Supply chain management is on everyone’s radar as we all search to answer one key question … Where’s my stuff? In this episode, co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White join Rob Schaefer, VP of TMS sales, and Gregg Lanyard, director of product management, both from Manhattan Associates, to learn more about what’s happening on the ground with customers who want to up their supply chain game. Find out the three most common themes, explore the relationship between visibility and optimization, and hear from both supply chain management veterans on how to be more resilient moving forward. And while neither has a crystal ball (or so they claim), Rob and Gregg offer their perspectives on the supply chain outlook for 2022. Here’s a preview: change takes time – but the future is bright.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Greg, how you doing?
Greg White (00:39):
I’m doing great. How are you doing, Scott?
Scott Luton (00:40):
Doing fantastic. Still getting through. You know, these changing temperatures here in the Atlanta area, they get us every year, so we’re fighting through some head colds, I think.
Greg White (00:51):
Oh, oh. That’s going to take some editing and posts.
Scott Luton (00:54):
It might, it might, but, you know, what helps clear my head is outstanding thought leadership from folks making it happen across global supply chain. That’s exactly what we have here today, Greg. So –
Greg White (01:08):
Nice segue. That is beautiful.
Scott Luton (01:09):
We’ve done this a time or a thousand, right. Today’s episode, we’re going to be interviewing a couple of business leaders from an organization that helps the world’s top brands solve some of the most complex problems in supply chain inventory, omnichannel and more, so stay tuned, Greg, and all our listeners, for what promises to be an intriguing and informative conversation. Greg, you’re ready to go?
Greg White (01:31):
Let’s do this.
Scott Luton (01:33):
All right. Well, with all that said, we’ll welcome in our featured guests here today. We have Rob Schaefer, Vice President TMS Sales with Manhattan Associates, and his colleague Gregg Lanyard, Product Management Director for TMS as well. So, Gregg and Rob, good morning.
Rob Schaefer (01:48):
Good Morning. Looking forward –
Gregg Lanyard (01:48):
Good Morning. Good to be here.
Scott Luton (01:50):
Yeah. It is great to see you both. We’ve enjoyed our warm-up conversation that we always have. Those are some of the best conversations. We got to record more of those, Greg.
Greg White (01:59):
We know where these cats are from for sure, right?
Scott Luton (02:01):
Right. That’s right. We got –
Greg White (02:03):
New York and Pittsburgh in the house.
Scott Luton (02:06):
The OG of TMS, the TMS world, which, Greg, you alluded to in recent years has blown up tremendously, but also sports-wise, we know that Gregg is a big time Yankee fan and I think Rob is in Columbus but I believe he’s a big Pirates fan, I believe. We’re going to dive deeper into that, Greg, sound good?
Greg White (02:24):
Yeah. That’s right. Let’s find out. Let’s find out the important things like the food they eat and the teams they root for.
Scott Luton (02:32):
And, the music they play, but –
Greg White (02:33):
Scott Luton (02:34):
Hold that aside. Really appreciate the time we’ve already spent with Rob and Gregg. So, let’s get know you both first. So, let’s start with you, Rob. We would love to know where you grew up and you got to give us the goods on Rob Schaefer’s upbringing.
Rob Schaefer (02:47):
Well, I grew up in a small suburb outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All right. So, kind of a blue collar upbringing very much so. Right? When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, it was still very much an industrial city that’s kind of made transition over the year since then, but that was kind of my upbringing. I grew up with a, speaking of sports, a very good football team in the ’70s. So, we get to transition from the Pirates and head straight to the Steelers, if you’d like.
Greg White (03:13):
Yeah. That’s good. That’s fine.
Scott Luton (03:14):
That’s right. The iron curtain, right?
Greg White (03:18):
Yeah. That’s right.
Rob Schaefer (03:18):
Scott Luton (03:19):
Steel curtain. Sorry.
Greg White (03:21):
Iron curtain was Soviet Union.
Scott Luton (03:22):
That’s right. They played a pretty good defense too, but you’re referring to the ’70s when the Steelers dominated Terry Bradshaw and they won what two or three Super Bowls, right Rob?
Rob Schaefer (03:35):
That will be four back then.
Scott Luton (03:35):
Greg White (03:37):
Rob Schaefer (03:39):
Yeah. So –
Greg White (03:39):
They beat everybody.
Rob Schaefer (03:41):
It was a great time to grow up in Pittsburgh and to be a Steeler fan. And so, you know, I kind of grew up with that blue collar work ethic. You know, the Steelers are very much a team sport guy. And, I think that has served me extremely well in not only the sales career that I chose but also in supply chain. Right? Because supply chain is very much a team sport as I think we’re all realizing now if we didn’t realize it before. Right? So, I think my background has helped me with that and helps me relate to folks and the issues and the problem solving that we’re all working on now. So, that’s kind of who I am and where I come from.
Scott Luton (04:17):
Rob, that’s a beautiful answer. And, one quick follow-up, food. When I think of Primanti Brothers, I think it is –
Greg White (04:23):
Primanti Brothers. Yeah.
Scott Luton (04:24):
Primanti Brothers. What was, from a food standpoint when your family, you know, broke bread, what’s one thing that was part of your upbringing that you wish you go have it for lunch today?
Rob Schaefer (04:36):
Oh, that’s an interesting question. Frankly, as a kid, I probably lived on cheeseburgers. I really did still do today. I do appreciate a good cheeseburger and fries. Right. I try to stick – stay away from it as much as I can these days, but that was always my go-to.
Scott Luton (04:52):
Love it. Hey, all in moderation. We can certainly enjoy it and spurge from time to time. I love that answer and I love a good cheeseburger. Let’s switch over to you, Gregg. Let’s talk about where you grew up and just like, Rob, did you got to give us the goods on your upbringing.
Gregg Lanyard (05:09):
Yeah. Sounds good. So, I actually am in Pittsburgh, as you mentioned, but I grew up in Central Jersey often unknown to most because you typically hear folks from North Jersey or South Jersey, but I was from Central Jersey and the town was called Woodbridge and it’s sort of right where the turnpike and the Parkway cross. So, a lot of people have been through it, but that’s where I was from. And, you know, I often look back and say, you know, it was the ideal place to grow up. I was 30 minutes South of New York City. So, hop on a train and be in New York, in the big city for, you know, all that excitement, or I could hop on the same train and be south and on the Jersey Shore –
Rob Schaefer (05:54):
Jersey Shore, yeah.
Gregg Lanyard (05:55):
30 minutes down below, right? So, it was pretty ideal for a kid to grow up in that area. I got to see the world a little bit.
Scott Luton (06:03):
Man. Well, did your folks, you know, when you were still teenager or may even younger, did they let you jump on a train and headed to New York City on your own?
Gregg Lanyard (06:12):
That’s exactly what we did. And, it’s incredibly crazy because I’d never let my kids do what we did before, you know, when we were growing up, but, yeah, that was it. I mean, it was about $7 and 50 cents to hop on a train and you could be in Madison Square Garden in 30 minutes. So, we got to watch all the big east tournaments, right, in high school. We got to go see the Rangers play, and the same thing heading south, we would just grab our, you know, 20 bucks and a towel and spend the day in the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and the beach. It was fantastic. It’s a great life.
Scott Luton (06:44):
Sounds like it. I wish we could go back. All right. So, one quick follow-up, and then I’m going to pass the baton to Greg as we get down to business. So, we’ve established Rob, of course, a big Steelers fan. They had the glory years and, you know, they’ve won obviously a couple of Super Bowls since the ’70s and those legendary teams, and baseball, you’re a big Yankees fan, I believe, Gregg. Right?
Gregg Lanyard (07:02):
So, yes, definitely grew up a Yankee fan. When I moved to Pittsburgh, I will say, try to, you know, take on the home team, very difficult thing to do here.
Scott Luton (07:12):
Gregg Lanyard (07:13):
But, yes, the glory days of the Yankees growing up were certainly fun. And, Don Mattingly was my guy, being a lefty myself and, you know, got to see a lot of games at Yankee Stadium, the old and the new.
Scott Luton (07:28):
Oh, I love it. Well, hey, you know, the bad years make the good years, all that much more special. And, it sounds like both of y’all have some athletic prowess that we’ll have to touch on maybe in a follow-up episode, but welcome to you, both. And, Greg, where are we going next with Rob and Gregg?
Greg White (07:44):
Well, eventually you guys had to quit hanging out at ball games and the beach and get a job. So, I’m curious, you know, you both landed at Manhattan now, but I’m curious maybe a couple of different roles or job experiences that you had that just really impacted you. Gregg, let’s start with you.
Gregg Lanyard (08:04):
Yeah. Sure. So, you know, I think looking back across my career, you know, my first job out of school was to be a TMS consultant. Right? Transportation management system. Basically, I was trained on how to use one of these, you know, software applications. And, you know, within like two or three months out of college, I was jumping on an airplane and, you know, training folks at companies that were doing very manual processes. And, I really, you know, look back at that and I just got a great sense for how companies operate, the different levels of complexity or not that they were, you know, managing their operations. And, it was an eye opener. Right? And, it was great sort of, for me, not only to see, you know, corporate wide how companies operate, but, man, I got to travel a lot on the company’s dime around the globe to see cities that, you know, I loved and I got back to over the years.
Gregg Lanyard (09:04):
So, a lot of great things came out of my first four years out of school and traveling around the world and meeting folks and seeing how companies operate. It was pretty, pretty lucky I think. And, you know, well, I’m sure we’ll get into this, but the fact that it just happened to be supply chain management, you know, and it was just starting to take off there, that’s sort of the other side of things that are still there today. So, it tells us a lot of, you know, how things have progressed.
Greg White (09:31):
We were joking pre-show about you being OGs of TMS. And, I mean, if you started straight out of college, you are legit, a made man. So, I’m curious as you kind of traveled around the world, any people or experiences or places that where you had that kind of eye-opening eureka moment, something that just really shaped the way you look at things today.
Gregg Lanyard (09:58):
Yeah. Certainly, a lot of, you know, just comparison and contrasting of, you know, small to large companies and how they operated and, you know, globally from South America to Europe to North America, sort of where folks were on the sort of progression scale of supply chain. But, you know, back then we were having to explain what supply chain management was and why software was sort of, you know, important part of that, and kind of the cool thing now is we really don’t have to do that much anymore. It’s big enough and in the news and all of that that folks understand it and appreciate it. But I would think, you know, I’d say that that’s sort of the eureka moment for me that this thing called supply chain management was legit, was probably back in like 1997, 98, when I was starting to think about, you know, getting off the road from that consulting gig.
Gregg Lanyard (10:51):
And, we had all of these, at the time, were the big five consulting firms, you know, the Arthur Andersen’s and Deloitte Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, all those guys. They were beating down on our doors to get a piece of, you know, that supply chain pie. And, they all wanted to partner with us. They all wanted in on our projects. And, you know, they were very, very well-respected large company out there that were investing heavily in this space. And, I think, you know, for me, that was sort of that moment where I said, yeah, this has got some staying power.
Greg White (11:28):
That’s really interesting. That’s about the time that I got into technology is around 95, 96, 97. So, really interesting. Well, Rob, while Gregg was gallivanting around the planet, I sense that you’re up kind of rise through careers and supply chain was a little bit more knuckle busting, maybe blue collar, as you said, kind of talking about your Pittsburgh upbringing, but tell us a little bit about how you got into supply chain, TMS, or maybe some of the folks or the roles or the people who kind of helped shape your worldview.
Rob Schaefer (12:05):
Sure. So, I’ve been in sales for about 36 years. And, I’ve been in software sales for the last probably 23. And, I got into supply chain probably about 17 years ago. Right? So, up until about 17 years ago, my view of the world was probably still more, you know, small town focused, right. I didn’t really appreciate the larger – how big the world is and frankly now how small the world is. So, when I got into supply chain software, about 17 years ago, I was doing both planning and execution and then was introduced to multinational companies and was able to understand, you know, how long the supply chains are, right, and how small the world is and how everybody around the world faces the same problems. Right? I mean, this isn’t U.S. centric type stuff, right? I mean, everybody is waking up around the world, trying to get their job done, faced with very similar problems with certain nuances by country or by industry, that sort of stuff.
Rob Schaefer (13:03):
So, I learned to appreciate being in supply chain software, how this really is that team sport that I was talking about before and how, you know, disruptions here or there have, you know, a very long and far reaching consequences type of thing. But, you know, all those consequences and problems that I’ve been trying to solve for people for 17 years have really kind of been, you know, company specific or industry specific, those sorts of things. And then, when you asked the question about that eureka moment, I mean, frankly mine has been with this pandemic, right? Because everything, you know, I’ve tried to do in the past is really, as I said, been industry or company specific. Now, it’s literally global. I mean, people talk about this perfect storm and you finally – you know, I’ve come to the realization of how fragile this whole supply chain thing is. Right?
Rob Schaefer (13:56):
I mean, again, before if there was a disruption that only affected a certain industry or a certain port or whatever, right, I mean, it was rather minimized. It was a big deal for the company that was experiencing that. But what we’re going through now is just, I mean, literally it’s global across, you know, every facet of supply chain. So, really, you know, this has been my eureka moment to really truly understand how really important supply chain is and the ability to manage it.
Scott Luton (14:26):
Hey, really quick, Greg, if I can butt in. 36, 23, 17. Rob, you’ve got at least one book in yet. I bet you’ve got stories coming out your ears that would make a Hollywood blockbuster. Any thought of ever, you know, documenting some of those experience?
Rob Schaefer (14:42):
No, actually, no, I got to protect the innocent, I think. Maybe, someday when I retire. I don’t know.
Scott Luton (14:50):
Awesome. Good stuff. I bet your family benefits in the meantime.
Rob Schaefer (14:54):
Greg White (14:56):
Yeah. They get to hear a lot of stories around the table. Is that what you’re thinking?
Scott Luton (14:59):
Greg White (15:00):
I actually love that.
Rob Schaefer (15:00):
Well, they actually want to meet everybody. Right? ‘Cause they just hear me talking to people like on Zoom and Teams and they hear the names and all that kind of stuff. But, you know, they don’t get to meet anybody, so someday.
Greg White (15:14):
Well, so, interesting – actually that was actually the inverse of what I expected. I mean, Gregg, you’ve actually been in supply chain longer. Right? Rob came from other industries, which is a good thing, I think. I’d be curious, Gregg, what your perspective is, but I think it’s really good that we’re getting a lot of people from outside supply chain into the craft because it gives us all these new perspectives. Some of them really are naive perspectives, which you need to make big jumps in progress. So, just curious, what’s your kind of take on that, Gregg?
Gregg Lanyard (15:49):
Yeah. I agree, Greg. You know, I think the supply chain space, you know, is a space where, you know, you have to know a little bit of finance. You have to know a little bit of, you know, marketing. You have to know a little bit of, you know, everything. So, there’s so much that it touches in an organization, you know, when you cross supply and demand, purchasing and procurement, right. There’s so many functions in a company packaging, right, and not just shipping and warehousing. There are so many areas that it touches that I think, you know, to bring folks in, let’s say, it’s a pretty pragmatic and practical problem that we’re trying to solve as a whole. Right? It’s not easy, but you know, it’s kind of, find folks who are problem-solvers. You know, certainly we, Rob and I, work with a lot of engineers here. You know, software engineers like to solve problems and, you know, that’s what we do. So, finding folks that are good people, persons that are problem-solvers, you know. There’s a general fit in supply chain management for, you know, those types of folks.
Greg White (17:04):
Yeah. I agree. I think that’s a great perspective. All right. So, eventually you guys both landed at Manhattan, and, Rob, since you dropped the F word, fragility, I want to start with you about what, you know –
Rob Schaefer (17:19):
You scared me there for a minute.
Greg White (17:20):
What is your role at the Manhattan because I think that’s a great perspective. That’s – you know, we talk a lot about resilience and I think that’s the optimistic viewpoint of what we really need to be thinking about, which is the fragility of the supply chain, which is in your sort of epiphany moment you recognize, and it’s interesting that you chose that word kind of to identify the state of the supply chain, which is constant, right. It’s not new, you know, for those of us that have been doing it forever. It’s not new that the supply chain is fragile. It’s just new to the rest of the world. And, I think it’s new to those of us who are relatively new to supply chain as well. So, tell us a little bit about what you do at Manhattan and, you know, kind of – some of the problems probably in regard to that fragility that you’re seeing, Rob.
Rob Schaefer (18:11):
Sure. So, I’m kind of like the chief TMS evangelist here at Manhattan, right? I mean, that’s my thing. I talk to customers and prospects every day and what I try to do, which is difficult for a sales guy, is listen, right, as much as I possibly can. You know, as opposed to just throwing solutions against a wall, right, you need to understand everybody’s unique. You know, what part of the supply chain, what part of their process is the customer having issues with. What do they need to address? How do you quantify them? You know, all those sorts of things, right. And once we understand that, then it’s that evangelizing that I spoke of earlier. Right? But, you know, when I’m talking to people, you know, the common themes that I hear in this current state is, you know, visibility, capacity and optimization, right.
Rob Schaefer (19:04):
Everybody is on a different continuum as to whether they have any sort of technology to help them with their supply chain planning and execution. But in today’s world, everybody wants that visibility in terms of not just, “Hey, where’s my stuff.” Right? But visibility into, you know, capacity, right. I mean, you know, people have contracted rates, but they’re not being honored or, you know, loads are being declined and everybody’s scrambling for that container or, you know, that truck, all those sorts of things. So, it’s visibility into all of those things, right, just not where the product is. And, it’s that ability to go out and find that capacity. You know, with these unprecedented shortages, you know, people used to be able to do this by phone, right. They just don’t have enough employees to be able to do it anymore, right.
Rob Schaefer (19:52):
I mean, people just need to up their game in terms of technology and be able to automate that search for capacity. Right? And then, once they get it to be able to optimize all of that and to be able to look across all the different modes and say, “Hey, I know this is going to be late, but I’ve got to get it there. I know it’s going to be more expensive. What’s the implication of that?” Right? And, just to be able to automate that entire process and not just within your own four walls, right. You have to have technology that talks to all your trading partners as well. So, the common theme that I’m really hearing is, “Hey, you know, I need the visibility, not only to where my stuff is, but the capacity and benchmark rates and all that kind of stuff.” And then, I need to be able to use that information to be able to optimize, right, in terms of how I’m going to react to these potential disruptions. And, that’s what I probably hear the most stuff.
Greg White (20:39):
Really interesting, that combination, because I think visibility is obviously, especially when you talk to anyone who’s associated with TMS, that’s really what they’re after, because that’s really what was missing, I think, is where’s my stuff and when will it be here and how sure can I be that it will arrive when you say. And, Gregg, you know, this has been a problem for a long time, but we’ve had people we call expediters or whatever those people we lock in that cold dark room who just are constantly making calls, trying to figure out whether it’s going to ship on time. If it’s shipped on time, did it make the ship right? Did it fall off the ship? Is it stuck in port? Is it detained somewhere or whatever? Every one of those is a point of fragility. So, those are – that’s really interesting and a common theme that people are thinking. You know, people used to think, well, this has been my perspective. So, Gregg, I’m going to ask you what you do, but also maybe you can roll into this question a little bit too.
Greg White (21:49):
People used to think about optimization first, let’s try to predict what’s going to sell, and optimization was sort of a euphemism for minimizing costs. So, I’m curious what your perspective is. But before you give us that, tell us kind of – we know what your title is, right? You’re a product management director for TMS, but what the heck does that mean that you do every day? And, since you are out there, kind of in the forefront, trying to figure out what the solutions ought to do, I’m interested in what you’re seeing in the marketplace today as well.
Gregg Lanyard (22:21):
Yeah. Sure. So, I have ownership of our product strategy and roadmap. That’s probably first and foremost. So, you know, what does that mean? It means I work with our customers. I work with Rob and the sales team to understand what the market is asking for. You know, what we need to build in our software or who we need to partner with to bring better solutions to that customer base. So, that’s really the critical item on my, you know, responsibility list. But I also have ownership for, you know, not only the sort of the build decisions, but also the partnership decisions. So, you know, who do we partner with? Who do we integrate with? How do we go to market with them? Product marketing is also, you know, a big piece of what I do. So, you know, Rob is the sales guy, but I certainly am also a sales person for the product both internally and externally. I own analyst relations as well for the products set and think, you know, probably lastly, you know, just strategic customer support, get involve in a lot of problem solving on that side as well.
Gregg Lanyard (23:35):
And then, yeah, you asked about sort of my perspective on – well, you covered – you know, Rob covered visibility and an execution, and then you asked planning and optimization and it’s an interesting conversation. And, just like, I think, you know, the transportation world is cyclical with, you know, supply and demand, so is the importance and the value that companies see from the planning, you know, value proposition versus the execution proposition for a system like a TMS. And, it’s true right now visibility seems to be king, you know, in terms of what folks are looking for and wanting and needing. And, that’s certainly, you know, as we’ve all heard over the years, a result of the Amazon effect of us being able to see our, you know, home delivery shipments and where they are and when they’re coming and now that same, you know, need and want and ask is part of the business, the business world.
Gregg Lanyard (24:34):
So, visibility, where’s my stuff, you know, is critical. But the optimization piece, you know, is not to be forgotten because I think that the critical takeaway is that both of those are unnecessary components because visibility and where’s my stuff and understanding the history of transit times and delays and other things that are happening on the execution side then need to be fed into sort of the next generation or next iteration of optimization. So, we build a better plan next time based on historical past, right? So, there’s no, you know, pushing one aside. You know, TMS does it all. The definition of TMS has certainly changed and expanded over the last two decades and it continues to in terms of what people want and expect from, you know, our supply chain systems. So, you know, I think they’re both important and depending on where you are on that sort of spectrum of manual versus automation, you know, you focus on one, but you then focus on the other.
Greg White (25:47):
Yeah. I think that’s a good point. I mean, optimization is theoretical. Execution is action in the heat of the moment, right. You know, what we’ve either predicted or didn’t predict actually happens and how you respond to that.
Gregg Lanyard (26:03):
That’s right. I mean, listen, there’s no getting away from the fact that transportation planners, you know, operations folks are going to be firefighters, right. They’ve always been firefighters. They’re always reacting to change and trying to do the best they can. But, you know, when you bring software and systems into the picture, then they’re there to help and to enable better planning and hence better execution.
Greg White (26:27):
Yeah. And, learning from that past, I think that’s an important point that you raised there is, yeah, you know, we saw this happen, we’ve seen this happen a lot. We need to consider this more, right, more completely in the future. So, I think that [inaudible]
Gregg Lanyard (26:43):
Gosh, I don’t know if we want to go there, but, right, I mean, there’s so many – there’s so much better information available to the planning process today than there was 10, 20 years ago. Right. You can incorporate a lot of that history, a lot of data points into the plan that, you know, again, they improve your overall operations, so, and it’s a cycle. You know, better planning leads to better execution, which leads to better planning.
Scott Luton (27:08):
If only the expectations from the consumer were the same from a decade or so ago, right, Gregg? It’ll be all easy.
Greg White (27:14):
[Inaudible] in consumer’s eyes. Right? I mean, first of all, before 2020, 95% of people didn’t know what supply chain is, and I can tell you that for certain, from sitting down at dinners with people and they’d say what do you do for a living? And, I would say supply chain, and their eyes would just completely glaze over. They didn’t even ask what it was. [Inaudible].
Scott Luton (27:35):
You were in the [inaudible] of business.
Greg White (27:37):
Gregg Lanyard (27:38):
And, trust me, I get a lot of friends telling me to fix all the problems. Right?
Greg White (27:41):
Yeah. Yeah. And, everybody’s an expert now, Gregg, aren’t they?
Gregg Lanyard (27:44):
Yeah. Where they expect me to be. Right?
Greg White (27:47):
Well, so, as Rob mentioned, you know, those three things are there other big problems? ‘Cause I know you see it probably from a little bit different perspective than Rob though. I’m sure tightly coordinated. But are there other big issues that you’re seeing out there in supply chain that jump out at you?
Gregg Lanyard (28:06):
Yeah. I mean, you know, there are, right. I mean, listen, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to simplify operations. We’re trying to help people make more intelligent, better decisions. We’re trying to provide an infrastructure to be adaptable, right. Because, as was noted, change happens, right, and it’s going to continue to happen. It’s going to continue to happen at a faster pace than it’s happened before. So, you know, all of the things that we try to do are, you know, enhancing that. At the end of the day, we’re reducing transportation costs. We’re improving service. We’re improving collaboration and connectivity, which is, you know, something that, you know, is critical to operations, transportation specifically, right. We deal with our carrier base, right. We have to interact with them on a constant basis. We deal with a supplier base that we have to interact on a constant – interact with on a constant basis. So, all of those things, you know, are critical in the world of, you know, inbound and outbound transportation. So, yeah, we’re trying to address and solve all those problems and they’re constantly changing problems. So, all right, I left you guys speechless.
Scott Luton (29:23):
No. Well, you are poetic as you walk through these problems there, Gregg. Very nicely put. There’s so much to talk about in an hour long conversation and that’s usually the challenge we have. I want to bring Rob back in. You know, we’re talking about problems that Manhattan Associates and y’all’s team are helping to solve. And, Rob, as you stated earlier, the three things you’re hearing about all the time, visibility, capacity, and optimization. I think I got those three right. Right? Good things come in threes. So, in a second or two, we’re going to move into kind of going more global. You now, what are some of your observations when you survey global supply chain? But your final comments, Rob, when it comes to the problems that you and your team are helping customers solve.
Rob Schaefer (30:11):
All I can say, we’re meeting with as many, you know, customers, as we can, right, listening to their individual issues and trying to make the appropriate recommendation based upon what those issues happen to be. Right? So, some of them might just be that visibility. Some others might be the optimization or capacity. But, yeah, I mean, that’s basically what we’re doing every day and everybody is somewhat unique. But in today’s situation, we’re sharing a lot of the same problems.
Scott Luton (30:40):
Wonderful. Okay. And, no shortage of problems for sure. Let’s talk about then – I want to shift gears a bit and now that we’ve got a better sense of what you and the Manhattan Associates teams are doing, some of the types of problems you’re solving, some of what your customers are seeing, let’s move into your observations when you take a step back and you survey this really uniquely challenging environment that we’re all navigating through right now in 2021. You know, we’ve heard it put as the supply chain squeeze. And, unfortunately as much – despite all of our desires, Gregg, to G’s, to problem solve, right, and fix it, it’s going to persist for the foreseeable future. Many folks are saying, you know, through 2022 and beyond, and certainly some of these core elements that are really systemic. But whether some of these challenges or just other industry observations, I’d love to kind of open up the top of your head and peer into your mind and see where – you know, what is keeping you up at night or where are you – what are you tracking more than others across the landscape? And, Rob, I’m going to stick with you for a second. What are you looking at when it comes to global trade?
Rob Schaefer (31:50):
So, you know, first, at this point in time, I guess where we are in the issue that we find ourselves in, right, and we’ve kind of, I hope we’re getting past it to a point, right. But at first it was just, how do you react to all these issues? Right? I mean, the issue at hand, how do I get product from point A to point B, that sort of stuff. I think people now are looking at more strategically resiliency for the future. How do I plan for this in the future and make sure that I have processes in place to make my organization resilient and efficient, right? And efficient not only in terms of just how do I plan and optimize from a TMS perspective, but efficient in terms of how do I get the most and use my assets to their fullest extent whether they be human assets or physical assets in terms of trucks and warehouses and ships and containers and all those sorts of things.
Rob Schaefer (32:41):
So, I think we’re starting to see more people saying, “Okay, this was bad. We’re going to get through it. We always do, but we need to be prepared for the future.” Right? So, that’s that whole resiliency and efficiency. And then from there, it kind of comes down, “Okay, well, how do I do that?” Right? And then, that gets into extensibility and agility, right? To be resilient, I need to be agile. To be agile, I need to have a platform that’s extensible, because as Gregg had said it’s more than just a TMS and the information that’s housed in that TMS. It’s being able to reach out to your partner base, right, your visibility players and your digital freight brokers and whoever you trade with to bring as much information back in house and make it as actionable as possible. Right? And then, that kind of waterfalls right into that whole visibility and capacity thing. Right? So, we’re trying to pull as much information into the logistics system as possible by having an extensible platform and therefore making the organization more resilient and efficient moving forward.
Scott Luton (33:44):
Wonderful. And, a couple of things I heard there and, Greg White, I would love for your thoughts as well. And, a future-proofing is very important these days, even if it’s – you’re talking – the future you’re talking about is tomorrow ’cause you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. Bring in as much within our control as we can, which is really important. And then, what both of y’all have spoken to, Gregg and Rob, is, you know, building that infrastructure that you can’t optimize, right, rather than willy-nilly, bringing as much discipline and framework and guideposts infrastructure, which will create the visibility to what you do address and how you prioritize what you addressed and went. But, Greg White, your thoughts on what Rob just shared. And, I’m going to come to Gregg.
Greg White (34:27):
You know, the acknowledgement of all of these fragilities is the first thing that we have to do. And then, we have to continually learn from what did happen versus what the, let’s say, risk, right, or opportunity was, and then, start to, as you know, as Gregg Lanyard was discussing earlier and Rob just talked about is take that knowledge and deploy it in the technology. And, technology is also a key here. When you say willy-nilly, I immediately think of pen and paper, spreadsheets, faxes, things like that. But, you know, so we have to capture all of that knowledge and then employ that in vis-a-vis data into technology to help us learn and to continually improve as we go forward in this crazy time. I mean, look, you know, the truth is there have always been disruptions in supply chain and old gangsters like Gregg and me and you, Scott, have been dealing with this since the ’90s when you didn’t have much choice but spreadsheet or rudimentary technology and pen and paper, right.
Greg White (35:44):
But now there are a number of dynamics at play that should accelerate this. One, the presence of copious amounts of data, right? Things like AI and Blockchain and other technologies that do the learning that we’re talking about and then can deploy that. And, the recognition by the marketplace, particularly the consumer, as you said earlier, Scott, who’s putting pressure on the supply chain to just get it here. Right?
Scott Luton (36:12):
Greg White (36:14):
And, their awareness that supply chain is responsible for that. That it’s not some magic black box that just makes the stuff appear on the shelf. And, they’re starting to learn the lesson that they can’t count on it to be on the shelf. And, when things fail, people analyze and break down systems to understand why they fail. And then, they start to evaluate the companies that they shop with or whatever as to their ability to perform so that awareness that Gregg, you and I and Scott and others in supply – lifers in supply chain had been begging for that awareness, that recognition that those accolades also come with judgment. And, we are there now, so.
Scott Luton (37:02):
Certainly, and you’re illustrating the point of just how supply chains become a differentiator. So, the work that Gregg Lanyard and Rob and the Manhattan Associates team, you’re really – we talked about it on the front end, you know, working with the world’s top brands, brands that consumers are facing, supply chain’s a big part of what that means.
Scott Luton (37:21):
All right. So, one final cut, and, Gregg, I’m coming to you. So, Rob, kind of shares some of the things he’s tracking. Gregg Lanyard, we’ll come to you next. But I want to – something that has – y’all have been speaking to really kind of hit me as little – a small micro eureka moment. We’re getting through the great resignation right now, right? We’ve heard that phrase a lot. There’s a lot of burnout. Folks are getting out of industry, right. And, they’re taking a lot of tribal knowledge with them. It would strike me that the work you’re doing to, you know, to invest and implement and provide this infrastructure. That’s also a tribal knowledge play, right, where you’re gathering and documenting and digitally documenting best practices organizations might would lose otherwise. So, Gregg Lanyard, I’m going to you next, your thoughts around that and then walk us through other observations you have with the industry.
Gregg Lanyard (38:10):
Yeah. Sure. So, you know, listen, I think, if I can go back to Greg White’s comments and call out a shout out to the Meat Loaf quote back, if you want to bring some music into this conversation, you took the words right out of my mouth. Right? Guys, Meat Loaf fans, take me back to the heyday. But, yeah, I mean –
Scott Luton (38:34):
What’s the name of the tune?
Greg White (38:32):
No, don’t make this [inaudible], please.
Scott Luton (38:35):
What’s the name of the tune?
Greg White (38:37):
Yeah. That’s it.
Gregg Lanyard (38:38):
You took the word out of my mouth.
Greg White (38:38):
That’s the Meat Loaf song, yeah. I thought you wanted him to sing it.
Scott Luton (38:41):
I’m not a Meat Loaf fan.
Gregg Lanyard (38:45):
[Inaudible] But, yeah, I mean, you know, the idea that change is constant, right, and the thing that we’re dealing with today, the companies are dealing with today and the fact that, you know, just being automated. We talked about manual versus automation and just doing things faster. It’s just not enough anymore, right? It’s not enough to stay ahead of the game. So, you know, the flexibility, the adaptability and the agility like Rob talked about is what you need to not only survive but to thrive in this ever-changing world. So, you know, I think – but there’s always going to be some level of or close to equilibrium, right. There’s always imbalances, but getting to equilibrium is I think that the critical piece, and that means, you know, and this was said by Greg as well, what you optimize yesterday or how you optimize yesterday isn’t always the right answer today because of the changing links and nodes in your supply chain, right. And, there’s constant change happening.
Gregg Lanyard (39:59):
And that – you know, that might mean origin and destination shipping points. It might mean rates, right. It might be modes or carriers that have gone out of business. There’s so many different things that are changing every day. And that’s why, you know, as Rob said earlier, you need sort of that infrastructure to be able to support that change. And, when the equilibrium comes back around or when things change back to the way they were or changed in a new direction, you just have to be ready for it. And, that’s, you know, what we try to do for our customers certainly every day. I don’t know if that answers your question directly, but that’s kind of [inaudible].
Scott Luton (40:36):
I like it. It sounds better than the answer to my question. But speak to, if you would just, you know, as folks as exiting industry, I think of the thousands of reasons why to embrace digital transformation in a meaningful, successful, practical way, not the cliché, because everyone’s talking about that or talking about resilience or whatever, I think part of that one little aspect of that is capturing that tribal knowledge of what you may lose. So, speak to that just for a second, Gregg, based on conversations you’re having.
Gregg Lanyard (41:09):
Yeah. Well, I mean, there’s no doubt that, you know, there’s a good upbringing of talent. I’ll say that first on the positive side. You know, there’s more schools, as I have a senior in high school right now and we’re looking around, you know, at colleges for him. He may not go the route of logistics and supply chain management, but I can tell you as I’m looking at the schools he’s looking at always go over to the business school and to see if there’s a supply chain management major. Because back in the day, when I was studying it, you know, there weren’t many, and my goodness, there’s, you know, a hundred X, the number of schools that have that as a major. So, the good news is it’s being represented and it’s being recognized. And, I think the challenge is always, you know, convincing young kids that this is an area for the future. I certainly look back and say, “Boy, I got pretty lucky.” I didn’t know much about it when I, when I chose [Inaudible] knowledge but –
Greg White (42:03):
It’s funny how it work, isn’t it? Right? You’ll never get in now, would you?
Gregg Lanyard (42:05):
Greg White (42:06):
I know that we’ve been –
Gregg Lanyard (42:07):
Right, right. But, yeah, you know, and to your point earlier that you made, Scott, I think, you know, there’s a lot of different backgrounds that can be successful in supply chain management. So, I don’t think you have to study it in college. I think it’s great to have that background. You know, I learned the business side at college and I learned the technology side on the job. Right? And, I think that works both ways. You can do either or in today’s world. And, I think that, for the young folks out there that are listening, there’s still a huge and exciting future in this space because of the constant change that we talked about. Right?
Scott Luton (42:49):
Absolutely. I agree.
Gregg Lanyard (42:50):
And, it’s pretty exciting, you know. There’s a lot of – there’s the ability to be innovative, right? There’s not always innovation in the industry. You know, being on the software side, I think that’s what’s kept me here for so long, just because we are constantly changing and innovating. But, you know, I think that there’s great opportunity.
Scott Luton (43:11):
Agreed, agreed. And, just think, you know, in recent months, these quick space flights from private companies have captured the world’s attention. And, as those continue to become longer trips and with destinations, it’s going to take a supply chain to support it. So, I think that supply chain impacts everything. And, there are tremendous opportunities for folks and to our listeners that may be matriculating through high school or college, lots and lots of opportunities.
Scott Luton (43:39):
Rob, I want to bring you back in this conversation here, as we’re talking about, you know – I’m about to move into where Greg and I, Greg White and I are going to get your bold predictions or maybe not so bold predictions or whatever you all want to share for 2022. But as we touch on talent, as we touch on some of these industry observations, as we touch on some of the things, you know, impacting global business, any final thoughts you’d like to share, Rob?
Rob Schaefer (44:04):
Sure. The first one is if I actually had a working crystal ball, I probably wouldn’t be on this call but I don’t. But, in terms of 2022, I think you said this earlier it’s going to be more of the same, right. I mean, it’s just – the issues that we’re facing are so vast. It just takes time to work out of them. Right? I mean, there’s no doubt we’ll work through it. It’s all going to be good, but it’s just going to take some time, right, and that’s why we’re having this call, right, so that folks kind of understand there are tools out there that can help them work through the current situation and prepare themselves for the future. But in terms of other things in 2022, I mean, I think, as you had mentioned earlier, too, you know, issues create opportunity for smart people to come up with solutions, right?
Rob Schaefer (44:52):
So, you’re going to see more and more people working, you know, on the autonomous driving, you know, trucks and drones, and you’re going to see much more in terms of robotics and all those sorts of things, right, to try to be as efficient as people possibly can be to move a product from A to B and to ultimately see the end customer. So, I think you’re going to see a lot more investment in those types of things where those investments come to fruition in 2022. I highly doubt it, right. And, that’s why I said, I just think that we’re going to see more of the same in 2022, but I think you’re going to see a lot of shippers out there looking to update their technology to be able to not only address the issues at hand, but those that they may face in the future.
Scott Luton (45:36):
Well said, Rob. Well said. Okay. So, he kind of – if you noticed there Gregg Lanyard and Greg White, Rob kind of gave us a final thought around what’s going on out there and then brought in his crystal ball, which I know he has. I know he has clearly.
Rob Schaefer (45:50):
It’s a Halloween decoration, unfortunately.
Scott Luton (45:55):
But, you know, it’s so true. We’re going to see more of the same and, you know, same never lasts more than 30 seconds and an air lock we’re getting through. You take all the pain aside, take all the challenges side, just how technology is ensuring that every day is not the same. And, that is some more good news. Gregg Lanyard, I love your focus on good news as you’ve kind of spiked the football on that a couple of times. We love good news around here. So, let’s – Gregg, when you break out your crystal ball, whether it’s a Halloween decoration or not, what are you projecting for next year?
Gregg Lanyard (46:31):
All right. So, that’s a good lead into I think how I want to answer this. Right? So, Rob explained it pretty well, and I’ll say there’s the good, the bad and the ugly coming, right? But it’s in reverse order. It’s ugly. It’s going to be bad, but then it’s going to get good. I think that’s the reality of the situation. My goodness, we were approaching, you know, Christmas season and there’s going to be issues and challenges with all the back-ups happening and the challenges that we’re just faced with right now. So, that’s going to be, I think, a realization for folks in the short term, families, kids, all of that piece, that’s going to be unprecedented and that’s the ugly. But, you know, as we move into next year, as I mentioned before, I just think that we will start to find that equilibrium, right. I think it always comes and we always get to that point. We’ve struggled through driver shortages. We’ve struggled through port backups, capacity challenges in the past, and we’ve always made it through and found somewhat of an equilibrium and I think we will get there.
Scott Luton (47:33):
Outstanding. The next Clint Eastwood movie. It’s the ugly, the bad, and the good. Everything happens in reverse order, Greg White. I agree with you, Gregg Lanyard. We’re going to get through it, you know, these holidays coming up and in the next year. You know, there’s our hardworking and really smart and savvy supply chain practitioners around the world working to make sure consumers have what they want. However, Greg White, as you have spoken to, this might be the year to look inward and look local and enjoy presence with the CS rather than an NTS, perhaps. But, Greg, based on what you’ve heard, the crystal ball projections here, more of the same as Rob said, and the ugly, the bad, and the good as Gregg mentioned. Greg White, what comes to mind?
Greg White (48:17):
You know, what really comes to mind is how right they both are. I mean, we’ve probably settled at a [inaudible] level.
Scott Luton (48:27):
Greg White and has been to the future and he’s come back and it’s a term of both of y’all are 100% accurate –
Greg White (48:33):
I’ll be back.
Scott Luton (48:34):
Greg White (48:35):
I think we have settled at a certain level of equilibrium ironically that equilibrium is the constant management, the constant reflection and deflection of interventions in the supply chain and the impact. And, I think that when I think about real equilibrium, meaning a state of stability in the marketplace when I – that’s what I think about as equilibrium. I think, you know, in 2019, we were under employed in supply chain by 2 million jobs and supply chain is now infinitely – I don’t think that’s overstating it. It is infinitely more important and recognized within every enterprise than it was in 2019. And, now the entire country, arguably world, is underemployed. So, we’re going to have to get people back to work to fix some of these issues. We have to get governments to equilibrium so they stop intervening because aside from government intervention, interventions that have caused disruption in the supply chain, every other disruption in the supply chain is a disruption that we face every single year in supply chain.
Greg White (49:51):
It’s whether it’s shipments being lost, it’s ships being stuck in the Suez Canal, which by the way, has happened before, freezes in petroleum product producing states like Texas. All of those things are news this year because people recognize that supply chain is important, but all of those happen every year. What doesn’t happen every year is governments paying people not to work of the intense and divergent regulations around that impact ocean going vessels every day, by the way, around what kind of vaccination, do you need to be vaccinated, what is the quarantine period. All of those variations create disruption in the supply chain. And, I think we’ll start to see in 2022 a little bit of the governments taking their hands off of whatever portion of the body or vehicle that is, that are causing those things to continue to bring completely unexpected disruptions to the supply chain. That’s the danger is these completely unexpected never before experienced disruptions and those aren’t caused by the usual disruption sources that supply chain has seen in the past.
Scott Luton (51:05):
All right. So, more of the same, more than not so same, tough times ahead, but lots of – the silver lining here, and Gregg lanyard and Rob Schaefer, I bet y’all can agree with this. We’ve talked about this before. One of the silver linings of this pandemic is innovation. And, we don’t necessarily love the phrase best practices because it kind of assumes what we’ve been doing forever. It will always remain the best thing to do now, but it’s true. You know, the current times are driving lots and lots of innovation, and I appreciate y’all’s part in that.
Scott Luton (51:39):
So, on that note, folks get ready ’cause November 18th we’re going to be featuring Manhattan Associates team on a webinar talking about more of these observations and new ideas for getting through these challenging times currently and what lies ahead. But, Gregg lanyard, and then I’m going to come to you Rob, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you both. So, feel free. We’d love to know that. And, if you’ve got a final thought, I know we’ve run the gamut here today, feel free to show that, but most importantly how can folks connect with you? Gregg, we’ll start with you.
Gregg Lanyard (52:12):
Sure, Scott. LinkedIn is probably the best way to reach me but you can also reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Final thought for me, you know, just a quick thank you. I think this was a good conversation. Appreciate the time and the topics, the breadth and the depth. Good to meet you, guys, and I appreciate –
Greg White (52:31):
Yeah. Likewise. Thank you.
Scott Luton (52:32):
You bet, Gregg Lanyard. I appreciate your frank, both of your frank perspective and thoughts here today. Rob Schaefer, I want to come to you next. Your final thought and how can folks connect with you.
Rob Schaefer (52:45):
Sure. First, you connect me through LinkedIn and you can send me an email. It’s email@example.com. In terms of final thoughts, looking forward to everyone coming to the webcast on November 18th. And, you know what I mean, the future is bright. It always is. We’re all going to get through it. Been here before, maybe not to this extent, but we’re all going to keep working together around the world. And, it’s all going to turn out. So, there’s clear skies in the future.
Scott Luton (53:13):
Rob, I love that. And, I got to – you know, Greg White, I got to tell you, I love the team sport where Rob started a conversation and kind of how we referenced that throughout. That’s one of the best things about a global supply chain organizations is the team sport that it is, ain’t it, Greg?
Greg White (53:31):
It is. And, I think, you know, one of the other great things about it is the evolution of what Rob knows it as from Pittsburgh or knew it as from Pittsburgh, a brute force industry to a highly intellectual industry, and that intellect being driven back in to, you know, improve the still brute force aspects of the craft, right? I think it’s a great interaction of people getting their hands dirty and people using their minds right and, of course, technology. But I think that’s, you know, that’s what makes this such a fascinating study in just one segment of business.
Scott Luton (54:09):
Agreed. All right. Big thanks to Rob Schaefer and Gregg Lanyard, both with Manhattan Associates, both working hard to push what’s possible next. Folks, make sure you join us on November 18th at 12 noon Eastern Time for more. And then, in that webinar, we’ll be able to take your observations, your questions. We’ll pose those to Rob and Gregg. Big thanks to Greg White for joining me here today. Greg, what a heck of a conversation, huh?
Greg White (54:34):
It was fantastic. And, I got to tell you, it’s rare that we find somebody who’s been in supply chain as long as we have, Scott, certainly as long as I have. So, it was great talking with Gregg and Rob. I really appreciate all your perspective. A lot of years of work and getting into the craft and helping us make it better. And, I’d like to point out to both of you, congratulations, you made a little bit of money today because the stock, Manhattan Associates stock, MANH, made me think of that when you guys did your email address. It’s up 1.27% today. So, we had absolutely nothing to do with that.
Scott Luton (55:13):
Lots of innovation, lots of meaningful innovation, practical innovation through these challenging times. Big thanks to all of you. Folks, listening in, hopefully you enjoyed this conversation as much as we had and be sure to find us wherever you get your podcasts from Supply Chain Now. And, most importantly, hey, folks, be like Rob and Gregg and Greg. Hey, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And, on that note, 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.
Rob Schaefer has spent his entire 36-year career as a sales professional. The last 23 years have been spent in enterprise software sales, with the last 12 years dedicated to Logistics. His role at Manhattan Associates is that of VP TMS Sales and Business development with a focus on North and South America. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.
Gregg Lanyard is Director, Product Management for TMS at Manhattan Associates. He is responsible for driving strategy, roadmap, and marketing for all transportation solutions. He manages customer, partner, and analyst relationships, and supports Manhattan’s sales and services organizations. Prior to joining Manhattan, he was senior principal product strategy manager at Oracle for nine years, responsible for defining and executing the strategy for Oracle’s Transportation Management solution. Prior to Oracle, Gregg served in senior product management roles at both Manugistics and CombineNet. At Manugistics, Gregg spent 12 years helping the company grow its industry leading transportation solution, as both a consultant and senior product manager. At CombineNet, a strategic sourcing software and solutions provider, Gregg served as Director of Product Management. A graduate of Penn State University, Gregg has over 25 years of experience working with logistics professionals to implement and design transportation management systems. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two children. Connect with Gregg on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.