Supply Chain is Boring
Episode 12

Episode Summary

“So many people in supply chain need to recognize is that it all starts with the consumer. There is no need for a supply chain without the consumer, we grow our own vegetables and we eat them. We only need a supply chain when the neighbor next door says, Hey, can I have one of your tomatoes? If you think back to caveman days, that’s how the supply chain started. Somebody wanted something that someone had an excess, or that was exceptionally good that they wanted to get from them until that point we were self-sustaining.”

-Greg White, Principal & Host, Supply Chain Now

 

 

You know him as the witty and thought-provoking host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise. But did you know Mr. White is a proven executive-level leader? Listen to Part 1 of this interview to learn how he became an industry driver.

Episode Transcript

Chris Barnes (00:06):

Hey, it’s Chris. The supply chain doctor and host of supply chain is boring. Bringing insight into the history of supply chain management and exposing you to some of the industry’s thought leaders and driving forces. Several weeks ago, I interviewed Greg Cronin about his illustrious career that was followed by an interview with Greg Owens Owens was a key factor in the creation of the Anderson consulting. Now Accenture supply chain practice and former CEO of Manugistics. In this episode, we sat down with industry veteran, Greg white, to learn about his career successes, his current activities in supply chain management and complete the supply chain, Greg trifecta. It all sounds pretty boring. So let’s see if Greg can prove me wrong, Greg. Thanks again for investing time with me to hear about your career and learn about your perspective on supply chain management.

Greg White (00:56):

Well, Hey, it’s great to be here. Of course, I’m a huge fan of supply chain is boring and I disagree. I think everyone has disproven that the notion that supply chain is boring if only it were right, Chris. Yeah.

Chris Barnes (01:11):

I’m on the losing side of this debate. I think most of the people tend to do a good job, but yeah, Greg, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you as a colleague and listening to your tequila sunrise podcast, as well as your general interviews on supply chain. Now I understand from those lessons that you have an extensive career in supply chain management leadership, and I really want to step back and better understand your history and perspective on the future of supply chain management. So I know your father was in retail. I think you’ve got a strong background in retail, so we can either start at Wichita state or somewhere earlier. Where would you prefer?

Greg White (01:45):

Well, maybe we should start a little bit earlier. So, um, my father was a college professor until he was about 29, I think. And then he went to work for Kmart as an MIT manager in training and quickly moved up the ranks. So what was he teaching at university speech and debate? So he was a debate coach. Um, he was a debater in college at Kansas state teacher’s college now in Poria state. And then, uh, he, he taught high school in college. He taught at what is now Missouri state in Springfield, Missouri, then Southwest, Missouri state. And they had a very good team, you know, as a kid, we didn’t have a whole lot of money, so we only had one car, so my mom would get off her job and we’d go to the campus and pick up, uh, my dad. So I got to go into class his classes a number of times and sit there and just wait until he wrapped up class and got to know some of the students in his class was kind of an interesting, they kind of, uh, adopted me as a mascot in a, uh, but, but in Springfield, if you think about Springfield now, it’s kind of interesting.

Greg White (03:05):

Uh, now bass pro shops, which is one of the biggest retailers in America, maybe the world, they started out as a round rack of fishing rods in the Brown chain of Brown Derby liquor stores, because Johnny, the fellow who started bass pro shops, his dad owned this chain of liquor stores and it started out as a around rack and then a wall and then multiple counters. And then finally his dad said, Hey, I got to have room for booze. You’re going to have to open an actual store, but how brilliant, right? First of all, to sell fishing equipment in a liquor store and then to turn it into what it was. So my mother worked at Zenith televisions, which most people probably don’t even know she was in charge of personnel at Zenith, the Xen at the plant there, which is now the home of the bass pro shops corporate office about a, I don’t know, about a 500,000 square foot, former manufacturing facility that they’ve put their largest store and corporate office in interesting transition there.

Greg White (04:06):

And then my father went on to, uh, go to work for Kmart. And he quickly went through assistant manager manager to district manager, to regional manager, and then into corporate management at Kmart. Now you have to think about it this time. Uh, he was 29. So I would have been about seven, six, seven years old Kmart mattered back then. I mean, they were, this was pre Walmart to give you an idea. I mean, this was before Walmart really was of any size whatsoever. And I don’t even know where target was. They were probably still a regional chain. So Kmart really mattered. They were one of the biggest, maybe the biggest discount retailer in the country at the time my parents got divorced. So I would spend summers with my dad and, and of course he was traveling all over the place to his stores. So I spent a lot of time tagging along with him to stores.

Greg White (05:01):

And I had so many of those kind of pivotal moments where I didn’t recognize it at the time. You don’t recognize it when you’re eight, nine, 10 years old, but you see what it takes to manage. In fact, probably one of the most prominent memories I have was we were in a store in McPherson, Kansas. At the time my father was vice president of store operations. He was over all of the regional managers for Kmart and we walked into a store and he just couldn’t help himself. And by the way, I still can’t help myself. When I walk in any retail store, we walk through the store and the, or the organization was kind of divided up. They had bought a company that did sporting goods and automotive, and those had been leased departments in the store, which was a thing at the time that happened often with shoes and appliances and other products, specialty products.

Greg White (05:55):

So we were in the sporting goods department and, you know, he’s checking the racks to make sure they’ve got everything and facing the counters, walking down, just imagine a corporate vice president walking down the aisles facing. And we’re in the closing clothing racks. And he’s watching this fellow, who’s running the department all by himself and assistant manager and MIT, like he had been talking to his buddy and we just stood there tending to be shoppers for 45 minutes. And finally, my father said, he just couldn’t take it anymore. He just walked up to the young man and said, um, you, but, uh, you’re gonna have to excuse us. I need to talk to this guy. And he didn’t say, do you know who I am? My dad’s first of all, he was six foot five at the time. He’s a giant of a man and he’s got a very distinctive look.

Greg White (06:44):

So it was as if this young man, Tom hadn’t seen him the whole time we were there. But as soon as he looked him in the eyes, he knew exactly who he was. And my father just completely dressed him down on the spot. And he said, you know, if I ever see you performing in one of my stores like this, I will personally fire you. Here’s the interesting upshot to that story. I was a terrible employee. So I got my job in retail, the old fashioned way. My dad got it for me. I had worked at a couple of Kmart stores and I started my career in supply chain, shuttling oil from the freestanding automotive repair portion of the store out in the parking lot, across the parking lot in Wichita, Kansas to the inside part of the store on a four wheel cart and 107 degrees on a Kansas day.

Greg White (07:37):

And I just did that every day. That was the first task that I did when I got to work. But I’m at this store doing that. And we get a new MIT management trainee trainee. And it’s this Tom kid from the experience and MacPherson. And I remember him. I can’t recall if he remembered me, but I remember saying to him, I remember you. And he went, Oh my gosh, you’re the little kid that was with mr. White. I said, yeah, that’s my father. And he said, I want you to know your father changed my life. That was a moment that I needed. And I have to tell you, I worked with a lot of management trainees as, and I was an underling to them. I worked with a lot of management training. He was the best one that young man was the best one that I ever worked with.

Greg White (08:30):

You know, he learned, I was not as impressed with my father’s impact on that as I was with his acceptance of that, and that he actually took positive steps because of that. Cause he could have gone a lot of directions there. Um, and he turned out to be a great management trainee and then sporting goods, department manager, you know, I went on to school, so I don’t know where he went from that and we kind of lost touch, but I know whatever he did, he was successful at it. He was just completely transformed. So anyway, that was one of my experiences that was impactful.

Chris Barnes (09:04):

One of my first jobs in high school was in a retail store. Now I realized that was my supply chain training as well. I was basically, I was stocking shelves, but when there was nothing to stock, you had to go and unload trucks. And so we took the inventory off the trucks just to get it into the warehouse and then you know, the back room and then put it out on the shelf.

Greg White (09:21):

Yeah, if you can call it. When I got promoted, uh, at the store, my job was replenishing the fishing aisle, which is the absolute torture in a retail store. You know, everything is an inch by an inch, big it’s jigs and bugs and whatever else hooks and that sort of thing, absolute torture. And I walked around with, uh, you know, a paper sheet and counted the stuff and then decided personally decided how much was going to be bought. I even bought an item one time because it was in our, it was in our inventory book. It was a, a Coleman cooler. That was a, I think it was 188 courts. And the caption, the title of it said shark proof. And I said, okay, I just got to see this. So I ordered it and nobody questioned it. I just ordered it into our store.

Greg White (10:15):

And I learned the story from one of my father’s merchandise managers that the reason it was called shark proof was at guy’s boat sunk. And he climbed in the cooler and a shark bit it and didn’t bite through it. So jokingly the Coleman company also based in Wichita, Kansas, by the way, at the time they called it shark proof and it was 188 quart cooler back then, that was enormous. You know, you didn’t have these big fishing coolers back then. It had handles on the ends, not only two handles on the ends, but it had two handles on each side as well. And it full of ice and adult beverages. It took easily four people to carry it because we wound up buying that when I went to college, cause it was still there. I was doing, I was, I bought it when I was in high school.

Greg White (11:04):

It was still there, but it didn’t sell it. Didn’t say it did not say it was, it was expensive, but we wound up Mark. They may end up marking it down. And finally the store manager calls me and says, you got to come buy this thing, which was easy because we were going to Padre Island for spring break and we just pooled our money. When we plopped that thing down on the beach, we opened it up and the guys next to us were low, like the mother load. So I mean, there are a lot of lessons you can learn from retail. There really are. And you know, one is that presentation is as important as availability as a wise man, probably my father. It’s hard to tell why there were some so much knowledge imparted from him and his colleagues that one of them said, look, if you look like you’re out of business in retail, you are out of business.

Greg White (11:55):

This whole notion of presentation stock, or as, as a good, a good friend and colleague at a tech company, I worked with Frank van black. He called it inventory for viewing pleasure only. That’s a big part of retail. You have to look like you have the goods, right? You never want to have empty space on the shelf. And I think we’ve really, what’s interesting is right now we have experienced the strain that, that puts on both retailers and consumers. When the shelf is empty, people do wonder if you’re going out of business, right? Or if that product is no longer available,

Chris Barnes (12:31):

One of the things that my manager would always say at that retail job was at the end of the night, they had nothing to do face to face the shelves. And he said, he said, he said, we’re not selling shelf space. That’s right. He said, even if he got one item, you bring it, you bring it to the front. That was this

Greg White (12:46):

So interesting. It was, it drives my wife crazy when I go into a retail store, because if there is product on the shelf and it’s not faced, I will face it. Also like last night I was looking for a particular product in a Kroger store and they had it cross faced, which cross faced is a technical term for, they took product for space a and put it in space, the product space B. And what I realized was they had to make the shelf look full. They had moved it to the other space. Well, in retail, especially in grocery. So often the counting or the ordering, especially in retail is often manual, which is a big part by the way of the problems they’re having from COVID. But so they, they like to make the shelf look full, but if they do that, if they move, you know, the tide, the tide pods from the tide pod space to the regular liquid tides space, then the liquid tide space or the liquid tide doesn’t get ordered because nobody realizes that it’s out of stock. So I’m even watching for that. When I go in and read, I can’t help myself.

Chris Barnes (13:52):

You’re a store manager’s dream,

Greg White (13:54):

Man. Um, I have had store managers walk up to me and go, why are you doing that? So

Chris Barnes (14:00):

It’s interesting on that presentation stock, you know, that was a business model and it may still be relevant. You remember when e-commerce was taking off and best buy, I think they were transforming their stores into showcases, right. Where you could go in and

Greg White (14:14):

We’re transforming them into showcase.

Chris Barnes (14:16):

Yeah, they were, they were catching on and that where you could actually go in and touch and view and see the product and then actually go order it online. I think that was, that’s probably still relevant today in a different form. Now it’s probably just common everyday commerce.

Greg White (14:30):

I think presentation stock is a bit of a blessing for e-commerce frankly, because it’s stock that is literally planned to never sell. It’s not always the same stuff, just sitting there collecting dust, but the entire purpose of it is for it to make the shelves look full, even when you’re out of stock. If you think about it, let’s say you’ve got two, you’ve got two facings, you’ve got two spaces for a particular product. You want to sitting there at all times. Some people would call that safety stock, but in truth, it’s even greater than that. It’s meant to be there even if a spike occurs. So you buy, let’s say you can order it a week, every single week, you order a week’s worth. And you put it behind these two that are there just for viewing pleasure to quote the great Frank van black.

Greg White (15:20):

And those two should always be there. And now it’s funny because I was having this discussion with demos, Dennis pedis, from Panama. And he was talking about the concerns that retailers have about being able to fulfill e-commerce and in store demand. And, uh, and I won’t go into the detailed reason why they should be able to do that, suffice it to say, there, there is a way to do it. But the pres, what we came to in that discussion was the presentation stock should act as a buffer that allows them to support even exceptional demand. If there, even if it’s unplanned demand from e-commerce, the bigger issue is there shouldn’t be unplanned demand from e-commerce. Right. But, um, but if there is that presentation, stock helps in a large way.

Chris Barnes (16:15):

I skipped over the, a Wichita state stuff. So let’s, let’s go back a little bit. Yeah. I can hear in your voice, right. You’re a retail expert. Um, and it’s, I think it started with your father.

Greg White (16:26):

It undoubtedly you talk, we talked about it at the dinner table. I mean, yeah.

Chris Barnes (16:29):

So I’m a fun person to travel with when, you know, when I’m on the airplane, I’m always asking, I’m always telling people, what do you do then? What do you do? And I’m well, I’m in supply chain. What supply chain we’ll have? Have you ever bought anything? That’s my question. And their answer is yes. Then I say, you are the reason for the supply chain. It’s consumerism, it’s consumer driven. So I think retail both you and I having that retail background.

Greg White (16:50):

Well, you know, more people should recognize that Chris, that is an incredible insight. First of all, that’s maybe the best way I’ve ever heard somebody describe supply chain to a layman, right? But also that is a critical understanding that so many people in supply chain need to recognize is that it all starts with the consumer. There is no need for a supply chain without the consumer, we grow our own vegetables and we eat them. We only need a supply chain when the neighbor next door says, Hey, can I have one of your tomatoes? If you think back to caveman days, that’s how the supply chain started. Somebody wanted something that someone had an excess, or that was exceptionally good that they wanted to get from them until that point we were self-sustaining.

Chris Barnes (17:35):

I think retail is, it’s obviously a key part of most supply chains. Most all the retailers have a supply chain and they’re always trying to tweak it. Um, but let’s talk about university. I am a huge fan of Wichita state. I can hear it in your, all your interviews, any show that you’re on any live stream. So you, you attended which it’s all state shockers, and what’s a shocker by the way,

Greg White (17:56):

Wheat, before you used a combine to cut it down, people actually hand cut it with a side, um, which you may have seen is just a big sweeping hook with a blade on it that you cut it. And then they bound it into stacks so that it could be stacked onto trailers or strong trailers. And that is called a shock of wheat. So we shock our mascot is the world’s toughest shock of wheat. So the people who did that were called shockers, they shocked the wheat into these big shocks.

Chris Barnes (18:29):

So a little research on my end, I, I think in the early 19 hundreds, a lot of the football players were actual shockers and the tit manager said, Hey, that’s where the idea came from. I don’t know if it’s missing or not. Yeah.

Greg White (18:44):

I think that’s pretty accurate. And in fact, Wichita state was one of the first schools to have a mascot, to have a mascot. And they were the very first two

Chris Barnes (18:55):

Register a trademark,

Greg White (18:58):

At least that’s the story I was told, which Wichita strangely is a very entrepreneurial city. You know, I mean, there were a ton of companies started their pizza hut, white castle, which is still the best tiny burger you will ever. In my opinion, rent a center, residents ends Coleman company, Koch industries, of course, lots of oil and gas because there’s a ton of oil and gas in Oklahoma and South can’t Southern Kansas. So there’s just an incredible entrepreneurial spirit there. But I have to tell you, I didn’t go to Wichita state by choice. I went kind of, because I was a scared little kid. So my parents had divorced. My dad lived in Michigan, of course, working for Kmart. This was kind of on his way up. He was in at the time he had so many positions in the corporate office and some of them were to prepare him for things that I guess obviously they saw a ton of potential in him and he had it for sure.

Greg White (19:57):

I think he might’ve been corporate HR manager. Um, so I was looking at going to school at the university of Michigan or Michigan state, which I learned while I was up there is completely frowned upon. You gotta pick one or the other. Um, and while we were there, I also looked at Eastern Michigan and we, we just stopped by on the way back. Cause Ypsilanti is on the way back from Anarbor to where we lived in Canton township on the kind of South West side of Detroit. Um, we stopped by there and they offered me a scholarship on the spot. So I knew I was going to school in Michigan. I just didn’t know where. And then my father got transferred to California to become the Western regional manager. And they were grooming him to become the corporate vice president of store operations. So once everybody I knew was gone from Michigan, I was just, I just kind of fell back to Wichita state and, and, you know, I didn’t want to, honestly I didn’t and I, and I was kind of a fan because we had some great, great basketball teams.

Greg White (21:03):

Uh, but I’m glad that I did it. It was, it’s a great school for learning entrepreneurship. The community is really, really involved. I mean, they’re way more involved than they were then. And the truth is I was a terrible college student, absolutely atrocious college student. I was a much better fraternity member partier. Uh, I learned a lot about leadership and, and by the way, public service in, in our fraternity, it was very heavily focused on community service, but not without a substantial amount of partying like you would expect it. It was not at all what I expected by the way in the fraternity experience. But I really love Wichita state. I enjoyed going there. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship because a lot of those entrepreneurs, the Carney brothers, the original pizza hut hut, the original building is on Wichita state campus. We had access to all kinds of, of companies there and, and just the spirit of entrepreneurship, there was really strong plus it’s an engineering school.

Greg White (22:05):

So that was an interesting, that was an interesting experience for me because I don’t, I’m not that good at math and meeting people who were, was really encouraging for me. What was the fraternity? Phi Delta theta Phi Delta theta, a member of the Miami triad founded December 26th, 1848, Miami of Ohio. They were all founded around this time called the snowball rebellion. It was substantially snowed in the campus was and Sigma Chi, beta theta PI, and five Delta feta were all founded at the same time. They’re called the Miami triad. And interestingly, our fraternity was founded by six pastors. It was all about fellowship and brotherhood and uplifting and increasing education at the same time. The probably not as alcohol-induced as a lot of fraternities became, they were rowdies. I mean, the snowball rebellion was a protest. I can’t recall exactly against what at the school at the time, but it was essentially a protest.

Greg White (23:05):

So the history of challenging, the challenging, the administration runs deep in these fraternities hours worked really, really well with the campus. They were very tolerant and very supportive. And we particularly my pledge class, we were completely Hawks against hazing. This was an impactful story for me. So in our fraternity, one of the most hated, our most hated rival on campus was beta theta PI. They were the rich kids. They all were born on third and thought they hit a triple. And so there was a lot of animosity because we were kind of the poor white trash on, and we had two primary doors and a side door to the house. And the side door to the house was called the pledge door. So pledges, a little brothers of fraternity waiting to become members could only go in and out the side door. I don’t know why, but my pledge class always felt that was a significant front, but whenever you’re in any organization, and this is a life lesson, when you’re ever you’re in any organization, you often hear that’s the way we’ve always done it.

Greg White (24:14):

Or I had to go through it and everybody else will have to go through it. And we just refuse to accept that. I think Kelly Rich, who was the president of our pledge class. I think it was him who sort of enlightened us to all that, but we all went. Yeah, that makes sense. So when our, when our pledge class got initiated, one of the first things we did was proposed to eliminate the pledge door and there was a huge argument and the argument was exactly what you’d expect. That’s the way we’ve always done it. I had to go through it so they should have to go through it. But unanimously in our pledge class, we all said, we went through it too. And we don’t think anyone else should have to. And the argument that I think won the day was effing. Betas can go in and out our front door, but our little brothers can’t motion passed.

Greg White (25:08):

So, but that, you know, to me, that that was one of the leadership lessons that you learn in your soberist moments. As a, as a fraternity, we were really Hawks against hazing and hazing. I, you know, it’s funny because I hear about hazing incidents now. And I, I, I guess I just thought that we weren’t that enlightened. And yet we, I would say completely eliminated it and to see that it, you know, that it still occurs has always baffled me. I don’t know how that could, how that could happen. Well, you studied something at university political science. Yes. I studied political science. So, you know, I just found, finally found something. I had a passion for, again, as I said, I was a terrible student, but, uh, my father gave me great wisdom. Another story that is just way too long. I needed a lot of guidance, apparently because I have lots of stories about guidance, but I did finally land on political science, had an incredible passion for it.

Greg White (26:10):

I, I specialized in Soviet politics. So I studied the Soviet union and other communists and socialists countries and governments. And I understand the backstory at the time, the present, because when I went to college, it was still the cold war. And then what they saw as the future and that, and I graduated in 1989. So the Soviet union was winding down before the ultimate collapse. And I had a graduate assistant ship to go to the university of Washington to get a master’s degree in Soviet politics. And the eminent demise of the Soviet union was so apparent that the university of Washington canceled that program. When I graduated, I had to jump into the real world and, you know, never went on of course, to get the masters because the wall came down in November of that year. But it’s something that’s always stayed with me that education and that time, because there was a lot, there was a lot going on even before the Soviet union began to fall.

Chris Barnes (27:16):

It’s interesting. I I’m recalling back to a couple of interviews that you’ve had with on supply chain. Now, I think it was with the, uh, the ambassador of Mexico. That was a great show where you were T he is Javier. He spent a lot of time. Great, very humble person. Great, great interview. I encourage anybody to check it out that he had spent some time in North Carolina and you knew a lot about North Carolina. I’m going to say politics, but North Carolina culture and the city and the government.

Greg White (27:45):

I forgotten about that. I did a paper because Jesse Helms was the Senator there then. And at the time North Carolina was the most populous state in the union with a city that did not exceed 300,000 people. So it was a very rural, rural state at the time. Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. Font of uselessness,

Chris Barnes (28:09):

You know, I’ve got so many, so many other interviews to have with you now, based on everything you’ve said in the first 40 minutes. So, so you graduated, you went out, you got, as you said, you went into the real world. What, okay,

Greg White (28:20):

What’d you do? So my first job, uh, I worked in a clothing store because I couldn’t afford suits. And so I worked in the finest clothing store in Wichita, the store called Henry’s, which longstanding tradition, in fact, Koch arena, where the shockers play used to be called Henry Levitt arena arena, Henry Levitt started Henry’s because you got anywhere from a 40 to 80% discount on fond suits and you had to wear a suit to work back then. So I worked there for about eight months and built up my wardrobe with Armani and Andrew Fezza and Hart, Schaffner Marx. At the time, some of the best suits you could, who you go boss, some of the best suits you could wear. So here I am, 23 years old driving a Ford escort where in Armani suits to sell cell phones, which was my second job. So in that day, I worked for Southwestern bell, mobile systems.

Greg White (29:15):

You sold cell phones face to face. You walked into somebody’s office. And in my part of the world where people had used a phone of sorts farmer, even farmers had phones in their car, but they were basically a fancy two way radio, or they use two way radio. You went to companies and tried to convince them that this was better than two way radio for which every single minute of service was free, right? And a cell phone at the time costs 25 to 75 cents a minute. And there were no unlimited plans. There was also no data, by the way, it was just phone calls. So I had to sell, I had to sell people on this new technology, and it was fascinating, frustrating, and interesting and motivating. At the time, I found a way to get people excited about this new technology, which probably should have prepared me for the rise of Apple, which was esteem.

Greg White (30:15):

One of my best selling methodologies was to go to this one particular restaurant and bar where all the lawyers in town hung out, went to lunch and dinner. And I would sit at the bar with one of those big, giant brick phones. And, you know, in one of the, of the phones. And of course I had one mounted in my car, which you did back then. And I would sit there at the bar and just wait, you know, every once in a while I would have somebody from the office call me, or I would call somebody in or, or I would do my work there, you know, making appointments and things like that. And some lawyer or doctor, or, you know, a corporate leader would come up and go, what is that thing you’ve got there? I mean, people literally didn’t know. There were people who didn’t know.

Greg White (31:03):

I said, it’s a cellular phone. You didn’t call them mobile devices or mobile phones. Then it’s a cellular phone, so you can call people. Yeah, yeah. Right. And so I’m talking to this one guy and I get a call and I send it to voicemail, which also was unheard of the term voicemail was not really widely known outside of the carrier. You know, if you worked at a carrier and I just hit the end button, which automatically sent it to voicemail and he goes, what’d you do there? And I said, well, I sent it to my voice mail. And he said, you have an answering machine on your cell phone. How busy are you and sitting there and your heart shaped for a March suit. Right. I sold a lot. I mean, yeah, there were, it was, we tried to hide this from the management, but it was, it turned out to be relatively easy.

Greg White (31:53):

And we had to kind of regulate our growth of sales each month so that we exceeded quotas, but we didn’t just absolutely blow it away because they were literally changing the quota every month. It went from 12 to 15 to 25 to 40, but it would have gone to 40 a lot sooner if we had let them know how many phones we could be selling, it sounds like something I would see on an episode of better call Saul. It was not, not quite that huckster, but it was in a way. It really wasn’t a way. We had a guy that we worked with Ken LeBlanc and they called him lion Ken, because he was almost always exaggerating what the phone could do or what it meant for your business. But people loved him so much that they would buy from him. Nonetheless. They knew he was lying to them in certain cases. And they would still buy from him. And he is still one of the greatest sales persons that I’ve ever seen. Not doesn’t lie nearly as much anymore. We’ve all grown up a lot. Right. But I’m still one of the greatest sales persons I’ve ever seen.

Chris Barnes (32:54):

Well, it sounds like sales is in your DNA,

Greg White (32:57):

You would think, right. I really hated it. At first I felt a lot of strain. And uh, in the moment of doing it, it was really a struggle for me. But what I realized when I realized that it’s, you’re not really selling, if you’re actually solving a legitimate problem, that’s when I broke through. And again, another bit of wisdom, you know, I shared with my father to help him out later, he said, well, why don’t you go take this job? And I said, dad, look it. If you’re, if you’re going to be a great salesman, you really have to believe in what you’re selling. And I felt like I had imparted great wisdom on my father and my father, who at that time was vice president of merchandising lived in front of salespeople. He said, son, let me assure you a great salesperson can believe in anything because I’ve had a guy sell me, Porter paints as the best paint in the world for five years, changed jobs. And suddenly tell me that Sherwin Williams, who he used to compete against is now the best paint in the world. And you know what? That was something that I have, I have taken with me ever since is that

Chris Barnes (34:16):

Well, you’ve had a pretty stellar supply chain career as well. I mean, formal companies doing supply chain practices. So how did you transition into that space? So you were selling cell phones, suits and cell phones and how do we make it the transition?

Greg White (34:30):

Yeah. And a number, a number of jobs. I really started my first job when I first business, when I was about 23 and we sold that after 14 months. And it was enough to play golf six days a week for six months and work off the pain of, of how that had ended, even though, I mean, it was good money. It was not, it was, I guess, well, it wasn’t really life changing money.

Chris Barnes (34:54):

You started a company at the age of 23 and sold it.

Greg White (34:56):

Yeah. And then I went in, went back in the retail because I kind of fell back into what was really comfortable. And we were, we were using a forecasting and replenishment technology called the three. I worked for an auto parts chain in Arizona. We had, we had bought it, but we hadn’t really used it. And somebody said, you’re the most passionate member of the team about getting the stores in stock, figuring out how we use this thing. So I brought in the company, [inaudible] brought in some of their folks and they helped us get it going. And it started really making a difference. So our store managers and the employees weren’t how much to put on the shelf. The technology was actually doing that. What we realized was that [inaudible], wasn’t quite complete enough. It was built for distribution. It wasn’t quite complete enough for retail and the folks at [inaudible] recognize that also.

Greg White (35:51):

And they recruited me to help them develop and market and implement the product into retail so that, so they recruited me away from retail, which if you’ve been in retail long enough, isn’t that hard to do. So I moved to Atlanta and worked with them to help get the technology ready for retail, to handle things like presentation, stock, and allocations, and some of the uniquenesses of retail. And we made a really good go of it. Best buy was one of our customers Michaels, the limited Victoria’s secret, not a bad gig. And a lot of there, a lot of the limited companies became customers DFS, which is a, a duty free stores owned by LVMH staples, sports authority, who again, mattered at the time. They were big, the biggest sporting goods chain in the country and a number of other companies, not just retail, but also distribution.

Greg White (36:46):

And we made a good go of it. And then I had been there about five years and I started running the precursor to cloud. It was called ASP application service provider. And it was a cut down version of the full product on servers, in what we now call the cloud. But at the time shared servers that we managed that we did that for a while. And the company was at a stage that the founder was not really interested in growing that, in fact, that was a big issue, was he had reached a stage unbeknownst to many of us that he really needed to sell the company. So I saw that there was a future in that market for smaller companies. And I saw that there was a way to make the product affordable for them and saw at the same time that there was no chance that [inaudible] was going to drive down that path.

Greg White (37:43):

So I left and went to another company, serve logistics, and we thought about diversifying them in. They were in service parts. We thought about diversifying them into distribution retail that didn’t work out. So I basically was left with no choice, but to start my own thing. And I started consulting for [inaudible] customers started my business in April of 2001 with one client in New York city or long Island. And in fact, I just did an episode on tequila sunrise, where I talk a little bit about that story, about the whole nine 11 story. Yeah. That’s something anyone has to, you know, supply chain fan or not whatever you are. If you’re a person, I think that’s something that anybody should check out. Thank you. Yeah, it was, that was a very personal story. I think I may have told you before this, Chris, that I sat down with a plan for an episode to talk about how you get a job in supply chain tech on the day that I was recording it, I was so consumed by the impending nine 11 anniversary that I just couldn’t get it out.

Greg White (38:47):

I couldn’t get that out. So I flipped on the mic and I just spilled that story into the mic. But anyway, that was the start of what became blue Ridge, which is now, you know, supply chain, magic quadrant leader, Gartner magic quadrant leader in supply chain planning and forecasting. We went after small clients, we went after small companies. Our very first customer still love these folks is a company called CRP. That was about 70 years old. They were the original importer of continental tires and belts. And that sort of thing, a German family that had immigrated to the States started a company. I think their, their president and CEO would, would say we’ve we did great things for a company that was, I wouldn’t say flagging, but they were searching for direction as the market changed. And we were able to help them really manage their inventory so much better.

Greg White (39:45):

One of my favorite accomplishments when we help help the company at blue Ridge was being able to see the tangible result. This company left an old, very old warehouse, built a brand new, beautiful warehouse, all new systems inside and that sort of thing, because we were able to help them generate so much cashflow from reducing their inventory over time. It reduced over 50% while increasing their sales at double digit rates. In some cases as much as 19% a year, just by having the right stuff in stock. I feel like CRP was already a really good organization with a lot of self awareness. A lot of we need to improve in their mindset. This was just a leverage point. It was just a, you know, we put the right hammer in their hand and, and it helped them accomplish what they’d hoped to. They accomplished a ton of other things as well.

Greg White (40:40):

So, you know, we’re happy to have played any small part in that. And that, to me, one of the most satisfying things, and that’s why, especially at blue Ridge and especially for certain technologies, I never felt at all, ever that I was selling it. I always felt like I was delivering something that those companies needed. Uh, and we, you know, we bootstrapped that company. As I like to tell people, I had angel investors, my three little angels, I rated their college fund to fund that company and ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in, in credit card debt. Fortunately, we already had the credit card and, and second mortgages and things like that to get that company going, you know, uh, they got a pretty good return on their investment. I’m happy to have contributed anything. There that’s a company that is still, that is still competing with the big dogs.

Greg White (41:30):

I mean, we, in our first few years we took something like 23 accounts off of JDA, which was one of the biggest retail supply chain providers. You know, we battled and won against Oracle and SAP and other big players in the space. So it was, it was a fun run. We brought in investors. And then as I like to tell people, they brought in the adult supervision. That’s, you know, that’s kind of frankly, the company needed it. I wasn’t mature enough to grow it at its at its level of growth now. Uh, and that’s, you know, that’s something that I, I share with founders today is do what I do, do what I did, but don’t do this that I did right there. I mean, there’s a lot of learning in doing things, right. If you are, if you analyze it. And there’s a lot of learning, there’s a lot more learning in doing things wrong and learning from that.

Greg White (42:27):

That’s one of the things I do today, as you know, is advise founders to avoid missteps, to accelerate their, their success blue Ridge, where the name blue, rich, any significance there. So we, uh, yeah, so we were looking for a name, the name of the company before was really long and clunky because it was intrinsic value chain solutions, value chain was a big term back in the early mid two thousands, right. It was way too long and you know, people didn’t get it. And I had brought some other folks in and wanted to make sure they felt a part of the company. So we really just rebranded. The big thing was colors and wave and marks, you know, uh, directional marks or, uh, geographic marks and that sort of thing. So we had sold our first deal with the whole new group of team in place.

Greg White (43:25):

And we were on the flight back kind of speculating, figuring out what it should be. And we tried outer banks and, you know, we thought of places we’d like to be outer banks and et cetera, et cetera. And of course we’re flying back into Atlanta. So of course there was a delay and of course we had to circle and we had tested so many names that we just thought weren’t quite there. And the pilot came over and said, we’re going to be circling for the next few minutes over the beautiful blue Ridge mountains. And we just both went that’s it. So I thought you were going to tell me you had a cabin at the blue Ridge mountains still don’t, you know, I am terrible at vacationing two things. I’m really terrible at it. I don’t, I’m not, I’m terrible at celebrating and I’m terrible at vacation.

Greg White (44:12):

Well, you have a lot to celebrate. It sounds like, are you still involved with the organization? I am among the board of directors and I still own, um, uh, I’m still not majority, but a major shareholder. So yeah. And company’s doing well. We we’ve installed new management. We’re doing pretty well. And Bob more than pretty well. And I think particularly notable is during this year, um, sales have been pretty significant. We’ve landed a number of companies. If companies of interest have recognized anything in to in 2020, it is that the way you plan and respond and produce resilience in your supply chain is absolutely critical. And it’s impossible to keep up with manual processes and paper and spreadsheets. So more and more companies are coming our direction. And that’s what blue Ridge does is it helps you. It helps you assure that you can make all the sales to satisfy your customer experience without breaking the bank. In terms of excess inventory,

Speaker 3 (45:19):

Can I ask a company needs help with X, they should contact blue Ridge.

Greg White (45:24):

You know, I like to think of it this way. Cause you know, I asked this question often when we’re on supply chain now, what is your company super power, right? If I am walking down the hallway with a weight on my shoulders, head or heart, what is that feeling that makes me know that I should call you and, and for blue Ridge, it is, if you feel like you are not satisfying your customers, if you have, if you’re out of stock on the things you need and you have excess stock on the things that you don’t, if your processes create kind of a pendulum effect, a swing of too much inventory to too little inventory and too many out of stocks at its simplest, that’s what that solution does it make sure you have everything that you need to satisfy your customer’s requirements without a single penny of excess inventory.

Greg White (46:14):

Now there’s a whole lot of math that goes into that, but in the simplest terms, that’s what it does. And it considers all of the constraints that you live in, like in retail. And I don’t, I don’t know that people think about this because the perspective on supply chain is so manufacturing oriented. So often in retail, if you need three bottles of milk, you don’t buy three bottles of milk. You buy a pallet of milk. So the system can actually optimize to say, let’s wait until we need say two thirds of a pallet of milk and have it arrive, not just in time because we also calculate safety stock, but have it arrived so that there is as little excess as possible when that inventory hits.

Speaker 3 (46:59):

This concludes part one of the interview with Greg white part two of the interview is coming soon. Supply chain is boring as part of the supply chain. Now network, we highlight historical events, companies and people in supply chain management and create a picture of where the industry is headed. Interested in learning more about supply chain, technology, startups, mergers, acquisitions, and how companies evolve. Take a listen to tequila, sunrise crafted by Greg white or check out this weekend. Business history with supply chain now is own Scott Luton to learn more about everyday things you may take for granted and pick up short stories you can use as general conversation starters. The logistics with the purpose series puts a spotlight on neat and interesting organizations who are working toward a greater cause. If you’re interested in logistics, freight and transportation, take a listen to the logistics and beyond series with the adapt and thrive mindset, Sherpa Jaman Alvidrez and check out the newest program tech talk hosted by industry veteran and Atlanta’s zone. Korean bursa bursa will discuss all things. Digital supply chain. If interested in sponsoring this show or others on supply chain. Now send a note to chris@supplychainnow.com and remember supply chain is boring.

Featured Guests

Chris Barnes is a supply chain guru, the APICS Coach, and the host of Supply Chain is Boring on Supply Chain Now.  He holds a B.S., Industrial Engineering and Economics Minor, from Bradley University, an MBA in Industrial Psychology with Honors from the University of West Florida.  He holds CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS, one of the few in the world. Barnes is a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education certificate courses. Barnes is a supply chain advocate, visionary, and frequent podcaster and blogger at www.APICS.Coach.com. Barnes has over 27 years of experience developing and managing multiple client, engineering consulting, strategic planning and operational improvement projects in supply chain management. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn and reach out to him via email at: chris@apicscoach.com.

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Greg White

Principal & Host

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Adrian Purtill

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.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

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.

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Vicki White

Controller

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.

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Scott W. Luton

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.

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Allison Giddens

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.

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Greg White

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.

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Chris Barnes

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.

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Karin Bursa

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

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 CiscoMicrosoft, 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 UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier 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.

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Enrique Alvarez

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.

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Kelly Barner

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’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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Clay Phillips

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.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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.

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Billy Taylor

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.

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Chantel King

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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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.

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Katherine Hintz

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.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Kristi Porter

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.

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Kevin Brown

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.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

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Demo Perez

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.

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Kim Winter

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).

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Nick Roemer

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.

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Alex Bramley

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.

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