probably are one of the largest aggregators of data in North America, if not the world – transactional data. And Paul and I have been working together collectively because it’s not a core competency of us, but we believe it really can help shape how we bring solutions to the workplace. And so, how do you bring it in? How do you contextualize it? How do you structure it so that it drives insights in a repeatable way? In many cases, I think we know this, people don’t trust it because they use the same language talking from different datasets. And so, it’s not just about getting the data, it’s understanding it and using it to solve problems in a way that create value.

 

Kevin Heath (31:15):

We got some business intelligence that you guys will see this week that we’re building on some technology platforms called OMNIA Connect, and discuss some machine learning behind it that Paul’s going to be working with us on in the future. So, we’re excited about that, but it’s hard. I mean, it’s really something that we have to lean on our partners for to help us understand it.

Scott Luton (31:34):

I love it. Man, getting Paul signed up to power some of this stuff. It’s like getting Rick Fleur to star in a wrestling movie.

 

Paul Noble (31:43):

I heard that. That’s good. That’s good.

 

Scott Luton (31:45):

All right. I know you’re dying to jump in here based on what Paul and Kevin –

Greg White (31:49):

Yeah. I think it’s important as the wealth or lack or the cleanliness of data is the analytics that we use. Because so many of the analytics, so much of the math that we talked about before, so much of the math that we use assume a lack of robust data. And, therefore, it can only use the data that was presented to it in 1689 when predictive analytics are created [inaudible].

 

Kevin Heath (32:18):

Let’s face it because I think it’s important.

 

Greg White (32:19):

Predictive analytics are not a new thing, right? And a lot of the calculations that are built around the top things that we use predictive analytics for, forecasting, and customer insights, and supply and inventory optimization, and things like that. Those calculations were built in 1689. At the latest, some of them in the late 1800. And you have to think about the data that was available then. This sold. End of discussion. We don’t know why it sold. We don’t know who bought it. Because it was written down, if it was even written down the sale. Now, we know who bought it, why they bought it, what path they came to buy it through the web, in a store, what ads did they pass on the way there. All of those things are rich and valuable to data that allows to discern better things like forecasting, demand forecast, which we’ve just described. And that’s going to require a change in the mathematics and analytics that are used to create this, the machine learning and artificial intelligence that you all use to analyze this data allows us to incorporate a lot of this data. Once we make it less of a mess, then you have to be able to incorporate this rich data to be able to come up with a result that you want.

Kevin Heath (33:35):

In our earlier piece that we talked about, it’s potentially a solution to prevent us from over buying, over procuring, overstocking things that you don’t necessarily need in the quantities that we feel like we need them today.

 

Paul Noble (33:47):

Again, it goes back to my 1:00 push, so we’re good to go. So, you want to know what you need, where you need it, when you need it. That’s the bottom line. There’s a ton of complexity on how we get there. But, Greg, you and I have talked about, I think, if you took a market share of the demand planning system that has the highest market share, it would be probably Microsoft Excel. And so, you’re doing all these decisions outside of the system. You can learn nothing of the why that went into that decision. And then, two, you combine that data and the why, it’s going to be –

 

Kevin Heath (34:23):

You don’t get a solution.

 

Paul Noble (34:24):

Yeah. You’re just going to be continuing to be reactive instead of being predictive. Everything is there to buy in, lay the foundation, and begin learning from those things at scale, like at a global level. And, again, it’s just the beginning of that. But you need to pull yourself out of Excel and how you exchange with your partners.

Greg White (34:45):

Not just Excel though. I mean, it sounds some of the legacy applications, I’m not going to name them here, but we know who they are. They still forecast the way that Excel does. They may do it more fast and they may manage the data better. But the truth is, the why is critical. That’s the thing that you’ve identified. In the past, it used to be how much and when. And then, we evolved to who, to some extent, who bought it. So, we’ve continued to evolve with that data, with the techniques that we use. But the why is the critical part of it. It is the most important part in the instance of predicting consumer sentiment or consumer action or demand. So, we have to understand what the real trigger points are. Not the ones we presume them to be in the past because we built calculations that lack the ability to really analyze data that we couldn’t capture before.

Scott Luton (35:34):

You’re ruining my day.

 

Greg White (35:36):

Did I steal something else [inaudible]?

Scott Luton (35:37):

No. But you’re saying I’ve got to learn new math. But I have [inaudible].

 

Greg White (35:40):

No. No. With these guys around, you don’t have [inaudible]. You have to learn new math though.

Kevin Heath (35:46):

One plus one will always equal two.

 

Greg White (35:48):

You just need to find new sources.

Scott Luton (35:49):

Okay. I feel a little better. I feel a little better.

Greg White (35:51):

You just need to find new sources because the old ways of doing things no longer apply. They simply don’t work.

Scott Luton (35:57):

The why is important. Of course, Simon Sinek, the world renowned bringing watch to the forefront of why, that’s where we have to start. So, much good stuff in that last five minutes from the three of y’all. I want to go back to the folks in the skybox. We’ve got some great comments here. Let’s see here. Lettie says, “Love to see you repping your Verusen shirt, Greg White. What a solid panel of people.” Hey, thanks, Lettie. And that is a good looking shirt. Let’s see here. Natalie says, “We are finding that the systems and mathematics of planning, demand and supply, are a great start, but the human evaluation is critical right now.” Excellent. Excellent point.

Greg White (36:35):

Right now and forever [inaudible].

Scott Luton (36:37):

Right. Let’s go to Farshad. Farshad says via LinkedIn, “Maybe we need to consider new types of forecasting techniques and inject COVID experiences.” Excellent point. Gregory, William Shakespeare supply chains is his nickname. Gregory says hello everyone on this great form. So, Gregory, hey, you got to chime in eloquently with a tape of what we’re talking about.

Greg White (36:59):

Maybe he should summarize what we’ve said so far today.

Scott Luton (37:01):

Yeah. We welcome that.

 

Greg White (37:02):

He’ll say it most eloquently.

 

Scott Luton (37:03):

Yes, he will. One more, so I’m going to go to a question here. Folks who love the questions, and when we have a home run panel like we have today, it’s a good time to pose and get some takes. So, this comes from Andre. So, Andre says, “After the pandemic, I am now using more time on sourcing for alternatives as a hospital purchaser in Norway. Can you suggest any good tools other than my best friend, Google?” We all have a best friend in Google, huh? “Plastic aluminum and chips shortages is affecting us throughout the supply chain.” Andre, we feel your pain. It’s a tough question to get in a short conversation. Kevin, I’ll start with you, from a sourcing procurement, any thoughts to pass to Andre here?

Kevin Heath (37:47):

Yes. So, we’ve started to leverage some tools out there around ZoomInfo and other applications. But, ultimately today with the chip shortage, everyone’s going to the same source. Or with these shortages, everyone’s going to Google to try to find [inaudible]. ZoomInfo is another tool that people could consider as finding resources. It also gives you contact information, name, and numbers.

Greg White (38:11):

I’m curious, since he asked this question and we’ve talked to a lot of your team members before, I know that you do consider who are the potential sources of certain products. I mean, is that something that when you build your supplier network, do you include, “This is a great primary. These are great secondaries,” that kind of thing?

Kevin Heath (38:31):

We do. We have tier one, tier two, tier three in multiple different variables of sources of supply. You know, we also have a sourcing desk. Dan Grant leads our sourcing desk team and handle stuff, Asia pack, Mexico areas. So, you know, OMNIA is also a great source to find those tier two, tie, three type solutions. But our suppliers have a pretty good network throughout. We’re having a conversation with one of our suppliers the other day on a forged plastic and looking for sources to really attack that for things that go into, like, electronic dispensers. And so, we see it all. We also have a community with our private sector, OMNIA Partners private sector, where if people are interested, they can reach out and touch base with us on OMNIA, send in questions and we can help them touch base with our sources [inaudible].

Greg White (39:20):

Do you do business in Norway?

Kevin Heath (39:22):

I’ll have to go check. I can.

Greg White (39:25):

Yeah. Right. I can tell you it’s a great place to stay.

Scott Luton (39:27):

So, as you all know and as Andre knows, Google or any one tool is not a magic wand. It takes a village, perhaps, in more ways than ever before –

 

Greg White (39:38):

Network.

 

Scott Luton (39:39):

Network, and also gathering all that market intel. So, you don’t just identify one potential new path or one potential new approach. It’s working with experts that can give you maybe a couple of different options. Paul, you were going to add something to Andre’s [inaudible].

Paul Noble (39:54):

Yeah. The piece that you touched on, Greg, that’s on top of mind for everyone is, don’t be overwhelmed. Start, can’t –

 

Kevin Heath (40:04):

You can’t solve it in one day. I think [inaudible].

 

Paul Noble (40:05):

Exactly. So, let’s look at your riskiest situations, tackle that first, and start working through. And you’re going to learn the right progression to turn that on so it doesn’t happen again. So, all the things we’ve been talking about, but just start. That’s a big thing.

Scott Luton (40:25):

Just start. So, what you’re saying there, Paul, is you got to tackle these problems like Greg White tackle that 56 ounce steak last night. So, Greg –

Greg White (40:33):

It was only ten, I think. Wasn’t it? Looking for verification [inaudible] ten ounce steak, just to be clear. But they did have a 32 ounce [inaudible]. We just couldn’t afford it.

Paul Noble (40:48):

You are from Kansas.

 

Greg White (40:49):

I know right.

Scott Luton (40:50):

We’re about to switch gears and kind of dive in a little deeper in this last segment to the relationship between Paul and Kevin, and also what’s going on with Verusen and OMNIA Partners. But before we do that, as we wrap on these two articles, this conversation, Greg, what else would you offer?

Greg White (41:06):

I’m going to say this the way I’ve always said it whenever we’ve had OMNIA on with us, is, if you don’t get help with OMNIA Partners, get help somewhere. Seriously, I really believe in this GPO model, because, as I said, it’s a huge leverage point. One of my neighbors used to be the CFO of Charter Hospitals, so I sold their tagline. So, there are too many things that need to happen too quickly for small companies to be able to learn. They need to be able to dive in where they can mitigate risks, where they can create network opportunities, as you’ve talked about. But we see this all the time in technology. And I think what we’re doing is we’re applying the way that technologies have started up in the past decade or two, to other businesses that aren’t necessarily technology related or at least that’s not their core business. And it’s a great model. We’ve seen it be incredibly successful, outsourcing development with other types of businesses. You can do the same thing and create a lot of leverage in your business to really accelerate your opportunity for [inaudible].

Paul Noble (42:14):

There are so many things in today’s supply chain and supply networks that you cannot control. So, control what you can control. And don’t overcomplicate it. Start, but keep it simple and make your way to the path. Because everyone knows the utopia they want to get to. And it’s a progression.

Scott Luton (42:34):

So, we got about 17 t-shirt-isms already, but one of them you said there, Paul, was, “Don’t be overwhelmed. You can’t solve it all today. Tackle your riskiest situations first. But just start.” And, folks, we’re live across five social channels right now. That was from our hardworking Twitter account, which I think Amanda is driving Twitter today. So, good stuff. You can tune in –

Greg White (42:56):

Is she? Okay. And not from a basement. At least not from her mom’s basement.

 

Paul Noble (43:05):

[Inaudible].

Scott Luton (43:05):

It’s not a [inaudible]. But we try to make it easy for y’all to engage wherever you’d like to. I want to share a couple of quick comments here and we’re going to dive into this last segment. Andre, thanks for tuning in today. Appreciate your questions and commentary. “Last two years, I have also unintentionally become a data scientist moving from Excel to Microsoft Power BI. We have so much available data in our hospitals, it’s like a candy shop of low hanging fruit. Sharing experiences in the same sector would be appreciated.” Hey, reach out to the folks in the skyboxes. And we’ll try to be that connector as best we can. So, Peter Bolle – Peter, great to have you back – he says, “Previous 39 minutes can be summarized as ‘Wake up, smell the coffee, get out of the box, creative with your solutions to meet future demands.'” Not current demands, future. And then, Kyle also agrees with Kevin and the rest of y’all, ZoomInfo is a great tool. Kyle, excellent podcast with the team over at FreightPlus. Y’all check it out. Lot of great content across social there. Great to have you here today, Kyle.

Greg White (44:07):

Can I just have one more [inaudible]?

 

Scott Luton (44:08):

Yeah. Please. Yeah.

 

Greg White (44:09):

So, one of the things that has been a hindrance for companies as well has been technology. We just barely touched on technology as a business model. But one of the sources in this article said, “When they can build an app that can help me do this and I can carry it in my pocket,”and this was the professor from Rutgers, Leuschner. And then, small and medium businesses will be able to do that. And that is part of the issue is, it’s a $5 to $10 million initiative right now. It needs to become a $5 to $10 a month initiative or something like that. And then, that will help. So, technology has to catch up. We’ve already acknowledged that we’re using old technology to try to use new data. And we need to simplify it so that the everyday business can actually leverage all of that value. So, there’s also steps we’ve got to do.

Scott Luton (45:01):

Yes. Lots of work. Lots of homework to do leaving this livestream, we’ll check it on Friday as we reconvene. Gregory says, “Thanks, Scott and Greg. Sorry I tuned in late. Evolving strategies should exist in the proper utilization of data capturing, intelligently designed tools implemented throughout supply chains/value chains to drive fluid and sustainable ecosystems.” How about that from the Shakespeare of supply chain?

 

Greg White (45:27):

That’s why he’s the Shakespeare of supply chain.

 

Scott Luton (45:30):

And then, one final comment, and I promise I’ll come to you next, Paul. Mohib is tuned in from air capital world, says, “Cool that you’re in Miami. I hope you get some supply of cool dad coastal shirts saying -”

 

Greg White (45:43):

I’m looking at Amanda and her look right now.

Scott Luton (45:44):

“- ‘This is my cool dad t-shirt.'” All right. Mohib, just for you, I sure will. And your ears may have been burning lately as Greg and I were talking about some of y’all’s recent conversations. Okay. So, as we turned down this home stretch here, Paul, I love what Verusen has got going on. We were just talking over dinner last night about our first conversation, forever godfathers in Atlanta. And our dear friend Darryl Lou, talk about a heavy hitter amongst donuts and data and a lot more. But, Paul, what’s going on with Verusen? Give us the latest news. And, also Kevin mentioned, and we know this as well, that y’all have collaborated for quite some time, shed some light on that too.

Paul Noble (46:25):

Yeah. Sure. So, exciting time. I mean, unique time in supply chain. I’ve talked to our team, and our investors, and our customers about the stars aligning for a supply chain technology business and the way we approach legacy systems and processes. But Verusen, we’re growing quickly based on the market. And what we do is we’re the simplest way to manage materials across your network. So, it’s getting data out of the Frankenstein, knowing it’s dirty, knowing it’s incomplete, making sense of it to drive value, whether that’s inventory, procurement intelligence, being able to send it to existing systems. That’s what we’re really about is, you know, adding that layer of intelligence, combining data with humans, and allowing that to drive fast results and scale. And so, we’ve grown very quickly over the last year and we’re looking to grow even more over the next 12, 18 months, not stopping anytime soon.

 

Paul Noble (47:26):

And it’s really important for us as we, obviously, partner with larger organizations that manage these materials, whether it’s indirect or direct and raw materials. It’s about having partners like Kevin and his team in OMNIA Partners. So, it’s bringing together those elements of network, allowing them to support one another. It goes down to, “I call it this. You call it that. It’s called this in this other part of the supply chain.” Getting it out of those systems and making sense of it is going to catalyze us and accelerate us.

Scott Luton (47:59):

Get to the truth. Get to the truth.

Paul Noble (48:03):

That’s right. And the way you handle the truth.

Scott Luton (48:05):

That’s great, man. And, really, Paul is very humble. Y’all been blowing up and it’s great to see. You got new headquarters. You joined Greg on TECHquila Sunrise and talked about the last round of fundraising, which is wonderful. Just pooling up, tons of demand in the marketplace. So, I love seeing that. And then, we’ve appreciated our collaboration together going back several years. So, thank you for that, Paul.

 

Scott Luton (48:29):

Kevin, based on what some of the things that Paul shared there and y’all’s relationship you all have, what it sounds like this next generation relationship, how exciting is that? Tell us about OMNIA Partners, what folks should know, and touch on y’all’s relationship.

Kevin Heath (48:43):

Paul and I have been on this data journey for a while. You know, he talks about the unique time in supply chain, we’ve been saying that for five years now. The last five years has been unique because technology is ever changing in this digital transformation. You know, these buzzwords get thrown around a lot, but it’s what’s driving this change.

 

Kevin Heath (48:59):

For OMNIA Partners, really, I think a lot of people think of us as a traditional GPO. We’re really trying to break that mold and have them think about us as a trusted advisor and extension of their organization, whether you’re a supplier or a member. We have trusted partners like Paul and many others that fit in our network. But our contract portfolio is expansive. It’s very large and it doesn’t stop there. You know, we help with data, we help with analytics, we help with assessments, benchmarking. We have a sourcing desk in our private sector business. So, for OMNIA Partners, it’s going through a tremendous transformation. It’s a company that has grown exponentially over the last five years. And a great place to really help, specifically it’s the small to medium business. We also have a large membership in the enterprise, and that’s going to really continue to grow in years to come. So, we’re excited.

Scott Luton (49:55):

I love that. Tons of growth.

Paul Noble (49:57):

Yeah. And Kevin has put a great team together since at OMNIA. A couple of years ago now we first met when he was at Georgia Pacific, but it’s really important on that factor of, you know, suppliers need certain things, manufacturing customers or end users need certain things. Tthey can achieve and get out of it what they want and lean on each other. And, actually, again, trust in the data. And that’s where we’re getting to.

Kevin Heath (50:22):

It’s a total value solution. I think traditionally people think of this as a low price market. But it’s transformed into a real solution-oriented organization that really has the ability to help companies grow their business and be more profitable.

Scott Luton (50:37):

Yeah. Excellent point. All right. Nurf says, “The extension of an organization should not be something companies are afraid of. People are stuck in the, ‘We’ve always done it this way’ mode. And that mindset needs to change.” Well said, Nurf. And great to see you here today. All right. So, one more thing, one distinction, too, because I know OMNIA Partners has a private practice and a public practice. And Sarah is just off-stage here. We appreciate all of her facilitation this week. And we should note that the LinkedIn feed for the private practice is chockful?

 

Greg White (51:16):

Chockful? Chock-a-block. It’s simply saying [inaudible].

 

Scott Luton (51:19):

It’s full of best practices resources, articles, you name it. Right?

 

Kevin Heath (51:22):

It is. It is. Yes. It’s omniapartners.com. You can follow us on LinkedIn, click on our private sector business. There’s a wealth of information there for you.

Scott Luton (51:32):

I’m so glad I’ve got you here instead of in the screen to correct me when I say something wrong.

Greg White (51:37):

Actually, [inaudible].

Scott Luton (51:42):

Ain’t that cool to be able to do that?

 

Greg White (51:40):

Yeah. I remember those days vaguely.

 

Scott Luton (51:42):

You can just email or a quick text after [inaudible], folks. We have two of our favorite people. So, Kevin, I really admire what you and the OMNIA Partners team is doing in general. But, also, here this week, investing, giving folks really the opportunity in-person to do what you and Paul both have been speaking to, which is kind of that market intel exchange. Certainly, you know, starting new relationships, investing current relationships. And, folks, as we’ve been talking, Greg, for months now, it’s been free for supply chain procurement pros to come down here and attend, right?

Greg White (52:14):

What is it we said? Learn, connect, grow, Miami. What else do you need?

Scott Luton (52:24):

And it’s not inexpensive. So, I appreciate what companies like OMNIA Partners –

Greg White (52:30):

And this is a fantastic facility. And just anyone –

Kevin Heath (52:32):

Hey, and a shoutout to you guys. This is not an easy thing for you guys to undertake. And greatly appreciate our partnership and friendship. So, thank you guys.

Scott Luton (52:40):

Vice versa. Thank you so much for that, Kevin. All right. So, Paul, we’re asking you how folks can connect with you for long. It’s going to be going through your agent, I believe.

Greg White (52:50):

Well, if they don’t know by now. We get new listeners and viewers everyday so we got to keep letting people know. Probably, some people are going, “I’ve got five notes here. Oh, yeah. That’s how.”

Scott Luton (53:04):

So, Paul, how can folks connect with you and the Verusen team?

Paul Noble (53:08):

A simple a website, verusen.com. Social channels @Verusen_AI. Call Greg White. Or directly with me at Paul J. Noble across, you know, pretty much every platform.

Scott Luton (53:23):

Wonderful. Wonderful.

Paul Noble (53:26):

We’re waiting to hear from you.

 

Greg White (53:27):

What does the J stand for, Paul?

 

Paul Noble (53:29):

Joseph.

 

Greg White (53:30):

That’s good. Okay. I was afraid you weren’t going to share. Some people won’t share their middle name.

 

Paul Noble (53:34):

That’s all good. It’s my grandfather.

Scott Luton (53:35):

That is cool. And so, that’s one little known fact about Paul, Paul Joseph. And then, secondly, y’all might not know that Paul was a collegiate scholarship basketball player.

 

Greg White (53:48):

Yeah. Don’t challenge him to a game.

 

Scott Luton (53:49):

Yeah. Don’t do that. But where’s your –

 

Paul Noble (53:52):

That’s about all I can do.

 

Scott Luton (53:53):

Does your range start when you step foot on the court? What’s your favorite shot?

 

Paul Noble (53:57):

Just get me in the building. No. Yeah.

 

Scott Luton (54:02):

Free corner? Inside? What do you do?

Paul Noble (54:04):

No inside game, man. I’m just floating around the three point line.

 

Greg White (54:08):

Noted.

Scott Luton (54:08):

These are noted. Two-on-two will commence here in about a couple hours.

 

Paul Noble (54:12):

Well, I haven’t done that in many years.

 

Scott Luton (54:15):

So, one last comment here and we’re going to be wrapping up here shortly. I hate to do it. I really enjoyed the conversation we’ve had with Paul, and Kevin, and Greg. But, Peter, I want to share his comment here. Because Peter retired as a strategic procurement professional, especially in the aviation industry. And he says, “GPO equals group purchasing organization. And, yes, it does work with great benefits. Been doing that since 2000 leveraging Aeroexchange out of Dallas for airlines.” And Peter, I think, tuned into the webinar we had.

Greg White (54:47):

Yeah. He has some really great insights into procurement generally, but GPO specifically. And he had tremendous success with it.

Scott Luton (54:55):

That’s right. A lot of good feedback about the OMNIA Partners team. Okay. So, folks, I’ve enjoyed this conversation too much, maybe.

 

Greg White (55:03):

Probably a little too much.

 

Scott Luton (55:04):

It’s good to be back in-person.

 

Greg White (55:07):

It’s good to see you in-person. And you guys too.

Paul Noble (55:11):

Yeah. Great energy.

Scott Luton (55:11):

Nurf says he’s a basketball player too. “I think we just became best friends, Paul.”

Greg White (55:17):

And he’s 6’7″ though, so you’re going to have drive him.

 

Paul Noble (55:19):

Join the Verusen squad.

 

Greg White (55:21):

Yeah. And you’re going to have to drive him a couple of times to keep him honest on the perimeter.

 

Paul Noble (55:24):

Shooters shoot.

Scott Luton (55:27):

Nurf and Peter are challenging both of y’all to two-on-two. So, can we make that happen pay-per-view?

Kevin Heath (55:32):

[Inaudible] Nashville. Nashville. Let’s do it.

 

Scott Luton (55:34):

All right. So, folks, don’t forget to connect with Kevin Heath with OMNIA Partners and Paul J. Noble – Paul Joseph Noble – of Verusen.

 

Paul Noble (55:45):

Only my mother calls me that.

Greg White (55:45):

And only when you’re in trouble.

 

Paul Noble (55:48):

That’s right.

Scott Luton (55:50):

All right. So, Greg, before I wrap, what has been your favorite thing that’s come out of this conversation of the last hour?

Greg White (55:55):

I think I’ve used this word a whole lot, but I think it’s the leverage that this really provides to small businesses. First of all, full disclosure, adviser and shareholder in Verusen, just a huge fan of OMNIA Partners, frankly. But I mean, I think that OMNIA is bringing technology companies, and sales resources, and other unique solutions to companies as part of a group purchasing organization is really critical. And it shows their forward-looking a position in the marketplace. And it’s an absolutely critical thing. Look, we may or may not have a small business right here. And we use a lot of resources outside of our core competencies to help us become better.

 

Greg White (56:37):

And one of them is sitting behind the camera’s right there. Joshua, thank you very much, first of all. And, of course, our beloved spouses and business partners also sitting off-camera. So, I think it’s important to understand how you make a company successful and do so rapidly. I really liked some of the comments about it is life or death for small businesses right now. And the world is changing very rapidly. We have to look at that pace and we have to match that pace in order to maintain growth as a small business.

Scott Luton (57:11):

Well said. Well said. Charles Heether, great to see you tuned in here today. And thank you, Dr. Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman says, “Super amazing listening experience here today. intelligence, great vibes, and content here.” Appreciate your insights all, Paul, and Kevin, and George, your positive perspective. Thank you for that. And make sure you check out, Rhonda’s got some excellent – how would you – kind of mental wellness type of content. Some great pictures of out in Arizona.

 

Greg White (57:38):

Rock climbing and hiking. She is definitely getting well.

 

Scott Luton (57:43):

That’s right. Folks, one more thing here. So, whether you’re tuned into the live version of this or you’re hearing this on our podcast replay, get ready. We’ve got two interviews taking place on the exhibition floor later in this event. We’re going to be talking about total cost ownership and how that’s evolved. We’re going to be talking about labor channel challenges. Holy cow. Raise your hand if that’s not impacting. You won’t see any hands raised. And a lot more challenges with some members of the OMNIA Partners teams. So, y’all stay tuned for that. All right. Greg, we ready to call it a wrap?

 

Greg White (58:13):

I guess we have to.

 

Scott Luton (58:14):

[Inaudible] the rest of the afternoon.

Greg White (58:16):

There’s a few good sessions that I want to get some eyes on and then there may or may not be a pool across [inaudible].

Kevin Heath (58:23):

I heard there’s a Monte Carlo night that you might be joining.

 

Greg White (58:26):

Yeah. That’s right. I heard that.

Scott Luton (58:28):

Shaken, not stirred. Okay. With that said, great to have you all here with us.

 

Greg White (58:34):

[Inaudible].

 

Scott Luton (58:35):

Yes. We’re talking about [inaudible] last night? Great to have y’all with us here today on the first in-person Supply Chain Buzz. We look forward to doing a lot more of these. Big thanks to our host, OMNIA Partners. Of course, y’all check them out. Check out at lot of thought leadership’s going to be coming out of Connections 2021. Be sure to connect also with the Verusen team, the heavy hitting Verusen team. One of our favorite repeat guests here at Supply Chain Now.

Scott Luton (58:57):

If you like conversations like this, check us out at supplychainnow.com or wherever you get your podcasts from. But whatever you do today, take a page out of Paul and Kevin’s book. And whatever you do, just start, just start. Do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. I did that quick.

 

Greg White (59:12):

That was quick. Do it again.

 

Scott Luton (59:14):

Do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (59:22):

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.

 

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Kevin Heath serves as the COO for OMNIA Partners, the largest and most experienced organization in group purchasing. As COO, Mr. Heath is responsible for the supplier relations, business development and sourcing of each subsidiary of OMNIA Partners. Mr. Heath joined OMNIA Partners after a 20+ year career with Georgia-Pacific.  He most recently served as senior vice president and chief procurement officer responsible for sourcing and procurement of all direct and indirect products and services for Georgia-Pacific. Previously, Mr. Heath was vice president strategic sourcing and procurement for MRO & Capital, responsible for the sourcing of process equipment, engineering and construction services, and maintenance repair and operating supplies for their manufacturing operations. Mr. Heath also held various leadership positions with Georgia-Pacific’s engineering and maintenance services and manufacturing operations.  Prior to Georgia-Pacific, Mr. Heath worked for Domtar Industries and Mead Publishing. Mr. Heath was named one of the top 10 Supply Chain Leaders to Watch in 2020. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

Paul Noble is Founder and CEO of Verusen, a technology firm that uses AI to predict inventory and harmonize data organizations in a variety of industries. Verusen automatically integrates to your ERP and disparate data sources — single or multiple systems, one or many locations. Then, the platform’s Artificial Intelligence learns from your own inventory experts and encodes their knowledge to provide seamless inventory harmonization. With Verusen, you get automatic naming and categorization with 99% reliability at scale — a true material master. Paul’s passion for entrepreneurship has always shaped his approach for go-to-market strategies and tools, which was the driving force behind pursuing his dream of launching Verusen to improve the availability of easy-to-use technology for optimizing the supply chain for materials and MRO. Learn more about Verusen here: https://www.verusen.com/

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Greg White

Principal & Host

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Jamin Alvidrez

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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.

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Amanda Luton

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 singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Jada Carson

Marketing Coordinator

Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back!  She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator.  Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

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.

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