This may be the Buzz for September 12, but Scott, Greg and guest Sebastian Bleser, VP of Supply Chain Excellence at Seven Senders, already have their eyes on Peak Season 2022. Join the trio as they review top headlines on how the logistics world and retailers can prepare for peak. Plus, hear from Scott and Greg on the impending rail strike, learn more about how Seven Senders helps eCommerce customers with delivery from end to end, and more.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:29):
Hey. 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. Greg, how are you doing?
Greg White (00:38):
Well, Scott. I’m doing pretty good.
Scott Luton (00:41):
The Chiefs look great yesterday, right?
Greg White (00:46):
Yep. Kind of funny. Nobody was talking about them before the beginning of the season. And if they were, it was pretty – whatever you want to call it – dismissive. So, to all of you, whatever is out there –
Scott Luton (01:01):
They have not gone anywhere. They are still the team we thought they were, dominant and vying for another Super Bowl Championship. So, congrats.
Greg White (01:10):
We are who you thought we were. That’s right.
Scott Luton (01:12):
The late coach, Dennis Green, man, what a personality for the NFL. Well, congrats on a big week, one win. Talking about big wins, big conversations, today is The Supply Chain Buzz here, where, every week, we share some of the leading stories across global business. And, Greg, we’ve got one heck of a guest joining us about 12:25 p.m. Eastern Time, Sebastian Bleser with Seven Senders. Really enjoyed our –
Greg White (01:38):
He delayed his lunch to be with all of us, so really appreciate that. But given us a perspective on what’s going on in Europe, and particularly with last mile, so really interesting. And they have a pretty cool solution, I think, we might talk a little bit about today too.
Scott Luton (01:56):
As Sebastian and the team over at Seven Senders like to say, first choice in last mile. I like that tagline. But, folks, get ready. We want to hear from you as well. So, me and Greg are going to be chatting all things supply chain with our dear friend, Sebastian, and we want to work in your perspective as well.
Scott Luton (02:12):
Before we get started, Greg, we should share a couple things with our audience here, folks in the cheap seats or the club seats, the club boxes, I think, as you refer to it since we’re in football season. So, first up, tomorrow, Better Business Outcomes With Blockchain: Digital Document Provenance – one of Greg’s favorite words around here. We’re teaming up with Kevin L. Jackson, who hosts Digital Transformers, also our friends at TNS, Deal Box, and NssX. We’re going to be talking some very practical examples of how blockchain is powering big time outcomes across global business. So, join us for that, September 13th – that’s tomorrow – 12:00 noon. It’s free to join but you got to register. Now, Greg, blockchain, you know, everyone can use more practical examples of how that works, huh?
Greg White (03:04):
Yeah, no question. And provenance is one of the biggest ones. Is it what it says it is? Are you who you say you are? And where did you come from? I mean, if you think about how blockchain started its usage with cryptocurrency – sorry if anyone’s invested in that – the whole point of that is to verify the currency’s provenance, ownership, and kind of path through commerce.
Scott Luton (03:36):
So, folks join in the conversation tomorrow at 12:00 noon, register in link in the comments. And then, also, Greg, on a different angle here, we’re very proud to be partnering with our friends at Vector Global Logistics and many others. This initiative here, Leveraging Logistics for Ukraine, it’s about six, seven months in driving humanitarian aid, getting it to folks in Ukraine, Poland, and in the region. And, Greg, we’re working on updated numbers, but thus far over 300,000 pounds of targeted relief aid has made it across to folks in need. That is is quite an noble mission, right?
Greg White (04:18):
Yeah, it is. And I mean, it’s dozens of containers worth of product. And the folks at Vector Logistics, Kuehne+Nagel, and some other companies, Hapag-Lloyd, have all contributed, and many, many just individuals and small companies as well. So, if you think there’s something you could do or, heck, if you’d just like to figure out what they’re doing, tune in on one of these calls.
Scott Luton (04:47):
That’s right. What Greg’s talking about is the monthly planning calls. So, the next one takes place tomorrow, September 13th, 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Nice little warm up before the webinar. But, folks, you don’t have to give anything if you’re not in position to do that. If you want to tune in and join to offer up your expertise, your market intel, or just to sit back and kind of piece things together, that’s perfectly fine. But this is an outstanding and very much needed mission that we’re happy to support here. So, check that out, tomorrow, 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
All right. So, Greg, again, we’ve got a big guest at about 12:25 in Sebastian Bleser with Seven Senders. We’re going to be bringing him in in about 20 minutes. We’re going to say hello to a few folks. I see Big Show Bob Bova giving you a hard time about, “Man, you win one game.” Greg.
Greg White (05:39):
Well, the good news is, Bob, you’re going to get to see us win another one before next weekend. So, we play the Chargers on Thursday. Hope you’re not a Chargers fan.
Scott Luton (05:48):
One more personal point and then we’re going to get into one of our favorite topics. I got to give a shoutout, Greg, to my cousin, Coach Reggie Shaw. He won his 100th game over the weekend as a high school football coach –
Greg White (06:05):
Scott Luton (06:06):
Yeah, 100 wins. That’s big time.
Greg White (06:09):
Yeah. No kidding.
Scott Luton (06:11):
And he leads a powerhouse in South Carolina called Byrnes High School up in the upstate. So, we’ll have to get in the game at some point soon, Greg. But, Hey, Reggie – Coach Shaw – heck good job. And shoutout from the whole team here.
Greg White (06:24):
What town in the upstate, Scott?
Scott Luton (06:27):
Greg White (06:27):
Or is it a rural school?
Scott Luton (06:30):
I want to say Dorman, but I could be wrong. I want to say the Town of Dorman, South Carolina. But anyway, Byrnes is known. Heck, even I, who I’m not a high school football expert, but even when I was matriculating through South Aiken High School, we knew about Byrnes because of just how great of a track record they’ve had. And, of course, you got a hall of fame coach to be in Coach Shaw. That’s quite a combination. Right?
Greg White (06:57):
Yeah. That’s impressive.
Scott Luton (06:59):
Okay. So, speaking of folks we want to recognize, let’s say hello to a few folks, then we’re going to talk about National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Greg, which is one week is never enough, but we’re going to talk a little about that. Let’s see here, Jonathan tuned back in with us via Louisiana. Great to see you, Jonathan. Greg, one of our faves here, right?
Greg White (07:19):
Yeah. Shelly from Colorado. Let’s see, always – I mean always – with some insight, so no pressure, Shelly, but we expect to hear it today.
Scott Luton (07:32):
No pressure at all. And, hey, our cracker jack research team has corrected me. It is in Duncan, South Carolina. Byrnes High School is in Duncan. Thank you very much for that. So, Shelly, welcome, welcome, welcome. Of course, Katherine, Amanda, Chantel, Clay, you name it, the whole production team helping to make today’s show happen. Katherine says, “Happy Monday and Happy Buzz Day.” It’s kind of catching on, Greg.
Greg White (07:56):
Yeah. We need a t-shirt don’t we.
Scott Luton (07:59):
Yes, we do.
Greg White (08:00):
Get your buzz on.
Scott Luton (08:01):
We do. Hey, Scott. Scott, great to have you back via LinkedIn. Hope this finds you well. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. We got TSquared, “Bring own (purposefully spelled) the nourishment.”
Greg White (08:18):
Bring own – own – nourishment.
Scott Luton (08:21):
Gotcha. Kind of like a double syllable there. I gotcha.
Greg White (08:25):
Yeah. He wants to embody the Southern spirit, bring own.
Scott Luton (08:32):
Gotcha. Okay. All right. All right. Hey, always love it when TSquared is with us. He holds on the fort for us at YouTube. Big Show Bob Bova is saying, “Chargers 35, Chiefs 28.” So, you want to make a little friendly wager here, Greg?
Greg White (08:47):
Nah. I’m going to be too busy watching the game.
Scott Luton (08:51):
Okay. All right.
Greg White (08:52):
But it won’t be that, I can guarantee you that.
Scott Luton (08:54):
We’ll check back in with you there.
Greg White (08:56):
They couldn’t score 35 against the Raiders, so –
Scott Luton (09:00):
Ooh. Ah, all right. We’ll save that. So, Bob, keep it coming. Hey, Glorimar, great to have you here. I really enjoyed one of your responses to one of Greg’s supply chain commentaries last week, you were talking about your background in production before you transitioned over to supply chain. Greg.
Greg White (09:19):
Right. Right. How she kind of disliked – and I can imagine that – the safety people in food production, but then went to the dark side and then realized how important that role is.
Scott Luton (09:34):
So, keep sharing.
Greg White (09:36):
Food safety big risk in the supply chain. And I think it’s good that people like Glorimar have seen that side and can preach the gospel to the people on the food production side, why it is so important. If they don’t think it’s important, just say formula, that’s all you got to say.
Scott Luton (09:58):
Well, you know, as much as I love you leading with your commentary Monday, Wednesday, Friday on LinkedIn – so, folks, you got to connect with or follow Greg to get that – I really love all the responses you get, and folks are sharing their views on what you’ve shared. That is incredible discussion.
Greg White (10:17):
Was it last week or week before last, we had, like, 35,000 people view one of those commentaries. It was about retailers and what’s kind of coming in the economy. So, I think it hit maybe a very timely button. But a lot of people had views and insights on that.
Scott Luton (10:38):
Agreed. Agreed. So, y’all check that out. Okay. We’re going to hit a couple of these really quick, and then we’re going to move into a big week here. Hey, I know we can’t hit everybody, but thank y’all for being here. James Jones from Annapolis, great to have you back. Dr. Hulya, great to see you here. She’s multitasking. Hey, we get that. Chad Molen is also a big Chief’s fan, also a big Kansas fan. I guess, Kansas –
Greg White (11:04):
[Inaudible] won a football game. Holy mackerel, I have to look at that.
Scott Luton (11:08):
We’ll have to check that out.
Greg White (11:09):
Scott Luton (11:11):
GP, old Gene Pledger is back with us. Great to see here. Bama – Gene is a Bama fan.
Greg White (11:19):
Just barely escaped with their lives.
Scott Luton (11:21):
Just right. But, hey, as a Clemson fan, I will take an ugly win. It’s better than a big upset loss. But great to see here, Gene.
Greg White (11:32):
They don’t put a review next to it. Just a W.
Scott Luton (11:36):
That’s right. I’ll steal that from you. Jonathan says, “How’d y’all like that Saints block. Who dat?” All right. So, Jonathan –
Greg White (11:44):
Oh, that’s cold.
Scott Luton (11:45):
It hurt us in the heart, you know, I’m a bandwagon Falcons fan. But that was an ugly fourth quarter, for sure. Okay. So, welcome everybody. We got a great conversation teed up and want to hear from you. But I want to shift gears, Greg, because today – or this week rather, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. And one week is never enough, but at least it’s great that it’s on the calendar each year. And, in fact, it’s on the calendar already for the next several years. So, you can hit over to many resources, including trucking.com, if you want to go ahead and add it to yours. It runs this year on September 11th through the 17th.
Scott Luton (12:24):
Now, we owe quite a bit, Greg, to the 3.6 million men and women that make up the trucking community, and that figure is just here in the states. And we got to find new ways of thanking all the truckers, you know, the backbone of global supply chain, for sure. I think it’s upwards of 70 percent of off rate is conveyed at some point with trucks. So, I mean, imagine, imagine if that big old cog stopped turning. So, hey, if you’re listening to us driving a truck right now, or if you’re in the comments, or whatever, maybe you’re checking out the replay, know that we are very grateful for what you do. Greg, your thoughts.
Greg White (13:07):
Yeah. I think the easiest way to thank them is to get a 10 car lead on them before you pull back into their lane when you pass some. That’s a problem, I think they’d really appreciate something that basic. Also, they love it when you do this. I mean, they do. And I’m like a 12 year old kid, man, every time.
Scott Luton (13:25):
I love that. And my kids are going to be taught the right way, so I can’t wait to hear the air horns over the next few days. But, you know, Greg, one of the things that I love that we did, we’ve interviewed probably four or five truck drivers over the last year. That’s a very interesting and valuable perspective to share with our global family. Today, we released one of our favorite interviews. If you remember April Coolidge, who drove an award-winning professional truck driver that drove for Walmart. You remember that interview?
Greg White (13:58):
Yeah. Of course. Yeah, absolutely. A family affair at that, right? Her dad was a driver?
Scott Luton (14:05):
Yes. And inspired her. In fact, Greg, as I was giving that a listen yesterday, as we were getting ready to drop, she went to her dad – because she was in real estate – and she was like, “I want to do what you do. I want to drive a truck.” And at first he was like, “No. You’re not serious.” But she was like, “Dad, I’m dead serious.” And fast forward, I think she started driving in 2011, I think, is that timeframe, and now she’s been recognized by Walmart and Pepsi Co., and so other groups as quite the ambassador for the truck driving community. Greg, do you remember just beyond all of her expertise, her personality, it kind of pulls you in, right?
Greg White (14:49):
Yeah. I mean, she has a really philosophical perspective on driving and what to do. And I think she’s a great ambassador for the industry, because she came to it with a totally different business perspective, but also with the knowledge of kind of what her dad did and endured and struggled through and all those kinds of things. And she’s a hell of a driver. I mean, she’s won some actual driving awards as well, like all that trick driving they do, which I love to watch.
Scott Luton (15:24):
Greg White (15:25):
Yes. Yeah. I love watching that.
Scott Luton (15:31):
It’s really and truly impressive to watch these really, really good drivers practice their craft.
Scott Luton (15:37):
Find a way folks this week, every week, but find a way this week in particular to show your appreciation for all that they do for global business. That’s right. That’s right, Greg. Okay. I wish this next story was as lighthearted as what we were just chatting about. So, Greg, I’m going to tee this up and then I’d love to get your take here. So, from roads to rails, there’s a big potential strike coming up by the end of the week if the railroad companies and all the industry unions cannot agree to a new labor deal. So, as of this past weekend, five of the railroad industry’s union groups have struck a deal which reportedly includes a 24 percent pay raise over five years along with back pay. But the other unions, which haven’t signed a new agreement yet, which these other unions represent the biggest bulk of the sector’s workforce —
Greg White (16:35):
Right. About 115,000 drivers, right, or something like that?
Scott Luton (16:38):
That’s right. That’s right – they’re saying that potential new deals that some have already agreed to do not address quality of life measures involving workload and limited time off. Those unions can go on strike as early as September 16th, which is Friday. Now, many in industry – including our friend, Jon Gold, with the National Retail Federation – while they’re calling for Congress to intervene to avoid any lengthy disruption. One last note, Greg, and I’ll get your take. I’ve reached out to a couple friends, actually one of them from elementary school is a railroad engineer, and I spent many years doing that. You know what? It’s funny, he loved trains as a kid, and now he’s doing what he’s wanted to do his entire life. So, I kind of put a line in with him to kind of speak to maybe some of the concerns that the labor side has. So, we’ll see if that person gets back. But, Greg, your thoughts on this story?
Greg White (17:39):
Yeah. I think way back to my Uncle Billy, who, when he got back from Vietnam, went to work for what was then just called Santa Fe, but is now Burlington Northern Santa Fe, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. Not an advert. Just a notification. And he worked for many, many years without a contract. He was a conductor. So, back when they still had cabooses, you had people who manned the caboose, and they were the conductor and they took over everything pretty much behind the engine. So, it’s been a long haul, let us say, of decades and decades of either contract issues or lack of a contract with a lot of these companies.
Greg White (18:27):
And I can tell you from experience – because my aunt lived very close to us – that it’s not an easy job. I mean, you’re getting a call at 2:00 in the morning and you got to be on the train – literally, on the train – in an hour. And there’s a number of things. I mean, the things we have to think about is the volume of freight that this could impact, 476,000 trucks a day is what it would take to haul the same amount of freight to the destinations that are hauled each day by the railroad. And we know as part of our last article, we have an incredible shortage of truck drivers. And we also know it’s hard to find places to park or stop and rest as a truck driver, which is a necessity because of the work hour mandates. So, where would we put an additional 476,000 trucks even if we could find someone to drive them?
Greg White (19:30):
So, it’s a serious issue. You know, a lot of this is longstanding issues between, not just the unions, but the workers and the railroads. So, I don’t know, I mean, I know it’s Jon’s job. I don’t know if government intervention is the right answer. Because back in the ’90s, they did intervene and forced the railroads and the unions into binding arbitration, which should preclude any need for Congress, specifically, to act, is just force them into binding arbitration, and then that solves the problem. The railroads are provisioning for high value and high stakes, high security type items to be shipped otherwise. But, again, the volume just isn’t there. So, it’s tough.
Greg White (20:22):
And, Scott, I can’t help but think, this is a vehicle. These are vehicles that travel on rails at a prescribed speed from one prescribed place to another. I can’t help but feel like we may be also accelerating change in the industry towards automation, which is a necessity in this and the trucking industry anyway, but it may accelerate it if the cost basis of labor goes up so substantially. They’ve already eliminated the caboose, largely eliminated conductors, and it’s not like – except for excessive speed – a train can veer off course. So, I wonder if the unions may not be overplaying their hand. Now, it still could be a decade or decades away that occurs, but it’s still something to think about.
Scott Luton (21:22):
Excellent. Yeah. I love your commentary there and your analysis. I guess there are some similarities in terms of how it’s a bit of a unique class of workers like air traffic controllers, right?
Greg White (21:33):
Scott Luton (21:35):
Back in the ’80s, a lot of folks know about that story, so we’ll see how it plays out. But Friday is the earliest date. Because it is a unique class, they cannot go on strike earlier than Friday. And there’s a backstory there, which I’ll save for another time. But, Greg, great commentary. And, you know, that automation, that is an interesting thought as it applies to railroads.
Greg White (21:55):
Well, we have to consider it. Everyone is considering it as labor rates go up. I mean, your McDonald’s hamburger may be made by a robot, it kind of tastes like it already. I know you love the fries, Scott.
Scott Luton (22:11):
The fries. The fries.
Greg White (22:11):
Robots will never take over making the fries.
Scott Luton (22:14):
That’s right. But it’s interesting, there are a couple of bots – I’m not sure if McDonald’s is the franchise that’s been experimenting – in some fast food restaurant that they’ve been experimenting with making French fries. I also saw something recently, I guess it was on YouTube, maybe, but there is a pizza chain that’s growing that is all robotic. How about that? Some folks will be rolling in their graves, Greg, I don’t know.
Greg White (22:42):
How do you get a robot to?
Scott Luton (22:45):
I don’t know. I don’t know.
Greg White (22:47):
Probably not as entertaining is when somebody throws the dough up in the air, right? Actually, I read an article, it was maybe a year or more ago, about an Indian restaurant that is using robots to serve the tables. They are your waiter server.
Scott Luton (23:05):
Well, to your point, everyone’s got to consider it, right? All the turmoil across the labor market in so many different aspects and avenues of the labor market. Okay. So, I want to share a couple quick comments and then we’re going to roll right into Sebastian Bleser with Seven Senders. So, y’all stick around with us. Gene is owning up of how ugly of a win that was, the Bama win versus Texas. It was a great game to watch, though, Greg. It was a great game to watch, wasn’t it?
Greg White (23:38):
Yeah. I can’t believe I’m going to say this – and, Gene, I love you like a brother – I was brought up hating Texas because most people from Oklahoma and Kansas, Nebraska hate Texas. But I was actually pulling for Texas because that’s such a huge benefit for Georgia, of course.
Scott Luton (24:00):
Greg White (24:01):
So, it was a very painful game to watch. It was a painful game in that it was sloppy on both sides, frankly. But they both kind of came together. They kind of pulled it together at the end. And each one towards the end did great, great work. Alabama is just –
Scott Luton (24:19):
Stacked as always.
Greg White (24:21):
Yeah. They are just unstoppable, aren’t they?
Scott Luton (24:25):
Always. Hey, folks, check out, we also dropped link where you can find – again, this is the American Trucking Association. It’s one of the prominent groups that represent the industry – check that out, you can find resources and hit facts and figures, including some best practice of how you can show your love for truckers. And Glorimar says, “Goodness, I had no idea it was Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Sad to say, but this is another group of very important people that are not appreciated enough. They probably don’t even know that this is their week. My husband hasn’t even mentioned it.”
Greg White (24:58):
Scott Luton (24:59):
Man, so we got some work to do. Glorimar, we appreciate you sharing.
Greg White (25:03):
Yeah. Boy, think about that. That’s like missing independence day because you forgot. We got to really press this up seriously.
Scott Luton (25:15):
We do. We absolutely do. Jonathan says, “Greg is a very smart man.” And Shelly goes, “Hey, I agree with you, Jonathan.” So, Greg getting some love from folks in the club seats.
Greg White (25:24):
Thanks, gang. I appreciate it.
Scott Luton (25:26):
Okay. So, with no further ado, Greg, I’m really looking forward to our guest that’s going to join us here today. We really enjoyed the pre-show conversation. So, I want to welcome in Sebastian Bleser, Vice-President Supply Chain Excellence with Seven Senders. Hey, Hey, Sebastian, how are you doing?
Sebastian Bleser (25:47):
Hey. Good morning, Scott. Good morning, Greg. Very well. How are you folks doing?
Scott Luton (25:50):
We’re doing wonderful.
Greg White (25:51):
Yeah. Great. It’s evening where you are, isn’t it?
Sebastian Bleser (25:54):
Yeah. Kind of. Kind of.
Sebastian Bleser (25:58):
[Inaudible] to get all of the days ahead of you.
Greg White (26:02):
Days and decades in some cases. We’re keeping Sebastian from dinner, so we better make good use of his time, folks, so if you’ve got something you want to ask him [inaudible].
Scott Luton (26:12):
We’re going to be very efficient, aren’t we, Greg? Very efficient. But we’ve also come to really appreciate Sebastian’s sense of humor, which showcased itself in the pre-show. But all that aside, Sebastian, what intrigues us since you shared it with us a couple weeks ago, given all the great work you do in your executive role with Seven Senders – which we’re going to touch on in just a second – man, you double down on weekends. Tell us about what you love to do in your off time, I’ll call it.
Sebastian Bleser (26:42):
Sure thing. I love to. I’m a paramedic. I’m a professional paramedic. I started working there ahead of business school, and I kept doing it because there is pretty much the best contrast to what I’m doing every day. It’s not like I don’t like my job. I generally do. But like driving shift on the ambulance is so much different. You get to interact with so many different people. It’s super rewarding and it puts you in situations you typically would never find yourself in, let’s say, controlled lives we are having. So, I really appreciate that, it shows a state ground and it’s so rewarding to interact with these people.
Scott Luton (27:20):
Man, first responder. Greg, what’s your thoughts on that?
Greg White (27:23):
Well, I mean, I’m curious, is it something you do on call? Is it an on call kind of thing? Or do you do it on a schedule? How do you fit it in? I just can’t even imagine.
Sebastian Bleser (27:36):
It’s a tight schedule. And my kids are kind of torn between thinking I’m a hero and complaining about being away too often. But it’s on duty. It’s scheduled. So, I spend my day or my night on one of the stations and whenever a call comes in, we jump on the van, hit the lights, and off we go.
Greg White (27:53):
Wow. That’s outstanding. That’s a great service to the community. As you said, it’s got to be incredibly rewarding. And I think, really, an interesting contrast from what can be sort of ethereal or theoretical in supply chain. Even though we face real struggles, they’re out there. We’re not on top of them or rolling up to them with lights on. Sometimes it feels like it, but I bet you can put that in stark relief by actually being out there doing that.
Scott Luton (28:24):
Well, I’m just going to share along those lines, Greg. Shelly is like, “Man, that’s quite a juxtaposition, Sebastian.” It really is. And if I knew what juxtaposition was –
Greg White (28:34):
Scott Luton (28:37):
I’m kidding. But, Shelly, I agree with you. And, really, I do admire, I tell you, the given doesn’t stop at 5:00 p.m. Your time to serve your community like that, which shows a great need for first responders everywhere. We can really, really appreciate that. So, Sebastian, thanks for sharing with us. I’m glad we had asked that question, Greg, and appreciate to find out about it. But appreciate you sharing.
Greg White (29:02):
Yeah. No kidding.
Scott Luton (29:02):
All right. But we got to get to work. We got to talk about there’s so much going on in global supply chain, especially this time of year. And I want to share our first story, Sebastian, we’re going to be talking with you about. It’s all about peak season. Peak season. I want to start with some of these projections from Logistics Management magazine here. Sebastian, tell us more about what you saw here and then give us your take about peak.
Sebastian Bleser (29:29):
So, Logistics Management has been conducting a survey working with more than a hundred logistic service providers from first mile to last mile, basically, trying to understand what people are expecting from peak 2022, to understand what it’s going to be like. The outcome is kind of undecided, whether it’s going to be significantly different from the peak that we’ve seen last year in terms of volume and overall workload. What is evident within all the feedback that they collected though is that there is a high level of uncertainty around what peak is going to be like, and especially customer behavior, and last not least, how to handle your entire supply chain. And particularly among the things that were mentioned, it is evident that people are concerned about their inbound supply chains.
Sebastian Bleser (30:21):
You folks been mentioning the railroad transportation, and just like that, the sea freight business is in big trouble. We are seeing congestions all across the freight routes. And the main problem here is that China has been speeding up their export rapidly while the rest of the world was apparently unable to digest all the volume that they are producing. What we’re seeing is we are short of cargo vessel capacity. We are lacking ocean containers. They are, basically, anywhere but not on the place where we need them. And the same applies for the trucks.
Sebastian Bleser (30:58):
And I just came across some figures the other day, it basically says 90 percent of all of our goods are transported on the vessel at some point of time, and that’s massive. And then, if you look at the current situation, we’re seeing more than 14 percent of the ships currently in transit are being delayed and that’s going to have a significant knock on effect on our economy.
Sebastian Bleser (31:21):
We are well ahead of peak. So, the advice that they are giving, bringing in early your peak, is actually already too late. If you decide on pulling in your inbound volume today, you’re pretty much lost. At the same time, your warehouses are probably almost half full, if not more, because you’re still busy selling the stuff from last peak that came in late. So, that leads to a very unique situation, where we realized too late that we are in a difficult situation. It’s like deciding between the rock and the hard place. Ultimately, you always need to take risk one way or the other and just trying to increase your shop floor size to take in more volume isn’t working either. I’m not sure about you folks, but at least around here, warehouse capacity is as short as truck drivers or any other resource you might be seeking.
Scott Luton (32:14):
Okay. Sebastian, that was quite a snippet. A lot of stuff we can dive into. Greg, I’m going to get your take in just a second. I want to add just a little bit of context. So, if you go back to the article here, the Logistics Management research are surveyed over a hundred industry stakeholders across supply chain, all different sectors. Forty-five percent expect a more active peak season than last year. Thirty-five percent expect it to be about the same. And 20 percent say it’ll be less active. And by the way, Greg, I tried to capture the tidal wave to be accurate. It should be like tidal wave after tidal wave, but there wasn’t a good graphic handy. Your take here on what Sebastian was sharing, Greg?
Greg White (32:56):
I think what’s important is who they interviewed. So, it’s freight transportation, logistics, and supply chain stakeholders. And the word that they used “more active,” because I happen to believe that sales will be down significantly from 2021. But I don’t think that matters when it comes to activity in terms of logistics, because the ships they’re still showing up. I know we haven’t done the global Hilton Head freight constriction network index for a long, long time, but let me assure you that that number continues to grow, and it’s exactly what Sebastian is talking about.
Greg White (33:42):
And we’ve been talking since, it seems, like April about getting goods here for peak. And then, the article that I was just telling our listeners about from a week before last was about exactly the other issue that Sebastian’s talking about, which is retailers in particular, but other shippers as well, have so misjudged demand that they’re overstocked on, it seems like, everything that’s not selling. I think I may have exposed that I’m taking advantage of that a little bit for patio furniture.
Scott Luton (34:16):
Everybody’s getting patio furniture for Christmas, right, Greg?
Greg White (34:18):
They should, because by then it’ll be 70 percent off, and there will still be plenty of it. And home goods, right? Anything from a bookshelf to tchotchkes will be super cheap. So, I think, yes, you should really think about those items. But the retailers have had those items since the beginning of the year to, Sebastian, your point, and they don’t have the room for these other goods. So, they’re flooding the marketplace with promotion right now, which will take up the dwindling budget of people in an inflationary time and will have an impact on their ability to buy Christmas presents. In fact, some consumers are buying Christmas presents now knowing that the price will be 11 to 20 percent higher by the time Christmas season comes around.
Greg White (35:07):
But none of that matters when we’re talking about freight, because the freight still has to go somewhere or even sit somewhere and, believe it or not, sitting freight is still activity. So, it will be incredibly active from a physical logistics time from now on shifting inventories from warehouses to stores, or stores to consumers, or around warehouses, or finding a place to put them, or simply paying to have them sit in yards or on ships or wherever they may be being held. So, regardless of what sales look like, it’s going to be crazy. That’s all I can think of, it’s going to be a crazy peak season for freight logistics.
Scott Luton (35:57):
I agree with you, Greg and Sebastian. Hey, Sebastian, I’m going to give you the final word in just a second. I want to go back to what TSquared shared. Thank you, TSquared. He’s given me the definition of juxtaposition, “proximity for contrasting and/or comparing.” Thank you my friend.
Greg White (36:11):
Now, we have to look at proximity, Scott. Keep them coming, Tyrone.
Scott Luton (36:16):
Yeah. That’s right. One other thought, certainly one thing that is certain out there is the amount of uncertainty that’s in the market, right? We all talked about it plenty of times, economic conditions, inflation, what impact will that have on this post-pandemic environment we’re in, where the shopping behaviors are going to be different, in many cases, than the last couple years. Goodness gracious. But, Sebastian, your thought especially on Greg’s point there that it depends on what you deem is active. Activity still has to take place, right?
Sebastian Bleser (36:53):
Yeah. And that’s probably one of the biggest things, because everything that’s in transit anywhere will jam the system even further. We’ve only been talking about congestions on the ocean highways. We haven’t talked about congestions on the actual highway. So, you look at your train stations, look at any intermodal hub you’re having, we’re jamming up all across the system. And unless we find the magic key to solve the riddle, it’s going to be even more tricky once we move into Christmas season.
Scott Luton (37:21):
Maybe it’s packaged in one of those Willy Wonka chocolate bars. Maybe that’s where the magic key might be. We’ll see. All right. So, Sebastian and Greg, I got to keep going. I saw that movie the over the weekend.
Greg White (37:32):
Scott Luton (37:33):
Yeah, I did. I sure did.
Greg White (37:35):
The original or the Johnny Depp version?
Scott Luton (37:37):
There’s only one, in my book at least. The original is certainly a classic. Okay. I want to share this Forbes article, Sebastian and Greg. Now, this is a really interesting article that touched on some of the biggest mistakes retailers can make especially when it comes to peak, prep – don’t try to say that too fast. And it really centered on a interview with Marc Gorlin, who founded and serves as CEO of Roadie, who interviewed with the author. So, Sebastian, give us the gist of this article and this interview here, and your take on it.
Sebastian Bleser (38:13):
Yeah. Well, it’s a super interesting one and very much contrast to the Logistics Management piece. They’ve been looking into consumer behavior and their expectations towards peak. And what we’re seeing is that despite the current recession and everything we’re seeing in the news, only some 20 percent of consumers actually planned to cut their expenses for Christmas, while another 12 percent even want to spend more money than they did in previous year. But across all of them, more than 50 percent of the consumers believe that there will be shortages of supply across various goods for at least the next 6 to 12 months. And that will have a significant impact on consumer behavior and also how we are supposed to be delivering peak.
Sebastian Bleser (38:57):
Additionally, they identified a couple of elements that will impact consumer behavior. If you look at the ever increasing gas prices, chances of someone driving around a couple of brick and mortar store trying to find that very item they are looking for are somewhat small. Additionally, all of these small stores are super congested with a ton of items while there’s hardly anyone walking around trying to sell you the item you’re looking for. So, that’s not the most attractive offer you can make to a consumer. So, what’s going to happen? They’ll move into the eCommerce world again. That’s going to, again, bring an uplift to all of these pure eCommerce players and also anyone who’s doing a good job when it comes to omnichannel.
Sebastian Bleser (39:44):
But now taking a look at how these people should solve the challenges of peak, and that’s where Marc Gorlin gave some pretty interesting insights, it’s basically trying to identify scenarios that you can use for building your strategy for overcoming all of the problems you’ll be facing. And what he’s stating is that while 2020 has been the biggest failure of last mile, because no one is expecting the volume and people have been ramping up the last mile heavily, then, the year after, we’ve seen the first mile fall apart. In the end, again, you were unable to connect all the loose ends and parcels didn’t get where they belong to.
Sebastian Bleser (40:25):
So, his advice is – and I definitely agree with that – build your scenario for ensuring that you’re able to nail your plan. Define your strategy on how to get [inaudible] out to the customer. And that requires a diverse set of last mile partners as it does for any first mile partner. And he’s advising you to look for a diversified portfolio of service providers, whether it’s last mile or whether it’s about your inbound supply chain. You need to ensure that you are able to inbound the goods yet you want to have built your strategy for taking them into your stock, ensuring you’re able to process them on time – remember, we are still lacking blue collars for that – and have a plan ready for delivering on the last mile.
Sebastian Bleser (41:13):
Ultimately – and I agree with the second piece of advice he’s giving – it’s about having your operations or supply chain team partner with sales, because if you manage to pull peak early, if you start selling weeks ahead of Black Friday, you’ll be able to even out the demand, you’ll flatten the curve, you will not need to onboard as many associates, you will not need to have that much transportation capacity for a single week of the year. Chances of securing that capacity, at least over here in Europe, are kind of small if you don’t start planning on time.
Sebastian Bleser (41:49):
And I could not agree more with the points he’s doing here. It’s a pretty grim market situation whether you look into transportation capacity or labor. And if you fail in delivering a plan that helps you to pull demand early and are able to send out these goods to your customers, you’re pretty much lost. Those last minute sales will not work the way they did last year. Plus, there is an increased chance that demand not materializing. And you, again, ending up with all of your money tied up somewhere in your warehouse, and you’d rather have it on your bank account.
Scott Luton (42:23):
Sebastian, wait, there is good news – and, Greg, I’m going to get your take – you got to find the right partners. I love what Marc Gorlin said, and, Sebastian, you touched on two to three here. 2020 was last mile, 2021 was first mile, but then he said, “2022 is going to be its own special kind of weird.” I like that phrase. Greg, between Marc and Sebastian, we got it covered it seems like. We got lots of things we got to be doing. Your take, Greg.
Greg White (42:52):
I couldn’t help, Sebastian, as you were talking, thinking of the first poignant lesson I learned about supply chain very early in my career. And that is, to be successful in supply chain, you have to assume that everyone will fail you, and provision for that eventuality. And I think, essentially, that’s what Marc and Sebastian are saying, is that we’re going to see a lot more of the unexpected. We have to provision for the unexpected. We’ve seen this before. I mean, look, Amazon is in the parcel game because the three biggest players in the United States, FedEx, UPS, and USPS, all failed them multiple years in peak season. And so, they felt the need to take matters into their own hands.
Greg White (43:41):
That’s not practical for every company out there, but diversifying your first mile and last mile – hell -middle mile, the whole thing, you should have a provision for all of those things because some carriers will be stronger regionally, some carriers will be stronger for particular types of products. I can tell you that UPS has delivered the patio furniture that I’ve received in a U-Haul truck and guys not wearing brown shorts. So, everyone is struggling right now. And I think even, arguably, the largest logistics company in the world, DHL, I know that because there’s so much disruption in Europe and so much change in Europe, that’s got to be a struggle. You have to count on some of these smaller carriers and some of the regional carriers and some of the specialty carriers, especially for delivery. That seems to be, as a consumer, just an observer as a consumer – I have to take off my supply chain expertise hat when I become a consumer – because all I want is my stuff right now, just like everybody else —
Scott Luton (44:52):
Don’t want to solve problems. Just want my stuff.
Greg White (44:54):
… I don’t care why it isn’t here. And you have to consider the fact that you can make as many explanations, excuses, whatever you want to call them, as you want, your consumers don’t care, and it will still reflect on your brand. So, these provisions that Sebastian has talked about, that Marc has talked about, I think they’re exceptionally poignant this year.
Scott Luton (45:16):
All right. Man, goodness gracious. Both of y’all are on fire today. I love it. And folks in the club seats, check this out, so Jonathan says, “Excellent points in regard to scenario planning. Refine the market plan and continually update market analysis to meet proper demand consensus. Align strategy with voice of the customer.” I love that. TSquared says, “Greg nailed it. Everyone will fail you at least thrice.” Let’s see, Katherine also says they’ve had U-Haul deliveries there as well.
Scott Luton (45:49):
I want to share, folks, we’re talking about this article here, I’m going to pop it back up there, The Big Mistakes Retailers Make in Preparing for Holiday Peak Season. You can check that out via Forbes. I think we drop the link as well. And as Sebastian, Greg, and I’ve been talking, it really features a conversation with Marc Gorlin, who founded Roadie.
Scott Luton (46:05):
Here’s an interesting thing though – I love Sebastian what you said about partnering with sales teams -both of these articles we’ve talked about, Logistics Management and Forbes, they both talk about pulling that customer demand forward. And if you work with the sales team, to not wait until – here in the states, at least – Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t wait until then. Do it now. Get those promotions out now. And in my mind, Greg and Sebastian, the notion of load balancing and manufacturing, kind of balancing the customer demand, I think there’s some kindred spirits there.
Scott Luton (46:42):
All right. So, where I want to go next as we are coming down the home stretch with Sebastian from Seven Senders, Sebastian, you’re offering up quite some – especially for dinner time your time after probably a long Monday, I think Sebastian is bringing it here today. Ain’t he, Greg?
Greg White (46:59):
You know, we are the way we are 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he was asking if we were always like this on Monday. I mean, he’s got to be starving to death and he is right on it. So, yeah, definitely.
Sebastian Bleser (47:16):
See, I’m not passionate. I’m just hungry that’s why.
Greg White (47:21):
We call it hangry here.
Scott Luton (47:22):
We told y’all about Sebastian’s sneaky sense of humor. Let’s do this, I want to make sure for all, maybe, three people out there that aren’t familiar with Seven Senders, let’s make sure we drill in on what they do. So, Sebastian, in a nutshell, tell us about Seven Senders.
Sebastian Bleser (47:39):
Well, we pretty much solve all the problems we just discussed. We claim for ourselves to be the first choice on the last mile. And, basically, we act as a one-stop-shop for anyone that’s looking for a cross border fulfillment services. We select the right service provider for you based on your customer’s profile, SKUs, you name it. Depending on the market, the demand might be largely different. We collect from your warehouse, so, basically, consolidating first mile volumes. We integrate into your tech systems. You don’t need to worry about integrating with a ton of different carriers and then shifting volumes between them, we can handle all of that for you. We ensure it gets there on time. And in case there is any imbalance because you did not do your due diligence when it comes to forecasting, we ensure that we utilize our network for evenning out the demand, ultimately ensuring we get all the parcels to where they belong to.
Sebastian Bleser (48:37):
The huge benefit of that in contrast to building your very own logistical network, we are a vital part of many of these, and we are able to work with our partners to ensure that we actually inject your volumes. Imagine you being one of the service providers and the ton of companies collecting from your front door, that’s not convenient. Your yards are small. Your warehouse is limited in capacity. Imagine you are one of the last mile service providers, would you rather have like a ton of vans delivering small quantity of parcels rather have a single partner delivering an FTL right at your front door? And to put some cream on top of it, we’re basically ensuring that we have a full transparency carpet for you so that you stay on top of your processes throughout the day, throughout the peak season.
Scott Luton (49:25):
Sebastian, I like you finished there with some cream on top, maybe even cherry. Greg, as Sebastian rolled out some of the things they do, some of the problems they solve, some of the ways they partner with groups, what came to your mind there?
Greg White (49:37):
One throat to choke, that’s what came to my mind. I mean, instead of having this vast array of carriers, they coordinate and consolidate all of that for you. I see it being more of an extension of your company because of that, because they can decide all those things that I was talking about, what region, what specialty, what speed, all of those various aspects that otherwise you have to focus on. And I think this is, frankly, a new era for supply chain where more companies will start to rely on companies like this.
Greg White (50:18):
As retailers – let’s just focus just on retailers – who are largely who distributes to consumers, what are we really good at? Designing, building, marketing, and selling products. Traditionally not great at logistics, and the logistics are the most complex part of the business. It doesn’t matter how we designed it, what we build it, what color we made it, or how well we market it and sold it if we can’t get it to people. So, this is a critical part of it. And I think more and more retailers, except for the really, really large ones, are starting to see that you can consolidate with services like this that cover every aspect that you have. This is what we say in the U.S. – you know, we’re maybe a little bit aggressive Sebastian – one throat to choke. You have one group who is accountable for that and they are experts in that thing. And I think more retailers are already, but still should, look for services like this to let the pros do what they do best. And don’t worry about who’s going to fail.
Scott Luton (51:23):
And when that throat is choked, you got Sebastian there, who’s a certified paramedic, that can take care of folks. But, hey, kidding aside, one of my favorite things, Sebastian, and it was evident a couple times now to a couple different conversations, you said you’re hungry, not passionate. Man, you bring a ton of passion to the table. Clearly, you love solving some of these challenges we touched on here today. And I don’t know about y’all, that’s the kind of partner I’ve sought out in my career. So, love that.
Scott Luton (51:58):
And we got some easy ways for folks to connect with Sebastian. If y’all do connect with Sebastian, don’t let him hide that sense of humor. Call him out. You never know what it’s going to pop you. But y’all can venture over to the website, right, Sebastian? We’re going to drop a link in the chat. We’ll make it really helpful, one click away. Those are the kind of problems we’d like solving, one click away. Sebastian, you are active, I believe, on LinkedIn and the company is active on LinkedIn. Is that right?
Sebastian Bleser (52:30):
That’s true. Yeah. We’re glad to connect and address all the issues you might be facing. And I’m pretty sure we have the right solution for you to solve those.
Scott Luton (52:38):
No doubt. No doubt. So, the website we’re dropping in the comments, the LinkedIn company page, so y’all can check out that. We’re going to be dropping that link there, Seven Senders on LinkedIn. And, of course, Sebastian on LinkedIn as well, Sebastian Bleser. All right. So, before we let Sebastian go, Greg, I really have enjoyed the chat here today. I really have enjoyed what he’s brought to the table, kind of using these reads as vehicles, heck, he’s really shown that Monday ain’t nothing but a thing over there for Sebastian Bleser. Your favorite thing that Sebastian shared with us here today, Greg.
Greg White (53:20):
I mean, aside from all of the brilliance that you’ve shared, Sebastian, I think what you’re doing to enable kind of – I don’t know – the average or every man kind of retailer or eCommerce retailer – look, I just dump them all in one bucket, you can call it inCommerce, eCommerce, global commerce, or bricks and mortar. It’s just commerce is the way I see it these days – I think it’s great that there’s an enablement for the smaller entities that can’t build their own logistics teams. I think that message is really critical. And I have to tell you, I’m really tough on sales pitches, but I looked at your site and I get it. I get what you do. You allow someone to go, “I want to do business in Germany, Netherlands, France, Austria,” whatever, and you’re there. And all they’ve got to do is say they want it and it happens.
Greg White (54:12):
And I think there are more and more types of providers that enable companies to get global or to expand their reach. And I think it’s an incredible service because we need small businesses to succeed, otherwise it will be all Walmart, all Amazon, all Alibaba, those kind of things. And I know you have a really big marketplace there too. I can not remember the name, but same kind of situation, they need competition. And small business to be able to compete needs this kind of assistance.
Scott Luton (54:49):
Well said, Greg. Okay. Sebastian Bleser, we really enjoyed your point of view here today and your expertise you’ve shared. What’s for dinner?
Sebastian Bleser (55:02):
If I would go for the stereotype game, I’d say it’s a Schnitzel. But, honestly, I haven’t made my mind up yet. I’ll find something.
Scott Luton (55:10):
Well, hey, kidding aside, I really have enjoyed our chats. Thank you for being here today and sharing some of what you’re seeing. And, folks, check out and connect with Sebastian and Seven Senders. Thank you so much.
Sebastian Bleser (55:22):
Thanks for having me. I appreciate that. Have a good day. Bye-bye.
Scott Luton (55:26):
All right. So, having a few connection issues that happens from time to time. Live programming is always fun. Folks, check out the resources we dropper there between Seven Senders website, which you can find link in the comments. You’re going to want to check out Seven Senders on LinkedIn as well. And connect with Sebastian Bleser via LinkedIn. I bet if he’s anything like his in person conversation, certainly someone to follow.
Scott Luton (55:53):
One last thing before we sign off here today is Supply Chain Buzz for Monday, September 12, 2022, I want to make sure y’all know about our new – maybe we stop saying the word new, four or five weeks in, our LinkedIn newsletter called With That Said, With That Said. So, right now it’s a Saturday morning publication. It’s a smattering of some things we’re doing here. Some of the things that are really important out across the global marketplace, global industry, you name it. We’re approaching 15,000 subscribers just four weeks in. So, if we could, Amanda, Katherine Chantel, we drop that link for the latest With That Said newsletter in the comments. I gathered a lot of perspective around thoughts on, you know, the passing in the morning for Queen Elizabeth II. And then, we also talk about, of course, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Lots of things that you’re going to want to see and check out and comment on yourself. So, check out that link and we’d love for you to subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter.
Scott Luton (56:53):
Folks, I wish every Monday started almost like this. I love what Sebastian and Seven Senders are doing out there. I really appreciated Greg’s take. Thanks for all the great comments. And by the way, Glorimar, thank you very much. I really appreciate that feedback. And feedback is certainly a blessing, so y’all keep it coming. But whatever you do, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton signing off for now. Connect with Sebastian. Connect with Greg. Don’t miss his supply chain commentary every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You got to connect with him or follow him on LinkedIn to be a part of that. But whatever you do, it’s all about deeds, not words. Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com, and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Sebastian Bleser oversees Seven Senders’ Pan-European operations from first to last mile. His more than 15 years of experience in different leadership roles in Supply Chain and FMCG have led him to be recognized as a versatile problem solver, strategist and operations specialist. He has built and led cross-functional teams across Europe, shaping efficient and resilient processes. Prior to joining Seven Senders, he worked with the leading global e-commerce company, managing Delivery Excellence of their European Fulfilment org. Sebastian is known for effectively solving complex operational problems with tangible action plans while never losing focus on customer experience and costs. Connect with Sebastian on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
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.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.