Gartner’s Top 25 Supply Chain ranking was started 19 years ago to recognize the best supply chains in the world and to raise awareness about the impact a well-run supply chain can have on the overall health and competitiveness of a business.
Mike Griswold is the Vice President of Research at Gartner, specializing in retail with a particular focus on forecasting and replenishment. He is responsible for Gartner’s annual Top 25 Supply Chain ranking and joins Supply Chain Now on a monthly basis to discuss the latest in retail supply chains from an analyst’s perspective.
In this episode, Mike talks about the importance of learning from the best supply chains in the world with co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White:
• What everyone can expect to hear and learn from the ‘big reveal’ of this year’s Top 25 Supply Chain ranking on May 24th
• The three macro-themes that serve as the focus for this year’s ranking: driving growth in an elevated risk environment, embracing the supply chain ecosystem concept, and investing in digitally facilitated connections with customers, suppliers, and employees
• Special bonus guest Donna Krache, Supply Chain Now’s Director of Communications and Executive Producer, also joined the stream to share the professional and life lessons she has gathered during her fifty years in the workforce
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 (00:31):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and the one and only Kevin L. Jackson here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Kevin, how you doing today?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:40):
It’s been a great week. I mean, I — I’m excited about a lot of things. But today’s show, I’ve been waiting for it. You know, I tell you, Lexmark is, one of my favorite companies.
Scott Luton (00:54):
Man, that’s high praise coming from Kevin L. Jackson. Well, Kevin, I am too. We’ve been looking forward to this excellent show lined up. One of our favorite repeat guests is back.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:04):
Scott Luton (01:05):
She’s an award-winning mover and shaker, doing big things out in global industry. And today we’re going to be talking about the critical intersection, I’ll call it, of manufacturing, supply chain, and technology. So, it should be a great show, huh?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:17):
Yes, absolutely. These are three key aspects of every business.
Scott Luton (01:22):
Today’s episode, we should make sure to mention it’s presented in partnership with our friends at Microsoft, who’s doing some pretty cool things in industry. Helping to move us all forward, for sure. We’ll touch on that maybe towards the end of today’s conversation. So, Kevin, are we ready to introduce one of my favorite guests?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:39):
Yes, I’m holding on. Let’s do this.
Scott Luton (01:40):
Hold on. Edge of the seat. OK. All right. So, as I mentioned, our featured guest today is an award-winning business leader. Our guest brings more than 30 years of experience in the high-tech industry and then some. In her current role, she’s responsible for product delivery strategy, which includes areas such as supply chain, manufacturing, hardware, and supplies development, and a lot more.
Scott Luton (02:03):
So, back by popular demand, please join me in welcoming Tonya Jackson, senior vice president and chief product delivery officer with Lexmark. Tonya, how you doing?
Tonya Jackson (02:12):
I am doing great. Thank you, Scott. Thank you for the introduction. Thank you, Kevin.
Scott Luton (02:17):
Kevin L. Jackson (02:17):
Yes, I’m excited.
Scott Luton (02:18):
We are too. Now, I’ve told Kevin, I’ve got Tonya Jackson under ruse. I’ve really — we’ve really enjoyed, our conversations. And, you know, apart from model lip service, Tonya, I mean, you’re doing it. You’ve been recognized by a variety of folks for your leadership and a lot of the innovations that you are doing at Lexmark. So, we’re going to dive right into all of that today.
Scott Luton (02:37):
But, Tonya and Kevin, before we get into all that good stuff, I’m looking out my window.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:42):
Scott Luton (02:43):
And it’s raining a little bit today. It’s a little spring rain. But Tonya and Kevin, it is like been 72 degrees. Sun’s out. I’ve got some bluebird babies. I mean, it’s just been a gorgeous time of year. Farmer’s markets are about to open up, right? Next couple of weeks.
Scott Luton (02:57):
So, I want to start with a little fun warmup question, Tonya. I know you — and you’re originally from North Carolina, if I’m not mistaken.
Tonya Jackson (03:03):
Scott Luton (03:03):
You live in Kentucky now.
Tonya Jackson (03:04):
Scott Luton (03:04):
So, we’ve shared some of those stories —
Tonya Jackson (03:06):
Scott Luton (03:06):
— and kindred spirits there.
Tonya Jackson (03:08):
Scott Luton (03:08):
What’s one thing, Tonya, that you look forward to this time of year, every year?
Tonya Jackson (03:12):
OK, Scott. So, thanks for that because the — this is spring in Kentucky, and I’ll give a shout out and a nod to Keeneland, which is the spring meet that we — it’s a — it’s the race — a horse race track that we have here in Lexington. So, last weekend I was actually at Keeneland and with some family and friends, and it was just a lot of fun. It is just a lot of fun to go out on a weekend and see the horses, see family, see friends, and just have a really good time.
Tonya Jackson (03:38):
So, Keeneland in — spring in Kentucky is — that April meet and —
Scott Luton (03:43):
Tonya Jackson (03:44):
— in Lexington, in particular, is Keeneland.
Scott Luton (03:45):
I bet there’s some good food there too.
Tonya Jackson (03:47):
Some great food.
Scott Luton (03:49):
Tonya Jackson (03:49):
Kevin L. Jackson (03:51):
Scott Luton (03:51):
So, Kevin, that’s maybe tough the top.
Kevin L. Jackson (03:52):
Scott Luton (03:53):
Tonya set the bar.
Kevin L. Jackson (03:54):
No, sorry. I’m going to have to —
Tonya Jackson (03:55):
Kevin L. Jackson (03:56):
I’m going to have to throw a flag here.
Scott Luton (03:58):
Kevin L. Jackson (03:58):
I’m going to have to throw a flag.
Tonya Jackson (04:00):
Kevin L. Jackson (04:01):
It’s Louisville. I tell you. It’s Louisville, Kentucky, where spring is hot. OK. I see — I kept this as a surprise.
Scott Luton (04:10):
Kevin L. Jackson (04:10):
I lived in Louisville when I was young. I went to Thomas Jefferson High School when I was in the marching band. I played at Churchill Downs. I saw —
Tonya Jackson (04:21):
Oh. OK. All right.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:22):
I saw —
Tonya Jackson (04:23):
That’s one upping me. OK now. OK. All right.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:25):
I saw —
Tonya Jackson (04:26):
Are we going to be like that? Is it — is this how this show is going to be like?
Kevin L. Jackson (04:29):
I played — we played when secretariat ran.
Scott Luton (04:35):
Kevin L. Jackson (04:35):
That was one of the highlights of my life. So —
Tonya Jackson (04:39):
Awesome. That is fantastic.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:40):
— I’m going to have to say the Kentucky derby is something —
Scott Luton (04:43):
Kevin L. Jackson (04:44):
— that I look forward to in this spring. But now that I live in Virginia, I’m looking for the first trip down to Virginia Beach where, you know, the water’s not — when it’s not too cold. Right.
Scott Luton (04:58):
Wow. All right. So, Tonya.
Tonya Jackson (04:59):
Scott Luton (04:59):
I’ve knocked out, a couple hundred interviews and shows with Kevin L. Jackson. I learned something new. He plays — he played in the band. So, Kevin, what —
Tonya Jackson (05:09):
But, yes — What instrument though?
Scott Luton (05:10):
Tonya Jackson (05:10):
That’s what he didn’t say. I noticed that he didn’t say. He said a lot about Louisville and traced it down —
Kevin L. Jackson (05:15):
I played — no, no, no. I played the flute, actually.
Scott Luton (05:19):
Tonya Jackson (05:19):
Kevin L. Jackson (05:20):
And I actually went on and played jazz flute and R and B when I was in college. And sax. And a little bit of keyboard. So, hey, come on. Come on, I’m ready.
Tonya Jackson (05:32):
I played the flute. But I can see —
Kevin L. Jackson (05:35):
You played the flute, too?
Tonya Jackson (05:35):
I — so, Scott, we’re approaching cousin status here.
Scott Luton (05:39):
Tonya Jackson (05:39):
But yes. So — but my career ended in high school. I didn’t take it to college. I did all — I did all right. But I wasn’t that good.
Scott Luton (05:48):
Tonya Jackson (05:49):
I stopped in high school.
Scott Luton (05:50):
All right. Tonya and Kevin, we always talked about kind of getting the band back together. Supply chain jam band coming to a town near your road show. As much as I enjoyed that, we got to get to work, folks. We got a lot of stuff to get to. I can’t wait to get an update on all the cool things Tonya and her team went up to. Kevin, where are we starting here as we get to work with Tonya?
Kevin L. Jackson (06:08):
Well, actually, you know, aside from playing the flute, I’ve really enjoyed Tonya’s interviews in the past here on Supply Chain Now. As a refresher for our listeners, could you please briefly tell us a little bit about Lexmark and your role as chief product delivery officer, Tonya?
Tonya Jackson (06:29):
Yes, sure. So, we — let me start with Lexmark first. I introduced it a little bit that we are — our head — our headquarters are here in Lexington, Kentucky. We are a global organization and we basically work to provide our customers with imaging devices, as well as IoT technologies. And our long history has been one of, kind of, looking at an industry specific approach to printers and imaging. So, we set up, you know, kind of verticals in — whether it’s banking, government, healthcare, education so we can develop solutions that are very specific to solving customer’s problems.
Tonya Jackson (07:03):
So, that’s our, kind of, our core business. And as I said, we’ve always done managed print service — not always, but we’ve done managed print services a long time. And we — you would maybe appreciate it. We’d like to say MPS or management print services. That was the kind of original IoT before IoT was a — as a thing, right? Like, you know —
Kevin L. Jackson (07:21):
Tonya Jackson (07:22):
— we were phoning home to tell printer — tell — to tell — we would know when to send supplies, send service parts, send those kinds of things so that the customer wouldn’t have to deal with any of that. So, we were always in that business of putting sensors and devices and monitoring that portals and those kinds of things.
Tonya Jackson (07:39):
So, we’ve taken that technology that we’ve always used in printers and are developing another business to connect other things that a customer may have. Whether it’s office equipment, whether it’s hospital, you know, equipment. Things that need to be on some kind of service rotation so that we can deploy our same technology instead of with printers with other equipment.
Tonya Jackson (08:01):
So, that’s an emerging part of the business. Where I — my team, we are solidly in what we call the imaging business. And the product delivery group that we have is a — it’s a — it is a combined organization that has research and development, supply chain and service delivery all in. So — and sustainability.
Tonya Jackson (08:22):
So, it’s kind of end-to-end, from the product design development, making sure that we are developing something that we can source and manufacture for a very long time because our supplies last a very long time in terms of, you know, people continuing to replenish their devices. And we have, again, a strong sustainability group that is helping us, whether it’s recycle content of developing refurbishment models and those types of things so that we can — once the customer has the device and is no longer — wants to upgrade or whatever, we can get that device back, refurbish, remanufacture, get it back out into the field.
Tonya Jackson (08:59):
So, the cool thing is that the organization is feeding each other. So, you know, the service team is saying, these are the components or the modules that may be — development needs to focus more on, because I’m replacing these too much, right? And so, what do we need to do there from a design perspective? And I’ve talked about it, we’re not going to talk about the supply chain crisis on this one. I — it’s pretty — it’s still pretty traumatic. But the —
Kevin L. Jackson (09:22):
Scott Luton (09:22):
Tonya Jackson (09:23):
— but the fact that the design team works so closely now with the sourcing and the supply chain team, it’s just going to be a better — we’ll talk about resiliency a little bit, but we’re going to have — we are building resiliency because we are designing something with the manufacturing aspect of it in mind now.
Scott Luton (09:43):
So, there’s so much in there. Man, it’s like a series within a series. I — just a couple things before we move on, Kevin, not only was, it sounds like Lexmark was IoT before IoT was cool. But also customers experience, they were doing a lot of that stuff before that became such a big thing here, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (09:59):
Scott Luton (09:59):
And the other thing, Kevin, before I get your comment maybe is, I loved the focus — one of the focuses that Tonya shared on remanufacturing and refurbishment. There’s so much we can be doing there that will help in some of our other efforts that we’re charged with as leaders. So, Kevin, your quick thoughts before I move forward.
Kevin L. Jackson (10:16):
One thing that really jumped out at me was the end-to-end approach, right? They have — organizationally they have positioned themselves to really provide the service to the end customer that they need. That’s important. That’s critical in any, any business. And I like their approach. You know, it’s — many companies fail to organizationally address that service that —
Scott Luton (10:44):
Kevin L. Jackson (10:45):
— to the end customer.
Scott Luton (10:46):
That’s right. I bet that helps with some of the silo busts that’s got to go on to get stuff done and get it done at a certain level. So, good call out there, Kevin.
Scott Luton (10:53):
Tonya, so much more to get into here today. I’m going to ask you about, when it comes in particular to manufacturing operations within global supply chain, what’s two or three topics or trends that are priorities or maybe, how on your radar, or call it to you and the Lexmark leadership team right now?
Tonya Jackson (11:10):
Yes, so a couple things here, Scott. It’s — some of it, I’m going to go back a little bit up the chain and then it ends up with manufacturing. One of the things that all of us have learned, and the focus is on simplification. So, it’s not — and it’s not just simplification in manufacturing, it’s what manufacturing is receiving. Whether that’s simplifying the portfolio, common parts, all those kind — back to, again, to the design phase so that the manufacturing process can really be more efficient instead of a, you know, a bunch of cross — changeovers and all of those kinds of things that have — that typically have to happen.
Tonya Jackson (11:45):
What can we do to minimize in through the design, through the portfolio management, working back with marketing sales? And the — and still — but still — you still want a disruptive and a differentiated offering. You could still do all of those things. You can’t have it all, you know, one way, but what are the key things, key functions, key features, and how can we design that so that we can make sure from a manufacturing perspective we have the response that we need at the cost that we need in all those kinds of things.
Tonya Jackson (12:10):
So, it’s not per — it’s not — what’s happening on the manufacturing floor, but it’s the things that we need to do upstreaming to get manufacturing a fighting chance to do what they do well instead of having to make a lot of adjustments. And the other thing is more, perhaps more broad as well, and that’s just the manufacturing footprint. And where do you the hold diversification? And we’re looking at like everyone else. What do you want your manufacturing footprint to look like? Where do you want it to be located? What — how many partners do you want? How — you want really long-term partners now because those are some of the lessons, again, from the crisis. It’s just some of the best results for people that you’ve been working with a long time. And that just kind of helped you — you just worked together to get through it.
Tonya Jackson (12:52):
So, trying to make sure that we have the right partners and that we are working with those partners to grow their capabilities. And then also looking at really from a global perspective, where do we want to manufacture what and how do we want to set up what we call, regional manufacturing in some places. You want a base in one country maybe. But you have customers over a large customer base in another region, and do you want a regional, you know, kind of hub there?
Tonya Jackson (13:17):
And then I talked a little bit about sustainability, again. I think as we get into, and you’ve probably done some podcasts on the whole, the greenhouse gas reporting scope three. And most people can do scope one and two.
Scott Luton (13:32):
Tonya Jackson (13:32):
But when you get into the scope three with that value chain that long — where you have lots of manufacturing. So, trying to just start to understand what we’re measuring, get a good baseline on the value chain. On our own operations, I think we’re in good shape. But on everything else is, is working with the partners to make sure that we’re understanding what their challenges are, what their goals are. And then we talked a little bit about supply chain transparency and the auditing our suppliers because we’re ultimately responsible. So, what’s going on from a social perspective there? So those are some of the things that we’re working on as well as, and we’ll talk a little bit about it, how to be more efficient from, in terms of, what we’re doing to digitize some of the operations and of course automation.
Tonya Jackson (14:13):
We’re — with automation, we’re — I think we’re getting smarter about what to automate because you can over automate and then you’re — you just, you know, you, you got a lot of equipment that you can’t do anything with. So, what part of the processes should we automate and making sure even then that we’re designing for automation because you don’t want to design something that you’re building and then go automate it. It’s — you can do it, but it’s just not as efficient.
Tonya Jackson (14:37):
So, that’s a little bit on the digital side. We — I know we’re talking a little bit about that, but for us it’s about simplification and then diversification, and then a large piece of sustainability. And one thing I didn’t say, and I think it’s understood, you know, sustainability, remanufacturing, recycling, reusing all of that while people — it is definitely good for the environment. It is the right thing to do. It is in cost savings. When you can reuse something, you don’t need to do a bunch of business cases for it. It’s common sense. And I think sometimes people get tied up with, well, is there a business case for that? And that if you can’t save money by reusing something, you just — you’re doing it wrong.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:15):
There’s a problem.
Tonya Jackson (15:16):
So, you don’t need to spend a bunch of time trying to, you know, figure, you know, argue internally about, you know, the benefit. It is going to save you money. And the more you do that, and the more the whole team gets jazzed and excited about it, it just — it gets the — everybody’s creative juice to start to flow. Back from the design again, what can we, you know, that you’re going to design a part? How many times can I reuse this? And in manufacturing, they’re sitting there trying to figure out all of the things that they can do to reuse things.
Tonya Jackson (15:44):
So, sustainability is real — it is obviously important from a social perspective, but it is good business from cost savings. And customers are asking more and more for it for sure. But don’t think that it’s a — well, it’s going to cost me something to recycle.
Scott Luton (15:58):
Kevin L. Jackson (15:58):
Right. It seems like, you’re dealing with trying to find that balance between onshoring, offshoring and nearshoring. Many companies are trying to deal with that because it affects all of those other aspects that running a business that you mentioned, including sustainability. One question I had, however, is data. How does data help you in understanding the decision space, right? Between onshoring, offshoring and nearshoring? How do you make that decision? Do you have any comments on that?
Tonya Jackson (16:38):
Yes, so data’s a few different forms and we can hopefully talk about. I’ll try to answer it and if I’m missing the data question, come back to me. That — so, what we would look at is a, what we call a landed cost, right? And to look at the data — we would start — the data crunching starts with the complexity of the supply chain and where are the components come. Not just where the tier one where you’re assembling, right? But where all of these components coming from? And we’ve built a tool, we’ve talked about it before our period is heavily using power BI to understand where our center of gravity is from first of all our customer set. But also, all of the data that’s going back and forth with the suppliers, because the supply chain is pretty complicated, tier one down to tier, you know, X.
Tonya Jackson (17:28):
And so, how do we — where are all of those, you know, components coming from? And then also, what’s the geopolitical state that’s going on with the various countries that we may be looking for? What’s the cost associated in those countries? And then looking — working with — we work closely with our finance team also to take all of our, kind of, operational data with all of the financial data than with the, of course, the sales team because that’s where the customers are, you know, what matters.
Tonya Jackson (17:54):
And then where should we — if we look at all of those things, what’s the — what are the options? And it starts with options and you iterate from there. I mean, if you have the data and roughly in one place, you can just start to, you know, pull levers and start to run some scenarios without digitally, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (18:14):
Tonya Jackson (18:14):
Without having to do a bunch of pilots, right? Just — you just start to model some things and put some best case, worst cases in whatever format that people are looking for. Because some people are looking for, you know, customer impact. Some people are looking for the bottom-line cost. Some people are looking for how much inventory do you have to pile up. All of those things that we can get there if we’ve got a reasonable handle on data.
Tonya Jackson (18:38):
It’s not perfect. It is not. But in general, we’ve — we have worked really hard to take the data that we have, which is abundance of data in anybody’s supply chain. But to figure out what is it telling us and how can — what is the answer that is giving us and then how can we put that toward an outcome, right?
Tonya Jackson (18:56):
So, it’s a bit of an ongoing battle. And, you know, one of the things I wanted to put a plug in here is we’ve — I have a peer, his name is Bashal [phonetic], he heads up our technology group. And when we talk about data, it’s really interesting because we date — we have a group that does, you know, data analysis, right? What we — what he’s done is partnered with North Carolina State and they — we are training data analysts internally. Because it’s —
Scott Luton (19:24):
Love that. Wow.
Kevin L. Jackson (19:24):
Tonya Jackson (19:25):
— really hard to go hire a bunch of data analysts. But you don’t — the cool thing is that we have supply chain people that are getting this certification. So, it’s — the — because that way they’re getting the training to handle this data, but they understand the business, right? Because sometimes you get a data analyst and they don’t — they —
Scott Luton (19:43):
Have the context.
Tonya Jackson (19:44):
— they’re great with the data but the context is just hard, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (19:46):
All about the context, sure.
Tonya Jackson (19:47):
It’s just all about the context. And what that does for us is it gives us this expert — several experts that know the business. They love what they’re doing. But now, instead of doing things the way we’ve always done and they come at it from a digital and a data perspective. And they can help us take all of this stuff that’s been sitting in files and, you know, whatever. And we don’t — and actually, you know, make it something that’s much more, you know, usable.
Tonya Jackson (20:14):
And so, I — it’s — and it gives them career growth. And I’m sure we’re going to talk about one of the big things, obviously, is making sure that you don’t do any of this that I’m talking about without really great people.
Scott Luton (20:24):
Tonya Jackson (20:25):
And people want to continue to grow and learn and be challenged. And so, we have people that grew up in supply chain that are now, you know, getting — they’re data scientists. And they come back, they take the training, it’s pretty intense, they come back and they apply that in our organization, which is —
Scott Luton (20:42):
I love it.
Tonya Jackson (20:42):
— which is really fantastic.
Scott Luton (20:44):
Kevin L. Jackson (20:44):
Yes, I always say that, you know, digital transformation is about the people.
Scott Luton (20:48):
Tonya Jackson (20:48):
Kevin L. Jackson (20:48):
And that’s what you’re showing.
Scott Luton (20:50):
He does. He says that. He says that. Hey, I’m going back upstream to those horse races you all both are talking about because I’m chomping at a bit in the conversation.
Tonya Jackson (21:00):
I’m not — you know, I’m not sure I want to go back to the horse races. He totally destroyed me with Churchill Downs. So, he win.
Kevin L. Jackson (21:07):
Well, that was my first job — that was actually my first job. I was an usher at Churchill Downs.
Scott Luton (21:13):
OK. Man, you never know. You never know what Kevin’s going to bring to the table here. Tonya, there’s so much in what you shared there. And I just want to call a few things out for our listeners, what’s old is new again, and powerful simplicity. You know, I was talking with the chief supply chain officer of one of the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare organizations. And we were talking about what got them through the crisis and the pandemic. And a lot — a big theme of his answer was reducing variants, right, and eliminating waste.
Scott Luton (21:42):
And those are — we’ve heard of those thousands of times. We’ve done — we’ve acted on that millions of times. But they are extremely powerful. You mentioned the ecosystem and how you’re responsible. Lexmark is responsible for the — for what goes on in the ecosystem. It’s not within the four walls. And I loved your statement there because that’s — more and more, I’m hoping more leaders across supply chain and, really, across global business, really accept that responsibility because we’ll be eliminating a lot of bad actors and bad things.
Scott Luton (22:12):
And then lastly, on a lighter note, you mentioned common sense and how everything doesn’t have to have a business case. Well, I would argue that a million things are short in supply here these days, still. Common sense, unfortunately, it’s still one of them, Tonya and Kevin. So, we’ll see if that changes. But Kevin and Tonya, I want to move this into — Kevin, do you want to comment on any of those things before I move this forward?
Kevin L. Jackson (22:32):
Well, I think I really appreciate their holistic approach that Tonya is outlining. I mean, it’s not just about inside the four walls. They actually understand and appreciate the importance of their partners across the ecosystem and that’s good. That’s really good.
Scott Luton (22:52):
Absolutely, absolutely. And we talked — touched on that great NC State program, creating opportunities for folks, learning opportunities and credentials and more. OK. So, for the sake of time, I got to move us forward. Tonya, we want to talk about — and maybe you touched on some of these in your early responses, but what else would you consider a couple of initiatives that Lexmark has rolled out in recent years to move your digital transformation forward?
Tonya Jackson (23:17):
Yes, I’ll just — for the sake of time, I’ll talk about one in a broad way. So, we have a — offered — as I said, we’ve taken our learnings and our expertise in IoT in general. And our use — we’re using that in a — we’ve developed a commercial offering, it’s called Optra, that’s our trade name, which goes back to our heritage, our first laser printer was branded Optra. And so, it’s kind of a cool but it’s called Optra Edge. And so, we’re using the edge technology and we are looking at — from a manufacturing — in a manufacturing setting of when you have things sitting, what — things can be anything. It could be, you know, you have things that come into your factory and they sit then they get moved. It could be a line that’s running and how fast at tac time, those kinds of things.
Tonya Jackson (23:59):
But — and so, what we’re doing is installing visual or cameras. And to monitor some of these stages — when things — where things are being staged or inspections. And we have — there’s always inspections that anybody’s — in anybody’s manufacturing operation. And a lot of times they are — they’re sometimes — with cameras, sometimes they’re people or whatever. But we’re getting smarter with using what we call Optra Edge which is really our IoT device and we’re using the edge technology so that we can — we get the information quick and we can respond to it.
Tonya Jackson (24:33):
And what we’re looking for are variances. Things that are — or things that are not moving, why are they not moving? And then you can do your regular manufacturing process in terms of lean and continues improvement. But you have the data to, you know, the data there to say, OK. This is — I see — I’ve had these pallets sitting here for this long. Why haven’t they moved? And you can actually start to act on that. You have the data to go act on it.
Tonya Jackson (24:58):
So, one — so again, this is a — we do a — we work with our technology team to do some product development to say they have customers that are asking these questions. We have similar questions, not exactly the same, maybe the same process, same questions. They use our manufacturing facilities to build the skills that are — the AI skills that are needed to go and then they can go back and offer and explain to the customers, hey, this is what we do within our manufacturing facility.
Tonya Jackson (25:26):
We get a benefit because we are improving our operations. And at the same time, they get real data when customers are saying, yes, I see what you say you could do, but can you actually do it? And we could go back in and say, this is what we’re doing. So, we’re working closely with our internal team. And it’s really about anything that is — needs inspection, something needs to be moved, things are not moving. You got bottlenecks and all those kinds of things. The only difference is it’s digital now. And then we can look at the — we can look at that data and act on it.
Scott Luton (25:55):
Kevin L. Jackson (25:56):
Scott Luton (25:57):
Kevin, I’m going to come to you for your quick response in a second.
Kevin L. Jackson (25:59):
Scott Luton (26:00):
I want to add one of the phrases that Tonya shared there and her response was getting information quickly. That reminded me of a really well-known food company, well-known for, like, iconic pickles. And one of their long-term CEOs and chairman of the boards, one of his mantras was, give me good news fast and bad news faster, you know. And you know, so we laughed cause it’s kind of a cliche but it is really so important. And, you know, Tonya’s kind of — was kind of sharing some of the reasons why. But, Kevin, respond to some of the things they’re doing to drive their digital transformation forward there at Lexmark.
Kevin L. Jackson (26:36):
Well, one of the things I heard was is — a trend across manufacturers. And that’s using cameras backed by artificial intelligence to do improve quality assurance. Inspections is a big area where this can be very helpful. And observing the line, the manufacturing line, if you have these hiccups or delays. And it really improves the end product. So, two thumbs up on that one. So, that’s a great move. And you seem to be ahead of the curb in that area.
Scott Luton (27:19):
We’re back to Siskel and Ebert in supply chain. Kevin, we’re talking about this other day. Tonya, you’re getting two thumbs up from Kevin L. Jackson from Digital Transformation.
Tonya Jackson (27:27):
That’s a flash from the past there. OK.
Kevin L. Jackson (27:28):
Yes, absolutely. And one of the things — I mean, I guess it probably helps in some other areas in your business because you recently shared a perspective on supply chain resilience. So, what are a couple of the key factors that you consider to be critical for optimizing that resilience of your or any organization?
Tonya Jackson (27:57):
Yes, appreciate that. So, we — everybody in supply chain is talking about resiliency now. And we’ve — I think we’ve talked about it before. It doesn’t mean — and maybe this is a me statement, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not — there’s not going to be a disruption, right? Because things happen. But what we are trying to do is build — take as many — take all of the lessons learned from what we’ve been through and the decisions that we made and the risk that we took and the speed. All of those things were so good because we — what — we had no choice.
Tonya Jackson (28:26):
And so, we want to — what we call institutionalize all of those learnings. But we did it because I — we had to. But now we want to do it because, OK, we know how to do it. Everybody’s comfortable making those decisions, and we’re going to be smarter about some of our decisions that we made. And —
Kevin L. Jackson (28:40):
It’s good business.
Tonya Jackson (28:41):
It’s good business, yes. And the organization that we have, I think there’s a lot more collaboration about what we are designing and how that can be — we can design to withstand some — to avoid some of those disruptions. Meaning, more common parts. Meaning, more do dual sources out the gate. All of those kinds of things at how we we’re trying to do, you know, to avoid that disruption. And then there’s the, well, something happens. And then it’s kind of, OK, how do you kind of fight through it? We have a — everybody in Supply Chain Now has a better playbook on how to do that. And a lot of that — and I would be — I want to make sure I say that it includes when you’re fighting through a disruption is that you’re taking care of the people.
Tonya Jackson (29:23):
And that the people have been and continue to be amazing. And so, making sure that from a leader perspective, we, you know, my job is to support and listen and all of those things, because the people are going to come forward with great ideas and it’s going to — it’s a matter of offering that support.
Tonya Jackson (29:39):
And then what we are trying to really embrace is stuff’s going to happen. How do we come out stronger? What’s our recovery like? Let’s talk about, OK, we’re going to — this has been a blow. How fast can we get through it? And can we be stronger? Again, going with what did we learn and can we be stronger? So, it’s not about never having a disruption, that’s just not going to happen.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:58):
Right. It’s not possible.
Tonya Jackson (29:59):
It’s not possible.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:59):
Tonya Jackson (30:00):
Because a lot of people initially were saying, you know, never wants to happen again. It’s — stuff happens, right? But it’s just, what are you learning from it? How do you develop that muscle to just take the blow, figure out real quick, this is the action plan. Make sure your listing have the right people working on things and then come out even, you know, recovering come out stronger. I’d say that’s kind of our philosophy of what we’re — of how we’re approaching it.
Kevin L. Jackson (30:22):
Oh, I love that. Organizations don’t need to be brittle. They have to be ductile, right?
Tonya Jackson (30:27):
Kevin L. Jackson (30:27):
They have to be able to take the hit and still operate. So, that’s a great, great approach.
Scott Luton (30:33):
Stuff is going to happen. And acknowledging that, as simple as it may sound, acknowledging that, it’s a — it goes a long way towards becoming more anti-fragile, right? Maybe.
Kevin L. Jackson (30:44):
Scott Luton (30:44):
And then, the other thing you mentioned there, Kevin, everybody’s talking about AI. But a few people are really doing truly practical bottom line, impactful things with it, right? We’re making lots of progress. And it reminded me the way she said that, Kevin, remind me the old phrase, I don’t know who said it first, but everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.
Tonya Jackson (31:06):
Scott Luton (31:07):
Kevin L. Jackson (31:07):
Can’t do anything about it. Right, right, right.
Scott Luton (31:09):
So, what an outstanding overview. I hate that we’re kind of coming around the — well, should I continue the horse themes coming around the final turn? I don’t know.
Kevin L. Jackson (31:18):
The final stretch.
Tonya Jackson (31:19):
That works. It works.
Scott Luton (31:20):
That’s right. Coming down the home stretch. So —
Tonya Jackson (31:23):
We’re going to have to get you down to Kentucky.
Scott Luton (31:24):
Yes, Tonya. We’ll do this in person at the track next time. OK.
Kevin L. Jackson (31:28):
Scott Luton (31:29):
How’s that sound? Keeneland, that’s right. Keeneland first.
Kevin L. Jackson (31:33):
Oh, OK. I’ll let you slide on that.
Scott Luton (31:37):
Hey, Kevin’s spiting [phonetic] that. OK.
Tonya Jackson (31:39):
OK, Kevin. OK. You still got Churchill Downs.
Scott Luton (31:42):
Tonya Jackson (31:42):
I can see you. I can see you.
Kevin L. Jackson (31:43):
I got the twin spires coming [phonetic].
Scott Luton (31:46):
So, Kevin, kidding aside, what a great conversation we’ve had here with Tonya Jackson. And we’re not quite done. We’re going to make sure folks know how to connect with her in the — all the cool things that her and the Lexmark team are doing. I look forward to that. Microsoft has helped bring this conversation to our global audience. And as I mentioned on the front end, the company’s doing some really cool things in the industry as well. What’s one thing that Microsoft’s doing that comes to mind, especially in like the manufacturing supply chain space, Kevin?
Kevin L. Jackson (32:13):
Well, you know, Tonya talked a lot about data, and how much data they are collecting throughout their entire process. And they have to crunch the numbers, OK. They have to analyze that data so they can actually listen to the data and know what the data is telling them. And in today’s world, Cloud platform is really how you crunch the numbers. The power of the Cloud is being able to bring all of that computational resources when you need it and not paying for it when you don’t. And that’s one of the things that Microsoft Azure is really doing well in the manufacturing community. Because, historically, manufacturers have a lot of on-premise IT. They don’t want to let go of that IT.
Kevin L. Jackson (33:11):
But more and more, since everything is being data driven, they are transitioning to a hybrid environment. Yes, they have on-premise components like the Azure stack, but it’s connected to the Cloud so that they can reach out and get that power when they need to crunch those numbers. And I think that’s really critical across manufacturing and supply chains.
Scott Luton (33:38):
Kind of the best of both worlds there.
Kevin L. Jackson (33:40):
Scott Luton (33:40):
I love that. Power on demand, huh. OK. And I got to throw this last thing in, Tonya. We’re going to — I’d love to make sure folks know how connect with you. But hey, we’re talking AI a second ago and I want to — one of the things that Greg White likes to say, there’s no guarantee that artificial intelligence is actual intelligence. And I think that’s some directional knowledge we got to keep in mind.
Tonya Jackson (34:03):
Scott Luton (34:03):
OK. So, Tonya, you’re illustrating why you’re back by popular demand here at Supply Chain Now, really, a breath of fresh air. I love how simple you keep because you’re really talking about some really complex things, some really tough challenges that any organization’s fighting through right now. But I love the altitude that you keep it at. So, for folks that want to learn more, they want to connect with you. I know you do keynotes and stuff and those are some fortunate audiences. All the cool things Lexmark is doing that you described some of which here. How can folks learn more?
Tonya Jackson (34:31):
You can, I can be reached at, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to learn more about, you know, Kevin did a great job talking about the Cloud enable. We have Cloud enabled, print. You can visit Lexmark, just lexmark.com. A lot of that information is out there about what we do to help our customers move to the Cloud from a print perspective. And then the Optra offering that I talked about. There’s a lot of good information about Optra offering for manufacturing on our website, lexmark.com as well.
Scott Luton (35:03):
Outstanding. Now, Kevin.
Kevin L. Jackson (35:05):
Scott Luton (35:05):
She’s fearless, she dropped the e-mail out there.
Kevin L. Jackson (35:08):
Scott Luton (35:10):
I love how Tonya also mentioned, you know, because Kevin wrote the book on Cloud. I’d say I learned a lot about the Cloud by rubbing elbows with Kevin every so often. Tonya, big thanks to what —
Tonya Jackson (35:21):
Scott Luton (35:22):
— you spend some time with us sharing some things you are doing to navigate through some innovative things. And really just from a — just a leadership standpoint, you know, some of the ways that you sprinkle in some of your approach to leadership as you shared that. Big breath of fresh air. And I really appreciate your time here with us here today, Tonya.
Tonya Jackson (35:40):
Thank you, Scott. Thanks for having me again. And thank you, Kevin, it’s been a great day.
Kevin L. Jackson (35:43):
Thank you, really, really.
Tonya Jackson (35:44):
Appreciate the time.
Scott Luton (35:45):
You bet. All right. Big thanks to Tonya Jackson with Lexmark. Make sure you connect with her and tune in to some of the things they’re doing there and really learn from her leadership and Lexmark’s innovation. Big thanks again to our collaborative partners over at Microsoft as well.
Scott Luton (36:01):
Kevin, always a pleasure to knock out these conversations with you. I learn a ton. And we have a lot of fun. But hey, kidding aside, you, you’ve set the world on fire with Digital Transformers, amongst other things. How can folks connect with you and tune into that series?
Kevin L. Jackson (36:17):
Well, first I have to say Tonya is definitely a Digital Transformer. She highlighted all of the reasons why it’s critical for your organization to digitally transform. So, thank you. Thank you, Tonya. You are — you — you’re going to be — they may renew me for another year. But Digital Transformers at Supply Chain Now. And you could, reach out to us @digitaltransx on Twitter or Digital Transformers with Kevin L. Jackson on LinkedIn, and you can get me on LinkedIn as well. And Twitter, it’s Kevin_Jackson. So, just hit me up anytime.
Scott Luton (36:59):
He’s everywhere. He’s everywhere, folks. But hey, also you can get Digital Transformers and Supply Chain Now wherever you get your podcast from. So, a lot of great work there, Kevin. Appreciate your thought leadership and helping folks navigate this digital transformation air that we’re all fighting through.
Kevin L. Jackson (37:12):
Scott Luton (37:13):
All right. To our listeners, hey, I hope y’all enjoy this conversation as much as I did. We had a blast from talking springtime and horses and horse tracks and comparing some of the numbers there, all through a variety of shop talk, you know, global supply chain, manufacturing technology a lot more. So again, big things to our friends over at Microsoft. Big things to all of our listeners out there. but we got to challenge you with one thing here, right? You know, we learned a lot from Tonya and Kevin. I like to do all these shows all the time. But it’s all about putting these thoughts and these ideas into action. Deeds, not words. That’s where the road meets road. So, with that said, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Mike Griswold serves as Vice President Analyst with Gartner’s Consumer Value Chain team, focusing on the retail supply chain. He is responsible for assisting supply leaders in understanding and implementing demand-driven supply chain principles that improve the performance of their supply chain. Mr. Griswold joined Gartner through the company’s acquisition of AMR. Previous roles include helping line-of-business users align corporate strategy with their supply chain process and technology initiatives. One recent study published by a team of Gartner analysts, including Mike Griswold is Retail Supply Chain Outlook 2019: Elevating the Consumer’s Shopping Experience. Mr. Griswold holds a BS in Business Management from Canisius College and an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about Gartner here: www.gartner.com
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. Connect with Donna on 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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.