The Supply Chain Buzz is Supply Chain Now’s regular Monday livestream, held at 12 noon ET each week. This show focuses on some of the leading stories from global supply chain and global business, always with special guests – the most important of which is the live audience!
In this episode of the Buzz, Scott and Greg welcomed special guest, Ochsner Health Chief Supply Chain and Support Services Officer, Regine Villain. Listen in as Scott, Greg, and Regine discuss:
Welcome to Supply Chain. Now the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from Those Making Global Business happen right here on supply chain now.
Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s livestream, Gregory, how you doing today?
Greg White (00:41):
I’m doing good. Excuse me if I keep looking back and forth like this because I just set up my new studio and you’re over here.
Scott Luton (00:49):
Greg White (00:50):
Y’all are over here <laugh>. So I, I haven’t quite gotta the laptop right in front of the camera. So if I’m looking over here, I’m looking at you.
Scott Luton (01:01):
Okay. <laugh>. And so you’re not telling me no is what you’re saying. You’re not telling me No, you’re just looking at different screens. Okay, well you look <laugh>, you look good and you sound good. And folks, speaking of good, good, good. And great. This is a great show here. Teed up here today, right Greg?
Greg White (01:16):
Scott Luton (01:18):
We’ve got the buzz back with you every Monday, as y’all know, 12 in the Eastern time where we walk through a variety of news developments across global business, across global supply chain, you name it. And Greg, today we’ve got a big, big, big guest that’s gonna be joining us about 12:25 PM Eastern Time. Raje Valle, the chief supply chain and support services officer at Ochsner Health System is back with this. Greg, are you ready for this?
Greg White (01:43):
I’m ready. Are they ready? That’s
Scott Luton (01:46):
<laugh>. So as many folks know, we’ve had a really popular first season of a healthcare supply chain leadership series here at Supply Chain Now and regime was part of that, which we’re very grateful for. And so you’re gonna have a big healthcare flavor here on the buzz here today, Greg. And you know, I think it’s fair to say, Greg, that that’s probably a space that more folks should better understand in supply chain and elsewhere. Would you agree with that, Greg?
Greg White (02:10):
Well, your life depends on it. So I’d say yes.
Scott Luton (02:12):
Excellent point. So stay tuned about 1225 regime will be joining us and then throughout the show we’re gonna be tackling three stories on the front end and then learning more from regime’s perspective before we call it a day. And Greg, if folks are listening to this podcast replay, which we drop usually every Friday morning, you ought to consider joining us live on LinkedIn or YouTube or other social media channel of your choosing because Greg, we’d love to hear from these folks, right?
Greg White (02:36):
Because who listens to a podcast without seeing the podcast or something <laugh>.
Scott Luton (02:41):
Alright, so Greg, as always, you know, we’d love to, to help folks. We love sharing resources with folks and we’ve got a couple we wanna share with y’all on the front end here today. So, Greg, over the weekend we dropped with that said, which is our almost weekly LinkedIn newsletter, well I guess it hits LinkedIn also hits everybody’s email inbox. And we talked about a wide range of things and we really focused Greg on a lot of maybe some news stories that aren’t on people’s radar. It’s kinda what we do here today. Did you happen to check that out, Gregory?
Greg White (03:13):
Yeah, I did. And some interesting news. Yeah.
Scott Luton (03:18):
Greg White (03:18):
Yeah, but go, go, go, go, go up. Please go. Please go. You go first. You go first. You go first. <laugh>.
Scott Luton (03:23):
Well, the thing that I love, the quote that we featured up at the top, and it’s, I think it’s very related to news, is this is one of my faves from Mark Twain quote, it ain’t what you don’t know that gets in trouble. It’s what you know for sure. That just ain’t so end quote. If that’s not more relevant today than ever before, perhaps Greg.
Greg White (03:43):
I like that. Yeah, mark Twain was really genius in a sort of southern accent kind of way. I mean, I like the way he used that language, right? That a farmer would use to tell you just genius things. Agreed. His agreed observations on the world astounding.
Scott Luton (04:03):
And he kept it simple and funny and truthful. I think he was, I was being honest, his years perhaps I heard he wrote some good books. Greg, I don’t know. I, you know, <laugh>. So folks check out with that said, let us know what you think about be one of the 20 3001 80 subscribers. Give us your feedback. We thrive off that.
Greg White (04:22):
I love the precising in your numbers <laugh>. Well, you know,
Scott Luton (04:28):
As we put these graphics together each week, it’s just so happens that the sub number is conveniently located right at the top of the newsletter. So it’s been neat to see that continue to grow. Okay, Greg, I really wish as we dive into the first of three stories before we welcome on our wonderful guest Eugene here today. I really wish we had more good news, but it’s been a, a really rough time for many folks right? In industry and outside of industry for that matter. And we’re gonna start with this convoy story. So Greg, let me share this and I can’t wait to get your take here. Everyone’s talking about the demise of Convoy. Sadly, as reported by our friends here at GeekWire, the Seattle based logistics tech startup is closing its primary operations and laying off all but a handful of its employees. Last week, Dan Lewis, the co-founder and CEO of Convoy sent a memo to the organization that included the phrase, today is your last day at the company.
Scott Luton (05:21):
Just back in 2022. Though it was a much brighter time, convoy had raised $260 million based on a valuation of 3.8 billion. In April, 2022, the organization announced that it had expected to surpass a billion dollars in annual revenue. But it wasn’t long after that that unfortunately the layoffs began. The company would eventually downsize from about 1500 team members to about 500 before, of course closing of its primary operations last week. Now folks are pointing to a variety of factors, of course that incredibly challenging freight market out there to a lack of an ability for convoy to be able to keep up with innovative features as many of its competitors out in the market. And some Greg even point how Convoy had a conflict amongst leadership, whether it was a logistics company or a tech company. Nevertheless, a lot of folks are out of a job and we’ll be looking for new opportunities. So let’s all see if we can help out however we can. So Greg, I’m really looking forward to hearing your take on Convoy.
Greg White (06:19):
Well, let’s start with some good news on that front. Slink recently, remember Slink?
Scott Luton (06:24):
Greg White (06:25):
Slink. Chris Kirchner, the founder and CDO was recently indicted by the feds for defrauding investors out of $25 million. So hopefully he’ll be going to prison. <laugh>. Um, he recently slunk out from under his rock and mentioned that Slink will be shutting down operations as well. You know, they took the company away from him and tried to save it, but it was too late. Mm-Hmm. So the good news is the real crooks hopefully are going to jail
Scott Luton (06:52):
Greg White (06:52):
And indicted by federal government crooks who wins 98% of their cases by the way. So,
Scott Luton (06:57):
Greg White (06:57):
Only a 98% chance that he goes to prison
Scott Luton (07:00):
Greg White (07:00):
Is guilty <laugh>. But we’ll let the court sort that out. So that’s good news. There are real criminals, right? This was a monumental mistake. Horrible management. Incredibly poor judgment on the investors because as it turns out, digital brokerages are just brokerages.
Scott Luton (07:19):
Greg White (07:20):
I could have easily ended the conversation of whether they were a logistics company or whether they were a tech company when they started the company. They were a logistics company. I’ve been pitched by dozens and dozens and dozens of these digital brokerages. And it’s easy to make the distinction that they are brokerages because they all fall in love with the incredible fees that you get for
Scott Luton (07:42):
Greg White (07:43):
And then they try to, excuse me, attach technology to it. But sometimes it’s proprietary, which is good and sometimes isn’t. And we’ve seen the not complete collapse, but the distinct fall of, you know, even billion dollar investments. Well I think Convoy did have a billion dollars invested, right? That’s right. Mm-Hmm. Like Flexport. And it turns out they are just brokerages with a lot of reports and technology and some of them are able to create intellectual property from it, not just pile reports and things on it. And that gives them a bit of a distinction. But the truth is, the brokerage is such a heavy draw in terms of revenue that it’s easy to get distracted when you’re going through this. So, you know, the real answer, a tech company would be a marketplace, it would not be a brokerage as such. It would be acting in a disruptive fashion instead of the 10 to 40% fees that brokers take. It would be taking a small transaction fee just like other marketplaces have that if disrupted businesses. But that is incredibly difficult to execute. So it’s a tragedy. Oh, and by the way, Scott, they also got a hundred million dollars in venture debt at the same time. So they really burned through $365 million in just over 18 months.
Scott Luton (09:00):
Greg White (09:01):
That’s $2 million a month. No, no, that’s $20 million a month. They burned 20 million Is, am I doing the math right?
Scott Luton (09:08):
I, I need to break out my calculator. It’s a lot of,
Greg White (09:12):
They burned through 20 million.
Scott Luton (09:13):
Greg White (09:14):
It’s a tragedy for the people and some of those who are actual tech people, they’ll find jobs and of course those on the brokerage side, there’s still a ton of brokerage business out there. So they’ll be able to land somewhere. But you know, I chalk this up to one of those FOMO moments in investment where they investors who didn’t know anything about the industry and frankly the founders didn’t either. Dan Lewis didn’t know anything about logistics and thought they understood what the disruptive force was that they were applying, but they didn’t.
Scott Luton (09:45):
I really appreciate your take and to all of our audience out there, hey, reach out to the convoy members in your network. Connect with them. What a tragedy as Greg put it there. So we’ll see. I think they kept a small contingent to see if they can find some strategic options, Greg, for the company. But yeah,
Greg White (10:03):
Strategic options means selling off the assets the company will cease operations is what I read. And it was about eight people I think that they kept. Wow. So it’s just liquidate whatever’s left and you know, wind it down. Yep. It’s not uncommon. I’ve had to do it myself as matter
Scott Luton (10:20):
Greg White (10:20):
Yeah. It’s not a pleasant day.
Scott Luton (10:22):
No, no it is not. Well hey, sending good vibes out to all the convoy team members and we’ll see if we, they to Greg’s point can find new opportunities quickly. Alright. I wish we had some better news with our second story, but you know,
Greg White (10:36):
We do remember Chris Kirchner could be gonna prison.
Scott Luton (10:39):
Well, <laugh> news. Well you know what, we shouldn’t glaze over that. That’s right. It’s a good point. ’cause you saw that early on, you know, when bad actors do bad things and nefarious teams with other people’s money, it’s good that they’re held accountable. I agree
Greg White (10:50):
With that. Hundred percent. It really is. All joking aside, it is an opinion aside, Chris, because I’m, I’m gonna get a nasty grant from you, but you don’t have a leg to stand up. All joking aside, you know, it is good when the truly bad get their comeuppance because, because like Dan Lewis just made a mistake, a monumental and very impactful mistake and so did the investors. But just a mistake. Right. He did not have any ill will or, you know, didn’t take advantage of people or defraud them or just, you know, at the very least. Right. Right.
Scott Luton (11:20):
Let’s, I know we throw a bunch of numbers out there, you know, with layoffs and stuff, but man, each one of those numbers are, is someone’s job and career and family.
Greg White (11:29):
You know, Scott though there is, I mean I think a lot of these people will land elsewhere and there is a certain sense of freedom because I know a few folks, we know a few folks at Convoy and they felt the heavy weight of what was going on there even before it was apparent. Right. And just having that heavy weight off of your psyche is, is freeing. Yes. So their eyes will be wide open. They’ll go into their next business, much, much more aware. They’ll ask the right questions. Right. They’ll dig a little bit deeper and they’ll be better for it. And frankly they’ll be great resources for the companies that they go to because of it.
Scott Luton (12:04):
Hmm, excellent point. Excellent points. Let’s shift gears. Let’s talk about this housing market. You know, some of y’all, a handful may be asking, well why are we talking housing on the supply chain buzz or the buzz or any, well it is critically important the housing market for our economy, depending on what numbers you look at. Anywhere from 18 to 2220 4%. Wow. So let’s talk about, uh, the housing market. So as reported here by CNBC, it was painful, but now Greg, it is just plain ugly for the first time since 2000 mortgage rates have hit a whopping 8%. Now it’s a bit of a perfect storm. And as we’ve always <laugh> put out there, I am not an economist but I’m gonna play one here on this live stream. It’s a bit of a perfect storm. Rates up, prices up, but sales down and supply down. Now on that last point about supply, Mm-Hmm
Greg White (12:52):
Scott Luton (12:52):
Greg, did you know that the great recession and all those ensuing repercussions caused many home builders to build less homes over the last 10, 12 years. Which is one of the primary causes of the lack of supply. And according to the US Census Bureau, new housing starts in September, 2023. We’re up about 7% over the previous month, but still down over seven percentage points year over year when compared to September, 2022. So they’re not making up that ground from a supply chain standpoint though, here’s a little bit of good news. The good news is that home builders are reporting far less problems when it comes to getting what they need to build houses. However, there still seems to be challenges, especially associated with procuring electrical equipment like switch gears, transformers, you name it. Also one last data point here, Greg sales of previously owned homes in September, 2023. So just last month where they dropped to the slowest pace since October, 2010, 13 years ago. So Greg, your thoughts on what we’re seeing in the housing market?
Greg White (13:55):
Yeah, it’s crazy. It is now 52% more expensive to buy a home than to rent one.
Greg White (14:03):
And that is higher than during the great re recess when it was only 35% more expensive to buy a home than to rent one. And all of those combinations of issues that you talked about make it one of the worst times to buy a home in history. In fact, I would strongly suggest that if you’re in the market, just rent, right? Rent right now. My oldest daughter, they sold their house at the peak, went and rented. The other thing, this is another dynamic in the rental industry, Scott, is rents are now not rising as high or, and in some cases falling. And both of my daughters, my oldest and my middle daughter, both rent and both of them had just minor increases to their rent.
Scott Luton (14:45):
Greg White (14:46):
And probably won’t go up after the next six or 12 months, whatever they renewed for
Scott Luton (14:51):
Greg White (14:51):
The market there is softening as well. You know, as people batten up the hatches and tighten their belts and all those other cliches that we use to talk about getting sensible with our money.
Scott Luton (15:01):
Yeah. Surviving Gino says the only demand is in new builds where you can buy down the interest. All other is dead per Gino’s family in real estate is what they’re telling him.
Greg White (15:12):
So, you know, you know, we have home and a resort.
Scott Luton (15:14):
Greg White (15:15):
And what some home sellers are doing is buying down the mortgage a couple of points on behalf of the buyer.
Scott Luton (15:22):
Greg White (15:22):
To get them to buy. So, I mean, just at the same time, I just saw a house listed for $2,461 a square foot. Wow. So, I mean it’s a resort <laugh>
Scott Luton (15:37):
That’s gracious. That’s outta my zip code. It’s outta my universe there, Greg. Yeah,
Greg White (15:40):
Right. I didn’t even know, I never even thought about paying that much a square foot. Right. But there are some crazy dynamics and when the market gets crazy like this, you know if you can, but only if you can let it swirl a little bit and settle out. But I’m telling you, not an economist, never been an economist. Do have <laugh>, I have a minor in economy, in economy economics, but this is my disclaimer. Right. Every bit as often as they’re, which is all so seriously should consider renting.
Scott Luton (16:14):
Yes. Great advice. We’re gonna keep our finger on the pulse of this market for sure. Y’all check out this, this interesting read really takes a deep dive, touches on a variety of things that Greg just shared as well. So check it out from our friends at cnbc. Couple quick comments before we hit one more story and folks hang on. ’cause the good news is this great guest we got coming probably about five minutes from now or so, David Glover says, and yet most salaries haven’t caught up with this increase. It’s crazy what could be afforded many years ago versus today. Well said Mary Kate says, those buy downs that Greg referenced very common now in fact extraordinarily common versus kind of the track record of how they’ve always been used. So great point there.
Greg White (16:53):
That’s a signal that the market is cooling. It’s just another negotiating tactic. Just like instead of lowering the price. Yep.
Scott Luton (17:00):
Greg White (17:00):
Buy that more. Or maybe even in addition to.
Scott Luton (17:03):
Yeah. Well I wish we could see with our third story as we make this little segue into our third story before our guests here today. I wish we could say that we could all sink our teeth into comfort food during these challenging times, but that we’re, we’re seeing some historic prices there as well. So let’s talk butter for a second. Simply put, according to our chief culinary analyst, Amenda Luton butter is ridiculous. <laugh>. That’s right. As supported by our friends at supply chain diet butter prices have hit record highs in October, of course just in time for the holiday baking season. Now many are pointing to market challenges. For example, milk supplies down. So that’s of course a key ingredient in butter. Imports are down demand for buttercream and other food manufacturing is up and butter production in August was at about a five year low. Hmm. So Greg, your thoughts on what we’re seeing here in, of all places the butter market,
Greg White (17:57):
This one really hits home for me because my wife, her family owned a bakery distributorship and they got me hooked on buttercream icing, which is by the way, the best way to make icing only way. And now butter is expensive. So it’s a real problem. <laugh>, when it affects me, then it’s a real problem.
Scott Luton (18:14):
Greg White (18:16):
No, I mean this is, you know, this is cyclical. These kind of things happen as, can you remember all the reasons that we have milk production down and all that sort of thing. But we know we have had that down and it takes a while for these things to come home to roost. So it happens frequently with these commodity items. You know what I was thinking about on this, Scott, is it used to happen and people just said, oh, butter has gotten expensive. Commodities do that. Well, I think now we’re starting to see how much the supply chain plays into that, how much impact supply chain has on it. And yet there isn’t much that you can do from an operational standpoint of the supply chain.
Scott Luton (18:58):
Greg White (18:58):
Right. So, you know, it’s not, it’s not that the trucks are too expensive that are hauling milk around, it’s that there isn’t enough of it. So
Scott Luton (19:08):
Yes, kind of reminds me of what you shared there of another Mark Twain is, I think this is Mark Twain. Uh, everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. It’s
Greg White (19:17):
Mark Twain. Yeah, it
Scott Luton (19:18):
Is Mark Twain. Thank you <laugh>. So
Greg White (19:20):
Everybody talks about the butter, but
Scott Luton (19:23):
Ain’t nothing, ain’t nothing we can do. Ain’t nothing T squared. He says greed, deflation ain’t gone nowhere.
Greg White (19:30):
Well, okay, so let’s talk about that. I mean, that’s gonna also increase milk production and you know, the higher prices, I mean this is the ebb and flow of, of economics, right? The higher prices will cause people to produce more and of course they’ll overproduce and of course then they’ll bring the prices dramatically down.
Scott Luton (19:49):
Greg White (19:50):
Not down as fast as their costs go down, but it’ll go down. It’s funny how fast costs go up and how slow
Scott Luton (19:58):
Down shoots up and slows down. All right, <laugh>. So good stuff there. We got a great guest I want to introduce here today a great repeat guest, a hall of fame guest. Maybe we’ll touch on that here in just a moment. Oh, <laugh>. I want to introduce and welcome in our friend Raje Valle, chief Supply Chain and support services officer with Ochsner Health System. Je, how are you doing?
Regine Villain (20:25):
I’m doing good. I was just on my way to get some butter <laugh> <laugh>
Scott Luton (20:31):
Stock up now, or maybe, I don’t know, maybe don’t stock up now. But regardless, it is so great to have you back. We really enjoyed our sit down a few months back. Congrats on some of the recognition that we alluded to a minute or two ago. Maybe we’ll touch on that in a minute. But Greg, what we uncovered about regime is y’all and maybe the three of us, but certainly y’all two have something big in common. You both love the travel. So regime, before we get into some topics related to healthcare industry and some other things, tell us first over the last year or so, what’s been one of your favorite places to visit
Regine Villain (21:03):
By far in the last year, actually I spent about three weeks in Japan and it was absolutely phenomenal. We traveled up, down, you know, south, north, east, west in Japan. As you guys know, it’s not a big island, but such an amazing culture and great food. Unfortunately, I came back with a very expensive habit, which is Wagyu beef <laugh>.
Greg White (21:31):
Oh boy. And and once you’ve had Japanese Wagyu, I’m telling you, don’t even bother with New Zealand.
Regine Villain (21:39):
Oh gosh, you’re speaking my language, Greg. My wallet is not happy. <laugh>. Yeah, I’m just, you know, I found myself actually to a Japanese farm and ordering Wagyu. The good news is I’ve only ordered like once and I said I was gonna do it once every six months because it’s quite expensive. But I tell you, it is just phenomenal. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, once you taste that Japanese Wagyu, like Greg said, there’s no going back. There’s
Greg White (22:08):
No shaking it. Yeah.
Scott Luton (22:11):
So three weeks in Japan. Yes. What a wonderful, wonderful trip. Was that
Greg White (22:15):
All vacation or was there some work in there? Did you make an excuse to
Regine Villain (22:19):
Well, I mean this with work, when I’m on vacation, there’s always time for me to catch up with work. But frankly it was vacation. But I did, I did put in work and the time difference makes it a little bit easy. Mm-Hmm. Yeah, yeah,
Greg White (22:33):
Yeah. You’re half a day ahead of this. That’s
Regine Villain (22:35):
Right. That’s correct. <laugh>.
Scott Luton (22:38):
I bet next time you come back, we’re gonna have to take a deep dive into that trip. Three weeks in Japan really. Sounds wonderful. All right, so Greg, and for the folks maybe that hasn’t caught you, some of your other interviews for their context, your little information about Ochsner Health system and, and your role there.
Regine Villain (22:55):
Sure. Again, thank you Scott for having me. Since the last time I’ve been following you, I just love your nuggets of information, your tidbits of wisdom. It’s just really phenomenal. So I’m really honored to be back. So those of you who don’t know me, my name Isin Vile and I am the Chief Supply Chain and Support services Officer at Ochsner Health in, uh, Louisiana. Primarily. However, Ochsner is the leading not-for-profit healthcare system in the Gulf South. So we are in more than one state. We are practically in three states, Louisiana primarily. We also have facilities in Mississippi and a little bit in Alabama. We are a 48 hospital owned, managed and affiliated and some specialty hospitals as well. And about 38,000 employees. And we are basically serving patients in every state in the country. And also since, you know, we talk about travel being something that’s an anchor for me, I believe we cover about 62 or 63 countries in the world where we receive patients. Wow.
Scott Luton (24:09):
Wow. So if that, Greg does an impression, I think what’s really cool that came out in the interview is some of the really forward-thinking innovative things that regime did, especially in the earliest days of the pandemic. You’ll have to check out our episode to dive deeper into that. And Greg, as we had uncovered and talked a little bit about in the green room regime has been enshrined into a hall of fame for her. You know, we, we have our two decade rule around here. We don’t break the two decade rule. Right. But for all the mountains you and your teams have been moving. That really had to be some really cool recognition there regime.
Regine Villain (24:42):
Absolutely. I mean, it was a surprise. Certainly I’m not usually at a loss for words, but when the call came that I was actually nominated and received the award, it’s the AM award for bellwether. So those of you who don’t know about bellwether, it’s basically it’s, you talk about the hall of fame of supply chain, especially in healthcare. This is a place to be and to be seen and to know people. And so when you get that call and that nod, that is an industry recognition. It’s not one of those things that is sought after where you have to vote and all of that. It is truly something that comes from colleagues. And so it was quite an honor to receive that.
Scott Luton (25:26):
Wow. Uh, Greg, your response, your thoughts based on the footprint regime just shared and that incredible recognition
Greg White (25:33):
Wow. Was my response because I mean, that’s really in impressive, it’s interesting that it almost sounds like a lifetime achievement award. I mean, it can’t be a lifetime achievement award for you. Yeah, yeah. Too young. But let’s call it an early to mid career achievement award. That is correct. All of that. Okay.
Regine Villain (25:48):
Greg White (25:49):
So yeah, I think that’s fantastic. Look, there are a ton of practitioners out there doing fantastic things. I think whenever we can highlight folks like you and all of the goodness that you’re doing for supply chain and for healthcare, which, you know, Scott asked me, why should people care about healthcare supply chain? It’s because it could save your life. That’s correct. It’s a heavy burden. And uh, really appreciate that. In fact, I’ve worked with healthcare companies in the past and they, like you do take that very seriously when it has to be there, it has to be there. Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. <affirmative> because somebody’s life is probably at stake. So
Regine Villain (26:28):
Not probably somebody’s life is at stake. And that’s really al true north. That’s my true north when it comes to anything and everything that I do. And you know, in my chair, everything, every call, every request, every email that comes is attached to somebody’s life. And so it’s an amazing, awesome and scary responsibility and, you know, take that very seriously.
Scott Luton (26:54):
Regine Villain (26:54):
And of course I wouldn’t be able to do that without my team and the wonderful team that I have. And so I say all that recognition and all of those things, the accolades that come my way, it’s really a testament of their hard work. Mm-Hmm. Because they really wouldn’t be able to do all of that without them.
Scott Luton (27:11):
Well said. All right, so let’s shift gears for a second. ’cause we’re gonna try to help our global audience really better understand, especially some of the supply chain trends or challenges in the healthcare industry perhaps that they should know more about. So whether it’s two or three things regime, what are a couple of topics that come to your mind that more folks should know about, especially supply chain folks?
Regine Villain (27:32):
I gotta tell you, I am sure in other industries, outside healthcare, there’s a lot of conversation around technology, specifically ai.
Scott Luton (27:44):
Regine Villain (27:45):
AI has become, you know, the buzzword, right? And so it’s no different in healthcare supply chain where we are increasingly relying on advanced technology for efficiency and accuracy. And of course this includes the use of AI for predictive analytics, blockchain for secure and transparent transactions, automation for repetitive task. And all of those things are things that we deal with on a daily basis with supply chain. And so when you think about the advance of AI into healthcare supply chain, it makes sense, you know, but we’re still dabbing into it and understanding exactly how it can help us instead of it just being buzzy, how can it really help us and help streamline the operation and really reduce errors and mitigate costs and all of that. And there are applications in AI where we think that we can definitely make some headways, but technology generally is something that is becoming more and more of a topic of importance in healthcare supply chain.
Scott Luton (28:56):
So ra, if I can, that’s the first one. I know we got a couple more. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> Greg, I know that she is talking your language when it comes to talking technology in healthcare and especially real outcomes focused, not just as just she put it because it’s buzzy and you know, a lot of folks wanna embrace it, but really where we get results and, and in this case maybe raise those service levels and, and those patient outcomes. I think, Greg, your thoughts?
Greg White (29:20):
Yes. That’s what we’ll do. <laugh>. Well I’m gonna, what I was thinking was in, in healthcare, you know, you have such a great example because they’ve been using AI for years in diagnosis and in practice. So it opens your eyes to what everybody loves to say because they feel like they’re defending people’s jobs. They love to say AI is generally a party trick and it’s never gonna do this and it can’t do that. Let me assure you that is absolutely wrong. Except chat gt. It’s a party trick. Yeah. But that party trick is an enabler of much, much greater things that have been being used for decades in healthcare, in practice and in in the operating room and things like that. And it really opens your eyes to what it can do in an area like supply chain. And I think healthcare is a great place to look for advancements generally. But now when you think about how they’re using ai, the example that they have before them, it’s no wonder that that they lead with that.
Scott Luton (30:20):
Yeah. Yep. So Raje, before we move to your second challenge or trend or topic, anything else you wanna add about AI based on what Greg just shared? Raje?
Regine Villain (30:28):
Well, I mean I agree with um, that AI has been used in a lot of, you know, applications in healthcare, generally in the clinical world for sure. But certainly supply chain as an enabler of services and as facilitators who we are, of everything that happens in the healthcare world, this is definitely a time and focus that is well warranted because we are the ones that are, like I said, the enabler and the facilitator for care. We have a slogan that we use and we basically fill the hands that heal. And so it’s really important for us to be able to have all of that at our disposal as well. Yeah,
Scott Luton (31:12):
Well said. I would just add, since we started with technology, you know, October is cybersecurity month, I believe. And as we’ve learned that the healthcare industry is one of the most targeted when it comes to the bad actors and stuff. So more and more we’ll probably see AI used in cybersecurity measures as well. Right. Let the machines beat the other machines perhaps. I don’t know. Alright, so Raje, first in technology, what’s the second trend or challenge or topic that comes to mind when you think of healthcare and supply chain and maybe that intersection?
Regine Villain (31:41):
Well, I mean there’s a lot of emphasis these days on transparency as well. Especially after the pandemic. There’s been a lot, a lot of conversation about how transparency needs to become a lot more important in the healthcare supply chain. Basically. You know, we need to make sure that we have solid information about the sourcing and production of the material. I mean, we’re now going all the way up in the supply chain to truly understand providence and understand, you know, what is at stake and what could be an issue when it comes to our ability to source and our ability to get products, you know, to our bedside. Like you said, the patient is my number one priority. The person at this bedside is the person that also I wanna make sure that they have everything they need in order to care for those patients. And so when you think about transparency, you know, that also helps to ensure ethical practices, prevent counterfeiting, and you know, just builds trust with the community around the whole patient care and the healthcare providers. So I think transparency is definitely something that’s on trend and we’re challenging our vendor partners to really go there with us and you know, as part of the her board, which also promotes transparency and we’re working on badging and we’re working on implementing that as part of something that we hardwire in everything that we do.
Scott Luton (33:13):
Mm. Folks, I told Jah this was gonna be home run stuff. And in that second point with what shared, we could have a six hour series. Greg, she mentioned one of your favorite words of all time provenance your thoughts based on what Regina just shared.
Greg White (33:28):
Yeah, well we have to get to this transparency because provenance is so important in supply chain. And it’s not just for life-saving materials, it’s for everything, right? I mean, we wanna know where it’s made, we wanna know how it’s made, we wanna know by whom it’s made and hopefully it’s made by free people.
Regine Villain (33:45):
Greg White (33:46):
And we wanna know what kind of materials that it’s made from and hopefully non-conflict materials and things like that. So that’s what’s so critical. And you know, supply chain has long been a business of obfuscation, right? Trying to keep everyone from knowing your secret. Not usually for nefarious reasons, but mostly because your position in the marketplace is so tenuous that just about anybody could do it in many, many cases. And you know, in a lot of parts of business, if anyone can do it, lots of people do do it. And prices go down and, and transparency goes up and that sort of thing. And I think we’re starting to see the tide shift towards opening that up. I mean, the governments frankly are really forcing that.
Regine Villain (34:31):
Greg White (34:33):
Emissions standards and you know, human rights standards for shipments vis-a-vis the supply chain. And so I think we’ll start to see more and more of that. And it will accrue to the benefit of everyone because we’ll get the bad actors out of the industry. It will change pricing for the better, I believe. And we’ll start to see more reliable and more available products and products that are more sustainable and probably better quality. Because most of the cheaters are creating, are building junk. Yeah.
Regine Villain (35:04):
Greg White (35:05):
And trying to sell it as quality materials that’s more prevalent even than human slavery or counterfeiting or any, well I guess that’s arguably a type of counterfeiting than, you know, in conflict minerals and all that. It’s just poorly produced product that nobody kind of knows where it comes from.
Regine Villain (35:22):
Gosh, I so agree with that. I think, Scott, you’re gonna have to have Grant and I back and just have more conversation around that. There’s so much to unpack there.
Scott Luton (35:31):
Completely agree. But you know, the good news since the front end of the show, we’ve focused on so many negative developments out in the industry is I love kind of both of y’all. One positive. Yeah. One positive one. That’s right. <laugh>. But in the last couple minutes here, I love how both of y’all kind of painted a picture of where we’re going and the future and just how positive, because both of y’all are speaking to the truth out there. And so many of these things that have been long, what’s this phrase that Greg used the business of obfuscation had to say that real slow. ’cause that’s a big word, but it’s so true. And now thanks to technology, thanks to trends, thanks to real leadership, action driven leadership and many other things’re able to bring these issues, these travesties up to the surface and better yet do something about it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So Ra and Greg, I’m with you Ra I’ll give you the last word before we move on to the third topic.
Regine Villain (36:22):
Well, I mean, I don’t necessarily need to add to that, but it’s adding a little bit to what Greg alluded to. The third piece that I think about is there’s an increased focus on sustainability and community impact as well. Hmm. So the growing trend towards sustainable and more sustainable practice in the healthcare supply chain, reducing waste, you know, more echo friendly materials and implementing more efficient logistics strategies. When you think about, for example, I mean I worked in New York for a long time. You think about how jammed and how packed New York City streets are, if you can think of a way to avoid having multiple deliveries, for example, driving down a tiny loading dock all day long. That’s a big impact, not only on your operation, but also there’s an environmental impact that one has to definitely be aware of. And so the, the aim is to minimize all of those environmental impact, impact and everything else that we know on the healthcare operation while making sure that we’re ensuring high quality patient care.
Scott Luton (37:36):
Regine Villain (37:36):
I mean, there’s a whole movement around making sure that we’re diving a little bit more and becoming more grounded in understanding how we’re impacting everything around us. Certainly patient care, again, is a true north, but then we think about the impact on the environment, the impact, and now communities. Mm-Hmm. You think about a place like Auctioner that’s in Louisiana, and unfortunately Louisiana and I love me, my Louisiana, I’m not born and raised, but I definitely love Louisiana. But from a health outcome, Louisiana is 49 or 50 outta 50, right? Mm-Hmm. It’s not the best. And so as a supply chain leader, it’s also important to understand what I can do to help impact the outcome, the health outcomes of the communities, and then expand a little bit more outside of the four walls of what people think about when they think about supply chain.
Scott Luton (38:35):
No shortage of challenges. And I’m glad you brought that back up. I know we talked a good bit about that Yeah. In your previous interview. And I think that’s such a noble mission beyond the kind of the isolated individual outcomes, just elevating the whole region to a more healthier state. And I love how y’all have been really embraced that beyond words in your actions and your initiatives, Greg, when it comes to sustainability and community impact. I think that was the kind of how we couched that third topic. Your thoughts, Greg?
Greg White (39:00):
Yeah. I mean, I, I will, I’ll argue till the day that I die, that sustainability and reasonable cost and reliability and speed in the supply chain, they’re all compatible,
Greg White (39:12):
Right? I mean, I spent most of my career trying to get things here cheaper, faster, right. And with more reliability at a higher level than we could before. And I know it can be done. I mean, it, it can definitely be done. And I think the new technologies that we talked about right out of the gate and transparency and all of those things lend to that. And honestly, it doesn’t matter because this political debate we’re having in the states doesn’t matter because all of the other countries in the world are just mandated. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So American companies will have to comply with this thing that’s such a hot potato here in the state because the rest of the world is going that direction. And they will find, because that’s what we do in America. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they will find a way to make it economical.
Greg White (39:55):
Yeah. So it, it can definitely be done. You opened, when we started talking about waste and, and all of that sort of thing. You opened with waste when we started talking about sustainability. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, there is just so much waste that if we just eliminate that, we reduce cost and increase sustainability. That’s correct. Right. And if we start with that, which is the core of what supply chain has done for so many decades, that’s kind of the basic table stakes when supply chains. So if we just start with table stakes, then there’s a lot of opportunity here and there is so much efficiency that can be created. And we have so many brilliant minds. And now with the assistance of AI and blockchain and various Sri other technologies, we can do it. I know we can.
Scott Luton (40:39):
Greg White (40:40):
I’m gonna make sure we do <laugh>.
Scott Luton (40:42):
So it’s interesting you said table stakes conversation comes full circle back to stakes, right? Yes. <laugh>. Alright. Sorry folks. I had to say it. I like the way you think <laugh> <laugh>. I, I I wanna protect your time. I know, uh, I can only imagine how busy of a Monday. You have two final questions. So one regime we get asked all the time, in fact I’m surprised it hasn’t come up in today’s live stream, you know, for career advice, for folks that wanna end up in the c-suite like you regime, what’s one critical piece of advice you might would offer up?
Regine Villain (41:13):
So you’re talking executive, not just supply chain, correct?
Scott Luton (41:16):
Regine Villain (41:17):
Well, I mean, I think I can borrow from what I know in my chair as a supply chain officer, basically, I think it’s important to gain an understanding of whatever it is that you are interested in. So for example, for me it was all about understanding and knowing all of the aspects of supply chain. So it’s everything from understanding, you know, procurement, logistics, inventory management, customer service, the whole nine. And so in whatever your trade is, it’s really important for you to go deep and wide so that you can ascend and be able to support. The other thing that I would say is, you know, developed strong leadership and strategic thinking skills, right? Because whatever it is that you are going to be doing, you’re gonna be leading a team, you are gonna be making strategic decisions that impact an entire organization. So it’s gonna be very important for you to be able to communicate effectively with other top executives and basically operate at the top of your skills.
Regine Villain (42:28):
Strong leadership, like I said, you know, so make sure that you are learning, you are attending training programs and mentoring is also something that is truly, truly important. People underestimate the power of mentoring, both as a mentor and as a mentee. And so I would definitely encourage you and challenge you to make sure that you are either a mentor or a mentee or both. I mean, there’s nothing wrong in being both and making sure that you have a compliment of folks around you that can help you and challenge you so that you can experience what it’s like. And so for me, what I would end with is I would just say be curious, right? Be bold, first of all, the whole idea of that, no, you know, I’m not gonna do that. It’s not really my job, you know, that should be banning your vocabulary.
Regine Villain (43:23):
So you need to be curious people, be flexible, be authentic, but be humble as well. You know, know that you’re not the person who knows the most in the room just because you have a title. And the difference to expertise is something that I practice every day when I am standing at the loading dock, talking to my receiver, he or she is the expert and I need to allow them to let me understand exactly what’s going on so that perhaps I can help. And so the difference to expertise and understanding that you’re not the smartest person in the room is a huge, huge, huge thing.
Scott Luton (44:01):
Well said. Ra, hall of fame advice from a hall of famer. And I love how practical that advice was. I mean, clearly you’re sharing things that you’re living and and doing, which is where some of the best advice comes from. Greg, I’m gonna get your favorite takeaway from RA’s appearance here today in just a minute. But I wanna protect RA’s time. I know that you’re extremely busy, but you occasionally get out for, you know, a keynote here or industry meetings or what have you. Or I bet you love to talk shop, you know, over maybe a, a coffee or a good meal, I don’t know, work
Greg White (44:31):
Scott Luton (44:32):
Yeah. <laugh>. <laugh>. How could folks connect with you as well as the Ochsner Health System?
Regine Villain (44:39):
Well, certainly they can reach out to me on LinkedIn and happy to, to chat. And to your point, I love to learn. For me, learning is a lifelong thing. And so if there are other industry gatherings and other things that I can participate in or I can lend my voice and you know, so-called expertise to, I’m happy to do that. And you know, love to continue to expand my horizon when it comes to the ability to reach out to as many people as possible. But I appreciate this platform. I know that you also have a varied audience and you know, I just love that I can be a part of it.
Scott Luton (45:17):
Well, we’re two for two and you brought it and advertise. I can’t wait till the next conversation. Yes, we’re gonna get you and Greg back together for maybe a bigger bonus episode of The Buzz. We’ll see. But in the meantime, big thanks to our friend and hall of Famer Valle, chief Supply Chain and support services officer with Ochsner Health System. Thank you so much regime, and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Regine Villain (45:40):
Thank you. Thank you Greg. And thank you Scott. Thank you Amanda and everybody behind the scene working on this.
Scott Luton (45:48):
That’s right. Have a great week.
Regine Villain (45:50):
All right, you too.
Scott Luton (45:51):
All right, Greg. I really wish, you know, we say it a lot, but man, you know, we’re not doing her justice. Just how innovative some of the things she did, especially more recently at the beginning of the pandemic, she saw some things that the whole industry in the world was really late in seeing and, and better yet, she saw it and did things about it. But Greg, out of everything she shared here today, what is one of your favorite takeaways from the 30 minutes or so we spent with Regina Valle? First
Greg White (46:15):
Of all, of course she has her own ideas and she’s her own person. But my God, that last bit, it was like she is channeling the late great Sandra McQuillan. You could just feel the spirit, the words, the approach to business, the approach to leadership, the approach to mentoring, all those things. They must have been separated at birth.
Scott Luton (46:35):
Greg White (46:36):
So similar and similarly visionary and, you know, committed to excellence and committed to sharing that excellence and the credit for that excellence, you know, throughout the organization really just wow.
Scott Luton (46:49):
Mm, I agree
Greg White (46:50):
Ly eerily similar, right?
Scott Luton (46:52):
That was like a two minute masterclass. You know, next time we have regime back, we’re gonna have to structure it as a masterclass. And not just healthcare, supply chain leadership, but leadership, you know, for that matter. Well, really enjoyed the buzz. We’re up against our time here today, Greg. A pleasure. This was a great one here today. What a great way to start the week. Big thanks to, uh, you Greg, and also all the folks, we couldn’t get all the comments, but thanks for being here. Thanks for all your contributions. Big thanks to Catherine and Amanda behind the scenes. Yeah. For helping to make today happen. And folks, whatever you do, as y’all know, we wrap very similarly with every show. But this is a perfect example here on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain. Now, Scott Luton challenging you to take something else said here today, put it into practice. Be like regime, right? Do good impact your community. You know, look for real results and outcomes, not just lip service. The world has plenty. Too much supply of lip service comes down to action. So with that, I challenge you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our email@example.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain. Now.
Régine Villain is the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Ochsner Health System. Previously she served as the Vice President of Supply Chain Operations at NYU Langone Health System in New York City, where she was responsible for the continuum of the supply chain operation for the Health System. Régine began her career in healthcare at New York Presbyterian Hospital where she spent 10 years mastering her skills with increased responsibilities along the continuum of supply chain. After a yearlong intro to general studies at the Interamerican University of San Germán in Puerto-Rico, Régine earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida. She then pursued her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy Management at Columbia University in New York before obtaining a certificate in Business Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Connect with Régine on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.