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I interviewed Rudolf Rosas Flunger who discussed The Biggest Challenges of Logistics in Brazil.

It’s good to have this interview today with you, Rudolf. Today I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the biggest challenges of logistics in Brazil. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Yes, good morning. I’m a management consultant who has been working in Latin America for the past 20 years, addressing issues in strategy and supply chain specifically, working in Brazil most of the time but also in other countries in Latin America—Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and so forth.


What do you feel are the biggest challenges for logistics in Brazil?


Today if we can summarize, we can focus on two big issues. One is bureaucracy and second one is infrastructure. First one, bureaucracy, is taking a lot of effort and taking a hit on cost, also, for logistics and operations in Brazil. What we call bureaucracy is the whole processes that have to do with complying with regulation and with state requirements to make all logistics and all transportation and import processes. And then when we talk about infrastructure, we see a lack of sufficient investment in infrastructure needed for the logistics operations here in Brazil. We are talking about ports, roadways, and other models, like railways and even inland shipping.


Can you explain why these problems exist?


First, in terms of bureaucracy, as we know, even if Brazil has been very active in import-export in international trade more recently, it has been conditionally kind of a closed country with a lot of barriers in terms of regulation, tariffs—not only tariffs, but also in terms of regulations. It’s, again, a very protective country. We come from a history of trying to develop the local industries. This is one of the main reasons for bureaucracy. And we have, also, kind of an approach that has been very bureaucratic in even other things in Brazilian day-to-day life. Secondly, when we talk about infrastructure, what we see is a line in terms of investment. When we look at the investment as percentage of GDP, different structure, investment in here has been very low. The result of this is not sufficient infrastructure.


And how would you address these problems effectively?


First, to address the bureaucracy issue, I understand two approaches. The very first one should be a simplification of regulations, laws, and all processes that have to be done to comply with government. The second approach with bureaucracy should be improving processes and technology that are available to make all this transit. In terms of infrastructure, there are also two approaches. The very first one, obviously, is increasing the amount of resources that are allocated for investment in infrastructure. Secondly, improving, also, the quality of this investment. That means making a good plan on what you will be investing in and also how you make this investment in infrastructure.


Thank you, Rudolf, for sharing your views today on the challenges of logistics in Brazil.


Okay, thank you very much.



About Rudolf Rosas Flunger


Rudolf Rosas Flunger

Managing Partner, Flunger & Company

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jeff Schumacher who discussed Increased Security in the Supply Chain Regarding the Federal Implementation of 100 Percent Screening of Air Freight and Some ISF Requirements on Sea Freight.

It’s nice to speak with you today, Jeff, and today I look forward to hearing your views on the topic of increased security in the supply chain regarding the federal implementation of 100 percent screening of air freight and some ISF requirements on sea freight. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


I sure can. Thanks, Dustin. My name is Jeff Schumacher; I’m the vice president of American Worldwide Agencies. Our parent company is Intelligent SCM. We are an international freight forwarder and an agency handling shipments throughout six continents. We are touched by every regulation that comes across the board for both air and ocean freight, import and export. I have an M.B.A. from Georgia State University, I’m a Lean Six Sigma black belt, and 20 years’ industry experience. I’ve also taught at the collegiate level at Georgia State University for six years, since retired.


Thank you. Can you talk about what’s happening in terms of increased security in the supply chain?


Sure, I’d love to. Since 9/11, which was the watershed moment for most of the security initiatives that have gone into play, there has been an increased influence of security regulations in order to protect our borders, so to speak. That’s had two major impacts. One is on the air-freight side; the other on the sea-freight side. The sea-freight side began with the automated manifesting system, which then tied in to the ISF, which is the importer security-filing program. Also, the container security initiative was in play, as well, about five years ago, maybe a little bit longer. The air-cargo screening is something that’s been a little bit more recent. Indirect air-carrier security programs were put into place actually prior to 9/11 but have really ramped up and increased in the amount of regulation and responsibility that the forwarders and shippers take in order to maintain the integrity of the security of the supply chain. Recently, that has gone to 100 percent screening of all air freight on passenger aircraft, and soon, within the next year to 18 months, there will be another, they will also require 100 percent security screening of all air freight on every airplane, including freights.


And how do you think things can be improved?


Tough question. The toughest thing about security—and this is something I’ve mentioned before—is that success is measured by a failure; a failure to be attacked, a failure for there to be bombs or planes dropping out of the sky, or boats being blown out of the water. Your success is measured by, well, did it work? Well, okay, we haven’t had a terrorist attack, so, therefore, the theory is that it worked, although there’s not necessarily a causal relationship. The difficult aspect of it, although there was the incidence with the imports from UPS with the ink cartridges that came out of Yemen, and that led to further additional screening and also the requirement of goods coming in to the U.S. requiring screening as well. There’s a little bit of justification; there are still bad people out there that want to do bad things to us. As much as the regulation may impede the flow of goods—it may slow things down a little bit—once the regulations are in place and you learn how to navigate through them, it just becomes another part of the business. The screening aspects, the airlines handle much of it; I think it’s called certified cargo-screening facilities that handle a great deal as well. Basically, it’s just kind of a hodgepodge between whether or not you want to outsource it, have the airline handle it, or invest a million dollars into an X-ray machine to do your own. I’m not sure if that answered the question.


You were mentioning about navigating all these, how to deal with this. Would you have any recommendations for shippers on how to navigate these complexities and the new requirements?


I do. One of the things that is really critically important is making sure that the shippers understand their role. Educating the shippers is really key, and it goes the same for the importers on the containers on the ISF regulations on the inbound. Really, educating your customers to understand what their role is and how they can participate actively in addition to cargo security. Shippers can actually screen their own freight. There’s a long process they have to go through with the TSA. Some of these things I can’t get too deeply into because it’s sensitive security information, but it is possible for them to do so and also for them to work closely with their freight forwarder or their transportation-service provider in order to make sure they understand what the needs are from them in order to ensure the integrity of the supply chain. The onus of it tends to fall on to the forwarder and on to the airlines. We’re the ones who are inspected regularly and are required to have impeccable record-keeping and make sure that we’re using the appropriate carriers in order to maintain that integrity. The larger shippers—the Fortune 100, maybe even to Fortune 500—some of them have chosen to participate and perform their own screening and handle things from their own end, which is, kudos to them. There are some shippers that have chosen to participate by becoming direct air carriers themselves, which requires an additional level of security for them, but it makes it slightly easier for them when they’re tendering cargo to freight forwarders and what have you because they’ve taken on a certain amount of the responsibility, and our responsibility is just to make sure that they are valid as far as their certifications.


And thank you, Jeff, for sharing your views today on security and dealing with the new regulations. Did we cover everything you wanted to discuss?


For the most part. I think the established shippers and the established importers are aware of this. C-TPAT is another aspect that comes in, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. It also plays a role particularly on the air-freight side of things, and that’s just a matter of vetting your carriers and making sure that the transportation providers that you’re working with do have a security program and are aware of and sensitive to the security needs of both air and ocean freight. It’s not going to get easier; if anything, the expectation’s probably going to be for more and tighter regulation, although I believe 100 percent screen is probably going to be, you’re not going to be able to get a whole lot more than that. But the thing I would ask from the forwarder standpoint is for shippers and importers to be understanding that we’re not asking them to do things because we’re trying to make their lives difficult; we’re asking them to do things because it’s a legal requirement. Failure to comply can close down a company. It’s one of those “We’re just doing our jobs” situations, and if they’re not being educated by their forwarder, then they probably need to get some consulting, have some people explain to them what’s going on, how it’s going on, and what they need to do to navigate properly. That’s about it.


Thank you, Jeff.


You’re welcome.



About Jeff Schumacher


Jeff Schumacher

Vice President at American Worldwide Agencies

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Sven Verstrepen who discussed The Latest Trends And Horizontal Collaboration And Network Orchestration.







It’s good to speak with you today, Sven, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the latest trends and horizontal collaboration and network orchestration. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Thank you, Dustin. It’s a pleasure to be part of your program. My name is Sven Verstrepen; I’m from Belgium. My office is in Antwerp. I cofounded a company called TRI-VIZOR five years ago. We are a spinoff company of the University of Antwerp in Belgium, and we are specialized in facilitating what is called horizontal collaboration. This is the creation of synergies and economies of scale and economies of scope across multiple supply chain or multiple supply networks. It’s really extending collaboration outside of the company, looking across the wall, and looking into other companies as well. This is what is called horizontal collaboration, and we have been specializing in this topic. We actually coinvented it as a business concept five years ago, and we’ve been applying it ever since.


Can you talk more about what exactly horizontal collaboration and network orchestration are?


Absolutely. This actually started about, I would say, ten years ago, when a number of large companies, especially in the fast-moving consumer-goods industry, were beginning to notice that all of the effort and all of the optimization they were doing in terms of supply chain and logistics and transportation was really reaching a maximum, was reaching the ceiling. By integrating vertically by eliminating wasting their supply chain in a vertical supply chain—so, in their relationships with customers and with suppliers—they actually came a long way since the early ’90s and implementing ERP packages or integrating customers and suppliers to their systems, doing things like vendor-managed inventory, inventory optimization, sharing inventories across multiple places to increase service levels to customers and to reduce inventory levels. But at some point these companies were all starting to notice that they were having a fundamental problem with their transportation.


There was pressure from consumers to be delivered just in time, with smaller drop sizes and higher frequencies, and this was causing, for all these companies, a low utilization rate in their transportation networks. This meant that both the cost of delivery or the cost of drop or the cost of mile was going up. Also, and this was getting important around 2006—also, the carbon footprint of their networks was going up. There was not a lot these companies could do about that but look outside toward other companies and start looking at sharing supply chain capacity and transportation capacity. Of course, their networks are really starting to collaborate normally vertically but also horizontally outside of their own company. And this could even include collaborating with direct competitors, which, from a mental and psychological standpoint, is something very new. No one had ever really thought about this before, I would say, 2005, 2006. And most companies that were willing to try it and practice, they quite fast bumped into a number of practical problems.


All of the concepts, all of the solutions that we as a company had developed since 2008 are basically to facilitate, to supporter, and to maximize the synergies that companies can create by collaboration horizontally, across multiple supply chains. This was the starting point and quite a number of large companies have successfully applied this in practice; companies like Baxter health care, companies like Procter & Gamble, companies like PepsiCo, Heineken, Unilever. They are all starting to look at sharing transport capacity across multiple companies in what is called a community. But the scale is up to the level whereby this can be controlled on a larger scale by a control tower so that the entire network is starting to create synergies instead of one single network of transportation. This we call network orchestration. Horizontal collaboration is looking for synergy across multiple supply chains; and network orchestration is really the application in practice of this concept on a very high scale, steering the entire networks to maximize the synergy with other supply chains and other networks.


Can you talk about why this is important?


Absolutely. This is important for a number of reasons, and I will start by giving the European background, but this also relates to what is happening at the moment in other markets across the world. In Europe—and this was especially the case before the economy crisis of 2008, the financial crisis—quite a lot of companies, especially in the business and consumer sector, were starting to look at sustainability and carbon footprint as a very important new dimension in the organization of their supply chains and transportation networks. This meant, for example, that, especially in Europe, where there’s a lot of congestion on the roads, that things like multimodal transportation—transport via railway or via barge or short sea shipping—that this has become very important. Now, to successfully organize multimodal shipping, you need quite a lot of freight volume.


There are very few companies—even the very large ones—that have enough internal freight volume to fill a train or to fill a short-sea ship or to fill a barge. This led these companies to reach out to one another and to say, “Well, why don’t we fill a train together? Why don’t we share capacity? Why don’t we connect transport capacity together, and then we will fill this train capacity, for example, with both of our goods, both of our products.” This happened quite a few times around 2008, 2009, but, immediately, a lot of these companies got called back by the legal departments, and that does little importance for freight that this type of collaboration, which was very new, which could even suggest that competitors were in conflict with antitrust legislation, that it was in conflict with the collusion legislation, which is, of course, not only Europe, and attention from the markets.


I would say that the push for sustainability initially was one of the big drivers for horizontal collaboration. Now, at the same time, companies that successfully applied the concept into practice also know that this was generating significant cost reductions. Typically, when you talk about the success of horizontal-collaboration community, you talk about cost reductions, per-transport kilometer of more than 10 percent. At the same time, as carbon footprint reductions of 20, sometimes even 30 percent and more. These are very, very significant numbers which cannot be achieved by, I would say, internal or vertical supply chain optimization; this is really the synergy effect when you combine multiple supply chains, when you put multiple shapers into a community.


There’s a systemic drive, the cost drive, and then the last dimension, I would say, is the service-level drive, because by combining the freight flows of multiple companies and synchronizing them to the same network, you can also significantly increase your service level, your frequency of delivery without increasing your cost and without increasing the number of empty miles. The whole concept of synchronization across multiple supply chains, multiple companies is very important to enable the reductions and cost and improvements in carbon footprint and service level.


How is this done effectively?


Well, to put this into practice—the idea’s quite simple, actually, but to put this into practice, you need a number of, I would say, new elements in the supply chain organization, new concepts in supply chain management, and one fundamental concept which has been developed quite thoroughly in the meantime in Europe is the concept of the neutral trustee. Imagine if you went to put several companies, including competitors, into the same company and you want them to share transportation capacity and you want them to synchronize their activities and their planning and their transportation.


This is something not easily done if these companies have to talk to each other directly. They have to exchange information and data, and they will have to exchange, at a certain point, cost information. This is for antitrust legislation not only in Europe but also in other markets. The solution that we came up with in Europe is the invention of what is called today a neutral trustee. This is some kind of neutral referee, a go-between, or a Chinese wall, so to speak, which is standing between multiple collaborating companies or parties, which is collecting all of the data necessary to collaborate from those parties, leveraging this data, and managing it to create synergies and to synchronize the activities of all of the different partners but without those partners having to exchange data directly with each other. When this is done in an organized way, in a large-scale way, through a central control tower, then we talk about network orchestration, and this is what a number of companies in Europe are, at the moment, already testing.


Thank you for sharing your views today on the latest trends in horizontal collaboration and network orchestration.


You're welcome; it was my pleasure. We’re hoping that we will see a lot more of this concept in practice in the coming years both in Europe and in the U.S.


Thank you.


Thanks, Dustin.



About Sven Verstrepen



Sven Verstrepen


Sustainable Logistics & Horizontal Collaboration Pioneer,

Business Developer & Entrepreneur at TRI-VIZOR

LinkedIn Profile



Posted by dustinmattison1974 May 30, 2014

I interviewed Greg Heishman who discussed Lacktion.







It’s good to speak with you today, Greg, and today I’m looking forward to hearing your views on an interesting topic. You have a

term referred to as lacktion. The question is: What is lacktion and how do you keep it from sinking your supply chain system

start-up? Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Yes, Dustin. It’s good to talk to you as well. I live in Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve been in the third-party logistics industry for 30 years now. I started out working as just a warehouse associate for a local third-party logistics company. I worked my way up through to lead, and then I was a supervisor of a 280,000 square-foot warehouse for Procter & Gamble. Then I went to another third-party logistics provider, and I was a director of operations for three facilities. I ran a facility for Lipton Tea, C&H Sugar. Initially, a lot of my third-party warehousing experience was in the food industry, so I’m very familiar with a lot of the requirements around that. Then I went to a company called Menlo Logistics, and I was a senior manager of the warehouse-management system-implementation team. I led implementations for many of the Fortune 100 companies throughout the world, including warehouse-management installations and also warehouse start-ups. I’ve done warehouses throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Singapore, England, The Netherlands; a wide variety of different experiences in the third-party logistics and distribution industry.


Thanks. My first question is: Can you talk about what lacktion is?


Lacktion’s a term that I came up with from several years of doing start-ups. Basically, I took several words that I think are key to being used during warehouse-management system start-ups that end with the letters tion and just created the term lacktion. Basically, what it means is if you have the lack of some of the different terminologies, that’s how I came up with lacktion.


Why is this important?


I think it’s important because we can discuss some of the terms, but as you’re doing, you’re managing your project, doing a warehouse start-up, doing a system implementation, I think these terms that I called out are very key for successful start-ups and successful implementations.


And how is this carried out in practice?


It’s part of an overall project plan. Some of the terms—preparation is obviously a key term, so as you know what your project is, making sure that you yourself are prepared and your team that you’re managing or working with is prepared also.


And do you have any final recommendations?


I think from a preparation, obviously, you want to make sure that everybody on your team understands what their roles are. If they need assistance earlier and you find out that someone’s not prepared, then the more successful you’re going to be.


And thanks for sharing today, Greg.


You bet, Dustin; my pleasure.



About Greg Heishman



Greg Heishman


Project Manager at UTi Worldwide

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed George Abernathy who discussed The Merit Of Third-Party Logistics Services Versus Brokerage Services.







It’s nice to speak with you today, George, and today we’re looking forward to hearing your views on the topic of the merit of

third-party logistics services versus brokerage services. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Sure, and thank you, Dustin, for having me and letting me address this interesting topic. I am the president and chief commercial officer of Transplace. Transplace is a company based in Frisco, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Transplace provides third-party logistics, brokerage, intermodal, and import-export logistics and transportation services to and from North America. My background: I’ve been at Transplace in sales and operations roles for about 10 years, and I have previous management experience here in the U.S. at JB Hunt, a North American commercial transport. And on the technology side, I’ve worked with Sabre,, Clicklogistics and NTE, all within the transportation marketplace.


Thank you. Can you talk about what the merit of third-party logistics services versus brokerage services is?


They both have their place, Dustin, within a shipper’s network; a shipper being defined as a manufacturer, a retailer, or a distributor of goods. The third-party logistics services and brokerage services both have their presence as intermediaries between the manufacturer and the provider of transportation. Depending on the type of network, the size of the network, the geographic scope of the network that the shipper is dealing with, both third-party logistics services and brokerage services have merit.


And why is this important?


The service providers should be chosen wisely. I’ll give you a couple of examples to describe why both third-party logistics services and brokerage services can be utilized to suit the needs of those shippers. A third-party logistics provider has as its primary objective to move 100 percent of a shipper’s freight. That shipper has decided to become part of a community of shippers, part of a community that drives more scale, drives scale beyond what the shipper can do individually, and provides the opportunity for the third-party logistics provider to accomplish collaborative transportation to do things with the shipments from one of the shippers that may compliment another shipper. That third-party logistics provider is thinking strategically, is providing strategic services, and moving 100 percent of the freight.


The people that are servicing the shipper in that third-party logistics relationship need to be trained, human capital development has to be invested in in those strategic areas to be able to provide the services necessary. That’s because they’re moving 100 percent of the shipper’s freight. The brokerage services are different; the brokerage services are going to be handling a portion of a shipper’s freight, and they may be doing so under contracted rates, or they may be providing service to that shipper within the spot market. Most shippers should consider utilizing one or two brokers within their network, whether they’re using a third-party logistics provider or not.


Some shippers may decide to go it on their own and not become a part of a 3PL network, a 3PL community of shippers and that’s fine. Third-party logistics and brokerage services serve purposes for a shipper whether that shipper is utilizing a 3PL or not, and the brokerage services will provide a nonasset flexibility to cover freight for them and potentially some of those timeframes where contracted rates may or may not be able to fulfill their needs, that may be during particular peak seasons, other parts of seasonality. As described, both third-party logistics services and brokerage services can be utilized within one shipper’s network at the same time.


My last question is: How should third-party logistics services be utilized, and where have you seen good results?


Third-party logistics services are oftentimes utilized in assets. You’ll see it in warehousing where a particular shipper requires that their goods be stored or be manipulated within the transportation network through cross-docking or otherwise. Third parties have had, historically, a significant role within the assets of warehousing or brick-and-mortar, as it’s described. Where third-party logistics has really become a significant portion of the supply chain within the past 10 to 15 years is within the transportation outsourcing, where the transportation networks of a provider like Transplace have grown to scale where that scale can be leveraged and can be utilized to drive savings that an individual shipper cannot.


For example, Transplace has approximately $2 billion worth of freight under management, another $1 billion or so running through our system, so we have the ability to collaborate across that $3 billion worth of freight to find efficiencies, to find that collaborative value that approximately 10 or 15 years ago, there really weren’t third-party logistics providers that had that scale nor did they have the technology capabilities that a transportation-management system, a TMS, like Transplace, can be delivered via the Internet—softwares of service delivery capability that allows there to be widespread utilization by a user base on both sides of that third-party relationships, whether it be the shipper themselves, our employees, or the carriers, the transportation providers within that. The good results have come and what our customer advisory boards demonstrate is that there are tangible metrics data-based results that, on an annual basis, can drive down costs for a shipper on their transportation network that they would be unable to do on their own.


Thank you for sharing today.


My pleasure. Thank you, Dustin!



About George Abernathy



George Abernathy


President at Dallas/Fort Worth Area

Logistics and Supply Chain


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Adebayo Adeleke who discussed Military Impact On Humanitarian Supply Chain Management.







It’s good to speak with you again, Bayo, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views today on a new topic, which is military

impact on  humanitarian supply chain management. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Thank you again, Dustin, for this opportunity. My name is Adebayo Adeleke, and I’m a military officer by profession and my area in the military is supply chain logistics. Over the past five years, I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing on humanitarian supply chain management.


Thank you. Historically, how has the military of different nations impacted the humanitarian supply chain?


The use of military for humanitarian support can be traced back to the days of Alexander the Great. After most conquests he uses the military to kind of help sustain some of the people that were conquered. We can also, a lot of reading documents showed Napoleon Bonaparte during the Revolution, actually used a lot of these military personnel to provide humanitarian support. Now, let’s fast-forward in time. After World War Two we saw a surge in the use of most of the allied forces as they used their military supply chain, especially a specific event is the Berlin airlift; that was around 1948 to 1949, when the Russian blockade the West Berlin.


What happened was the allied forces actually provided supplies using in-depth involvement of military supply chain and forecasting demands, procurement of goods, distribution and storage of goods, and also transporting those goods to those individuals that were involved in the blockade. They used, actually, between 1948 and 1949, the allied forces provided over two million people around that area using the airdrop. So, the use of military supply chain and humanitarian supply chain—they kind of go hand in hand, as you will see—as in a flight 370 that has been missing—the use of supply of the military personnel and equipment has been used a lot. Also in the current event about the girls that have been abducted in the northern part of Nigeria by Boko Haram, and they’re using the military as well to provide search and rescue for those humanitarian efforts. The military’s supply chain and the military involvement, the military can date back in history up to now; it’s still kind of synonymous to humanitarian supply chain.


What are the advantages of the military involvement in humanitarian supply chains?


The advantages of military involvement in humanitarian supply chain is numerous. As you know, one thing first that jumps right at me is the preparedness. Military personnel are well-prepared; they are highly trained for deployment in very austere and harsh environments and often a remote location. They’re trained to support a lot of humanitarian efforts. The military can sustain itself, and they give them more men they can go to a place with no infrastructure and help out, and that’s what is actually needed in humanitarian supply chain. Also, another advantage is rapid response.


They can respond to air, land, and sea, as we see in the afterbirth of the hurricane that happened in Haiti, as the U.S. Navy actually launched a ship down to Port-au-Prince, and they used that effort to help give out military aid to people that have been devastated by an earthquake. Also, military supply chain, actually the main advantage of military supply chain is aligned with humanitarian supply chain. The reason why I’m saying this is that the military supply chain operates in a de-stabilized condition, which is pretty much what a humanitarian supply chain is. They also train to operate on that level of demand and difficult conditions.


That is why there’s an almost advantage to bringing military supply chain and humanitarian supply chain together, because what the humanitarian supply needs they kind of feed off from the military supply chain. They kind of feed off of each other. They work in an area whereby security is needed, and, of course, military supply chain will have security and whatnot. Additional things that the military brings to the table is security, support, securing the area, and also protecting the safety of the humanitarian endeavors and also protecting and relieving the supply route. As we know, most of these areas, especially in a man-made disaster, some of these areas will be infested with rogues, and having the military on ground to provide security, especially the supply route, is actually highly appreciated.


How can integrated coordination with the military improve current systems and processes in humanitarian supply chain?


The military supply chain, they have, the military as a whole, they have a huge logistical footprint, which can never underestimated, and because of this, proper coordination by the military and the civilian counterpart on the ground will help and aid the current setups and operations in humanitarian military supply chains. I’ll give a prime example. Military, when they come, they come with different platforms: mobility platform, complication platform, engineering support.


These platforms are well-integrated and will actually aid and kind of lure some of the stress that the civilian counterpart goes through. For example, the military, when they come we know that at the initial part of any disaster, they’re needed to provide immediate response, to provide security, or to stabilize a chaotic environment. I think a lot of issues from previous research and previous literature I’ve been reading about effective use of military and humanitarian supply chain is because there is not enough coordination between the military and the civilian counterpart.


I think if this part is actually set beforehand, maybe from different exercises prior to any disaster, I think that will alleviate or that will actually promote effective use of military and humanitarian support. Over the years, as we saw in Haiti, a lot of military personnel that were deployed to those areas initially were not properly used because they do not know how to properly neutralize those capabilities. It is essential that if the civilian counterpart—and also the military as a whole—to understand each other, they can better serve themselves, and not only that, for the people also in the disaster-struck area.


Thanks for sharing your views today on military impact on humanitarian supply chain management.


Thank you very much, Dustin. Thanks for your time.



About Adebayo Adeleke


Adebayo Adeleke


Director of Operations


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Nick Little who discussed Facing Up To The Talent Crisis In Supply Chain.






Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Yes, certainly, Dustin. Hello and it’s a pleasure to talk with you. I started my career a long time ago now by getting a scholarship in supply management to go university and then was guaranteed a job with British Rail, where I worked for about 15 years in various different supply management and supply chain-management roles. And then I moved to the British Post Office and spent another 12 years there. In both those organizations, I had a passion about developing people.


The way I used to look at things was, I always wanted to make sure there was somebody ready to take over my job for me.


That meant that I wanted to make sure that people had the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to improve themselves, and I wanted to try and develop people from within rather than have to recruit on the open market, because that way I could then be sure I would get people who knew the business that we were operating in. It was a very interesting progression because they were large companies and lots of opportunities for people to move around, so I was able to choose from a fairly large pool of people within the organization. Then I came to Michigan State University about 19 years ago, originally for a year on loan. Still here and I now work in executive-development programs, where I help company clients do exactly the same as what I used to by developing their talent as well.


That’s interesting. Can you talk about where new talent can come from?


Yes, certainly. I think the most important area for new talent is going to be with the recruits we get in at a fairly young and tender age out of university programs. Those are the people who are going to be the future leaders for supply chain going forward. With the very large proportion of Baby Boomers who are retiring in the next few years, I have read some projections that say Millennial Generation people will be 60 percent of the workforce in about 10 years’ time, which is quite amazing. Where do you get those people from? How do they think? How do they behave? It is important to people who are hiring new talent. They can come from university programs, and there are a lot of universities now that offer supply chain management degrees of one form or another.


It seems to be a very...subject, and we all know the reasons why that is. The difficulty that we face is that supply chain itself doesn’t have a particularly good name; it’s not particularly well-understood by people who are not in it. As supply chain managers, we often only get our voice heard when we’re helping put things right after a natural disaster or some other problem that has occurred. And yet every day we are bending over backward to make sure that supplies get where they are needed when they’re needed, in the quantity and quality they’re needed, and so forth. To be able to do that, we have got to get people aware of supply chain management as a potential career.That’s one of the biggest difficulties we have at the moment.


Why do people enter university with an idea of doing supply chain? Well, I’m not too sure that they do. A few might; a few that have family in supply chain jobs are so excited by that fact and what they hear from their relatives that they want to get into it as well. But a lot of students taking supply chain majors have got there because during the course of their university career, they have been influenced by a professor or by their peer group to the fact that supply chain is an exciting and a very fulfilling career choice; it really comes about for them.


A great example I have seen is a couple of university students—not necessarily from my university but from a survey I did a few years ago—they reported that they’d originally wanted to do a finance degree or a marketing degree, but when it came to doing the internships, they didn’t get the chance to understand everything there was to learn about a company, whereas some of their friends who did supply chain internships had a real opportunity to be able to get involved with many different areas of work. I think that’s a tremendous opportunity that we don’t, as supply chain managers, sell very well to potential recruits.


We really ought to get out there and make sure that, as a profession, we’re telling people that the opportunity exists, it’s a great opportunity, it’s got the chance to earn some really good money, and part of the reason for that being the case is the fact that demand far exceeds supply. And everybody who’s done Economics 101 knows that when demand exceeds supply, the price only goes in one direction and that’s upward; that’s what we’re seeing with salaries. We’re also seeing that there are constraints to the supply chain for future talent. It’s very interesting to think of talent as a supply chain problem.


One of the constraints is getting people that really have a good, broad understanding of what supply chain’s about. It’s very easy to teach people a lot of the tools and technique; it’s not very easy to teach them how to put it into practice. A lot of companies are looking for people coming out of university programs with a good range of soft skills as well: the ability to solve problems in teams; the ability to look for root causes; the ability to question things to understand what has happened; and to be able to communicate very well in verbal communication and whatever form of written communication we might be facing today and in the future.


Not all university programs are able to teach that sort of thing particularly effectively. Many universities now put their M.B.A. students through teamwork exercises and address real problems that way or they address case studies as teams. Those are all good opportunities but nothing beats the chance to get out on an internship, do some real work, not just busywork and get to experience the day-to-day life in an organization and be able to help address some of the issues that there are.


I think we have got a duty to those of us that are following to be able to give them that sort of experiences. They look—the Millennial Generation, particular—looks to professionals to be their mentors for the future. It’s becoming a more and more important part of them entering the workforce.


They don’t want to just be sat in a desk and told what to do; they want to have somebody who’s going to help them learn as well and create the right sort of environment, send them on courses to learn additional things that they don’t particularly know and, really, to help them into their career.


Because if folks want to advance fairly quickly and if they’re not given a chance to advance, then we have a problem, because they’re going to go and look elsewhere; they’re going to go look where their peer has had success. Everybody’s needing talent in supply chain management, so have to make sure that we can satisfy some of the demands of those younger folk.


Can you talk a little bit more about how you help them find mentors and develop their skills?


Yeah, I look back at my own experience. I was very lucky when I joined my first organization, the Railway. We were given a mentor from day one. I had a gentleman who had about 45 years of experience working in the supply-management function for the railway. He basically said to me, “I want to make sure that you get the chance to get on, so my door is always open if you ever have a problem. Come in and talk to me.” He had tremendous experience he was very willing to share. What we need to do is, I think we all have a role to play, to be a mentor, to be a coach to people.


However, we need to overcome one thing: We need to overcome the fear that they’re going to take our job. That’s not really the case, because we should always be preparing ourselves to move upward as well. There’ll come a time when, yes, everybody reaches as far as they can go in the organization, and the pyramid gets smaller the farther you go up, so we’re not all going to get to the top. But, certainly, there’s plenty of room for people to move in to different jobs.


One of the things I always suggest to people is, you can be a good mentor only if you fully understand the organization you’re working in. In a larger company that’s easy to do by being prepared to move around. The younger folks are very much prepared to move around as well. Some of the best programs that I have seen are mentored rotational programs, where people spend six months in one part and move on to a totally different part and, often, totally a different geography as well. Nice and easy to do in large organizations; not so easy in smaller organizations.


But in the small company, you can get to understand a lot more about the business itself very quickly and really become a key part of that business if you’re someone who comes up with good ideas, comes up with ideas that are well thought through and able to implement them as well. I would suggest that a part of mentoring is encouraging people to think outside their normal area of experience and normal area of day-to-day working, the old sort of think-outside-the-box idea. Try and make time to sit down with people, and ask them questions that will stretch their imagination and get them to apply some of their experience and some of their learning in a totally different field as well. That has benefits not just for the individual, but for the organization as well.


Do you have any recommendations for companies that will be interested in developing these internship programs or becoming mentors?


Yes, there are a couple of good examples that exist. Looking outside supply chain is probably the best way to do it at the moment, because these things are only very young in supply chain other than a few companies. Look what’s been done in other functions—finance or marketing or sales, even—and say, “How can we apply that to supply chain?”


There’s plenty of opportunity in supply chain now with the breadth of supply chain, everything from procurement, product development, through the production, manufacturing, service planning, through to the actual operations of the business and then the logistics, distribution, and customer service functions. Moving around within those functions is very, very easy when they’re all brought together under supply chain management.


But I would certainly say don’t encourage people to be a total, in-depth specialist in any one area alone. They have got to get the opportunity to become what the HR people call a T-shaped person. By a T-shaped person, that means somebody who’s got a breadth of knowledge across the whole of the organization and the different functions that there are; plus, they have the ability to drill down deeply in at least one area. That’ll help people as they plan their career and they progress to be able to move into other areas but have some sort of skill and benefit that they can bring to addressing questions that are related but not necessarily exactly the same as the function that they’ve worked in in the past. And then for the internship programs, what you really have to do as employer is avoid the easy internship planning.


That means that you have got to actually come up with challenges for these people. One of the best ways that I have found to do that is to set them meaningful projects, a project that has some sort of return on the investment that you’re making in them by coming up with some impact, whether it’s financial or not—it doesn’t really make much difference; it’s better if it can be financial, because they have the opportunity then to work out a good ROI on what they’re doing—but it’s got to be something that has some air of opportunity; it’s also got to be a real issue that the company faces. I have found that the best issues are the ones that encourage people to talk across as many functions as possible and also outside the company, toward your suppliers and toward your customers as well.


Thank you, Nick, for sharing your views today on facing up to the talent crisis in supply chain.


Okay, Dustin, you’re very welcome. Thank you.




About Nick Little

Nick Little, BA (Hons), MCIPSManaging Director, Railway Management Program Assistant Director, Executive Development Programs Department of Supply Chain Management The Eli Broad College of BusinessMichigan State University The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development3535 Forest Road, Suite C-31, Lansing, MI   48910-3831, USA

O: +1 517/353-8711 x 71006

C: +1 517/256-4708

F: +1 517/353-0796





Nick Little


Asst Dir, Executive Development, Eli Broad College of Business,

Michigan State University

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Useful Links :

Eli Broad College of Business | Michigan State University

| Eli Broad College of Business

I interviewed Alan Bermingham who discussed An Example of a Real Collaborative Business Partnership (CBP).


“True Accomplishments – Supply Chain Collaboration & the Power of Reverse Marketing”.

Who I am?

My name is Alan Bermingham.  I am a Supply Chain and Logistics manager, specializing in Transportation, Physical Distribution and Procurement. With extensive work experience in Quebec, Ontario and USA, my success has been in leading corporate logistics teams in four (4) of Canada’s top 100 companies.  


Could you share with us some of your business success?

Business is quite simple . . . In fact, it’s so simple, most people don’t get it. Bottom line, it’s all about people and relationships with a willingness to work together, in collaboration, for each other’s benefit. My business success has been built by establishing Collaborative Business Partnerships with suppliers, business partners and Supply Chain service providers.


Can you share with us one of your key accomplishments?

Absolutely . . . Managing a global import/ export logistics freight flow program for a major manufacturing firm in Quebec, Canada with Just in Time (JIT) inventory directly linked to hourly production schedules. Our challenge was to set up a seamless flow supply chain program for critical production parts imported from Europe.  Considering that the parts were shipped in full containers from the supplier to our manufacturing facility on a daily basis which was operating 24/7.  The supply requirements for replenishment were one (1) full container shipped each day and one (1) full container received each day – 365 days/year. Sounds simple enough; but, with holidays, weekends, weather conditions, multiple ocean and ground carriers involved, customs clearance issues and rising cost concerns, a sense of urgency was critical. The potential for disruptions that could shut down production and negatively affect delivery of finished goods was quite high.  Collaboration of all participating contributors was a prerequisite for success. We introduced Reverse Marketing principles with our service providers to ensure that we engaged in complete collaboration and buy-in.


What is Reverse Marketing?

Reverse Marketing is about the relationship between buyers and sellers or customers and suppliers. What is essential to the success of these relationships is mutual trust, honesty and transparency.

A strategic approach was required to avoid service failures, limit the potential of error and attain a seamless flow of parts from our supplier.

A simple example of applying the Reverse Marketing technique is to ask the following questions:

  1. 1. What can we do, as the buyer of goods and services, to help you (the service provider) meet our mutual objectives?

The team agreed on a supply stream efficiency strategy and operational effectiveness that provides a winning proposition for all parties?

  1. 2. While helping us meet our objectives, what can we do to further help you improve your efficiency, reduce your costs and help build your business with creative incentives like shared critical mass from other suppliers?

This is the holistic supply chain approach . Here is how we did it.

The logistics team met with our import/export service providers and discussed all hurdles, to help prevent delays, disruptions and inefficiencies.  Throughout the brainstorming sessions, we immediately began identifying ways to improve the supply chain and avoiding unnecessary costs which were contributing to our high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  This can only be achieved with open-minded and trustworthy business partners. This actually turned out to be a forensic supply chain audit. These open discussions further led to informal and formal service level and cost agreements.  These team meetings were held with two (2) freight forwarders and one (1) Customs Broker.

Since all Customs Brokerage activity had been centralized under one broker, this broker had access and visibility to all ocean containers imported each day. It only made sense to get both service providers to meet with us together at the same time . . . remember, they both had a common customer (us the client).


Step 1 - Working with our supplier in Europe, we were able to generate more shipping volumes to other customers in other areas of the world using both these two (2) freight forwarders and/or their agents outside of this specific project. This was value add for the forwarders and gave them both an incentive to handle our JIT project in full compliance.

Step 2 – Working in true collaboration with our suppliers and service partners provided us with a seamless flow supply chain model which optimized inventory, prioritized service and reduced our TCO.

Step 3 – Based on the successful outcome or our collaborative initiatives with third parties, the corporation formed a Worldwide Corporate Supply Chain Council (WCSCC).


This management council was made up of a group of senior logistics and transportation specialists mandated to apply reverse marketing techniques in order to improve each division’s supply chain service performance at lower cost. This initiative had complete signoff by our CEO and CFO. A carrier rationalization program was introduced with shared volumes, carrier and freight forwarder co-opetition and joint negotiations resulting in operational efficiencies, service excellence and lower cost. This collaborative initiative resulted in continuous replenishment and full compliance.  Throughout my career, learning’s, experience, and successes were shared  and used successfully with many other organizations.

It’s all about people and relationships working in collaboration with trustworthy business partners, committed to one common goal and meeting customer’s expectations at all times.


Where do you go from here?


Needless to say, I have had an extremely successful business career in working closely with my collaborative business partners (CBPs).

Today, buyers and sellers must use Reverse Marketing techniques and share best practices to accomplish collaborative supply chain success. True Collaborative commitment leads to tremendous supply chain efficiency and cost improvements. Unfortunately, many companies fail to realize the true potential of a collaborative and holistic approach to supply chain. Supply Chain success in today’s organizations will be defined by greater C-level engagement and commitment to collaborative business partnerships.

Thank you.


About Alan Bermingham


Alan Bermingham


ACRM Cynergi Inc. - Supply Chain, Logistics &

Transportation Management (Consultant in Transition)


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Matthew Weilert who discussed A Systems Thinking Perspective On The Modern Global Supply Chain.







It’s good to speak with you today, Matt, and today I’m looking forward to hearing your views on a systems thinking perspective on the modern global supply chain. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Dustin, thanks, first of all, for having me on your show. I really think that across my varied career in the defense supply chain, with automotive leadership supply chain, and in foodstuffs in the food supply chain, including cold and refrigerated, you really can distill my two decades plus of experience down to just two words. The first word is granularity. That is how deeply, how intimately you know your business. The second is like it; it’s humility. It’s part of our grandparents’ timeless wisdom that only the humble can learn.


My exposure to these different fields has pointed out the commonalities, in theme in terms of if they don’t trust you, they are not going to tell you everything that you need to know; they’re going to tell you what they think you want to hear. Certainly, in a supply chain that’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. Those two simple words—granularity and humility—are how I would describe two decades across many different facets of the global supply chain.


Can you talk about what the challenges are with the modern global supply chain?


One of the biggest things I think John Shook has made very, very plain when he wrote an exceptional commentary on NASA’s evaluation of the Toyota sudden unintended acceleration, and that was the fact that people are not asking intelligent questions related to the reality of geography. The biggest issue for offshoring isn’t the six-week delay or the 15,000 or 20,000 miles; it’s the differences in culture that aren’t being accounted for. Whether or not this was the fact that Chinese were putting poison in toothpaste or poison in dog food—unintentionally so—it’s the fact that bean counters were making decisions without asking people who those decisions affected. Probably the biggest single decision is that language and culture far more than geography.


I don’t mean just can you speak Cantonese or Mandarin. I mean, can you speak Brooklyn? Can you speak Des Plaines, Illinois? Can you speak Seattle? It’s really understanding who the people involved in your supply chain are, and that’s where we go back to the term granularity. Do you know your business at the one-to-one, person-to-person human level?


In a catastrophe, in a disaster, if you’re looking for a 20-minute response time instead of a 20-day response time, it’s going to be because you had a personal relationship with somebody who got through all the red tape and gave you the data you want. There’s an outstanding example with CSM. CSM is the world’s largest bakery conglomerate, and Dominic Welch is one of their key players, one of the titans, you would say, of the foodstuffs industry in Europe. He was able to certify that all CSM’s suppliers were dioxin-free in a scare several years ago. The reason he did that—he personally disclosed to me in a communication we had at a conference—was that he had personal relationships with his key suppliers. It wasn’t EDI; it wasn’t social media; it was the one-to-one, whether that was e-mail or phone call, but the one-to-one relationship. I may sound like a broken record, but that really is the key to solving many of today’s either existing issues or issues that are manifesting themselves as we speak. Knowing your people and knowing your business with what we call in our trade business intimacy. How much do you know, and can you shift the level of detail at which you’re working that’s appropriate for the challenge of the moment?


Can you talk with any more detail about how the challenges can be addressed?


I sure can. The biggest issue, I think, for, let’s say an automotive supplier. An automotive supplier has, let’s say, 20,000 pieces of inventory. We can have two examples. The Toyota sudden unintended acceleration disaster was more than just a supply chain issue; it was a people- to-people issue. The wreck of the Toyota, the Saylor family’s untimely demise, that tragedy, was caused by a wrong-sized car mat.


The reason that’s a supply chain issue is because they had the instructions at the point of installation. A fully integrated supply chain would go all the way from the rubber or plastics manufacturer to the final part being put in the specific model of car with the right part confirmed; whether that would be a bar code beep or whether that would be a process check is really outside of the scope of this discussion. The Saylor tragedy, the death of the Saylor family, was a supply chain issue because they had the wrong part in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s my take on it as a systems safety engineer. It’s not just inventory levels; it’s how that inventory was distributed, parts, place, and time. Another example from a warehousing perspective again goes back to the people-to-people relationships.


General Motors, in their Reno service parts operations—this is quite some years ago—had a conveyor that was breaking down every single day at the same time. Just from that alone you know that it was not a mechanical-only issue. What happened was that the night supervisor was basically disregarding GM’s $6 billion dealer-driven-demand software and saying, “All of it ships. Nothing doesn’t ship on my watch.” He was physically overloading the weight capacity of the conveyor, and that turned out to be a human problem, not a Rapistan® brand or Dematic® brand conveyor problem. Those are two different perspectives on how a systems approach or a systems-safety or a systems-thinking approach addresses what is often a residual risk or a hidden risk within classical supply chain thought processes.


As far as results, have you seen any recipes or formulas for success?


Well, recipes for success, again, I’m going to harken back to some of the things that John Shook wrote about; just because it’s close solves many sins. That’s not really what he said; he had about three paragraphs to say that single sentence. Essentially, Warren Buffet said the same thing: Know your suppliers. Peter Lynch, way back in the day, when he was running Fidelity, he said, “Know the companies you’re working with.” And we get back to that do you know the intimate level of business operations so that you can recognize or what we would call the smell test…this isn’t ripe. Are you a mariner that knows the sea charts so well that you can tell “that island is mismarked because I’ve gone on this route fifteen times”? Or when you see two parts in combination and you know that they don’t fit, as someone with experience in Toyota automotive assembly would have recognized had the right person been at the right place at the right time.


Recipes for success are: increase communication, increase communication, and you know the third one of that. The way that communication happens is using multiple means, integrating social media, integrating instant messaging, integrating more visual communications so that people have rich media. People don’t need more software. People don’t need more meetings. God forbid we should have more meetings. What they do need is getting more information in less time. One of the recipes for doing that is learning to communicate at the right level of detail. That may not sound like supply chain advice, but when you get down to the heart of it, people need to know what they need to know when they need to know it. And with that simple-sounding advice, that’s about a six-week course in logistics when you take it out to its actual application and day-to-day implementation. I hope that kind of summarizes where I see some of the critical challenges of the way that a systems approach to communication will drive solutions in today’s supply chain.


Thanks, Matt, for sharing these great views on a systems-thinking perspective on the modern global supply chain.


I appreciate the time and I appreciate you reaching out to me, Dustin.




About Matthew Weilert


Matthew E. Weilert is a global innovator in system safety & risk with the privilege of advising billion-dollar brands including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Bacardi, GM and the US Navy. He writes for the Perspectives Newsletter, available at



Matthew Weilert


STETA Group (Board Chairman) | Publisher at STI Press


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Adebayo Adeleke who discussed Humanitarian Supply Chain Management.







It’s good to speak with you today, Bayo, and today I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the

topic of humanitarian supply chain  management. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?


Thank you, Dustin. It’s nice to talk to you again. My name is Adebayo Adeleke. I’m a professional soldier. I’ve been in the U.S. Army for the past 15 years, and I’m a logistics and supply chain officer as my specialty in the military. Over the course of the years, I’ve learned different ways of how the military actually operates and suppliers sustain its forces on the battlefield, which is somewhat related to how it is done in commercial—which we’ll refer to as commercial, the mainstream of supply chain. During the process of doing that, I heard there’s a lot of knowledge pertaining to military supply chain and our passion kind of…I’ve been deployed a few times in combine operations. Being in the military, as you know, military operations, some are kind of synonymous with humanitarian supply chain as well, so I have that kind of keen interest in it. But my background has been, I’ve studied at University of Maryland, Webster University, and also the University of San Diego, where I got my master’s in supply chain management.


Thank you. My first question is: What is humanitarian supply chain management?


Humanitarian supply chain management is somehow, sometimes quite difficult to define because most people would think it is a supply chain in humanitarian form. Though it is somewhat of that nature, at the same time humanitarian supply chain is fixed with a task, just developing and executing more of our supply chains to bring goods to the services, to disaster-struck areas under critical time and pressure. It brings a unique set of supply chain challenges * (2:17—unclear) surrounding every disaster. Most of these challenges normally are not seen in mainstream supply chain.


Can you talk about why it’s important?


It’s quite important, I can say. Over the last few years, for example, in 2001 the total U.S. expenditure for humanitarian economic assistance was about $1.4 billion, of which about 9.7 percent represented special supplements for victims of foods and typhoons in all parts of the world. Between the period of 2000 and 2004, the whole world experienced an average number of disasters that was about, give or take, about 55 percent higher than the period between 1995 and 1999. What we’re starting to see, the trend of natural, both manmade and also disasters is going to increase, and if we do not find a way to preserve life and not to preserve property, we’re going to find ourselves as a whole in bad shape. That is where humanitarian supply chain comes in, by providing critical goods and services where these disasters strike.


My last question is: Can you talk about how it’s done and how you address some of the challenges that you mentioned?


Yes, some of these challenges over the years, critical supply chain is faced with numerous challenges. For example, the demand pattern, the lead time, the distribution network configuration in * (4:11—unclear) information system, some of these things are, over the years, these are the same reoccurring challenges. But we believe with the new frontier of technology streaming in, with the new training, with the new life mission of humanitarian supply chain, like before most disaster-relief workers are not well-trained or they’re not experts in humanitarian supply chain, but with numeral * (4:40—unclear), we have a lot of subject matter experts in humanitarian supply chain with different ideas, from different walks of life and different parts of the world. They help bring more awareness to how to combat those challenges. Also, with this newfound technology and different arrays of technology that’s flooded the market, it will help alleviate some of the setbacks and challenges we’ve had in humanitarian supply chain and where I think with these technologies, with this new expertise being kind of streaming into humanitarian supply chain, we have a better view and we have a better handle on how to combat the next disaster relief.


Thank you, Bayo, for sharing your views on humanitarian supply chain management.


Thank you, Dustin.




About Adebayo Adeleke


Adebayo Adeleke


Director of Operations


LinkedIn Profile