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I interviewed Bronwen Hann who discussed Severe Talent Shortages as Baby Boomers Retire.







I live in Canada, in Toronto, and I’ve been in the recruitment field for over 35 years. I’m probably one of the most well-seasoned recruiters in the Canadian marketplace. I used to work in the more generalized field. I built a company called Pinstripe Group of Companies, which was one of the largest independent temporary staffing companies, which I sold to one of the multinationals.


I started Argentus about 12 years ago. Argentus’s focus is purely in the area of procurement and supply chain. The reason why I’ve chosen to focus in this particular very narrow niche is because there is such a demand for individuals in this massively growing area. There is a tendency in the recruiting field for people to be generalists.


I think that organizations are certainly moving away from wanting to deal with generalists; they want to deal with people who are real specialists, who have a real in-depth understanding of the area of staffing that they’re dealing with. I think that’s true with other areas, such as accounting and legal and thinks like that. That is why, with the advice of many mentors at a very senior level, it was suggested that I do something like this, because there really wasn’t anybody in this particular space. That is where I have positioned myself.


Can you talk about the severe talent shortages as baby boomers retire?


Supply chain is something that touches every—a lot of people do not realize that supply chain touches every single industry. It’s how companies bring their product to market, whether it’s electronics, whether it’s something that goes in to other products, whether it’s something that we consume. The exciting thing is—I didn’t realize this until I really got into it in great depth—it’s an area that touches every single market, and it’s really integral to how companies and business in general operate. It’s really about how companies get to be competitive.


And in a time where there’ve been a lot of global recessions, companies are not making the money on their top line, so they’re looking to their bottom line, which is supply chain, how they can be more globally efficient. That is having a better supply chain. The problem, which is something that I’m very concerned about, is that in the next 10 to 13 years, baby boomers are starting to retire, and they are the people with the real knowledge about the supply chain.


Every year, just in Canada, there are going to be 65 to 75,000 new jobs in procurement and supply chain. With those people leaving the industry, there are not enough people coming in to the industry to replace them. It’s been something that I am very concerned about. I think companies are only just starting to wake up to the fact that, “Hey, we have a real issue here. How are we going to meet those needs over the next fifteen to twenty years?”


Do you have any final recommendations regarding this challenge?


One of the things that I’ve been doing is…I think a lot of it has to do with education. A lot of it stems from a lack of education and understanding from young people as to what supply chain is about. I think that people come up through high school; I think that high school’s become very sophisticated in terms of what they’re teaching kids about technology—and I know this because I have children who’ve just gone through the high school and are going through it now. There’s never any mention about supply chain.


They do careers and they talk about maybe being a banker or this; they have these ludicrous discussions and analyses that they do which says that you should be in these types of things. Some of what I find quite remarkable is that they never discuss or mention or educate or facilitate any discussions about what supply chain is and what it means. As it holds such an important role in the global economy, why is that not happening? I think that if that were happening more often, the kids will be coming out high school and going into university with a better understanding of that.


People think that supply chain is a blue-collar job, it’s on a dock, it’s wearing work boots. It’s not; it’s a very strategic role, very exciting, and very fast-paced. In a world where jobs are shrinking, where, in some cases, 40 percent of the population are underemployed, where they’re having to cobble together jobs, this is an area where there’s a huge need, and young people are not aware of it. I think we need to be advocates in the industry, going out to high schools, writing blogs, having conversations, educating young people at the high school, right at the grassroots level, so when they’re hitting university, they already have an understanding. They’re not saying, “I’m going to go into engineering.” They have an understanding up front that supply chain is something exciting. Women going into supply chain is something that should be really encouraged. Young people in supply chain, really encouraged.


Also, the last thing is that companies are working very hard to reduce their spend in terms of hiring staff on their own. They’re using places like LinkedIn, they’re bringing in-house talent acquisition groups in-house, and that’s fantastic because they’re trying to cut their costs in terms of using outside suppliers, but the reality is those inside talent acquisition groups cannot be excellent in everything. They can’t, one minute, be working on filling a marketing role and the next minute be working on a finance role and also be expected to understand what supply chain is all about. These people are in very, very high demand.


Talent acquisitions, as great a job as they do, they don’t really understand what it is that turns these people on. I think it’s really important that these companies have a good relationship with a third party who has the robust network because it’s really all about knowing who’s looking but not really looking. It’s all about the passive candidate base, and talent-acquisition groups can’t deal with that. They’re skimming off the active candidates. You need somebody such as myself, whose job every day is to work at that very deep mining, because there are many great people; they’re out there living lives, and they’re not actually looking for a job. I think those things are going to help you address some of the needs as they come up. I think, as an industry, supply chain-procurement, breaking out, logistics, planning, forecasting, they need to get out there and talk to students and write and advocate. I think that as groups of executives coming from different areas, I think that we can make an impact globally.


Thanks for sharing on this important topic today.


My pleasure.






About Bronwen Hann


Bronwen Hann.jpg

Bronwen Hann

Boutique Procurement & Supply Chain Recruiter/Thought Leader Executive/Professional Contract & Permanent Staffing


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Oliver Campbell who discussed The Circular Economy.







It’s great to speak with you again, Oliver, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views on a new topic: the circular economy. My first question is: What is the circular economy?


Well, first, Dustin, thanks for having me again, and I’m glad to be back. The circular economy, really, it’s this theory that says that we can produce products with virtually no waste; materials are reused and recycled continuously. That’s really where the circular idea comes from. It’s a dramatic shift if you compare it to the current, what I call, linear economy, in which we take, make, consume, and dispose—you see that straight line—and we draw regularly on natural resources to create products that eventually end up as trash.


In short, what the circular economy is about is economic growth without an increased use of natural resources. I think that’s the key idea of a circular economy. It’s about resourced productivity. How can we get more from the resources we use, eliminating the concept of waste? We use things over and over again. What used to be waste in a linear economy now becomes a resource in a circular economy. That’s really the key notion around a circular economy.


“Why is that important?” I think is the next great question. I think if you look at economic development over the past several centuries, since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve had a linear economy, and it’s worked quite well for a very long time.


Why is it important that we shift? I think there are some drivers on this. Foremost is the growth of the middle-class and increasing world population, which is driving greater consumerism in the coming years. We certainly see this in the marketplaces we’re involved in globally. That increased population and consumerism puts tremendous pressure on natural resources and energy supplies. Therefore, the belief is a shift to a circular economy to build value, create jobs via new business opportunities.


We think technology serves as a great example of the potential for this kind of transformation. We also see increased urbanization. The global population, just to cite some numbers, is expected to increase by one billion people by 2025. If you think about it, a billion people, that’s roughly the population of China or India. That’s a tremendous amount of people who all aspire, really, to lives of possibility and potential rather than, I think, one of poverty and scarcity.


From a technology point of view, technology is often used—and that’s how we use it here at Dell—how do we use technology to help people be more productive, to help people realize the dreams in their lives?


Beyond 2025, we also see forecasts that show approximately three billion people will ascend to middle-class by 2030. We’ve got more people, more people moving up out of poverty and into middle-class. We think, certainly, more people whose lives are improving economically, that’s a good thing, but it puts pressure on resources. People want cars, air conditioning, electronics, et cetera, and that all puts a lot of pressure on resources. There’s concern over shortages and environmental pressure from raw materials. The World Economic Forum forecasts by 2020, an extra 82 billion tons of raw materials will enter the economic system. It’s also getting harder and more expensive to get some of these resources.


I think according to the Green Alliance, there’s 7 percent copper in every ton of ore mined 150 years ago. Today it’s around 26 percent. Those big, rich things of copper, to cite an example, are harder and harder to get at. You look at where we drill for oil and environmental conditions either deep see or the Arctic; it’s harder and harder to get at pockets of oil.


Those are some of the reasons from a materials standpoint and energy pressures, including costs, are on the rise. What we see from our longer-term forecasts—and I’m quoting the Green Alliance here—estimates over the next 10 years is that metal and energy prices could actually triple. It’s really, if you look at it from a basic standpoint of supply and demand, more demand usually means higher cost. To put it in simplistic terms, those are the drivers.


How can things be done differently in the supply chain? Where have you seen some success?


I think things can be done differently in the supply chain by looking at where we can recycle and reuse materials. What we’ve done at Dell with packaging, where we’ve used wheat straw, actually, as a substitute for paper fiber that’s sourced from trees.


About two years ago we launched a wheat straw paper packaging initiative with our partner YFY, and what we’re doing is taking the material that was previously a waste, which is wheat straw, where farmers in China would either burn it or, if they couldn’t do that, they would till it. We gather that, it goes into a process where we have specially designed enzymes to break down those fibers for suitability in the use of papermaking. We use approximately, I think, 40 percent less energy and about 90 percent less water in the process. And we get a paper product made from wheat straw that’s really the same in performance characteristics and really the same in terms of cost, but we don’t use a scarce resource, such as trees, and we avert the burning of wheat straw in China, so it can alleviate, I’d say, some of the air pollution and particulate matter in the air. It also helps provide an extra source of income for rural farmers, and it creates rural jobs. That’s what we’d call a quadruple win.


I’ll cite one other example at Dell what we’re doing in the supply chain. We’re collecting used computers, we’re taking the plastic, grinding it, and then recycling it back into new Optiplex desktops. That just started late last year, and that’s an example of reduce, reuse in a circular nature of the supply chain. These are initial beginnings; we think more will follow. In fact, on our roadmaps, we’re looking to see how we can increase the use of these types of technologies.


Thanks. Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure. I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. We probably had more cows than we did people, and I was always very much influenced by the natural environment. I worked on farms growing up and worked with animals and enjoyed the natural environment. Naturally, as a kid, you never appreciate the things that you have; it was only when I moved away that I realized what a great environment I had. That’s one of the reason I think that motivates me to do some of the work that I do: so others can experience the natural world in a way that I experienced it.


Educationally, for those of your students and other listeners, I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I also have a master’s of business degree from the University of Texas in Austin. I guess that kind of makes me a bit of an Ivy League cowboy. It’s been a combination that’s served me very well.


Professionally, I have work experience for Ford Motor Company—the automotive industry—as well as aerospace, a little bit of time in government, and then here at Dell about the past 15 years. That’s a bit of my background.


Thanks, today, for sharing your views on this topic. I look forward to staying in touch and following up with new topics you’d like to talk about in the future.


Okay, wonderful, Dustin. Thank you very much.






About Oliver Campbell



Oliver Campbell

Director Procurement & Innovation Leader at Dell


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Cheng Hwee Sim who discussed Demand Forecasting and Sales Analytics.







It’s good to speak with you today, Sim. I’m looking forward today to hearing your views on demand forecasting and sales analytics. Could you first provide a brief background of yourself?


I’m an operations researcher. What that means is, I use mathematics to solve problems. I’ve been doing that in the Singapore Ministry of Defence long ago, but for the past 19 years, I’ve been doing this on a commercial basis.


Good. Can you give a definition of what demand forecasting and sales analytics are?


This software space is populated with companies like, SIBO, CRM, SAP, and so on. Basically, every business needs to have an idea what is in its pipeline, how it forecasts what the sales are going to be like in the next week, the next month, and so on. One part of it is to do with forecasting and demand; the other part of it is how to organize your sales team to manage this sales process.


How is it done effectively?


Well, it’s not done very effectively in many companies. Let’s talk about the forecasting part. Forecasting, if you notice, many companies, they will be talking about a forecast at the monthly level, and a forecast given by the sales organization is actually not necessarily based on clear understanding of the market, but, rather, it’s a reflection of what the sales team thinks it can lend in terms of sales. As you know, if your sales target is too low, management is not going to like it, so, usually, sales forecasts tend to be on the high side.


Demand forecasting by supply chain professionals, production people, and so on is a different kettle of fish altogether. They need to know exactly what’s going to be sold, what orders need to come in so they can get the sufficient inventory ready and also to make sure their production is done efficiently. We do see that sales forecasts and demand forecast by supply chain and production to be rather different in many companies.


Can you talk about where you’ve seen some success with this?


Well, many companies use this kind of software to identify their needs to manage the pipeline of needs, the conversion of needs to customers, and so on. These software out there do provide the means to see what the pipeline looks like and to organize for the pipeline. It also allows you to slice and dice, to understand what kinds of customers you have, and it’s generally good for understanding who your customers are and how you can get new customers, but it’s not very good for managing repeat business or stream revenue.


What’s unique about your business?


As mentioned, we specialize in analytics. In the case of forecasting and sales analytics, what you will see in most is the ability to visualize a lot of things, to slice and dice data, but that’s what we call descriptive analytics. What we’re offering is going into the area of predictive and prescriptive analytics.


Maybe if you’re not familiar with this term, basically, descriptive is to basically explain what’s happening, but prescriptive is going into “What if I run this promotion?” or “If I have this sales team with me, how can I organize them so that I can achieve more?” things like that. Prescriptive is telling you what you ought to do, but that’s not what most of the software out there can do.


Do you have any recommendations for supply chain managers who are looking into these issues regarding sales analytics and demand forecasting?


We suggest you take a good look at what we call customer-product-level order data. In other words, which customer is ordering what specific product. At the customer-product level, the data is always intermittent. Most companies would not deal with demand at that level because it’s the finest level, actually, but that’s the level the sales team deals with all this. They have to know who is giving an order for what product. We would advise companies to get down to this level of detail, and we have found a lot of benefits in getting down to this level of detail.


Thank you, Sim, for sharing today on demand forecasting and sales analytics.


Yeah, welcome.





About Cheng Hwee Sim



Cheng Hwee Sim

Managing Director, IDSC Pte Ltd


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Keymonte Crooms who discussed 3PL Trailer Integration.







It’s nice to speak with you today, Keymonte. This is going to be an interesting topic on 3PL trailer integration. Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Okay, I started in supply chain logistics in 1999. I started in the distribution side of the business for Gap, Incorporated in Erlanger, Kentucky, and that distribution campus supplied all Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy stores throughout all 50 states, including Alaska and Puerto Rico.


From there, I went into inbound logistics, scheduling multiple trailer loads into distribution center cross-docks and, from there, went to outbound logistics, supporting their Pacific distribution center in Fresno, California. I did that for two years as well, which was scheduling all outbound loads of merchandise to * (1:01—unclear) distributions, which, from there, went to the actual stores. From there, went into the specialized-transportation group. We supported every Gap, Incorporated store with anything that was in the store that you could not actually purchase; so, a lot of store props, for the holidays, all the props for the holidays, massive distribution of sending out props for five hundred stores at a time. I had a lot of experience with FedEx Custom Critical, LTL carriers, moving companies—United Van Lines—making specialized delivers that require white-glove treatments.


One of the highlights of that was, for Banana Republic, there were five what they call flagship stores—two in San Francisco, one in Chicago, one in New York, and one in Miami. For Christmas, the designers had actual live Christmas trees they wanted delivered, so we had to actually work with multiple carriers and multi transportation to get these live Christmas trees picked up in Pennsylvania and delivered to multiple stores in time and with the integrity to make sure that, because they were live, that they were delivered intact. Those were pretty exciting times there.


From there, I went to work for a brokerage company—Total Quality Logistics. They’re, right now, the second-largest freight-brokerage company in the U.S., behind CH Robinson. There, I did some sales and then mainly stockware for operations. Operationally, we supported the sales floor, carrier procurement, carrier contracts, risk management, a whole plethora of things there.


I worked there for six years and, in 2011, went to Transfreight, which is a third-party logistics company that supports the automotive industry here in the U.S. Pretty much anything from supplier to production-line side. My role there is that I am a Transfreight integrated solutions analyst. I look at all of our customer base, any freight they have that typically could be LTL, put it all on the map, and decide, okay, we have Customer X, we have Customer Y both sipping out of the same facility or same city along the I-75 corridor. What if we sent a truck in, picked up everyone’s freight, delivered it back to our distribution center? What you do is beat the LDL transit time, because most of these runs are same day pickup and delivery; they’re within a five hundred-mile radius of our distribution centers. You eliminate the possibility of damages that you typically get with LTL providers and terminals and add a reduced cost.


It’s insourced equipment, so they’re actually Transfreight drivers. They go out, deliver returns, they pick up live freight, and then they come back to the distribution center to go out to the individual production lines. It’s a constantly evolving task because there are always new suppliers coming in, supplier volumes go up and they go down, and it’s just part geographic, part fitting pieces of puzzles together, so it’s quite interesting.


Can you talk about what integrated routes with 3PLs are?


An integrated route is—for a third-party logistics company, we have multiple customers and essentially service the automotive and sport-vehicle industry—so, ATVs, watercrafts. Most of those customers all source from the same group of suppliers, or those suppliers are all in the same geographic region. For instance, in the state of Ohio, Ohio is heavy in automotive but extremely heavy in automotive suppliers. That could be springs, it could be tires, you name it; anything that can go in a car and/or something for a motorcycle or ATV. A lot of those suppliers are in the Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan area.


What my company and I do is look at all of our customer needs, and, like they currently say, “Okay, we’re LTL suppliers, they all go to Dayton, Ohio, they  need to go out,” we provide a cost savings and say, “Well, we already have a truck going to Findlay, Ohio. Do you mind if pick up your freight as well? We can get it back to our distribution center the same day.” And we do a price analysis and say, “If you do an LTL, that freight class, that weight, you’re going to pay”—just throwing out a number—“you will pay seven hundred dollars, and it’s going to take a day and a half, maybe two days to get it delivered. We integrate all of those suppliers on one trailer. We can deliver it same day, and we can probably get you a cost of anywhere between forty to up to sixty percent off what you would pay LTL.” When we say integration, we’re sharing or combining the trailer with multiple suppliers and customers.


Can you talk about how it’s done effectively or any best practices for doing this?


Yes, the best and most effective way to do it is just having accurate packaging information from customers. Some customers have very detailed packaging information, and, by packaging, I mean how that freight is actually shipped.


In the automotive and sport-recreation-vehicle industry, a lot of parts are too heavy and shaped differently to where they can’t go on corrugated cardboard, so they have heavy-duty plastic racks or heavy-duty metal racks. Those racks, they fit in different dimensions in the truck, so it’s getting that footprint to understand what the freight looks like, how much space is needed on the truck, and we find multiple ways to get that freight on the same trucks to where we’re not touching another customer’s freight so nothing’s stacked on top of the other, but it all can take up in a way that, for one, that makes sense for the truck. We don’t want out-of-run miles, so we don’t go north, south, east, west; we try to make continuous loops.


Think of the truck like a bus picking up multiple passengers; we’re picking up multiple suppliers. We’ve found that most suppliers actually prefer this as well because now, instead of having someone on the dock process two or three shipments or multiple LTL carriers, one truck shows up, they can load three different customers of theirs on one truck, which is the same as three customers of ours, and we can take it and deliver it in a timely manner.


And do you have any final recommendations?


The biggest recommendation I find now is for people just to experiment with their supply chains because, currently, we’ve noticed that a lot of people…supply chain logistics is better now, but it’s still kind of that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Just take a look at your supply chain. If you notice that you have LTL shipments, you may have a pretty good * (8:35—unclear) rate with your LTL supplier because you have the volume, but just challenge that department to look at it and say, “Can we do this more efficiently? We have a good LTL rate, but what if we can reduce transit by two days? Can that help? What if we can, like I said, reduce spend by forty to sixty percent because now we’re consolidating multiple shipments onto one trailer and moving it straight through?”


The biggest recommendation would be to never be afraid to try something. Always continue to look at your supply chain and look at different ways. Eventually, you’ll get to a point to where you can’t optimize it anymore but there are opportunities. And be willing to maybe share a trailer, because if you’re shipping LTL, you’re sharing a trailer right now, and some customers feel there may be some proprietary issues, but if you ship anything LTL now, your stuff’s being shared, your stuff’s sitting on somebody’s dock between truckloads. Think about potentially integrating and putting it on one full truckload and going to a final destination.


Thanks for sharing today.








About Keymonte Crooms



Keymonte Crooms

Logistics Analyst- Integrated Design at Transfreight


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Chris Iseley who discussed Logistics in the Hotel Development and Renovation Market.







It’s nice to speak with you today, Chris. I’m looking forward to hearing your views on logistics in the hotel development and renovation market. Before we start, can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Thanks for having me here; I appreciate it. I’m currently the vice president of hospitality solutions for Suddath Global Logistics. I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in integrated strategic communications and business and quickly took a job out in California for a logistics company, doing warehousing and fulfillment. Over the course of a few years, I’ve been with them now eight years. I got promoted a few times and ended up with a division under Suddath Global Logistics in the hospitality division, which is something we’ve done for a while as a company but a relatively new vertical division within the company. Now, along with another individual named Jeff Caldwell, I head that division and am responsible for overseeing its success.


Great. Can you describe a little about what logistics in this space is as far as hotel development and renovation? What is it about?


Logistics in the hotel industry is a lot different than your typical logistics of just sending pallet loads of widgets from point A to point B. A lot of logistics around hotel developments and renovations is in regard to the FF and E material which we call in the industry furniture fixtures and equipment. It’s based around usually a construction schedule, whoever the owner and developer is. Renovating a hotel, they have certain guidelines they need to meet to develop a hotel. All the furniture, fixtures, things like nightshades and bedding and chairs and desks, all have to come at a certain time. There has to be a company there that manages all that inbound flow from the time it leaves the manufacturers’ door to the time it’s actually placed in the rooms and everything is installed.


How is it done effectively?


Typically, what happens is the owner-developer of a hotel or brand will hire a purchasing company that works in tandem with a logistics company. What they then do is coordinate all the various vendors from wherever the products are being manufactured usually—overseas or here stateside in the United States. They’ll coordinate the inbound shipping to a local warehouse close to the hotel that’s being renovated. They’ll then store the material in a warehouse close to the jobsite and then send over product as needed for the install crews to then unload the trucks, bring the material up, and place in the rooms and kind of work it from the time it leaves the manufacturers’ door to the time it’s fully placed in the room. There are certain companies that offer turnkey solutions; there are companies out there that just do certain aspects of the logistics process. Some companies will provide just warehousing, and some companies will do just installation, but there are other companies out there that provide a turnkey solution as well.


Can you talk about some successful projects or some success doing this type of logistics?


There’ve been a multitude of projects. Stateside, there’s a lot of competition. There are a lot of companies that can offer turnkey solutions. Personally, we’ve found a lot of success in the Caribbean market, and more of the challenging types of projects were, they might not just be a renovation in Omaha, Nebraska; it might be a new renovation that’s off an island off the coast of Seattle, for instance. The resources are a little bit more limited, and it’s a little bit harder to get product to the actual site. We’ve found a lot of success lately in the Caribbean market. Most recently, we’re working with the developer of a mega resort called Baha Mar, which is 2300 rooms, four hotels, and a casino. We’re in charge of managing the inbound freight; the warehousing we set up in Jacksonville, Florida; and handling the outbound freight to the island of Nassau; and then doing the install work as well. We’ve found that a lot of these harder-to-do project are really solved by a typical logistics company, and we’ve kind of placed ourselves in that niche with more of a hard-to-reach type of location, destination resorts.


Thank you, Chris, for sharing today.


I appreciate the opportunity.





About Chris Iseley



Chris Iseley

Vice President, Hospitality Solutions


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Julio Franca who discussed Utilizing Big Data to Optimize Supply Chains.







I have been a management consultant for ten years. I spent the other ten years of my career working for Unilever in various parts of the world. I lived in a total of six countries. I have a total of 20 years experience in supply chain, a very broad scope. I was born in Brazil but grew up in different parts of the world because my family used to move a lot. We work with mostly consumer-goods companies around the globe in supply chain, procurement, logistics, and customer service projects.


Can you talk about the behaviors that are required for future supply chain professionals?


More and more, I think supply chain professionals are moving out of the supply chain box and looking more at business rather than supply chain strategies. Quite recently, I worked with a very renowned top-five multinational company in designing their five-year plan and supply chain strategy for one of their categories, which is about 2 billion euros of business and over. During the project, over three months, we came to the conclusion that we didn’t need a supply chain-specific category. What we needed was a business strategy. This business strategy would need a supply chain execution plan to deliver the business strategy.


The behavior is to be more of a business partners to look at an end-to-end view from customers to suppliers, be very entrepreneurial. I think the interpersonal skills are really important nowadays because, as supply chains are global, you need to work with different cultures, different time zones, even religions or orientations. The interpersonal role, it’s a big one. It’s also about leadership. Right now, in the past you used to have one person, one head of supply chain leading one company to one location, and right now you have many locations, very spread network all for one facility but also outsourced facilities.


Supply chain is all about leadership now; it’s big jobs, big teams, part of the team is managed directly by the individuals, and part of the team is managed indirectly, so a lot of influence and negotiation necessary. That’s the way I would summarize my view on the behavior side.


Why are the supply chain strategies evolving?


It’s quite rapidly. Over the 20 years of my career, I had large, three types of supply chain strategies. It was local-to-local, I would say 20 years ago. Then in the second step, it evolved to be regional or sometimes global strategies, where you could produce in one continent and manufacturing the second continent to deliver the third continent. Right now it’s, over the past three, maybe five years, depending on the industry, it’s fully integrated from customer toward supplier, tier one and tier two supply chain. Who knows what’s going to be next? One of the reasons I wrote the article through my work with the clients, there is a lot of talk and high expectations about how we can use all this good stuff, this big data available to us through customers, through suppliers, or even collected internally in the production or distribution facilities and how we can use these tons of data in a clever way so we can drive supply chain in the future. That’s my view on what the next evolution supply chain strategy is going to be like.


How do you effectively make the most out of supply chain systems?


I think it’s a very good question. At the moment, by far, systems are not utilized in the best way. I think as the supply chains moved to be local to regional, to global and also integrated from customers to suppliers, there are a lot of IT upgrades, integrations, improvements that have to be done, which is a work in progress. At the moment, most of the clients, most of the industries have a fragmented combination of systems, trying to be integrated. I think the guys who are making the best use at the moment, they are clever to integrate too much in sort of the traditional view of having one ERP, for example, SAP, across the globe, across customer to supplier. That, of course, would have a lot of benefit, but it’s a five-, ten-year project; it’s a huge investment and even difficult in terms of making it happen. I think the clever guys who are making the best use, they’re selecting the key areas, the key interfaces that are necessary to generate the most of the value in the short run and then creating a blueprint for the future to utilize big data, which, in my view, is not going to be with the existing platforms. I think it’s going to be through the cloud. More and more people collaborate through clouds, and I think not necessarily you have to buy software any more in the future to run your supply chain. You’re going to pay as you use the system. And as these clouds are going to be filled up, then harmonized, the integration should be more straightforward than what we have right now.


Thanks for sharing today on this important topic of utilizing big data to optimize supply chains.


Excellent, it’s been a pleasure. By all means, contact me if you need some more talks or help on the subject.





About Julio Franca



Julio Franca

Director at Spin Consulting


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Alessandro Menezes who discussed The Future of Supply Chains and Reliable Supply Using Ocean Transportation.







It’s good to speak with you again, Alessandro. This is going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the future of supply chains and reliable supply using ocean transportation. Can you first describe what you see as the future of supply chains?


Hey, Dustin, it’s a pleasure to be back and talking to you once more about this interesting part of the supply chain. We have all seen that certain chains are getting more relevance and are becoming as important as, or even more than, product chains. Let’s take, for example, the big shipping alliances is that they own the cover page of the major logistics and shipping magazines anywhere.


In spite, at first, anyone could say that these big alliances would play a big role toward increasing even more the degree of service commercialization that is being offered by the vast majority of the shipping lines because at the end of the day, the shipping lines are now increasingly offering more and more transportation using the same ship, which, of course, they share the space and exchange lots. Therefore, they are also offering the same date of arrival and departure and so on. What we see, the reality is that it seems that these came to open the eyes of most of the shipping lines, the global carriers, to the need of really diversifying their product.


We see in the reality is a huge massive effort of the shipping lines to get away from this commercialization and diversifying this service in a direction that would really be in accordance with which is the most of the requirements for the shippers, which is related to visibility, reliability, and flexibility because these are really kind of metrics from a shipper standpoint that will be related to the security of supply they need.


How can this be implemented?


It’s a great question. The biggest challenge is to have any simple strategy and implement it. These really make sure that it’s reflected on the operational practice; that whatever actions are being done are really lining up with proper business strategies. Let’s talk back to visibility, which is a key component of the services chain. The shipping lines, for example, terminals and other third-party logistics providers, they must be able to link their strategy for connectivity, for systems, their operational network to the core business of the business strategy. By doing so, what I mean by that is they have to really understand let’s talk about our terminal. The customer needs.


For example, terminal must understand that global shippers are those who indeed drive the business volume. They are loading with a specific shipping line, and as knowledge goes, as information’s available, they might decide to change their gateway if they see that this visibility, the service has changed, is being linked in terms of continuous improvement because they’re dealing with, for example, a partner who might not have a connected system and they might be without shared visibility, cloud-based and all those kinds of technology. Shipping-wise on the other side, taking this example, they are highly concerned about, also, the wasteful time that they have to create a buffer on the services scale of the ships, which is very costly.


At the end of the day, you are in a situation where you have shippers and ocean carriers really with lack of insight and control in order to become more competitive. To implement, it’s critical to enforce these needs and have the relationship together. It really requires a well-executed supply chain, a strategy that results in daily value creation in all levels of the organization.


Can you share with us where you’ve seen some success?


There is a lot of work to be done yet, because new technology and approaches are bringing solutions they’ve never seen before. There are new solutions to problems, but taking our example, we are very proud of the advancements we’ve made so far. We have invested recently in a lot of resources in analytics despite, as I said, there’s a long way to go. Some of the success that we are active in and are very confident that we continue to bring, they include hire other fulfillment rates, improve the customer service levels, higher profitability, increase operation officials, and, according to the last survey, an ongoing improvement on the customer satisfaction, which is the key to the core business strategy that most of the companies pursue about having really a long-term sustainable growth within the organization.


Thank you. Can you provide a brief background of yourself and your experience?


Certainly, Dustin. I have worked for 16 years within the ocean-transportation sector, holding global and regional product-management and trade-management functions within the container liner industry. I was also in charge of some deep-sea services before and have some experiences in the coastal obligations in South America, especially within Brazilian firms. My previous experience also includes global logistics roles based in Europe—Germany—with the optimization of empty reposition fleet. We’re talking about a fleet of over three hundred containers dispersed globally.


After leaving the industry, I also had an experience with another side of the ocean shipping: the dry-boat shipping, where we were specifically providing international glass makers, soap, and detergent manufacturers with a high-quality bulk product, where they needed. Right now I am leading the supply chain and customer service operations for major chemical companies, a few additives for the fuel, the petroleum industry.


My education included a bachelor’s in business administration, M.B.A., a master’s in logistics and training in some top schools related to supply chain and leadership-negotiation talks.


Thank you for sharing your views today on this topic.


Thank you, it’s my pleasure.






About Alessandro Menezes


Alessandro Meneses.jpg

Alessandro Menezes

International Logistics, Supply Chain, Transportation, Shipping, Trade Management, Ocean, Freight, Strategy, Procurement


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I interviewed Nanette Bulger who discussed The Evolving Role of Intelligence.







It’s nice to speak with you again, Nan. We’ve done an interview recently, not too long ago. Last time you were talking about how the market has evolved in terms of the availability of data and the evolving nature of intelligence and globalization. Can you recap for us why this has led you to push for a new concept called integrated intelligence rather than focusing just on competitive intelligence?


Sure, thank you for the question, Dustin. It’s great to be here as well, so thank you for the time here this afternoon. There’s definitely, as everyone knows, a lot more data out there today. Also, the availability of the data is much more prevalent as well. There are very sophisticated analytics tools being used today to really triangulate some of the basic information. While that’s all happening, there’s also extreme globalization going on, so companies are multinationals today, and they have to work across a variety of markets. What that does is really creates a complex set of intelligence needs because you have to understand regional needs of different countries, different regions of the globe and so forth. You may have a product or service that works in one country, and it may not work in another country or globalization area.


You really need to have what we call intelligence pools or understanding different types of intelligence and the information that comes from those intelligence pools, and you integrate those together to really tell a story. An example of an intelligence pool would be something like something from economic intelligence or something about the market, which would be market intelligence and so forth. It’s really important to understand everything that’s driving a market in a particular region, and that’s why we’re pushing more for integrated intelligence rather than just the competitive intelligence piece, which was often siloed from market research and customer insights, just as a simple example.


Can you describe the basics of integrated intelligence? What does it mean when you say “integrated intelligence”?


In the past—the recent past, even, the past 30 years—competitive intelligence has really focused on the competitive landscape or competitors. What has happened over time is it’s actually become a very confusing concept because, in some palaces or some companies, they’ll call this very concept market intelligence, some will call it competitive intelligence, some will call it competitor intelligence or even business intelligence, all meaning the same definition. The definition has gotten quite confused over time. The truth is that intelligence is used for decision support. You have a variety of different intelligence data points that you need to triangulate. To alleviate this confusion of definitions, what we’ve done is brought together what we call the integrated-intelligence concept, these different pools.


What that means is, I might pull economic-intelligence data from economic intelligence. I might pull drivers about a particular market through market-intelligence capabilities. I want to understand the competitive landscape by understanding competitors and the intelligence about competitors. In the business-intelligence arena, I want to be able to have the skillsets to understand how to size markets, do segmentation, use Big Data analytics to triangulate massive amounts of information through IT tools. Customer intelligence, which has often been siloed from CI, where I understand market research and value drivers, NPS—which is net-promoter score—and so forth. And then competitive technical intelligence, which really brings in what customers need in terms of product value drivers and is used in R and D to really develop products.


Integrative intelligence really includes driving factors that you collect from all of these different areas of economic, market, competitor, BI, customer intelligence, and CTI, or competitive-intelligence techniques to build a strategy. That’s what integrated intelligence is all about.


The next time we speak, we’ll talk a little bit more about how we take this concept and integrate with other disciplines within a company to provide robust insight.


Is there any more you could say about how you see companies making use of integrated intelligence? For example, what do they gain by implementing this? What’s really happening?

It is definitely not theory. Just to review, integrated intelligence is made up of competitive intelligence, the integration with market intelligence, integration with BI, or business intelligence, concepts, the intelligence you get from technical, economic areas, customer insights, and so forth. That’s what we call integrated intelligence, and it’s bringing these pieces of intelligence that come from these various intelligence insight pools, as we call it, bringing those together to make a comprehensive decision. Just to review, that’s what integrated intelligence is.

As far as whether it’s really happening or not, processes, tools—and not just IT tools, but decision frameworks and dashboards—are being put in place that bring together these various insight pools, triangulate this intelligence, and so forth.

How can I use drivers that I get from these various insight pools to derive customer insights in competitive roles and market drivers?

I triangulate them together and I’m able to decipher things about markets because I’ve looked at this broad scope. Let me just give you an example. Say, for instance, you’re in the medical market, and the market reveals a particular health issue is prevalent in a particular region of the globe, but the government policies in that region reveal through my economic intelligence that the government won’t pay for patients to have this particular procedure to fix this disease prevalence.

What that means is that I have a market where there’s a variant to entry for me. Maybe my competitor has lower prices enough that customers can pay out of pocket, but I can’t do that. As a company, you have to come to the realization that your products won’t sell in that market unless you come up with a different pricing strategy or so forth. If I understand my economic intelligence regardless of the fact that I know there’s a market, I’ll know whether or not I can participate in that. It’s bringing that economic-intelligence-insight pool into scope with what my competitors are doing, from CI, and what my customer insights are saying I need in order to make a decision about that market and to adjust my strategy accordingly.

It’s very real and it’s bringing those insights together not just within the intelligence scope, but bringing those to your strategy people, bringing those insights to your finance people, to your pricing people in order to come up with decisions about a market.

How will that affect how competitive intelligence and strategy experts do their job? How will it affect the discipline overall in how we work?

Well, it certainly means that intelligence professionals will have to have a myriad of skills, or you’ll have to have a group of intelligence experts who has the various skills but works very closely together to bring together these intelligence-insight pools. It also means that strategists and others are building the skillset within competitive or other various areas of intelligence to become more sophisticated.

It certainly means that the discipline is going to become much more sophisticated in the skillsets they have in their ability to triangulate across various intelligence-insight pools and across various disciplines within the company. I think it’s a very exciting time because there’s definitely a need to ensure that you’re not doing things in silo but that you’re interacting with other professionals, you’re learning about those disciplines, you’re understanding what they need to make decisions about, and what intelligence they can bring to the pie as well. Again, it’s a very exciting time.

What’s next? What are some of the final words?

I think I kind of said it before. I think it’s a very exciting time to be in the profession of intelligence. I think there are tremendous opportunities for those who are very well-rounded and have very well-rounded skills in integrated-intelligence capabilities. I also think that the more sophisticated we become in these skillsets and the more we learn about other disciplines, the better off we are in our ability to help our companies compete on a global level.

Those are really my final words. That’s where SCIP is actually driving to, in training integrated-intelligence professionals to understand various skillsets, other disciplines, how we interact, how we bring information in intelligence from the various intelligence pools into the decision-making processes.

About Nan (Nanette) Bulger



Nan (Nanette) Bulger

CEO, Thought Leader, Change Agent, CI, MI, Strategist, Prod. Dev. Engineer, Profit, Non-Profit



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I interviewed Ara Surenian who discussed Lack of a Fundamental Understanding of How Planning Works in Most Small to Middle Market Enterprises.







It’s nice to speak with you today, Ara, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the lack of a fundamental understanding of how planning works in most small- to middle-market enterprises. Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure. My background is, I’m a mechanical engineer by training; worked in manufacturing, production, distribution environments as engineering, plan manager, and so on. Also received my M.B.A. later on but, frankly, used my engineering more often than not. I’ve worked in industry and, back in 2004, started my own practice focused on lean-manufacturing implementation to help drive productivity, efficiency improvements in companies.


Back in 2006, I started to develop DemandCaster, which is a Web-based software product focused on forecasting and planning functionality for companies. This was largely done in response to me identifying a general shortfall in how companies manage and plan demand and supply in companies.


How does planning work in most small- to middle-market enterprises?


One of the things I’ve discovered since 2007—since we’ve been doing this as the only part of our business—is that a lot of companies really struggle with the fundamentals of planning and setting their MRP systems to properly manage the requirement-planning process. Case in point: lead times are not entered correctly and, in some cases, are never entered; order points and safety stock values are missing. As a result, a lot of companies—because MRPs and ERPs are inherently complex and need constant management oversight to update and change settings over time, what happens is, these companies stop managing these, and they go into more reactive mode, where, instead of allowing the system to churn the requirements—particularly if they’ve got long lead-time items they’re procuring or producing, they end up working in a very short-term mode, and then they pull out the might spreadsheets and pull the data out of their systems and start managing the planning process using spreadsheets.


Virtually every customer we work with is doing that. They weren’t able to really understand how their system works; as a result, they go to the old standby Excel spreadsheet to help drive their plans forward. They build requirement-planning functionality in a spreadsheet in order to try and keep up or stay ahead of demand. The interesting thing is, Dustin, that it’s not just limited to a small company; I see this in small companies, midsize companies, and in some larger companies as well. It’s because managing ERPs and MRPs is inherently complex. Also, the amount of people who are really knowledgeable in that field are hard to come by; there aren’t many APICS-type certified folks who really understand in a high level, at a deeper level, the detail how this function works. Many of them have come up through the ranks or they’ve always done purchasing, so they were hired and put in place, and then they build their systems off to the side and manage their work in an appropriate manner.


Why should planning be done this way?


I would say planning shouldn’t be done this way; it should be done more allowing the system to do it. The reason it’s not done that way is because it’s hard. One of the things I’ve discovered is, as a provider of planning software, our system requires that all these attributes be set properly, and because it’s a very visual tool, what it actually allows people to realize is the importance in managing these factors effectively so they see the implication of not having lead time. By seeing and experiencing it in a visual manner, it allows companies to start changing those attributes and then driving it back and implementing it into their MRP/ERP system to allow it to run more effectively.


The inherent problem is because people don’t understand how MRP works because they’re not trained in it; they’re scared of it. By bringing all the data out and putting it in front of them in a visual way, it allows them to see the implication of the poor planning policies they’ve adopted or were forced to follow. In turn, it allows them to start fixing the core data issues that plague their ERP and then allows the ERP/MRP to function as it was designed.


That’s one of the unintended consequences of the type of service we provide. We spend a lot of time teaching and getting folks to understand how planning is supposed to function and how requirement planning is supposed to function. In doing that, it allows their systems to start operating accurately.


Case in point is that with a company today, we’re working through some issues, and we saw a lot of negative on-hands. This was an issue that was plaguing them, and the way they would deal with it was to ignore it. Now, because the planning system is forcing them to look at these things, they’re addressing it, they’re implementing cycle-counting processes, they’re more actively addressing the inaccuracies in their data, setting proper lead times so they can order and provide enough notice to their suppliers so they can be delivering on time. People see the value and importance in having a system run with the proper attributes and drive that forward.


Can you share some success that you’ve seen?


We’ve seen companies where they were 50 percent service levels hit 80, 90-plus percent service levels within six months by following a disciplined process of applying realistic values in their planning process and then following through on those values in a consistent manner. Seeing inventory be cut in half, seeing improvements in cycle time, improvements in service levels, reduction in stock outs just by understanding how systems are working, time phasing, planning properly, setting appropriate safety stock levels, and understanding how safety stock levels are actually calculated. It really transforms these companies into much more proactive entities.


These are things that APICS teaches, but a lot of people are never exposed to that. Small- to middle-size companies tend not to be able to hire the best of the best out there and the most experienced, so they do with what they have. We feel our role, as we provide a tool and a service, is to also help them make their entire sales-and-operation process function more effectively as well by dealing with and addressing some of the shortfalls in their planning attributes.


Thanks, Ara, for sharing today on this topic, which is very relevant to the supply chain community on this blog.


Thank you, I appreciate you reaching out.






About Ara Surenian



Ara Surenian

Provider of the Demand Caster Demand and Supply Planning and S&OP platform.


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I interviewed Alun Rafique who discussed eSourcing Adoption.







Today I’m looking forward to hearing your views on e-sourcing in the supply chain. Can you first provide a brief background of yourself and your company?


Hi, Dustin. Thank you very much; very pleased to be here. My background is as an engineer; originally, I’m a nautical engineer. I worked in engineering and then fell into procurement, as a lot of people do. I worked for PWC for a while and sold engineering-simulation software before coming around to what I thought was the love of my life and helped self-managed e-auctions. After they came about back in 1995 or so, by the time I was getting involved with selling the auctions, I really felt, with a few other colleagues, there’s a better way of doing it, and helping people do auctions themselves was a big part of that. We left and developed Market Dojo. Market Dojo really focuses on helping procuring people work more efficiently by providing online tools around category strategy, innovation, and, obviously e-sourcing with a focus on the auctions, which is where we started.


Can you explain what e-auctions are?


We started with e-auctions. They were a great place to start in terms of online tools, and there’s a paradigm shift in the market toward people wanting to do more online. There’re obviously consulters out there who help people with the auctions, and they do some great work, although a lot of skills are now within companies to allow people to do these themselves, and e-auctions essentially can be run on a forward or reverse basis. If it’s a forward basis, you’re looking to sell something, and if it’s a reverse basis, you’re looking to buy something. Essentially, they’re online tools where you create an event and suppliers or participants bid if it’s a forward auction and the price will either go up or down. The suppliers or participants will be informed of their rank, or if it’s an open auction, they’ll see the lead bid and they’ll have to beat that. There are a few other different types of auctions out there as well, but most commonly in the supply chain, within the procurement world, with buyers, they help buyers negotiate more efficiently and effectively with their supply base.


How can e-auctions be utilized, and who can benefit from them?


If you look at the procurement world, on the buying side, they can be utilized in a number of areas. You can look at them being used for buyers. You can look at goods or services, for example, and there are two things you need to make them a success, and that’s definition and liquidity. Once you have those, you can have people bid for the goods and the services. And the buyers can benefit from a very efficient negotiation, and the suppliers can benefit from a very easy and transparent process.


Where have you seen success?


In terms of success, we’ve seen in all areas of the procurement world, and they generally, it tends to be the proactive contingent of buyers that the first people to uptake e-auctions and e-sourcing. They could be used anywhere in the industry, but it’s really the biggest success in the procurement people who’ve wanted to take on new tools. As long as you have the right preparation—such as, with e-auction, you have the right specifications and definitions, the right market liquidity, as I mentioned earlier, where you need to have the right number of suppliers in there who not just can provide you with the goods and services, but who are also willing to bid for the goods and services. As long as you have the right preparation in there, any auction can be a success. They’re much faster than traditional negotiation. There is a big more up-front preparation which is required, but if you’ve done the up-front preparation, the negotiation and implementation is much quicker.


And we’ve seen success across all kinds of industries, anything from manufacturing to retail. We’ve seen success in all kinds of companies, so from the very small $2 million in turnover to Fortune 100 industries. And people run auctions of all sizes, from a few thousand pounds to a few hundred million. You’ve really seen success across a wide variety of areas and they’re becoming more popular, but it does tend to be a kind of proactive community who are generally adopting the auctions. We’re getting to a point where more and more people are adopting them, but it’s still, I think, very much underutilized within the industry.


Thanks for sharing today on the topic of e-auctions in the supply chain.


My absolute pleasure. Very nice to be here. Thank you very much, Dustin.


Thank you.







About Alun Rafique



Alun Rafique

Co-Founder, Market Dojo, eSourcing made simple


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