Dial P for Procurement
Episode 35

When you see announcements about profits or earnings reports of oil companies, don’t confuse them with your local/neighborhood convenience store that’s competing for your business every day to fuel your vehicle. Net margins at c-stores and gas stations are only 1 to 3% before taxes.

-Jeff Lenard, NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives

Episode Summary

Why is fuel so expensive? Consumers have been feeling the pain at the pump for a while, and now large companies like Amazon and Walmart are adding fuel surcharges to cover their costs. If they can’t negotiate their way out of high rates, the rest of us have very little hope of being able to do so.

In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner digs into the oil supply chain, considering:

– What the margins, investments, and risks are like at each tier of production

– The impact sanctions against Russia and Iraq are having on gas prices

– Strategies for procurement and supply chain professionals trying to contain their commercial and personal fuel costs

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

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

Kelly Barner (00:31):

There are two things that nearly all companies point to when they explain their rising prices. One is labor costs and the other is the cost of fuel. Now this isn’t just a business problem. Consumers are feeling it as well, depending on the taxes in your state and city gas prices were in the five to $6 range. Just a few weeks ago, diesel fuel is averaging $5 and 50 cents a gallon nationally up 68% from last year. Now, for context, a gallon of regular gasoline is up, but only by 41%. And it doesn’t really matter how big you are. There doesn’t seem to be an amount of leverage that can address this problem. In April, Amazon implemented a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge on third party sellers using its fulfillment services more recently on July 1st, Walmart informed suppliers that it would be adding pickup and fuel fees calculated as a percentage of the cost of goods bought from that supplier ups and FedEx have more than doubled their fuel surcharges on ground deliveries year over year, according to calculations by Cohen research and AFS logistics.

Kelly Barner (01:50):

And it goes beyond vehicles as well here in the Northeast and in parts of the world with similar climates home heating oil concerns for the coming winter are very real many delivery companies are promoting advanced purchase programs to help their customers, especially those on a fixed budget, prepare and put aside money so that they don’t have to suffer through what would otherwise prove to be a very cold or expensive winter. And again, it goes to farmers they’re paying $2 per gallon more year over year, which because of the size of their equipment tanks means between 500 and $850 more per tank making matters. Worse farmers can’t raise their prices or issue surcharges like Amazon and Walmart ups and FedEx. Their prices are set by the market and they’re trying different farming techniques to reduce their fuel consumption. But that’s only going to go so far.

Kelly Barner (02:56):

There was even an article in the Boston globe recently that pointed to ice cream trucks having to raise their prices by 20 to 30% to cover their fuel costs. According to the north American ice cream association, executive director, Steve Christensen, ice cream trucks are quote, unfortunately becoming a thing of the past to which I ask is nothing sacred in this week’s episode of dial P for procurement, we’re going to travel through the fuel supply chain from crude extraction to refining to the pump. We’re gonna better understand these tiers and look at the different profit margins where they’re the highest and where they’re the lowest we’ll consider, which types of organizations are taking on the most risk and which stages in the process require the biggest capital investments. Finally, we’ll take a quick look into how us sanctions against countries like Iran and Russia are playing into costs.

Kelly Barner (04:01):

But before I go further, let me introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the owner of buyer’s meeting point. I’m a partner at art of procurement, and I’m your host for dial P here on supply chain. Now I am constantly scanning the news for complex articles that I think are worth discussing. These are things that are obviously interesting, but could easily escape. People’s notice. My goal is never to lead you to a simple answer, but instead to provide the background and context, you need to form your own opinion. Dial P releases, a new podcast episode or an interview every Thursday. So be on the lookout for future episodes. And don’t forget to check out our past episodes as well. Before we get back to today’s topic, few quick favors, we’re building out dial P’s independent following. So if you enjoy what you hear today, give us a quick review on iTunes, offer up some stars in your preferred podcast platform.

Kelly Barner (05:07):

Even give us a share or a like on LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s really about expanding our audience so that we can broaden the conversation as always, I’m grateful for your interest and attention. So thank you for spending the next few minutes with me, all right, back to fuel. Why is fuel so expensive for the answer we need to dig into the oil supply chain? There are three segments in the supply chain. There’s upstream, midstream and downstream upstream includes exploration and production. These are the companies that drill oil and gas, Wells, and extract the oil midstream where we’re not actually gonna spend much time. Today is predominantly focused on transportation to refineries using pipelines, trains, and tanker operators. And then finally downstream. Now these are the organizations that most of us generally associate with the oil supply chain. It includes both refineries and gas stations, but we’re going to begin at the beginning upstream with crude oil production about 100 countries produce crude oil, but as of 2021, just five countries account for 51% of all production worldwide in 2018, the United States became the world’s top producer with 14.5% followed by Russia at 13.1% Saudi Arabia at 12.1% Canada at 5.8 and Iraq at 5.3.

Kelly Barner (06:50):

This all really comes down to what the prevailing price per barrel of crude is in 2021, we started the year with the price per barrel, about $50. And we ended the year around 75. Now this was mostly driven by people returning to their pre pandemic living and working patterns. And what happened was demand started to get ahead of supply. So I mentioned that we were gonna talk about profit margins and risk and investment. So it’s fair to ask are crude oil producers getting rich? Well, not necessarily. It all depends on the price per barrel. According to the association of convenience and fuel retailing, a barrel has to sell for about $56 to make drilling new Wells profitable with the 2021 average of about $71. A barrel producers got $15 in profit or 21%, and that’s a good year, but that’s one year the 2020 average was about $42, not enough to make money or make drilling new Wells profitable.

Kelly Barner (08:05):

But as we all know, 2020 is a good year to use in benchmarking for absolutely nothing. So let’s go back a little further in 2019, the average was $64 a barrel so enough to make it profitable, to drill new Wells, but not with a lot of wiggle room. This is a highly volatile market, and it’s very hard to turn a profit when you can’t plan for what that price per barrel is going to be quarter over quarter or year over year. Now, before we head downstream, I thought this was interesting. Here’s how a barrel of crude breaks into the different types of fuel that we use. There are about 45 gallons of crude in each barrel. Nearly half 20 gallons becomes gasoline, 11 gallons become U L S D or the diesel fuel used by logistics providers. The remainder is divided out into small portions things like home heating oil and jet fuel, but you can be sure that that breakout means that the changing price per barrel of crude does affect different uses differently.

Kelly Barner (09:21):

As we move downstream, we start by looking at refineries. They’ve been in the news a lot lately, mostly being asked to account for their record high profitability. And it is true that their profit margins have been at record levels. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and shell, the three largest oil companies reported a collective 46 billion in profit in the second quarter. Now, to be fair, this profit is from more than just refining crude oil, but refining is one of their most lucrative activities. Here’s an example of another company Valero brought in 4.7 billion in net income in Q2 and that’s 29 times what they brought in a year ago. And it was above what were already elevated expectations for their profitability. So why are refineries able to make so much money and truth? It comes down to classic supply and demand. Refinery capacity is a huge problem worldwide right now it’s on the way down for several reasons.

Kelly Barner (10:32):

One reason is the cost of retrofitting older plants to bring them up to more modern operating standards. Another reason is simply maintaining plants that are already operating well. And in fact, we know that according to the American petroleum Institute, there are 11 fewer refineries operating today than there were before the pandemic. Just two years ago, Politico reports that us fuel producing capacity has fallen by nearly 1 million barrels a day since early 2020. And as I’ve said, consumer demand is up. This mismatch between supply and demand is creating bottlenecks and breaking points and of course, prices to spike at the pop. But it also isn’t as simple as just saying the refineries are the bad guys in a recent wall street journal article Matthew Blair, an equity analyst at tutor Pickering, Hal and company pointed out that quote refineries are a high fixed cost business and small changes in margins can have a big impact on profitability.

Kelly Barner (11:42):

So let’s go back to Valero with their 29 times profitability Q2 year over year, they spent 20, 20 and 2021 with break even or negative net profit margins. And they average between two and 4% a year between 2012 and 2020. Now, given that information and the volatility of money in this industry, it’s understandable that any refinery’s carrying heavy debt may have closed down during the pandemic either because they could no longer afford to off operate profitably or because they could not afford higher sustainability driven insurance costs that they have to carry. In addition to that, they’re affected by higher labor costs and the increased cost of steel. So these record profit margins are likely not lasting and they’re certainly not reliable. So if these refineries are smart, while they’re making a ton of money today, they’re paying off debt from the past and they’re saving for the inevitable rainy day in the future.

Kelly Barner (12:51):

Let’s consider one last part of the downstream fuel supply chain gas stations. This is simple gas stations are not making any money on gas. 55% of convenience stores are one location operators or franchisees. And even when they display the brand of a major oil company like shell or mobile, they’re usually not owned by that company. So the markup on gas is about 30 cents a gallon, but with credit card fees and overhead gas stations make about 10 cents per gallon, regardless of how much you actually pay. And of course that changes a little bit per gallon, but they’re not seeing huge swings in profitability. Here’s an example, even with the elevated gas prices, let’s say you pay about $4 for a gallon. The gas station makes 2.5% on that put 15 gallons of gas in your SUV, and they have made a whopping dollar and 50 cents. So they’re definitely not getting rich.

Kelly Barner (14:01):

Now, the last thing I wanna address in this discussion of the oil supply chain is the role that sanctions against companies like Russia and Iran are playing in global supply. And therefore global prices sanctions against Russia in particular are causing widespread concern, mostly in Europe on the part of countries like Germany and France, because they have greater reliance in March of 2022. The Biden administration announced that the us would not import oil or gas from Russia. And our imports from them have been increasing. In recent years, we went from 520,000 barrels a day in 2019 to 540 in 2020 to a 20 year high of 672,000 barrels per day in 2021. Ironically, this increase in import of Russian oil was due to sanctions that the us had placed against Venezuela and attempting to replace that supply. So you can see why Biden had those recent talks with Saudi Arabia about increasing their production.

Kelly Barner (15:12):

Unfortunately, the refinery capacity issues that we’re seeing in the United States seem to be systemwide. The Saudis are also at max production levels. The world has short capacity, but as big as those numbers sound, let’s put us consumption of Russian oil into context. According to the energy information administration quote in 2021, the United States consumed an average of about 19.7, 8 million barrels of petroleum per day, or a total of about 7.2 billion barrels of petroleum per year, Russian oil at 672,000 barrels per day, or 254 million barrels a year is 3.4% of our annual consumption. Remember two that our production is down by 1 million barrels according to Politico. So this is an issue to be sure, but it’s not enough of our total demand to drive the kind of price increases that we’re seeing. And on top of it, the sanctions are not really working. China is the single largest importing country of Russia’s crude oil and they account for almost a third of the country’s oil exports.

Kelly Barner (16:33):

So they’ve found another place to sell their wears the other problem that exists in the oil supply chain. And it’s one that plagues other supply chains as well is the issue of traceability. There are some bad actors out there obscuring the source of oil to avoid sanctions. Some Russian oil is being refined in India and Iranian oil is being smuggled out. This was actually an example of great timing. I love nothing more than when I’m researching an episode of dial P and relevant news breaks. So on July 31st, the wall street journal ran an exclusive story titled us eyes sanctions against global network. It believes is shipping Iranian oil. And what they reported in this story is that Iranian oil is being transferred, shipped to ship mid ocean, and then it is being blended with Iraqi oil so that all of the oil can be passed off as Iraqi avoiding global sanctions.

Kelly Barner (17:37):

The article reports that this may account for as much as 25% of Tehran’s oil exports. Now, fortunately there are no allegations currently being made that Western firms are intentionally violating these sanctions. Although ExxonMobil Coke and shell PLC are all named as being involved in some of these transactions. It’s a good reminder that as supply chain professionals, we can’t let a desire to control costs cause us to turn a blind eye or to pretend that traceability down to the source isn’t possible when in fact it should be. So that brings us to what do we do? Well, we know that fuel costs are volatile at every step of the supply chain and not everybody’s making a lot of money. Despite all of this risk, they have to be prepared to brace for it. Doesn’t just involve the costs of the raw materials. There’s a lot of capital intensity to this refinement process and today’s winners can easily become tomorrow’s losers in an instant.

Kelly Barner (18:45):

If that weren’t enough instability, fuel is subject to constantly changing regulation and geopolitical impacts. And because it affects the cost of nearly everything we buy either directly through the price of a gallon of gas or indirectly through what we buy at retail locations and the food that we buy at the supermarket, the cost of production in this industry affects every consumer and every business. So my advice for consumers is to be wise and manage your expenses. Watch those prices at the pump, do what you can to conserve fuel, but mostly be aware. And that is especially important. When we come back to that topic of home heating oil, do not think for any stretch that by November, December, this is automatically going to have worked itself all out. We don’t wanna hear terrible stories about people on fixed budgets, living in unbearably cold situations. This winter, from a B2B perspective, we have to be realistic if Amazon and Walmart can’t control their shipping costs without adding surcharges.

Kelly Barner (19:56):

Most of the rest of us probably can’t do it either. And the same goes directly for fuel prices. If ups and FedEx can’t negotiate better prices based on their volume. The rest of us have very little chance of being able to do so, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be strategic about managing the surcharges themselves. If you have to accept one, you accept it, but it then becomes your job to monitor the price per barrel prices at the pump so that you can be the first company to call up a logistics provider, to call up a supplier and say, I think it’s appropriate to roll this surcharge back. That is your job, especially if you happen to work in procurement. Now that’s my point of view, and this is a constantly changing complex industry, but given its impact on every single facet of the economy, we owe it to ourselves to understand it.

Kelly Barner (20:53):

I’ve shared my point of view, but as you know, I wanna hear from you as well. So now that you’ve listened to this episode of dial P for procurement, join the conversation and let me know what you think. Find a posting on LinkedIn about the episode and share your thoughts, add additional information, find it posted on Twitter and add in some comments. It doesn’t take much more than that for us to get a conversation started and arrive at a better solution. Of course, please share this episode with anyone in your network that you think would enjoy it and reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. If you have knowledge to share, let’s work together to increase our understanding and figure out the best solution until next time. I’m Kelly Barner on behalf of dial P and supply chain. Now have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro (21:45):

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


Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Joshua Miranda

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Host of Digital Transformers

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

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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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Host, Veteran Voices

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Jeff Miller


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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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


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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