Dynamic leadership teams recognize opportunities as they present themselves, even when they come from unexpected places. When the team at CLX technologies realized their chemical industry clients wanted to keep certain key expertise in-house, CLX pivoted to oblige. Not only have they expanded the services they provide, but they also use their robust internal database of data about transportation carriers, rates, and service levels to help companies benchmark themselves.
CLX Vice President Mike Skinner uses his experience in supply chain consulting, information systems, and operations management to help shippers design and deploy world class technology solutions while reducing costs and improving service levels. Prior to joining CLX Logistics, he worked for Ernst & Young’s Supply Chain consulting practice, which gave him the opportunity work with companies Ford Motor Company, Sony Electronics, and Crown Cork & Seal.
In this episode, Mike joins hosts Scott Luton and Crystal Davis to share his point of view on the latest in transportation technology:
• The three most important criteria for companies to consider when selecting a TMS
• Unique considerations for technology in the chemical industry
• Developments in transportation solutions being explored by forward-looking shippers
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 (00:33):
Hey, hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and special guest host, Crystal Davis, here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Crystal, how are you doing?
Crystal Davis (00:45):
Scott, I am fabulous. It’s Friday eve somewhere in the world. And almost happy hour time …
Scott Luton (00:55):
Oh, that’s right.
Crystal Davis (00:56):
Somewhere in the world. I’m fabulous. And I’m happy to be here with you today.
Scott Luton (00:59):
We are delighted and not only I get a co-host of conversation with you here today, but we got a great guest, right? We’re got a great conversation teed up with a business leader, Crystal, doing big things in the chemical logistics space, right? So stay tuned to all of our listeners as we dive into a really interesting conversation. It’s going to offer a variety of helpful insights and expertise. Okay, so, crystal, are you ready for this show?
Crystal Davis (01:25):
I am absolutely ready for this show. I’m super excited to talk with our guests and learn about all that he has to share with us.
Scott Luton (01:33):
Man, you know what? We might need seven hours at a minimum if we’re going to learn everything, or maybe 14, who knows? But to your point, I am as well. And on that note, I want to bring in our featured guest, Mike Skinner, Vice President of CLX Technologies, which is part of the CLX Logistics family. Mike, how you doing?
Mike Skinner (01:51):
Doing great, Scott. Thanks. Glad to be here.
Scott Luton (01:53):
Well, great to have you here, Mike. And as Crystal was just saying, if we had to set aside time to take in everything you know, we might be here for weeks, huh?
Mike Skinner (02:04):
I’ve been doing this for a long time, Scott, so, yeah, you don’t want to know all the stories, and I don’t think we have time to tell them all.
Scott Luton (02:11):
Okay. Well, I tell you, by that answer, Crystal, I can tell Mike there’s lots of kindred spirits here, Crystal. So, he is going to fit right in. So, Crystal, we’re going to start with Mike Skinner here. We’re going to start by learning about some rowing. Now, Crystal, I don’t know about you, when I think of the word rowing, man, I think I just shed a couple pounds just thinking about all the work that’s involved, right?
Crystal Davis (02:35):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I have one of those hydro row machines, and boy, you talk about a great workout, [inaudible] amount of time. So, I’m excited to hear what Mike has to say about his rowing experience.
Scott Luton (02:47):
Well, Crystal, you and Mike have something in common then. I guess I’m the one out in the cold. So, Mike, tell us, you took up rowing a few years back. Tell us about what got you into rowing and any lessons learned that you think might apply to business.
Mike Skinner (03:01):
Yeah, sure. It actually goes way back. My freshman college roommate was a rower. And in fact, I had two roommates that were rowers, both of which have remained very good friends of mine ever since then. And then, coincidentally, my son got into rowing. In college, he rode at the Naval Academy, on the lightweight rowing team. And so, I’ve always been kind of close to the sport, interested in it. I’ve always been a bit of an endurance athlete. I’ve done a lot of, you know, running and obstacle course races and that kind of thing.
Scott Luton (03:36):
And, Crystal, that comes into play really well in global supply chain these days. Am I right, Crystal?
Crystal Davis (03:41):
Scott Luton (03:43):
So, Mike, you’ve always been in kind of the endurance sports as you were saying.
Mike Skinner (03:48):
Indeed. Yeah. Yeah. And in fact, like Crystal I’d spent a lot of time on my rowing machine in the basement, but never actually got in a boat. Finally, a couple years ago, my college roommate convinced me to join a boat club here in Philadelphia. It’s a big sport here, so a lot of opportunities for it. And, man, was that a lesson in humility.
Scott Luton (04:12):
I can imagine.
Mike Skinner (04:13):
I’ve been in very good shape all that time but getting your blades to push the boat in conjunction with three other guys or one other guy or seven other guys in the boat is a challenge to say the least. So just keeping dry is hard enough and getting the boat to move quickly is, it’s really interesting challenge and just coordination and balance, but a lot of fun learning. So I’ve been having a blast with it.
Scott Luton (04:44):
I love that. And, Crystal, I’m hearing all kinds of just in the short response there, all kinds of business lessons learned, you know, balance and collaboration and alignment. Am I right, Crystal?
Crystal Davis (04:54):
Absolutely. And coordination of steps. And, you know, there’s a great picture of a rowing team that represents teamwork, also when you think about the power of rowing.
Scott Luton (05:09):
Okay. All right.
Mike Skinner (05:10):
Yeah. And in fact, one of the better books I’ve read in the last 10 years is called Boys in the Boat and talked about teamwork and hard work and, you know, digging down to pull everything you’ve got outta your gut to make something happen along with a group of other people. It’s a really fantastic book. Highly recommend it.
Scott Luton (05:31):
Okay, Boys in the Boat. I’m going to check that out. All right. So we got a lot of good stuff to get to, Mike. But before we do, Mike and Crystal, I want to talk about this. I read something I think on your website –to our listeners, clxlogistics.com. You can check it out and we’ll talk more about that in a minute. But, Mike, what do you believe is the most reliable antidote to email?
Mike Skinner (05:55):
For me, as you might have guessed, it’s sweating. Like I said, I’ve spent a lot of time working out and getting outside and sweating. And I have to say that, if I’m able to think about a few different things during a long day or a long week or a long travel period and get my mind on what I might be doing after work or on the weekend, it’s a big help. So, I really enjoy getting out there and sweating it out, if you will.
Scott Luton (06:27):
I love that. But, Crystal, I got to tell you, where my mind went was kind of where you opened with was happy hour. I was thinking a nice cold glass of wine. I don’t know.
Crystal Davis (06:36):
Scott Luton (06:37):
Mike Skinner (06:39):
I am not opposed to a Manhattan after work also.
Crystal Davis (06:42):
Scott Luton (06:42):
Okay, well then, we got it, Crystal. I said wine. He said Manhattan. Your go-to?
Crystal Davis (06:47):
[Inaudible]. You know what? I have become a bourbon girl.
Scott Luton (06:50):
Okay. All right.
Crystal Davis (06:53):
Just recently. So, I’m there.
Scott Luton (06:55):
Mike Skinner (06:55):
You got to try a Manhattan one of these days soon, Crystal.
Crystal Davis (06:59):
Scott Luton (06:59):
All right. So you’re really making me thirsty. We’re going to have this conversation in person next time as we talk about global supply chain and leadership and a lot more. All right. So, Mike, thank you for sharing a little more about who you are and kind of your worldview there. I want to move us right ahead and I want to talk about your professional journey. So, Mike, you know, kind of going back to how we opened, we’d need hours and hours to really, really unpack everything. But, you know, what were a couple of your leadership positions that you held prior to your role at CLX which you joined in 2001? What were a couple positions that really impacted your worldview and who you are?
Mike Skinner (07:37):
Yeah, I would say, I came right outta school and right into consultant. I was an engineer in school and went with a consulting firm in Atlanta called Kurt Salmon Associates. And I had the great benefit of a really strong leadership development program there. So, I learned a lot about being confident in meetings and carrying yourself through challenging situations without breaking down in front of the customer. But also, about humility, right? You know, one of the most important things I learned in that early job was it’s always okay, and in fact, very important to admit that you don’t know the answers. Right? So much more important than barreling through and faking it, right?
Mike Skinner (08:27):
The other big lesson I learned there, and this was my first big presentation to sort of the C-level, C-suite level group of folks in one of the companies we did some consulting for, and it was, avoid superlatives, right? You really take a lot out of your message when you start saying something is imperative and the most important and critical, right? It’s much better to back up your points with substance than with flourish, if you will.
Scott Luton (09:00):
Mike, I love that. And I love how reflective you are as you look back. Crystal, I’m going to get you to weigh in there ‘cause I bet he’s talking some of your language and he was talking some of mine, your thoughts on those critical lessons learned.
Crystal Davis (09:12):
Yeah, absolutely. I love, Mike, that you mentioned the part about being honest about not knowing all the answers as a leader. I find, particularly now, that that’s a challenge for a lot of leaders, but what I tell them is it invites the talent that they have on their team to become part of the solution rather than dumping all the problems on the leader. So I’m so happy to hear you mention that.
Scott Luton (09:38):
Very genuine. And, you know, I tend to trust people more that will just give us that plain speak and tell us when they know something and tell us when they don’t know something. And the other thing I want to point out, Mike, that I loved in your response there, is avoiding superlatives. Now, I’ve got three kids and, you know, we’ve had that chat about avoiding superlatives ‘cause everything is like, this is the worst day ever. This is the biggest problem ever. This is, insert the word. And you know, in particular, in organizations of, you know, in any decade, in any year, in any week, you know, there’s always been disruption. And we can’t give in, Mike, get your thoughts here. We can’t give in to admiring the problem, right, and complimenting the problem and being in awe of the problem because we don’t get around to do anything about it. And it’s overwhelming, too overwhelming to take those first few steps. So, Mike, before we move on your thought. Any response there?
Mike Skinner (10:37):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I find, you know, having the great benefit of having a team that I’ve been working with in my group for a long period of time and having really strong collaboration and trust between all of us. You know, we’re able to, when we’re faced with very challenging problems whether it be domestically or globally or trying to implement something in Asia or what have you, we run across a lot of really challenging situations and we’re able to collaborate and sit back and listen to each other and get valuable input from all members of the team, both, you know, on my team as well as the customer’s team, and not really expect and anticipate that anybody’s going to step up with all of the answers. And it really makes for, I guess, a couple things. One, just a really fun environment to be working in. And two, one that gets the job done. You know, typically we do find our way through and around problems by working together and collaborating.
Scott Luton (11:44):
Yeah. Good stuff there, Mike. So much good stuff. And, you know, as I mentioned, you’ve been with CLX since 2001. We’re going to dive into that wholeheartedly in just a second. But before we do, Crystal, one of the things that Mike just shared there before I move on is, you know, getting everybody in the room together, right? Some folks, some personalities, you know, they’re going to tell you everything, but how important is it, Crystal, to some of those folks that may be more introverted, they may be quieter, how important is it to kind of call time out as a leader and make sure they are sharing their brilliance as well?
Crystal Davis (12:19):
Yes, it’s absolutely important to make sure that you pause to invite them into the conversation to make sure that they’re able to share their perspective. And quite often, you know, those who are more comfortable, you know, maybe even slightly dominating the conversation…
Scott Luton (12:39):
Right, right. There are those out there that do that.
Crystal Davis (12:41):
Right. You know, they can kind of push their perspective or perception of the problem off on others, and those introverts might bring new insights, but sometimes you have to invite them to the conversation. So, excellent point.
Scott Luton (12:55):
Crystal, absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. All right. But, Mike, I want to get back to the CLX story. So I want to level set with our listeners for starters. So if you would, Mike, tell us more about CLX Logistics and, of course, CLX Technologies.
Mike Skinner (13:11):
Yeah, sure, sure. So, CLX Logistics is kind of large, broad services, broad suite of services – sorry, broad logistics services provider, right? So we run the gamut from our original mission, which was to be a 3PL, 4PL to the chemical industry. So we do manage transportation, we take over everything from, you know, procurement all the way through day-to-day execution, you know, track and trace shipments, freight payment, and the whole thing. But then over the years, we realized that a lot of shippers, especially in the chemical industry, want to keep that expertise in-house, right, to keep that domain expertise in-house, to make sure that they’re handling logistics the way they see fit, the way that their customers really need them to. And so, it really forced us or pushed us to expand our services and to get a lot more flexible with regard to how we engage with our chemical industry customers.
Mike Skinner (14:15):
So, one of which was to start offering, selling, implementing the technology that we were using in-house to shippers to use on their own behalf. We also, over the years, developed a lot of data or gathered a lot of data in the industry. So we ended up with a really strong database of transportation carriers and rates and service levels and so forth. And so, that created an opportunity for us to help shippers really benchmark their freight costs, their service levels with their carriers so that created a whole continuous improvement and analytics team that has been really strong for us over the past many years. We’ve also added an international freight forwarding service. We’ve gone global. We bought a company in Europe about 10 years ago, so we have presence there as well. So it’s been a really interesting journey, you know, from the beginning of really just being a 3PL to now being really a full service logistics offering.
Scott Luton (15:19):
Mike, sounds like business has been great at CLX, and I love how as y’all built internal expertise, your customers have wanted more and more of. That’s one of the things I heard there. Crystal, how about you?
Crystal Davis (15:30):
Absolutely. And I love how you’ve been able to leverage data to help them make better decisions and to be smarter, right? To be that center of influence from that perspective as well.
Mike Skinner (15:44):
Yeah. It was a really interesting path that we went down. We, you know, for years had been selling and, you know, we had lots of shippers using our technology and gathering just thousands and thousands and millions of lines of data on a daily and monthly basis. And then, we hired a guy to come in and really mine that data and that just took off and exploded, you know, to where we’re now, an industry thought leader in a lot of ways in terms of transportation logistics.
Scott Luton (16:17):
Agreed. And especially, in the chemical space, which we’re going to talk more in just a second about it. If you would, Mike, level set about your role in particular at CLX.
Mike Skinner (16:28):
Yes. We have sort of three core businesses. We have our managed transportation business. We have our technology business, which is the company or the business unit that I run. And so we are selling and implementing technology or transportation solutions for shippers to use on their own behalf. And then, we also support our managed transportation business. And then, on the third side, we have our analytics and continuous improvement consulting team.
Scott Luton (16:58):
Outstanding. Man, three powerful aspects of the business that probably combine and collectively form quite a punch, which is no wonder y’all been growing left and right, expanding to every corner of the universe. All right. Let’s talk about CLX Global TMS, and to some of our listeners out there, you know, transportation management system. You know, we love our acronyms here in supply chain, right, Crystal?
Crystal Davis (17:25):
Got to have them.
Scott Luton (17:27):
Got to have them. That’s right. So, Mike, tell us about y’all’s TMS, how it’s different and give us a couple of examples of folks that have been using it.
Mike Skinner (17:37):
Sure. Yeah. So way back in the day, we made the decision not to build our own. So we partnered with a company that ultimately was acquired by a company called E2open. E2open is a global logistics and supply chain technology provider. They were born in the electronics industry about 25 years ago and grew from there. We are E2open’s go-to market partner for their transportation solutions in the chemical industry. So, we’ve been implementing their technology like we’ve said for about 20 years for chemical manufacturers and distributors to help them with their planning and optimization and execution of all their transportation activities. In the chemical industry, even more so than most industries, the chemical industry is just global in nature because of the high investment in assets that are required to refine chemicals. Those assets tend to get utilized for distribution around the world. And so, most of our customers are truly global. So they took us from being primarily North American operation in the early 2000’s into kind of 2010 and 12 timeframe. We started going global into Europe and into Asia, and then broadening out from road freight into ocean freight and also into rail, and, you know, bringing our technology partner along with us on that ride.
Scott Luton (19:17):
And going back, I want to go back to E2open because as much as CLX has been on quite a streak, Crystal, E2open has, they’ve been doing pretty good too, huh?
Crystal Davis (19:26):
Absolutely. Excellent, excellent in their space.
Scott Luton (19:31):
So, tell us – anything else you want to add, Mike, in terms of differentiation, right, and then any examples that you want to share about some of the folks you’re working with as it relates to your TMS.
Mike Skinner (19:44):
Yeah, sure. Right. So I guess in terms of differentiation, I think really just two primary things. We were lucky to choose the right horse, right? So E2open has really developed the strongest, on-demand TMS platform, also connected to a variety of their other applications for global trade and supply chain planning, demand planning and so forth. So we were lucky to choose the right horse that ended up kind of in the leadership quadrant there, right? And then also having done this for 20 years in the chemical space, we’ve done a lot to make sure that the solution works for chemical manufacturers who are shipping bulk transportation, bulk containers, rail cars full of stuff, as well as hazardous chemicals and also, you know, buckets and pails and pallets of things, right? So, it’s a very wide variety and a complex array of transportation needs that a chemical manufacturer has. And so, this combination really has helped us differentiate when we go into a talk to shippers about what we can do for them.
Scott Luton (20:52):
All right. And before you share some of those examples, Crystal, it sounds like when we go to Vegas next, we got to take Mike with us. Is that right, Crystal?
Crystal Davis (21:01):
Bet on. Bet on the right horse. I love that. I love how that worked out and how you guys didn’t try to make that your core competency, but you took your core competency and elevated the tool, so I really like that.
Scott Luton (21:14):
And red 19 listeners, red 19, if you’re at the roulette table, that’s going to hit. All right. So, Mike, give us some examples of some of the folks that y’all been working with when it comes to your TMS.
Mike Skinner (21:28):
Yeah, sure. So, also the chemical industry is extremely diverse in terms of, you know, big, small and everything in between, right? We’ve got customers that are making highly refined flavors and fragrances that are relatively small shippers moving, you know, 10 or 15 or 20,000 shipments a year. Some of it just domestic. And then we’ve got some, you know, major, major players in the sort of tier one category of global manufacturers. They’re in the sort of 15 billion to 20 billion in revenues. They are truly global. They’re moving freight in all four major geographic regions and ocean freight around the world. So, really, really highly diverse array of shippers. And it’s one of the, I think, one of the real advantages that we’ve had using an on-demand TMS through all of that, you know, because we are able to scale down and scale up when it comes to sort of the level of complexity and also the budget of these different shippers, I mean, kind of a wide array of needs and available money to spend on these kinds of solutions.
Scott Luton (22:43):
So, really, I mean, it’s good to be in the E2open ecosystem, right? We’ve established that. But given how long y’all have been active in, to your point, a highly diverse global chemicals industry and businesses of all size, I mean, why not give Mike and the CLX team a call? Crystal, what else did you hear there before we move on?
Crystal Davis (23:07):
Well, the one thing I like is the ability to support small, smaller businesses, midsize businesses, and those larger, global organizations. So to have that kind of breadth across, you know, the spectrum is tremendous. And then, I’ll say the other thing is to be, again, that single point of source for shippers, particularly when there were so many challenges with getting drivers and all sorts of things that were happening in that space. So, for a small business to have a partnership like that where you’ve got the data and the shippers, I think perfect solution.
Scott Luton (23:44):
Mike Skinner (23:44):
That’s a really good point, Crystal. And it’s where we’ve been able to help our customers not just use the system, but then also to add capability and resources around those solutions that are critical, right? Because some of these small companies, a lot of them are spinoffs.
Crystal Davis (24:03):
Mike Skinner (24:04):
And so, a lot of them are spun off from some of these major companies, and they end up with kind of a third of a logistics department, right? So they need technology, but they also need a procurement guy or an LTL specialist or a bulk specialist, right, or some analytical support. Right? So it’s been a really kind of nice opportunity for us to add those value added services to.
Scott Luton (24:27):
And, Crystal, I love your first part of your response there, that dynamic ability; it sounds like CLX can grow right alongside as organizations continue to grow and need different things. All right. So, Mike, we have talked a lot about CLX at this point, right? So folks should have a really good grasp for all the different reasons why they should give you and your team a call. I want to switch gears here ‘cause I want to leverage your expertise, and of course Crystal’s, when it comes to selecting a TMS. Some of our listeners may be in that process now. So if we think about, and there’s a lot more than three, but if we think about three really important criteria for successfully selecting the right TMS, what would that be, Mike? What would those three things be?
Mike Skinner (25:13):
Yeah. I guess I would first say, I think every shipper needs one, right? You know, transportation, you know, is your final leg to your customer, right? So, it’s the final thing that happens after you put all that investment in making the right product, developing the right designs, making everything work perfectly. It’s the last view that your customer has of that physical process of you getting them the product. It’s usually handled by somebody else, right? You know, sure, a lot of shippers have their own fleets, but more often than not, that product is being delivered by somebody not your employee. Right? And then on top of that, you’ve just got so many different options for getting product from A to B, you know, from one customer to the next. And there’s a lot of variability and a lot of variables in that process. So, having some kind of control over that process, I think is critical. You know, having that degree of control.
Scott Luton (26:19):
So, Mike, the first one is have one.
Mike Skinner (26:22):
The first one is have – yeah, yeah.
Scott Luton (26:24):
‘Cause that’s a great point. All the resources, all the blood, sweat and tears that go into making a product, Crystal, that folks are proud of, we don’t want to let that the shipping journey and that final mile have all that waste, right Crystal?
Crystal Davis (26:38):
Oh, my God. Mike, I’m so happy that you said that because I can’t tell you the amount of times I tell clients, product just doesn’t magically jump in a box and end up at your customer. There is a lot between that final stage and getting there that you, that they, a lot of them don’t pay attention to. Spot on.
Scott Luton (27:00):
So, Mike, the first one is, hey, there’s value and there’s a compelling value for having one. What else would you want to share when it comes to selecting the right TMS?
Mike Skinner (27:10):
This is probably a little bit hyperbolic, but know thyself, right?
Scott Luton (27:15):
Mike Skinner (27:17):
One of the things that we recognize early on in a lot of our projects is that customers, to a varying degree, have figured out what they need. Right? There are TMS solutions in the market that are really well designed for, you know, domestic road freight, LTL, and truckload road freight. And they do pretty much everything you’re going to need if that’s all you’ve got, and you don’t have a lot of complications. And then there are the big guys that do everything you might ever want to do on a global scale, right? Moving stuff across continents, merging and transit, optimization across the water, et cetera, et cetera. Right? So, one of the things that Gartner does a really good job of is kind of scaling and ranking those TMS solutions kind of against each other.
Mike Skinner (28:07):
But there’s a next level of detail that any given shipper really needs to take a look at. And that is, how do I match my needs with a TMS that’s scaled for my needs, right, and really is going to meet those needs. It’s not an easy set of challenges, but it is really understanding what it is you’re trying to get done. And, yes, there is a TMS that can meet your needs both in terms of capabilities and cost and effort.
Scott Luton (28:36):
Yeah, Mike, really good point. And I think that’s a universal good point. ‘Cause, Crystal, I think whether you’re business leaders in the, you know, C-suite or you’re a founder or a practitioner or any part of the organization, based on what we do day to day, we can make certain assumptions about who we are and what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are, you know, and as Mike said, know thyself. There’s power in that, right Crystal?
Crystal Davis (29:03):
Oh, I love that, Scott. And you are spot on. Like, it’s really important that teams take the time to figure that part out.
Scott Luton (29:11):
That’s right. Okay. So have one, number one, and we may be getting a bonus one that’s perfectly fine, Mike. This is goodness here. Have a TMS, know thyself, which is going to help fuel a more accurate and successful selection process. What’s number three?
Mike Skinner (29:27):
I’m going to kind of take this a little bit of a different direction, Scott, if you don’t mind.
Scott Luton (29:32):
Mike Skinner (29:33):
So, I think number three is, it’s kind of a combination of two things. It’s thinking about the implementation, right? Implementing a TMS is not rocket science. It is not easy either, right? But when it comes to kind of knowing and understanding your requirements and therefore picking out a TMS that’s going to meet your needs, thinking towards and forward at the implementation and how you’re going to get that done I think, you know, is one of the most important critical success factors. And again, we’ve been doing this for a long, long time, and we’ve worked with shippers of all different sizes and capabilities, and I think that one of the things that we’ve seen driving the greatest level of success is a company that has a good understanding of how they’re going to get the system deployed.
Mike Skinner (30:33):
And that can run the gamut as well, right? There are TMS solutions that are essentially kind of self-help, you know, roll your own. You know, you get the set of instructions in the user manual and you go. And some companies are able to do that. And then, there are others where you’re buying a system from one of the bigs and then you’re bringing in, you know, a systems integrator like in Accenture, PWC, or somebody else with, you know, a big team of sophisticated consultants that are going to drive change management and, you know, all of the other aspects of the project. And so, you know, a shipper, a customer really needs to understand how they’re going to get that effort done. And I think there’s some really key and very important aspects of that. So we can talk about that a bit if you want to.
Scott Luton (31:22):
Well, you know, I think at a higher level, I love this, this point here because, you know, the aftercare comes to mind. I know that might be more of a healthcare term, but after you implement, right, after you work with someone, who’s going to be there for the aftercare and making sure that it drives optimization, it drives adoption. So we’re really making the most of the return on investment. And I think to your point, Mike, evaluating implementation before you get there and what are the strengths and weaknesses and all points in between of the different options you’re considering. Crystal, you’re nodding your head, what else would you add to that?
Crystal Davis (32:00):
Yeah, I think the other things that I would add is, you’re spot on there, Mike, in terms of taking the time to really know your requirements. So many companies will get the technology solution, but they don’t understand all the various modules that could help them. And so, they don’t turn them on, or they don’t have the data set up properly to leverage those, or even the training there. And it’s very interesting, you know, when you tell people you actually have a tool that could help you tremendously, but you’re not leveraging that in the technology. And then, tap to try to backtrack to how they set up the structure or the master data. It’s overwhelming for many companies so they don’t want to do it.
Scott Luton (32:43):
Mike Skinner (32:43):
Scott Luton (32:44):
So, Mike, you offered a – Crystal, excellent point, an excellent point. And we don’t want to set ourselves up to have to backtrack, backslide, or anything else. So, Mike, you offered a little tease there. And so, before we move forward, you offered a little bit more perspective on this whole selection process. What else would you add before we move on to what’s next?
Mike Skinner (33:05):
Didn’t have anything else on the selection process.
Scott Luton (33:08):
Oh, okay. All right.
Mike Skinner (33:09):
Yeah. Yeah. I might’ve misled you with a tease, God, sorry.
Scott Luton (33:13):
Hey, I misinterpreted things all the time. I do it for a living. Hey, but let’s talk about the chemical industry, right? And when it comes to – let’s look at that wrinkle when it comes to selecting technology solutions. What is so unique about the chemical industry, beyond what you’ve already shared?
Mike Skinner (33:33):
Yeah. I think a couple of things. One is just the diversity of transportation requirements, right? So, in consumer goods and retail, and, you know, in the large majority of transportation scenarios, you know, you’re moving boxes on pallets, right? Chemical manufacturers, we’ve got customers that are so highly diversified that they are in some cases shipping a pale or a drum on a pallet. They’re shipping truckloads of stuff to customers. They are moving parcel for samples. They are moving rail cars full of product, ocean containers and, you know, bulk marine containers, right? So, it really literally is every conceivable mode of transportation is including air cargo, in fact, across the gamut. So, knowing and understanding that level of complexity is really important as you go into, you know, things like business process design, right? Gathering requirements across an organization with that kind of complexity requires a lot of due diligence and just a lot of hard work to make sure you’re understanding all of those scenarios and parameters around which what’s going to make a shipper successful ultimately in a business process design and then in developing the solution and doing a full gamut of testing in order to be successful go-live.
Scott Luton (35:03):
And, Crystal, I’ll add to what Mike just shared there, you really want to work with customized providers that know the industry that you’re in is certainly one of the things, flashing lights at me right now. Crystal, your thoughts?
Crystal Davis (35:18):
Yeah, my thoughts, to have someone that understands the industry, particularly one that’s very particular, high formulations in some cases, a lot of temperature requirements in some cases, you know, not able to double stack and do those types of things. And so, having someone that understands those nuances is very important ‘cause that’s mostly a lot of really expensive product as well.
Scott Luton (35:45):
Excellent point, excellent point. Okay. So, Mike, I want to keep driving here. I want to ask you about new developments. And so, you know, you’ve been there and done that. And we’re going to have to have you back for another episode to talk more, ‘cause, you know, you’ve been at CLX alone for 21 years, right? And we’re breaking our two-decade rule, Mike. I don’t know if you know this. I know Crystal does. We never say more than two decades, right? But we’re breaking that here a little bit. But you’ve been doing this for a long time at CLX alone, and of course that doesn’t account for all other things you’ve done in industry. But when it comes to new stuff, new developments with transportation solutions that you’re finding shippers are really excited about and interested in, what comes to mind, Mike?
Mike Skinner (36:27):
Well, of course, the number one new development is visibility, you know. And that’s got a lot of traction and has evolved pretty effectively. But there are still a lot of gaps in unknowns when it comes to visibility, right? So you’ve got companies like project44 and Fourkites and Shipyo and others E2open working with their partner Shipyo for visibility. The capabilities there are fantastic, right? You know, when all of that comes together and all of the bits and pieces and stray yarns are woven together for visibility, yeah, we can get absolute down to the minute track and trace of all the stuff we’re shipping, right? But it’s not easy. And so, yeah, I think in terms of, you know, what’s new and kind of lessons learned, visibility and tracking is better than it’s ever been, but be ready for the journey. You know, it takes work and effort. You still do have to get your TMS talking to the tracking providers and your tracking providers talking to the carriers and the carriers communicating back, right? So all of those aspects need to come together. When it happens, it’s a beautiful thing, but it does take some time and effort and sweat equity.
Scott Luton (37:54):
Unless, Mike and Crystal, unless, for the few folks out there that have magic wands, Crystal. I think they’re in short supply, have been forever. Crystal, speak to that. Yeah, I love that. You know, Mike, we’re big fans. I am cheesy. It is. I know of nicknames here, and you’ve earned – you’re Mr. Keep It Real, right? Because there is a lot of authenticity and just keeping it real in the perspective you’re sharing. Crystal, get ready for the journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not easy. There’s going to be some tough days, but working together, we can do it. Crystal, your thoughts.
Crystal Davis (38:35):
Yeah. You know, I love this. I get excited about this kind of stuff and all of the possibilities when you have more information, what you can do on the other side to continuously improve, to optimize routes, to speed up deliveries, et cetera. But I’m curious, I’m curious also about, with all of the pressures of the last few years, how resilient people are to actually get ready for this journey. That’s one of the things that I’m very curious about.
Scott Luton (39:07):
Any thoughts there, Mike?
Mike Skinner (39:08):
Yeah. Yeah. I was at a conference in Barcelona a couple weeks ago, logistics conference with E2open. And that was – one of the greatest highlights and threads throughout the conference was, you know, what are we doing to make our supply chains more resilient? And, you know, it sparked a lot of conversation internally, and we’ve been having these conversations before, but it really is starting to come, you know, more front and center. And that is, you know, as we are designing, you know, future state business processes and integrating between ERP and TMS and the carriers, and building out, you know, ocean routes with multiple legs and integrations with freight forwarders, and, you know, all of those kind of connection points, you know, what are we doing and what can we do to help, you know, help our customers and shippers be more resilient and be able to react to, you know, things like rolled bookings and I can’t get space on a container and/or all of a sudden there’s all kinds of space available, and am I taking advantage of lower rates in the market, and am I being flexible in that sense?
Mike Skinner (40:27):
And so, we certainly don’t have all the answers on that, but that is absolutely starting to make its way in a lot more of our conversations with regard to, you know, solution design, testing and getting live.
Scott Luton (40:41):
Yep. Mike, Crystal, excellent, excellent remark and question. And, Mike, I really appreciate you sharing that. But I’ll tell y’all, you know, this is, if folks want some of the magic formula for finding more supply chain resilience, here’s a piece of it, big piece of the puzzle. Put your people in position. Empower them to be successful. Give them the tools they need, the support they need, the decision-making ability they need to make better decisions faster and feel like part of the team. So that can mean a lot of different things, a lot of different leaders listening. But time and time again, I see the truths of that simple universal element of business leadership raising its head day in and day out. So, you know, the other thing, the other corollary perhaps of that, Mike and Crystal, is don’t do it to your people, do it with your people, right Crystal?
Crystal Davis (41:37):
Scott Luton (41:38):
Mike Skinner (41:40):
Scott, it’s a really interesting point. It’s one of the things that we’ve really seen over the years of doing these projects with customers. And that is the most successful implementations, the most boring go-lives, you know, happen when we have an internal champion who has been empowered to get this job done and really kind of owns and takes ownership and is excited by making this solution work for their company. You know, we can do all we can to come in and push the buttons and drive the bus and all that. But, you know, we’re never successful more so than when the customer has that empowered internal champion who really is taking ownership of the project.
Scott Luton (42:29):
I love that. And, Crystal, did you hear the exciting word that Mike used there? Folks, don’t sleep on boring. It is good to be boring in global supply chain. Crystal, am I right?
Crystal Davis (42:39):
You are absolutely right. And again, I guarantee we’ve had enough excitement over the last few years in supply chain. We could use some boredom.
Scott Luton (42:47):
I am with you. I am with you. I’ll tell you what. And, you know, on the flip side of that, it is an exciting time to be in global supply chain industry. You know, I think, hopefully, hopefully Mike and Crystal, we’ve learned a lot of tough lessons, but hopefully we’re putting them into action and we’re not forgetting them. And we’re going to have really long memories so that when we think – folks, we’re not going back to normal, you know, things, and disruption’s not over. Supply chain management is disruption, managing disruption. You got more curve balls, I promise you, coming around the next turn. So, Mike, before I shift gears, I want to talk about something I saw that you wrote prior to today’s interview. I want to ask you about that. But before I shift gears to that, as we start coming down the home stretch, anything else you want to touch on in terms of the cool things y’all doing at CLX Logistics and CLX Technologies, or if you want to touch on what Crystal just shared there. You know, we had plenty of excitement. We’d love for some more boredom in global supply chain. Any final words there before we switch gears, Mike?
Mike Skinner (43:52):
Yeah, just the last one. I think we didn’t really touch on all that much is, you know, TMS is a tool and an engine. Getting it to work most effectively for your company is, it really depends on your ability to understand view and analyze what’s coming out of it. And, you know, again, our most successful customers have somebody who really is paying attention to trend lines and KPIs and has really got their fingers and their eyeballs in the results and using, you know, sort of the outputs through dashboards and metrics to understand outliers, to understand opportunities for improvement and really to drive it. So, one of the things that we’ve spent a lot of time on is developing dashboards that really give that customer that cup of coffee experience of stepping in, opening up the laptop and seeing what’s going on, you know, today, yesterday, and last week in order to start pulling the right levers to drive improvement.
Scott Luton (45:03):
Well said. I’m so glad you mentioned that ‘cause it really – Crystal, that remind – Mike’s final thought there reminds me of, I think it was a second, second best practice for making better TMS selection. So I’m going to add to his answer there – know thyself and thy TMS in a very holistic fashion. Crystal, would you agree?
Crystal Davis (45:24):
I agree wholeheartedly, and I love that you highlighted the ability to see the abnormal conditions that need the attention of the leaders.
Scott Luton (45:35):
Excellent call out, Crystal, as always. Man, I really wish we had a couple more hours together, Mike. I really appreciate your perspective, you and Crystal. Man, I feel like I’m in the middle of a quite a powerful dynamic duo here. Mike, so this is what I captured. Our team does our homework for each of these interviews. And we came across something you shared, I think, on social somewhere. I’m going to quote you here, quote, “In my professional life, I find no greater pleasure than in receiving notes and comments from customers praising individuals on my team for their expertise, contributions, and collaboration,” end quote. I love that. I love the picture it paints. I love how that speaks to who you are as a business leader. And, Crystal, as we were talking, pre-show recognition has also unfortunately been in short supply. We don’t do it enough. But, Mike, give us an example, a recent example of what you’re speaking to there.
Mike Skinner (46:32):
It’d be hard for me to give you one. It happens routinely. I think I mentioned before that, you know, I’ve been really fortunate to have a team that’s been together for a very long time. I did the math the other day and we’ve got a relatively small team. I think we’ve had 10 kids born on the team over the last 15 years plus or minus, so, you know, it really does feel like a family. And the reason they stick around is, you know, that we have an environment and they create it as much as anybody. You know, this team really just works extremely well together, and it is just focused on getting the job done and making sure the customer is getting what they need out of our solutions and services.
Mike Skinner (47:20):
So, we do routinely get, you know, comments about our support desk, about our implementation team, about our carrier onboarding specialists. You know, we’ve had recent go-lives in Europe and we’ve got one coming up in APEC, and just really strong kudos from customers about, you know, the dedication of the team to, you know, get them over the goal line. So, it’s always extremely gratifying. And, you know, I defer an awful lot of decisions to the team up and down the roster there. And it pays dividends. So, it’s been a really gratifying experience.
Scott Luton (48:01):
I believe it. And we all stand on the shoulders of giants, for sure. Crystal, I want to get your take here. But before I do, I want to share, you know, he referenced the goal line, the finish line a couple times in his response there. Now, I got to tell you, we lost a titan of a leader, Sandra McQuillan, in the last few weeks. And she taught me a very important lesson ‘cause I was bad about using this phrase for years, it’s baked into my bones, I think, that there are no finish lines, especially when it comes to continuous improvement. And while there’s a version of that, there is a lot of truth, she told me once, as I was sitting across from her, and she said, “Oh, but there are finish lines. It’s just when you cross it, the next race begins,” or something to that effect, right? And, Crystal, when we talk about recognition and we talk about the demands that the market and industry have from us as practitioners, from our teams, our organizations, we can’t let that take us away from what Mike’s talking about, which is celebrating the wins and recognize the team for what they do day in and day out. Your thoughts, Crystal?
Crystal Davis (49:05):
Yeah. No, I really love that your team seems to be very customer-centric. And so, they see themselves, I’m ad-libbing here, but it seems that they see themselves as part of the customer’s success. So the finish line is not just about getting the project to a finish line but getting that customer to the level that they need. And so, they consider that, and I absolutely love that, and I love that they have a leader in you, Mike, that understands the power of teamwork and the power of recognition, particularly again because we have gone through so much over the last few years, you know, a simple thank you or a great job or thank you for hanging in there, those things go such a long way in our space.
Scott Luton (49:55):
Crystal, absolutely. We got to say it louder for the folks in the back. What a great way to kind of wrap today’s conversation with Mike Skinner with CLX Logistics and CLX Technologies. Mike, before we make sure folks know how to connect with you and your world class team over there, any final thought on collaboration on, you know, commitment to the, you know, customers, goals, objectives, the journey? Anything, any final comments before we make sure folks know how to reach out to you?
Mike Skinner (50:29):
No. I’d say keep an open mind. Don’t expect you have got all the answers. Keep looking for opportunities to get over those finished lines and start the next race.
Scott Luton (50:44):
Love that, Mike. And, hey, global supply chain, Crystal and Mike, it’s not for the faint of heart. That’s why you got to work with the folks that can make it happen, especially in these tougher, more demanding industries like we’ve talked about here today in the chemical space. So, Mike, really, congrats on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, and Crystal and I congrats on all of y’all’s successes and your wins and your growth. If folks want to connect with you and talk shop, or maybe, who knows, have a Manhattan with Mike Skinner, how can folks connect with you and CLX, Mike?
Mike Skinner (51:19):
Yeah, best way is through our website, which is clxlogistics.com, or reach out to me directly. I’m email@example.com. So, I’d be happy to hear from you.
Scott Luton (51:32):
It is just that easy. Big thanks to Mike Skinner, Vice President of CLX Technologies, which is part of the CLX Logistics family. Thank you, Mike.
Mike Skinner (51:42):
Thank you, Scott. Thanks, Crystal. Really, really, it was a pleasure talking to you.
Scott Luton (51:45):
Absolutely. Crystal, man, I loved this last hour or so. I really did enjoy it. And I loved one of your final comments here, Crystal, because as someone told me once, it’s millions of small nudges is how we move mountains. And when I think about what you just shared there about the power of thank you, the power of job well done, the high five, the pat on the back, whatever you do, that’s what makes up those millions of nudges, right? So, Crystal, your favorite thing beyond what you were sharing today and some of that brilliance, Mike Skinner dropped. Can I say a truckload? That’s a bit of a pun, but no pun intended. Crystal, one of your favorite things you heard here from Mike Skinner with CLX today.
Crystal Davis (52:34):
You know, I struggled with that as I was thinking about it. At first, it was humility, but I think I’ve addressed that in my final comment. I think my second favorite was either planned or unplanned how CLX has really expanded their value proposition to become a center of excellence, to partner with a great company on a technology solution to be able to increase their value to shippers, to customers, and also with data, like to be data-driven and customer-centric. So, I think that part for me was also my second favorite, just an increase in value proposition.
Scott Luton (53:14):
I’m with you. I am with you. That is a great comment. What a great conversation we’ve had here that really, you know, as much apropos it was about transportation and chemical logistics, some of the bigger, broader, universal truths that we tackled over the last hour. That was probably some of my favorite parts of the conversation. So, big thanks again, Mike Skinner with CLX Technologies, which is again part of CLX Logistics family. Big thanks to Crystal Davis. Crystal, had a pleasure working with you here today. I can’t wait for the next one.
Crystal Davis (53:50):
Absolutely, Scott. It’s always a pleasure to co-host with you.
Scott Luton (53:54):
And to our listeners out there, hopefully you enjoyed this conversation as much as Crystal and I did. I’ll tell you Mike brought it here today. But, hey, whatever you do, take something that, especially Mike or especially Crystal dropped here today and put it into action. It’s about deeds, not words, right? And especially as you heard some of the synergy here today, how can we make life easier for our team out there? But whatever you do, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Mike Skinner is responsible for strategic development, marketing, and deployment of CLX Logistics technology-based solutions and services. Mr. Skinner leverages his experience in supply-chain consulting, information systems, and operations management to help shippers design and deploy world-class technology solutions in their efforts to reduce costs and improve service. Prior to joining CLX Logistics, Mr. Skinner served as Senior Manager with Ernst & Young’s Supply Chain consulting practice in Philadelphia, where he led business process improvement and technology deployment projects for various companies including Ford Motor Company, Sony Electronics and Crown Cork & Seal. He gained hands-on operational experience as Operations Manager of a large third-party distribution operation, overseeing warehousing and transportation operations for companies in the medical devices, automotive, and grocery industries. Mr. Skinner received his Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Pennsylvania and Master’s in Business Logistics from Penn State University. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.
Crystal Y Davis, is the CEO and Founder of The Lean Coach, Inc. (TLC). TLC helps their clients to disrupt in lean and in leadership. Our clients call on us to help them transform their organizations while developing leaders, to support rapid growth with lean flow design and to align the business and continuous improvement strategy to drive productivity and cost savings. Crystal is an experienced business process improvement consultant and leadership development coach with over twenty years of experience in the design, development, and implementation of Lean Business System solutions. Crystal has spoken at Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence conferences around the world. She has accumulated extensive domestic and international expertise in the design and implementation of lean solutions for the automotive, life sciences, consumer packaged goods, and property preservation industries. Crystal has assisted clients in formulating comprehensive business, operations, manufacturing and supply chain strategies to reduce costs, improve customer service, develop leaders at every level, and increase profitability. Throughout Crystal’s career, she was fortunate to certify as a Black Belt and leadership development trainer and coach; to be mentored by two Toyota sensei in the Toyota Production System; and lead teams to receive awards and recognition from industry organizations for excellence in lean transformations. Crystal was also recognized as Lean Supplier Development Engineer of the Year during her tenure at Delphi. As a teacher, consultant, coach and speaker, Crystal uses practical techniques, innovative methods, and Socratic teaching to engage, captivate, and add value to those she encounters. Crystal holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. Connect with Crystal on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystalydavis/
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.