Supply Chain Now
Episode 952

If my boss was here and you asked him, what is my job? He wouldn't say all these reverse logistics things, the operational execution, right? Those are table stakes. We have to do it. My job is to make our products better and make our interactions with customers seamless, and a big part of that is leveraging machine learning.

-Tom Maher

Episode Summary

As reverse logistics programs have been steadily gaining traction and popularity, the technologies that support efficient repair, refurbishment and recycling have also evolved. In this episode, Scott joins Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of The Reverse Logistics Association, and Tom Maher, Senior VP of global service parts at Dell, Inc. Tune in to hear them discuss how #machinelearning is transforming #reverselogistics, the current state of right-to-repair, how to retain top supply chain talent and more.

Episode Transcript

 

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

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 (00:00:29):

Hey, good morning. Everybody’s Scott Luton and special guest host Tony Sciarrotta here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Tony, how you doing?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:00:38):

I’m doing great. It’s a hot freaking summer and we’re trying to survive the best we can.

Scott Luton (00:00:44):

Oh, you are so right. So right. Including wearing some colorful shirts, which at least makes us feel cooler. Is that right? Tony?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:00:51):

It works for me <laugh> every day,

Scott Luton (00:00:54):

But Tony kidding aside, we have an excellent conversation tee up today talking with one of our favorite friends of the show. As we continue our reverse logistics leadership series here at supply chain. Now today’s guest is doing big things, not only in industry, but he also gives a lot of his time and elbow grease, uh, in doing good out there in industry. Am I right?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:01:17):

Absolutely. Between a volunteer work for an advisory board for a global association that we have with reverse logistics. Um, Tom has committed in many, many other areas, and I’m lucky to know him as a very passionate person, uh, passionate about his family, passionate about his work and passionate about the things he gets engaged with.

Scott Luton (00:01:38):

Well said, uh, well said, and he is a repeat guest. I had a chance to meet our guest, uh, about two years ago at a big reverse logistics association conference. So with no further ado, Tony wanna welcome in Tom Maher senior vice president global service parts with Dell technologies, Tom, how you doing

Tom Maher (00:01:56):

Great Scott, and thanks for having me back. I’m I’m thrill to be here. Good to see you, Tony.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:02:01):

Good to see you town. It’s great.

Scott Luton (00:02:03):

Well, we’re gonna have to, uh, uh, make a, um, uh, a big effort to do it in person next time. There that’s always more fun, but Hey, if you, if we can connect remotely and virtually and at least catch up there and, and get our, some of your perspective for our global audience, Hey, that, that ain’t bad. Is it that ain’t bad?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:02:23):

It helps

Scott Luton (00:02:24):

It <laugh>. So, uh, Tom and Tony, Tom, what I wanna do here is some folks may remember that episode. I bet three, 400 episodes a go, but for the handful of folks that may not know Tom Mar wanna give them a chance to get to know you a little better. Uh, again, so let’s start with the, or one of our universal opening questions. Where did you grow up and give us a few anecdotes about your upbringing.

Tom Maher (00:02:50):

Oh, okay. Uh, mostly up and down the Northeast, uh, when I was really young, those formative years, uh, learning about sports and things, I was in Florida. So people often ask me, uh, about the teams I root for, which is somewhat odd,

Tom Maher (00:03:07):

Florida. We didn’t Miami dolphins back, like I’m huge dolphins, fan Cincinnati, red, Boston Celtics, and all things Notre Dame back in the day. But today I’m a massive Longhorn fan. So, uh, hook ’em horns for my daughters in law school. Okay. Uh, and of course I went to Villanova university, so a huge fan of our basketball and all, all of our sports programs, but I’ve lived across lots of the states in the us drivers’ licenses in nine different states lived in well over 10 of them, of years over in Europe and spent a significant amount of time in Asia. I’ve been for about years now in absolutely wonderful city to, to live in, to raise a family, uh, everything you could want in a city do without the hundred and 10 degree. What <laugh>. All right. So looking forward to the fall.

Scott Luton (00:04:04):

Oh gosh, you shared so much there. I wanna, uh, I got about 17 follow up questions. I wanna ask. But Tony, out of all of those teams, uh, uh, he said, he mentioned nine driver driver’s license in nine states. Yeah. Um, Austin, Texas, which is such a great city, even with the heat, um, Tony, any of those teams let’s see here, the reds, the Celtics, the dolphins. Now, the Longhorns, any of those resonate with you, Tony

Tony Sciarrotta (00:04:31):

I’m from the other side of the tracks. I’m Detroit. So, you know, I’ve got my pistons, uh, the red wings and, and we won’t talk about football. It’s just not a, a thing for us though. Uh, those of us from Detroit since I was born, so that’s a long time ago and we won’t go there, but, uh, I, I do get to include Michigan. I, I went there, went, uh, to Michigan and came from there. So I do call myself a, a Wolverine.

Scott Luton (00:04:58):

Okay. All right. Well, uh, next time we’ll, we’ll feed we’ll, we’ll have the whole show focused on the other side of the tracks as you put it, Tony, and we’ll take a deep dive, uh, into your, uh, experiences there, but Tom, so your daughter is in, uh, if I heard you right. Law school at, uh, the university of Texas, right.

Tom Maher (00:05:16):

That’s right. Yeah. Going into her second year.

Scott Luton (00:05:19):

Wow. Okay. Does she have an idea of what aspect of, of the, the legal industry she wants to focus on?

Tom Maher (00:05:25):

Yeah, I think she’s still pretty open she’s in an internship this summer, uh, where she’s helping a company based out of, uh, the Netherlands, uh, support an organization that was attacked by ISIS. Right. And, and trying to help, um, you know, do the research and find opportunities for, to much of what parts of Iraq. She kind of gears towards the nonprofit, uh, potentially something even in government, but she’s not short. Right. Right now, I think she’s keeping a very open mind to see where it takes.

Scott Luton (00:06:10):

Well, uh, Tony, you and I both are big fans of, of all of, uh, how Tom’s geared with giving back. It sounds like his daughter, um, you know, that’s in her DNA too. Tony, if I heard to. Right.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:06:22):

I think so. And, um, that, that’s a challenge with the nonprofit side, but it’s so important and it’s, it’s clear what she’s doing now is focused on trying to help rather than just trying to take. And that that’s just two perspectives of, of the legal side. And it sounds like she’s on the right side of trying to, to give that’s great,

Scott Luton (00:06:43):

Tom. Yep.

Tom Maher (00:06:44):

And that’s a family of entrepreneurs. I should have said. Scott is. So my, my wife has her own art company. My daughter started two companies. Uh, my 20 year old son has started too. And then I he’s, uh, uh, just switched from university of Washington. He wanted to go fulltime online, which he was not able to do there. So he is now at Arizona state university or will be in the, in the fall. And he has his own YouTube channel, a tale of two travelers and enhancing to a, a second one that will come out shortly. Uh, and he’s customizing a van into a camper van this summer, which is all part of his, his YouTube adventures. And I got one, uh, still, uh, youngest in high school going into his senior year and we’ll see where, where he goes from there.

Scott Luton (00:07:35):

<laugh> man, I love it. Uh, a tale of two travelers. We’ll have to add that link to the show notes. Uh, I’m a big fan. I watch more YouTube than, than normal TV minus maybe sports

Tom Maher (00:07:46):

And they’ll, they’ll kill me visits. I always do that. I say a times tale of two travelers,

Scott Luton (00:07:52):

Tale, tale of two travelers.

Tom Maher (00:07:54):

If you Google and YouTube, you’ll, you’ll get it gotcha. Either way, but all about camping and his, his, uh, trips out into the wilderness.

Scott Luton (00:08:02):

Love it. So let’s talk for a minute. Uh, going back to that, that, uh, pay it forward. Do good. Give forward, um, element. We were just talking all three of us about a moment ago. Um, one of the many things, um, that you spend your time with and donate your volunteer leadership with is this is something called pay it forward nine 11. If I got that right. Uh, I love the idea from what I, I, I saw on a, one of your recent social shares, but tell us, tell us about what, what is this initiative?

Tom Maher (00:08:31):

Uh, sure. So I’m thrilled and honored to be on the board for pay it 9 1 1, and you can learn all about it at pay it nine one, one.org, but essentially it, it is probably the clearest mission statement of any nonprofit it’s really around spreading acts of kindness. And it generated from a gentleman, Kevin turf, who was on a plane coming back from Paris when 9 1 1 occurred. And as many people may recall, right? Obviously we shut down the airspace and a lot of the planes were diverted and many of them to a little town in Canada called, uh, Gander made very famous from a hit Broadway show come from away, which Kevin is a character in the show known as Kevin T. Uh, so Kevin, when he came back and he saw everything that the town of Gander had done for him and all the other passengers, you think 38 large planes landing and a town of 9,000, wow.

Tom Maher (00:09:33):

They took in almost 7,000 stranded passengers from 90 countries and they didn’t do it by putting ’em up in a hotel, right. They didn’t have that. It was their homes. Wow. They picked them up in their cars. They used school, uh, school buses, uh, it, and you get, watch the Broadway, um, uh, musical and, and learn all this. But it was just a, an amazing act of kindness with asking for nothing in return. So when Kevin came back, uh, and Kevin was my neighbor at the time, uh, in Austin, Texas, he had his own company and he started an act of pay it forward. And his first thing was at his own company. He shut down on nine 11, gave everyone a hundred dollars and say, go do something for somebody don’t take credit for it, just ask them to pay it forward. Mm. And that is the essence of what the, the nonprofit is all about.

Tom Maher (00:10:26):

When we get into September, we focus on 11 days of kindness and it’s really around remembering, uh, 9 1, 1 never forgetting, but also not just the tragedy of 9 1, 1, the response, the unity we had in communities, in cities and states in the nation that we’ve lost quite honestly. And, and it’s trying to get everybody to remember that and doing those 11 days of kindness and unity by doing these acts. And we do things with, uh, companies, uh, you know, where we encourage people to do team events. We work with, uh, schools and just to get everybody involved and go out there and start to spread acts of kindness over those first 11 days of September. And it’s amazing that the effect it has, right. One good deed could lead to hundreds of other good deeds. That is in essence, what it’s all about.

Scott Luton (00:11:21):

Love it, man. I love that so much. Uh, when I, what we’re gonna explore ways that we can help support the organization and, and, uh, especially here in Metro, Atlanta, Tony, I bet that’s music in your ears for sure. Right.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:11:34):

It is. And I can’t help, but think about that movie that was based on the pay it forward concept with, I forgot the young actor’s name from, uh, the sixth sense or something. And, uh, that

Tom Maher (00:11:45):

Was a sad ending.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:11:47):

It was a, but still he really exemplified the concept. And, uh, and Scott, as you know, to, to us, it’s also about that in, in the RLA and, and things that come back, let’s do something with them rather than not do something with them. And I’m, I’m so proud, not just of Dell and of what Tom’s doing, but there’s other companies within us too. And you might remember, I think you interviewed Rob request from cell phones, for soldiers, right. In his phenomenal story, starting young and, and helping soldiers pay for, uh, phone time. And so it, it’s, it’s very important that we do other things. And, and I also love Tom that it, it’s not, it’s not a religious thing, so it’s no fighting over religion here. It’s just something that’s human. Yeah. And, and it’s a great concept. So I, I love the idea. I’m proud of you being on the board, so that’s great.

Tom Maher (00:12:40):

Yeah. And you’re right, Tony, it’s not about things that divide us. It’s about things that unite us and everybody can be respectful in kind, and it’s small things. It’s like, if you’re in Starbucks and you’re in the line and you say, Hey, here’s five bucks. I’m paying for the per, well, maybe five bucks doesn’t cover it anymore, but I’m paying for the car behind me or in the grocery store. You’re seeing somebody put something back. Right. Because they didn’t have enough money at the register and just taking care of that. Yeah. Right. And, and it’s all about just asking when you have the opportunity, pay it forward.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:13:15):

Except when my wife did that, the first time at Starbucks, I’m like, what’s wrong with you? What are you giving? I

Tom Maher (00:13:23):

Get the business mind kicked in a little bit,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:13:25):

A little bit too fast, but then she explained it and she’s a follower too. So

Scott Luton (00:13:30):

That’s great. Love it. Pay it forward. Uh, nine 11. You’ll check that out. Um, okay. So, uh, Tom, I wanna, and well, first, a quick programming note, just to clarification, many folks know Tony, Schroeder’s been on, you know, a couple dozen episodes here. When we say RLA, we’re talking about the reverse logistics association, which Tony leads as executive director. Just wanna connect those dots. We use a lot of acronyms as Tony and Tom y’all both know, and we’ll make sure our listeners are right there with a step step by step. Um, okay. So Tom. Yeah.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:14:00):

Can I, can I just add to that and make everyone also aware that we are proud of being a global association, but more proud of, of our association with supply chain now, because you are the only voice out there that broadcast as much as you do on supply chain and includes the dark side the back. Right. We forget about it, but nobody is out there and, and there’s so many forward supply chain organizations and that broadcast and Scott, thank you for supporting that. People get a look at this other side with some of the industry thought leaders like Tom. So I just, I needed to throw that in.

Scott Luton (00:14:40):

I appreciate that you’ve made our teams day for sure. And, uh, you know, we have a heck of a lot of fun while we do it. Uh, you know, so fighting a good fight, trying to make the dark side, not nearly as dog, but bringing light to the conversation. So, cause as we all know, kidding aside, it’s only gonna become more critical, right. Uh, in the world we live in moving forward. So, um, Tom, tell us about, uh, you know, everyone knows Dale, as we’re talking, pre-show, I’m a big fan. I’ve got, uh, lots of products staring back at me right now. Uh, but tell us about your role at Dell.

Tom Maher (00:15:14):

Sure. Scott. So, and as you said, most people know, uh, Dell pretty well, large global company, and we obviously sell lots of computer equipment of all, you know, sizes. My role is to keep that product, the hardware side of our company up and running for our customers, right. Everything from, uh, a Chromebook all the way up to high end storage, equipment servers, et cetera. So my organization plans the service parts right in the event, highly unlikely. Uh, that’s something were to go wrong. We wanna make sure we have the right part in the right place at the right time to support our customers. So we have a large planning organization that does all the, uh, algorithms, uh, machine learning base, trying to get the right answer on what parts need to be in what location we, um, responsible for the procurement of those, those parts.

Tom Maher (00:16:10):

And then the distribution out to all of our Ford stocking locations. Well over a thousand locations across the globe in support of all of our customers, uh, we then get into the back end of, of our supply chain when in the event that we do ship apart out to one of our customers, we’re also responsible for the defective. So we’re moving a lot of product across borders on a very regular basis. And for us, sustainability is really critical. And so we’ve got a group that is getting those parts back and turning them into a reusable part again, to a very large repair, uh, organization that I’m responsible for as well. And then of course, in the event of disposing of any inventory to do that in the right way to make sure it is as sustainable as possible. So it’s the full life cycle of a service part from the planning to the final dispositioning of that part.

Scott Luton (00:17:05):

Wow. That would keep, uh, a, a team, a global team pretty busy Tony. Huh?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:17:10):

Absolutely. And I think Tom, if we put it in perspective, is it, um, Dell somewhere north of hundred billion company?

Tom Maher (00:17:19):

Yeah. Uh, we we’ve grown significantly, uh, over the years and we do a little over 75 million parts movements a year just in my organization.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:17:30):

Right. That’s that’s where I was going. It it’s, it’s so big that even if it’s a small problem as a percentage, it still turns into big numbers for you.

Tom Maher (00:17:42):

Yeah. Important. Right. It’s important to keep our customers and running. They’re not buying the product enjoy on a laptop or, uh, staring at, um, uh, the display, it’s the content, it’s what they’re putting out there for content or they’re consuming as content that matters. And if the product’s not working right then they’re, they’re not thriving. And, and our job is to keep that product up and running. So all of our customers can grow and thrive and we continue to be on the leading edge of driving human progress. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Is it all, it all starts, uh, with technology

Scott Luton (00:18:16):

That’s right. Okay. So, uh, we’re gonna dive into some really meaty topics here in this next, this, this main segment we’re about to in enter, uh, quick shout though, Tom. Uh, I had a great, uh, uh, privilege of interviewing Jason McIvor on your team, uh, probably three or four months ago. And, uh, man, he is a dynamo. So clearly y’all have a lot of top talent there at Dell helping to make, uh, what y’all do much easier and, and better for your, your customers. Um, okay. So we’ve all learned, goodness knows over the last couple years, the strengths and weaknesses of global supply chains, right. It’s been a, it goes without saying it’s been such a uniquely challenging time. Um, Tom, one of those lessons learned once again, I would argue is the need to really build resilient and robust, not just for logistics networks, but reverse logistics, net, uh, networks. So Tom, speak a little bit to that if you would.

Tom Maher (00:19:16):

Uh, sure. And you’re right, Scott, uh, people’ve been paying attention the last three or so years, uh, than they they’ve, uh, missed here in the term supply chain more than probably the entire history of mankind prior. <laugh> uh, good and bad right now when you go to, uh, an event and you say you work in supply chain, uh, people start to look at you like, wait a minute, you’re the reason I don’t have this or this or that. Right. Just think of the challenges or we’ve had over the last few years, whether pandemic, uh, cyber attacks, geopolitical issues, right. It has been nonstop and it is more important than ever to have a resilient supply chain and really critical for us in reverse logistics. Because every one of those things we used to, you know, you have your B CRP, your disaster recovery or business continuity plans in place, and you hope to never need them.

Tom Maher (00:20:15):

Now, the mantra is you will need it. You will exercise that, uh, business continuity plan almost every quarter, something’s going to happen in some corner of the world. Be it monsoons in India, uh, or a cyber attack with a partner or potentially a pandemic, maybe monkeys next and causes issues. They’re the most recents in Shanghai, highly impactful in the tech industry. So in all those cases, it, it is more important than ever to be resilient. What we’ve learned over the last few years is there are many parts of the supply chain network that you’ve, we’ve had to just make more and more resilient than ever before. The way I, I describe this to my own team is we’ve always had a resiliency as an important part of, of what we call our scorecards, right? When either hiring a new partner, how resilient are they or how we’re performing internally.

Tom Maher (00:21:18):

It is now the top of the scorecard. You, it, it is no longer, Hey, if something were to happen, I will move some volume from a to B something will happen. It’s going to happen. It’s probably going to happen this quarter, right? It’s just over and over again. So what we’ve done is we’ve really expanded our repair capabilities. A lot of those structures we’ve seen in high tech are with you. You can’t get the integrated circuits, right? So there’s been all this challenges, the pandemic brought and then demand spikes and where certain industries thought there’d be a slow down and it was to reverse. And it’s just caused a, a significant continuity supply issue. So we increased our regional global repair significantly. We’ve also worked with every aspect of our supply chain to ensure our systems are segment. And what I mean by that, right?

Tom Maher (00:22:12):

If you have a partner, uh, they’re going to have a system for HR system for email. So, you know, they’re running a whole business they’re accounts payable, they’re warehouse, and you cannot have all of those on a single network where it can get penetrated and, and have, uh, you know, a bad actor engaged because those are happening. As we know in supply chain now every day, right? You’ve got these bad actors attacking people’s, uh, systems, right? Uh, so you got a segment, right? So if one goes down, the others are protected. Robotics and automation is a lesson. We learned pandemic. It affected humans, right? Uh, the ability to get people to come to work, the difficulties of the situations when they were at work, right. We had to spread people out, wearing the masks, cleaning the facilities over and over again. Although robotics was not a big thing in reverse logistics, to the extent it is today, right?

Tom Maher (00:23:12):

You’re you’re not talking, as you said, Scott, the massive volumes and four logistics. So it comes a little bit slower. One of the things I am most impressed with over the last three years and our reverse logistics, the amount of automation and robotics that has been implemented. And it allows us to, to do a few things. One when you can’t get people in, right, you can keep things running and now you can get caught up. When you have these, whenever you have these continu supply issues, it’s followed with a spike. Mm right. Shanghai lockdown, eventually it, it reopened and here it comes. Right. And when you can have that automation, robotics getting you seven by 24, working absolutely helps. And we do that to augment, uh, the human driven operations. We want people solving the complex problems and we want, uh, machines, robots, technology solving the repeatable problems.

Scott Luton (00:24:06):

Yep. So we’re gonna touch on, uh, we’re, we’re gonna touch on AI machine learning really, as it applies to the world that you’re painting as well. I want to bring Tony in really quick. Tom’s covered a lot of ground on this first topic of, of creating those resilient and robust, um, all logistics networks, but especially reverse logistics networks, Tony what’s one or one thing he said here that really resonate with you.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:24:30):

Um, the, the aspect of what Tom’s work is the real goal is to keep it out there. Really the focus is keep it out there. And, and I appreciate that, which we all need to focus on, keep it out there, whatever you can do, keep it out there because movement of goods is not good. It’s just not, uh, it it’s time lost. It’s money lost and so on. And, and so reverse logistics. We always make it sound like it’s only about the flow of the goods. It’s also about making the goods right in the first place, making them easily diagnosable, is that the word or triage down,

Scott Luton (00:25:08):

We’ll go with it. You

Tony Sciarrotta (00:25:08):

Can answer it so quickly that it doesn’t require taking something back, require sending something forward and keep it out there. So I’m so proud of Dell and other members of the who focus. Isn’t just about, can the flow be faster? Can we make it more efficient? Can we, you know, use robots, that’s all meaningless, make the experience right. Make it work easy. And, and Tom referred to that east earlier about thriving, let that person thrive and, and enjoy what they’ve got and fix what they’ve got and, and remotely triaging wiring in wiring out wirelessly. And it’s all beautiful that, that Dell and other companies focus on that so much. So that’s what resonates is it? Isn’t just what Tom said about movement of goods. It’s about their focus on trying to make it stay up there and make that experience right. For that person.

Scott Luton (00:26:02):

That’s right. If we can do whatever we can do to decrease the likelihood of, uh, of returns while still making our CU, uh, customers hap over the moon. Happy, you know, that that’s, that’s a big part of the name of the game. Well,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:26:16):

Scott, that makes Dell happy. It makes Tom happy, but there are some of my members kind of take aback to that and say, wait a minute, you don’t want us to get as many returns. That’s our work. It’s like, okay. You know what? I’m not an anti capitalist. I would just like, there will always be returns. Let’s see if we can make a few less of them.

Scott Luton (00:26:34):

Right. Well, well said, well said there’s so much more to that story too. Um, but Tom, uh, you started, uh, before we, um, we got Tony to chime in there. Um, you started to go down the path of, of all the technology that you are leveraging within the planning, repair operations and, and, uh, ways that enhance those capabilities and probably the capacity as well in particular AI and machine learning. So tell us more about how Dell is leveraging and how you see other maybe or organizations leveraging those types of technologies.

Tom Maher (00:27:06):

Yeah. It’s a great segue into what Tony was saying as well, because if, if my boss was here and you asked him, what is my job? He wouldn’t say all these reverse logistics things, the operational execution, right? Those are table stakes. We have to do it. My job is to make our products better and make our interactions with customers seamless and, and a big part of that is leveraging machine learning. So in our repair operations, Scott, we have a tremendous amount of data. I like to tell people that we have the truth. When I get a defective part back, I have it in my hand, I can diagnose that part and see what was really wrong. And with machine learning, we can tie all that into the symptoms, the triage that was done via the phone or online, however, the, uh, channel it went through.

Tom Maher (00:27:58):

And we take all of that information and it feeds back into two very important groups with indel. First and foremost, back to the product engineers. They get all of this data so they can build better products. The future, right? Our job, as Tony said, is our happiest customers are the ones who have no idea I even exist. Right? Those would be the, the happiest. And, and we want that to be the case. The other piece is we get all that information into our service engineers who help design the diagnostics. So when a customer is talking to us, we can get it, uh, fixed over the phone. Hopefully if it does require hardware, we get the right part, uh, the first time, right? We get that customer back up and running as quickly as possible. All of that behind the scenes at our repair center is driven off machine learning, even to the point when a, if a notebook were to be shipped into one of our repair operations, we leverage machine learning to pre-diagnosed that product.

Tom Maher (00:29:01):

So when it hits the dock, the parts are automatically allocated and over to whichever, uh, repair engineer that that unit is being assigned to. And they replace it and go straight to test. Uh, and then, you know, ideally right, it passes test. We nailed it just with all the machine learning. We also use it a lot in our planning world, everything from, uh, geez, I’m, I’m not the expert here, but the sarcastic, uh, programming, lots of Gaussian techniques, uh, we random fors. So we’re, we’re using supervised unsupervised and reinforcement, uh, machine learning methodologies in order to do the turn, our planning into more accurate, but more proactive than ever before. Right. We wanna be able to predict where and when those incidents could occur and reduce again, that downtime for our customers, uh, to the extent that that is possible. And it is just a whole new world of capability. Now, everything from, uh, just not just our ability to plan and repair the products, but into helping make the next launch of the next laptop or the next desktop to be the best one we’ve ever had. Mm. And all of that comes from really leveraging that data.

Scott Luton (00:30:23):

The journey never ends the journey. There’s no finish line. Uh, I love that, Tom. All right. So Tony, uh, I wanna get you to react to, to that last snippet that Tom shared before we get into a topic, I’m really looking forward to that right. To repair. But Tony, before we get there any reaction to what Tom was just sharing about leveraging technologies to really enhance the team’s, uh, capabilities and the customer’s experience.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:30:47):

And, and Tom, I think it goes back maybe before your role, there was the ease of use round table, an industry association of high tech companies, including Dell, HB, Microsoft, Intel funded it, who all said, we want people to have that good experience and too many things that are coming back. And Tom knows this from old days, too many things that are coming back. We couldn’t find the defect. We couldn’t find the technical failure, but now with all this machine learning and AI, we are learning not only what the failures will be or are, or can be, and, and learn it and send it up stream. And you said to product managers, Tom, but less products are coming back that have no fault found. And that’s a big thing because Scott, we’ve talked about it for years, about the amount of returns goods that have no technical failure.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:31:40):

There’s nothing wrong with that. And what a shame and a waste it is that we’re moving all these things, uh, across the country, across the world. There’s nothing wrong with them. So Tom and Dell have made it so that fewer of those things come back where there’s no problem. The ones that come back truly have something that has to be dealt with. And that’s what resonates importantly for all of us in. And this is where we get into the whole circular economy concept that you feed back upstream to the product planners and, and, you know, even at Phillips, it was as simple as tell them to stop issuing instruction books in 12 languages that nobody could read. That was a product change, right. It was, and it made a difference. People could understand a quick start guy. So it’s really about feeding that upstream. So you could reduce the amount of goods coming back because you reduce the amount of no fault found it. It’s, it’s a, it’s a, win-win,

Scott Luton (00:32:34):

It is really quick. Uh, again, little, little editorial comment here. Many of our folks that know you, Tony and listened our shows know when you reference Phillips here, you’re, you’re talking about some of your days in the industry where you worked at Phillips for quite some time. Right, right.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:32:49):

Right. 25 years at Phillips, uh, happy go lucky sales guy. And one day they said goes about the returns we’re getting too.

Scott Luton (00:32:58):

And that’s the experience that keeps on given that that helped formed the basis for the next generation of RLA and, and all the great work that’s being done there, including with, uh, great leaders like Tom here and their organizations, um, okay. Right. To repair that phrase, um, means a lot of different things, stirs a lot of different, uh, emotions across the globe. Um, so Tom, we’ll start with you here and we’re talk about right. To repair a really hot topic for a number of years now. Um, the impact you’re seeing, right. To repair legislation, that’s having, uh, that impact in the Europe and in Europe and the states, what are some of your thoughts there?

Tom Maher (00:33:39):

Uh, so this is you’re right, Scott right. To repair is probably more visibility than it’s ever had. Right. And it’s coming right there. There’s no stopping it. Right. We’re proponents of it. Right. We’ve always wanted to enable our customers to have a good repair experience. If that’s what the Dell engineer themselves, a third party of their choice, we just want it to be safe. Right. So when we’re talking to organizations who are drafting the legislation, uh, we talk about safety first. Uh, second, we want consistency. Those are the two big things, right, right. Now what we are seeing, uh, even across countries in the European union, everybody having their own slide take on and everything from a statutory warranty length to the total, uh, years of, uh, full or even non-war support SLAs, things of that nature. And some things are getting consistent on the importance of having the documentation easily accessible and having parts available.

Tom Maher (00:34:40):

Uh, but we’ve always been big fans of sustainability. In essence, what they’re driving towards is to give the customers the ability to perform a repair and to keep a product, uh, longer, right? So increasing the product life cycles, right. If we’ve got viable product out there that can meet the needs of a customer, we wanna keep them up and running so that they can, uh, get the benefits of that technology, to what, whatever extent that they, they require. We just wanna have California, New York, Texas. We don’t want everybody having their own legislation building out separate, um, uh, details within how you support right. To repair that. That’s our only focus at the moment, right. We’re, we’re very supportive of enabling all the key tenants. And again, just wanted to be safe and consistent.

Scott Luton (00:35:34):

Yep. Sounds like,

Tom Maher (00:35:35):

And it’s coming, it’s coming fast and furious.

Scott Luton (00:35:38):

That’s right. And, and your last point there sounds like, uh, you are big advocates for a universal policy so that we can really optimize our approach to, to, to, um, um, working within, uh, the policy that is passed legislation that’s passed, uh, you know, whether it’s here or Europe or elsewhere, uh, sounds smart to me Tony way in on right. To repair some things that Tom talked about. Uh, what’s your take,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:36:04):

I’m glad that Tom said it’s coming and, and it is confusing because we do need a global approach to this. Frankly, we need global, not just national or European, but we need a global approach and, and companies like Dell, by the way. And, and Tom’s very passionate about this. We do wanna make it easy for consumers to get things fixed, but that’s not the same as the auto industry, which has the right to repair today. Right. You can take your Ford Mustang to any gas station with a service shop and get the alternator replaced or whatever parts you want.

Scott Luton (00:36:37):

Wait, wait a second, Tony, wait a second. What do they do to the Mustang? Where’s that? Where is the Mustang? It, it, it looks so different. Come on.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:36:45):

It’s so cool. Come on. It’s so cool looking, but the point being, you could take it to any station across the United States at a chance of getting it fixed generally to Tom’s point safely, although it’s not perfect world in the auto industry either, but the flexibility is there for all of these shops to help you fix it. If they’re qualified to do it now, there’s the danger for the consumer when a right to repair passes for tech products, that you could do something and screw it up worse. And, and that’s a risk, but the consumers are gonna have to learn about that risk. In the meantime, right? To repair supported by companies like Dell is the best way we can go forward. And by the way, we might be able to slow down to 50 million metric, tons of e-waste every year. Okay. And I know Dell doesn’t want any part of that. None of us do, but it’s happening because of many reasons. And we hope that a right to repair would allow some of that stuff to stay in the field and be used somehow by somebody rather than thrown away too many computers are being thrown away.

Scott Luton (00:37:51):

Yep. And smart devices and everything else. Uh, right. Um, so I want, I wanna, um, Tom pose this next question to you along these same lines of repair of this, this right to repair topic and, and repair topic in general, how viable Tom is repair in light of product changes and parts planning for repairs, any thoughts there?

Tom Maher (00:38:14):

I think we’re probably, uh, better situated today than ever before. Right? Uh, a big part of that, just to shift, to having to do repair necessity due to the continuous supply issues, uh, that we’re experie almost every industry is experiencing sure. Over the past three years. So I think very viable to perform the repairs, our asset recovery business, where customers are going to what Tony was talking about, wanna refresh their technology, but they don’t want to go through, uh, a, a scraping process. We we’ve got that capability at a very large global scale. Uh, I think we are in excellent position to be able to certainly to comply because of course we will comply, uh, but to make it a seamless and, uh, simple process for our customers in the event that they do need a, a repair situation that falls under the right to repair call it umbrella.

Scott Luton (00:39:12):

Yep. So Tony, I wanna get you to weigh in on this and in particular, uh, in our appreciate conversations, you mentioned this, uh, seven year rule for repair parts. Speak to us about that, Tony,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:39:23):

Uh, uh, there’s legislation out there in DC that was created to make a consumer, be able to get this product fixed or something within a seven year period of date purchase. And, and that’s been changed, um, from the manufacturer’s side, you don’t have to have parts for seven years. What, that would be a nightmare. I think Tom said 75 million parts. Imagine if you had to hold parts for seven years, but the, the world has changed and now you can offer parts for repair or replacement with a comparable product. So that’s, um, permittable under the legislation that’s out there and now take that part and say, all right, so a Dell computer, my laptop fails me. Um, and it’s time for an upgrade. Thank the stars for this concept called the cloud. Now the Dell technicians and others can put everything on your computer, up in the cloud somewhere, and then get you the new computer and take everything out of the cloud.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:40:25):

Put it back in that is an ultimate simplified repair process, uh, replacement process, really, but it’s also a repair, right? So your eight year old computer died nine year old, seven year old, whatever it is, Dell doesn’t have the parts, but they can give you something comparable. Maybe there’s a discount for having it, and they can’t find the parts, but regardless, there are good solutions. Now that seven year rule was designed by the government, uh, think tanks that are non-existent right. Um, legislation, legislators don’t know how to think about technology. They’re not. And, and so solutions have to come from companies like Dell and others that are in this industry and they’ve done it. I mean, the cloud is an ultimate repair tool that people don’t think about it that way, but it is an ultimate repair replacement tool done by Dell and ours.

Scott Luton (00:41:19):

No, it’s good to have our head, any clouds <laugh> these days, my, my third grade English teacher wouldn’t like that. Uh, but Hey, uh, alright. So one final question about this repair and we’re about to, uh, after we wrap here, we’re gonna move into getting some of Tom and Tony’s advice for talent, talent in global business. But one final question here, uh, for you, Tom, uh, can we build out the repair network to levels needed or what other options are possible you think,

Tom Maher (00:41:47):

Uh, can absolutely be built out. And, and there are countries right now proposing 10 years, right? Uh, to have the, the spare parts available, uh, the, the volume. Again, you have to think about the, the balance here, right? Technology changes and it changes rapidly, right? And we want that, right. We wanna continue to push, uh, the envelopes of what, what our products can do. And how long do you wanna hold onto a unit versus, wow, look at what, if I get a new one I can accomplish so much more. So it’s hard to tell how much volume is going to move into if a country has a seven year requirement or a 10 year or a five year, it is difficult to predict. And, and we’ve got teams focused on that, but the ability to whatever that country decides and our, uh, understanding of whatever regulations are put in place repair is going to be critical, right.

Tom Maher (00:42:48):

By no means, do I want to go out and do a last time buyer LA planning for 10 years on a, you know, consumer PC? I wouldn’t want to do that. The right answer is to ensure the repair capabilities are in place so we can keep that product up and running, uh, without having, because Tony mentioned earlier, uh, if you manufacture a component that that component will one day, hopefully not soon, but one day we’ll need to be disposed of everything ever built will be disposed of. Uh, so we don’t wanna go, uh, have more and more components produced for reverse logistics. We wanna lean heavily into the repair space, but I think it’s very viable.

Scott Luton (00:43:31):

Yep. I don’t know. Uh, as a kid, I think it had some sixth generation hand me down clothes, uh, that were a lot of fun to wear in school. Those things were indestructible. I’ll tell you. Um, but for the sake, for the sake of time, I appreciate both of y’all’s thoughts around this fascinating, uh, landscape. We find ourselves in, uh, touched on right to repair and, uh, optimizing kinda like that next generation approach to, um, uh, making sure customers are taken care of with, uh, repair options and making sure organizations are ready to deliver on that. Um, so let’s talk, Scott, do you, do

Tony Sciarrotta (00:44:07):

You wanna just add to that? Just, just one note about when I reference the repair network, I’m also talking about physical bodies out in the country. We need to encourage more young people to get into this industry of repair. It. Can’t just be dad raising his kid to train him, to take over the appliance electronics repair business, cuz there’s not enough of those anymore. So it’s not. And, and by the way, even though it’s Dell and it’s high tech, it doesn’t mean that a repair has to be a repair force, has to be super high tech, the, the cloud and everything else that Dell and companies like them do it, it, it makes it better, easier, faster to get things, to get repairs done. And so we need to encourage more people to go in that way. And, and, and I get to throw in a little plug about the reverse logistics association, being proud of members, uh, like encompass and other companies that focus on training their end, the people that are out there to do these repairs. So, uh, and Dell of course does it as well, but we are looking for more people to do repairs and, and that’s a, that’s gonna be a problem as we talk about talent. Where’s the unemployment rate is so low. How do we get more people encouraged to go into the repair business because they can make a good living at it, but there’s not enough people. So we’ll talk to that next, right?

Scott Luton (00:45:33):

Yep. Oh, AB absolutely. That’s a great segue into this, this, uh, this talent segment. We’re gonna talk with you and Tom about, um, and you know, um, humans still make global supply chains happen and the human factor, I love going back to what Tom’s still on the front end, you know, let, let’s build rewarding, fulfilling jobs where they’re tackling the, you know, they’re creatively tackling the big problems and, and, you know, using the left side and the right side of their brains. And we automate all the Mon the mundane stuff that folks don’t wanna do, but the, the, the, the human factor and the workforce factor and the talent factor. These are big question marks that we’re already seeing in other aspects of global supply chain. So on that note, this, you know, the talent question is such a big one, and, and I’m intrigued with what both y’all are gonna share here.

Scott Luton (00:46:19):

So talking about a healthy leadership talent pipeline coming into industry, and, and as well as once they’re there, as y’all both know the, the challenge doesn’t stop, we gotta engage ’em and developing that talent once it’s here in industry. So, Tom, one of my favorite questions, uh, usually I, I paint a picture like this. You’re up in, uh, New York city. Let’s say you’re at the Waldorf Astoria. I’m not sure if that’s still around or not. It’s a big momentous convention hall, 3000 people are there. They’re on the edge of their seat. In this case, they’re organizational leaders, you’ve got their captive attention. What would your advice be when it comes to recruiting and developing leaders? Tom,

Tom Maher (00:47:01):

Uh, first thing I do is say I’m staying in the Marriot <laugh>, but it is, it’s a critical aspect of our business today. Is it not, not just recruiting the talent, but retaining it, right? It is a battle out there to win the talent war. So to me, for it starts with the universities. I I’ll start there before talking about, um, the industries. So you’ve got to be very, uh, tight with the universities that are driving supply chain. When I was in school, supply chain was not something you majored in, right? That did not exist now, it’s that every major university and across the globe, but you’ve gotta do more than just recruit from the universities. You have to be actively involved, uh, sharing just a few, uh, university of Limerick. We, we Dell, uh, my team locally help develop their supply chain, undergrad and graduate program.

Tom Maher (00:48:04):

Uh, Arizona state university. I sit on the board as supply chain, executive consortium at Arizona state. Uh, we sponsor the women in supply chain annual conference, which is going on its fourth year, uh, coming up in, in the fall. Uh, we had launched last year. We’re about to have our second ever, uh, inter university case competition that is with HBCUs at HSIs, right? And you get to my point being, you’ve gotta be very involved, right? Working with the faculty and research projects. I couldn’t even tell you how many projects we have with universities across the globe because you, you really get the benefit of obviously, uh, the projects themselves and solving problems, but really interacting with the students, interacting with the faculty. Uh, I sit on the advisory board for Carisa, which is the center for applied research and innovation and chain Africa’s university, Ghana and Arizona state.

Tom Maher (00:49:08):

All of that you have, if you’re doing those things, you’re starting to develop your pipeline of talent. And I think that is really critical and the level of talent is through the roof. And we’re just at the very end of our, uh, summer internship program in the us. And every year, you’re amazed at the progress and the students coming in with data analytics skills and supply chain knowledge, uh, that never, we’ve never, uh, seen before. Also, if you’re in there working with these great universities, you have a say in the curriculum, right? So we’re helping understand with university limit where we’ve done that at Arizona state and others as well. We’ll meet once a year and say what was missing in the students from the last year. And we get a say in what, where the gaps are. So we’re building better talent. So that gets the first ones in the door, right?

Tom Maher (00:50:03):

The new, the new grads or the graduate students. And, you know, I tell you, 25 years ago, I, I was not recruiting PhDs. I’ve got probably five or six PhDs on my team today, really? Right. And there, there are a lot of image, the data science world doing a lot of the machine learning, right. The program, etc. But also network optimization. We just finished a project on, um, uh, a network optimization associated with geospatial technology. Uh, the thing, you know, making life so much easier for a planner than ever before. Things that I remember over 20 years ago, I won’t say which what university we worked with to build out a network optimization tool that took almost two years to build,

Scott Luton (00:50:51):

Wow.

Tom Maher (00:50:53):

It is now that same exact, uh, technology that we used today was an intern, their summer project

Scott Luton (00:51:03):

Man

Tom Maher (00:51:03):

Built the whole thing.

Scott Luton (00:51:05):

It is incredible. And, and I think one of the overarching things and points, I hear you making there as you’re giving, as you’re challenging organizational leaders to that are serious about talent is you gotta invest the time, the relationship capital and, and, and not just in your backyard, but globally. And, and also go ahead.

Tom Maher (00:51:26):

I wanna say Scott, and it, it’s more than just, you gotta show ’em the value of supply chain, which is higher than ever before. And the culture, right? The beauty of supply chain is, is constantly solving problems and they’re big complex problems. And they get excited about that, which you can’t live with just university recruiting, right? You have to have industry. I say, RLA reverse logistics association is a great example of how you network. You go to events, you meet people, right? And, and there’s reputation is a huge piece of this, right. You know, good, uh, leaders will attract talent, right? So, you know, there there’s jobs and people want to go out there and try new jobs on occasion, but they’re gonna follow leaders as well. And what I think we do very well is when we do get talent into the organization, we give them experiences yep. As many as possible, because that’s how they develop and learn you. Don’t, I mean, you get information through going to training and classes and academics, but when you actually do a job, you learn. Yep. Right. My whole team rolls your eyes when I say this, but you, Michael Phelps can teach you how to swim. He can be your coach, but until you get in the pool, you are not going to learn how to swim.

Scott Luton (00:52:40):

<laugh> I love it. Okay.

Tom Maher (00:52:41):

Preparation is great. But give him the experience, then, then let, let them fly.

Scott Luton (00:52:47):

Amen. Okay. Tony has shared a lot of good stuff there. What, uh, when

Tony Sciarrotta (00:52:53):

Comes, this’s a very short add on to that. Scott, it’s just a very short add on, um, I, I freaked out when somebody took me out of sales and marketing and said, go fix returns. I think every corporation, every organization look at should look at the newies that come in the younger ones and move ’em around. They may not like it. And if they don’t, you put ’em back where maybe they’re good at it and let ’em stay there. But UN until you start moving them around, you don’t discover the unseen talents that somebody might have. You move them outta of sales, into service, outta service, into finance, outta finance, into operations. You just don’t know until you give them that opportunity, that chance. And I would say every organizational leader should look at that. And I would tell every recent graduate, the same thing. Try not to be stuck in one hole. When we talk about silos and all of these big corporations, that’s why they exist because nobody travels from silo to silo enough. Let, not that they never, but they don’t travel enough. Right. And those that do are the leaders we need for the future. I, I think that comes right on what Tom and has done at Dell.

Tom Maher (00:54:05):

I love it. I think, uh, if I could add Scott, I think supply chain is so important to understand, end to end. You don’t have to change your discipline. Right. I, I tell engineers, if you wanna be an engineer, the rest of your life, that’s fine. Right. If you wanna go get an MBA and be a business leader, that’s okay, too. Uh, but in supply chain, you can do so many different roles within the discipline of supply chain and everyone adds value because you understand another piece of a very complex network. Yep. Uh, that just makes you stronger in the end.

Scott Luton (00:54:35):

Yes. Well said. Uh, so that’s that last piece, Tom? Uh, I think it’s a great segue into a different part of the talent question. That’s, uh, speaking that same nice room, but this time, instead of the organizational leaders sitting in those chairs, uh, all the, the, if we’re 3000 people, it’d be 6,000 eyes looking back at you. And all those are recent graduates that wanna break in the industry and progress into the up re lines of senior levels of leadership like you and Tony. So Tom, what would be your advice to those folks?

Tom Maher (00:55:07):

And I get this question a lot, right? Especially just, uh, going through our summer intern program, they all ask that question. What is it gonna take to be successful? Right. How do I grow and develop? And especially with new hires as well. I always tell the same first and foremost, do your job really, really well. Yep.

Tom Maher (00:55:27):

Right. Don’t get caught up in that, looking at everything else. And the grass is always greener. Do your job really well. You’re in a world class organization. It will be noticed. Right. But if you don’t do your job well, then nothing else matters. Right. Uh, leverage your strengths, right. And get so many people that wanna focus on everybody’s weakness. Now I, I’m not gonna take, uh, Aaron judge, a home run hitter and say, you know what, Aaron, you’re really not that good at pitcher. I think, you know, I think we need to focus on pitching more bating practice, right? So we wanna put in positions to be successful, but leverage your strengths. But I would say the two most important things be accountable, right? I, I told people early on my first weekend, Dallas, Scott, I might have even shared this with you. The first time we, we spoke my first week at Dell, I came home after having what I thought was a pretty decent career thus far. Uh, and I went to my wife and I said, I may never be the smartest person in the room ever again.

Scott Luton (00:56:40):

Wow.

Tom Maher (00:56:40):

I am better do my job incredibly well. And I better be the person people can point to and say, if you give it to him, he’s gonna own it because I can’t do what some of the talent it’s so phenomenal. It is the thing I think excites most people at Dell is the people you work with. So I chose to be, uh, I’m a supply chain career person. It’s what I do. Uh, so being accountable, owning it, don’t let people waste time. Trying to point blame, just take it’s. I’ve been, you know what, I’m sure that Tom screwed all up. It’s his do now, right? Unless just move forward. Yep. Right. And the last thing I would say, I’m a big fan of what I call peer leadership, collaborate, help each other. Don’t be the silent person on the wall. If you see something, uh, that’s not working, go tell your peer, let ’em know. Yeah. And that’s how you develop people, recognize leadership. It’s something that it’s, because you’ve acted, you’ve done something, go be a leader and you will be recognized as a leader. And you can lead as an individual contributor. You can lead a project. You can lead, uh, a conference call. You can lead just solving a problem. Right. Don’t be afraid to go out there and take those risks, have those experiences. And anytime you’re in a good organization, it will be noticed. And you’ll develop simply by doing new and different things

Scott Luton (00:58:13):

Well said, lots of good at great practical, uh, advice there. Tony, that’s gonna be tough. The top. That’s gonna be tough. The top, uh, Michael, uh, Tom said a high bar. Uh, so I don’t think Tom, you got me thinking baseball now without Aaron judge analogy, but Tony, what would you, what would you share? Same piece of, you know, in terms of advice to recent graduates?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:58:34):

Well, I think I mentioned it a bit earlier, get into an organization where you can move across into different places and ask for it. Now, everything that Tom said is the baseline. Do your job well, be accountable and then ask to do something more.

Scott Luton (00:58:49):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>

Tony Sciarrotta (00:58:51):

That’s you have to be a, otherwise you can, you can be a happy engineer for the rest of your life. That’s fine. I could be a happy sales guy, the rest of my life be fine, but don’t be afraid to ask to do something more. It it’s good for you, even if you don’t succeed at it. I mean, we tell people all the time, but we’re afraid to keep saying don’t be afraid to fail. Right? We say that, you know, we point to, uh, um, the Steve jobs stories and all of the others, but clearly,

Scott Luton (00:59:18):

Often do we mean it,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:59:19):

Right? We clearly we have a culture that doesn’t look well on failure, unfortunately. Um, but I wanna add to something else that, that Tom said, and that was in relation to, uh, I, I love the story about the first week and coming home and recognizing I’ll never be the smartest person in the room again. And, and it means so much to have a rev reverse logistics association that almost disappeared. And Tom Mar and Chuck Johnson were the two people who I went to and said, should I do this? Should I take this over? And they said, first, the industry needs it. And second, try to get good people involved. And I am one of the best advisory boards on the planet. 12 companies committed to this 12 individuals who are all way smarter than I am. And, and, and, and even though I don’t talk to them all the time, their voices are in my head.

Tony Sciarrotta (01:00:14):

I hear Tom once like this and that voice stays in there, reminds me that talk to the smartest people, try to make them look good and yourself look good in front of them. And that’s the drive to run this association. And again, you come back to those graduates. Nobody tells you to get a career in reverse logistics, just right. There’s no degrees for it to speak of except one American public university. Um, nobody tells you to go for a degree, but, you know, at the end of the day, it can be very important and very fulfilling because you clearly have to deal with every silo in a company. Yep. And, and as Tom does, and he knows that as well. So, um, I just would add that for any graduates, focus on, ask for more. Yeah. And, uh, and that’s important. Ask for more,

Scott Luton (01:01:05):

That’s quite a one, two punch from Tom and Tony here. I, I would, uh, just add two thoughts, uh, kinda along the lines of what you just shared. Tony blessed our to volunteers, Hey, do your job, as Tom said, but man, raise that hand and have those new experiences. You never know where that’s gonna lead. Um, and folks take notice. Um, and then secondly, um, you know, Tony, you just said, so there there’s something that really resonates with me cuz I think all of us still remember and have that little voice between our ears, uh, from our parents or from a key mentor or whatever it is. And I can still hear some of these, some of the pieces of advice or things to do or not to do as clear as a bell in my, in my brain. And I would, so I would just add talking to leaders.

Scott Luton (01:01:54):

You never know when something you share is gonna be that voice that sticks with them for, you know, throughout their career and, and you know, that is so important. So Hey, don’t be afraid of leaning into mentoring and, and leaning into, uh, developing those, those key relationships that both Tom and Tony have been speaking to, cuz you never know how it’s gonna help or who’s gonna help. And just how much, um, okay. Tom and Tony, what a, uh, a full conversation, all kinds of, uh, what we call snackables, uh, that we’ll have to put out there as we, we share both of your moments of brilliance. Um, as we come down to, um, uh, the final stretch here, Tony, I wanna make sure folks know, uh, you know, well, I think we gotta make sure folks know RLA is a, is a global organization. Y’all got a big event, uh, each year in Vegas. And I think y’all just coming off on the heels of your big European event, I think in Amsterdam. Right? Um, is that right?

Tony Sciarrotta (01:02:54):

Yes. We just, uh, finished a, a sold out event in Amsterdam, the Y auditorium and had, uh, hundred 20 attendees, but more importance, some amazing industry leaders, thought leaders, including con shields from Dell over in Limerick that Tom was referring to as one were leaders and Cisco and HP and other companies, uh, again, industry thought leaders were there. Attendees showed up for it were, were very happy with the events and can’t wait to go back till next year.

Scott Luton (01:03:27):

Hey, uh, let’s go together next time. Okay. Let’s uh, let’s put our stuff in a big container, uh, send it across on across the pond, but Hey, sounds like a great event. What’s uh, for any of our listeners that want to, you know, kick the tires, check out the RLA community global community at that what’s what’s the next event would be a good one for them to check out

Tony Sciarrotta (01:03:47):

Well, Scott, I make it almost too easy and keep repeating this. You go www you join community, no cost it’s free. You don’t have access to everything that members do, but you do have access to some of our industry research and an upcoming webinar. We do once a month webinars with industry leaders and Thompson’s been part of it in the past, talking about all the relevant topics. The next one is how to solve the puzzle of apparel returns.

Scott Luton (01:04:18):

Okay. So

Tony Sciarrotta (01:04:18):

That’s a free webinar. And as soon as you sign up in the system, you’re there you start getting emails, it tells you about it. And that’s the easy part we do. Actually, Scott now have provisions for individual memberships. They can pay monthly and that gives them access to more benefits to committee meetings, where you get to listen again, closely to industry leaders. Talk about what they’ve done as well as an opportunity to come to our conference. It will be in Las Vegas, February 7th, eighth and ninth at the Mirage hotel again, while it’s still the Mirage hotel. And, um, I’m not sure we’re gonna drag you there this year. Scott, we’ve had you there three times. You’ve met the transformers and all the others on the script. So, um, I’m not sure that, uh, we’ll get you back the board tennis to be there.

Scott Luton (01:05:07):

Oh, it’s such a great time at the mighty Mirage. Uh, and of course, Vegas and Vegas, you, you marry Vegas and reverse logistics and supply chain. It’s just such a great time. Um, rla.org, jot that down folks and check it out. Um, and, and for folks that wanna connect with you, Tony, LinkedIn, or@r.org, is that easiest way.

Tony Sciarrotta (01:05:26):

That’s the easiest way tony@rla.org.

Scott Luton (01:05:29):

Great. And, and if you see Tony’s last name, I’ll never forget how he told me to pronounce it. It’s like my Sheroda, uh, my Sharon, but it’s my Sheroda Tony Sheroda, that’s how you remember it. So, uh, you’ll want to add Tony and Tom to your network. And Tom, now that we’ve got a, a good, um, uh, instructions on how to connect Marle and, and Tony, how can folks, you know, connect with you and learn a lot more about Dell?

Tom Maher (01:05:54):

Yeah, LinkedIn, uh, the, a great way to do so and email for us is Tom dot Mar dell.com. Nice. And, and for companies that wanna connect through RLA is a great process, right? Many, many of our connections, Tom, through the RLA organization. So reaching out to Tony is also a, a great way to make that

Scott Luton (01:06:16):

Outstanding. Well, really Tom, as busy as, as both of y’all are really, I appreciate y’all carving, uh, out in an hour of your time and sharing, uh, some topics here that we don’t Tony, we don’t, we, we talk about it, but we don’t talk about enough industry. Certainly doesn’t talk about enough. So thank you so much for your time. Uh, Tom, great to reconnect. Uh, it was a pleasure to meet you in person, uh, at early event in Vegas, uh, about two years ago or, or so two and a half years ago, maybe. Uh, but thanks so much for taking time out, Tom, Marc senior vice president global service parts with Dell technologies. Thank you, Tom.

Tom Maher (01:06:50):

Thanks for having me, Scott.

Scott Luton (01:06:52):

You bet. Uh, we’ll do it again soon. And of course my dear friend, Tony Sheroda, uh, regular guest here at supply chain. Now he serves as executive director with the organization on the move, the reverse logistics association, check him out arlay.org, always a pleasure, Tony.

Tony Sciarrotta (01:07:07):

Absolutely. And I look forward to doing this again on a regular basis. Scott, I appreciate that you, uh, share and expose this side of the, uh, logistics supply chain world.

Scott Luton (01:07:18):

Well, I’ll tell you, we have a lot of fun doing, but it’s honored to do it. And more folks, you know, if we can plant more, plant more seeds with folks across the globe and get, you know, pour more light on this aspect of global supply chain and global business will all be better off to our listeners, man, Tony and Tom brought it quite the one, two punch here today. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the conversation, but Hey, it’s all about deeds, not words, Hey, act on something they shared here today. Uh, you and your organization and your professional career will be better off by doing it, uh, with that said big, thanks to the production team, Justin, the whole gang. Uh, this is Scott Luton signing off now, but Hey, challenging you or all of our listeners across the globe, do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (01:08:07):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our programming@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.

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Featured Guests

Tom Maher joined Dell in 1998 and is the Senior Vice President for Global Service Parts. Mr. Maher is responsible for service parts life cycle support in 160+ countries where his team manages over 1000 parts depots. Mr. Maher’s global responsibilities include: planning, procurement, distribution, custom services, returns, test, repair, inventory management, supplier management and parts disposal. Mr. Maher’s organization supports all Dell Technologies hardware service offerings for each of Dell Technologies Business Units and Lines of Business. Mr. Maher’s organization provides support for customer offerings ranging from: CIS, Depot and Next Business Day to Onsite Parts and a variety of Same Business Day solutions. Prior to joining Dell Mr. Maher was with Vanstar where he held various positions in after market service parts support. Tom is an active member of the Reverse Logistics Association, and Council of Supply Chain Professionals. Mr. Maher sits on Arizona State’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, PayItForward911 Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board for the Reverse Logistics Association. Tom holds a B.A. degree from Villanova University. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn.

Tony Sciarrotta serves as Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association. He was nominated and selected by the Board to serve as the Executive Director on August 1, 2016. Since Mr. Sciarrotta had been an active member serving in committee leadership of Reverse Logistics Association since 2005, he had also served on the Board of RLA from 2005 to 2012 while employed at Philips Consumer Lifestyle as their Director of Sales & Marketing. So it was a simple decision for the selection team at RLA to approve Mr. Sciarrotta. Since his experience, qualifications and service to RLA was more than substantial to meet the requirement that was needed as the next Executive Director. Mr. Sciarrotta has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Reverse IT Sales & Consulting. Tony brings so much experience to the RLA team, including 25 years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. His background helped prepare him for a developmental role as director for returns management activities, and in 1998 Tony was assigned to create and manage a cross functional department to reduce returns and their associated costs. He was successful at implementing effective returns policies and procedures with a variety of dealers, and in 2005, Tony assumed responsibility for maximizing asset recovery of all returned consumer goods. Tony has specifically targeted best avenues for reselling returned goods at the model level, by using tools developed with finance support. In 2013, after establishing best-in-class results for returns in the consumer goods industry, Tony retired from Philips and now sits on various committees and industry groups. Learn more about the Reverse Logistics Association here: https://rla.org/

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Patch Reilly

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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.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

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Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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