“In bank accounts and relationships, you make deposits and withdrawals. When you have to deliver a tough message, you’re essentially making a withdrawal. Hopefully you’ve made enough deposits – by earning trust and through your performance – to cover that withdrawal. That is the goal.”
– Anthony Clervi, Principal at Una
“If you get a rebuttal, stay curious – don’t shut it down. Understand why there is pushback. Staying curious enough to understand the impact to others is going to go a really, really long way.”
– Kris Lance, Senior Director at Una
With more spend and suppliers to manage than ever, many procurement teams are re-evaluating the category expertise they maintain in house and which buying decisions are managed by procurement v. being turned over to the business. In this conversation, Anthony Clervi and Kris Lance from Una, a Group Purchasing Organization, bring their sales and marketing experience along with a perspective refined through years of entrepreneurship to tackle this challenge and others.
Among their best advice is how to overcome objections – something procurement’s colleagues in sales do all the time. While procurement often hears a “no” and considers a conversation over, Kris suggests looking at that as the start of the discussion and taking it as an opportunity to learn as much as possible. Doing so may even win over procurement’s toughest critics and turn that no into a maybe or a yes.
During a conversation recorded as a livestream with the Supply Chain Now audience, Anthony and Kris bring their fresh perspective to the table to discuss the following with co-hosts Kelly Barner and Scott Luton:
• How procurement is managing the many competing objectives that have been added to their workload, and how it is affecting the balance between category expertise and generalist strengths from a talent perspective
• How to approach the make v. buy decision when it comes to category expertise: what to keep in house and what to use specialist service providers for
• The very WORST ways they have seen companies go out in pursuit of savings, and the long-term damage it can lead to with suppliers
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 (00:33):
Hey. Hey. Good afternoon. Scott Luton and Kelly Barner with you here right here at Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream, Dial P for Procurement. Kelly, how are you doing?
Kelly Barner (00:43):
I am good. It is a beautiful Dial P Tuesday.
Scott Luton (00:47):
It is. And we’ve got the gorgeous Dial P colors waving in the wind here, beautiful shade of red. So, of course, Dial P is jointly presented by Supply Chain Now and our friends at Buyers Meeting Point. And today, we blink and it’s the start of third quarter here at Dial P. What an incredibly fast year this has been, right?
Kelly Barner (01:07):
This has been unbelievably fast. And I think the nice thing about it is, we’re actually bringing in some really good friends today and over the next couple of months. So, it may be Q3, and as fast as the year has gone to get to this point, the next few months, it’s going to be turning to new calendars, 2022, before any of us knows it.
Scott Luton (01:26):
I tell you. But there’s been lots of wonderful stories, proven new best practices, right? And as well as some timeless things that you got to do to persevere through the pandemic era, that we’re all fighting to get into the what’s next. And we’ll get there very soon. But great conversation teed up here today. Quick programming note, hey, if you like this conversation, be sure to find Supply Chain Now wherever you get your podcasts from and click subscribe. Also, you’re not going want to miss being a part of the Buyers Meeting Point community, so you can learn. And, Kelly, what’s your URL there?
Kelly Barner (02:01):
It is buyersmeetingpoint.com.
Scott Luton (02:03):
It’s just that simple. Just that simple.
Kelly Barner (02:04):
Yeah. It’s that simple. We make it easy.
Scott Luton (02:06):
Yup. So, we want to say hello to a few folks, and then we’re going to introduce our two special guests, that we really enjoyed their company pre-show. Some of the best conversations happen pre-show. We’re going to have to figure out how to go live even earlier, Kelly. But we’ve got a ton of folks tuned in. Let’s say hello to a few of them. Srinivas tuned in from India via LinkedIn as always. Srinivas, great to have you here. I saw your comment earlier in the week, as Kelly was talking about the livestream. You were ready to go early on. So, look forward to hearing your POV here today. Kathy tuned in via LinkedIn from Huntington Beach, California. Kelly, that conjures up a gorgeous view, doesn’t it?
Kelly Barner (02:47):
It absolutely does. Maybe, you know, west coast time having a little bit of breakfast. Second cup of coffee, maybe, with Kathy.
Scott Luton (02:54):
I bet Kathy is in her seventh cup of coffee and she’s been at work for four hours. Make it happen already. But, Kathy, great to have you here today. John Martinez is back. Now, John was with us for a couple of livestreams a week or two ago. Tuned in via LinkedIn from San Antonio. And, John, I wasn’t able to listen to the whole thing, but I saw that you were helping folks connect, maybe, find jobs, be motivated in some of the digital content you were creating on LinkedIn earlier. So, great to have you here and really appreciate your POV. We look forward to hearing more over the next hour. Musawer tuned in via LinkedIn from Pakistan. I apologize if I got that name right? Let us know how we can pronounce it correctly. Susheel tuned also from LinkedIn. Hello. Hello. Peter Bolle, all night and all day.
Kelly Barner (03:42):
Scott Luton (03:44):
Peter does not sleep. He stays in problem solving mode, helping others mode. And it’s great to have him back once again. All right. So, just one more final shoutout here. I know we couldn’t get everybody. But Azaleah is back with us, and I appreciate her message here. Good morning my friends. Praying that everyone is remaining healthy and strong out there. And by the way, I’m not going to let the whole cat out of the bag. But, you know, Azaleah is seeking her next opportunity and she’s got some big conversations coming up. And we should expect that because we see how bright she is and how sharp she is in every single one of these livestream conversations. So, Azaleah, great to have you back with us right here today. Okay. Welcome everybody. So, Kelly, with no further ado, we’re ready to bring in our two home run Hollywood stars here on Dial P.
Kelly Barner (04:35):
Indeed, we are ready.
Scott Luton (04:37):
Let’s do it. So, I want to bring in and introduce Anthony Clervi, Principal at The Una Group, and Kris Lance, Senior Director and Anthony’s colleague at Una. Hey, good afternoon, gentlemen. Anthony, Kris, how are we doing?
Anthony Clervi (04:53):
Scott Luton (04:54):
Well, it is terrific to have you both. We’ve really enjoyed and we’ve had a variety of conversations going back to last year as Una had no shortage of things going on. I think we’re going to talk about here momentarily, Kelly, you know, disseminating thought leadership is a big part of what the Una Group does beyond everything else. And we’re fortunate to be able to plug into some of that today. Right, Kelly?
Kelly Barner (05:17):
Oh, we are definitely thrilled about that. And, in fact, extra specialties here, right? Because if you’ve been following anything in procurement on social media, you know that I’m the new host of the Sourcing Hero podcast at Una. We’ve had some great guests already. This week, we have Karthik Rama, The Sourcing Doctor, joining us. And then, next week, sort of a little known but very promising personality in the procurement supply chain space, Mr. Scott Luton is going to be our guest on the podcast next week. So, do not miss that. This is the week to subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s episode.
Anthony Clervi (05:51):
Scott Luton (05:54):
Well, Kelly, we have a great time having these types of conversations. And I was honored to be a part of that wonderful podcast series. And, again, I really admire kindred spirits and fellow leaders that know the importance of disseminating and encouraging the dialogue that’s got to happen for all of us to work through the challenges that we face unique and some of the timeless challenges.
Scott Luton (06:18):
So, today, we’re going to get on the frontend the most important topics of the day. We’re talking sports. Of course, I’m kidding. We got a lot of stuff to talk about today. But Anthony and Kris, both of y’all are athletes and accomplished athletes. And I want to start the conversation just getting —
Anthony Clervi (06:37):
I’m retired, Scott.
Scott Luton (06:40):
You know what? You’re active for the next hour, at least.
Anthony Clervi (06:43):
Okay. I just have some integrity here.
Scott Luton (06:48):
All right. All right. So, sports and food and travel. These are some of the topics that really help us connect as humans before we even get into supply chain procurement and business matters. So, that’s where I want to start the conversation. And, Anthony, so you’re the baseball player of the two. And we’ve talked some of that earlier in our earlier conversations. I was able – this morning – Anthony, to surprise you with some statistics. Because you attended McKendree University, which is based in Lebanon, Illinois, and I pulled up the 2008 season. And, folks, I’ve got here, so if Anthony looks like a slugger it’s because he is. He hit one home run for every 13.2 at-bats. Now, that sounds like a lot on its face, but guess what?
Anthony Clervi (07:33):
Scott Luton (07:36):
Hey, Anthony, guess what? It gets better. For some context, Hank Aaron hit one home run every 16.3 at-bat. So, you were on a —
Anthony Clervi (07:44):
Different competition, but yeah.
Scott Luton (07:48):
Well, you know, all in good fun. But, clearly, when you hit the ball, you connected it. But beyond all of that, what do you remember best about playing baseball in college?
Anthony Clervi (07:58):
Yeah. It’s been so long since I’ve thought about those stats, so thank you. I’ll tell you what I remember the most is, if you’re a three out of ten, you’re successful. And I’ll tell you that was really, really hard for me. So, you make a nice gesture there on the data. But, man, I would either hit a double home run or strikeout. What you didn’t share are my strikeouts. And that’s a little bit how I do life. And so, baseball was really good for me because it taught me how to deal with failure. And I would say, I hate to lose more than I like to win.
Scott Luton (08:31):
So, just in what you just shared there – you know, where we’re going after we pick Kris’s brain, which we’ll do here momentarily about sports – what life lessons and business lessons are there? And you’ve shared about seven just in those couple sentences, so I appreciate that. And I appreciate your willingness to kind of keep it real. Because baseball much like golf and many other sports are humbling games and we’ve got to be able to deal with failure.
Anthony Clervi (08:56):
To say the least.
Scott Luton (08:57):
Yeah, that’s right. Especially, if you have my athleticism, your poopoo in yours. I’m jealous of the ability to connect a bat and a ball. But, Kris, so you might be the first – at least according to my show notes and the team’s research here – former MMA fighter. Kris, is that right?
Kris Lance (09:18):
So, that’s right. But, you know, for the audience here, I am not Conor McGregor. My legs are okay. So, yes, I did a very amateur stint. And it was first short stint, but it was awesome. So, for me, I did a lot of contact sports. So, personally, once I kind of discovered my body is not made of glass, I was like, “Well, how far can I push it?” And so, MMA is essentially the extreme of that. And so, quitting while you’re ahead is not the same as quitting. But I want to highlight, you know, I’m keeping the same vein of integrity. You know, I’m not Conor McGregor. There’s actually some people in my network – pun intended – who have actually gone on to do very well in that arena.
Scott Luton (10:03):
Kris Lance (10:04):
Anthony Clervi (10:05):
So, we all realized we didn’t go to the next level. But just for clarity, Scott, I believe he was the number one amateur fighter for his weight class in Tennessee. Am I wrong, Kris?
Kris Lance (10:15):
No. You’re correct. For the circuit that I was in, yeah. So, it’s been —
Anthony Clervi (10:18):
I just want to get that out there.
Kelly Barner (10:20):
Scott Luton (10:21):
So, one more follow up question, because I could spend the next hour here and we got some other heavy hitting – no pun intended – topics to talk about.
Anthony Clervi (10:27):
Get them on.
Scott Luton (10:27):
Yeah. It’s bad. Dad jokes is all I got, folks. Hey, Kris. So, you know, the video games, there’s always that one finishing move. So, is there one move when it came to your style of fighting MMA that was one of your favorite moves to deploy?
Kris Lance (10:46):
No. I didn’t have a favorite. There was no up, down left, right, A, B, A, B. I didn’t [inaudible] any of that. It was, again, very amateur. So, I was like, “Can I win? Can I survive?”
Anthony Clervi (10:58):
Right. You’re standing and the other guy is not.
Kris Lance (10:59):
There it is. I have to win.
Scott Luton (11:02):
And so, finally for you, I mean, it sounds like that’s part of the business lesson you learned in what you just shared there, Kris. But anything else, really, that your MMA experience, regardless of the level that really taught you as it applies to business?
Kris Lance (11:14):
Okay. I mean, there’s a lot of parallels. I mean, when you stop and think about it, it’s going to hurt a lot. It’s going to be seasonal. Even as basic or simple as, how do you take one on the chin and keep moving forward? But, I think, the biggest thing that I learned through it was that – and I think any professional, again, keyword, professional athlete would agree – their success, it’s nothing without the team or the support system that they have around them. And so, I think that that, for me, as the parallel in business is, your individual success is you have to have that supporting cast and you have to respect that supporting cast as well.
Scott Luton (11:56):
Well said. Very well said. All right. So, Kelly, I’m going to pass the baton to you in just a moment. I’m going to share a couple of quick comments here. Let’s see here. Ajay, great to have you here. Thanks for joining us via LinkedIn. Musawer – where you at? We like to find out where folks are from, and it’s truly this is a global business world we’re in and we love to see folks from across that global business world on these conversations here. Of course, Clay, and Allie, and Amanda are all behind the scenes making it happen from a production standpoint. Arivan, great to have you back. We enjoyed your contributions yesterday. And then, finally, let’s see here. I appreciate what both of y’all, how you both were kind of humble in your accomplishments, but John’s right, “Awesome accomplishments.” And, you know, y’all both have done things that many other athletes or non-athletes have done. So, I appreciate y’all sharing and have a little fun on the frontend of today’s Dial P. Okay. So, Kelly Barner, where are we going next with Anthony and Kris?
Kelly Barner (12:56):
So, where we’re going next is actually sort of unique, because you guys are both in procurement, but you’re not from procurement. And so, as somebody who is both in and from procurement, there are a few things that I think procurement people are very curious to get an outsider’s point of view on. Now, given that you guys have sort of a marketing, sales, entrepreneurial kind of background, one of the biggest challenges procurement faces right now is knowing how to deliver a tough message in the way that the audience will be most likely to receive it without getting overly emotional or upset. So, Anthony, you’re already nodding, let me start with you. Marketing and sales, I mean, you can’t always dress everything up to be happy news. What would be your advice for someone – let’s keep it internal. I’m in procurement. I have to deliver a message that I know my internal audience is not going to love. What is the best way to do that?
Anthony Clervi (13:54):
So, it’s the classic like honey versus vinegar, you know, you could do the sandwich approach. You know, I could give you all these little magical nuances or things to say. But some of the language we use internally and then when we’re talking to prospective members or folks about our services, I guess, to answer your question a little bit more directly, I’ll say this, what would it look like? We even use this question. You start with, what would it look like? And you walk your way through it. The other [inaudible] we’ve run this through an outside consultant is, “Hey, can I throw a puzzle piece on the table?” And it’s kind of like what our moms always used to say, “It’s less about what you say, although content is key how you say it.”
Anthony Clervi (14:37):
And so, hopefully, coming into that, of course – you’re kind of putting me on the spot, which is fine – you’ve built enough trust in the system to where – and I’ll end with this and probably maybe even stealing a little bit of Kris’s thunder – it’s either Stephen Covey or Lindsay Oni – I think it’s Covey and you talk about bank accounts. And so, in bank accounts and relationships, you make deposits and withdrawal. So, what you’re asking me is, how do I deliver a tough message and essentially make a withdrawal? Well, hopefully, you’ve made enough deposits, trust, reality, and performance, that it’s time for you to withdraw in those scenarios. And those are the things and kind of practical things that we do internally and we encourage our members to do externally.
Kelly Barner (15:23):
Because we certainly don’t want to be bouncing any of those relationship cash checks, right, Scott? No bounced checks. Nobody wants a bounced check when it comes to building relationships.
Anthony Clervi (15:32):
Make sure there’s enough in the account.
Scott Luton (15:34):
You know, really quick, back when I was a consultant, we had an external consultant come in and share the same example. We call it the rapport bank. We got to keep making deposits in rapport bank with all of our relationships. So, when we’re ready to make that withdrawal, there’s enough balance in the accounts. I love that, Anthony. Very well said.
Kris Lance (15:55):
I think the only thing I would really add to that, too, is, be ready for a potential rebuttal. And if you get that rebuttal, stay curious, don’t shut it down. As in, you know, my decision is my decision. Stay curious, ask questions, seek out – I guess in procurement, change management – why is there pushback? But staying curious to understand what the impact to others, maybek is going to go a really, really long way. And the only other thing I would add is, keeping that conversation factual and timely. Like, timing is everything. So, those are a couple data points I would add to everything that Anthony said.
Kelly Barner (16:32):
I actually think that’s huge, because as much as we have negotiation training in procurement, it’s typically focused around numbers, contract terms, legal wording, that kind of thing. A lot of times we hit an objection and it’s like, “Okay. Well, I guess the conversation is over.” And I think in a lot of cases, the other party is probably thinking, “Why is the conversation over?”
Anthony Clervi (16:52):
It just started.
Kelly Barner (16:52):
Exactly. Like, “This was just getting to the fun part. Why do we have to stop here?” So, from a slightly different perspective, Kris, I know part of your background is actually in health care. And so, along this lines of understanding all the different perspectives, I would love to know if there’s anything you saw from a corporate health care standpoint, from a health care supply chain standpoint, from a health care innovation standpoint, anything that maybe looked a little bit different to you over the last year-and-a-half than it might have looked to those of us that have been predominantly outside that industry.
Kris Lance (17:27):
Well, I think that’s a tough one to answer right at face value, because I think we’re still redefining a lot. To be fair, it feels like we’re almost redefining everything. But kind of what I mean by that, as it pertains to supply chain, is, if you follow any headline, there’s either a straight or a dotted line to supply chain. I saw a headline the other day that said, I think, it was like homeschooling was doubling in the U.S. And I was thinking, “Well, what does that mean for food for schools? What does that mean for -” and then where does it stop? How does that blossom? Or what does that evolve in that entire industry? And so, I think that that’s one thing I learned. But I think the obvious thing was kind of how fragile supply chain is and how it’s almost like – I don’t know for any Parks and Rec fans out there – Chris Traeger, he’s like, “My body’s a microchip.” It’s like a grain of dust can just poof.
Kris Lance (18:24)
And we saw through COVID that there are so many – not even just COVID, the last 18 months, there was always something that was just tied into supply chain. So, another thing that I learned, though – and I’ll say it became more obvious – pricing isn’t everything. And I think that that probably became more aware, not to maybe the more tactical, even strategic procurement professionals, but maybe their CEOs, maybe their CFOs it’s like, “Hey, what good is saving 50 cents per item? I can’t get it.” So, I think inventory management, the quality, the pricing, those are the things that really became paramount alongside of pricing, of course. But procurement and supply chain, it’s under the microscope. And so, I think it’s kind of interesting, too, because all these new stakeholders are coming into these conversations now, like, “Well, I want to see what’s going on.” And if I were in procurement, you know, I would say, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I got this.” So, it’s very interesting. It’s very interesting.
Kelly Barner (19:28):
It’s been a super interesting time. And, of course, the other thing we’ve all been balancing is keeping a team dynamic. Lots of people are still functioning independently from home. Anthony, Una, obviously, has the most fun team ever because we see your candidates go by on, on social media. You guys do some really fun stuff. What advice would you share about both maintaining that team dynamic through this time, but then also helping every individual be productive from home, or whatever remote workplace they’re dialing in from?
Anthony Clervi (19:57):
Well, I hope our own team agrees. You know, we do try to have fun, even in this state of flux and, I would say, difficulty. We’re not through it, but we’re making progress as we, hope would all agree, want to try to stay and remain positive. But we just try to meet people where they are. And have a short memory. I mean, you talk about sports. If you want to play golf or baseball, you better have a short memory. But you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to say the wrong things. And just reasonable doubt of, “Hey, you know, let’s focus on the matter at hand and just giving people grace.” So, we try to use that a lot, grace, grace, grace. It doesn’t mean there isn’t accountability, but, certainly, maintaining grace.
Anthony Clervi (20:44):
And, look, I’m a wholehearted believer – our team knows this and any other team – if I’m investing or part of, I think remote is not only here. It’s here to stay. And, I’ll say, what’s tricky about that is, how do you maintain the team culture. And so, we focus on at the beginning, you know, who are you bringing in, in the organization? And what’s going on between their ears? And how do they think about themselves and the folks around them and do they care? Zig Ziglar uses a line – which some of your folks may, he’s a big sales gurus. He’s since passed now – “Your attitude determines your altitude.” And it’s a well-known phrase, I think. And if you’re like, “Well, what does that mean?” You, literally, have control on your future by what goes on here, what you say to yourself, and what you allow. And so, we really try to embrace that model and encourage that. We don’t want to be overly cautious with every little thing we say and walk on eggshells. But it doesn’t matter what you say and how you say it. And I think Kris said it well, be curious. And you can control that. That’s something you can control. We cannot control this pandemic, but, by gosh, you can control your attitude.
Kelly Barner (21:55):
And you can keep making deposits even internally in that relationship bank, right?
Anthony Clervi (21:59):
You got it.
Scott Luton (22:00):
Minda Harts says something similar – and she’s author of The Memo – has stated, “We, as leaders, we’ve got to make work work for everyone,” whether they’re remote, non-remote, or all the other beautiful diversity that makes up the workforce and our teams these days. That question to kind of permeate through the livestream folks in the comments, let us know what you’re seeing. How you’re seeing leaders and organizations make remote working to be as convenient and plugged in as possible. We welcome your comments there.
Scott Luton (22:35):
Okay. So, I want to share a couple of quick comments, Kelly, before we move forward, if that’s okay. Nanda, great to have you. Nanda back with us from Norway. I hope this finds you well. John Waweru, “Great conversation going. Lucky to be here today. Catching you from Mogadishu, Somalia,” via LinkedIn. Great to have you here, John. Hey, Rhonda. Dr. Bompensa-Zimmerman, great to have you here. She says – I’ll bring her comments into play here – “Prioritizing social connectiveness and encouraging self-care as much as possible.” That is an excellent point. And then, one final one from Azaleah, “I personally believe employees have a responsibility as a member of the vision to know what works best for you. Be intentional about your productivity if you are work from home. And if that does not work for your personality or work habits, then go back to the office. Make sure you contribute.”
Anthony Clervi (23:25):
I like that.
Scott Luton (23:28):
Hey, we told y’all, Azaleah brings it every single time.
Kelly Barner (23:32):
Oh, yeah. She does.
Scott Luton (23:34):
John says, “It is not about how many people you can have on the bus. It’s about who is on the bus.” I love that, John. Okay. So, Kelly, where are we headed next with the talented one-two punch here, Anthony and Kris.
Kelly Barner (23:47):
So, next we’re headed to one of the really big challenges that almost all procurement teams are facing right now, which is given the whole range of things that we have to do, and hopefully be good at, how much do we do ourselves? How much do we need to know ourselves? And how much can we reach out into our network to help us achieve? So, Kris, if I start with you, you, yourself talked about the fact that CEOs are realizing saving doesn’t mean anything if it comes with an additional cost. What are you hearing from by-side members of the network in terms of all the things they’re trying to achieve right now and how they’re trying to strike a balance to do well on all of those things at the same time?
Kris Lance (24:30):
Yes. Like, on a hope and a prayer really.
Kelly Barner (24:35):
Lots of duct tape and bungee cords.
Kris Lance (24:36):
Yeah. My goodness. I think in all seriousness, I would say, being creative. What I’m seeing right now is there’s a tremendous amount of creativity. So, what I mean by that is, typically, or maybe I’ll say pre-COVID, massive organizations may have had the strong opinion that size still very much matters as much as it did 10, 15, 20 years ago. And so, what we’re seeing now is that narrative is actually changing. And they’re actually coming to the table wanting to understand, “Tell me more about your contracts. How do they differ from mine? Why can I participate -” not participate, but – “How is yours exclusive and how can I participate?” Different things like that. But, really, what it’s going to also come down to is just, again, being creative, whether that’s third-party consultants, whether it’s tapping into your personal network, whether it’s working with the GPO. And I’ll be frank, sometimes it’s working with multiple GPOs. It’s really going to depend on your business model and really what ultimately makes sense, if you’re talking indirect or direct spend.
Kris Lance (25:31):
The seat, though, I do not envy that position. When we have members, specifically to us, that come to us, I mean, we really want to help because it’s so obvious how much help is needed. You know, they’re given this massive bucket, this massive project, this massive task. And then, it’s, “But I need resources.” It’s like, “Oh, you’re good. You’ll get it.” And so, I think, that’s where we like to really help and kind of just plug ourselves in. Like, “Hey, we don’t want to be intrusive. What’s ideal for you?” And then, we try to cater to that organization because procurement is not a one size fits all. If you have that mindset, it will fail.
Kelly Barner (26:18):
Well, I think it’s such a trip, right? Because you’re talking about being creative. We’ve talked about you knowing how to have a conversation, such that, if you throw out an idea, throw out a message, and you get some pushback, you got to know how to address those objections. Hopefully, over time, learn to anticipate the objections so that you can keep the conversation going. If there’s only so much time in a day, you’re kind of either developing soft skills or you’re maintaining this totally up to date mastery around whatever your category happens to be, corrugated fuel, metals, commodities. Are you hearing anything around which is being emphasized kind of a soft skills development or a category expertise type of play?
Kris Lance (26:59):
I think the soft skills are important. And I think everybody understands that, fortunately or unfortunately, right now, I think the bottom line is so in everybody’s face that they’re still very, very tactical. That’s just at least been my experience. And so, you know, I think that while a lot of procurement professionals are diving into specifics and really looking to understand those specifics, the specifics have also changed or evolved, I should say. So, I think that our generalists are still staying generalists, and maybe perhaps just getting deeper, but still staying at a high level. But the soft skills, I think, everybody’s aware, like, how important that is. But I think as some of these change management, like if you’re switching a vendor, if you’re enforcing compliance, how do you do that without breaking or impacting other teams in a negative way? And that’s where soft skills are going to come into play. If this is going to impact four other teams and they’re not going to be thrilled about it, can I pull them into that conversation now? To Anthony’s point earlier, what does it look like?
Kelly Barner (28:07):
Well, and impacting other teams we’re including suppliers in that. So, we want to be working well with everybody inside and outside and reducing as much overlap as possible.
Kris Lance (28:16):
Yeah. Very important. Because, like from our perspective, sometimes we’re the last one to the conversation. Perhaps, maybe this member and this supplier have had a relationship for 20 years and we’re the ones who need to catch up. So, again, it depends.
Scott Luton (28:31):
Yeah. Agreed. You know, we’re talking of course, about GPOs and whatnot. Peter says, prior to engaging a GPO, he feels a scope of their work needs to be clearly defined with expectations or someone will feel let down. And he also adds, the same for consultants. Any commentary there from Anthony or Kris on that?
Kris Lance (28:49):
I would agree. You need to be transparent on what you can and can’t do. And one of the first things we say is, we probably cannot help you with everything, but let’s start with what’s most important to you. And we’ll be transparent. Again, sometimes it’s not necessarily working with us. It may be back into the network. And I think that that’s the key with supply chain.
Scott Luton (29:08):
Well said, Kris.
Anthony Clervi (31:56):
Scott Luton (31:56):
Okay. Anthony, anything to add?
Anthony Clervi (29:12):
Yeah. I think expectation management is key internally, externally. I think it’s Peter, right? Let’s just agree to that upfront. And let’s not have scope creep on either side. And if the end goal is, you know, we want to achieve X savings. It’s not always about that speed to contract. It could be resiliency. It could be a number of things that the scorecard is aligned upfront and agreed to. And so, you know, easier said than done. But if you can hold to it and both parties agree to that, then it makes a lot of room for some flexibility on both sides. But you don’t get to the end and you have less surprises. I think there’s always going to be a wrinkle. But you can’t eliminate risk, you can only mitigate it.
Scott Luton (29:56):
I love that. One more comment, Kelly, before I turn it back over to you. I think this is Ross, and Ross was excited as well about this conversation. She also commented lecture nevus in the earlier social promotion. So, Ross, sometimes we can’t see who makes the comments. There’s different settings on LinkedIn. But I agree with you here, kind of work from home is one of those bigger themes at this part of this conversation, “Remaining connected is paramount.” And I would just add to Ross’s comment, from a productivity standpoint, of course, but equally as important from a mental wellbeing, right? Being in the trenches isn’t always fun. But when you’re in there with your comrades and your team, that’s a big, important part of the journey, at least from where I sit. So, great point there, Ross, and great to have you here today.
Scott Luton (30:39):
Okay. So, Kelly, I know I’m interjecting quite a bit, but there’s a ton of comments. Folks love this conversation as do I. But where are we going here next?
Kelly Barner (30:49):
So, I think a little bit more on this topic of figuring out what needs to be in house, Anthony, you’re a pretty entrepreneurial guy, right? And I think what I’m interested in hearing about is, there’s a couple of different ways to look at growth. You can think about growth from the perspective of, I’m a company of one working my way up to a company of hundreds or thousands. Or maybe, I’m a team of people and my scope is increasing. They’re both growth. And somewhere along the way, you have to figure out when do I bring in more direct head count versus leveraging contractors or freelancers or third party service providers. What tends to be sort of your mental approach to those types of decisions? Because it’s not straightforward either around the timing or on which one of those things is the right option. How do you tend to either think about that or have those conversations internally?
Anthony Clervi (31:44):
So, you start with this, focus on what you know or what your team knows. Embrace the skills that are around you. And then, I would say, your mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless it’s open. So, really embracing this concept of willingness to change. And then, can you back up a little bit? Like, what are the overall objectives of the company? And can you get strategic alignment around specifically to those categories if you’re thinking kind of within procurement. And whether you have a couple of folks already. I mean, there’s key metrics around the size of a business when you should start to kind of hire outsource. You know, I really think there’s the control freaks that want everything in house. So, I think it really is a methodology. And I would embrace a more blended approach on all things. It’s not even just unique to procurement. You see it a lot in marketing as well, which I have some thoughts around that of kind of the alignment or liking of things to marketing. But, ultimately, you got to back up. If your team has never outsourced – you know, this is what I would end with – ask yourself this question, “Why?” And are you falling into the trap of, “Well, we’ve always done it that way.”
Anthony Clervi (32:57):
And you asked specifically, you know, companies can kind of be at this go-go stage or kind of more mature after you get 20 years – or after about 20 years, you start to see kind of a mature. But if you want to back up, the entrepreneur in me is, if you know the data, like, four percent of companies are doing a million dollars. Well, one percent of companies do over 10 million. So, understand the data of the type of organizations that we’re talking about. It’s very small within the market. And I will tell you, you’re not going to grow a company by saving money all the time. But if you embrace it at the top level, I think there is an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate growth and profitability.
Kelly Barner (33:39):
Yeah. And what’s funny – actually, I haven’t thought about this in a long time and I hope I’m getting the author right in my mind – there’s a book called Expensive Sentences and I believe it’s by Jack Quarles. Very nice guy. I apologize to Jack if I’ve mispaired the title and his work. But it’s a fascinating book which was not written for procurement, but he talks about what are those expensive sentences that people in companies say. And I’m pretty sure we’ve always done it that way. The number one most expensive sentence that anybody can ever say, and that cost isn’t just measured on the bottom line.
Anthony Clervi (34:12):
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Kelly Barner (34:16):
Exactly. Exactly. No. And those are good things to be on the lookout for in conversations.
Scott Luton (34:20):
So, you got that right as always, Kelly. Jack Quarles, Q-U-A-R-L-E-S, is the author of Expensive Sentences.
Kelly Barner (34:27):
Excellent book. I highly recommend it.
Scott Luton (34:30):
I know we’re going to be getting into looking good while delivering savings here momentarily. But I got to pose this question, because John is passionate about this question. I think he’s typed a version of it twice. And if y’all don’t mind, I’m going to pose this to you.
Kelly Barner (34:45):
No. We want to hear it.
Scott Luton (34:46):
And by the way, Clay, yes, “Challenge best practices. ‘We’ve always done it this way’ is often an excuse. This has been a common theme for the past year or so.” I agree with you, Clay. So, John says, “Hey, Anthony and Kris. Do your companies run agile methodologies through Six Sigma, Scrum and Agile projects? What would their end scope be to identify gaps in the field and process?” Could one of y’all address that a bit? Or, more broadly, just continuous improvement and what you’re seeing in this space when it comes to procurement. John is passionate about this topic, I can tell.
Kris Lance (35:21):
Yeah. I mean, so taking CSI or Continuous Service Improvements, there are some components where it makes sense, there are some where it doesn’t. And so, I’ll give an example. So, maybe a member comes in – John, maybe you come in and you’re like, “Okay. Help me out. My hair is on fire, I just got $30 million. I have to have it purchased best price, best service levels in three months.” All right. Boom. Let’s start on that. And we may start with your low hanging fruit. Like, you know, a lot of times in procurement, there are hands-off categories. And so, we push those to the side. Where’s the low hanging fruit? What’s in that tailspin? You know, the junk drawer in the kitchen, can we help with that? And then, as we build that trust and as we build that faith, we start maybe looking into bigger strategies, bigger conversations.
Kris Lance (36:08):
So, the Continual Service Improvement aspect, though, could essentially be, maybe connecting one member or a group of members. And then, allowing that spend or that committed volume to continue to grow. And then, re-approaching the supplier and working with the members to say, “Can we sweeten this? Why can’t we not make this any better? Or, you know, what are the service level? Can we adjust some of these terms?” So, we do when it makes sense. But a lot of the times from a GPO, the benefit, oftentimes, is speed. And if you start inserting some of these processes, you may lose some of that. But it really ultimately – again, I keep saying this – there’s nuance to it. And it’s [inaudible] organization. That’s what I would say.
Scott Luton (36:48):
Right. Excellent point. And you know, we’ve heard, Kelly, from folks out there driving change from a continuous improvement standpoint in a variety of organizations, including tough ones like automotive, have told us that leaders can oftentimes focus too much on the tools and methodologies rather than some of the common sense of what are we trying to do. And I think that’s an important point not to be lost here. Anthony, anything else to add to this conversation here at this point?
Anthony Clervi (37:12):
No. Kris has got the big business background. I’m, you know, the hustle and bustle and working with the small businesses, at least that mentality. So, I think you nailed it. But it’s kind of the old adage – I think you said it at the end there, Scott – just make sure you’re keeping the end goal in mind, keeping it clear. Potholes are going to come up. There are going to be wrinkles. But focus on price.
Scott Luton (37:34):
Yes. Agreed. And, Kelly, one last point – and I would imagine you’d agree with me – you know, improvement methodologies aren’t like sports teams, right? We don’t have to love the Chiefs and only the Chiefs and hate anything else that wears a different jersey. You know, there’s lots of ways these things compliment each other, and can really compliment effectively. And different situations call for different tools and different methodologies and whatnot. So, I think that’s often —
Anthony Clervi (38:00):
Wait. Serious question, not everybody loves the Chiefs?
Kelly Barner (38:03):
This livestream is over.
Scott Luton (38:07):
We probably have, in addition t y’all, one of the biggest Chiefs fans here in Greg White. So, we’re fans by extension.
Anthony Clervi (38:16):
I’m channeling my inner Greg right now.
Scott Luton (38:17):
That’s right. You do a great job too. All right. So, Kelly, I didn’t mean to take us off road a bit. But, you know, sometimes we got to give the people what they want and that’s an important part here at the livestream.
Kelly Barner (38:27):
And I think it’s actually an important point that comes up in that, you know, just like in sports, sometimes muscle memory is the best thing you can develop. But if you develop it to the exclusion of everything else, it’s going to end up being a liability. You can’t always approach every situation in the same way with the same tool, with the same technique. In some cases, you just have to be able to call an audible and deal with what’s actually happening in your set of specifics. So, I think that’s a great point you bring on.
Anthony Clervi (38:54):
Yeah. It’s called life.
Kelly Barner (38:56):
It is. Absolutely. That’s the ultimate agility, right?
Scott Luton (39:00):
But the white board, it was all perfect. It was all laid out. We have a plan.
Anthony Clervi (39:04):
Kelly Barner (39:06):
Yeah. That’s right. Is that another Greg quote, everybody has a planet [inaudible]. That’s a Mike Tyson, right?
Scott Luton (39:14):
Mike Tyson. Yes. One of the greatest of all time. Okay. So, I got to share this from Azaleah, because I think we’re talking about priorities and we’re getting into this delivering savings while looking good segment here. She says, “It seems prioritizing is a main driver in that decision process that Kris was talking about. With that, I assume a lot of those far reaching fruits never get pursued. Is there often resentment there?” That’s a wonderful question. Kris, any commentary there?
Kris Lance (39:43):
That is an awesome question. Resentment? No. Obviously, your feelings are hurt if you can never really kind of get to the big project, the big category, the big opportunity. But resentment? No. Because, to be frank, if we haven’t helped you on the first 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 categories, why would we be able to help on the big category? Now, there are, again, nuance to that. And so, it ultimately is going to depend on the industry category, things of that nature. But, no. I would say no.
Anthony Clervi (40:17):
Sometimes, Kris, it’s not no. It’s just not now. Can we [inaudible] what would it look like if we started here and kept track of that? Like, “We own that you stated, you know, such and such need a desire. But, you know, based on the goals that you shared with us, I think X is more important and here’s why. What’s the yield?” And it’s a collaboration, not a knife fight.
Kris Lance (40:37):
And there’s that parallel almost to the other comment that was made on staying connected. Because maybe it didn’t work out right now. Maybe you’re in a contract and that’s why we couldn’t help. There’s a lot of different reasons, but I think no doesn’t always mean no forever. So, how you handle that no and still being willing to help or pass to another direction, you know, karma is out there.
Scott Luton (41:00):
Yes. Whether we like it or not. Excellent. I love that. All right. So, Kelly, where are we headed to next?
Kelly Barner (41:07):
So, next, I think we’re going to understand a little bit more about how the GPO dynamic works from a supplier perspective. This has been a huge topic of conversation. You know, procurement is suddenly aware of the fact that if our suppliers are unhappy with us, there’s actually very little we can achieve on any front. So, Kris, starting with you, what is the advantage to a supplier of actually being a participant in a GPO?
Kris Lance (41:33):
That’s a very good question. The first thing that I would say is, penetration into a new vertical. So, if you have saturated your entire, maybe five-year plan, through business development. But, hey, you know what? Maybe we can play in healthcare or maybe we can have play in manufacturing. That would be a great, great way to do that. So, I would say the reason for that is, because you’re going to get that business development through relationships. So, the ROI you’re going to have to pay upfront to teach a sales team to go after this, the research, it’s already done. You just need to, essentially, work with the right GPO to find the right vertical for the right items at the right price.
Kelly Barner (42:16):
And that’s a huge opportunity for innovation, right? I know even on the procurement side this is something that we talk about, where we say, you know, don’t just look at companies that can provide the exact same thing you’re buying now. Look for companies that provide something else that meets the same business need, because that expands the type of suppliers and providers that you can bring into a conversation. And I don’t know how often you guys get this question. I have to think it’s fairly often. Can we just put it on the table that it’s not just straight volume leveraged cost savings? That there’s a little bit more strategy behind how the suppliers actually deliver savings to their customers through GPO. It’s not just about centralizing the volume, right?
Kris Lance (43:01):
Not at all. Maybe I’m speaking out of turn here, but that may be why some suppliers viewed GPOs as like a necessary evil. Because when push comes to shove, you’ve put all this effort into these contracts and have these conversations to bring that value. And then, a member – depending on how it hits their windshield – it’s, “Well, what’s the price?” And it’s like, “Well, hold on. Look at these service levels. Look at this price protection, this rebate. Look at all the things that we’re doing, it’s beyond the race to the bottom.” And so, sometimes if our supplier, the questions that are maybe posed sometimes, they almost come off as insulting. Like, “Did you really look at that? Or did you just look at quantity price boom?”
Anthony Clervi (43:47):
Kelly Barner (43:47):
And let’s be honest, we’re looking at quantity price, boom. I mean, that’s like 80 percent of procurement.
Scott Luton (43:52):
All right. I want to share this from the one and only Phil Ideson, is with us today. Of course, with Art of Procurement, a great podcast and beyond there. “Great point, Kelly. Look beyond specs to desired outcomes when selecting providers.”
Kelly Barner (44:11):
Okay. Scott, while we have Phil up, very quick shoutout, two of our youngest and biggest Dial P fans, Tristan and Aidan. I’m sure are eating lunch. I know you’re not being fed vegetables because Phil doesn’t do vegetables. But eat whatever healthy thing he’s giving you. The lady on TV says to.
Scott Luton (44:28):
I love that. Also —
Anthony Clervi (44:32):
I had interviewed Tris and Aidan. I don’t know if they’re watching, but shoutout to those boys. [Inaudible].
Scott Luton (44:36):
Kelvin is tuned into via LinkedIn from Zambia. Great to have you here, Kelvin. Of course, Azaleah, as did I, [inaudible] ten times fast. I love this. And by extension, just because of this collaboration doesn’t mean you can’t have frank, tough conversations. You got to lean into them, right? But I love that comment, Anthony. And Phil says he’s having ketchup burgers. Folks, ketchup burgers.
Kelly Barner (45:02):
Ketchup is a vegetable.
Kris Lance (45:04):
All that [inaudible].
Scott Luton (45:06):
Charles Heeter is back with us. And Charles has been bringing the heat in our livestreams often in recent weeks. He says, “So, GPO helps to lend stability to a company in a way?” Any comments there?
Kris Lance (45:18):
Yeah. I would say in a way. I mean, sure. You know, yeah. We can. But, yes. In short, yes. Speed, you have speed with that stability too.
Scott Luton (45:29):
I want to add to that, you know, from all of our conversations we’ve had, you’re bringing in tons of experience and tons of savviness. So, to your point, Kris, you can make decisions that you’re confident in quicker. And as we all know, you’re only as smart as the talent you’ve got in your team. If you’ve got a small team or even a big team, you’re still going to have gaps in what you know and what you don’t know. So, you’re bringing in experts that can help you accelerate. Anthony, you were going to add?
Anthony Clervi (45:55):
Well, maybe just kind of the metaphor, which we might be just done with those. But, hey, we’re going to let you know there’s a pothole on the right lane, get in the left lane. And it’s your job to embrace that, execute on it. But we want to be a complimentary partner. And I want to go back to what was stated, like, we really do believe in kind of this three-pronged approach. Like, we don’t call them providers, we call them supplier partners and we call our members. And we want to make sure that there’s true alignment there externally, internally, it’s more than a race to the bottom. And if we’re helping those players win, ultimately, Una gets to play a part of that. And that’s just not unique to our model. I think everybody should be thinking that way when it comes to successful creative procurement.
Kelly Barner (46:40):
Scott Luton (46:42):
Well stated. All right. So, I’ve got a question here. Kelly, I would like to ask, we’ve been talking about best practices, but there’s probably some worst practices. But I want to make sure our time is right. Anything else you want to ask for a move to that next question?
Kelly Barner (46:55):
Now, that you’ve mentioned worst practices, that’s the most interesting part of any conversation. That’s like, I don’t want anything more to eat. Dessert is coming. This is the good stuff.
Scott Luton (47:05):
All right. So, the current quarterback with the Chiefs – his name is escaping me right now.
Anthony Clervi (47:11):
I’m sure it is. [Inaudible]. Come on.
Scott Luton (47:16):
He’s one of the best in our time already, right?
Anthony Clervi (47:21):
Scott Luton (47:21):
Patrick Mahomes. Thank you very much. Okay.
Anthony Clervi (47:23):
I thought that you were kidding, actually. I apologize.
Scott Luton (47:26):
Hey, I’m suffering in baseball season right now.
Anthony Clervi (47:29):
Fair enough. Fair enough. [Inaudible].
Scott Luton (47:30):
Yeah. That’s right. All right. So, you got Mahomes, who’s already established his case. One of the best that currently plays a game. And he’s got a big, bright future, he’s got a championship, you name it. So, he does things some of the best ways, right? And then, you look at some other quarterbacks – you know what? I’m not going to pick on anybody – that can never even get over into a winning season. They don’t have the same best practices. They’re approaching it in some of the worst ways. So, when it comes to how companies look to save money, you’ve got some progressive forward-looking companies that do it the right way, like the Mahomes of the world. And then, you got folks that are, maybe, too old fashioned to get out of their way that take a really poor approach. Anthony, what are some of the worst ways you’ve seen companies try to cut these corners?
Anthony Clervi (48:20):
Well, I’m going to give a shoutout to our British friend, Phil, over at our procurement. And he says it like this, it’s cost savings at all costs. And it’s really the worst way to approach it. And, simply put, you have [inaudible] number, you want to hit it for your team or yourself, you get a bonus. It doesn’t matter who you step on internally or externally, and it flies. And think about it, it flies in the face of everything we’ve been talking about for the last half-hour or so. You’re not aligning with overall stakeholders or objectives. It erodes trust within, internally, supplier partners. And then – which I know Phil hates this as well – I think that it erodes your ability to have a seat at the table. And as a procurement, whether you’re a CPO – and then I think C-suite looks at you as just, “Why don’t you just go punch your PO?” And then, the outside suppliers, you’re in a knife fight with them or you’re fighting with them. And you’re going after every little thing, nickel and dime, and not thinking long term. And then, before you know it, they’re vendors and that’s just gross. It’s very short term.
Scott Luton (49:25):
I love that, Anthony. And, Kris, anything to add? I’ve got one more follow up question. Anything else to add to that, Kris?
Kris Lance (49:31):
No. No. I think he nailed it on that. If it’s a constant race to the bottom, it’s not going to end well.
Scott Luton (49:38):
Agreed. Man, y’all are a succinct bunch. Okay. What about –
Anthony Clervi (49:42):
One-two punch, right? MMA.
Scott Luton (49:45):
That’s a good thing. That’s a compliment.
Kelly Barner (49:48):
Yeah. Price savings boom.
Scott Luton (49:46):
Yeah. Sometimes we have folks we can only pose one question to them and that’s the whole show. But I love that t-shirt-ism, Kelly. Let’s talk about that growing, that maturing company, the successful company, the folks that, you know, you open up the headlines and they’re challenging the game and finding new ways to win. Not just, you know, how things have been done. When you think of that environment and you think of creative procurement practices and thought leadership, how important is that do you think in the information age looking forward, Anthony?
Anthony Clervi (50:21):
I mean, I would say it’s everything. Clearly, if you’re having that kind of environment and an organization that’s growing, public or not, that clearly is starting at the CEO or very high at the top COO level, embracing that, whether it’s CFO. It kind of really depends on how procurement is aligned. But I would tell you a recent story. I won’t name names, but they’re a global company. And it’s clear, new CEO. They’ve got a CPO in there that has a history, has a background. He or she just continue to be a little more objective. Has implemented this global procurement strategy. But they were already a billion dollar organization. And he’s got some very unique viewpoints on what they’re doing there. They’re hiring someone specific to do a lot of the tactical things. But I can just see it as he’s talking with us and what he has implemented that he feels a little bit behind. But even when we were on the phone with him, he was talking to the CEO, he had to step up.
Anthony Clervi (51:20):
So, it is clear engagement from the top to the bottom. And I know that they’re going to be more effective. They’re going to reach more profitability. There was clear creativeness. He had a lot of autonomy from the way we were talking to him. So, I just think it starts at the top. And I want to liken it to marketing. So, if the CEO or C-suite doesn’t believe in marketing – which I think is crazy. It’s a key function to business – the same thing applies to procurement. So, if you don’t have that buy-in from the top, you’re just going to get stonewalled. You’re not going to have a seat at the table. Don’t make it more complicated than it is. Have a more collaborative approach. And so, if you have that at the top and then you can execute and embrace that you want alignment in all departments, not just for the sake of procurement, and then you’re getting it down in the levels where they’re executing and following compliance. I know that I’m saying a lot of things, but it’s just this weird balance between strategic and tactical. And I know every day is not going to be great. And to try to get the buy-in from the top is not always easy. But you don’t give up. And it’s an everyday thing. And we’ve seen that from some of the examples. I try to use objectives without using names. But, gosh, those are the things that come to mind as I’m just rattling those off, Scott.
Scott Luton (52:38):
I love that.
Kelly Barner (52:38):
I think that’s super validating, Anthony, to hear that marketing has some of the same challenges that procurement feels like we can never get past. You’re trying to get, not only —
Anthony Clervi (52:47):
I’m just trying to make the parallel there. I don’t know if I did good.
Kelly Barner (52:49):
No. I think it’s 100 percent true. And I think it’s a mistake for any of us in procurement to think we’re the only ones trying to get FaceTimed with the CEO, trying to get buy-in for what we want to invest in or spend money on, or advance internally the changes we want to lead. That’s a really important point to bring forward that everyone is having some kind of challenge like this.
Anthony Clervi (53:09):
I think they both get put off as fluff if they’re given the wrong information, so that’s really the point.
Scott Luton (53:18):
I know, Kris, you’ve got a hard stop. So, we want to make sure folks can connect with your after the fact. I’ve really enjoyed y’all’s approach to this conversation, very transparent and frank, and just kind of telling it like it is from y’all’s experience. No wonder Una is on the move like it is. And by the way, A.A., welcome. And we need to publish a book full of all the worst practices.
Kelly Barner (53:41):
That will be so fun.
Scott Luton (53:42):
So, he says, he wants to know them so he can learn to avoid them and also try to be successful at it. I love that, Mohib from Wichita, Kansas. Okay. So, let’s make sure, Kelly, folks know how to connect with everybody here. So, let’s start with Kris Lance, who’s Senior Director at Una. So, Kris, how can folks connect with you?
Kris Lance (53:59):
The best way would be on LinkedIn. So, you can just get me directly on LinkedIn, I’m out there. Or you can go to our Una page and contact us that way too.
Scott Luton (54:10):
Wonderful. I appreciate that, Kris. And even more importantly –
Anthony Clervi (54:13):
What’s the Una domain name, Kris?
Kris Lance (54:16):
What’s that now?
Anthony Clervi (54:16):
What’s the Una domain?
Kris Lance (54:17):
Anthony Clervi (54:19):
U-N-A.com. Simple and easy.
Scott Luton (54:22):
Everything should be just that simple.
Anthony Clervi (54:25):
Scott Luton (54:28):
You know, Anthony, I think we initially connected on LinkedIn as well. You’re a great follow as Kelly alluded to on the frontend. You put a lot of great thought leadership apps. So, you’d invite folks to connect with you on LinkedIn as well.
Anthony Clervi (54:39):
Yeah. The good thing is, the Clervi name, C-L-E-R-V-I, there’s only so many of us and I know them all. So, Anthony Clervi on LinkedIn. Or I even have a personal site as well, still working through content, anthonyclervi.com. But, most importantly, I would say U-N-A, una.com, check us out there. I’d love to connect with you, hear your story, help in any way we can.
Scott Luton (55:03):
Wonderful. And, you know, Greg White is going to make an appearance here. He says, “Great approach to discussion, frank, transparent, and Kansas City oriented.” I love that, Greg. Your ears have been burning. And great to have everybody, John. Hey, we’ve got an event coming up, July 29th. We’re going to talk a lot more about continuous improvement, best practices, especially as it applies to your professional journey. So, join us for that. It’s free to join us. We’ll, maybe, drop a link in there in the comments.
Scott Luton (55:29):
Okay. Gosh, Kelly. We have covered a long ground here. Given the hard stops we’ve got, I’m going to say thank you to, again, Anthony Clervi, Principal at Una, and his colleague, Kris Lance. Wonderful discussion. We’re going to have you all back to talk a lot more sports and procurement leadership in the weeks and months ahead. Okay. Thanks so much.
Kelly Barner (55:47):
Thank you, guys.
Anthony Clervi (55:47):
Thanks for having us.
Kris Lance (55:47):
Scott Luton (55:48):
Definitely. What a great group. And as a couple of folks pointed out in the comments, procurement and supply chain touches everything. And sometimes it takes a conversation to remind you of that and really manifest itself in your mind. But you’re like the first disciple of the first church of procurement, Kelly Barner. What was your favorite aspect of our conversation with Anthony and Kris here?
Kelly Barner (56:21):
I think my big takeaway is this idea that we need to not hear an objection and let the conversation end. And I think, not only is that concept important, but clearly it’s something that we have to practice. You know, you hear an objection and you think, “Oh, that’s not on my paper, that objection. What am I supposed to say now?” You have to be able to talk, and listen, and think, and reframe, and respond kind of all at the same time rolling. And so, it’s really about having more of those kinds of conversations to develop that skill, to always hear an objection, and just bounce it back out or take it as an opportunity to learn more, like Kris had said.
Scott Luton (57:01):
Well, gosh, if you got to do all that at the same time —
Kelly Barner (57:04):
That’s a lot. Absolutely.
Scott Luton (57:06):
It’s going to be tough to make it. Azaleah says, “Turn to the Book of Barner, Chapter 1.” I love that. Azaleah, that’s a lot better than what I shared.
Kelly Barner (57:14):
I hope it’s not that book full of mistakes not to make.
Scott Luton (57:19):
I’m sure it’s not. Kelvin, “Great discussion. Learnt a lot. Specifications then boom, you procure.” New t-shirt-ism there.
Kelly Barner (57:24):
That’s right. Thank you, Kelvin.
Scott Luton (57:26):
Nanda, John, Peter, we appreciate all the comments and great to have you here. All right. So, folks welcome. You’re going to have a lot of fun in these next couple livestreams as we spend some time with the Una team each show. Kelly, again, how can folks connect with you?
Kelly Barner (57:44):
You connect with me on LinkedIn, either as Kelly Barner as Buyers Meeting Point. Or check out all of the Dial P accounts as well if you just want to get a focus stream of Dial P updates and snippets.
Scott Luton (57:56):
Wonderful. And, of course, our friend, Phil Ideson, make sure you check out Art of procurement, where Phil and Kelly do a lot of great things there. And, you know, you can find the Dial P livestreams every third Tuesday – I want to make sure I’m not getting in trouble there – Third Tuesday of the month, 12:00 noon Eastern Time, right?
Kelly Barner (58:14):
Absolutely. Find us here every third Tuesday.
Scott Luton (58:16):
All right, folks. Hopefully, you enjoyed the conversation as much as I have. Big thanks again to Anthony and Kris from Una. Big thanks to my colleague and dear friend, Kelly Barner with Buyers Meeting Point. We hope to see y’all. We’ve got a full week of livestreams, folks. We’ll see you tomorrow on Logistics With Purpose as Enrique fires up another great story with the team over a Vector Global Logistics. Most importantly, though, a lot of great advice offered up here today in thought leadership, but also hear this, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time right here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com, and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Kris Lance is the Senior Director at Una, a Group Purchasing Organization focused on indirect spend management for businesses and non-acute healthcare. Kris leads business development and guides company-wide growth and operational initiatives. He focuses on repositioning the perception of GPOs from a transactional function to a strategic partner in procurement success. Kris earned his Business Administration degree from Harding University and has nearly a decade of leadership experience across multiple industries. Connect with Kris on LinkedIn.
Anthony Clervi is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of executing and providing value within the group purchasing, procurement, and supply chain industries. Anthony is skilled in everything from sales and marketing to strategy and leadership. His keen insights, strong business background, and go-getter attitude drive the vision of the entire Una team. Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.