Dial P for Procurement
Episode 49

Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.

- President Ronald Regan

Episode Summary

Last week’s business news was all Twitter all the time. With Elon Musk as the new owner of the company, and the company losing $4 Million per day, something had to give. Then came the announcement that about half of the company’s employees would be laid off, entire teams in some cases. And yet, Twitter is hardly the only company laying people off this year.

There have been many stories in the papers about individual companies having layoffs. Less common are overarching discussions of all of the layoffs.

In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner looks into the differences and similarities between the companies associated with recent layoffs:

• Reported layoff details by company and industry

• The varied reasons for those layoffs

• How these layoffs connect to the overall employment situation in the United States… including the looming potential recession

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Dial P for procurement, A show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders. Give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value. And now it’s time to dial P for procurement.

Kelly Barner (00:31):

Last week’s business news was all Twitter all the time with Elon Musk as the new owner of the company and the company losing 4 million a day, you knew something pretty significant was going to change and fast, and so the announcement that about half of the company’s employees would be laid off entire teams in some cases hardly comes as a surprise. At the same time, there are plenty of other companies laying people off this year. A few months ago, I started noticing a lot of stories in the newspaper about individual companies having layoffs. What I wasn’t seeing was any meaningful discussion of all of the layoffs, something that would give us a better sense of just how much of a trend is beginning. And so I started my research. Now in that process, I did come across some summary articles in overall commentary, but it is interesting that individual company news always seems to come through louder.

Kelly Barner (01:38):

In this episode of Dial P, I’ll review some of the details on reported layoffs by company and industry. A few of the reasons for those layoffs because there are lots of different justifications, and finally how these stories connect to the overall employment situation in the United States, including the looming potential recession. But before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the co-founder and managing director of Buyers Meeting Point. I’m a partner at Art of Procurement and I’m your host for Dial P here on supply chain. Now I’m constantly scanning the news for complex topics to discuss things that are interesting but could easily escape our notice. Dial P releases a new podcast episode or interview every Thursday, so be on the lookout for future episodes and don’t forget to check out past episodes as well. Now before I get back to today’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask.

Kelly Barner (02:41):

I work really hard to ensure that you find value in the time we spend together. If you do, please find a way to engage. We have listeners on all kinds of platforms and devices, so you can give us a review on iTunes, offer up some stars as a rating, share this podcast or like a post on LinkedIn or Twitter. You can even just forward this link to a colleague. I’m grateful for your interest and attention to what we’re building here at Dial P and I want to hear from you about these episodes. Now, before I get into the specifics about the layoffs, I feel like I need to address the human side of what we’re about to discuss. As I mentioned, I’ve done research and I have numbers and workforce percentages for many of the companies we’re going to talk about. They range from 5% to 50% in terms of layoffs, but each person being laid off is losing 100% of their income in many cases, by no fault of their own.

Kelly Barner (03:47):

I have been laid off. It is heartbreaking, and I didn’t even have a family to support at the time. There have even been recent layoffs within procurement. My friends have lost their jobs and the holidays are only weeks away. I’m gonna cover this story from a business and economic perspective, but do not think for one minute. I’m not cognizant of the impact these stories have on thousands of families and communities. If you have recently lost your job, my heart goes out to you, and I know this doesn’t seem like much consolation right now, but this could end up being the best thing that ever happened to you professionally. Being laid off, landed me in procurement and led me to meet some of my best friends in the whole world. You are walking through hell right now and the only thing you can do when you’re walking through hell is to keep going.

Kelly Barner (04:47):

As Winston Churchill said. Now let’s start with a discussion of why. So it’s easy overall to blame the economy, to blame inflation, to blame the disruption from the supply chain or the pandemic. And while all of these things are very real and they do play a role in each one of these layoff decisions, giving them sole credit on a company by company basis washes over the nuance in each deal, and that’s the interesting part. We’ve been in incredibly hard to understand times and even harder to predict, but I have to say, even as a rookie covering layoffs, some of these decisions, the hiring decisions that led companies to the point where they have to have massive layoffs seem pretty hard to justify. As we dig deeper into the stories and the explanations shared by some of these specific companies, cost cutting is huge. That’s the obvious reason.

Kelly Barner (05:48):

Now, in some cases, companies overestimated their potential for market share growth or the ability to sustain growth that they were seeing. In cases where specific business units are being affected by targeted layoffs, in some cases it’s a result of demand being reduced as consumers switch their spending habits and their activities. I noticed a few other things across these stories. One is the impact of the Warren Act. So Warren is an acronym. It stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. It requires companies to disclose their numbers and provide workers with sufficient notice. It’s actually the foundation of a lawsuit pending against Twitter. It exists federally and at the state level, and it applies to different companies based on size. Now, many of the companies I have detail on had to file because of the War Act, and that’s where we get this information. I’ve also noticed that a lot of companies have had multiple rounds of layoffs just this year.

Kelly Barner (06:56):

Some of these companies, three or four rounds, a few hundred at a time as opposed to thousands of people all at once. Now, there may be a PR advantage to having smaller, more localized layoffs as opposed to one big round of really bad news. Not sure. I think we could probably debate that, but either way, I think it’s really hard on the people still working at that company when every three or four months there’s another round of names of colleagues that no longer work with you. Again, an interesting observation that for especially B2C companies, these layoffs do seem split between location based roles and corporate roles. There have been plenty of executive level layoffs, so these just aren’t end workers that are being terminated. And the one that mystifies me most of all is when companies are specifically laying off people in sales and marketing.

Kelly Barner (07:50):

Maybe again, this is my inexperience with being in HR and making corporate layoff decisions, but it feels like if there’s anything that could pull your company out of a financial tailspin, it would be your sales and marketing team. Now, I’m gonna give you specific company examples, and I have them roughly grouped by like industry, but this extends across the entire economy. PWCs people and organization group did research into this, and of the companies they spoke to, 50% anticipate layoffs. This year, 52% expect to have hiring freezes, and 44% of the companies are expecting to rescind job offers that they’ve made. I wanna start by giving you a quick rundown of company names associated with layoffs in 2022. Don’t worry about remembering these, I’ll come back to them, but let their number and variety just wash over you. Warning in advance, this is scary stuff. The gap beyond Meat, Microsoft, Oracle, ubs, Twitter, Ford, Seagate, Technology, Phillips, Hello, Fresh Intel, Wells Fargo, Google, Warner Brothers, Discovery, Lift, Stripe, Amazon, Robin Hood, Shopify, Peloton, Netflix, Snap, Incorporated, Stanley Black and Decker, Corteva, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, Morgan Stanley, Better Redfin, Remax Compass, Wayfair seven 11, the Mayo, Tesla, Rivian, JP Morgan, Carvana, num, PayPal, and Best Buy.

Kelly Barner (09:47):

And this is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it gives you a sense, and as many companies are making their Q3 earnings statements, a lot more of them are coming out with hints or making outright comments about plans to layoff very much in line with what PWC found in their study. So I mentioned the gap. Let’s start with retail. This is probably the least surprising sector to see layoffs in. We know about inventory problems affecting working capital, and so it was only a matter of time before this started to take a toll on the workforce. Gap has laid off 500 corporate employees. That’s 5% of their workforce. They’ve also committed to close down 30% of their gap and Banana Republic stores by 2024 mostly affecting malls. Old Navy, which is their largest operating segment. They had a sizing snafu that really did not help this situation.

Kelly Barner (10:48):

If you’re interested in more about that, go back and check out episode 26 of Dial P, Losing the plot, social mission versus business fundamentals. I went into that in detail there and that was the operational issue. Now we’re starting to see the workforce fall out. Shopify e-commerce has laid off a thousand people or 10% of their staff and Walmart. This is interesting. They’re actually making a couple of different kinds of changes. They’ve laid off 1700 employees, but they’re also changing how they staff up for the holidays. Typically, they would’ve brought in about 140,000 full-time employees to get through this time of the year. Instead, they’re hiring just 50,000 employees and they will be specifically brought in as temporary workers. Now we move into technology. This is the sector where the layoffs are getting a lot of attention, and yet it is important to remember that they only represent a small portion of overall employment in the us.

Kelly Barner (11:54):

Microsoft is estimated to have eliminated about a thousand jobs. They’ve declined to say specifically, but what’s interesting and seems to surprise even insiders, is that it included their Xbox gaming division. So when you’re starting to touch sacred cow workforce categories, that’s a little additional sign that something’s gone awry. Oracle, again, the number is unknown, but potentially thousands was the estimate I found. Seagate technology has laid off 3000 employees and Intel has seen a sudden and rapid decline in sales, which has led them to make thousands of layoffs in total, including 20% of their sales and marketing staff. That’s that one I have to wonder about. Google is laying off 50 people, which represents about half of the hundred and 20 employees in their area, one 20 startup incubator. Now, they’ve been given 90 days to find new positions internally and be accepted for them or their positions will be eliminated and they will be laid off.

Kelly Barner (13:01):

The Mayo. The slide and video hosting site has laid off about 6% of their staff or 73 people, and PayPal did lay off 83 people, although it’s an incredibly small percentage of their 30,000 person workforce. If we turn to meat, we start with beyond meat. 19% of the workforce has been laid off, which is about 200 positions. The company made a statement about needing to right size in the face of declining sales, meaning maybe people were willing to experiment with these products, but longer term, those changes in consumption were not lasting. Additionally, interesting is the fact that they are eliminating their chief supply chain officer position and folding that responsibility back into operations. Obviously, I’m not objective, but that seems like a bad decision. Hello, Fresh. The whole meal kit company interest in their product surged during the pandemic. As people couldn’t go to restaurants, they’ve laid off 611 workers, cor agriscience laid off 5% of their global workforce or about a thousand people, and seven 11 has eliminated 880 corporate jobs, mostly resulting from a corporate acquisition that they made.

Kelly Barner (14:23):

Now let’s talk about the media, and in this I’m including both television and studios as well as social media. There’s been a real battle going on, sort of like the battle between bricks and mortar and e-commerce. In this case, the battle has been between streaming services versus traditional studios that would’ve been creating content. Warner Brothers. Discovery was created by bringing together Warner Brothers, cnn, hbo, and the Discovery Channel Networks. They’ve eliminated about a thousand jobs since April of this year, including hundreds of ad sale employees. I already mentioned Twitter. They made enormous news last week eliminating about 7,500 workers or half of their staff, and that lawsuit in California is still pending. Netflix has laid off about 500 people. Snap Inc, which is the company that owns and runs snapchat, has laid off 1200 people representing about 20% of their workforce. Noom. The weight loss app has eliminated 495 people, similar to the others, about 20% of their staff.

Kelly Barner (15:34):

Now, here’s an interesting one, and here’s where I actually need to time and date stamp myself. It is currently New Eastern on Monday, November 7th and this morning the news started to hit all of the papers about meta laying off. It says the parent company of Facebook, They are expecting extensive layoffs, and while we don’t have specific numbers yet, because the actual announcements haven’t been made, many thousands are expected to lose their jobs. As soon as this Wednesday, the day before this episode, you’re listening to heirs for the first time. Now, this is not only notable because of the scope, it’s also notable because according to the Wall Street Journal, this is the quote, first broad headcount reduction to occur in the company’s 18 year history. So this isn’t a cycle of boom and bust or right sizing or adjustment for them. This is a major course correction.

Kelly Barner (16:33):

Even the money people aren’t exempt. Finance and banking are seeing a lot of layoffs as well. Wells Fargo has laid off over 400 people this year. Stripe the payment processing company, 14% of their staff, about a thousand people, JP Morgan, another thousand people in this case, in their home lending unit, and we’re gonna talk about real estate in a moment. Last but not least, in this category, Robin Hood, you may actually associate them with that crazy game Stop means Means stock trading thing. They eliminated 390 staff members, 9% of their staff in April, and then another 23% of the remaining staff in August. That puts them at about a thousand people this year. So let’s talk about real estate. This is an area where we can really see consumers and homeowners starting to make very different decisions that are having an impact on jobs in different kinds of companies in the industry, demand for new homes has tanked in response to high prices.

Kelly Barner (17:42):

Now, those prices were high because the demand was previously so high and with interest rates high and rising, thank you, Fed, people are changing their minds and staying where they are. Redfin has eliminated 470 positions or 6% of their workforce, Remax, 17% Compass real estate brokerage, 10% or about 450 people and better mortgage lenders, 4,000 people losing their jobs. Another industry with numbers on that scope, healthcare and fitness. Phillips, the medical device company, has laid off 4,000 employees and they blame worsening macro conditions for that. That’s an example of where, yeah, we probably could have guessed worsening macro conditions. Wouldn’t you just love them to be a little bit more specific? Now, here’s the example in this category that I felt like at the time I was taking crazy pills. Peloton, did they really think that that surge in their customer base was going to stay long term?

Kelly Barner (18:55):

They’ve had four rounds of layoffs in 2022 for a total of 4,600 employees. I remember the pandemic days, the gyms were all closed, everybody had to stay home. We were all going out of our minds with nervous energy and it seemed like a fabulous idea to get a Peloton. The wait time for those devices was incredible, and yet somehow their company leadership thought this was going to be the beginning of a new era in personal fitness, and that even once the gyms reopened, there wouldn’t be significant fall off in demand. They were wrong. The increase in demand was temporary. Artificial is a result of the pandemic, but they grew and restructured as though it was going to be forever. I guess as an executive, you have to be optimistic, but still, and they’ve also suffered from bad pr, not a great look when they canceled their company-wide Christmas party in favor of an invite only Christmas party that apparently only executives and instructors were invited to attend.

Kelly Barner (20:04):

Ye, that is not good pr. When we look at automotive and transportation, there are a couple of different dynamics going on, and Ford provides us with a great example of this. The rumor not confirmed by the company is that they’ve laid off 3000 office and contract employees. Now they’re saying they didn’t actually lay these people off, although they have adopted a new provision in their employee workbook that addresses how poor performance will affect employment, they’ve drawn a shorter straighter line between missed expectations and losing your job. Now, in July of 2022, they actually laid off 8,000 employees as part of their transition to electric vehicle production. So they have both a production or an operational shift and also the challenges of the economy going on. In parallel, Tesla has laid off 229 workers Rivian. The electric vehicle maker has laid off 840 people. That’s about 6% of their workforce, and it doesn’t just affect car purchases.

Kelly Barner (21:12):

Carvana, although these are used car purchases, 12% of their staff, about 2,500 people and Lyft, they laid off 60 people in July and more recently, another 700 jobs or 13% of their remaining staff. Now, this does not include drivers because of their freelance model. So all of that is corporate. We talked a little bit about retail, but let’s look at some other consumer goods companies. Stanley Black and Decker won’t report their numbers and they deny common reports that they’ve laid off about a thousand people. Wayfair has laid off 870 people, which only represents about 5% of their global workforce, but 10% of their corporate team. So this is an example of where they saw layoffs heavy at the highest levels, and another company that has declined to say Best Buy. The Wall Street Journal reports hundreds. Now, in addition to companies laying people off, there are a number of hiring freezes that have been underway.

Kelly Barner (22:19):

Apple and meta, maybe they were trying to avoid having to have the layoffs that are probably coming this week. Goldman’s Sachs group is revamping their staffing. It’s a nice little euphemism. Usually they get rid of somewhere between one in 5% of their workforce, sort of a GE Jack Welsh kind of a model, but they’re changing the way they do it, and that would be another way to sort of obscure having a layoff as a sign that something’s gone awry at your company. CH Robinson, which is the largest US freight broker by revenue, said in their Q3 earnings announcement that layoffs may be coming and logistics and supply chain and freight, Those are all early indicators for a change in the overall economy. So the idea that the largest freight broker sees potential layoffs coming on the horizon, that does give us one more piece of evidence about whether or not we’re gonna slip into recession in 2023.

Kelly Barner (23:17):

Morgan Stanley, another general statement signs indicate that layoffs are coming. So here’s the confusing part. The jobs numbers seem to be holding strong, at least in aggregate, but then all of these companies and all of these positions that are being eliminated, according to the October jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rose to 3.7% last month. That’s up 0.2%, so up, but a tiny bit. The bigger issue is the labor participation rate, which is currently at 62.2%. Now that’s down about 1.2%, but largely unchanged for the year. What it really means is that there’s one to 2 million people who currently aren’t working that otherwise would be, or that you would expect to be working based on their skills and their health and their age. Most of those people fall into two groups, the 20 to 24 age bracket and the 65 plus age bracket because of inflation and the attempt to ward off recession, the Fed wants or needs unemployment to rise so that upward pressure on wages will be reduced, and what this means is that we’re likely to have more layoffs before we get through this spell.

Kelly Barner (24:42):

Now, here are a few of my key takeaways from researching this episode. Hindsight is 2020 and executives are just people too, so you have a responsibility as an employee, look at the financial state of your company before you make a switch and ask yourself, is the growth trajectory that they think they’re on going to hold? Does this seem like a secure position? As my dad always said, every single one of us is just one paycheck from the street, so be extra careful about making big purchases or making job changes, especially if you have a family and other dependents. All of us are impacted by the larger economy, but there will always be winners and losers, sometimes by industry, sometimes by luck, and sometimes by strategy. Just like Mr. Rogers would say, Always look for the helpers in any situation. Look for the companies that are thriving in today’s economy and see if you can figure out if they’re positioning themselves to preserve their success even as the economy changes.

Kelly Barner (25:52):

Now, that’s my point of view on this situation, but I wanna hear what you think. First of all, do you know anyone who has been laid off, yourself included, Are you looking for early signs of risk within your own company? Wasteful spending? Reckless hiring people who don’t seem to be doing a whole lot but are around. That’s the kind of groundwork that sets the stage for future layoffs. And then of course, there’s always a few canaries in every coal mine. When the superstars and the high performers start to leave your company, that is your signal to go, and if you happen to be one of those canaries, I’d be interested to know what’s your read on the market? What’s factoring into your decision to make a change? Please find me on social media. Please add a comment. Please share this as I’ve asked. Until next time, I’m Kelly Barner. On behalf of Dial P and the team at Supply Chain now, thank you so much for listen and have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro (26:55):

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Dial P for procurement, and for being an active part of the supply chain Now community. Please check out all of our shows and events@supplychainnow.com. Make sure you follow Dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of Dial P four, Procurement.

Hosts

Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

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Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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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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Greg White

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

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

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

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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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Host of TEKTOK

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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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