TEKTOK
Episode 788

Transparency is about gaining visibility much, much earlier, much farther upstream in the supply chain, to the potential in developing problems - so that you have more options to resolve them.

-Monica Truelsch, Infor

Episode Summary

It’s no longer enough to just know where a shipment is. Can you access the number of containers, orders and line items? The reality is, global supply chains operating in today’s unpredictable environment are more like complex networks than chains. All of the players need to be able to share information at a more granular level while creating processes of mutual benefit – something the traditional concept of visibility won’t get you. Join Karin as she discusses the urgent case for supply chain #transparency with Infor’s Monica Truelsch.

 

Episode highlights:

The difference between transparency and visibility in global supply chain management

How to create transparency in large global networks with less digitally sophisticated suppliers

Where to start when enhancing supply chain transparency across your network

Proven areas of ROI like optimized working capital, protecting supplier investments and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro (00:01):

Welcome TekTok digital supply chain podcast, where we will help you eliminate the noise and focus on the information and inspiration that you need to transform your business impact supply chain success and enable you to replace risky inventory with valuable insights. Join your TekTok, host Karin Bursa, the 2020 supply chain pro to no of the year with more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise and the scars to prove it. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1000 customers transform the their businesses and tell their success stories. Join the conversation, share your insights and learn how to harness technology innovations to drive tangible business results. Buckle up is time for TekTok powered by supply chain now.

Karin Bursa (01:13):

Well, welcome back supply chain movers and shakers Karin Bursa here and I am your host for TekTok, the digital supply chain podcast. The thanks so much for tuning in, you know, as supply chain leaders, we need to be nimble. We need to leverage the available resources. We have the capacity available and focus on service to the customer. All of us are trying to increase efficiencies and where possible control cost. And don’t forget one of the compelling messages we hear time and time again is we’ve gotta mitigate risk. So one of the core benefits of investments in digital supply chain technology is the ability to replace risky inventory with valuable information. And today for the first time on tech talk, we have with us today, Monica Truelsch and Monica is with Infor and she’s in the role of senior director of strategy for supply chain management. Monica, thanks for joining us today.

Monica Truelsch (02:14):

Thanks so much for having me Currin. It’s not her. Yeah,

Karin Bursa (02:17):

It’s great to have you here now, before we dive into our topic today, which I think is really interesting, and we’re gonna talk about the urgent case for supply chain transparency, but before we dive into that topic, Monica, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in your role within four. Happy

Monica Truelsch (02:36):

To do that. Certainly some of your audience may know the third largest E R P software maker in the world, but is not widely known as a potentially a supply chain management solution provider. There is a, a group within Infor that was formally known as GT XUS. Now it’s the Infor nexus group that actually has a tremendous legacy in global trade and, uh, global, uh, supply chain networking that I’ve been closely associated with since I joined in four in 2016. So as a supply chain management platform in four nexus, uh, works closely with our demand planning and, and production planning and forecasting as well as our, uh, WMS solutions on the logistics side of things. But we are the, the extension, if you will, the E R P for supply chains, because as we all know, uh, ERPs were never really designed to work with, uh, the relationships, uh, companies need to constitutes the supply chain for them.

Monica Truelsch (03:39):

Uh, and so nexus as a cloud-based platform for engagement with suppliers and with forwarders, with carriers, with end customers with receivers, your customs brokers is designed fundamentally as a platform for increasing transparency across those global, uh, supply chain networks. Uh, my role in a strategy position is really in the sales organization, but I’ve done a lot of skating back and forth between the product management side of things and the sales organization. And I see my role primarily as making sure that our product direction is aligned with the needs of our customers with different directions in the mark place, with where there’s an unrealized, uh, need or a gap in capability, uh, and just making sure that we continue to focus on driving value for. So tell

Karin Bursa (04:32):

Me that last part, just about what, um, you know, what your role entails as you work with your sales and go to market teams, but also with customer needs. Give me just a quick, um, a, a quick comment about that part of your role. Cause I think that’s something that, uh, the tech talk listeners will find. Very interesting.

Monica Truelsch (04:52):

Thank you. Um, yeah, as a, um, person responsible for a solution strategy, uh, it’s a, uh, hybrid role if you will, that skates back and forth between product management and the product development teams, the marketing, the sales organization, uh, and my focus is on, uh, making sure that our product development roadmaps are aligned with the, uh, developing trends in the marketplace. Uh, we’re addressing a net meet needs that, uh, we are responding to what is driving decisions and supply chain technology today. Uh, and that tends to differ based on economic conditions, market conditions, disruptive competitive entries, that of thing. Uh, but ultimately it is focused on keeping in touch with our customers and making sure that we maintain sufficient intimacy with their challenges that we can act as a partner in helping them solve their solutions rather than merely as a vendor to be managed.

Karin Bursa (05:59):

Yeah, that’s a great point. You know, and Monica, in my 25 or more years, I stopped counting at 25, my 25 years in supply chain. You know, I’ve met literally with thousands of supply chain executives over that period of time. And the one thing that they all tell me from every investment that they’ve made in solutions or technology, I hear all the time that one of their goals is to gain visibility. It’s cited time and time again, especially in the current situation in global logistics and inbound, the visibility. Now you’ve got a premise that I think is kind of compelling. And I wanna understand that more because you believe that we should be focusing on transparency instead of visibility. So first of all, tell us what you mean by transparency. And then let’s talk about the value proposition around, around transparency versus visibility.

Monica Truelsch (07:00):

Excellent question. Uh, you’re absolutely right. Visibility shows up year after year is the first or second most desired thing by chief supply chain officers, uh, in virtually any survey that I’ve ever seen. And it seems however much they get, there’s never quite enough. Hmm. And in recent years, the concept of, of visibility and especially in, in supply chains has been, I think co-opted a bit by the rise of real time visibility providers. So the idea that marrying my goods to my distribution center, to my end customer, and I can give my customer access to that. And that’s really been transformative, I think for, for, for customer service, uh, to be able to, to share that visibility to time of arrival from a, a delivery standpoint. But when you talk about supply chain issues and particularly in global, uh, supply chains where you’re sourcing from overseas, you’re talking much, much longer timelines than in the outbound fulfillment and process to an end customer.

Monica Truelsch (08:01):

You’re talking about multiple modes being involved, um, the challenges of cross border commerce, the customs brokerage, the paperwork, the, uh, solos filing for the weight and, uh, dimensions of your, uh, ocean going, uh, container goods and so forth. There’s such a, a diversity of information that’s required. There are so many different parties involved that need to be collaborated, uh, informed of, uh, as you think about from the suppliers dock to the, uh, inland drainage, to the freight consolidation, to the ocean transport, to the, the, uh, final port and terminal unloading in the country of destination, the inland transportation, the again, customs approval and clearance, all of these things make the inbound supply chain problem, not just a matter of visibility, you don’t, you’re not just interested in where that ocean vessel is with a container at any given point in time. It’s critical that, you know, how many of those containers on that vessel are holding your goods and in these days of inter aligners and alliances and so forth, that can be a very challenging thing to track for you.

Monica Truelsch (09:17):

Um, you wanna know what the orders are within those containers. You wanna know what the line items are, so that if you’re facing a critical stockout or a production that is reliant on what you knew from the supplier standpoint, that they were including that particular component on this particular shipment and in what quantity, so that you can arrange your expectations downstream for that. So the issue of visibility becomes not just, you have to ask visibility to what, and that’s where my thesis about transparency comes in, that you don’t necessarily know in today’s chaotic environment, what you will need visibility to in your global supply chain. If you have a, uh, ship backed up in the sewers canal, because something is run ground, uh, it may be important for you to know just how many shipments are on the water and backed up in that particular range.

Monica Truelsch (10:13):

And how many of those orders are affected. It might be crucial for you to know that you have orders that are about ready to leave the supplier in Asia and get onto, uh, the ocean vessel that you may choose to have move via air cargo and avoid that blockage on the water for eight weeks or more. So, uh, transparency is the approach to thinking of your global supply chain from highly connected standpoint, that you’re not looking in a fragmented concept to, uh, turn on lights here and there to specific siloed processes or, or movements or transactions within the supply chain, but that you are, uh, gaining a big picture, know into the operations of your global supply chain that allow you to delve into the level of detail that you need, uh, to mitigate whatever risk or avert any crisis that you might be facing. And also to assure that things are moving as expected, once things finally do stabilize and the supply.

Karin Bursa (11:18):

So, so is the, is the difference if you will, in visibility versus transparency, I, is it trying to understand what the impact of those signals are, or the impact of those updates are on your overall goal or, or how should a practitioner, um, you know, a supply chain and professional think about it differently than the way they think about collecting those data points along the, um, the progression of either production or sourcing or transportation of those goods.

Monica Truelsch (11:52):

We talk about upstream and downstream, um, stakeholders and supply chains. Of course, um, there’s a fundamental value in being able to find out as far as possible upstream, if something is going to go wrong or something is starting to go wrong, is the supplier going to miss the ship window? Um, are they struggling with raw materials? And so they can’t make the production schedule that they committed to when you place the order at the start of the year. Is there a, uh, problem with empty container availability in the ports that you normally ship from? Right. All sorts of unforeseen problems that we haven’t really had to wrestle, uh, with before in such massive concurrency as we do in our, our current environment, but the value in transparency, uh, that is an increasing visibility to a much broader spectrum of supply chain processes and, and partners, uh, is that you can either automatically update or adjust downstream nodes in the supply chain so that you can mitigate risk, avoid that disruption, um, find alternatives, if you will, or at least adjust expectations downstream for labor, for production and so forth. So that, um, it’s not when the container finally arrives at your deconsolidation center or your warehouse and you open the doors and you read, realize, oh, they didn’t include that particular shipment that then everyone’s scrambling. Well, you have far far fewer options to resolve the problems, right? So, uh, transparency is about gaining, uh, visibility much, much earlier, much farther upstream in the supply chain to potential in developing problems so that you have more options to resolve them.

Karin Bursa (13:38):

Yeah. So when, when we talk about that, right, we’re, we’re talking about trading partners, providing visibility or providing transparency to each other. And, and I was involved in the, in the VIX collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment in of which, you know, is 20, 25 years ago. And, um, and had some real, tangible benefits associated to it, right? Because they were agreeing to really a shared process for the, the trading pair or the organizations, suppliers, and retailers, most of the time. However, I will tell you that there was often concern shared about offering that insight into the trading partners business. So there were things that would come up like competitive insights or perhaps, um, having data used in negoti in the future, or, um, sometimes even confidence in one trading partner’s ability to plan effectively or commit to their customer that these things would come up time and time again. So how does, and I’m sure that we’ve moved well beyond that now that, that, that

Monica Truelsch (14:57):

I wouldn’t be so sure Karen <laugh>, you know, a little more comfortable maybe than

Karin Bursa (15:02):

They were 20, 25 years ago, but how does supply chain transparency work Monica in an environment where, you know, trust is such a critical factor.

Monica Truelsch (15:15):

That is probably one of the biggest challenges to supply chain transparency, uh, or to visibility for that matter. Uh, there’s a history, a legacy of adversarial relationships between buyers and suppliers between shippers and carriers. Those are difficult things to overcome, but I believe as we’ve become a more globalized worldwide economy and particular, when we are facing something like this, COVID 19 global health crisis, where everyone is struggling, uh, it is not just a, a single relationship between one large consumer package goods provider, perhaps, and, and their suppliers, uh, but it is a universal problem. And we see how broadly it affects all of the parties to our global, uh, supply chain net works to the service providers, to the ports, the terminals from a, a resource and capacity planning capability down to, to labor considerations as well. It becomes, uh, a way or an opportunity perhaps for us to break through some of those traditional adversarial positions and realize that we’re all in the same ship together, uh, to, to borrow a metaphor, if you will, if we do not cooperate and all row in the same direction, we won’t get anywhere.

Monica Truelsch (16:47):

Uh, so we are facing extraordinary constraints on, on resources, on capacity, um, very unexpected demand patterns. Everything seems to be in flux at once in global supply chains today. Uh, and everything seems to be in crisis. And it’s the opportunity for people to look beyond traditional positions, uh, and just thinking of that next contract negotiation, uh, and understanding that they is true value to partnering with your supply chain trading partners, not simply to use the designation as a, another name mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, for someone I’m, I’m trying to try to reduce costs with, but ultimately you have to find virtuous cycles of mutual benefit. It’s a, it’s an old term. It is in wide use by, in four, as parent company, uh, Coke enterprises and so forth as well. But I think it is, uh, the real value proposition that we have to pursue in business today. There has to be win, win for all parties involved. So trust is not something you can take something you have to earn. Um, but this is an environment I think that has raised the stakes for all parties to reconsider what they have to gain from moving past those concerns, uh, and testing what trust can do to move everyone forward to improve the, uh, um, the opportunities, the economic returns, the, um, efficiencies, the survival of all parties in the, in the supply chain.

Karin Bursa (18:20):

So, so Monica, what, and what you just shared with us, I is this drive for transparency, is this specifically related to kind of a pandemic crisis or pandemic response, or is this something that’s got some legs to it that we’re going to embrace in the industry as part of our standard operating procedure, right. Where we’re going to innovate and never go back. Right. So I, I don’t wanna go back to faxing information between my I trading partners, right. And I don’t wanna go back to email, how do I continue to kind of, to, to take this, you know, something that may be embraced a little more readily right now because of the disruptions that are taking place and how do we make that part of the expected engagement model in the future?

Monica Truelsch (19:12):

I do firmly believe that transparency is something that will survive, uh, and prove value long beyond the effects of the COVID pandemic on the, um, the global economy. As you say, it’s difficult to go backwards. You’ve realized the benefits of a, a, a particular change or an advantage. Um, there hasn’t been incentive necessarily to pursue transparency from a cost standpoint in the past when global transportation suppliers and so forth was relatively stable, freight costs, ocean shipping, air capacity, you what the trade offs were, if you needed to move something, if you, uh, were please with your, uh, suppliers, but you needed to drive out costs and transportation, maybe time to look for different set of freight forwarders, maybe time to pursue different relationships with, uh, other ocean carriers, the siloed optimization of all of these components and processes in the, the global supply chain is something that you can maintain when things are stable.

Monica Truelsch (20:26):

When you can just focus on perhaps optimizing one aspect of supply chain operations at to time, and you can see benefit from it when you realize the benefits of supply chain transparency and the info nexus group has been fortunate in working with many global enterprises that are very logistically mature and sophisticated in their understanding of the value of transparency and, and this globalness to their agility of that in your organization. It will be very difficult to go back, uh, to, uh, dealing without that there are benefits in terms of optimizing inventory to, uh, squeezing dwell and delay and transit times so that you can reduce your safety and buffer inventories. That’s not something perhaps you wanna pursue in today’s chaotic environment, but eventually we’ll reach some equilibrium. And you’re going to want to do a little bit of scooting and squeezing there to, uh, to, to bring those, um, uh, transit times and inventory levels down the ability to use inventory in transit to fulfill available, to promise projections, and to react more quickly when your demand forecast are beginning to tick upwards.

Monica Truelsch (21:41):

Well, how reliable is our expectation of delivery for this order? Our Southeast Asia supplier into our Western DCS and knowing reliably our carriers, we are fairly confident that within the three week time window, based on what we have on the water, uh, what’s pending, uh, overseas, we can get this material into our customer’s hands, uh, within desired window and not risk stockout or production halts at any other aspect of our supply chain. So it’s that, uh, that flexibility in responding to change the adaptability, to changing conditions in both demand and supply certainty, that, uh, is one of the, uh, the two benefits of transparency that I think companies, once they begin to realize this, uh, they’re never gonna wanna go back to faxing again. It’s it’s, it is the, the digital, right? It it’s that digital transparency it’s like shopping online and having pictures of the goods that you want to buy catalog was fine, but there was one pickup with it. It is a real transformation in supply chain management. When you start focusing on transparency for your global network, um, that I think, uh, companies are going to build on in the future post pandemic, uh, and create really agile operations in ways they couldn’t conceive of before.

Karin Bursa (23:16):

So, so let me ask you for maybe just a couple of really specific examples of transparency, because in any, in any global network, you may have a very large partner customer or supplier. Um, but then you’ve also got tons of smaller and less sophisticated partners in most global networks, right? Whether they’re a tier one or tier two or tier three, but help us kind of wrap our mind around how do we make this easy? So that technology is that enabler and that the technology is not the obstacle. Maybe it’s the business process that changes to take advantage of that. But give us a couple of examples of that, because I’m sure that you and the N four team have addressed that in a number of different ways, give a breadth of customers that you serve.

Monica Truelsch (24:06):

Absolutely. Um, Infor has a very strong footprint in the fashion and, and footwear, the apparel industry, which is marked by tens of thousands of providers, uh, across Southeast Asia that are often, as you say, rather, and sophist it from a digital standpoint. And when the nexus brand was established over 20 years ago, we determined that our solution had to be cloud based. And this was before cloud was actually a recognized term in information technology, right? But it was the collaborative ability from making all of your interactions, your, your visibility platform accessible online 24 7, that was a driver for that, that cloud based solutioning. But we found, um, that you can always constrain these smaller providers to connect to an EDI system, to feed the ER E R P as required. Especially if you’re working with many, many different smaller suppliers, they need to have different options.

Monica Truelsch (25:09):

They need to have portals that they can input. They need training and onboarding. If they’re, you know, they have turnover so forth in their organization, if there is a portal or a system that they are required to manually input information into, they need to have constant support in the system of record that they’re asked to engage with, or perhaps we’ll call it the system of engagement that they’re working with that, uh, keeps them finding value in it. They need to have incentive in terms of perhaps faster payment or the ability to finance, uh, invoices so that they can procure or raw materials after orders are placed. It is an ecosystem of support for your suppliers that comes with an, an approach to global supply chain transparency that nexus has been building out, uh, for years, uh, that we continue to work under, uh, with, uh, with Infor as well.

Monica Truelsch (26:05):

Uh, but it is a recognition that there are small, medium, and very, very, very large enterprises all involved in the supply chain. And to have that transparency, you have to have flexibility in technology for connecting with them. You have to make sure that there is benefit and incentive for all parties to participate in the network and share information. Uh, and it’s the, the promise of the cloud today. I think that is really coming to the, for that the old paradigm of E R P and Eddi, or, um, in-house, on-premise based TMSs to handle global transportation planning, mm-hmm <affirmative> and so forth. It’s those things that are falling by the wayside as people realize they’re simply not agile enough, they can’t let you make new connections can help you refresh connections. They flyers quickly enough. They’re too rigid. Uh, and so a supply chain platform that is, uh, designed for transparency, I think gives you that framework to expand and to change and to nurture all of your suppliers, regardless of where they are in technology and maturity, uh, to gain value from their relationship with you, and to make things easier from perspective to serve you as well, because their goals are to grow, to, uh, perform profitably.

Monica Truelsch (27:30):

Uh, anything you can do to ensure their survival also helps with a, uh, the brand owners assurance of supply reduces their supply uncertainty and helps to also push to goals like sustainability and traceability with these smaller providers. Right. Uh, it’s, it’s again, it’s an ecosystem way of thinking about your supply chain, uh, versus a transactional connection with your supply chain. Yeah, yeah.

Karin Bursa (27:58):

You you’ve just given us several areas of transparency. And I think some of them quite on ly Monica are that supply chain professionals don’t think about all the time. So when we think about cash to cash cycle, not for our business, but for our trading partners business, right. And, and especially if they’re a smaller provider, that’s tangible, being able to take a week out of a cash to cash cycle is huge. For many companies that, you know, are, are literally working kind of, you know, month to month I in hiring process and, and paying their suppliers or their personnel. If I

Monica Truelsch (28:35):

Can just touch on that as well, too, that is actually one of the benefits of transparency for small providers. So we talk about mutual benefit, but, uh, we’ve been able to arrange supply chain finance for overseas suppliers through the transparency and the visibility to transactions and orders and so forth that are provided by having them take place on the, the nexus platform, uh, so that these suppliers can gain financing based on the credit rating of the buyer versus necessarily credit instruments they have available within their own countries or their own history. So, uh, it is again, uh, the, the broader benefit of transparency, right? Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it, it has value for all participants and bills towards that, that trust that you need to earn. Uh, but that you can also cement, once you put programs like this in place with your suppliers.

Karin Bursa (29:25):

Yeah, absolutely. That financial supply chain element is, is a real differentiator. I would think four and four, I in the capabilities that, um, that you’re bringing to market, so that you’re creating this win-win environment, because I, I totally get if I’m the customer and I have sourced or had contract manufacturers produce specific product to my specification, I wanna know the progress of that at every step of bringing those to market. But examples, like you’ve just shared make it a win-win for all of the trading partners who touch and factor and source and convert those goods and, you know, pack it and, and get it on the ships at every step of the equation. So I, I do think it’s interesting to think about transparency in that context versus simply visibility of, you know, did a and B start and finish. Okay, now I’ve gotta look somewhere else and somewhere else versus looking at, you know, the proverbial glass supply chain, that’s gonna give me visibility from, from end to end or transparency, excuse me, end to end my ability to serve whomever the end customer is right. Uh,

Monica Truelsch (30:37):

Or the end consumer. That’s always the goal right. Of the supply chain is how do you improve that customer experience? Yeah.

Karin Bursa (30:43):

How do we, so, so as you work with customers in the, in four ecosystem or sharing this in the marketplace with, with companies, how do you help them identify the right business process to start with, or the right partner attributes to look for? What are some things that come to mind around, you know, where to get started in a transparency initiative?

Monica Truelsch (31:12):

Every company, I think, uh, enters the journey for transparency from a different direction mm-hmm <affirmative>, so they may be feeling pain on the procure, erm, side of things. They may be experiencing, uh, personal credit issues that are affecting their ability to maintain their existing supplier base. And they know that, you know, once the economic cycles sort of turn the clock that they’re gonna be generating or, or working profitably again, but in the interim, they require some sort of a, a, a bridge financing solution or something. Or there are companies that, uh, are very pleased. Their suppliers are financially stable, but they have a spotty record in working with their forwarders and the, um, uh, the ability to get the necessary for information about what freight, how carriers are performing. Um, uh, are you getting value for the logistics services that you’re paying for? Um, we, we try to respond to companies wherever they come to us in that journey.

Monica Truelsch (32:20):

Uh, we have focused solution areas for instance, um, for supply chain finance refer to that as, as the financial supply chain side of things. I think of it as inextricable, honestly, from the, um, the physical side, the movement of the goods nothing’s moving without money being moved somewhere. Uh, but it is, uh, a higher order of perhaps supply chain and procurement and financial maturity thinking in a connected fashion about how all of these things play together, uh, to assure that you’re gonna have inventory and stock when the holiday season rolls around, right. Uh, all of these things working together, and then we have other, um, logistics experts within the organization. If the focus on, uh, simply gaining your, uh, key, uh, origin sources, uh, of goods and the, the, uh, concentrations of suppliers in different countries or different regions. Uh, but because each forwarder has their own technology platform and they’re giving you visibility, they’re giving you feedback, but it requires your staff to chase down log into every single forwarders portal.

Monica Truelsch (33:24):

They present things in a different format. How do you consolidate that and roll that up for management for the chief supply chain officer to know what the current health is, give a, a, a proper snapshot of how the supply chain is performing at any given point in time. So simply using a platform like nexus as the technology consolidation for managing all of these forwarders, that then your international carriers also can be, uh, fed into that your, um, suppliers can connect to so that you get the advanced shipping notices that you get the confirm of your order, that you can share an order within the request of timeframe, but 40% won’t be ready for another four weeks. How would you like us to arrange and, and, uh, manage the shipping plans for this kind of a, a, a complexity? Um, it is that type of multifaceted problem solving that we have to offer customers to a, that I think gives them, uh, a, a way to gain immediate value to solve immediate problems, but not in a, uh, a close or a dead end way, uh, but to bring themselves into a network environment where they have a tremendous path forward to expand transparency, wherever they find and can define the next, uh, area of value for the business.

Monica Truelsch (34:48):

Always there has to be ROI for making these investments and expansions, uh, for dealing with the change management that comes with, uh, with efforts like this. But, um, digital transformation has a bit of a bad app these days. Everybody wants it. Nobody wants to put up with the pain and anguish of the train, uh, the, the change management that’s involved, and when you’re putting out fires every day, as, as we are in today’s supply chain, somehow transforming doesn’t make any sense. You’re just trying to survive through the end of the day or the end of the week. Uh, but ultimately if you make your technology decisions with an eye towards what you eventually will want that goal to be, once we get past this current crisis, what will the world look like? What will the supply chain, uh, framework be? Uh, can we assume that the cost of ocean freight are going to be back to where they were for the past 10 years prior to, to, to 2020, uh, or are we going to have to deal with a, a freight expense in our cost of good souls that is much, much higher than we’ve ever had to, uh, to calculate around before?

Monica Truelsch (35:47):

And what’s that going to mean to our overall supply chain strategies? Our sourcing, our arrangements with our three PLS lead times. So many Ram companies, uh, supply chain professionals are going to be working through these new strategy, right? Uh, I think for the next two to three years, at least, uh, because all of our assumptions about how they were supposed to work kind of evaporated in 2020, and I don’t think they’re ever going back to the way that they were, they’re going to be different. There may be a new normal in the future, but it’s going to be very, very different from the normal that we operated under in the past. And if you have established supply chain transparency with the broader part of your network, even during this period of change and upheaval and uncertainty, you are in such a great position to thrive into surge forward. Once economies do stabilize and, and, and all of these, um, supply chain transport problems, uh, begin to resolve.

Karin Bursa (36:46):

So, so pick a few areas for me, Monica, and, and just share a couple of, you know, you mentioned ROI a couple of return on investment, um, points or examples that, you know, that, that you are aware of in the, in four network of, of customers and, and suppliers, just to give us a feel for, um, the benefit of, of getting started now, <laugh> right. We don’t have how the answers about what the future is gonna hold, but that’s why supply chain is such a great place to be, right. We’re never gonna get bored. There’s always gonna be absolutely opportunity in front of, in front of each and every one of us, but just gimme a feel for maybe a couple of areas where there’s been a compelling, um, payback message or return on investment message.

Monica Truelsch (37:36):

Absolutely. Um, we have, um, a major, uh, garment manufacturer in north America who has, uh, engaged in, uh, some financing for some of their at risk suppliers, uh, in Asia for the past few years that has really allowed them to, uh, assure lines of supply with very desirable companies who were otherwise, uh, under a fair amount of, uh, of risk from a financial standpoint in those areas. So it’s removed elements, ly, uh, a combination of self-funded and bank funded financing in some respects. Uh, so, uh, it optimized working capital for this organization. Well, to be able to have access to many different bank resources who are willing to participate in these programs for them. So they had the benefit of reinforcing, uh, the supplier health. Um, and again, these were suppliers that invested a great deal of time and effort into sustainability programs, traceability, uh, compliance with, uh, fair labor practices and so forth, and to protect those investments and those suppliers, this was really a critical, uh, financial effort for them.

Monica Truelsch (38:51):

Uh, we have other examples of companies that came at, uh, value strictly from a, uh, a carrier or an N V O C C, uh, procurement and contract management program. Um, their, uh, previous methods for going out for ocean freight or air cargo, uh, contracts involved, a lot of manual Excel, spreadsheets, us back and forth, uh, weeks of consolidation, comparison analysis. It was such a painful effort for them that they would only go out for, uh, contract re bids every three years or so well in an environment where, uh, pricing is not very stable, where it’s highly volatile, you might need to be going out for new contracts, um, quarterly every six months. I mean, we’ve seen a definite trend in the shortening of, uh, freight contract life cycles during COVID number one, companies are trying to minimize their, uh, exposure to these high prices that they’re being forced to pay, right.

Monica Truelsch (39:53):

And they wanna take advantage of those prices when they begin to come to, and we all hope that they will. Um, but, um, the access to capacity has been such an overriding consideration in this environment that, um, costs sometimes is not even an issue in moving the goods. We need to find some mode that has capacity to move it with the, the, the constraint and airlines. We lost rallies of these, um, passenger airlines, uh, and it simply hasn’t come back yet. And it likely will not until passenger travel around the world begins to, to recoup itself, but to go through the nexus procurement platform where you have a, again, a digital platform that carriers and the OCCS are used to participating in, uh, it not only, um, speeds up the response time, you can add many more providers to those procurement cycles, um, that might otherwise have been too onerous for your folks to manage.

Monica Truelsch (40:52):

Uh, so you have access potentially to more capacity. You can work with more of them, but also the, the evaluation, the optimization of your freight allocation commitments across all of these carriers allows you to balance your risk, to do the best sort of trade offs between, um, total lowest cost and the service levels that your organization really need to meet the market demands. So, um, two sort of different aspects of the supply chain, spectrum and transparency, the, um, the, the financial value and collaboration and supportive of supplier network. Mm-hmm <affirmative> when you’re dealing with the, the transparency and visibility that comes from transacting on a, a network platform, uh, and also on the logistical side of things, the ability to perhaps, uh, not necessarily reduce costs, but to find more available capacity, to be the, the process of, uh, finding new partners, uh, and certainly of measuring and negotiating with those partners that allows you to respond with, with greater agility as, uh, market conditions change. So all of this is done on the same platform, it’s the same nexus platform, different applications and solutions and so forth. But when you connect just once to a network platform, uh, and the same data can be used over and over again, this becomes a repository of tremendous supply chain business intelligence that also informs those strategic decisions going forward, which is another benefit of trans

Karin Bursa (42:19):

Yeah, yeah. Having that transparency, if you will, and thinking of it, not just end to end, but even much broader. So I, I think this aspect of the financial supply chain is a really interesting additional value proposition to simply the movement of goods or production sourcing of goods in, in the equation as well. It fascinating, fascinating, and, and something that I agree with you, I think will continue to accelerate. So I love this theme about the urgent case for transparency, really, to accelerate. And, and I’m all about tech talk is all about kind of replacing risky inventory with valuable information. And I think your thesis around transparency just extends that even broader, that there there’s more transparency that that can be gained that is going to allow me to have clarity around my inbound or clarity around the liability of a supplier in my network, so that I know what levers I can pull, right. As we, you know, continue to operate in a volatile market, absolutely we’re today, right. Or when we get to return to at least a little more stable

Monica Truelsch (43:29):

Environment, some stability would be nice, even if it’s not. Yeah. So

Karin Bursa (43:32):

Monica, what, what, one thing would you want our listeners to walk away with today? Right. We’ve covered, um, a lot of touch points in supply chain operations around this theme of transparency. What one thing do you hope people will walk away from the conversation with

Monica Truelsch (43:51):

Supply chains? Haven’t really been chains for quite some time. There were really networks, right? And so sometimes we trap ourselves into the linear thinking that a, that a chain metaphor provides for us. And so when you think end to end, that’s still a, a linear metaphor. If you think, perhaps in terms of, um, 360 degree visibility, um, that is more the nature of transparency, right? It’s, uh, it’s looking in different directions. It’s not thinking about, uh, getting insight into one aspect of the supply chain, but about pursuing a, um, a connected condition with your trading partners and with your service providers that allows them to operate as a virtual extension of your business rather than simply opposing partners in a transaction. And I think that’s the promise that we want to move towards, as we try to visualize what the world will look like beyond the co at pandemic and national lockdowns, uh, and, uh, not meeting each other face to face for a very, very long period of time.

Monica Truelsch (44:59):

Um, it is what’s the world gonna look like, and how can we survive and thrive in that world of the future? Um, putting in place now, even the begin of the transparency capability, the, the network interaction with your supply chain partners, even if it’s from a small perspective of simply gaining visibility to your N V OCCS or your, your ocean carriers from an ocean tracking standpoint, that’s, that’s the first part of it, but then bringing your freight forward it so that, you know, you’re getting those ASNs and visibility into what your customers brokers are doing. You’re expanding then visibility to all of the, the parallel processes that are critical. Um, it is the, um, moving away from that focus on the last mile, what are we doing about getting into our customers car trunks or their, their, their porches, or, you know, having lockers in the city or something that really has consumed us all in the past five years is the Amazon effect has taken over. And thinking back to the first mile, how do we gain control of that first mile of our supply chains in a way that allows us to affect that customer experience that end customer of ours in a very positive fashion moving forward?

Karin Bursa (46:14):

Yeah, lots, lots of great, interesting, compelling opportunity in what you just described. Monica, what’s the best way for our tech talk audience to get in touch with you. If they wanna continue the conversation

Monica Truelsch (46:29):

We would love for them to go to in four.com and take advantage of our contact, us, our chat, uh, there to reach out, certainly explore what Infor has to offer there. Um, they can reach us on LinkedIn or on Facebook as well, uh, or they can reach me at my email, uh, Monica dot tri infor.com. I’d be very happy to put them in contact with the right of people that are gonna be pleased to talk with them and they can explore it there, um, at their leisure.

Karin Bursa (46:59):

Excellent. Thank you so much, Monica frill for joining us today and opening our minds a little bit to this urgent case for supply chain transparency. I think you’ve certainly given us some things to think about and consider as our listeners continue to drive innovation and look at the opportunity to replace inventory, uh, with information, but also to transform not just their business, but their network response in what sure. To be a continued, volatile global environment in the weeks and months. And, and hopefully, you know, hopefully it’s just months and quarters and not years ahead, but there’s always something. I mean, <laugh>, there will always be new options. There’s, there’s always something, as you say, supply chain is always exciting. Yeah. Always exciting. I think that, um, at our core, our supply chain professionals are quite honestly problem solvers. Um, so, uh, they, they are the ones that get to tackle new challenges or harness new opportunities.

Karin Bursa (47:58):

So I hope that today’s insights are gonna help you to navigate and prioritize some of your supply chain transformation initiatives. And I wanna encourage our listeners to reach out and, uh, check the resources that Monica mentioned on N four.com that’s I N O r.com and also to reach out to supply chain now.com. And while you’re there, please look for TekTok. That’s T E K T O K, and subscribe on TekTok. Our goal is really to help you eliminate the noise and to get the inspiration and information you need to transform your business and replace that risky inventory with valuable information. We’ll see you next time on tech talk powered by supply chain. Now

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Featured Guests

Monica Truelsch is Senior Director of Supply Chain Management Strategy at Infor, the world’s third-largest ERP software company, where she works with the Infor Nexus supply chain network. She joined Infor from Trimble, a world leader in geo-spatial technologies and transportation applications. Her career includes roles in product management, marketing, and sales leadership for advanced technologies in telematics, domestic transportation management, chemical handling, engineered materials, artificial intelligence, and industrial laboratory management. Connect with Monica on LinkedIn.

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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