Get bored easily? Want to work with the latest technologies? Then supply chain could be the profession for you. It certainly has been for MJ Schoemaker, President of the Board of Directors of SAPICS. Join Scott and special guest cohost Jenny Froome as they chat with MJ about her career trajectory, what makes the South African supply chain stand out, the silver lining of COVID disruptions, the importance of long-term planning, how to best reach the next generation of supply chain leaders 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 introduced stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now.
Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and Jenny Froome here with you on supply chain now, welcome to today’s show Jenny, how you doing really well? How are you doing? We’re doing wonderful. Great, great to have you back with us. We’ve really enjoyed this supply chain leadership across Africa series. You bring the best guests and you’re continuing that here today. Yeah, we’ve got lots
Jenny Froome (00:53):
Of great people in this profession on this continent. So thank you for letting me keep on
Scott Luton (00:58):
Bringing them to you agreed the best people, innovate, ideas, talent, uh, you name it. So Hey, but Jenny fr for the three of y’all that may not know, uh, listening, Jenny fr serves as COO of SAP pick, which is as we always talk about doing wonderful work from a professional development networking standpoint, you can check them email@example.com, and we’re gonna double dip within the SAP picks ecosystem here today. We got a very special guest, so MJ, uh, Schoemaker, did I get that right? MJ?
Jenny Froome (01:30):
Scott Luton (01:31):
<laugh> MJ Schoemaker is the current president of STIX, which is like we said, the professional body for supply chain professionals in South Africa. And as we all know this sort of role as a volunteer one, which three of us can relate to is people like MJ who take the time out of their quote unquote real jobs to give back. Or as we like to say, give forward to the global supply chain community. So big kudos to MJ for doing just that giving forward and, um, uh, helping to expand, improve, engage, uh, global industry. So M Jay, good morning. How are you doing hi,
MJ Schoemaker (02:06):
Scott. Good morning to you. Good afternoon, Jenny. We’re all in the different time. Suppose how colorful this little collection of people are. So thanks so much for inviting me to your program. It’s always fun to chat and have a little light conversation.
Scott Luton (02:22):
Agreed. You know, I’m not sure based on what we’re gonna be talking about. If we could call it a light conversation, we’re gonna be, you’ve had quite a journey and you’re doing some heavy lifting in industry. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to roll up sleeves and get down to work. MJ, what do you think? Oh, absolutely.
MJ Schoemaker (02:36):
I mean, uh, uh, I think as we go through our little chat today, a supply chain is right out there and everyone has to roll up their sleeves like you and it’s still continuing. So we, we, we need to keep going. There’s no breaks at the moment. That’s for
Scott Luton (02:49):
Sure. No breaks and no finish lines, which I know all three of us can agree on, but we’re gonna save that heavy lifting for after we talk food <laugh> so Jenny, you know, we love talking food around here on supply chain. Now, you know, whether it’s food or sports or the arts, you name it, we have to have those departures from, you know, the craft as we call it, you know, the work, email, it chases us down. We gotta, we gotta take time out for that balance. So, um, Jenny, your quick comment, because you would agree with us, right? We gotta take time to laugh and entertain ourselves. Right? We’d
Jenny Froome (03:23):
Get mad if we didn’t. We’re more mad that
Scott Luton (03:26):
<laugh> right. I wish I could say mad like that, Jenny. Right? We’re gonna have you do some voice over workforce. All right. So MJ, you are based in Cape town in South Africa. So I hear, and I, I hope this hope to see it in person experience it in first person soon, but I hear it’s the most magical place, blessed with excellent food and my favorite outstanding wine. So MJ, tell us about some of your favorite food moments that you can share with us. Well, I
MJ Schoemaker (03:54):
Hope you don’t mind me talking about wine cuz I know it’s early for you. Uh, unfortunately won’t mind. Um, yeah, so food here, I mean South Africa as a whole and, and Cape town, you, you will never get a bad meal unless you, you, you choose to go for fast food if that’s what you like. Uh, that’s not really my thing. So I enjoy trying lots of different restaurants. So there’s a very famous restaurant here in, in, in Cape town, actually, it’s in one of the top 10 in the world and I’ve been, wow, I’ve had the privilege to go there three times now. And every time I go there, you feel like you’re on a journey with an artist. It’s it’s, you know, they, they have steam coming outta the dishes. You don’t even recognize what it is. They, they make it the shape of an apple and it taste completely different.
MJ Schoemaker (04:35):
So loam is one of my absolute favorites. You have to break the bank for it, but it’s definitely with it. And chocolate and coffee, uh, tasting, there’s an honest chocolate, uh, shop that make their own chocolate and you get to taste all the different homemade chocolates with a different type of coffee. So just not always sticking to, to the wine. And of course I have to go to the wine is the cheese platter with, with the fantastic, uh, Western Cape wine. I’ve always said that’s, that’s my, um, hang loose meals. So if everyone puts me on DET row and I want my last meal, that’s, what’s gonna be a cheese platter and a good, good wine. A red one. So
Scott Luton (05:10):
I gotta ask you a follow up question, uh, to you both white chocolate thumbs up or thumbs down. I love
MJ Schoemaker (05:15):
White chocolate, but it’s not really chocolate. Unfortunately it’s the fact of the chocolate. Yeah,
Scott Luton (05:20):
That is, I think I’ve heard that at, before Jenny thumbs up or thumbs down on white chocolate. Oh,
Jenny Froome (05:24):
Definite thumbs up. Really delicious.
Scott Luton (05:27):
Yeah. So I’m, I’m the oddball here. I’m not a white chocolate fan. You’re a thumbs down. Yes. I’m a thumbs down. I love dark chocolate though. I love dark chocolate and really white. Chocolate’s only chocolate. I don’t care for so, uh, cheese wine, uh, MJ, you’re talking our language here for sure.
MJ Schoemaker (05:45):
You have to come visit. Yeah. Come
Jenny Froome (05:47):
Visit. Yeah. And, and to do the chocolate tasting, I was lucky enough to do, to do one. Um, at the end of last year, I’d never done one before and they did it virtually and it was ever so clever really. And we actually got the real chocolates taste, but just right from the very raw sort of cocoa bean almost right through to the developed product. And it’s just so fascinating, the different, the different flavors that, that are in the real chocolates. It’s, it’s very fruity. It’s an amazing taste sensation.
Scott Luton (06:20):
Well, so speaking of sensations, uh, Jenny, you have, uh, you know, Jenny always knows what’s cool out in the industry and she always, uh, helps me, which I’m a little bit slower behind the curve ball helps me move along, uh, and, and act like I’m more cool. So you put some, uh, sensational show on my radar, somebody feed Phil. And I think it’s on Netflix, I believe. Yeah. Is that right? So, so what is this show all about?
Jenny Froome (06:47):
It’s about a guy, the guy who actually his name’s Phil Rosen, Paul, and he wrote, everyone loves Raymond. And he’s, he’s very witty. He’s very clever. He’s a little bit geek, but that’s part of his, either his irritation or his endearing quality. And he literally travels the world and is in a different city episode and tastes different food and engages with real people in those places, sort of avoids a lot of the touristy places and it a really fun program, especially as it links, travel and food at a time when we can’t travel or try different foods in, in the authentic places. So knowing, knowing Scott’s love for different foods and, uh, and whatever I recommended it, cuz it’s just a, it’s like a 40 minute escape. Oh, you can pretend you’re traveling. Right.
Scott Luton (07:41):
We’re gonna have to sign up for that. MJ. Um, and
Jenny Froome (07:44):
He came to Cape town, I think so.
Scott Luton (07:46):
Okay. So to, so to be all transparent with you, Amanda is our more, my dear wife, Amanda is our more eclectic eater. She likes everything, right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, I’m, she’s helped me get my meat and potatoes <laugh> um, uh, mindset, which was really fun. Yeah, exactly more fun. So Amanda’s helping me develop my palette, but uh, we’re gonna check out somebody feed feel one final question. Um, MJ, before we move on to, uh, your professional and journey, you mentioned west Cape wines, is that the west Cape, is that geographically where a lot of the vineyards are?
MJ Schoemaker (08:21):
Yes. So I mean, there are actually vineyards in very strange places, also in South Africa. Uh, but the main, uh, uh, sort of area where you would get the wine is the Western Cape, which is quite a large province. And it has quite a few different types of climate zones from really sort of Mediterranean to little bit deserts. You know, we have the crew in, so you get a different, you get a very nice selection of different types of wine that suits, uh, every pallet. So if you can either go to the west coast or you go down more towards the east, it depends on you. So, and one little tip for you to give to Amanda is tell her to try the chili chocolate with red wine. See what happens.
Scott Luton (08:55):
Okay. <laugh> chili chocolates with red wine done.
MJ Schoemaker (08:58):
Jenny Froome (09:00):
So, and it’s also where the Hugos landed with the first vineyards that were planted in the Western case.
MJ Schoemaker (09:07):
Yes. From France.
Scott Luton (09:09):
Really the first
Jenny Froome (09:10):
Not vineyards, but the little vines.
MJ Schoemaker (09:14):
There’s a, yeah, really
Scott Luton (09:16):
Well, we’re gonna have to do a wine episode. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to save that for later. So MJ maybe do something on the wine supply chain, which has been an interesting thing to look at here in the last couple years, but ire MJ, I understand you’ve had quite a journey and your journey sees you now back living in working in South Africa. But up to this point, from what I hear, you’ve been working with large corporations across Europe for, for much of your journey. So I bet you’ve got some stories, maybe some dead bodies that <laugh> are in closet somewhere, but I digress. Tell us a little about your journey leading up to what you do now.
MJ Schoemaker (09:52):
Sure. Um, how much time do I have? No, I’m just, I’m just kidding. I’ll make it very sure. Um, you know, just to, to, to put it in context. So, so I sort of closed circle by sort of returning to South Africa. Funny enough, my father was also in the pharmaceutical business and he was transferred over six years. So we as kids, um, I started in Ireland, I was born there. Uh, we were then transferred to Hong Kong and then we landed in South Africa. So South Africa for me is, is quite an important country because it’s my formative years. Right. It’s where I went to school. I graduated, um, I actually qualified as a high school teacher and I say that just to let everyone know, it doesn’t matter what you study, you can still be successful in life. So I was actually a pH ed teacher and majored in history and I never taught and I ended up where I am to day.
MJ Schoemaker (10:36):
So that’s just a little side note as well. I worked in a bank for a while and then I decided, okay, let’s, let’s go to the Netherlands cuz I’m Dutch. So that’s where I should go. So I went there and uh, found a job and that’s actually where my supply chain career started. Um, if I give you the, the, the years you’ll know exactly how old I am and it was around the, the, the late eighties, I left South Africa. And then, uh, after a couple of years you’re gonna start laughing. Um, I went to Switzerland, started up a restaurant. So I’m saying that so that you can also divert if you want to supply chain is everywhere. Yes it is. So I ran a restaurant for six years. So talking about food it’s, uh, it was a good start for me. And then I, uh, I left the restaurant business.
MJ Schoemaker (11:17):
It’s a very tough, tough, uh, environment. Supply chain is obviously very, very prominent there, but it’s, it’s really, really hard work. Don’t earn a lot of money, but it’s, it’s a great lesson. If, if you have kids like let them go be waitresses and ERs, they will know how to do customer service. Right. That’s how you learn. So then I moved on to Lego. I joined Lego, they were based in Switzer and they had some factories there. I left Lego after about three years and then I weighed four years actually, and then went to a high tech company. So they were making DVDs and, and, and DVD players. So that was in the nineties. Right. That’s when all that stuff started happening. Right. And they went into liquidation. So that’s again, another lesson, you know, I’m, I’m telling these things because companies are, you see the sign on the wall tomorrow that sign can be gone.
MJ Schoemaker (12:00):
So that company went into liquidation was a fantastic experience, not the liquidation side, but what I learned through that, you know, to appreciate, you know, you know, that not everything’s there all the time is not gonna lost forever and you’ve gotta keep going and keep being creative. So, and then I, I actually joined Johnson Johnson. So I spent, uh, 15 years of my career with Johnson and Johnson. Wow. Which 10 are in the pharmaceutical sector. So when you said, you know, uh, uh, it’s about actually saving lives. And that was really a, a great experience. You know, they gave us a lot of free hand, you know, an experience, what I remember and the most there was really about, uh, uh, someone in, um, a man from Peru actually contact me. I dunno how he got his NA my name and said, his son is dying of hair, cell leukemia.
MJ Schoemaker (12:45):
And, and I was in charge of that product. And he asked, would I be willing to send him an ampu? And just said, of course I didn’t ask anybody. Uh, I called the office in Brazil and I said, or in Argentina, I said, guys, you gotta send in the ampu. And they said, well, who’s gonna pay for it. I said, I will give you a credit note, just send that ampu. And wow, I got a letter back from that guy that just brought tears to my eye. So, you know, that’s working in that kind of environment really allows you to serve and, and teaches you how important that is. Not just about earning a salary or having, or having a title. So, um, yeah, my career, you know, before I left, uh, for South Africa, I was global head of demand planning for a whole of young pharmaceuticals, which is the biggest sector of Johnson and Johnson. Um, and then also the global head of S uh, supply, um, sales and operations planning, uh, Johnson, Johnson, worldwide. Wow. So I, I, I think from, you know, waitressing and, and being a high school teacher, that’s pretty. Okay. So, you know, if that’s awesome and I think that’s important to send that message. You don’t, it’s good to study, you must study, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something else. Right. Um,
Scott Luton (13:53):
Let me ask you really quick. And Jane, so, uh, quick thought, I think also your story illustrates, we need all types of folks from all walks of life in supply chain. Right? One of my favorite examples is, uh, uh, we, we, we talked with someone in, from a, from a very large technology company that focused in the classic arts and college got their degree in classic arts and then stumbled across supply chain later. And now he’s thriving in supply chain. And, and that is just such a beautiful example. Your example is a wonderful one, but my question, my follow up question with your all, all of your experience in pharmaceuticals and, and, um, you know, 15 years, I think if I heard you, right, what is your take your quick take on this incredible, you know, the, the quick development of the vaccine and then the noble mission of getting it out to all four corners. Can you comment on that, MJ?
MJ Schoemaker (14:43):
Yes. I think, you know, um, normally R and D in the pharmaceutical, uh, environment takes 10 years. So it actually takes 10 years before a product actually even gets to the market. Right. So that’s why pharmaceuticals are also very expensive. And, and that’s why you see a lot of pharmaceutical companies doing mergers and acquisitions. Cause it’s cheaper to buy that IP than to sit for 10 years and do that R and D. So that’s when you see, you know, J and J for example, is, is over 50 companies because they just buy them all the time and, and buy that intelligence. They actually bought my uncle’s company and it’s their top product Remicade. Um, so they just took over that company and they slowly renamed it since Jansen and they, they, they sold that product when we, when we look at the COVID-19 vaccine, um, I think we must remember that the COVID 19 vaccine is, is, is not, it was the, they didn’t start from scratch, right?
MJ Schoemaker (15:32):
Because they, we, we, in south, we already had SARS. We had other types of, of, of diseases. So it’s not far all from there, so they could start, uh, from not right from the beginning. And, and I think it was a good test for them because it just shows that maybe you don’t need those 10 years. And if you really put your, your, your mind and match it to it in your experience, you can pull out a, a vaccine. And we know a vaccine always has to be updated, right? You can’t keep giving people the same vaccine because that virus will also then also mutate and then you have to redo it and you have to try and understand I’m not a scientist, but you have to try and understand, okay, how can we cope with it? So I think there were a lot of things in place already that helped with the speeding up that process of, of actually coming up with a vaccine.
Scott Luton (16:18):
Mm, thank you. That, that, that, that is helpful. I think this is the first time I’ve chatted with someone with your, uh, pharmaceutical industry experience about the vaccine, which has been, you know, headline news for, uh, a couple years now. And, and thankfully, so, so Jenny, I don’t, gosh, so much, so little time, so much talk about, I don’t wanna, uh, hog the conversation, where are we going next with MJ, Jenny? So
Jenny Froome (16:42):
Really the, the, the sort of the burning question, and I think it was one of the first questions I ever asked MJ, was that with all this experience overseas, um, what, what made you come back to South Africa? What was it that, that was the driving force?
MJ Schoemaker (16:57):
When I left South Africa, actually everyone said, you’ll be back in five years. So, uh, 20, 25, 30 years later, <laugh> I’m at I, um, yeah, so, you know, I intended to return, as I said, and know when the time is right. I decided to come back. Uh, one of the personal reasons is, is my family is here. I still, my mother and my sister were still in Europe, but they sort of followed me in the end. So we’re all, we were all ending up together here. But also, I just felt like, you know, what, I always kept tabs on South Africa was always going back to visit my family. And I just felt like I wanted share my expertise with the south Africans because Europe works completely differently, even though everyone says, it’s the same. It’s not really the same, especially now that I’ve actually had a job here in South Africa.
MJ Schoemaker (17:45):
So I just wanted to, to share my expertise with youth. I think that’s really important with SMEs. You know, I think the big corporates, they are way ahead, they have the money, they have the, the, the means to, to do that. But the small, medium enterprises, they really struggle, you know? Um, I help a lot of them now and they get software for like 3000 ran a month. You know, that’s like, what, $200, not even a hundred hundred, whereas these big corporates take their huge software and these little businesses, you know, they need that help as well. So, and I missed the friend <inaudible> culture, of course, but, uh, you know, what, maybe it came back is really like, yeah, it’s my home. It’s where I spent my formative years and I really feel like I can contribute. So that’s, that’s really why I came back. Um, was
Jenny Froome (18:28):
Definitely glad that you came back. Um, and, and, you know, recent recently, you, you had, you were, you helped a lot in, uh, in a, we had, we had very bad riots back in July last year. And I know Scott, you know, Scott was very supportive cuz it was obviously quite a, an emotional time for all of us, but MJ, you know, sort of in, in the immediate aftermath, you were a terrific spokesperson for the profession, not just for say on really the importance and the strength of the supply chains in South Africa. What, what is it that you think sort of sets sets the south African stand it as far as, as our supply chains and the people who manage them.
MJ Schoemaker (19:14):
Yeah. I think, you know, there’s different levels of expertise in South Africa. It’s a very mixed bag and Scott, I don’t know if you know this expression, but in South Africa we always make a plan, right? That’s we always say that if something goes wrong, we say, don’t worry, we’ll make a plan. Um, so the logistics, I don’t, you know, you, I can’t tell you what the plan is because it’s always different, but they’ll just say we’ll make a plan and then they’ll do something. Um, I think the logistics in the distribution space showed a lot, lot of excellence. Um, especially that everywhere one went online and, uh, things had to be delivered. Uh, we saw how the shells were emptied within a day of, of the toilet paper, uh, a rumor and within, you know, the following day they had filled the shelves again. So I think, you know, and that’s talking about the bigger corporations, obviously the smaller ones they, they were ruined.
MJ Schoemaker (20:01):
Um, that was very, very sad. You know, Scott, if you were following that, there were people, their whole life savings were gone. Cause that’s the only shop that they had. Right. But I really feel the south Africans, uh, really came to, to the party when it came to logistics, distribution, we have an amazing online company. I’m one of their best customers. And I’m sitting out in little village here in the mountains and they deliver here as well. So, and they, they, they do it, they get it right. They arrive and, and amazing customer service. I think that’s where, where south Africans are really, really very good.
Jenny Froome (20:31):
Yeah. I I’d I’d agree with those sentiments and thank you for all that you did in, in sort of, you know, giving the, giving the profession and the professionals, the sort of the, the recognition that I think that they deserve during that, that difficult time and continue to
MJ Schoemaker (20:47):
Do so. Thanks, Jenny, Jenny kept throwing me on the radio. Like there was some guy on the radio and they said they lost connection, just call MJ. And I was, I dunno, what I was doing and called me and M we, you and I said what to, because I am passionate about supply chain. So even when they, they, they would call me and say, can you talk in five minutes where life wasn’t a problem? You know, it was like, sure, just, just, just call me and, you know, uh, I didn’t even know what they were gonna ask me. I wasn’t allowed to know. So it was, yeah, I learned a lot. Thanks, Jenny. <laugh> to be impromptu,
Jenny Froome (21:28):
But I, I think that, you know, so the, the whole we’ve, we’ve, we’ve always, we’ve spent, I’ve spent certainly the last kind of 15 years, 20 years of, of working in this field, explaining to people what supply chain management is. And I will still call it a COVID silver lining that, but last people don’t kind of glaze over when you mention supply chain management. Cause they dunno what it is. They’re actually excited to know more about it. And, uh, and again, I’ll quote Greg, who said, you know, we’ve wanted this for so long. We’ve wanted the seat at the C-suite table. We need to make sure that we are ready to act. And, and I, and I think that, so, um, that’s, that’s coming true. Uh, we we’ve obviously got a lot of, we’ve got a lot of challenges in South Africa and also on continent. Um, every country is different. Every country has one, I think one common denominator and that’s our infrastructure, which is always a big challenge. I amongst other, other less positive things, but let’s focus on the infrastructure, but, but what do you see as being probably one of the, the greatest, um, inhibitors for supply chain progression and that we can focus on South Africa?
MJ Schoemaker (22:45):
Well, you know, I said earlier making a plan, right? So making a plan is a reactive state. So if you look at the maturity curve, it it’s at the bottom is react, right. Then you anticipate, and then you try and you try and, and, and manage and, and influence it and then you shape it. So a reactive state is not a good thing cuz it’s costly for customer services and it’s also costly for the business, right? So you’re always running behind the curve. So I find that in South Africa, the long term planning is not a, it’s not a strength. They don’t think far enough ahead. The horizons are too short. If I look at, go into companies and say, okay, let me see your budget for 2023. They don’t have one. Even now I’m at, I’m working with a company, doesn’t have it for this year.
MJ Schoemaker (23:26):
I we’re already in the year. Right. Our year is of course till February, right? So they still have till the end of the month, but I said, you should have known that six months ago, you should have known that a year ago. Right. So they don’t think ahead. And they sort of go with the flow. Also, I find that digitization is very, very updated. I’m working with a company now. They haven’t changed their software in 25 years and I’m, I’m speechless. And, and, and I know it’s not all about software. It also has to be people process technology, right? So if you look at technology, that’s 20% people process. If you, you, you can have a great process, but if the software is not doing a few that doesn’t help or the people dunno what they’re doing and, and if you think your processes are great, and that’s a, another thing I find in South Africa, they don’t know what good looks like.
MJ Schoemaker (24:07):
They think what they’re doing is good. Um, and when you show them what goods looks like, they, they’re all surprised. And I’m being very general now, right? There are businesses that, you know, that so supply chain is not seen as a key area until COVID hit us. Um, and that, I think, you know, I always say to Jenny, that’s an opportunity for us and we must grab it with both ears and it’s often not taken seriously. They think we’re the customer service and the trucks. Uh, so it’s a very old fashioned way of looking at it and procurement. Yes. Well the government calls a procurement, it’s actually supply chain that’s. Yeah. Um, and it’s a very sales and cost driven environment and that causes a complete imbalance. So finance will say no because it’s too costly. Um, so, or they’ll say do a full run, do a day’s run for that product because it’s cheaper, but the sales can’t sell it. Right. And sales are saying to us, I’m gonna order a thousand because I know that I’m probably only gonna sell 500, but at least I have another 500 just in case of, and then when we don’t sell it or supply chain produced too much. So
Scott Luton (25:09):
Really quick, MJ, you’re speaking to that. Um, earlier in, as you were describing your journey, you’re talking about, uh, the, the global S and P uh, S and O P role that you led and you’re speaking directly to the, to the balance. And oftentimes, unfortunately the off balance, uh, between the operations side and the sales side for a variety of factors, right. Call it <laugh> overconfidence on the sales side, call it, uh, uh, under productional op side because they don’t trust, right? Yes. What the sales teams and professionals are telling them, there’s a myriad myriad. If I said that, right of reasons why that balance doesn’t exist, if you could, based on your experience, what, why do you think, what else add? What else have you seen time and time again, perhaps that creates that, uh, off balance, uh, when it comes to S O P
MJ Schoemaker (26:01):
Well, certainly, uh, um, conflicting KPIs. So key performance indicators. So the, you know, the salespeople have one KPI, uh, the production has another KPI. Just my example is, is, is a good one where the, the production has an ex a KPI that they’re only allowed to spend X amount of the economic production quantity. Right. So they will just make lots of stock because it’s cheaper for them, but it makes no sense cuz sales didn’t even forecast for it. So, and then you’ll have to finance saying, well, well, the GP is not looking good anymore. It says, yeah, because we produced a lot, but we didn’t sell any things. And now we writing at all <laugh> so those are, those are those imbalances, right? Where people are not talking to each other. And, and, and if you see, you know, my little business that I have, you know, what I called it was pro P O I’m pro se supply chain and E two E end to end. So what I’m saying is that everybody should be following and be measured by the same shared KPIs. Mm. So they don’t have the, the silo where they throw their problem over the fence. And then the other person has to sort it out
Scott Luton (27:02):
That, and not only could they be driving with different KPIs and singing from a, a whole different, uh, songbook, but they’re not communicating. So, so those differences don’t, don’t come up to surface level so that we can do something about it. Or is that, is that kind of some of the things you see to MJ?
MJ Schoemaker (27:21):
Oh, absolutely. Um, you know, and I think we all speak a different language. So if a supply chain person goes into the, the S O P meeting and sales and marketing, or sitting there and finance and the MD and hopefully HR, and they say, well, your bias is X, Y, Z. Everyone’s gonna look at them and they’ll, they’ll shut down, you know, because they don’t understand that language. So we also, as supply chain, people lets take ownership it that we need to learn the language of the industry and sales and marketing. People should also come and learn about supply chain. If I had my own business as a sort of the business, not a consulting business, but a business where I would be delivering a service, uh, or, or doing shipments, I would make sure that the sales and marketing people work in supply chain for while and vice versa.
MJ Schoemaker (28:05):
Right. So we all understand each other’s stuff. Like we don’t just look with with, with the, with the blinkers on and say, this is my area. So I don’t care about the race. And then you measure, you have to measure them on a shared KPI. I was measured on GP and I, I wasn’t in sales <laugh>. So I did, you know, I did my best to make sure that sales reached their number because I would’ve, my bonus was hanging on it. If, if my bonus was hanging on the economic production fund, we’d be overstocked. Right. Because, Hey, look, I would produce really well. I can’t sell it. That’s not my problem. Right.
Scott Luton (28:41):
You know, that’s not my problem. And unfortunately we hear that at, uh, quite a bit in global business. Right. All right. So Jenny, I, I love, I think, uh, sales and operations planning is such a, uh, a fascinating topic, the way I look at it. And, you know, there’s some companies out there that really get it right. And they’re committed, they’re committed top down to making sure the communications there, the ongoing, the communications structures air the, as MJ is speaking to the immersion of the teams in kind of the op not the opposite operations, uh, but, um, the different functional areas I’ll call it. Uh, and then probably arguably for the majority of organ of, of business, none of those commitments or exist, uh, exists and, and the imbalance lives and thrives because of it. So anyway, we’ll circle back. We can spend a whole week, maybe a whole month on S O P uh, MJ. It sounds like you’ve got a lot to contribute there. Jenny, where are we going next? Uh, with our dear guest here,
Jenny Froome (29:41):
I was just gonna ask, um, ask MJ what, since coming back and starting your own business and getting involved in south African businesses, but also the south African, um, the sort of greater supply chain community. What are some of your personal sort of highlights that, that have really stood out for you so far?
MJ Schoemaker (30:03):
I think one of the big ones is, is, is actually, again COVID with that silver lining gave me an opportunity. So I was approached by the department of health of the Western Cape, and they asked me to help them during COVID. So, so they have a program where, um, the public health patients have to go to a clinic and they have to stand in a queue and they go and pick up their antiretrovirals. They go and pick up their hypertension products, et cetera. And they would go to the clinic and do that. So when COVID hits, they started cleaning out the clinics, right? They said, no, we have to make space for the COVID patients. So all those people must stay home. But then we had that issue as how do they get their medication? And, and, and, and Scott, you know, in South Africa, it’s someone who walks like 10 kilometers to try and get to that clinic.
MJ Schoemaker (30:48):
It’s someone who has to try and pay a taxi. The taxi costs them what 20 ran. Uh, but they, they get 1,700 ran per month to live. So that 20 rans, a lot of money, right. If you put it in context. So what they asked me to do is to help them to, to set up a plan as to how can we get that medication to those patients. So I actually went out on a field trip and I went to places like du noon and blue downs, which is like, you don’t go there best, you don’t go there. But I went my car, little, little lady driving around, and I went to visit those clinics. Uh, and it wasn’t a eye opener, you know, because we, we have a very privileged life and, you know, those of us that have been successful and have made it, we don’t really know what goes on on the other side.
MJ Schoemaker (31:30):
So I, I was highly educated and obviously living in Switzerland for over 25 years and, and I wasn’t exposed to, to that kind of thing. So, um, but you know, fantastic people, all trying to help each, you know, it’s a, it’s a great community. And what we did was is we actually, uh, partnered with, and those companies actually did it for nothing. We partnered with the likes of Ubers. I’m giving Uber some bit of advertising here and bolt, for example, uh, where they helped us move the medication from the, from. So the, the, the would come from a Depot, we dropped at the hospital, the clinic, and then Uber actually helped to transport it to another drop off point. And then there’s these, these healthcare workers that actually usually walk around and give bed baths and help the elderly and stuff. And they carried these Dustin bags, but I mean, like black, there’s two Dustin bags on their shoulder and they walked from house to house and were screaming over the fence.
MJ Schoemaker (32:23):
Oh, you home? And I’ve got your medication. So this, this to me is just, you know, I was speechless. I said, you know, where, where have I ever seen that before? So I felt really, really privileged that they asked me to do that. And actually, because I did that, I got a again approach to help them on the national level, uh, the department of health. And that was actually, um, funded by the bill Melinda gates foundation. So I spent about a year doing that. And, uh, to me, that’s an com an absolute, absolute highlight because I’m giving back to the community, lucky me, I earned something, but I probably would’ve done it anyway. And I got to see, you know, the real, the real world out there and, and, you know, had some really, really good conversations with people I would never normally have spoken to, and to really understand their issues. And we really have no idea. Right. You know, more privileged yeah. Live in our bubbles. Yeah. That was the absolute key highlight for me, obviously able to, you know, be here on the board and, and working for J and J is great. Uh, but this one resonated more to why I actually wanted to come back. So, uh, I was, and I was allowed to drive around during COVID I had a permit, so that was quite nice. I didn’t have to too much in the, in the lockdown.
Scott Luton (33:36):
So you’re speaking to, uh, the next question I want to ask. And so it’s a natural segue here. Uh, cause as I, as I heard you describe, um, um, how rewarding, uh, some of these, uh, positions and journeys and a, and, and activities that you were involved in, how rewarding it was to you, it, it starts to craft your personal why, right. What is your why? So I wanna expound on that a little bit more. So, you know, now you continue to give your time voluntarily to help SAP pick, grow the supply chain community in South Africa. Certainly, but I would argue really across Africa, cause we know, um, supply chain is global. It is a global community, uh, global ecosystem and gosh, few help, one region you’re or, or one city or town or, or state or country you’re really having a, a, a broader impact. So all that work you do voluntarily. Why is that important to you?
MJ Schoemaker (34:32):
It’s you know, that, that’s really a great question. And I think it’s, it’s sort of part of my personality as well. I mean, Jenny’s, uh, known me for a little while now. Uh, I’ve I’ve made, got the helper syndrome. I don’t know, but, uh, I just feel like, you know, we can build a better South Africa and I can say maybe Africa, maybe even world, you know, uh, that’s, that’s your expression, right? Jenny is supply chain makes the world go around, um, and give opportunities to improve their own lives and those of others, uh, I think, especially in South Africa and I think it’s, it’s, it’s probably also in the countries in south America and India and stuff where normally have one person, if you fire that person, 10 people will not eat. Right. So if we can help the people to help themselves and the COVID 19 pandemic showed how important supply chain is without it nothing’s gonna happen. Right. And, and as much as the pandemic was terrible, it was great for us. So I was actually, I’m not happy we had COVID of course, but I would like to grab that opportunity, grab that silver lining and say, guys, look, look, look, what’s an important, uh, profession that this is. And again, it’s just like, because I love it so much. I just wanna give it to everybody else. I throw all these hearts everywhere. <laugh> and that’s sounds really weird, but yeah, it’s just
Jenny Froome (35:53):
MJ Schoemaker (35:56):
That’s why I said that. <laugh> but it’s yeah, I think it’s just something that’s that’s I always wanted to do. And I’ve done a huge circle. I mean, it took me 30 years to get back, but, uh, at least I’m well equipped to do it, so, so it’s okay.
Scott Luton (36:12):
Uh, it’s more than, okay. It is, it is so important that our industry three taps leaders like you, that have been there and done that and are willing to help put in elbow grease to make it better, especially make it better for, for, who’s gonna be following us. And, and like you said, and Jenny, I wanna get your comment here too. No one wishes that we had COVID here, but since it’s here, it is invaluable. It is so paramount that we learn from it so that when, when the next big global thing happens and you know, it’s curve balls keep coming. We know, hopefully none of ’em are gonna be the size of this for a long, long time, but we’ll be better prepared. So there’s less suffering quite frankly, because as Jenny says, supply chain does make the world go round, right? Whether it’s vaccines, these, these critical drugs that inj you’re talking about that save lives or food on the shelf. Um, Jenny, uh, I’ll I’ll um, your take here. Yeah.
Jenny Froome (37:08):
I was just gonna say that. I think that that’s, that this totally highlights because in this audience listening, hopefully to this, to this discussion, there are so many people who are so passionate about supply chain management and who in their own way, give back to their own communities. And it again, re emphasizes the fact that a platform like supply chain now just gives us the opportunity to, to, to share these stories, to highlight these individuals. Remember that one individual is, is, is represented representative of so many supply chain practitioners who are out there. Um, so, you know, it’s always just a big shout out to the people who keep everything going agreed
Scott Luton (37:54):
And out one more comment. And then I want to shift gears to forecasting and planning within, we had Monica trill with Infor with this, uh, on a recent webinar. And one of my favorite things she shared, which I bet MJ and Jenny Y are gonna be kindred spirits with. I’ll try to get the quote. Right. But she said, um, people have been the salvation of global supply chain during the pandemic, not technology. And MJ, you said something similar to second and go, I think that message so loud and clear is certainly like you were saying earlier, Jenny, certainly one of the wonderful silver linings of what we’ve been through and continuing to go through, uh, across globe. So, okay. So much feel good vibes here. Uh, and, and hopefully for folks listening, maybe for folks listening in high school or college or early to profession, maybe they hadn’t made the jump yet.
Scott Luton (38:43):
Maybe they’re just kicking the tires on supply chain, but there’s so much purpose and mission and good work you can do in this profession. Okay. So speaking of the profession, forecasting planning, absolute critical, right? It’s like having a football to play the game of football. You gotta have it. So question for you, MJ, and, and Jenny, uh, once we get her answer love for it to have you weigh in. So how do we encourage more younger professionals, right? The, the folks I just kind of, uh, called out to get more interested in these critical elements of supply chain manage <affirmative>
MJ Schoemaker (39:16):
MJ Schoemaker (39:58):
So we need to grab all those art students. Yeah. And the, you know, the SAP says a lot of youth development, uh, sessions, you know, and we do a lot of webinars and, and there’s a lot of on social media because, you know, if you wanna get to the youth, you can’t send them an email. Uh, you can’t sort of put a letter in the letter box. That’s just not gonna work. Right. We have to WhatsApp them. We have to, we have to entice them. Right. And you know, I often use the analogy, you know, if someone always says to me, what do you do at MJ? I said, this is my analogy. I said, supply chain is like baking a cake. If you do not plan to have all the ingredients and the tools, how are you gonna bake the cake? Right. So there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of problem solving there.
MJ Schoemaker (40:34):
And I think if, if we can get the youth to understand that it’s about problem solving, it’s about analytics. It’s about, so it, it, it’s supply chain, just forecasting and planning. You have your finger in every pie, right? You gotta talk to sales, marketing, you need to talk to finance. You need to maybe go, go and check and see, oh, oh, um, you know, is there, you know, even a planner could be doing something where they see some new hashtag on, on, on, on online, this is something Coca-Cola does they see a new hashtag? And they, they put it into their computer and they say, put it on the next label that comes on a Coca-Cola bottle and proof it’s there. Right? Right. So this is, it’s so varied. And it’s for it’s, it’s very good for people that get bored easily. So I get bored easily.
MJ Schoemaker (41:16):
So I need a job that like, okay, now there’s another problem. Okay. Now how do I fix that? And oh, now that has happened. So we need to go to the youth. They’re not gonna come to us. We need to go to them and say, guys, this is such a lot of fun. Let’s, let’s, let’s do it. You know? And there’s different games you can play. I mean, you, you have, we have a couple of colleagues, Hey, Jenny, that have some nice games that people can play, make it a bit compared to, but we need to move away from the old fashioned way of, of sending that message. We really need to reset a completely different way. Agreed.
Scott Luton (41:47):
Hey, one additional point. And, and I don’t, I don’t think this runs counter what I said a second go. What we’re set of second, the top, the latest technology, right. Is in supply chain, especially in recent years as that, as you know, supply chain tech, freight tech, final mile tech, you name, it is exploding. Right? And so for any young folks listening, if that’s, if you love all things, tech, some of these things that MJ mentioned, Hey, you, you can find it in global supply chain. Jenny, I wanna get you to, um, based on what MJ shared, some of those tactics, there are some of the, some of the things to do some things not to do. I might would add, MJ said an email, won’t reach young people, a letter won’t reach young people. I would add whatever mom and dad suggests to their young, to their kids. Aren’t gonna reach young people. What else? Yeah, Jenny,
Jenny Froome (42:34):
I think it, it, it does, it boils down to communication and how we communicate, but it’s also MJ to your point’s. How do we make it fun? Because, you know, especially if you’ve been at university and it was a traditional university, which we have quite a lot of, and, and the learning is by, and there isn’t so much experience because we don’t have the, the sort of the apprenticeships and, and that sort of format of, of education so much. It’s, it’s slowly coming back. But I think how do you teach those people who aren’t the academics who don’t want the degree who actually want to be able to do. And that’s where I, that, you know, supply chain management has got so many opportunities for people who, who aren’t the theorists, you know, they actually want to do practicality of it, but it’s introducing them to people like you, Scott, like U MJ, people who’ve actually, you know, earned their stripes, done the stuff and had fun doing it, and the love doing it. Mm. That just, it creates that energy that, that people want to. And then it’s, and then it’s, it’s, it’s going back to the whole association community. It’s making sure that these organizations survive and thrive, right? Because they create a home, they create a community, they create a place where these youngsters can actually learn and develop.
MJ Schoemaker (44:00):
You know, I dunno if you looked at the world economic forum, they did a huge report. It was hundreds of pages long about the future jobs, uh, what is still gonna be here and what isn’t and supply chain’s gonna be here. So if the youth are worried about what job they should choose or what area they should choose, supply chain will always be here, because exactly what you said earlier, Scott, it’s the artificial intelligence and the machine learning. That’s not gonna solve it. We need people, we need problem solve it. We need someone to do that. Exception management, right? Not that boring stuff. Let the computer do that. Right. Let the solve, do that. It’s about that exception management and that problem solving. That’s what we need them for.
Scott Luton (44:34):
Agreed. Agreed. It’s like, uh, uh, I think as it goes, when John Glen let’s see here, he was the what first the orbit, the earth, gosh, I’m a space nerd. I can’t believe I’m getting this wrong anyway, to your point in Jay, John Glen, they had computers at the time, they’re in this sixties, but he’s like, I don’t want the computers. I want Catherine Johnson. If Catherine Johnson says the numbers are good, I’m going, and I’m paraphrasing. I mean, it really, uh, it’s such a great story. Back then. People were called computers, right. Which is fascinating to think about now. Um, but one last point, MJ, and, and we’ll make sure folks know to connect with you and with Jenny. Um, so make the plan, make a plan. You you’re sharing on the front end that saying y’all have in South Africa, you know, right. When you said that on the front end, one of the things that appeals to me about global supply chain back when I was in it, right.
Scott Luton (45:26):
You know, actively as a practitioner is when we hit a problem, whether it was bad parks or, uh, late delivery, whatever it was, man, getting that team together in person around that table and all having the, uh, the kindred spirits of, Hey, it stinks, but we’re gonna make a plan. I mean, that, I think appeals on the human level, it appeals on the professional level. And it’s just that sense of all really pseudo family. Is it exactly what it is? And you know, if you’re looking for that from a career standpoint supply, chain’s got that in truckloads. Okay. So MJ follow up on that comment. And then if you would, as well, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you. So your final thought and how can folks connect with you.
MJ Schoemaker (46:08):
So my final thoughts just for, for all the supply chain people out there, you know, your, your career is yours, right? So you need to do something. I think a lot of the mistakes that, uh, you know, that people make and I had to learn that as well is don’t sit back, bring good work and think it’s just gonna happen. You need to go out there and say, Hey, I did this good work. I did more than my job description. What does that mean for me? Right. So don’t be afraid to do that. I think it’s really, really important. Make sure that you connect with people, you network, you have a mentor, you have someone to help to bounce things off and it can, and, and I would recommend someone not from supply chain. So if you’re in supply chain, go talk somebody in queue it or go talk to someone in finance because they see it from a different angle.
MJ Schoemaker (46:48):
Look, the user sort of blue ocean thinking, don’t always go in the, in the red ocean. Like, like we always like you stick what we know and feel comfortable with. So that would be my recommendation. Don’t be afraid, you know, go out there. You don’t have to have a PhD study because studying is good for you. It, it, it trains your brain. It’s not about the content. It’s about the, how you use your brain later in life and don’t give up and, and the world has changed. The world has changed. It’s never gonna be the same again. Be ready for disruption and Scott, I think I love your example. You say, let’s all just sit around a table, whether it’s on zoom or whether it’s physically and say, guys, we all hate this problem. <laugh> and, and I’m talking about sales, marketing, everyone. We hate this problem.
MJ Schoemaker (47:27):
We’ve gotta be in the, in the, I had that problem where we had the be in, in, in the syrup for, for a, for a cough medicine. And I said, just take the, be out, get a teaspoon and just take it out. And he said, no, we have to send it back. I went, oh my gosh. Um, so, you know, just, you know, sit together, make a plan. So I, I kind of like that one, um, and work together. Don’t work against each other. Share your KPIs, all have the same number. Don’t all be working for different numbers. Don’t agree your number and walk out the room and have another number in the secret. No, you like to all work to the same number. And if you can’t reach it say so don’t wait till you hit the wall. Yeah. Let’s talk about it. And let’s try and anticipate it and find the gaps, find the opportu and then maybe sell a different product or we can help with the different products. Don’t be afraid to work together when you’re in supply chain. And I’m talking to all guys, not just supply chain people with everyone in the
Scott Luton (48:19):
Business, man. Those are words I live by a lot of what you shared there. And yeah. Ask, especially that last, you know, ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help and whether that’s for, or, or in, in any other, uh, vein. So that’s kinda a, like a mini masterclass to wrap on there. Jenny, uh, MJ, how can folks connect with you? So
MJ Schoemaker (48:40):
LinkedIn is, is, is great because you can also find out who I am and what I’ve done. So, you know, I’m, I’m a very pragmatic person. So if you read it and you think this is not for me, then you know, don’t have to contact me. If you think it is for you, then contact me. Uh, you can also get me through my email address, uh, MJ, and then pro se for supply chain E two E for end to end. So in South Africa, it’s in the UK, UK, that’s my email address, reach out, um, happy to have a chat, to have a conversation. I get a lot of people reaching out to me saying, they’re doing research. Can I, can they chat to me? And I said, that’s also fine. Uh, it’s not always about making money. You know, obviously I have a, I have a job, but you know, I’m out there to help. And I’m out there to just make sure that I can help people find their way.
Scott Luton (49:27):
Love it. I love that. MJ Shoemaker, current president of say picks again, the professional body for supply chain professionals in South Africa. And I would add beyond, right? Cause I love the work you are doing really across Africa. Uh, MJ. Wonderful to have you here. Thank you so much for your time, but Hey, don’t leave just yet. Jenny man another outstanding and very practical and inspiring. I would add conversation. We’ve had here with MJ. Thank you for all of your wonderful facilitation and your, your leadership. How can folks connect with the wonder only Jenny room? Uh,
Jenny Froome (50:02):
LinkedIn boringly. Um, I am active on LinkedIn. I love Twitter. Um, I will, I will always respond to tweets, um, and also through the safe website. So, and you know, I’ll just, I’ll just amplify that saying the Z also. You see I’m multilingual, not just Z a, but yeah, easily, easily done.
Scott Luton (50:24):
I think I’m embracing the Z. I think I’m embracing the Z. I think it, it helps folks understand your saying Z and I’ve never thought about that my entire life. So I’m embracing this. It’s a good Scrabble word. Is that <laugh> that’s right. All right. Well, folks, hopefully you enjoyed this wonderful conversation with MJ and Jenny. I tell you what it was, uh, so many, so many notes and ideas and universal truths. I would add in this conversation. So big, thanks to our dear friend, Jenny fr big, thanks to our featured guests here today. MJ Schumacher. And we’re gonna have to have both of y’all back soon. Jenny, I think we already have a next next couple of conversations teed up. Is that right? Yep. Yep. We’re all ready and raring to go with some exciting guests. So stay tuned folks, if you, and if you like this conversation, uh, and gosh, I hope you did. Uh, I really enjoyed Jenny and N J’s, uh, perspective. Be sure to find us wherever you get your podcasts at supply chain now, but if you do anything, if you do anything based on this conversation here today, you got that. Be like MJ and Jenny do good give forward. And perhaps most importantly be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time, right back here on 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 are 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.
Jenny Froome is the Acting Chief Operating Officer at SAPICS – which is the Professional Body for Supply Chain Management in South Africa but working with countries around the world to have Supply Chain Management recognised as a profession. She started her professional career in the UK as a secretary and then moved to event management. Little did she know that as an event manager she was actually practicing supply chain management every day! In 1997 they managed their first ever SAPICS annual conference in South Africa and the rest, as they say, is history! Now managing the SAPICS annual conference – the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals – as an online event until we get control of Covid-19. We long for the opportunity to get back to face to face events. In the meantime we keep our community connected. She is on a mission to shine the spotlight on supply chains in Africa and the wealth of supply chain talent that is available on the continent.
MJ Schoemaker has an extensive End 2 End Supply Chain and Business excellence experience through 30 years of international corporate exposure at companies such as Ricoh, Lego, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson and Johnson. She has held international Global Executive positions across the pillars of PLAN, MAKE, SOURCE, DELIVER including Director of Global Demand Management and Sales & Operations Planning Centre of Excellence as well as being a member of the board. MJ is often a speaker at international conferences on End 2 End Supply Chain and Business Excellence and is the President of the Board at SAPICS (Professional body for Supply Chain Management). MJ has been interviewed on various radio and television interviews and written various articles about the state of supply chain. During COVID19 she was tasked to support the Western Cape as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to ensure efficient delivery of chronic medication in South Africa during the COVID19 pandemic. She is seen as an expert in the field of supply chain management and has her own consultancy to help businesses grow across the pillars of people, process and technology. Connect with MJ 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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
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 transitioning from active duty in the US Army. 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.