Like many of us, Azuka Okeke once thought supply chain was boring–until it became clear what a profound impact it had on everything from public health to global problem solving. Now, as CEO of the Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management, she’s working to encourage local manufacturing in Nigeria as a key component for the timely delivery of medications. She’s no stranger to making noise on important issues – and she has plenty to teach us on the topic. Tune in as she chats with Scott and special guest co-host Jenny Froome from SAPICS in this Supply CHain Now classic episode on educating local governments, facilitating successful private/public sector collaborations, sustainably tackling sustainability and more.
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Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, good morning, Scott Luton and Jenny Froome with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Jenny, how are we doing? Hi.
Jenny Froome (00:41):
We’re doing really well happy new year to
Scott Luton (00:43):
Everybody happy new year to you as well. I’ve, I’ve enjoyed, uh, tracking your exploits here through the end of 2021 with family and, and beyond. I know we’re all excited about a, uh, a really a better year for all in 2022. So on today’s episode, Jenny, the, one of the things we’ve really enjoyed doing is working with you and the SAEX team on this supply chain leadership across Africa series had some home run guests, and we’re gonna continue that today. Aren’t we, Jenny
Jenny Froome (01:14):
Starting the year off with one of my favorites.
Scott Luton (01:17):
Wonderful. And a, if it’s one of Jenny firm’s favorites, you know, we can’t go wrong. So quick reminder, Jenny fr serves as COO of SAP pick, which is doing wonderful work from a professional development and networking standpoint. So check them email@example.com. Okay. So speaking of one of Jenny FRS favorites, should I say that three times fast Jenny FRS favorites? Uh, we have an incredible guest joining us today. Join me in welcoming. Azuka Chukwuelue CEO of the Africa resource center for excellence in supply chain management. Auca how we doing?
Azuka Okeke (01:54):
I’m doing great, Scott. Thank you for having me on the show and thank you, Jenny. You’re one of my favorites too.
Scott Luton (02:01):
<laugh> that’s. That is what a, uh, what a compliment to start to show off with Ozuka we’ve been tracking you a little bit, you know, uh, I know we got with Jenny and, and uh, of course your ears have been burning. We’re we’re all big fans of the work that you’re doing and really excited to share a little bit of that here today on supply chain now, but before we do that, let’s get to know Ozuka a little bit better from a, from a human standpoint. So tell us Zuka where did you grow up and give us, you know, give us the goods on your upbringing a little bit.
Azuka Okeke (02:31):
Okay. <laugh> well, I grew up in Nigeria. I’m from Nigeria, I’m from the Eastern part of Nigeria. They call us the IBO, um, a tribe in the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Um, I was in one of the cities there, um, and all my nursery, primary, secondary university in one state. So, wow. Then I, I got married in that state. So after a while I said to myself, I think I’ve expired in this states <laugh> so I kinda like moved, but all my growing and settling in, you know, as say modern was in one state in Nigeria before I left and moved. And so I hovering around the whole city in Nigeria. It
Scott Luton (03:19):
Well, so before, uh, cause I wanna find out where you, where you live today, but you know, growing up in that, in that one city, that one state, whether it’s food, whether it’s stuff you did outside of, of school, what was, what was something you really, uh, identify with as part of your childhood or upbringing?
Azuka Okeke (03:36):
It was, I think the city I grew up in it’s called a new group. Um, it’s on a hill and it’s quite healing. So one of the things I enjoyed, you know, during that period was I used to take long walks. I could, I never liked transportation. I would walk from <laugh> like hours everywhere you ask me to go. I would rather walk than, you know, take a enter transport system. So because all along the road, you see trees, you will be climbing up going down. So it was always fun. So it’s something that I miss now where I stay in, uh, because I do like taking long walks and I grew up doing that.
Scott Luton (04:18):
I love it. That, that, that just, just hearing you share that, uh, uh, helps my mental state of mind. Jenny, I Don dunno about you. <laugh> yeah. So one final question. And, and then, and then Jenny, I might ask both of y’all about this traveling question, but one final question. Zuka where do you live now? What’s home now.
Azuka Okeke (04:36):
Uh, I’m in Lagos, the mother city in Nigeria. <laugh> so you can understand, um, it’s um, I mean, I mean, from Sensus, it says we have 23 million people living in this small city. Wow. Very small mass. Um, it’s highly populated, but it is the energy space in 90 Nigeria. If you in Lego, we never sleep. So 24 hours of busy, busy, busy. So it’s is a firearm from, uh, from where I grew up. But it’s, it’s where it’s happening in Nigeria though.
Scott Luton (05:07):
Evidently now. Yeah. Did my ears fail me? Or did you say 23 million people? Yes. Wow. Okay. <laugh> so well, we’ve got plenty of good stuff. Talk about when it comes to supply chains then with, with that kind, uh, uh, vibrant community. All right. So one final question. Before I pass Baton to my dear friend, Jenny from, you know, I have heard our scout team has been tracking you and, and we hear that you’re prior to these crazy times, now you traveled all the time, traveled a lot. So Zuka, what’s been one, you know, it’s tough. All, always pick a favorite, but what’s one of your favorite places to visit and maybe you’ll get back out. Once we get through the, you know, the pandemic, what’s one of your favorite places to visit and why
Azuka Okeke (05:52):
I visited one, um, city one time in, um, the Netherlands it’s called dam. It’s, uh, it’s so beautiful because it’s, it’s kind of like a village. It’s not a city. And, um, cause I do take walks anywhere I go, I always look for the track to walk all through the road. You see beautiful flowers, you see the dams and the, you know, the fam yard. It’s just one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. So for me, VO dam, yes is one of my most favorite wonderful.
Scott Luton (06:28):
Now you know that you’re gonna have to send us some pictures when you get back out and you’re taking these beautiful walks. Otherwise it didn’t happen as I hear my kids. Tell me, so, uh, thanks for sharing Zuka Jenny. Yeah. Uh, I wanna pose the same question you, and then we can, we can move right into, you know, kinda learning more about her professional journey, but Jenny, what’s one of your favorite places to visit?
Jenny Froome (06:50):
Oh my gosh. That’s such a humongous question. Right? By the time I was 11, I’d lived in seven different countries. So I’ve sort of been to, I’ve been very lucky to live and visit so many different countries, right? At the moment I have a real yearning to go to Thailand. Um, I think it’s one of the places that I enjoy and relax the most and have met such amazing, gentle welcome in people. But anywhere right now, anywhere I would like to travel to I’ll get on that plane and I’ll be there. So ASCO and I, I think first met in Benin and then we met officially properly in Chicago. So our relationship is an international one as well.
Azuka Okeke (07:36):
Jenny, I think before Chicago, just sorry, Scott, we met in Dubai one conference. Oh,
Jenny Froome (07:43):
We met in Dubai. That’s right. As well. You were,
Azuka Okeke (07:46):
You came to me, you said, you know, you know, it doesn’t matter what you say. Oh, it doesn’t be listening to you. <laugh> that’s right.
Jenny Froome (07:54):
Yeah. Doesn’t matter what you say will just listen to way she says it is just so passionate. You have to, you want to listen to what it’s
Scott Luton (08:04):
Well, there’s quite a vibe also just in a little bit of time, we’ve spent, I’ve heard about the passion that comes, that comes ahead of you, uh, ahead of our, our conversation today, but the vibe and the positivity and from what I understand a ton of expertise. So let’s, I let’s get it more into that. So Jenny, I think we’re gonna talk first about kind of what Zuku has been doing previous to now, right? Yeah.
Jenny Froome (08:26):
Yeah. So we obviously are gonna move on to what you’re doing now, but so much of what you’ve done previously has led you to this place where you are now and what, what would you say are a couple of role or, or experiences that have really shaped a, your world view, but also encouraged you to get to the point that you are today?
Azuka Okeke (08:49):
I think, um, that’s a very deep question because I’ve done so many things and everything kind of counts and has shaped how I see things. But I think one, one thing that I would say along the line that has kind of shaped who I am now based on my journey before is the fact, I always like to tell people the fact that in my career, I started from the very last mile. You know, I started working at the, a clinic in a, in an underserved community and where I had to take care of, uh, my clients that, uh, were taking, uh, antiretrovirals. So those that are even with HIV and, um, HIV and aids, so having to work with them and having to convince them or encourage them to keep taking their medicine, building relationships, you know, in that small clinic. And it turned out that even before we set up a, a unit that before any patient would be put on medication, they would have to consult me because of the, I would say the passion I had working with clients to make sure that they start their treatment understanding when they stop their treatment and having that impact to know that, you know, it’s a difficult journey that actually shaped even my thinking process at the very, you know, at this leadership position.
Azuka Okeke (10:23):
So when I’m making decisions, um, when I’m, I’m trying to convince the country I’m coming from the angle that I know these clients, I know the people where, where talking about, I have an understanding of even their family issues and how challenging it is to come to pick up your medicines. So I think that really that experience starting from that very lower end really has helped all through my journey to this point.
Jenny Froome (10:50):
And, and presumably also then ignited an interest in the, how the medication got to the last mile, et cetera, et cetera. So they’re in the segue right into what it is that, that the Africa resource center for supply chain excellence in Nigeria is actually all about. Um, and you know, obviously we’ve, I’ve watched this progression and I’ve watched you as a leader and, you know, series is all about leaders in Africa. And for me, you are an epitome of, of that because of your desire to see people succeed and people be educated and the professionalization of supply chain management, all of that, that you believe in is coming through loud and clear through the organization. So as a, in your role, as where do you find currently, you’re kind of spending most of your time and, and, and how are you guiding all these initiatives forward
Azuka Okeke (11:54):
Most? I mean, um, if you, if you ask me before I even became a CEO, my primary goal was to educate the nation. You know, when I got into the leadership position, um, um, you know, in a, when I was told to come and help the act, because before then my, my focus was, um, public private collaboration in, in all areas of health. That was what I was doing, but they told me, oh, come and do this for a because, but it’s speaking to supply chain and you know what I said the first time, because I had done supply chain along the line in our own way. I said, oh, supply chain is boring.
Scott Luton (12:32):
Supply Z. Hey, really quick. I found, when you say the arc, are you talking about Africa resource center? Is that right? Yes. Just to connect with folks. Okay. I gotcha. Yes.
Azuka Okeke (12:42):
So the Africa resource center, because the, the arc is an initiative that was settle across multiple countries. So I was told to come and help set up the one in Nigeria. And I said, oh, what, all’s this a and I said, oh, it has to do with supply chain. We just want you to bring in this, your, your expertise in public private partnerships, you know, to supply chain. I said, oh, supply chain is boring. I’ve done it before, you know, <laugh> but then, you know, going, having, coming to the a, you know, trying to answer patient, I realized, okay, let’s, let’s get into this supply chain business with government and how we facilitate the relationships. And I realized that, um, in, in Africa and even more, more so in Nigeria where we thought we had people that had the background in supply chain understood supply chain to make the decision, because it is what you understand that you can then make an informed decision.
Azuka Okeke (13:38):
It was clear that we had a lot of people in government that didn’t even know the difference between logistics and supply chain and they were in places of leadership. So it was an obvious that we were in what were seeing the problems, not because people were not willing to, you know, make the right decisions, just that people didn’t really know what decisions to make. So one of the things I did was really to make, I, I always call it, make a lot of noise that we need to build internal capacity. We need to bring in resources to do that. And I’m happy that that’s really engendered a lot of, you know, invest now where I sit my focus because good thing say C a C a lot of folks are in the continent and really trying to strengthen, you know, we have the Kaizen Institute, so many people Kua foundation.
Azuka Okeke (14:31):
So I think we’ve lived the foundation. And then it’s now for investments to strengthen education and research. My focus now, as CEO really is now to re you know, redirect the, the, the government in Nigeria to now start investing in local manufacturing. For me, local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals of medicines is now the key, um, um, public health issue because of what we saw with COVID pandemic. And in the, in the continent, we were not looking at it before we were only looking at distribution, but now that is what I’m looking at now, how do we actually have this meds? Things are really in the continent.
Jenny Froome (15:12):
Yeah. Yeah. It was a presentation that you did last year. Well, two years ago now, where you, you mentioned the appalling percentage of, of pharmaceuticals that are actually manufactured on the continent. I think it was 3%. I can’t remember if it was even that high, but that was a real eye eye opener for me. And I, you know, I just think that how many of us don’t understand the, the, the lack of local manufacturing. Um, and I think that you, you know, this, this work that you are setting out to do of, of huge importance, um, and again, you know, it goes back to that whole thing out how 90% of what we do or did do before the silver lining that COVID brought was that educating people about what supply chain management actually is. And now we don’t need to do that. We can actually launch into a conversation and use supply chain management without people glazing over, because they understand the importance of it. So, you know, we, we, we look for small positives these days, but that’s actually one of them.
Scott Luton (16:17):
That’s right. Really quick, Jen. Sorry, go. If I can. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I know you’re about to ask her her Eureka moment, but two quick things, first off, I love that make a lot of noise, a mantra that you’ve mentioned. I love that I’m gonna blatantly steal that. We’ve got our episode title. Now make a lot of noise with Zuka. OK. K <laugh> but <laugh>, but secondly, I love how, you know, supply chain’s boring. You know, that’s one of our podcasts here. That’s, we’ve heard that phrase a lot. And I think we all, along for the days, few years back where supply chains truly were boring, right? Because there wasn’t quite as curve balls as there are now, but nevertheless, the silver lining is we’re gonna be better as the industry based on the challenges and how we’ve had to overcome continuing how to overcome and innovate, do things better and stronger. And what I love, what I heard you say is Zuka is identify these these long hell, these, these ecosystem C challenges and address that. So bring manufacturing production to the continent, to gain some more things within our control, which is really important. So, uh, so much there, but I, I really appreciate what you shared. Okay. So Jenny, now that I’ve joined the Auca KK fan club, along with you officially Eureka moments, right.
Jenny Froome (17:36):
I don’t charge much. I promise <laugh>. Yeah. So, so yeah, exactly. So in everything that you’ve done and from the, the sort of, you know, from where you’ve started to where you are now, and in your current role and with the current trajectory of, of the, of the center of excellence, um, then what, what’s been a real Eureka moment for you, something that has really stood out, stood out for you and
Azuka Okeke (18:04):
Made you think, I think, um, two things, not necessarily one, but the first one, you know, like I mentioned earlier, when we started this journey, my goal was to get the leaders in Nigeria and also across Africa to even understand that you guys are not supply, you know, they’ll say, oh, we are supply chain experts. You know, you’ll be having meetings in Nigeria and they’ll tell you, oh, we’re going to export supply chain talent across Africa. I’m like, what <laugh> do you know what supply chain management is? And, you know, having to, you know, being cautious of, um, I was initially rejected. A lot of agencies didn didn’t want to do anything with a M because I was pushing this mandate. I was saying, we need to get the right certification. We need to get the right education. We need to have universities begin to teach people and give you proper degrees.
Azuka Okeke (18:57):
And many agencies didn’t wanna hear that. They pushed me out of their meetings. So I, I remember one moment was when I en I, um, I was able to convince, um, B MGF and this is true, Jenny, it’s not because of you. I was able to convince BM, GF. I said, okay, Tom, you need to get, um, some of these leaders to say conference in South Africa. Why? Because I had attended the apex conference in Chicago, and I said to myself, wow, the reason you huge difference, we don’t do supply chain in Nigeria. So Tom agreed on a cm, brought some folks and they attended the conference. AF when they got back to Nigeria, I was just entering my office and I received a call. And, uh, it was, uh, pharmacist liners. And he said to me, I want to say something to you. I said, okay, go ahead, sir.
Azuka Okeke (19:53):
He said, you know, I used to say, we knew supply chain. I said, yes. I said, I attended this conference and I want to say, thank you. I said, okay. He said, now I know, I don’t know anything supply <laugh>. He said, now I know after years of calling himself supply chain expert, he says, now I know, I don’t know supply chain for me. I was like, yes, we’re getting somewhere. So that one, it was, um, it was good. The second one is coming into, um, when we, I was really getting into it, working so hard and country and doing the right things and writing the right support, sending it. I remember, I dunno if you know, Prada, I had a meeting with Presant and he was in, he had invited me to <inaudible> in Harbor. So we’re having like, just sitting out and talking.
Azuka Okeke (20:49):
And I think we were talking and then after talking, he said, I said, what do you mean by, by my voice? He said, whatever you’re doing, nobody knows it. You are doing a great job, but you’ve got to find a way to communicate that it, it was a strange thing. But then I went back and I, I started looking, well, how do I find my voice? And that was how the noise began. It wasn’t meant to be noise. It was meant to say, well, this is what the country’s doing. And I’ll put it out there in Twitter. I’ll put it out there in LinkedIn. You know, what was the Eureka moment? People tried to shut me down. They said, oh, no, no. Why are you talking? Stop, stop posting. You’re trying to, I’m like, no, say the good things happening. It’s not always about the challenges, any mouse, don’t bring it out there. So for me is the fact that I needed that statement. Find your voice was an ment. What was that? Yes.
Scott Luton (21:48):
I love that. You know, there, there are so many challenges in this day and age, and there’s always been challenges in supply chain, right. There just hasn’t, hasn’t had as much attention as it has now. But to your point Zuka, if we sit back and we talk about how big that problem is, and gosh, what are we gonna do? Nothing will ever get done. So I love the, your, you know, your key point there on your second Eureka moment. So we’ve gotta move right along. I want to ask really quick, cause I want to get to your thoughts and you and Jenny thoughts on the supply chain ecosystem in Nigeria. But, you know, as you established, as we’ve done our homework on you, you’ve got a lot of expertise in creating very successful private sector or public sector collaborations. Right. And, uh, there seems to be a lot of, uh, big wins already there in, in those types of, of collaborations, but also a lot more opportunity. So speak to that a bit. What, why are you really passionate about those types of collaborations and what kind of opportunity are you seeing there moving forward?
Azuka Okeke (22:50):
Thank you very much. You know, the whole idea of having an a resource center was basically to, you know, in the whole, in the same ecosystem, you will see where government or the public sector is having challenges maybe around distribution, but that same ecosystem, you see private sector thriving. So it was something that was always the drive is how do we leverage the strength? How do we bring in private sector for government to leverage and all that. But in, in that journey, it wasn’t as simple as bring a company, you know, go to Johnson and Johnson and ask them for their expert from teach government. And that has never worked. Really. One of the things that we realized was, um, the ecosystem has to exist whereby you look at the supply chain systems in Africa, they are at the, what we would call highly immature, meaning that from the beginning of the plan, to the end of the plan, you need different private sector resources.
Azuka Okeke (23:58):
Even to the point of writing a proposal because of the limitations, expertise and experience within the private sector or within the public sector. So we looked at it from that angle and said, okay, this is a huge problem, but it is not something we can solve. One thing we need to do is not just to think of companies that will come and solve one problem because solving one problem will not give us the outcomes we’re trying to address. It’s having a platform or platform structure, where you have multiple companies coexist. You prepare them and you get them ready. So that at any point that there is a need. The response time of collaboration is shortened. That is a part of, of it. Because remember that you are dealing with two institutions. If a government says, I need private sector resources, you’ve got to go to the private sector institution.
Azuka Okeke (24:58):
And it takes time. You will spend a lot of time writing concept note, engaging the government by the time you are, is that demand. That’s like seven months and the government’s oh, we <laugh> that’s reality. So one of the things you need to look at in one of the things that we, it’s, not that people are not doing PPP it’s how do we make public private sector collaborations in supply chain responsive? Because the once there’s a demanding need to address it or else we’re gonna have issues down. The, so what we’ve thought of is setting up structured platforms have companies, and that’s where the opportunity lies companies and multiple companies, because supply chain problems does not necessarily need a supply chain solution.
Scott Luton (25:44):
All right, right. Say that a little bit louder for air for those in the back. That’s a really great point there. Say it again.
Azuka Okeke (25:51):
Supply chain problems doesn’t necessarily need a supply chain solution. So if you wanna solve a supply chain problem, you’ve got to have a whole Gar of solutions. If you have a, a solution that addresses one thing, you may not solve the end goal that’s as matter as it is. So we have these platforms where we have companies that register and we not just register and keep them, we educate them in how to work with government, prepare them because that’s very key. So that once there’s a demand, our hope is to have a response time of collaboration of one. We wow. And we’ve been achieving that in some instances, we get a day collaboration and we sign a contract.
Scott Luton (26:35):
Okay. So there’s so much more there. I really appreciate you shutting light on that. You know, you know, uh, government must exist. Of course the public sector must exist the private sector. And there’s so much that, that you’re kind of alluding to that. Not just government and public sector can learn from the private sector, but, but the sharing that each of those areas can learn from each other to get stuff done and to get stuff done in a timely manner. Right. And that’s the, that’s perhaps one of the biggest man when you, when you can really orchestrate that and get stuff done and, and, and move timeframes from seven months to a week, seven days. Yeah. Uh, you’ve really, you’ve really done stuff, move mountains. So we’ll have to have you back as you could talk more about the art of that orchestration, but Jenny, for now mm-hmm <affirmative>, since we are talking about supply chain now and zeroing in on, uh, this brilliant thought leader here that just so happens to be very active Nigeria, what, what are we looking to learn from Asuka next?
Jenny Froome (27:36):
Yeah. So Auca obviously for those people who haven’t been to Nigeria, it’s very hard to, to understand the, the, the constraints perhaps, um, and the challenges that exist. So, so from your perspective, regarding the supply chain ecosystem in Nigeria, you’ve already alluded to the vast number of people that live in the country. What are the other challenges that come to mind that you can share with, with the, so
Azuka Okeke (28:06):
I think the great challenges we face, uh, in Nigeria is the, I’ll say the structural challenges, the structures are not, they don’t exist literally in most areas. So, and then it’s, it’s quite a painful, real reality cause of the amount events investments made in, in Nigeria. And, um, that was, um, that’s just one of the major things that we’ve seen. And, you know, in donor investments, the agreement has always been that donors would invest maybe in the commodities and also in providing technical assistance, the government, they were to put in the structures they were to put in the right people, provide the right people that will be trained and have the infrastructure to, you know, to take it in institutionalized solutions. Um, unfortunately that part that the government was meant to do, hasn’t been done quite well. Not for the fact that, like I said, that it’s, it’s, it’s not for the fact that they didn’t want to do that.
Azuka Okeke (29:09):
It’s that we didn’t really spend time with the donor investments to really find out the best way to do this and make sure there’s proper buying. So for us, the major challenge now is how do you get everybody to say stop, let’s stop putting it, putting in investments. That won’t really, really, um, I’ll say that next, next year, you won’t see what the investment has addressed. You know, we need to slow it down and begin a journey. I call it the journey to sustainability. It is not going to happen overnight because infrastructure they’re required. The right human resource structure is required. Having to tell the donors to hold off a bit, slow down a bit. Don’t be so quick to put down money and having to tell the government, well, if you want the money, you’ve got to put down the structure for me, that is the major, you know, the roots that, or the routes let use the right, right frame that we all need to take.
Azuka Okeke (30:08):
That’s the major challenge. It’s not for the, that. We don’t have donor money. If they keep coming, it’s gonna be down the, you know, the drain. That’s really the reality. And for people like me that make a lot of noise, have been making that noise. I said, stop putting money in the system. Don’t come blaming the country. Don’t put anything in the media that says 24 million invested in Nigeria. Then we don’t know, know where you’re not gonna do that. So hold us, wait for direction, wait for the right policies in place strategies in place, work plans, let go back to business principles that private sector have used, use those and then begin to look at core investments, not full investments states that are willing to put cash on the table. I like to say cash because it’s money on the table. Then we start talking. So for me, yes, that’s where we’re going.
Scott Luton (31:01):
All right. So Jenny, um, and you’re not gonna
Jenny Froome (31:04):
Argue with that. Are you Scott? No,
Scott Luton (31:06):
No, no, but, but I am gonna pick on just a, one of the things that she shared earlier in that answer is, uh, the power of the timeout, right? We, we, you know, we all get into the blocking and tackling and the firefighting and, and, and you know, the day in and day out, you know, but that’s very powerful and simple gesture to keep in mind. Sometimes you gotta say, okay, everybody stop, stop what you’re doing. Right. You, you hear that phrase, you know, flying the jet while we’re building the jet. And, and, and, you know, we do some of that. You gotta do some of that sometimes, but to your point as Zuka, you know, if you don’t, you know, folks and there owners you’re speaking to are making these big investments and it’s not set up to win those investments, won’t, won’t keep coming. And, and then the, the growth and the success innovation and moving everything forward is not sustainable. Right. So I love how you think that that power of the timeout is such a great Eureka moment. I’m pulling away from this conversation one of many. Okay. So you’ve spoken a little bit and Jenny, I’m gonna give you a chance based on what she shared there, what sticks out to you before I, I, you know, move forward and, and ask her more broadly.
Jenny Froome (32:13):
Yeah. It’s, it’s the, it goes back to that whole basis of accountability, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s like, you can be given as much as you think you need, but until you are accountable for how you spend it or what you do with it, it’s never gonna be an effective solution.
Scott Luton (32:29):
Yeah. Well said, well said, and a lot fewer words than I, you, you always do that. Jenny, you can pick those seven great words. <laugh> you don’t need eight, just use seven. I love that. All right. So, uh, Zuka um, really have enjoyed what you’ve shared already. We’re gonna have to have you back so we can expound more on some of this stuff. So when you look at the broader global supply chain, you know, these, these are despite all the challenges and, and, you know, um, there’s not, there’s been no short. It still has been a, an exceptional time to be in global supply chain. Right? So in your words, and then from where you sit, what’s a couple of things that are really front and center when it comes to topics in global supply chain, uh, in your mind,
Azuka Okeke (33:14):
When I think, um, global supply chain is now, one of the key things we are beginning to appreciate is the role of thought leaders thought leadership. I think it’s becoming more significant, you know, um, people that can look at things from that broad perspective and begin to look at, you know, how they address it in context. So I think, um, those are some of the wins, you know, despite the challenges of COVID, we, we now see, they need to listen to one another to say, well, well, what’s happening in India? What’s what’s going on over there in the us. And I think for me is also the fact that the pandemic has made us look at things globally more unlike before it was more like this is an Africa pro this is an issue. Um, we have the funding coming from one direction. Now I’m interested in knowing how us is solving the COVID immunization.
Azuka Okeke (34:09):
You know, what are the patterns? What are the challenges? So, for me, it is right now where we, I think it’s the learning the opportunity to learn across continent nations, where all struggling with the same thing and, um, the, the variance and the COVID, they think they’re smart, but I think they’re making us smart, sad, but then it’s, it’s the reality. We, we, we, we are having smarter people. We’re having people looking at things more broadly, and we are coming to communities like this to share our thoughts. So for me, is thought leadership and opportunity to learn globally is really what’s coming out forefront
Scott Luton (34:49):
For me, Jenny, uh, your response to that.
Jenny Froome (34:53):
Yeah. It’s the human relationships. I think it’s that human contact that, that people are realizing that, you know, before it was all about your, your digitization and your technology, et cetera. But if you don’t have the fundamental human input and elements and the collaboration, then, then it’s a bit of a lost cause. And I think that that’s something that’s definitely come more and more and more to the fall.
Scott Luton (35:20):
I agree with you. I agree with both of you, you know, there has been, we just, we, we ha have to harp on it all the time, because when you’re going through tough stretches, this has been really tough stretch for all of us globally, to, to your point of Zuka sometimes you gotta kind of focus on the gains. You’re still making, right. You gotta the innovation. You know, when I see, I see workforce safety, which really has come in meaningful ways to the forefront workforce, flexibility you, the voice of the employee, these trends really were ex uh, um, uh, amplified in the last couple years. You know, I look get, you know, how supply chains are looking at some of the problems that beca were, were were secondary forever, or at least for a long time that now their front center, their, their priorities, one, a, B, and C, and it’s changing.
Scott Luton (36:10):
It’s not just changing the, the industry, but it’s changing and presenting new opportunities for folks globally, right. And on different levels. So I’m optimistic. And it sounds like y’all are optimistic as well when we get through the end of this stretch. And we can at least say, at least say, not that COVID is going away. At least say the pandemic is over, right. I’m not a doctor, but I think we can get there. You know, we’re gonna learn so much for generations to come from what we’ve been through these last few years. And that’s a, that’s a really good thing. And by the way, as we all can agree, the, the supply chain practitioner and the visibility of that profession and the opportunities, and, and to some degree, the prestige of that, that’s a great thing for bringing lots of talent everywhere into the into. So whether it’s in Africa, uh, north America, you name it. That’s great for everybody mm-hmm <affirmative> okay. So
Jenny Froome (37:06):
I’m just gonna add one thing that Greg white mentioned in an interview, we did eons ago at the beginning of all of this. And he said, he hopes that the supply chain practitioner he’s been shouting for that C seat at the table is ready for the seat at the table. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I think that, you know, that’s something else that, okay, so now we’ve got the attention on the profession now, what, and that’s the critical point that I think maybe we’ve gone past the, the, the main point and everyone’s really thinking about it, but I think that to your point, Scott goes that opportunity. There is so much opportunity that’s out there
Scott Luton (37:43):
Agreed to that point. So Zuka, I’d love to get your, kind of your final thoughts before we make sure folks can know how to connect with you and the Africa resource center for excellence in supply chain management. So Zuka, as we talk about, you know, what you share there and kinda moving forward good and bad, you know, what’s your final thought in terms of, um, the year that lays in front of us here?
Azuka Okeke (38:10):
I think, um, it’s going to be an amazing 20, 22 for us in Nigeria. We have, um, I call, I call it more responsive and responsible government meant, um, that are now beginning to adopt, um, you know, business practices and strengthening supply chains, particularly within the public health sector. What that means is that as we have more states in Nigeria, come up with clear work plans and, um, budgets, we then need to have the private sector in place. And just like what Jenny said, you know, the last statement is the challenges. The challenge we have is do we then have enough adequate prepared private sector to, you know, begin to call that is our greatest challenge right now. It’s no longer the governments, the governments now understand what to do, and they’re going about it. Where are the local companies, where are the, um, global companies that have local footprints? We wanna see more of them, um, work with us or be in our platform. So for us, for the year to be a success, we really hope to have more, um, lo um, private sector companies, academia, uh, institutions that provide education that are ready to work with our government. So for me, looking forward more of that, yes,
Scott Luton (39:37):
I love that. Okay. And it needs, you know, uh, it needs great thought leaders that, uh, are rooted in a bias for action, not just lip service and, and with between Auca and Jenny and your respective organizations, that’s what it takes. So I really admire y’all’s your, your, your action focus leadership and that at regard. Okay. So to that end, Auca KK CEO of the Africa resource center for excellence in supply chain management. How can folks connect with you and learn more about your organization?
Azuka Okeke (40:09):
Excellent. Um, is connecting with people. One is, um, I mean, I’m on LinkedIn. Um, Zuka okay. I’m very visible. <laugh> so please folks can connect with me directly via my LinkedIn. Um, Zuka OK. Just go, AKA. Okay. Can you see me? And then also, I mean, Jenny has all my contact details, so I would also want people to reach out to Jenny. She knows how to, you know, I, I never say no to Jenny I’m I’m yet to get to the point, Jenny. So <laugh> anyone. And of course I’m always willing to be in platforms where I can educate people about what we do, because we do want, um, you know, to use our time, well, this year, you know, in educating folks. So there are platforms where we can talk about our work and where we are definitely I’m interested. So if there’s a company that want to have like a mini presentation or something like that, I’m always willing. So I think I’m easy to connect with. Thank you. I
Scott Luton (41:11):
Love that Zuka and it’s good to be easy to connect with, and that’s how we help to create those free flow, uh, ideas and, and new practices. Not, not necessarily best practices because to what y’all both are speaking to, we gotta have a lot of new practices, maybe new non supply chain practices, who knows. All right. So Jenny, let’s make sure, uh, how folks know how to connect with you and SAEX.
Jenny Froome (41:38):
Yep. Thank you. We’re also on LinkedIn. Uh, we’ve got the SAEX company page, that’s SAP, ICS, um, and, uh, and I’m also active on LinkedIn and also Twitter. I love my Twitter. I know P some people don’t, but I enjoy it. I think it’s my attention span. It appeals to best of all, but Jenny free and you’ll find me
Scott Luton (42:01):
Wonderful. And, and, and yes, you’ve gotta connect with Jenny, uh, all those places, but especially Twitter. She is a great Twitter follow. Um, okay. So, uh, big, thanks to a zoo KK with, again, with the, uh, Africa resource center for excellence in supply chain management. Uh, thank you so much. Zuka
Jenny Froome (42:22):
Thank you very much, Scott. And thank you very much, Jenny. You bet,
Scott Luton (42:26):
But don’t go away just yet, because we’re gonna talk about you as if you’re not still in the room in the zoom room with us. Uh, Jenny, we’ve got just an extra minute or two before we wrap here today. Zuka shared a lot in roughly 50 minutes, right. And, you know, I feel like I’m, I’m ready to run through the wall behind me, based on a lot of what she shared. She’s very, very inspiring. What was your favorite part from what she shared here today?
Jenny Froome (42:53):
So much? And I, as always, it’s always like, you feel like you’ve been passed by a whirlwind whenever you’ve had the privilege of listening to all the ideas and not just ideas as UCA is one of those people who does actually do the doing as well. Um, and, and really is a, is an example to all of us of don’t just talk actually do and also make the noise. Um, so I think, I think the making the noise, there’s making a noise and there’s making a constructive noise. And I think that she’s got that down to her. You’ve got that down to Hert. Um, and also I love that comment about the clever variance and us becoming clever. And we really, from, from her work from her lips to whoever’s listening, please may that be, so
Scott Luton (43:41):
That agreed that, that, that was really, it’s really brilliant to hear that in, in that positive spin, oh gosh, all these variants that have come after us. Oh, no, there’s a new one. There is, there is a, anyway it seems like every week, every week’s release, it’s like technology.
Jenny Froome (43:57):
That must just go away
Scott Luton (43:58):
Now, please. Yes, please. But I I’ll just add one more thing to that. There was so much there that, that make a lot of noise that that’s a mantra folks I think can rally around. Um, uh, but also, I, I think it’s really important out of all the things she shared. One of my favorites was, uh, non supply chain solutions because the way perceive that it’s, as we learned these last couple years, but as we’ve been learning for longer beyond pandemic, we can’t, we can’t sit on laurels of what has worked previously. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, we can’t sit on laurels of what has ha has worked for different parts of the world. And only for certain parts of the world, we can’t sit on any of that stuff. We gotta constantly look in the mirror and, and, and, and really question, okay, what’s the ramifications, what’s the repercussions, you know, uh, we can’t sit over, sit on our hands and look at the same old tired solutions.
Scott Luton (44:47):
So I love that. I love that thinking as Zuki, you’re a breather for fresh share Jenny as always. You always are. I love these conversations with you and, uh, big, thanks to Jenny fr and SAP pick. Let’s do another one again soon next month, I guess. Right, Jenny? Yeah, that would be great. All right. Big, thanks again, Jenny fr with SAP pick big, thanks. Uh, Zuka KK with the African resource center for excellence, supply management folks. You heard it here can, there’s so much to act on with what you hear Zuka share here today. Hopefully you enjoy the conversation as much as I have. Um, you know, if you like conversations like this fines spot chain now and subscribe schmancy thing, but more importantly, most importantly challenge you, Hey, be like, Ozuka do good give forward, but be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time, right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure 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.
Azuka Okeke is the Chief Executive Officer of ARC_ESC. She oversees supply chain transformation projects in Nigeria and has also supported other African countries in strengthening their health systems. She is best known for her expertise in engaging governments and development partners, supporting them to prioritize and invest in health supply chain programmes in Africa. Her work has improved financial investments by the Federal and State governments in Nigeria and co-investments worth over $8,000,000 (Eight Million US Dollars) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, and GAVI. Azuka is well known for the role she plays as a Thought Partner and Advisor to National Ministries of Health in Africa. Beyond government engagements, she has successfully facilitated Public-Private Partnerships for innovative health financing through platforms such as the World Economic Forum and recently ARC. Currently, she has pioneered the set-up of a first of its kind Membership Platform for the private sector in Nigeria through which private corporates and individual experts have contributed about $700,000 (Seven Hundred Thousand US Dollars) to public health programmes within the past four years. Her ambition is to provide governments and partners with a pragmatic framework for sustainability and country ownership for supply chain delivery. Her most recent aspiration is in advocating for human capital development in Africa and championing a collaboration with MIT Boston, Zaragoza Logistics Centre, Spain, and six local universities in Nigeria to set-up a Pan-African Centre of Excellence for Supply Chain Management. Azuka is extraordinarily talented in coordinating and managing high performing teams to deliver quality sustainable programmes and is a proud Canon Collins Scholarship recipient (2011- 2013); Commonwealth Scholar (2013); and member of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacist. She has served as a Board of Director for ARC in South Africa and is now an Executive Director for ARC_ESC. She also serves at the global level as a Programme Committee Member for the Global Health Supply Chain Summit. Connect with Azuka on LinkedIn.
Jenny Froome is the Acting Chief Operating Officer at SAPICS – which is the Professional Body for Supply Chain Management in South Africa but working with countries around the world to have Supply Chain Management recognised as a profession. She started her professional career in the UK as a secretary and then moved to event management. Little did she know that as an event manager she was actually practicing supply chain management every day! In 1997 they managed their first ever SAPICS annual conference in South Africa and the rest, as they say, is history! Now managing the SAPICS annual conference – the leading event in Africa for supply chain professionals – as an online event until we get control of Covid-19. We long for the opportunity to get back to face to face events. In the meantime we keep our community connected. She is on a mission to shine the spotlight on supply chains in Africa and the wealth of supply chain talent that is available on the continent.
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.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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.