The Supply Chain Buzz is Supply Chain Now’s regular Monday livestream, held at 12n ET each week. This show focuses on some of the leading stories from global supply chain and global business, always with special guests – the most important of which is the live audience!
This week’s edition of The Buzz featured special guest Lilah Taha-Rippett, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain at First Watch Restaurant Group. a popular daytime dining restaurant with almost 500 locations in 29 states. She shared some of the most successful sourcing practices her team uses as well as advice for building strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with suppliers.
The featured news stories in this week’s livestream, discussed in collaboration with a live Supply Chain Now audience, include:
• A 200 ship traffic jam building up in the Panama Canal thanks to drought-level conditions in the area
• The challenging supply chain conditions that might make it hard to find Huy Fong Foods siracha hot sauce
• Three key areas of the business that Walmart has targeted as part of their Artificial Intelligence strategy
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 may be. Scott Luton here with you on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream. Hey, on today’s show, as most of y’all know, it’s the supply chain buzz, which comes at you every Monday at 12 noon Eastern time. That’s by, by my calculation, I believe, at 6:00 PM Central European time. But y’all know, my math, my conversion skills <laugh> are, are, are missing here. But hey, big thanks behind the scenes, Catherine and Amanda, thanks for, uh, helping to make production happen here. And welcome everybody. We’ve got a ton of folks already here. We’re gonna say hello to, uh, each of y’all in just a few minutes today for the on the buzz. As y’all have come to expect, we’re gonna be discussing a variety of news and developments, really across global business. And we’ve got a special guest here today.
Scott Luton (01:17):
And trust me, when y’all, when I tell you that you’re really gonna get a kick out of our guest, I promise you, we just had a very engaging pre-show with Lilah Taha-Rippett, uh, senior Vice President of, uh, supply chain with First watch, which as y’all may know, very popular daytime dining restaurant, almost 500 locations in 29 states here in the us. So stay tuned as we’ll be gaining her insights. Now, some of y’all may know this about me, but I’m really particularly very interested ’cause as, as Layla and Catherine, a few others, and Apre show pointed out, you know, we, we’ve covered global supply chain in a number of different sectors, but really Layla’s one of our first, what I’ll call, uh, executive practitioners joining us from the restaurant or the daytime dining industry, I should probably put it. And for me, having worked in the food industry throughout college and then some, and then for a couple years, uh, after I graduated, I’m really looking forward to learning from Layla and, and her expertise and her, uh, experience.
Scott Luton (02:14):
So, but hey, we also wanna hear from you. Give us your take in the comments throughout the show. Uh, let us know what you’re thinking. And for those of you that may be listening to the podcast, replay y’all to consider joining us live on LinkedIn or YouTube or some other social media channel. If you’re choosing as we go live every Monday at 12 noon Eastern time, we’d love to hear from you. Now, some of y’all may notice I’m by myself today. Watch out. Uh, usually I’m joined by the one and only Greg White, but he’s traveling today and we’ll be back in the saddle with us next week. Okay, we’re gonna get into a few resources. We’re gonna get into a few stories we’re gonna walk through here today. And, uh, but before, before I do, before I say get some shout outs, uh, really important as we wanna send our, our thoughts, our love, and our prayers, all those impacted by tropical, uh, storm Hillary, as reports have come in more and more on the damage in Mexico and California.
Scott Luton (03:06):
So please stay safe. And we wish, uh, a very speedy recovery. Alright, so let’s say, man, we got a packed house. What is it with August 21st? Uh, and, and they are chopping at the bit. Let’s see here. We have got, uh, Mohamed tuned in via LinkedIn. Let us know where you’re tuned in from. Shabi, uh, Josh back with us from gorgeous and Smoky Seattle. He says 60 degrees up in Seattle. Great to see you here. Josh, Derrick from Dallas. Y’all, uh, trademark that, uh, tuned in from Dallas. It’s gonna be around 106 degrees. I think you’re gonna get the prize. Uh, Derek, goodness gracious. Uh, let’s see. <laugh>, I think Josh is saying, boom goes the, the temperature, uh, gauge there. Esh is back with us via LinkedIn. Esh, let us know where you’re tuned in from Rodriguez, uh, via LinkedIn as well. Audrey Arthur from Morgantown, Pennsylvania.
Scott Luton (03:56):
Love your show, Arthur. I really appreciate that. We all appreciate that. We love getting feedback from our audience, uh, wherever they may be. So, really appreciate that Angela is back with us from North Carolina via LinkedIn. Uh, and of course we couldn’t do a buzz without JP John Peterson tuned in from Marietta, Georgia. Great to see you, John. And we’re gonna hit everybody else here in just a moment. But I want to do this, I wanna start with some resources, right? It’s really important, as y’all know, the commitment from the supply chain Now, team, Hey, we’ve got your back. As you’re fighting through the trenches and make things happen for your customers, you know, and, and for your teams, we wanna share some, uh, some resources that may help you in, uh, that endeavor. And I’m gonna start with, with that said, over the weekend, who, in, who in the world is that?
Scott Luton (04:43):
Who let that guy up, up on a stage talking about Chocolate Kit Katts from Cape Town? Yes. So, uh, y’all check out. So every weekend we release our with that said, and it’s really meant to be a, a newsletter that’s not just a, uh, a replay of all the other content and podcasts and live streams. Really try to offer up a unique take. Um, and what we talked about this past weekend was our experience that Amanda and I had when we spent some time at the SAEX conference in Cape Town. And we were, our, our kids had asked for a bunch of different treats, right? Well, as we were at the Woolworths filling up a bag of treats, which would later, we’d have a, a fun time getting through customs <laugh> in, uh, with, but this Kit Katt stood out and I noticed on this Kit Kat there in Cape Town that Nestle was promoting that it was a hundred per, it was made with a hundred percent sustainable cocoa.
Scott Luton (05:32):
And that, uh, there’s a whole rest of the story there, but check out, you have to read with that said, but really, it’s cool to see Nestle commit that by 2025, just less than two years away, all of their global supply of cocoa that they use is going to be 100% sustainably sourced. So how cool is that? Check out the link. I think we’ve got that here. So you’re one click away from checking that out and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss our, um, with that said, each and every weekend. All right, so from Kit Katt to Music, man, lots of our favorite things, uh, this morning here, Catherine and Amanda, uh, we’ve got a live stream coming up. Uh, this, let’s see, this is, uh, this will be Wednesday, August 23rd, my birthday. Hey, I, I love talking supply chain on my birthday.
Scott Luton (06:16):
Hey, we’re gonna be <laugh>, we’re gonna be featuring Matt Spooner with Conaxis and check out this title, quote, music to our ears, the power of supply Chain Orchestration. I love that. Right? Well, we’re gonna be talking about what that means and how that definition has continued to evolve. And some of the cool things Matt’s been up to on one hand as he just got back from a European cycling race. I can’t remember the name of that race. Catherine, let’s drop that in the link maybe. Um, and some of the cool things that Conaxis is up to that, uh, will all benefit from learning. So y’all check that out. I gotta catch up on, uh, a couple comments here. Yes, Arthur, gimme a break. Gimme me a break. I’m not sure if anyone remembers that Kit Kat commercial from the nineties, but, uh, <laugh>, that was, that was certainly, uh, imprinted in between my ears.
Scott Luton (06:59):
Uh, Greg, uh, join us again in, uh, from Wisconsin. Great to see you here. Greg Solo. Hello, supply Chain Enthusiasts. I think that’s a great title. Great looking at it. Uh, Simon, hello to wherever you are dialed in from. Let us know. Uh, Russh has tuned in from India. That’s right, I remember that. Uh, T squared says, bring on those dog days of summer nourishment. It’s gonna be 93 degrees where T Squared is. And I wanna say he’s up in the Maryland area, correct me, T squared, but he says it feels like 1 0 7, but it just feels hot, really hot and big show. Bob Bova is with us. He says, a little wet and windblown, but that’s okay. Up in the mountains. And, uh, high Desert got the worst of it as well. An earthquake on top of things. It’s crazy. Uh, and that’s right.
Scott Luton (07:44):
Uh, Bob, you’re out in California, so hope you and your family and, and all your colleagues are doing okay. All right, we have got one more resource before we hit our first new story that I wanna share. And that would be this. We’re having this conversation, y’all check out this graphic. Uh, we were having this conversation with our friends, um, Dan, uh, Reeve, never, not Reeves as in the, the Hall of fame coach and football player, Dan Reeve from Esker, right? We had Dan join us, and he brought along, once again, Dr. Morgan Wink from Texas Christian University. Now, uh, they have collaborated on some interesting research focused on managing working capital. And we’re gonna drop a link so y’all can check out that, uh, get your own copy, uh, in the comments. But one item that stood out to me that was included was, check this out, this global supply Chain Pressure index.
Scott Luton (08:31):
I bet this resonates with a bunch of y’all, right? I, I really think it’s interesting to see this pressure mapped out on a chart. It’s just the latest reminder. And we’ve had millions of them, of our workforce and how they’re under, we’re all under a ton of pressure and strained to perform. And as one of the constant mantras that we really, we don’t just preach, but we act on around here at supply chain. Now we gotta make it as easy as we can to help them succeed, right? So y’all check that out. Also, check out this report I mentioned the managing working capital, returning to a strategic, uh, strategic end-to-end approach. Really some interesting factoids from industry div, uh, driven by the data that you’ll want to, uh, check out in that research piece. Okay? Uh, let’s see here. I wanna make sure we’ve got, we’ve got links.
Scott Luton (09:17):
I mentioned that livestream or one click away, if y’all wanna check that out, that we can sign up for that session. Uh, this coming week. T squared Baltimore. That’s right. So I’m assuming T squared with Lamar Jackson, that he’s successfully negotiated his contract extension. Maybe he’s got a, he’s gonna teach the rest of us how to do stuff like that. Um, I bet the Ravens are in for a big N F L season coming up. Uh, salmon tuned in from Dubai. Man, big thing is happening in Dubai. Uh, Simon, a great friend, um, Kim, uh, Kim Winter is usually tuned in from Dubai. It’s amazing what’s going on there. Alright, so with all of that said, I want to get into our first story here today, and we’re gonna be talking about the Panama Canal. Now, some of y’all may be familiar with what’s going on, uh, down in the Panama Canal.
Scott Luton (10:05):
Uh, this comes to us via our friends over at the Wall Street Journal. Got a traffic jam building up on both sides of the Panama Canal. All of our listeners probably remember how far a long stretch there we were, uh, tracking backed up, uh, port traffic across the US on both coasts. If y’all remember, uh, Greg, uh, who, uh, spends a good chunk of his time on the island or Hilton head as he’ll call it. He was even calculating his own index as he watched ships sitting and waiting, uh, back then down near Savannah, I wanna say we got up into the dozens of ships there, Savannah, uh, backed up and waiting, not nearly like the, the traffic on the West Coast. Well, all that traffic congestion has shifted South. Now, get this, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than 200 ships are waiting on either side of the Panama Canal to transit the primary culprit.
Scott Luton (10:54):
You ask. Well, it’s an extraordinary drought, uh, drought condition impacting really the whole region. Now, did you know, as shared by this article, the Panama Canal uses three times as much water as New York City every single day. Now, that adds a little helpful context. And when the rainfall is low, well, the first thing to be cut are the number of transits that the canal allows. So if you do elect to, uh, uh, try to get your ship through there and transit during these times, well, you’re gonna be paying a very hefty fee. Now, for the most part, con uh, container ships aren’t nearly as packed in, uh, as impacted as others because they’re booked far in advance. Right? But more short notice shippers like gas carriers where they’re running into all sorts of problems and expenses. Uh, the Panama Canal Authority, interestingly enough, has hired the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Scott Luton (11:44):
Yes, the same group that built the canal back in the, um, early 19 hundreds, uh, where they’ve, they’ve brought the Corps of Engineers in to look at possibly diverting four more rivers into the canal, which already currently taps only three rivers. All right, so that’s just the first of, let’s see, I think we’re gonna knock out three stories here today. So check that out. We’re gonna keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on there in the Panama Canal. And our second story, uh, from Panama to restaurant tables and home cabinets, <laugh>, uh, across the country, right? From our friends at, uh, uh, over at C N B C, we’re talking about a highly popular garlicy hot sauce that Americans just can’t get enough of. That’s right. Hoy, Fong Foods, sriracha hot sauce. I bet many of y’all love this stuff on your pasta, on your fa on your sandwiches, you name it.
Scott Luton (12:34):
Many of you probably used it comes in that big iconic plastic bottle with the rooster and the green plastic cap, right? But for years, for three or four years now, it’s been harder and harder to find. In fact, I saw bottles selling on Amazon for about 22 bucks this morning. Now, C N B C said it found the same, going for as much as 52 bucks. So here I, I was scrounging and I’ve got, got product here and bidding will begin at about $40. So as <laugh>, we’ll see if we get anyone take us up. But yeah, Catherine, I know you love Sriracha. I know Amanda loves Ssha. I love Ssha on, on just about everything. But let’s dive into what’s going on here. So, it’s the problem, ma, mainly, there’s two main reasons here. Number one, hoy. Fong foods evidently got into a dispute with its longtime supplier of jalapeno peppers, which is the primary ingredient, right?
Scott Luton (13:24):
For 28 years, Underwood ranches supplied Ong foods with peppers until a dispute hit around 2017, causing that relationship to cease. Now, that longtime supplier was cut out of the operation, and that’s where the second problem comes into play, replacing that steady stream of hot, delicious peppers. Well, that hasn’t been as easy as ho Fong foods must have thought. Since moving on from underwater, uh, ranches, the hot sauce maker has reportedly tried sourcing jalapenos from farms in California, New Mexico, uh, and Mexico. But drought and poor weather conditions has impacted these areas and its crops. Now, we’ll see how this story continues to develop, as Greg points out, uh, the tropical storm, Hillary, um, well, that’s not, that’s gonna have a big impact perhaps, um, on these, these, uh, farm regions that we were just talking about. But on a personal note, anytime I see a bottle of the sriracha sauce, I think about where I first tasted it, uh, in a, a Vietnamese, uh, fall restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, of all places.
Scott Luton (14:26):
I was in the Air Force at the time, and my buddies, Hylan Wong and Troy Boozer took me to this fall place, and I instantly fell in love with it. I mean, how couldn’t you, as Catherine pointed out. Uh, so it was delicious then. And still delicious now, and it goes with just about everything. So we’re hoping that the supply rebounds we’ll see. Um, alright, share a couple of comments here. T squared. Can you smell the greed, deflation, <laugh>, new term in this supply and demand uncertainty notwithstanding? That’s an interesting comment. Now, I haven’t noticed if these bottles have gotten any smaller. I know, you know, we, we got some ice cream over the weekend for my kids, and y’all know what’s going on there with reflation, you’re getting less than what you used to get, but greed, deflation, new term. Josh says, can’t tell you how much ramen with sra.
Scott Luton (15:12):
Uh, sriracha. He’s had essential for college diets everywhere. Excellent point. Excellent point. Uh, going back to the Panama Canal, will says the canal was turning away bigger ships due to lower water. That’s a good point, will. And additionally, with the bigger container ships, what it’s been having to do for years is take, uh, containers off of them and onto secondary, uh, ships so they can get, um, the whole craft through the canal. Good point. There Will, and by the way, will must be a big Chicago Bears fan. Uh, he says good things in store for my Chicago Bears this year, I bet. Well, um, I cannot remember the name of the quarterback that the Bears drafted, uh, that he played at Georgia, and then he went on to play with the Buckeyes. Uh, but I think he is poised for a big year. Um, all right, so we are going to, I got a couple other resources, right?
Scott Luton (16:02):
As we continue getting a little bit further in today’s supply chain Buzz. Stay tuned. We’ve got an excellent guest coming, uh, into the show in about 10 minutes or so. So stay tuned for that. Um, but a couple things. Um, we invite you now, we, we talk about webinars and live streams and, and so much more, right? We don’t want y’all to miss anything. So, uh, it’s really easy to become a member of the Now community. There’s just a couple pieces of information that we ask y’all to give us, and that way you’ll be on the docket to get announcements and other opportunities to check out. We invite you to join us and become a part, an engaged member of the now community. Speaking of resources, who raise your hand if you’re struggling with the Last Mile. I think everybody is right? Well check out this upcoming webinar.
Scott Luton (16:44):
Speaking of resources, September 21st, so about a month away where Freight and our friends from Estes and, uh, Bart, uh, from, uh, Everstream Analytics. Well, there we’re, we’re gonna be talking about unlock, unlocking the power of diversification in last mile delivery. So join us for that live session on the 21st and get this, we’re about to touch on a, on a story from our friends at Walmart, which we’ve really enjoyed interviewing executives, uh, through the years. Uh, we’re partnering with Supply Pike. So if you do business with Walmart, y’all know how tricky that can be at times, right? Well, these folks have been there and done it, and they’re offering, uh, that expertise on three proven strategies to level up your business with Walmart. And I would just argue, uh, putting things maybe too simply that if you can be really successful in your business with Walmart, there’s tons of transferable best practices to apply to all of your relationships with other organizations.
Scott Luton (17:39):
So join us there, uh, Dino and I host, uh, Stacy and Eric with Supply Pike on September 26th at 12 noon. Alright, one more story. And this is an interesting, interesting story here. Now, folks, it’s next impossible to even have a conversation these days without mentioning ai, right? I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy from what I can tell. I really, I’ve really enjoyed the conversations where we’re talking about real artificial intelligence, not the fake stuff that, uh, our <laugh> friends in marketing may apply to whatever product they’re pushing, but real artificial intelligence that’s being applied to really going back to that pressure in our workforce, make it easier for them to be successful and un and allowing humans to do the extraordinary human things. So, check out this story from our friends at C I O Dive. Walmart has targeted three primary areas with its artificial intelligence strategy.
Scott Luton (18:32):
They are personalization for customers. So that mass custom or mass personalization, uh, trend continues associate operations. I love that they’re gonna help their team and their associates, uh, make their days easier and supply chain optimization. Walmart, c e o, Doug McMillion says that the retailer is already using AI to help estimating demand, and in its planning to meet that demand. For example, they’re using AI to run simulations on what customers do on Black Friday. And he says that AI further represents an opportunity for the company to be even more anticipatory. Say that word, seven times fast anticipatory in its planning and identifying and predicting problems before they arise. Now, one issue that the Walmart team has identified and has been working on for years, clean and structured data, McMillan said, quote, we’ve been working for a few years now to try and get our data in better shape so that we can really put it to work end quote.
Scott Luton (19:26):
Now, can you imagine, we’re talking about this pre show. Can you imagine the sheer tidal waves of data that Walmart is working through? Man, if they have opportunities with data, what does that mean for, for all the rest of us out there? Outstanding, outstanding opportunities. And it sounds like a, to me, to my ears at least, a very practical approach for the successful and meaningful application of AI at Walmart. Okay, folks, we are, you’re in store. Oh, thank you Justin Fields. Thank you Amanda and Catherine from pointing that out. Uh, that’s my first Hess. So Justin Fields, going back to Will, you’re a big Bears fan. We’ll see what Justin does this year. I bet it’s gonna, I bet he’s gonna have a big year. And also, the other thing, I couldn’t think of the transcontinental race. Thank you, Catherine. Our friend Matt Spooner from Conaxis, uh, has, uh, just finished, completed this Transcontinental race, annual self-supported ultra distance cycling race across Europe.
Scott Luton (20:20):
Uh, the route and distance varies for each edition between thirty two hundred and forty two hundred kilometers. Goodness gracious. I’d be doing something if I could just get out and do a 10 kilometer bike ride, right? Um, alright, so stay tuned for that on August 23rd. Alright, folks, I have really enjoyed, you know, we, we get to spend a little bit of time appreciate before each of these live sessions with our guests and really our team, the co-host, you, you name it. We had a ton of fun with our guest here today. And I’m, I am, uh, delighted to welcome in a very special guest here on the supply chain Buzz. Layla Taha Ript is the senior Vice President of Supply Chain with First Watch, a popular daytime dining restaurant with almost 500 locations in 29 states here in the U us. So let’s welcome in. Layla.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (21:05):
Hey, Scott, how are you? How
Scott Luton (21:07):
Are you doing?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (21:09):
I’m great. Thank you for having us. This is awesome.
Scott Luton (21:11):
Well, you know, right, right. When we connected this earlier today, the whole excitement factor, I mean, w we need to tap in, we need to connect you to the local power grid, and we’d power the, uh, 50 states, you know, from start to finish. So great to have you here with us, uh, today, Layla, now little fun warmup question. Yeah. Right now we’re both food lovers and we’re kindred spirits a number of different levels. But yesterday, August 20th was National Bacon Lovers Day, <laugh>. Now I want to ask you, I’ve got a couple of guesses on my end, but what is one of your favorite dishes with bacon, Layla?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (21:45):
So, I am in love with our million dollar bacon. So imagine it, it’s, it’s got, uh, cayenne pepper in it and it has, uh, maple syrup on it, and it’s cooked to perfection, and you wanna have it. So, uh, if you haven’t tried it, come in. It is, it is so good.
Scott Luton (22:04):
Oh, I love, well, you know what? I stole a picture from your site early. This is the, uh, this is a Monterey club. Yeah. And, and of course, Bacon’s on it, delicious Turkey, but you got me at the sourdough bread, and I’m sure those tomatoes are, are fresh and ready to go. So I’m gonna have to join my local first watch and take in this Monterey club. Huh?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (22:24):
That’s awesome. Please do. We’d love to have you come in and try it.
Scott Luton (22:29):
All right. So folks, as we continue on with Layla, we’d love to get your favorite baking dishes, whether it’s a, a gen, uh, popular one, or maybe something that’s one off in this special to you and your family. Alright, so, Layla, for our audience here, they don’t have the benefit of, of, um, of our pre-show and, and our homework we did on you and your background for perspective and context. Share a little bit information about your background, Layla.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (22:51):
Sure. So, um, I’m first generation American Lebanese from Detroit. And I started out, my family had grocery stores and bars, so I didn’t, uh, veer too far away from food service. It is, uh, an area that I love and have a strong passion for. So my career has taken me from working in operations to working in supply chain. And about seven years ago, I had the privilege and I was really excited, uh, for this offer to come through to join first watch. So, we’re doing things, uh, non-traditional here for supply chain. We’ll love to share that with you as well. But first watch is my love. I’m here and we’re having a lot of fun.
Scott Luton (23:36):
I believe it, uh, we can tell it, we see it. <laugh>. Uh, before my quick follow up question, Josh says, bacon wrapped Dutch oven chicken with chives and cream cheese. Man, I could
Lilah Taha-Rippett (23:46):
Get into that. Josh
Scott Luton (23:48):
<laugh> <laugh>. I could too. Uh, all right, so really quick question before we move on. So, uh, you grew up in Detroit, but now you’re in Sarasota, right? So any sports allegiances that you might can share with us? Layla, oh,
Lilah Taha-Rippett (24:00):
You won’t believe this, but every now and then, um, I’m still watching Detroit Tigers. You know, you have to, you’re here. Got to. That’s what I do. So, uh, that’s my allegiance.
Scott Luton (24:11):
Love it. And I think, I think Miguel Cabrera is wrapping up a Hall of Fame career this year, if I’m not mistaken, with the Tigers. Uh, I, as a, as Atlanta Braves fan, we watched him kill us in the early days of his career with the Florida Marlins. Um, alright. See, we say bacon, will’s like bacon <laugh> with literally anything will me And you are probably, uh, cousins, second cousins maybe. I, I’ll agree with you. Um, alright. So, uh, Layla, we, as we discovered in the pre-show, which I, I I figured we are big, um, believers and, and really, um, uh, lovers of the people that make up the restaurant industry. You’ve been, as you mentioned in the industry for quite some time. What is one thing that folks don’t know or maybe they underestimate about supply chain management in the restaurant industry? I
Lilah Taha-Rippett (24:56):
Think that, um, for us it’s having a lens on operations and how important that is. But that you have collaboration across every single department, whether it’s it or marketing or anything that’s happening, even with construction on how buildings are built and, and all of these pieces that come together. So for me, if I could send one message out to my peers, it’s the importance of collaboration and how you move your business faster by doing that.
Scott Luton (25:26):
Absolutely. Yeah. Abs and, you know, I would submit to you that I think collaboration has, has really meant and been cliche for a long time. And then the pandemic hits, and then we’re reevaluating how important these, uh, relationships are, especially those outside the four walls, so to speak. And that the term collaboration all of a sudden was reinvented with a lot, I think a lot more, uh, practicality. Would you subscribe to that too, Layla? I would,
Lilah Taha-Rippett (25:52):
Although it’s kind of unique here. I wanna tell you a little story if you wouldn’t mind, Scott, just so I can share with you how we work a little different here. And that’s that culinary and supply chain are tied together. Hmm. We do no sourcing for culinary. Culinary does all the sourcing. Now, that doesn’t mean that Chef Shane and I don’t talk every single day to talk about who are the right suppliers, we should be aligned with who has the right product, all of those things. But by working so collectively, we’re able to get to market faster. Think of all that in between, of getting samples in and sending them out and trying to record it and what works and what doesn’t. And asking about equipment, all that detail. When you have the right person who’s gonna move the ball forward, and then you support them by coming in to know it’s the right supplier and take care of the logistics and the pricing behind the scenes, getting the five Rs right. You’re able just to move the business real fast.
Scott Luton (26:54):
Alright, so I’m gonna have, I’m gonna, I got a follow up question on, uh, when it comes to successful sourcing with let those ingredients Yeah. But before that you said the five Rs, can I ask you, your five Rs may be different than my five Rs. What are they for you?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (27:05):
Right product, right quality, yep. Right place, right time, right price.
Scott Luton (27:13):
Love it. Okay, man. Uh, and you mentioned a chef too. Yeah. What was that chef’s name you talked to every day? Chef
Lilah Taha-Rippett (27:19):
Scott Luton (27:20):
Chef Shane, please
Lilah Taha-Rippett (27:21):
Go on our white our on our website and look him up and check out his blog and you’ll get a better understanding. It is, it is so cool to work collectively and be able to look at all kinds of dishes and just progress. First watch forward,
Scott Luton (27:37):
Layla. Absolutely. And Greg makes a, um, points out a really important thing, breaking down the silos. Oh yeah. We talk about that a lot here. Yeah. And really, you were just talking about that as you were talking, uh, culinary and supply chains. Y’all work together each and every day, right? Yeah.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (27:52):
And as well as with all other departments. I mean, it is a, that is one of the unique things here and why I was so excited to join First Watch is really comes from the top, right? So our c e o is like that, right? He really wants us to work collectively, work things together. So whether we’re working with marketing, qa, culinary operations, uh, all of our departments are working collectively together. And that is key to our success.
Scott Luton (28:22):
I’m with you
Lilah Taha-Rippett (28:22):
Also part of our culture, right? When we think of our culture, our culture is built on you first. And so in order to do that, it’s that respect with one another and how we, how we continue to grow the business.
Scott Luton (28:36):
Mm. All right. You got three more hours, Layla. We’re gonna need three more hours today. Let’s do it. <laugh>. So let me back up for a second. We’re gonna talk about sourcing in just a second. Yeah. You, you shared something there that really, oh, going back to my Kit Kat story. I was talking on the front end. Yeah. It’s interesting, as you were describing all this collaboration, uh, with, with the Nestle story, their supply chain teams successes and real outcomes as they made progress on finding su a hundred percent sustainably sourced cocoa in certain parts of the region. Well, that’s a win in and of itself. But what makes it even better as your point kind of alluding to Layla, is it gives a sales and marketing team outstanding fodder to bake into Yeah. How, how they position the product, right? And just becomes such a nice right symbiotic relationship that everyone wins.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (29:23):
I think we spoke about it when in the pre-meeting when I said that as a customer, you are really only as good as the supply chain of your suppliers. Knowing then you’ve got a players who are out there really moving forward, really thinking about E S N G or other, uh, areas of how they can innovate and take their business forward really helps us and Yep. And we need to be able to do that. So we’re looking, when we are evaluating a supplier, understanding their supply chain team Mm. Is part of the cocktail of determining if you’re gonna work with someone or not.
Scott Luton (30:03):
Layla. I love that. Um, alright, so getting back to the gauntlet, I bet that Chef Shane, probably in the rest of your team has thrown down that’s sourcing fresh, delicious products critical priority for first, first watch, not gonna compromise, right? If you could share, uh, what’s a couple of best practices, especially as it relates to, um, uh, the, the ingredients that your team has developed when it comes to successful sourcing.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (30:27):
Right. So for us, uh, watching and having fresh produce in our restaurants is everything we’re juicing all day long. So we’re bringing in, you know, fresh beets and fresh English, cucumbers, fresh kale, everything that we bring in, we’re sending through the juicer. And that’s really important. So today we’re watching what’s going on with the weather in California, hurricane, uh, Hillary, to understand how that’s going to impact us. All that leads to our mantra of what we do called Follow the Sun. So if you go on our website or you talk to any of our folks in our restaurant, you will hear us. Or if you came and saw us here, we would talk about following the sun, using the freshest best quality when Mother Nature tells us it’s ready,
Scott Luton (31:18):
Man. Okay. Following the sun. And it’s not, as we like to talk around here, uh, Layla, uh, we don’t, uh, no lip service leadership allowed deeds, not words all, any action. And it sounds like to me, Layla, what I’m gathering from my due diligence and, and our conversations that you mean what you say and you do what you say, huh?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (31:38):
We do. We really do. And we try and do that on everything and be really thoughtful about it. It’s so important that we tell a story and we, uh, serve good quality, right? Mm-hmm. Quality and culture go together for me when I think about that, uh, you know, serving quality and your culture together, those are the winning ingredients.
Scott Luton (32:00):
Yes, absolutely. And I see that, um, as I share with you, Precia, I’ve been in several first watch restaurants, uh, around Atlanta. But, um, as much as I see it there, I see it in other, other, uh, retail and, and food environments. You can tell when the team is bought in to what they’re doing there, it just makes all the food taste better. So I love what, uh, uh, what you’re describing there. And Victor loves, uh, those five Rs and follow the Sun. Yeah. Uh, I’m with you, Victor. Thank you,
Lilah Taha-Rippett (32:26):
Scott Luton (32:27):
All right. So let’s go broader a little bit here. Yeah. Right. We’re kind of talking about, uh, uh, in a tactical ingredient, uh, level when it comes to sourcing, but generally speaking, I would argue has been illustrated once again in recent years, if not a million times in recent years, building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with your suppliers. Extremely important in global supply chain. You need ’em on the good days, you need ’em on the bad days, and all points in between. As you survey that, uh, and, and, and what you’re leading and contributing to now with First Watch, what’s a couple of core elements that are really critical to your approach, uh, when it comes to building those relationships with suppliers?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (33:05):
So, for us, it’s being transparent with a supplier. I don’t know if your audience knows this, but I want to share that we run five limited time offers a year. So every 10 weeks our menu is changing. So imagine sitting down with a supplier saying, do you wanna work with us for 10 weeks? We’re probably never gonna talk to each other again, <laugh>, that’s kind of a hard sell and a hard buy, but that’s what we do. So that’s important, right? Because it helps us to set, uh, something new for our consumer. And we, what we do that I think is unique is that we set a proving ground in Tampa where a year in advance, at the same time of the year that l t o is running today happens to be the start for our national fall, l t o. But if you were in Tampa, you would see what we’re gonna run in fall next year. Okay? So that allows us think about your automotive, uh, um, speakers who have come in and that audience and how they have proving ground. We do that as well. And it is an unusual thing and a unique thing to first watch restaurants,
Scott Luton (34:16):
Man. Um, I love that. So down in Tampa Yep. You’ve got the skunk works, the the proven grounds. Proven
Lilah Taha-Rippett (34:22):
Scott Luton (34:23):
Yep. As you, uh, have these conversations and vet these suppliers and really getting to know their supply chain, um, chops as you put it earlier. Yep. Um, you’re like, come on in and prove it. Yeah. And they come down to Tampa, and if they make it, they’ll be worked into the schedule about this time next year. Is that about right, Layla?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (34:40):
That’s exactly right. We are running to see how does it work? Do we have the supply? Does it work on the equipments? How easy is it for operations? Can we get it through our last mile all the way to the back door? All of those, um, uh, technical points are worked through, including as we’re building more restaurants, how much more do we need because we follow the sun because everything’s fresh. We have know supply and demand matters here at First Wash, so we can get in front of it. I mean, there’s only one season to go, you know, fishing for Salmon as an example.
Scott Luton (35:16):
<laugh>. All right. So Layla, uh, one, one initiative I in in particular wanted to ask you about. Um, is this Project Sunrise growing out sourcing coffee beans down in Columbia? Yeah. Uh, south America. Tell us more about that.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (35:31):
Okay. So that was pretty exciting. About seven years ago now, we started working with the women growers in Columbia, specifically in the wheeler region of Columbia. And now, um, over 50% of our coffee, if not more, is coming from women growers. A hundred percent of the coffee is all coming from that region. But every year, as the women can take on more, we give them more. We continue to mushroom that out. Uh, it’s, IM, it’s important to us. It’s important to them. And this gets back to some of the pillars that we believe in, in supply chain and building longstanding relationships. We want to go there. We want to see them, we want to see their children. We wanna see their children progress, uh, as future generations, education, all these things that matter. Uh, it’s who we are. And it leads back to you first again, the culture. So we, you know, we pay a premium to the communities, to the women communities there, for them to grow the best coffee. And, you know, most people would look at that and say, wow, you know, usually in supply chain, it’s all about cutting the pennies. I never want my team to think in that fashion. I want us to think about growing the business, growing quality, growing sales, all of those things. So, you know, I’m really, uh, quite pleased and, and thankful that our leadership team as well as engaged in this program.
Scott Luton (37:03):
Layla, I’m with you. And, and you know, uh, so much comes to my mind as you shared that, uh, one of the things is, uh, I think traditionally, like old fashioned folks look at supply chain where they can save a buck. Yeah. But what you’re describing is truly forward-looking, Hey, here’s how we do supply chain. Here’s how we lead supply chains now. And then secondly, man, y’all are changing lives down in Columbia. Yep. What we need to do, Layla, um, is next time you join us, let’s bring one of those, uh, coffee bean entrepreneurs and farmers and let’s, let’s, let’s share their story with our audience. How about that?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (37:37):
We would love that. We would love that very much. And there are a lot of growers, farmers here in the US that we use and how we’re getting our maple syrup out of Vermont from a small little company. We don’t even have any restaurants in Vermont. Vermont’s important. Not yet, right? Not yet. Not
Scott Luton (37:54):
Lilah Taha-Rippett (37:54):
That’s right. <laugh>.
Scott Luton (37:55):
That’s right. Hey, uh, really quick as I continue on with Layla Taha, rip it, uh, with first watch, uh, Michelle tuned in from Chicago. Let’s, uh, I bet you’re fellow Bears fan, maybe Michelle, great to see you, Gino from North Alabama. Great to see you, uh, Gino and, um, Layla, one of my favorite guests each and every week. My mom, Le Loot joins us. Hello, from Aiken, South Carolina. Hello to you. Love you, mom. Hello. It’s the best. Um, all right. So I’m gonna ask you a couple, uh, quick final things before we wrap. But one of the things I wanna specifically touch on, and you kind of alluded to it there, as we discovered in the pre-show, I think I’ll share ’em with you, that, um, I was in the restaurant industry throughout college. I started by busing tables at a place called Leia’s in Columbia, South Carolina.
Scott Luton (38:40):
Earning my way into being able to wait tables. I never was the best, um, server I could handle maybe two tables <laugh> at one time. But I, I love the people. And that’s really where I wanna ask you about Layla, because whether I was busing tables, bartending, uh, waiting tables, the people that make up the restaurant industry Yeah. Front of the house, back of the house, suppliers, you name it. They’re just some of the best people I ever rubbed elbows with. And really, you talk about how we like to celebrate the human factor. Yeah. Man. It, it’s still to this day, if you don’t tip somebody, well, I gotta put you on my bad list. I just can’t, you know, I, I got to, but Layla speak, if you would, before we start wrapping here, your view on the p on the people that make up the restaurant industry.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (39:24):
So I’m so glad that you asked about that because I think that we are a unique group of individuals. Um, one of the things we do is we do a coach teach train session here called Farm, which is First Watch Academy of Restaurant Managers. We bring people in for a full week, and we, they are emerged in our culture in what we do. One of the things that I say to these, uh, new managers when they’re here is that there is an army of people behind you wanting to make you successful in everything you do. And I think as supply chain professionals, we forget about the army of our, our, um, our suppliers and the logistic folks, and the selectors and pickers and everybody, whether it’s customer service, the, you know, accounting teams of others, every single person is working towards the same goal. I truly believe that nobody comes to work to do a bad job. Hmm. Right. And if you think positive about that and how you can help people, but that our teams walk away knowing that there is an army of suppliers who are here happy to be part of first watch and happy to help us grow. So that’s how I think about it.
Scott Luton (40:39):
I love it. The whole ecosystem, the whole village, the whole community. Um, and we can’t leave any of ’em behind. Right. No. One of the things I’m kind of picking up is, um, is you a as you your personal approach, maybe part of the, the the first watch approach as well is, is businesses gotta be good for everybody, right?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (40:57):
Yeah. These are also the people who you want that they’re delivery at your back door, but how about on Sunday, them coming in and eating in your restaurants mm-hmm. <affirmative> coming in the front door, right?
Scott Luton (41:07):
Yeah. That’s excellent point. Yeah. Um, all right. So Layla, as much as I hate to do, we gotta start winding things down. But I wanna ask you a couple quick questions, and I bet this next question, I bet we could fill it up for a couple hours, but any, if you had to think of one more thing in a nutshell of what folks should know about First Watch that may be expanding somewhere near their homes and communities, what would that one thing be?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (41:30):
That we care and that we are excited to be in the communities and the communities matter to us, and come out and see us, meet us and see that we have people from your community working in our restaurants.
Scott Luton (41:44):
Love that. Uh, and I tell you, you’re the same person in front of the camera, so to speak, as you are behind that. And when you, when you talk about, uh, transparency and trust and that consistency that’s so important, that really, uh, comes my mind. So I wanna, um, you just mentioned how you’re, you and the first watch team, big believers and, and very active in communities. I know you, you lead by example here, Layla. So you and your husband Brian, uh, big supporters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. That’s right. Um, why is that important to you? And, and if, if you were to share a way that maybe our listeners can help Yeah. Uh, what would you share there? So
Lilah Taha-Rippett (42:19):
There are three family members, including my husband, who, um, has multiple sclerosis mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and we work every day, and he’s on the board. And I support, uh, everything we can do to further research for this disease, early diagnosis, and someday a cure. So, as you were talking about bicycle riders in the earlier segment, there is an ms, uh, national bike ride in almost every community. Come on out, come on out and ride your bike. It’s not a race, it’s a tour. It’s no race. It’s a tour. <laugh>. I love it. Yeah, yeah. You know, come on out. And every penny that you work towards and help to bring goes to research. And not many organizations can say that. So I thank you so much for giving me this moment to share that, that’s just so thoughtful of you. So thank you, Scott.
Scott Luton (43:14):
Hey, Layla, uh, we try being really active, um, and doing good is really important to our culture and d n a, uh, it’s in our bones here, and I really appreciate your, uh, steadfast, you and Brian’s steadfast commitment to leading by example and making an impact. So folks, uh, check out the bike race and your community. I love what La Layla said there. It’s not a race, it’s a, what’d you say? It’s not a race tour. It’s a, it’s a tour.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (43:37):
It’s a tour.
Scott Luton (43:38):
Yeah. There are some life transferrable elements. Yeah. To that perspective, Layla, I really love that. Um, alright, so I bet we have created a bunch of new Layla Taha Ript fans out there across our audience. Um, and if folks, how would you invite them to learn more about you or first watch?
Lilah Taha-Rippett (43:58):
Two ways. One hookup with me on LinkedIn. Uh, I welcome everyone. I’m a big believer in supply chain. You are all puzzle makers, and it is important to connect. I love that. And the second way, it’s, uh, supply firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay? Don’t be shy. Reach out to us supply email@example.com.
Scott Luton (44:20):
Okay. Wonderful. So folks, if you wanna take a tour on that proven ground down at Tampa <laugh>, I think Layla’s a showing the way. So, and daring you to be a part, uh, love what you’re building. I’ll tell you, Layla, I wish I had had this chat before I went and enjoyed, um, my, my meals at first watch, it would’ve changed everything <laugh>. So I’m gonna really be looking and, and absorbing it all on my next visit. Huh.
Lilah Taha-Rippett (44:43):
Good. Enjoy it. We, we, we send hers out to everyone, and thank you so much for including us.
Scott Luton (44:50):
You bet. You bet. All right. So Layla, don’t go anywhere. We are going, uh, to wrap with you here, folks. Hopefully enjoy it. I, I tell you, I promise you a great guest one that that brings it both content, perspective, expertise, but that personality, the, the five Rs, the, the you first culture, I really love that. That’s, that’s a great t-shirt is folks loved, uh, Josh and Catherine and many others. That’s a great t-shirt. It’s not a race, it’s a tour, right. Josh, I’m with you. I’m with you. But folks, one big, big thanks to all of y’all, of course, for being here. Big thanks to Amanda and Catherine behind the scenes for helping to make production happen. Big thanks to our guest, Layla Taha, rip it. Senior Vice President for Supply Chain at First Watch. Layla, thank you so much for joining us here today. Thank
Lilah Taha-Rippett (45:32):
You, Scott. Thank you everyone.
Scott Luton (45:33):
And most importantly folks, hey Scott, on behalf of our entire team here, Scott Luton challenging you. Hey, be like Layla, do good, give forward, most importantly, be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Lilah Taha-Rippett is the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain for First Watch. She joined in 2017 and with the responsibility to build a supply chain department that would support the organization’s growth. She brings decades of restaurant industry experience to the role, including executive leadership positions at both large-scale public and private domestic and international multi-unit concepts. Prior to joining First Watch, Lilah led global supply chain teams, and served as a strategic partner with restaurant companies including Uno Restaurants, LLC and Bloomin Brands, Inc. Lilah and her husband, Brian are involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and focus much of their time supporting the Society’s advocacy and research efforts. Connect with Lilah on LinkedIn.
WEBINAR- Unlocking the Power of Diversification in Last Mile Delivery: A Game-Changing Webinar for Logistics Professionals
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.