Skip navigation

I interviewed Bill Michels who discussed What Do CEOs Expect from Procurement and Supply Chain.







It's good to speak with you again Bill. This is going to be another interesting interview about procurement and supply chain and about the profession. So my first question is what do CEOs expect from procurement and supply chain?


Thanks Dustin. I think when I talk to CEOs, they really want a lean integrated supply chain that can deliver consistently to all our customer demands. So when I think about supply chains, it's got to be, well, flexible, have a high velocity, deliver innovation, and be integrated. And the other thing I think they're looking for is with the short product life cycle's speed to market. They definitely want a supply chain and suppliers that can rapidly deliver speed to market and make changes in products as quickly as the product life cycle changes. And they also want business strategy alignment so they want a supply chain that is aligned to their business strategy and they also want increasing levels of value as well as lowest cost manufacturing. So that’s what I think they want.


What skills should people learn to be successful in their procurement and supply chain career?


I think they should learn all the technical skills in terms of the inventory planning, demand forecasting S&OP and procurement but more importantly, I think they need to learn relationship skills, so both internally and externally, influencing skills and probably the most important skill is financing skills. They need to understand the speed to language of business to the senior management of the company. And what the senior management wants to know pretty much is what investments are we making, what's the return, and what the risk is. So they need to make sure that when they talk to executives and when they propose things, it's at a business level.


And do you have any advice for people entering the profession?


The one thing that’s really been so helpful for me is to really find a mentor that can help you through understanding how to present things in a business way, what's happening organizationally and really that can coach you through your career. And in my case, I've had several great mentors that have helped and really given me a lot of advice to point me in the right direction for my career.


And then my last question is can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure. I've been in procurement and supply chain for a long time. I started my career in manufacturing business products, paper and food. And then went on to become CEO of Radio North America. And for a period of time, I worked for the institute for supply management as a Senior Vice President and President of Radio of North America. And now I'm running a new company called the Airport Consulting.


Well thanks again for sharing today, Bill.


Thank you Dustin.



About Bill Michels



bill michels.jpg

Bill Michels

CEO at Aripart Consulting

Scottsdale, Arizona | Management Consulting

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Susan Avery who discussed New Developments at My Purchasing Center, Online Publication for Procurement Professionals.





Susan, and I'm looking forward to hearing the new developments at My Purchasing Center, which is an online publication for procurement professionals. My first question is, can you provide a background about yourself?


Great, yes, thank you for having me. I am the editor in chief of My Purchasing Center. We're an online publication for procurement and supply professionals. Before coming to My Purchasing Center, I was a senior editor with Purchasing Magazine for 25 years, and at Purchasing Magazine I wrote mainly about indirect procurement. MRO, technology office, services like travel, and I managed some of the special reports like the Medal of Excellence and the salary survey. At My Purchasing Center, I manage all the editorial content.


Can you tell us more about My Purchasing Center? Who's the audience and what topics do you cover?


Sure. We target procurement and supply professionals, as I mentioned. CPOs, procurement vice presidents and directors, but everyone has free access to our content thanks to our sponsors. On our site you'll find articles, blogs, whitepapers, webcasts, podcasts, video clips. We have a weekly e-newsletter, a book store, a jobs page, and we host the websites of some ISM affiliates and groups. We share content with an Italian online publication called The Procurement Magazine. We cover a range of topics in procurement and supply management.


You just wrote a blog about the top 10 procurement articles at MPC, can you tell us about this?


Sure. The best read article at My Purchasing Center in 2015 is by Kevin Rohan. He is a procurement recruiter, and the article is on how to prepare for a procurement job interview. Our audience likes our articles that provide commodity price forecasts. Steels, non-ferrous metals, packaging, chemicals and plastic, those are all well-read articles. They also like articles on performance metrics and ethics, but our best read article since we launched in 2011 is on category management, and that was written by Pierre Mitchell when he was with the Hackett group.


What are some of the best read articles at My Purchasing Center, and can you talk about what else readers can get by visiting your site?


Sure. 2015, in that same article I wrote about the top 10, I also mentioned that it was the year of the podcast for us. We recorded 58 podcasts in 2015, that was a little over one a week. Procurement news and trends in 2015, they were downloaded hundreds of times. Our most popular was an interview with VendOp CEO Andy Kohn about finding new ways to search for suppliers.


Can you talk about some of your plans for moving forward in 2016?


Yes. First of all, we are working on the EPIC awards, the excellence in purchasing indirect category awards, which we sponsor with the folks at ProcureCon. This year, we're presenting six EPIC awards: individual, team, innovator, rising star, career and the supplier award. We'll be doing that at ProcureCon Indirect East in Orlando, Florida in February on the 23rd. That’s something we're working on currently. We're also working with one of our sponsors, CoVest Sourcing Network on a benchmarking study on group purchasing organizations. That’s already generating a lot of interest, and of course, we're continuing to work to grow the site. We plan to increase our coverage of commodity and category markets. A recent readership survey's results showed us that our readers want more information on markets for indirect categories, and we're working on bringing our audience more information on prices, perhaps salaries, bring back the salary survey that we did at Purchasing Magazine. We're also thinking about bringing back the Medal of Professional Excellence.


Thank you Susan for sharing today these updates on My Purchasing Center.


Thank you.




Here are the EPIC Awards



About Susan Avery



Susan Avery.jpg

Susan Avery


Editor-in-Chief/Content Manager

Greater Boston|AreaWriting and Editing


LinkedIn Profile



I interviewed Maryanne Steidinger who discussed Mobility in Manufacturing.





It's nice to speak with you again Maryanne. Today…


It's nice to talk with you too. It's been about at least a year or so.


Yes. And I enjoyed our last interview and I'm looking forward to this topic today, mobility in manufacturing.


Well, thank you very much. I'm looking forward to sharing it with the readers or listeners.


Can you provide a brief background of yourself again?


Of course. So my name is Maryanne Steidinger. I work in product marketing for Schneider Electric Software. My background is in manufacturing automation. I've been in this industry now for close to 30 years working on both from a product marketing side as well as from a business development and sales side. So my career has been really focused on working with solutions, both software and hardware, and bringing those to manufacturers to help them improve their operations.


Thank you. Can you talk about what is mobility in manufacturing?


Yes, I'd be happy to. So over the past couple of years there's really been a drive for mobility and we've seen it all with the proliferation of smartphones being used on a personal basis, tablets and smartphones having more and more applications that have applicability in both their personal life as well as professional life. So for example in industrial automation, industrial automation is all about providing visibility and control to manufacturing or industrial operations. So it could be things like reporting and analysis or providing a snapshot of an event or of an alarm. So as the proliferation of mobile devices has become part of an everyday use in a person's personal life, it's now started to spill over into industrial automation.


So the first applications that we saw for using mobility were in a couple of different ways. The first one was in operator training, so simulation and operator training and I'll give you an example. We have a product that’s called SimSci and what they do is they create industrial software for mostly oil and gas or chemical companies. And they provide a simulation product that allows a company to go and do a couple of things. One is safe shutdown, so they can simulate a shutdown of a plant prior to actually implementing it with a hardware. So this allows a company to look at what some of the interlocks would have to, be what some of the safety procedures that have to be enabled. And so it's a training program. So what we've done is we've mobile enabled it.


We provided a 2D way of showing the plant, showing how an operator would interact with the plant and having them simulate for example closing or opening a valve, shutting a particular area of the plant down, and we're using mobile technology in order to have them stand in the plant and have the simulated experience around them where an instructor could tell them, "Okay, now shut this valve." Instead of doing a physical shutdown of the valve, they would use their tablet or their mobile phone instead. So that’s been around for about three or four years, and that’s really taking gaming technology and bringing that mobile factor to that simulation. The second way that mobility has started to become really useful more manufacturing has been with task management and this has been primarily in the oil and gas industry. So for example a worker has to go out and look at the condition of a motor or of a state of a line or, for example, a chiller or an air conditioner and those devices may not be connected via Wi-Fi or via some hard wiring to the plant network.


So the worker basically used to take a clipboard with a checklist and go out there and validate that they did it. The problem with checklist is that they're prone to errors. They are prone to not perhaps capturing the true state of the piece of equipment. You can't add context to it. So for example, adding a picture or adding commentary to the state of this device. So what's happened is there are products--and again Wonderware has a product is called IntelaTrac and it allows a worker to take a mobile device and on that mobile device is basically loaded their tasks, what routines and what activities they are expected to do when they're making their rounds within the plant. So this mobility application then allows them to not only confirm that they’ve done the activity but it allows them to add richer information to the task. So for example capturing a picture, adding captions, adding notes, adding other activities that had to occur as a result of doing that one action. So the mobility has really enabled these workers in a refinery to number one, not be tethered to their desk anymore but number two, provide a more complete and accurate view of what's occurring in the plant operations.


There's a third point and that would is that there now mobility that’s being used for reporting and analysis. So for example a company has a data historian and a data historian is basically--think of it as a sequel server database or a database that’s optimized for real-time data acquisition and storage. So it can capture information such as a temperature reading or a state, it's on, it’s off. And it's time stamped data so plants use the historians. They can capture millions of points of data and plant will use it in order to analyze their current operations and also be able to look backward and see if there's any trend either up or down that could have set a current or future performance.


So traditionally in the past, the reporting packages for historians were on a PC and the PC was in a control room and basically the worker was bound to that control room. Over the past couple of years, there has been mobile reporting. So for example Wonderware has a product that’s called SmartGlance and it allows you to take historian data, bring it up to a cloud-based server and then they can report and view basically the activities and actions and events on either a smartphone or a tablet. So what this allows workers to do is first of all, they can access it anywhere so they don’t have to be physically in the plant in order to see if there's a potential shutdown or if there's a potential out of norm operation occurring. So mobility in manufacturing or really in industry allows companies to enable their workers to be much more productive because they can be at the site, they can have the information there to be work instructions, it could be reports or analysis so you get a much quicker turnover of action and then reaction. 


Do you have any recommendations for anyone that wants to get started with mobility in manufacturing?


Sure. What I would say is look at the reports and the analysis that you do now and see what might make sense for you to try perhaps starting with something easy and less expensive like mobile reporting on a phone. A lot of the vendors besides Schneider Electric have mobile reporting on phones and they're fairly inexpensive, like a couple of hundred dollars per person per month. So you can very quickly upload your data and start to get real-time analysis on your smartphone. If that works, then you can consider perhaps putting it into a certain area of your plant or certain site. The other thing would be is to look at how you're doing training right now, would it make sense to have that richer user environment. So there's a number of ways of being able to iteratively start with mobility and then you can expand from there.


And thank you Maryanne for sharing today.


Thank you very much Dustin. Always pleased to provide some more information.



About Maryanne Steidinger



Maryanne Steidinger.jpg


Maryanne Steidinger

Director Commercialization, Operations and Information Portfolio at Schneider Electric (Invensys)

San Francisco Bay Area | Computer Software

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Brian Eddy who discussed Value That People With Disabilities Bring To Supply Chains.



What are the hidden roles and the value that nonprofit service providers play within supply chains?  Can you also explain what do you mean by supply chains?


Right.  That’s a good question.  Providers like ours worry nonprofit 503C entity, we run a social enterprise which is, that’s what determines called in our industry.  It’s an inclusive workforce model that includes folks with disabilities, nondisabled, working side by side.  Providers like us throughout the country, there’s about 1,200 of us and maybe a little bit more to a variety of what they call value-added supply chain services.  The segments are, why is it supply chain is value-added services occurred both in the forward logistics side with like packaging and getting in fulfillment work and also on the reverse supply chain side which includes returns processing.  There’s a lot of recycling done.  There’s a lot of other value-added recovery were done in that area as well that require a lot of high touches.  It fits our population and workforce across the board very well.


Why does this need exist in the market?


That there is a huge need given what’s going on in the supply chains, the Omnichannels are forcing not only the retailers but the third party logistic providers and others that are providing value-added services of quite a headache.  In many cases, a lot of the three PLs and others can’t find your entry level workers and their facilities and turnover is an issue.  The work still needs to get done and so our industry seems to fill our really nice avoid in that area to get some of these functions still done and still provide a value in the supply chain.


Can you talk more about how you provide value in this space?


Sure.  There’s just one example on the reverse logistic side, there’s a lot of a variety of products that come back and the retailer gets some on it.  In many cases, they don’t want to sort through them and there’s a collection and triage function that needs to happen.  That’s a value-add function as well because it’s a certain report function.  Also, there’s a key part of reverse logistic is quick to recovering the residual value of a product.  For example, a consumer electronic item depending on the item itself could depreciate anywhere between eight to 10% a month.  If this item just sits around a no one does anything with it, the company is losing value on that item.  We typically come in and quickly go through all the items that are needed and get them prepared for resale on the secondary channels and help the company at least recover, maximize its recovery value on those items.


Do you have any final recommendations?


I think, most people should really take a look at, and I can give you our website information as well.  But, and the sector is variable supplier base not only from the supplier diversity standpoint, but also from provider of overflow and basically outsourcing and to lower your cost and obviously leverage your, and keep to your core competency.  The population like ours really focuses on these functions and they do much extremely well and there are really huge value and it’s a win-win for company and that’s a win-win for nonprofit providers as well as the folks that are getting a jobs, that are results of these projects.  There is site for that to be look at.  There’s an organization called SourceAmerica there are one national affiliate that a lot of us are members of and there’s other ones like the National Industries for the Blind and et cetera.  Our website is and we have information about our place as well.


Can you also provide a brief background of yourself?


Yeah sure.  My background is I had an MBA in Marketing and I did quite a bit of a project consulting work and operational consulting prior to joining the rehab center, travel all over the place to projects for PPNG and a variety of other companies doing efficiency and helping with our operations.  I ended up moving back to the area due to some parents getting older and I ended up joining the snap profit and help, they wanted me to help elder social enterprise.  Over the last 20 years we’ve grown to over 200 employees and we have three facilities here at South of Buffalo and we’re still, we’re growing every year.


Our new Building-Olean-NY 14760



The ReHabilitation Center | Olean NY 14760



About Brian Eddy



Brian Eddy

Director, Business Development & Marketing

I interviewed Dirk Armbrust who discussed How Supply Chain and Inventory Issues Impact M&A.






It's great to speak with you today, Dirk. And I’m looking forward today to hearing your views on how supply chain and inventory issues impact merges and acquisitions' transaction value.


It's great talking to you too, Dustin.


Great. And my first, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure. I'm with the Van group, we're a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm here in Dallas, Texas. We specialize with merges and acquisitions in the small and medium business space and also the lower end of the middle markets. So what does that mean? We handle businesses with revenue size from $1 million to $25 million in revenues. We handle M&A transactions on the buy side and the sale side. We do business evaluations, we help raise capital for growth or acquisitions and we also have an operations consulting practice. Mostly targeted when helping businesses get ready for sale on the operating side or for just running their business and growing it, things of that nature. My background, I've been in the M&A transaction space for about five years. But part of that, I had a 20 year career in operations starting out in supply chain and materials with Dell computers in Austin, Texas. Then had my own manufacturing business, moved over to International Paper as a plant manager in the International Paper's distribution business. And then I privately held industrial packing company doing heavy crates and packaging a supply chain solutions for manufacturers here in the United States and then also spent some time as a market manager running 120 stores for 7/11. So my background is a little interesting in the fact that I've done a number of operating type roles and seen how inventory impacts the success of the businesses. And now being in the M&A transaction space, being able to bring that perspective of how supply chain issues, inventory, and things of that nature can impact M&A transactions.


Thanks and well what problems do you see with inventory in relation to M&A?


There are a ton of opportunities and issues associated with it. So first off, think about it. In an M&A transaction, somebody is buying a company whether it's another company doing a bolt on acquisition. Whether it's a private equity group requiring a company or whether it's an individual leaving the corporate world and wanting to dip their feet in the entrepreneurial waters and buying a company. What they're looking for is a company that has processes in place, that is well run, and things are smooth. So what does that mean on the supply chain side? Normal do diligence of anyone acquiring a company, they're going to look to see is the supply chain healthy and strong? Are there processes in place to ensure things like continuity of supply, quality of supply? Now, M&A transactions are financial transaction. So the impact of the supply chain on networking capital is something that's going to be looked at. So if you're seeing a company where you have one very large supplier, where you're the smallest customer of that supplier and they're really pressing you for really strict payment on delivery and things of that nature. And then you have customers that aren't paying for 30, 60, or 90 days. That business is having to carry that cash collection coverage and that will impact the sell ability and value of the business. The other thing that will impact it is inventory. All of us grew up thinking that inventory is an asset and it typically is and it's no different nowadays. But one of the things that impacted me was being in inventory management with Dell Computer Corporation. At that time we had three days’ worth of inventory. Inventory was actually a four letter word. It was inventory is an asset but the more inventory we had, the worse the situation is. That hasn't changed. It spans various industries, whether it's retail, whether it's manufacturing. The value of the inventory can impact an M&A transaction. So let's try a couple examples on the extreme. If inventory is a fairly low amount in terms of the overall value of a business, it very rarely enters the evaluation question. If inventory is large, a large percentage it can move the needle in favor of the seller or in favor of the buyer. And once inventory gets large, it requires an extra degree of scrutiny and that do diligence when somebody's looking to buy a business. If there's a high level of inventory, yep, great, you have networking capital that you need to grow and continue to run the business but how much of that inventory is obsolete? Anyone whose lived in a warehouse environment kind of knows what tricks to look for to see if inventory is healthy and fresh and new or obsolete. Are there multiple stickers on the boxes from the past three or four years? Those types of things.


Can you talk more about how these issues impact M&A transaction value?


Sure, exactly. Let me give you an example of a client we have today. Like I said, we work in the small and medium business space as well. This client has a distribution business. They distribute auto parts and truck accessories to retailers. So he's got one level upstream from the actual retail locations. Multiple customers, everything’s good, no supplier concentration issues. The seller is hoping to net $5 million. Like I said, we're in the small and medium business space. Justifying maybe in the upper $3 million almost $4 million. So we were talking to him in terms of how he can get to that value to get to that $5 million sale price that he's looking for. Or we turn to inventory. He has over $1.5 million in inventory. So we dug deeper into that next level. For a seller on the surface they're going to think, geez I get credit for all that inventory, right? Well not so fast because a buyer coming in, they're not going to know if that inventory's current, if any is absolute. But because that business, the inventory is such a clear story for what is needed for the operations of that business and because of the records that he keeps of his inventory, and even spot checking the inventory, if a buyer were to do that they would see that everything is categorized right, inventory control procedures are in place, all the payables are being managed, all the processes are in place, so he's absolutely able to get credit for that.


And what should be done to address this issue?


For any seller of any company you should look at all your processes, all your procedures and whether it's manufacturing, whether it's payroll...the more a buyer is able to walk in and see clean, clear, crisp processes and inventory is no exception, the better the sale's going to go for the seller. So things that your listeners probably know about good inventory disciplines, accurate accounts, fairly regular cycle program where high volume inventory is counted more frequently than more volume inventory. Inventory control procedures, the accounting is being taken care of. Old inventory is aged out appropriately and reserves or maintains on the balance sheet. When the buyer comes in and sees those disciplines in place, they're going to be more confident in terms of making a purchase of that business. Inventory may not necessarily impact the sales price of the business, the buyer may agree that the price the seller is looking for in the business is a fair price to pay for the business. However, the more questions the buyer is having to ask and having to answer, the more uncertainty is delivering into their process. And inventory is one of those things that if you're running, if there’s going to be a ton of questions a buyer is going to have about the business, try not to set it up where they have questions about those things. Because when buyers have questions about businesses and processes, the way that manifests, maybe not in the sales price, but in the terms. So there may be less cash at closing that the seller is going to get. The buyer may ask for more participation on a seller's part in terms of either seller financing or seller note, or earn out to where the seller's compensation is paid over time, depending on the performance of the business, in areas like a resort.


And do you have any examples of success?


Sure, that example I just told you about with the auto parts distribution business is a great example of success. Because like I said, sellers will often assume that the buyers are going to give them absolute credit for all parts of the networking capital equation. Give them credits for 100% of the accounts receivable and for 100% of the inventory. Buyers are often in no mood to give clear, clean credit for those types of things but this guy because he had the processes in place, the inventory level connected with the story of how he goes to business, absolutely success story.


Well thank you, Dirk for sharing today on this topic.


My pleasure, I enjoyed it.



About Dirk Armbrust



Dirk Armbrust.jpg

Dirk Armbrust

Managing Director at The Vant Group

Dallas/Fort Worth Area Marketing and Advertising

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Adriaan van Deursen who discussed A New Generation of Supply Chain Managers.






This is going to be an interesting topic about a new generation of supply chain managers.  Can you first provide a brief econ of yourself and your organization?


Yeah.  Dustin, also thank you for the opportunity to interview me.  I’m very honored to do this.  My name is Adrian and I’m board member of Young Logistics Netherlands. We are a supply chain association for students and young professionals up to the age of 30 years old and we have been in existence since 2005.



Thank you.  My first question is what are the needs and the priorities of supply chain professionals under 30 years old?


What you can see in our association and we have about 700 members currently nationwide is that it’s more important what you learn on the job, what your boss can provide in extra coaching on let’s say soft skills, and also the flexibility of the job not just the 9:00 to 5:00 job and salary is something that comes second.



That’s interesting.  What about in the Netherlands, can you talk about what’s happening with Logistics and the supply chain in the Netherlands?


Logistics and supply chain management is an interesting topic here because if you look at say the World Bank at the Logistics’ index the Netherlands is currently at the second place. Germany is first. There is a big focus on Logistics from the Dutch government as well. They have let’s say a top sectors policy, and out of the nine top sectors there is Logistics as their focus. They have said like this is an important industry for the Dutch economy.  We’re going to invest in this, in universities, in companies.  They even set up an institute, it’s called the Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics and they put theory into practice with all kinds of business cases.  It also means that it gives us the opportunity to mix into these projects such as with the annual competition, we have a Logistics manager of the year election for senior positions but also we have the Young Logistics talents competition each year. There are a lot of interesting projects happening in Netherlands. There’s a focus on supply chain developments but also on involving the youth getting more students into supply chain management, national and international students, and we are also participating in such events.



How can the new generation of supply chain professionals develop their careers?


Our goal now is to be a connecting link between companies and students. The young professionals provide them with the most recent developments by visiting companies such as Philips, Heineken, these are two examples of the Dutch companies but we also visit other global brands. But there they can see what is the most recent developments in supply chain management but also they can meet other supply chain professionals to give them advanced advantages in their career.



Thank you.  Do you have any final recommendations for younger supply chain professionals?


It might be a bit cheesy to say but I think you could say that sharing. I see that there are a lot of logistics associations even in the Netherlands and worldwide.  I think people should start aiming for more cooperation even here in Netherlands. There could be so much achieved with cooperation.  I think that other countries should also focus on searching their partners across the border, maybe even set up their own youth organization because I think it’s good to have a mix of the old and new generation work together in projects and most importantly have anything fun during events to network together.



Thanks for sharing today.


Yeah, thank you for your time Dustin.


TKI-Dinalog: driven by open innovation
Dutch Institute for Advanced Logistics

Logistics Performance Index
Country Score Card: Netherlands 2014

The JLN website sadly is not available in English so far.



About Adriaan van Deursen




Adriaan van Deursen

Board Member Jong Logistiek Nederland Starting SCM professional | Graduating February 2016

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Harold (Hal) Good who discussed The Future of Earthquake Early Warning Systems.





Could your first provide a brief background of yourself?


Yes, Dustin I'm really grateful for the opportunity to present a little bit of a discussion on this topic which is near and dear to my heart. I started out in supply chain and materials management, working in a hospital situation for New York Lingo Medical Center and then we went on vacation to Palm Springs, California which is right on the San Andreas fault in the California desert. And I became the director of procurement and contracting for the city of Palm Springs for 21 years, and during that time I was instrumental in securing earthquake early warning system. Which has proved to be reliable over 10 years now.


That's interesting, can you share more of your experience with your earthquake early warning system?


Yes, what drove the earthquake early warning system was two things. One is, Palm Springs has an international airport and it has a fire station that serves on one side the airport, and the other side, the city of Palm Springs. And so it's a major facility and a neighboring jurisdiction in an earthquake had their doors for their main doors where their fire equipment and ambulances would dispatch from, damaged from an earthquake. So at the worst possible time when the earthquake had occurred, they got their stuff stuck behind doors. And then to make matters worse in more neighboring jurisdiction in the same earthquake, they had an overhead that would normally be where school children would wait for busses and that collapsed during the earthquake.


Fortunately it had happened during the weekend so no one was hurt but those two things illustrated that if we could possibly put something in place that could prevent both of those situations from happening, it would be a good thing to have. And when the fire chief attended a conference he was able to see such a thing and we implemented it and right after we implemented it we had a 5.3 earthquake and the doors to the fire station opened when the earthquake first occurred and we were safely able to get equipment out and didn't suffer that kind of damage. And the system is currently in some local schools and the kids from the time the warning sounds until they get under a desk or safe place, it happens within a typical reaction of 3 seconds. Which is sufficient time because although the time varies from the time that you have time to respond depending on how far you are from the center, the average time is about 20 seconds and the kids response time was 3 seconds. So the benefits for that kind of a system are additionally, you can hook the system into any electronic box so that when the earthquake first occurs with the few seconds of warning you get, it can shut of gas so you don't have a fire. It can stop elevators so they don't get caught between floors and I'm sure that listeners can think of all types of applications. All kinds of possibilities and so this is a system that's definitely proved to save lives.


Do you have any recommendations for supply chain executives who might be using this system?


I think one of the important things we all in today's world are very keenly aware of the negative impacts of disruptions in our supply chain. Some of the major players that have looked at ways to prevent disruption in their supply chains have now become interested in being able to implement this technology because you can prevent major damage by those devices and those few second warning you get. You can help your suppliers in your supply chain to either prevent damage, prevent injuries, or in worst case scenario if there's going to be damage, to help mitigate the damage and lower the damage and effect of disruption in the supply chain to the extent that it's possible.


Thanks, Hal for sharing today. Did we cover all the points you wanted to make?


I think so. Maybe it would be helpful for the listeners to know a little bit, just quickly how this works because it works off of two different waves. One is a P wave that travels shorter and when the earthquake occurs, the P wave triggers the device. But the P wave doesn't do any damage. And then depending on how far you are from the epicenter, the shock wave, the S wave comes to follow that and that's the one that does the damage. So the amount of warning you get is the amount of time it takes to travel from the epicenter when the earthquake occurs, for the P wave to arrive and trigger the device, until the damaging shockwave hits. And like I said before, the average of that is typically about 20 seconds and it can be more or less, but that's the technology it works off of.


And thanks for sharing today.


Thank you very much, Dustin, I'm very grateful for the opportunity.




About Harold (Hal) Good




Harold (Hal) Good

Content contributor at Public Spend Forum

Denver, Pennsylvania Management Consulting

LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Andrea Stroud who discussed the State of IT Risk in the Supply Chain.





Thank you for speaking with me, Dustin. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of APQC's recent research on IT risk and the supply chain.


Can you tell me a little bit about APQC's recent IT risk in the supply chain research study?


Absolutely, Dustin. Supply chain risk is a cause of growing concern for organizations and although high impact natural disasters often grab headlines, you know, we've often seen that in the news. Organizations are also concerned by IT risk that can impact systems supporting day to day operations within complex global supply chains. IT has actually been found to be one of the biggest unmanaged supply chain risk. Potential IT risk in supply chain has promoted CIOs and supply chain managers to work together to address the issues that are occurring today. The primary focus of the research that we conducted at APQC was to identify the IT risk supply chain that organizations were experiencing. We looked at the level of concern for the various IT risk factors. How controllable organizations were finding the disruptions they were experiencing and the practices organizations were using to ensure supply chain resiliency in light of potential IT disruption. For this study we surveyed senior executives working in supply chains in IT at 118 organizations in a variety of industries and organization sizes.


What was one of the most shocking or eye opening findings revealed from this research study?


Well Dustin, there were many interesting findings from the study but the results from our survey reveal that many organizations have been effected by IT disruption, like technology changes, unplanned IT and telecommunication outages, counter fitting and cyber-attacks. And while they have experienced those disruptions, the leaders were concerned about the risk. However, the respondents indicated that their organizations occasionally use IT risk management practices and they find them to be only somewhat effective. This is not a positive finding, when you’re having these types of disruptions and you have little faith in the practices that are occurring because they haven't been extremely effective. They've been only somewhat effective, it's a cause for concern.


What are the most used IT risk management practices that organizations are using?


Well Dustin, based on our survey research the three most frequently used IT risk management practices organizations are using include having a standardized process for pre-qualifying suppliers. That was the first one, and the most frequently used. The second was the use of an enhanced perimeter defense system to detect intrusions. And this was big for helping with cyber security issues. The second involves corporate wide capabilities and cyber security and emergency response. So how quickly organizations were going about responding to the risk and that was enterprise wide. There were also the practices rated most effective, and while these were rated most effective, I encourage organizations to continue to look for new and effective ways of managing risk and evaluating their practices to make sure they continue to be relevant. Especially when it comes to thinking about cyber-attacks and counter fitting because every day there are new methods of attack that are being created and you have to be on top of your game in order to mitigate those risks.


How often are organizations evaluating their supply chain resiliency and possible exposure to IT risk?


That's a good question, Dustin. The survey asked respondents to indicate how frequently their organizations evaluate their supply chains' resiliency and exposure to IT risk. And only 40% of organizations evaluate their supply chain resiliency and exposure to risk. At least every 12 months and that really puts 60% of organizations at great risk. You really should be evaluating your supply chain resiliency on an annual basis. That is a recommendation, that's what we've seen. The surveyed data also revealed some interesting results for organizations that conduct the evaluations more frequently. So respondents from organizations that evaluated resiliencies every month to every 12 months, indicated that their leadership is more concerned about disruption risk factors than respondents from organizations that evaluated resiliency less frequently. This higher concern that we see may be the motivation for these organizations to conduct more regular evaluations of the resiliency of their supply chains. And something else we saw, respondents also believe IT risk factors are more controllable than due respondent’s conduction less frequent evaluations. And that may be that the organizations with more frequent evaluations respond this way because they have a better idea of their risk for potential IT disruptions, as well as the ways they can best minimize the effects of any disruption. It's extremely important to have an idea of the risk potential and I'm going to talk about that more a little later but organizations really need to know the potential that exists there.


What steps can organizations take to help them better manage IT risk?


Well we get asked this question all the time, whether it's IT risk or any other type of risk. Well specifically for IT risk, our research has found that organizations often have an IT risk management plan or program, but those plans don't necessarily cover the entire spectrum of risk and are not aligned to the enterprise strategy and they have to be aligned in order for it to be effective, in order for it to work well. We have identified several steps organizations can take to help them better manage these IT risks in the supply chain.


The first is to identify the needs of your organizations. You really have to identify what it is your organization really needs. The second is identify internal and external environment to get a better sense of how information flows in and out of the supply chain and who has access to that information. Because who has access can also impact your security. And once that has been done the organization can assess its current situation and identify the potential risk that needs to be addressed by the risk management program.


And as organizations go through the process they can begin to understand the outcomes that they are hoping to achieve from the risk management program based on the needs they identified in beginning. The needs have to be aligned so they can understand how to identify the risk through the program. And organizations have to make sure they have a plan to continuously review and monitor the risk management program. If organizations don't review and monitor their program, it's going to open them up to exposure of additional risk. The goal for organizations should be to identify and monitor and contain IT risk before they have a chance to reach the supply chain and impact business operations. Risks are out there.


The better and organization can prevent it from hitting the supply chain, it's essential because it can be detrimental to a supply chain. A clear program that takes into account of the needs of business can result in the identification of potential risk and ability to manage those risks. It's important that supply chain management and IT management groups collaborate to help identify and control risk. CIOs and supply chain management professionals are coming together and our research indicated the majority of organizations, about 70% reported at least adequate collaboration between the organizations supply chain management and IT management groups.


So I think the more these two groups are communicating, I think the better you will see the control and management of the risk and the ability to identify those risks. So I would urge organizations to make sure that their needs have been identified, and they are communicating both the IT and supply chain groups. I appreciate the opportunity that you've given me today to speak with everyone about our research on IT risk in the supply chain. I look forward to more conversations in the future on other supply chain topics and I appreciate your time.


To share more with your audience, to see more of the research we're conducting on the state of IT risk management in the supply chain and some of our other supply chain topics, please visit and please feel free to reach out to us and thank you.



About Andrea Stroud






Andrea Stroud

Research Program Manager APQC

Houston, Texas Research

LinkedIn Profile

Twitter Profile

APQC Website

I interviewed Len Scaffidi who discussed Best Supply-Chain Training.



What do you consider to be the best type of supply-chained training?


There’s a lot of different disciplines that go into building a componentry for some of the involvement with supply chain.  The one with supplier quality side or in the logistics side, there are a lot of different specialties and within the supply-chain area.  Our organization kind of focuses on manufacturing process theme, and we provide instruction through sourcing personnel, as well as supplier quality engineers on manufacturing process and principles.  We’re really focused on the beginning of the supply-chain much and much under logistics and transportation and distribution, which there are other organizations that provide training and expertise in those areas.


Can you talk about what do you teach in your training?


Sure.  We provide both online training and on-site instructor-led training.  For online training, we have various modules on things like manufacturing management, intro to managerial accounting, basics of manufacturing costs.  There’s a lot of theory, new location, as far as what constitutes best practices in manufacturing and costing.  We spend probably a lot more time in teaching supply training approach, what’s going on in the south floor.  They get a pretty good understanding of the different kinds of manufacturing process.  For one Fortune 500 company, we built several custom modules on how to purchase processed commodities.


There were five one-hour classes on things like thermal forming and injection molding in south floor, so that they would understand the different types of process manufacturing processes.  For the same company, we built a number of classes on various ways that electronic assembly is put together.  Goal of that organization was that their sourcing personnel would be able to specify, inspect, and negotiate for them under the best prices, but it’s actually getting the best quality processes.


Often times, we’re building custom process.  In addition to that, you’ll see a lot of our standard classes being taken, and they might be in the areas of inspection and measurement, it could be in Lean Principles, or various sorts of ISO regulations.  Then there are just the course were based on process so that they’re cognizant of the different kinds of welds or machinery methods that are used to produce the products.  We’re really focused on -- especially focused in sourcing and supplier quality on recognizing best of class production techniques.



That’s the online stuff.  When it comes to the on-site instructor-led training, we’ve done a lot of that as well for sourcing and [indiscernible 0:03:37].  Physically, again, a lot of it is going to be based on either the Lean Principles or production methods.  We also do a lot of classes on things like concurring engineering, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, precision machine design.  Often times, we find it’s the sourcing engineers that are getting involved at the beginning to help define how things are going to be manufactured, national sports couldn’t be manufactured.


Can you talk about how the training is done?


Yeah.  With the online training, typically, we’ve hired in organizations by an annual license.  They assign specific classes to their personnel.  In case of a couple of companies, they’re purchasing both instructor-led training and online training, so unless -- and what they’ll do is they’ll require their personnel to take certain amount of online classes so that everyone is prepared and knows the same thing before they go into the on-site training.


The instructor-led training, it’s typically two and three-day workshops with 20 people at a time.  Although we have an expert on one aspect, so it could be somebody’s who’s an expert on 5S with tolerance that in any on DFM and different areas of engineering management.  To make sure that they get the most out of those workshops, we’ll require their sourcing people or their engineers to take the online classes as preparation.


Is there anything that you could share about what results that people can expect from getting the training?


Well, what we see is a lot of companies that started with us at Dennis Road show that 6, 7, 8 years ago, where they continue to train the existing workforce that we’ve been training with more and more advanced classes, they continue to take new hires and given them the same treatment.  They figured idea that if people are still utilizing the same culture after 5, 6, 7 years, that they’re pretty happy with the results with their organizations that tend to measure everything.


A lot of the times, when it comes to not just the supply training, but pretty much anything to do with manufacturing management, we find that companies don’t like to share their success stories too much because even when it’s standard industry practice, most companies think that what they’re doing is special.  In some cases it is, but I think by and large, what we found is that most companies are looking for return on investment from their training, and they’re finding that in addition to training technicians and maintenance folks, that there is a huge payback on sourcing personnel and supplier quality folks get the same kind of intensive training because just like somebody on the south floor that measures something wrong and cannot have to do some mistake, somebody in sourcing can purchase the wrong thing, and it can be a multi-million dollar mistake.  Sometimes, I think we’re measured by what personnel doesn’t do rather than by what they do.  Our job is on often not make mistakes in purchasing and in componentry.


Thanks, Len.  Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure.  I’ve been involved with two US semi for 10 years, prior to that, I was a publisher of a magazine in the economic development field and was -- spent 20 years essentially writing and editing about manufacturing from the journalism side.


Thanks again for sharing today, and I look forward -- if you ever want to talk further about this topic.


Okay.  Been a pleasure.  Thanks again.





About Len Scaffidi




Len Scaffidi

Enterprise Solution Specialist at ToolingU-SME

LinkedIn Profile