“There’s no talent gap for execution. You can get anybody to click a button, but is that the right button being clicked at the right time, doing the right thing? That’s why there’s a talent gap, because all of these [TMS] solutions out there are all about executing, not about making the decisions.”
-Greg White, Host, TECHquila Sunrise
When it comes to TMS, there’s no shortage of solutions – and no end to the marketing hype around visibility. But are you deploying technology solutions before diagnosing the problem they’re meant to solve? What does it mean to be truly “data-driven”? In the second part of the interview, we sat down with RateLinx Founder and President Shannon Vaillancourt to talk about what true problem solving can look like in the logistics space – and what three actions you can take to make sure you’re getting real value from your systems and data, not just visibility.
It’s time to wake up to TECHquila Sunrise. I am Greg White, your supply chain tech advisor, with more insights into what you need to know to succeed in supply chain tech startup, growth, investment, and transformation. So, let’s tip a glass to another enlightening TECHquila Sunrise.
Greg White (00:36):
So, it’s interesting that you said you’re migrating today, because I don’t know if this was your original business model, but it’s part of your business model, TMS, Transportation Management System. But, man, that space is so crowded. You know, I work in investments, so I can’t tell you how many times a week – maybe two times a week – somebody has a new transportation management system. And, honestly, Shannon – and this is my ignorance. I’m not a transportation specialist by confession. Okay? – I felt like that space was pretty full five or ten years ago. Why is there such a proliferation of these solutions? And knowing that so many of them are visibility more than prescriptive based, what do you think happens there? I’m asking you, you know, an opinion question, but I’m really interested in that because it’s just one after the other. And I just don’t see the room in the space. And if you’re just starting out as a TMS and you don’t have these other areas of solution, like you all do, I don’t know how you survive. What’s your thought?
Shannon Vaillancourt (01:53):
Yeah. And this is what I’ve learned throughout my whole career, you know, I’ve been in this industry since the early ’90s, I’m pretty —
Greg White (02:01):
[Inaudible] so pretty good, Shannon.
Shannon Vaillancourt (02:05):
I know. Actually, everybody thinks –
Greg White (02:08):
You were seven. You were seven when you started, right?
Shannon Vaillancourt (02:11):
Yeah. I wasn’t pretty young. But even back then, as you get through the mid-90s and late-90s, I thought there was already too many in there. But what I’ve learned and gathered throughout the years is that, each one kind of specializes in a certain area. So, you don’t have many that can do everything. And that’s why I think you see a lot of them and they try to either go to a vertical or they go to a specific type of shipment that they’re going to do. There’s not a lot that do them all. And most of them, I think, are really based on execution. I don’t think they’re really based on visibility.
Shannon Vaillancourt (02:54):
So, if you start whittling that list down, it gets smaller and smaller as you start adding pieces to it. And then, when you get to the – we’ll use the new term – integrated platform piece, there’s very few, maybe only a couple, maybe one. So, that’s what I’ve seen out there. And the reason why I think you’ve seen a proliferation of them is, you know, it’s the old pyramid. The bottom of the pyramid where you have all the small customers, there is a lot of them.
Shannon Vaillancourt (03:28):
So, I think this is back in the late-90s or early-2000s, I had heard a statistic around UPS WorldShip. So, you know, UPS WorldShip, that’s their free system that they give out. I had heard that, 20 years ago there was half-a-million or over half-a-million of those installed in the United States. So, you think about that stat and you’re like, “Oh, my Lord.” Then, it’s like, “There’s a big market there.”
Greg White (03:58):
Big market if it’s free.
Shannon Vaillancourt (03:55):
Yeah. Or if it’s 50 bucks. That’s where, again, you got to kind of weed through all that to understand what are you really looking at, what is this really made for? And, you know, I think, it’s a lot of marketing [inaudible] throwing this off. And everybody reads it, transportation is big – oh, my God – the parcel volume is huge. And, you know, final mile is huge. You know, I’m going to create the best final mile system. And it’s like, “Well, again, what’s your definition of final mile?” Some people define that as same-day delivery, some call it the final leg to the customer. Like, so what is it? That’s why I think you’ve seen a lot of it. It’s just fragmented pieces of the market. None of them are really that big. But they do some great marketing and they have some good VC money behind them because, you know, they’re able to tell someone, “Look at how big this market is.” And then, they just get acquired or acquire somebody.
Greg White (05:06):
You guys aren’t VC funded, right?
Shannon Vaillancourt (05:08):
Greg White (05:08):
You’re Shannon and team funded.
Shannon Vaillancourt 05:11):
We’re privately held. When I started the company in ’02, I started it with my own – you know, the way that I got money is I went and I sold a deal. That’s how I funded it. The old fashioned, right? It’s the old commercial. I earned it. I did a lot of hard work. I think we’re kind of unique in that way. We have no VC money. We have no debt. You know, and I think part of that is because when I started the company in ’02, I wanted to move from the implementation side to the sales side. So, I had to scale to do it, so I wrote the first version of everything and I went and sold it, because I realized that I knew a lot of people from doing the implementation. I just called up the old customers, and went back in, and did my thing. And, you know, replaced the system I had installed before with my system now.
Greg White (06:18):
Something more robust, or modern, or both, probably. Yeah. It is interesting the parallels of you and I, because I did a similar type of thing. And you don’t see that very often. I think a lot of companies – this is totally off topic, but what the heck. It’s just you and me and the rest of the world – are chasing investment instead of chasing deals, instead of chasing or even –
Shannon Vaillancourt (06:58):
Chasing solutions. So, think about it, if you’re a customer and you’re working with a VC funded company, your goals aren’t going to lie. I don’t think, because if you’re VC funded or if you’re outside investment funded, it’s all about driving revenue. So, I need to get you, the customer, to pay me money for stuff. So, I’m going to keep coming to you with stuff that you have to keep paying money for. And that’s where I think being privately held, we can really align our goals very differently because I don’t have any outside pressure to do some magic number at the end of the day. And I think that’s why our business model is very different than everybody else in the industry, I think. And it’s because we can do it different.
Greg White (07:49):
And I love your compulsion to solve the problem. And another thing I talk about a lot with founders is, a lot of people talk about this is my passion or this is my love or whatever. That is not sufficient. It is not sufficient to be passionate about what you’re doing. You have to be compelled. And you have to be compelled not to do the thing. But as you said, the solutions, you have to be compelled to solve the thing, solve the problem or problems that you see, the problems that come up. After you solve the problems, you initially approach, you have to have that compulsion. And regardless of funding, that is what makes a successful technology enterprise.
Shannon Vaillancourt (08:31):
Yeah. I mean, we’re kind of obsessive, it’s bad. You know, if somebody gives me a problem, I can’t help it. I can’t sit still. I can’t stop thinking about it. We got to get it solved. And that’s why I’ve told even people that work here at RateLinx , I’m like, “Hey, if you you’re telling me something, make sure you’ve solved it. And then, you’re going to give me the answer. Or, if you need my help to solve it, you better tell me that. Because if you just tell me something, I’m immediately going to go into solution mode. I can’t help it. And I have to keep going until I get the answer or I know what it means.” I mean, that’s kind of how we are here and that’s how a lot of us are built. And I think that’s what’s allowed us to deliver the solution and create the solution that we have. And it’s from listening to the customer.
Shannon Vaillancourt (09:28):
You know, we were on the phone the other day with a current customer and they’re like, “How come the way you guys did it is so perfect for us?” And I’m like, “Well, because when we implemented it, we asked you how you do stuff. And we kind of came up with a solution that fit you the best. And we knew it fit you the best because you told us back then that this is the best way for you to do it.” And they were just, like, all perplexed and confused by that. And they’re like, “Oh, my God. Who would do that?” I’m like, “Well, that’s what we do.” And they’re like, “It’s so simple.” Like, “Yeah. It is.”
Greg White (10:10):
It is simple and yet rare. I mean, you do a lot of things that are rare. Your implementation methodology is rare. Your solution focus, as you just talked about, is really rare. Your focus on results for your customers is rare. Not that everybody isn’t hopeful of that, but you seem, to me, in so many cases, so much more driven toward it.
Greg White (10:36):
So, let’s talk a little bit about that. So, with the data solutions and TMS and everything that you all do, give us an idea of how that changes one of your customer’s businesses. I mean, what results do they see from plugging this in?
Shannon Vaillancourt (10:54):
Usually what they say, one, we’re not very disruptive when we implement. So, we typically will fit into their current processes that they have today. We don’t replace that much. I mean, we’ll only replace a system if it needs to be replaced. Meaning, it’s out of date. Just completely lacks of functionality that they have. Always, we’re going to come in and augment. That’s a unique thing for us. And when we come in – I don’t know – some customers have saved – you know, the highest number I’ve ever seen is $800,000 a week is what one customer saved.
Greg White (11:37):
800,000 a week?
Shannon Vaillancourt (11:39):
Yeah. I’ll never run into that again in my career, I don’t think.
Greg White (11:42):
Where did that come from?
Shannon Vaillancourt (11:44):
It came from the data.
Greg White (11:48):
So, what did they fix that gave that kind of result? [Inaudible] spend or did they –
Shannon Vaillancourt (12:00):
I mean, it’s on the freight spend, about 800 grand a week. Pure and simple on freight spend. Because what you find is that what a lot of companies do is they have to have this balance between people and costs, you know, that’s great. And so, they’ll bill tolerances in or not be as perfect, because they just don’t have the people, again, to click the buttons because there’s too many buttons they got to click. So, they’re like, “Well.”
Shannon Vaillancourt (12:29):
Now, you think about inbound, if you’re managing inbound freight, they will have one carrier on a lane. And a lane is a whole state. So, from Ohio to Illinois, it’s this one carrier, even though that one carrier isn’t the most optimal carrier. But, “How else would I do it? I don’t have people. I don’t have the staff, the invoices.”
Greg White (12:52):
Don’t have the data.
Shannon Vaillancourt (12:55):
“All of it is within five bucks.” You know, because if it costs me more than $5 to track this thing down and to figure out if it’s right or wrong. Those dollars add up very quickly when you’re doing high volume. And then, you look at the market that we’re in today, a lot companies are doing even higher volume. So, you know, that’s where we can come in and save companies, millions of dollars without really making much change. And that’s kind of how we first justify our solution. And that’s before we even give them any prescriptive insights or give them any business knowledge around changes to make. It’s just tightening everything up.
Shannon Vaillancourt (13:42):
What we find is a lot of companies have done a lot of great work and have put in a lot of great things. What they have a hard time with is the precision and being able to maximize their return on their own assets. I mean, really, everything they’ve done is their own asset. This is just a pure ROA model that we come in with right out of the gate. And that’s why our time to value is so short. We implement quickly and we give them instant results. And we do that by eliminating exceptions that they had and allowing them to maximize the value of what they’ve already done. And from there, now, you start getting the continuous improvement. I mean, that’s really what the data is. Once you get to be data-driven, you’re going to have greater transparency to what’s going on, which is going to lead to continuous improvement, which is ultimately going to give you a competitive advantage.
Shannon Vaillancourt (14:37):
You know, I was reading some articles out there talking about being data-driven. And it says, most data-driven companies on average can increase their profit margin. Their gross profit increases by twelve-and-a-half percent. So, I would say that’s probably what we see a lot of. And the reason why their profit increases is because we’re able to cut cost out of there. And, you know, you’ve cut a dollar of cost out of a company, that’s a lot from a profit perspective. That’s not a dollar of profit. That’s a big percentage. And that’s what we’re able to do.
Greg White (15:14):
So, twelve-and-a-half percent gross margin, that’s impressive.
Shannon Vaillancourt (15:18):
Yeah. I was like, “Wow. That is a big number.”
Greg White (15:22):
You must sleep very well at night knowing that you’re doing that kind of service for your customers, right?
Shannon Vaillancourt (15:28):
Oh, there’s nothing more gratifying when you think about that.
Greg White (15:32):
Yeah. I mean, it’s funny, ages ago, I worked for a company that didn’t negotiate on pricing for software, which is absolutely unheard of. And our founder, he would say this in discussions with customer or prospect, “We make a lot on our software, but we don’t make nearly as much on our software as you do.” And, I mean, that really justifies what he felt like and he was right, justified the value of the technology.
Shannon Vaillancourt (16:04):
That’s a good point. We’re typically at a 10 to 1 ratio, $10 of savings for every dollar that they pay us. We typically save about $10 for every dollar they pay us.
Greg White (16:15):
More companies should have that goal.
Shannon Vaillancourt (16:17):
Yeah. Five to one is, like, the minimum that we usually see. And we usually get that built up to a 10 to 1. Some companies have gotten to 20 to 1 or 30 to 1. And, again, the model that we have is truly based on what we’re doing. There’s no gain shares, no nonsense like that. We feel that if working with the customer, we can come up with a great idea, why not come up with a great idea that saves them even more money? And that’s part of that collaboration. It fits a gain share. I don’t know if everybody’s going to collaborate quite the same because then you get into that argument of, “Hey, that was kind of my idea.”
Greg White (17:01):
Did we do it or did you do it?
Shannon Vaillancourt (17:03):
Yeah. And it’s, like, that’s why we never got into that model. That doesn’t work for us.
Greg White (17:08):
It’s a great closing technique, but almost no customer is silly enough to sign up for it, at least for a very long time.
Shannon Vaillancourt (17:15):
That’s what you need. Exactly. They turn a lot. Do a lot of customer churn in that model.
Greg White (17:22):
All right. As we start to wrap up here, I want to shift gears a little bit. So, you’ve been doing this awhile. You confessed to the early-’90s, I’ll do the same. What, when you think back on it, do you know now that you wish you had known sooner?
Shannon Vaillancourt (17:44):
Well, I think I knew a lot back then. But what was missing was understanding. I didn’t understand. You know, think back to when you were in your 20s, you always hear the term, “Youth is wasted on the young.” You knew that, but did you understand what that meant. Now, I do. So, I wouldn say, you know, the only thing I wish I knew or understood back then was probably myself. Think of all the time you waste fighting yourself. That’s the one thing I wish if I could go back, that I understood myself better.
Greg White (18:27):
What would you tell you if you went back?
Shannon Vaillancourt (18:30):
Yeah. It’s like, you know, “Hey, be okay with this stuff.” It’s like, you know, as a young person, you don’t quite put it all together. Because I still think that, you know, all the things I’ve been through over the years, part of the fun is the journey. I mean, think of some of those high moments you had because you accomplished something that you didn’t think you could do before or you’ve never done before. Why would you want to take that away? Because that’s essentially what you’re doing by going back in time and saying, “Hey, by the way, don’t do these things because you’re going to run into challenges.” But it’s like, that’s part of the learning is getting over that hump and getting that confidence that you can do it again and again. And that’s why I wish I understood what drives me, so, that way, I could have just focused on that sooner and been okay with it.
Shannon Vaillancourt (19:31):
I mean, I was having a discussion with my other son, who’s here. He’s got an internship. He’s going to go into his senior year at ASU. And I asked him the other day, I’m like, “So, when you get a job, what are you looking for in a job? Are you looking for nice, safe, secure job? Are you looking for a title, be like your title? Is it pay?” He doesn’t know. Imagine if he knew that? He would that eventually, but it takes time.
Greg White (20:05):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s actual intelligence. It’s the other AI.
Shannon Vaillancourt (20:12):
I don’t want visibility.
Greg White (20:14):
Shannon Vaillancourt (20:14):
I had visibility to a lot of stuff. I didn’t understand it when I was young. That’s the beauty of youth sometimes.
Greg White (20:21):
Yeah. That’s a good point. All right. So, I always ask this, I think Corey warned you that this was coming. So, from what we’ve discussed today, what are two or three things you think folks absolutely have to take away from this discussion?
Shannon Vaillancourt (20:42):
I would say, you know, we’ve talked about visibility. We talked about data. We talked about knowledge and all that stuff. Really, it boils down to three things. I think if you want to be data-driven, which is ultimately what we’re talking about, if you’re data-driven, you get greater transparency, competitive advantage, all that great stuff. In order to do it, you have to do three things. You have to collect data that I think a lot of companies are doing. And then, here’s the two things that is probably the knowledge, is, you have to collect the right data and then you have to use it to make decisions. Don’t use it to justify decisions. If you’re using it to justify, you’re not collecting the right data. That’s your indicator. So, I would say that’s the takeaway is, collect the right data and then use it for decision-making. You do that – man – you’re going to get a competitive advantage. Twelve-and-a-half percent gross profit increase on average for companies who do that.
Greg White (21:45):
I would sign up for that any day. I mean, as you said, that’s a dramatic impact to the bottom line. That is a change to your business breakthrough, frankly.
Shannon Vaillancourt (21:58);
And it’s easy to do.
Greg White (22:00):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s fantastic. It is interesting in this data-driven world, as someone once said, “Don’t be happy to sit back and admire the problem” And that’s what so many people do with data these days. You’ve got to convert it into action. Data into action is absolutely critical. What use is the report if it doesn’t allow you to improve your business? And I think when companies do that, if they focus on those things that allow them to improve their business, they’ll not only find that it’s more impactful, but it’s less data to call through because there’s only a certain amount of data that can allow you to really change your business, really make decisions that change the direction that are actionable insights.
Shannon Vaillancourt (22:57):
And practical that can actually be done.
Greg White (23:00):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. That’s good. And you’re right, you know, if there’s anything I want people to take away from this, it’s that power, twelve-and-a-half percent increase in gross margin or whatever it is. It’s in that data. And that data provides assurance, and repetition, and knowledge that allows you to continue to improve or better yet sustain. So, many companies can say what went wrong in retrospect. What they can’t say is why did good happen. What went right, and why did that happen, and how do we repeat that? And being data-driven is the key to being able to do that.
Greg White (23:42):
Well, thank you, Shannon. It’s always great to spend time with you. And I appreciate you doing this again. I may or may not let people in on what that means.
Shannon Vaillancourt (23:54):
Greg White (23:55):
Yeah, of course. A big thanks to Shannon, CEO of RateLinx, for sharing this time with us. Hey, how can folks connect with you?
Shannon Vaillancourt (24:04):
Well, you can always go to the website, www.ratelinx.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn anytime. Those are probably the two best ways to get a hold of me.
Greg White (24:16):
RateLinx with an X, and we’ll have the URL on the show notes as well. So, thank you again. And thanks to everybody for joining me and Shannon. It’s fun for us. I hope it’s fun for you. And, remember, acknowledge reality, but never be bound by it.
How can I help you improve your shot at supply chain tech success? Four ways. One, subscribe to TECHquila Sunrise wherever you get your podcast to make sure you’re notified of my new episode every week. Two, follow me on LinkedIn and see my supply chain summaries every weekday. Three, if you’re a startup founder or growth stage leader and you need an active advisor to propel you through your supply chain tech journey, I’m currently considering select strategic advisory roles. Or four, if you need an incubator or investment for your supply chain tech, reach out to me on LinkedIn and let’s talk.
Shannon Vaillancourt is president and founder of RateLinx. He started the company in 2002 with the idea that there was a better way to give companies complete visibility to their supply chain. Since then, RateLinx has become a leading supply chain software and data services company with the only integrated Data-as-a-Strategy (DaaS) technology platform. RateLinx allows companies to gain access to all of their logistics intelligence in one platform, helping customers to create world-class logistics strategies, improve supply chain management, solve problems and reduce costs.
Shannon is an innovator in supply chain and logistics data analytics, developing a data-first approach that is transforming logistics for the nation’s largest retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and industrial leaders. He is recognized as a leader in data services with a seat on the invitation-only Forbes Technology Council, where he writes about emerging technologies and trends. He is a regular columnist for DC Velocity, commenting on the intersection of data technology and supply chain management. He leads RateLinx’s strategy and business development while guiding the company’s data services, implementation, and software solutions. Before founding RateLinx, Shannon held several leadership and technical roles in software engineering, solutions, and services. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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.