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I interviewed Norman Wolfe who discussed A New Approach to Creating Results.







Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Oh, yes. Certainly.So, briefly, I have been an executive with HP, and I've been consulting for large and small companies for over 30 years. And perhaps the latest thing I could say is I've been curious about what it is that gets us the results we get, and how can we get more of the results we want. And that's what really has led me to writing the book The Living Organization: Transforming Business to Create Extraordinary Results.


And about your new book, my first question is what is a quantum leader?


Well, a quantum leader is an odd way of thinking. If you think about what leadership is, in general, it's a person who influences other people. And for us, a quantum leader who influences those people around them to actually create extraordinary impact.


What I mean by that is it goes beyond just having a mechanistic view of creating outcomes. It's really getting into engaging the passion and the power of individual creativity and collective creativity. So, a quantum leader is somebody who knows how to go beyond just getting things done and goes into a realm of creating extraordinary impact.


How do you know if your organization needs transformation?


Well, a lot of that has to do with how good are you at creating results. If you're getting the results want then keep doing it. Don't change. If it's working, don't fix it. However, for most organizations today, or a least quite a number of them, are beginning to realize that applying the old way of doing things, looking at an organization as a set of individual components put together like a machine, just isn't working, especially in an environment that is extremely uncertain, highly complex, filled with a lot of volatility, like we're seeing all around us.


An organization that operates like a machine can be highly efficient, but it really can't be highly responsive or creative or innovative. When was the last time you heard a machine innovate? Machines do what they're told. Living organizations respond to their environment creatively.


If you're getting the results want, don't change. If you need to be more flexible, more responsive, more engaged, it's time to start seeking transformation.


Can you talk about how transformation is done effectively?


Well, that's a challenging question, because transformation, especially at an organizational level is really a shifting of one's core thinking process. Now, I mentioned a lot in the previous answer, that organizations are operated like machines. And that really goes to the core of how we think about organizations today.  We typically think of them as machine to be optimized focusing on efficiency, streamlining, process improvement—those kinds of machine-like attributes.


To change that, we have to go about thinking of an organization as a living entity. That means, thinking of an organization like a person, rather than a machine. So, we start approaching the problem sets completely differently. So, the beginning part of the transformation process is really to start shifting the way you think about the challenges you face and beginning to recognize what I call turning the pyramid upside down, so to speak.


A lot of what we do today is look at the activity we do first and the reason why we do it second. In the Living Organization Model, we actually turn that around and begin to look at what is the context of our being, who are we, why are we here. Then second, we look at what are the relationships we have. And then finally, we look at what activities do we need to perform to support our context, our purpose, our meaning, and to enhance our relationships.


So, the transformation process begins with first starting to ask completely different questions and, as I said, turning the pyramid upside down.


Where have you seen some success?


Well, I think the biggest success I've seen is in a small healthcare unit I worked with in Portland, Maine. They were a clinic that was struggling with becoming profitable, biding the constraints of a very complex healthcare system here in the US.


And so, we began that process of transforming. We began the process of rethinking. I had them do exercises like name the organization. What gender is it? Is it male or female? How does it behave? What is its personality style? Is it introverted? Is it extroverted? Does base everything on feeling tones or does it base everything on logic? And really treating the organization as if it was a live person, and we're doing a personality profile on the organization.


Then from there, we began to look at its relationships. And some very interesting things began to reveal itself. And the way they began to operate internally and then how they began to relate with the customers because of this new approach, completely changed everything. And within a six-month period, they went from over two years of non-profit to having their first really profitable quarter. And so that, I would say, is a great example.


I'm also seeing a lot of movement in this direction to looking at organizations as living, organic entities, even in large corporations. I was reading recently how even General Electric is beginning to rethink their whole performance review process to, moving away from their famous forced ranking approach comparing one employee to another, to an approach which looks at how do we best develop our employees.  This is indicative of the whole changing and the whole emergence of a new way of thinking.  And in my own work, I'm seeing successes in the number of clients I've worked with.



Where can people find your book?


Well, it's on It's under my name, Norman Wolfe and The Living Organization: Transforming Business to Create Extraordinary Results. And they can always get in touch with m at


Thank you.



About Norman Wolfe





Norman Wolfe


Founder, CEO Quantum Leaders, Inc


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Chuck Intrieri who discussed Embedding a 3PL in a Shipper/Customer or a Supplier into a Customer.







A 3PL or Company Representative embedded in a shipper/customer or supplier:


Embedded: The 3PL representative resides in the shipper/customer or a company representative embeds its engineers, manufacturing or supply chain experts in the supplier in order to eliminate points of failuredown the road.Embedded relationships are marked by significant investments in facilities and technology by 3PLs, and companies, by more collaboration, transparency, trust and sharing of information, and by mutual commitments to each partner's success (gain-sharing).  Collaboratingand sharing information that they have not shared in the past and engaging in vested arrangements. In time, they create a relationship where the two companies work together in the spirit of cooperation and trust, as a single unit, with each being invested in the other's success.


Kane is Able, a large 3PL, is the first one to reference: Outsourcing Logistics, and embedding a 3PL into a shipper/customer. Kenco Logistics Systems said that they have a few embedded 3PL representatives at their shipper/customers. This can also be done by customers who work closely with their suppliers, like Pratt and Whitney.


This is a big change from the norm of today. The embedded rep helps solidify the relationship between the 3PL and shipper/customer, or the embedded company representative at the Supplier.

This paradigm shift to an embedded 3PL or Supplier model requires significant changes in thinking, behavior, culture, and compensation.  The current Logistics Manager or Purchasing Manager at the company may be resentful: “Do I really need a 3PL or company representative to help do my job, and, in the same space?Who pays for this space? It’s my job, I can do it without this embedding of the 3PL/Company representative?” So, company leadership has to decide ifenough benefits and efficienciesare derived from this change in doing business.It must be very beneficial and a “win-win” relationship. The current Logistics or Purchasing Manager wants an answer as to “WIIFM?” (What’s In It For Me?) The company/shipper/customer have to be ready to accept this change. Change can be very difficult. Perhaps a pilot program is needed, to actually see how it will work.


Contract terms need to change since the 3PL is committing uncompensated resources to managing the relationship and investing in innovation.  Gain-sharing agreements need to become more the rule than the exception.


Contract lengths maywarrant evaluation in an embedded 3PL model.  With gain-sharing, the 3PL needs time to understand the opportunities, generate ideas, implement the ideas, and measure savings over time in order to realize a return on any investment they decide to make.  This can be difficult in the context of a three-year logistics outsourcing contract, so term lengths may influence a 3PL’s decision to invest.


Another needed change is that manufacturers must begin to openly share proactive information about their business and supply chain strategies.  They will need to trust their 3PL partners (culture, behaviorchange) with proprietary information, and this can be a difficult shift in thinking.


3PLs need to change, too


The embedded model is a major shift for 3PLs, and Suppliers as well. To make the embedded model work, 3PLs/Suppliers need to be ready to take on the role of supply chain innovator within a customer’s organization. While traditional outsourced logistics relationships involve the 3PL looking across its own operations and asking “How can I improve?” the embedded 3PL/Company Representative looks across the customer’s entire business and asks “How do I drive overall supply chain efficiency?”

Procurement can have a supplier embedded in their location as well.


It is believed that a new model for many outsourced relationships is needed that involves a more strategic approach if shippers want to drive out more logistics costs.


What is the real issue?


The basic problem is that shippers or suppliers do not believe 3PLs/Companies are being innovative enough. This is something that many 3PLs and their customers has been building for a while, but with some continuing economic pressures it has really come to a head.


One key factoris that shippers too often tend to keep the 3PL at ‘arm’s length”, and there is not enough collaboration, transparency and trust.Limiting the 3PLs access to information that might enable it to find opportunities for other areas of improvement.


What else is needed in this new arrangement?


There is other upstream information, strategic information, about where the shipper is going, that the 3PL/company are missing.That information would allow the 3PL/company to be more innovative for the shipper/supplier.


This embedded model would support a higher level of visibility and a more collaborative relationship.  The embedded3PL relationship, in which a senior manager for the 3PL works within the shipper logistics or supply chain organization to act as part of the team. The same occurs when you embed company representatives into a supplier. It would mean joint problem solving/joint idea sessions/brainstorming continuous improvement and co-creation. The 3PL/Customer are engaging with the shipper/customer and supplier in completely different ways.


This change means they are part of strategic conversations and the day to day activity of the shipper/supplier, so they become part of the staff, rather than just having data creating a reactionary 3PL or company.


It is important to note this concept involves a true senior 3PL/Customer operations professional, not a strategic account manageror other more sales related individual that has in the past sometimes served in a somewhat related role at a client.


In the writer’s opinion, there still should be a “win-win”, collaborative Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure continuous improvement takes place between the 3PL/shipper and company/supplier models. If you don’t measure this partnership, you will never know how both parties are doing as to meeting their agreed upon metrics, including cost reduction efforts and continuous improvement. This living document should be reviewed monthly, at first, then perhaps quarterly.


Audience: What are your thoughts? Can you see this work for you? What are your pros and cons about this new arrangement?? What benefits do you see? What roadblocks may occur?



About Chuck Intrieri





Chuck Intrieri


Helping companies continuously improve and bring value to their customers


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Baidhurya Mani who discussed Supply Chain Training and The Supply Chain Industry.







Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Thank you, Dustin, for having me on this interview. I currently work in supply chain analytics. I design online courses for students and young professionals in the industry.


I actually started my career as a supply chain modeler. I moved to General Mills and worked there as a supply chain consultant for a couple of years. From there I left the job, then I spent some time as an independent consultant. I built a consulting business.


But my interest was in training, and that's why I kind of shutdown my consulting business and now I am in the training business.


Can you talk about the reasons why you transitioned to a trainer?


We have been hearing about the supply chain talent crisis that our industry faces. Some people even feel like the demand to supply ratio is as high as six is to one. However, if you look at the number of programs available in the industry or the number of training programs especially for the young professional, that's almost close to nil. So, that I see as a big issue.


Most of the training programs that come up are targeted at mid and senior level executives management, and most of them are offline training programs, limiting its reach. There is a huge gap in the training requirements and the availability right now. So, that was one reason.


And second, I actually feel motivated, and I really appreciate the Information Technology industry, where they have done such wonderful job in preparing their future IT professionals. If you look at the platform like Udemy or Coursera, you want to build a skill, learn any new technology, you simply do a search, and then you usually can take courses from several availableoptions. And those are courses which can help you gain enormously.


We have not been able to achieve. So that was the main reason I had to move into supply chain training.


What about the supply chain industry in training? Are there issues that affect training in the supply chain industry?


The issues are somewhat common to other industries as well. However, in some ways,we have not been able to tackle those challenges. So, one big challenge has been the gap between the academia and industry, because students are still being taught the same thing. So for example, supply chain. Analytics has been one of the fastest growing segments in the supply chain industry. However, still there are not many degree programs or training programs for supply chain analytics. And we just have the standard, traditional supply chain degree programs. So, that's one big issue, as I mentioned earlier.


Another big issue is that most of the programs targeted mid and senior level executives. And we kind of, as an industry, somewhere fail to provide guidance to our young students who actually begin their careers. That's something that I think are the 2 issues in the industry right now.


Do you have any recommendations for supply chain professionals that are in need of training?


I will answer this question from two angles. One, I have recommendation for the career supply chain professionals who are already experts in the industry. So, I actually want to kind of use the new tools, maybe kind of make a request to the experts in the industry to come up, to actually share more and more knowledge with the new students. So, if they can create some online courses and programs from their experiences, so that would be one way by which we can actually educate a large audience.


Apart from that, we have some certification programs, the standard ones. But apart from that, as far as courses are concerned, I think that things like Udemy have some good courses. There are some good courses by MIT. There are a few good courses in the sector. I think as far as how students should approach them, I think there are a lot of resources available which have not been kind of put together in an organized training form, but still there are a lot of resources available on the internet.


So, for example, if you're trying to say, learn an advanced software like Supply Chain Guru, you can find a lot of documentation, a lot of videos also. You have to do a lot of search and research on your end. But that is something that I at this moment, recommend to the users.



About Baidhurya Mani





Baidhurya Mani


Supply Chain Analytics Trainer @


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Ike Stranathan who discussed Outsourcing Back Office Operations in the Philippines.









About Ike Stranathan





Ike Stranathan


CEO - Staff Virtual


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Adeel Imrani who discussed Entrepreneurship in Supply Chain.







Thank you, Dustin, for inviting me for an interview. My name is AdeelImrani, and I'm going to speak today about entrepreneurship in supply chain.


Well, to begin, this topic is important because it helps startup and growing firms to tap into an untapped area for maximizing their business growth and profitability as well as customer satisfaction.




A brief about me... I started my career in supply chain in Pakistan with one of the telecommunication vendors. The company was called Quality Engineering. I was taking care of their warehouse and their distribution needs in supply chain. It was good experience for me because after that I had joined the United Safety International. It was the Canadian based oil and gas safety company. I joined their offices in Dubai. After that, I recently joined as the supply chain officer in [inaudible 00:01:25] corporation. It is a US-based [inaudible 00:01:34]firm.


Including my experience in all of these various companies, I gained diverse experience of many industries, and working in key positions. And from there on, I learned importance of entrepreneurship in supply chain, existing traditional supply chain and sharing the same experience with you here today.


Supply Chain Management and Entrepreneurship: Reasoning first by principle rather than by analogy


So, supply chain management means that the management of chains of supplies and the purpose of supply chain management is value addition. Almost all of the firms try to make supply chain as a core competence to get competitive edge. It exists in different forms and shapes in organization, which depends on the level of integration. And the firm is influenced, for example, by supply chain management policies, of firm's performance, the participants in the supply chain management of an organization have altogether different experience on performance levels.


So, the idea that the fundamentals of supply chains from supplier's supply to customer's customers can be used in an entrepreneurial mode. So, it is an idea which I can an influential one. I call this emerging concept as an entrepreneurial supply chain, and I believe that companies should aggressively implement and practice it.


But because it's a new concept, perhaps we need to set the stage to explain just what we mean. As an example, I would like to give an example, and I believe this example will be surely enough for our audience to understand that what entrepreneurship in supply chain management means.


So, I think will give an an example of a company, Tesla, managed by Elon Musk, the great entrepreneur. The example is... I think that it's also important for us to reason from the first principles rather than by analogy. What do I mean?


Normally, we conduct our lives, is reason by analogy, so that we are doing this because it's like someone else has already been doing this and it's like something else that was done like this, or it's like what other people are doing. So, it's kind of a "me too" type idea. And it's kind of mentally easier by analogy rather than from first principles.


But first principle is kind of physics ways to look at the world. And what that really means is that you boil things down to the most fundamental truth and say, "What are we sure is true? Or sure is possible is true?" And then, we reason up from there.


This takes a lot more mental energy to know. As an example, someone could say, and in fact, people did say to Tesla that battery packs are really expensive, and that's the way they always will be, because that's the way they have been in the past.


Well, no. And that's kind of dumb. If you apply that reasoning to anything new, then you wouldn't be able to even get to that new thing.


So, you know, we can't say that horses... like nobody wants a car, because horses are great, and we are used to them, and they eat grass, and they just graze all over the place, in you know that's not like, there's no gasoline. And people will not buy cars anymore.


So, in fact, people did say that. And for batteries, they also said that it's going to cost a lot. Historically, I believe it was costing around $600 per kilowatt hour. So, it's not going to be much better than that. People did say that.


So, what would an entrepreneurial supply chain say? Not like the people who would reason by analogy. An entrepreneurial supply chain would reason by first principle rather than by analogy.


What would an entrepreneurial supply chain say in terms of this battery example? An entrepreneurial supply chain would say, “No. So, we have a problem. Batteries are expensive.” So, they would say, "What are batteries made of, actually? And what's it going to cost each part of the battery? What's it going to cost?"


The first principles say, “What are the material constitutes of the batteries and what is the stock market value of those material constitutes?”And we say, "We've got cobalt, aluminum, nickel, carbon, and some polymers for separation and [inaudible 00:07:30]."


So, entrepreneurial supply chain would break that down on a material basis. Actually, if we want that on London Metal Eexchange, what would each of those things cost? And people will be surprised and say, "Okay. It's like $80 per kilowatt hour." So, clearly, we need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into shape of battery cell, and you can have a battery much cheaper than anyone realizes.


As a final conclusion, my finding suggests that the original capabilities of manufacturing or [inaudible 00:08:20] of small and medium enterprises support superior performance. The results provide empirical evidences that process a high level of entrepreneurial supply chain management competence perform better in their supply chain.


And all of the firms and their performance is led by an entrepreneurial supply chain management competence, preceded by a strategy and performance of those businesses. As a result, [inaudible 00:08:51] stressed the importance of entrepreneurial competence which proceeds and explains and indicates the strategies. We should view all these strategies as a superior performance.


It's been a pleasure talking to you, Dustin, and we will stay in touch, I believe. Thank you.




About Adeel Imrani





Adeel Imrani


Supply Chain Manager ⇛ ● Strategic Procurement ● Spend Analysis ● Logistics Management ● BPO ● Inventory Control ● JIT


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Ankit Khullar who discussed Strategies for Superior Results through Supply Chain.







Please provide a brief background of yourself.


Hi,Dustin Thank you for having me, I am Ankit Khullar from Fluor India. I have been working in Supply Chain management from past 4 – ½ years. I started my career with Telecom insutry and moved to mining and metals and currently I am working in Oil and Gas. After Serving versatile industries, I am in a position to generalise that supply chain can effect a major part of your strategies. Untill late 20thcentury ,generally we saw supply chain as buying and negotiation but now in 21st century executives and management eyeballs is on supply chain at the time of drafting strategies.


What are the important strategies for getting superior results through supply chain?


Leading organizations are continuing to incorporate best supply chain practices into their operations. Executives agreed that declining commodity prices (Energy) and contracting availability of capital for new projects is not over and recovery from this slowdown will be slow and painful. Optimism for green shoots is premature at this stage.

The precipitous fall in the prices of oil has forced governments all over the world as well as the international companies to review their investments and risk assessments for 2015 and beyond. Generally business unit are expecting Business units are expecting immediate price concessions from suppliers based on the collapse in commodity prices. Supply market softness does not necessarily mean that a given supplier’s costs align with this softness; therefore, price reductions may not be as readily attainable as imagined by business unit leaders. It is important to draft short term and long term supply chain strategies to meet business units expectation.


There should be more of a balance between short-term cost improvement and longer-term strategic supply objectives. As per a recent report 85% companies have a rigorous cost reduction program and only 8% reach their target because program is biased either on short term or long term objective. Supply strategies basically fall into two categories, it must be a balance between short term and long term strategies-


1. Short Term cost improvements through supply chain include quickly reduction in supplier prices, especially for the material related to declining raw material prices. Short term price reductions are based on opportunities with raw material & orthodox strategies of contract renegotiation & alternate sourcing opportunities. Most of the world is moving towards Asia Pac for sourcing ex- if we are buying through Europe the prices will be 30% extra when compared to Asia Pac but we should focus on origin of material and quality. If same quality standards are meet than I do not see any problem in going to china/india for Sourcing needs.


2.  Long Term strategies aimed at achieving:


• best-in-class status

• longer-term cost and revenue benefits

• upgraded talent

• enhanced supplier relationships

• Enhaced Integrated work progress

• enhanced internal relationships


It has been found that generally one time big transformation program offer magnified results. Comprehensive transformations drive larger shareholder gains. For example, Companies are taking action to stabilize the supply chain (prices, suppliers, adjusting capacity to demand) while continuing its journey to world-class supply chain excellence. Continuing focus on enhancing talent, process, total cost, strategicsourcing and supplier working relationships, indirectly aimed at winning against the competition. Longer term initiative for cost improvementthrough collaborative action with a shared vision can improve cost transparency & companies expect the magnified gains that supply chaincreates. Companies are taking initiative for complexity reduction, value engineering and sharing risks with suppliers. I think long term strategies depends on different industries based on their experience but these are generalise parameters that need to be consider to gain magnified results.


How is this done in practice?


Lets take some generalised cases-

a) Cash is King- If Company is a living machine, cash works as a spine for it. Companies need cash to pay their workforce and suppliers. If enough cash is not generated by the business, than companies need to borrow the money to meet the cash deficit. In current economy, Credit is very expensive. Supply Chain Management is playing an important role in preserving cash by delaying deliveries, delaying payments and reducing inventories.You can delay deliveries so cash management can help you in getting stronger in market.


b) Payment Terms –   Payment Terms play an important role in planning your cash flows. Earlier we used 100% net 30 days. Stretching out terms to the supplier helps the cash position of the buying company, it shifts a financial burden to the supplier. Thus companies are carefully considering payment terms and discount terms for their impact on both the buying firm and their suppliers. Few suppliers are coupling earlier payment terms with the offer of significant discounts, so taking advantage of early pay discounts can make economic sense.


c) Now a days cost models are drafted as per purchase categories and cost elements that had significant raw material content for which the raw material costs were declining at a rapid rate ..To take best advantage of falling commodity prices, companies need a detailed understanding of raw material content in the products they buy. A drop of 50 percent in copper prices does not mean suppliers of copper-based products can drop prices by 50 percent across the board. For better understanding, few companies are using third-party cost-modeling tools to examine the raw material content elements . An analysis of raw material usage and key cost drivers helps quantify the real opportunities for price reductions. What is supplier price entitlement and what is an opportunity for cost reduction is a mindset. Companies need to shift the mindset to capture the opportunity


g) Spend Analytics- Are we buying the same items across our location and pay different prices? Spend analytics can answer many questions who,why,where,what,when and how’s of a organization expenditures. Spend analysis can provide valuable visibility into an organisation’s procurement spending.which in turn allows the organization to consolidate both its supplier and its spending.


Spend analytics can help companies achieve wonders in their operations ex- Lower Procurement cost, streamlined procurement process and efficient procurement staff.


Where have you seen good results?


I have seen good results as I read an article on ISM where it was mentioned that supply chain constitute 60% of total cash movement, if we able to save 5% we can reduce the  total cost by 3%.


Current turmoil in Oil and Gas industry has forced governments all over the world as well as the international companies to review their investments and risk assessments for 2015 and beyond. The difficult time has created new demand and expectation for Supply ChainManagement.Companies are discussing with consultants for reduction in net value of project, so being a supply chain professional i can suggest supply chain can have a huge impact on strategies. Companies are showing keen interest in Supplier Risk Mitigation, Now a days we centre our discussion on financial risk assessment as well. We are using third party agencies who are looking at 90 days credit load, debt load of supplier and credit score. These types of strategies can help different industry in different segment and executives eyeballs are focusing on supply chain.


Thanks dustin for having me today, If anybody has any queries they can shoot me an email at or and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Thanks






About Ankit Khullar





Ankit Khullar


Specialist-2 Operations at Fluor Corporation


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jonah McIntire who discussed Trends in Supply Chain Software.







Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure, Dustin. Thanks again for the invite. Really been looking forward to talking with you about this.So, by way of introduction, I'm a supply chain technologist. My career has been at the confluence of running operations and software. So, on the operations side, I helped to run major retail supply chains. And on the software side, I've worked with solution providers as a consultant and product manager and so forth. And then the last five years, I've been orientating really towards entrepreneurship.


Andin 2013, I was able to sell a company I started, a fast transportation planning business to [inaudible 00:00:50] Kinaxsis. And now I'm currently launching a new business in the supply chain space.


What trends do you see that are happening in the supply chain software space?


Well, there's a lot. I think advances in computer engineering and software are, and almost always have been, driven from outside of our field, outside of supply chain. So, if you look at the last 20 years, supply chain software has basically been riding the incredible advance of computing power and know-how that's going on from outside of those fields. So, that's not changing.


But there are some important trends that I see in supply chain that are kind of well on their way in consumer tech or in other spaces that I think are going to crossover pretty soon. So, I guess, a couple of them I would mention. One of them is this mindset around mobile first.


So, if you look at consumer tech businesses such as Uber, they really start from day one with the mobile app and the mobile device as the primary touchpoint [inaudible 00:02:00]. And so, that changes not just the look and feel of the device, but also assumptions about how much time is being spent training the user and what the user might be doing besides using that software. Are they in a busy environment? Do they have a lot of time to focus on the task, or does it have to be very simple and short?


I think supply chain software really traditionally has come from the other direction. It's come from the assumption that the user works in the company and they're kind of dedicated to that software, and they can be trained, and they use a big-screened computer. So, they don't even have a... Most of them don't have a mobile touch phone at all or if they do, it's been added as an afterthought.


I expect that we're going to see a lot of supply chain software tools that get launched now or in the near future that have mobile app as their primary or only touchpoint. I think one of the people to watch in this space is Elementum. They are kind of the hot... [end of first audio file]



My next question is what trends to you see in the supply chain software space?


Yeah, I see a few that might be of interest. Over the last 20 years, I see supply chain software as being pushed ahead by this sort of wave of advanced computing power and know-how and engineering talent that comes from outside the field. So, I'm thinking still the advances in computer engineering and software will mostly be driven outside the supply chain. And that supply chain just gets to pick and choose and borrow from those.


I think the most important trends to watch for are always in supply chain software are going to be the ones that are starting and proven in other places.


Just a few that I would mention. One is first, this idea that you're going to build your solution, your software application with a basis of a mobile user and a mobile app as the starting point. So, I think if you see consumer tech businesses, such as Uber, that they begin with this assumption that my user is out moving around. They don't have a lot of time. They need quick, highly usable applications on their phone that are easy to learn. You don't have a lot of time to train the user.


And supply chain softwares traditionally come from the other side where there's this assumption that the software is in a company. Therefore, they have lots of time to train all the users. And the users can get setup, and they're using a desktop computer and all that goes along with that.


I expect that in the very near future, we're going to see more and more software tools that are launched, probably mostly by new-coming participants, not incumbents, which take mobile first seriously so that as a primary or only touchpoint of the user is their mobile device. I think Elementum, which is the sort of hot new startup in the supply chain visibility space is really embracing this strategy. They've started mobile first mostly.


I think a second place to look for that's an interesting trend is micro services. So, again, if you look in consumer tech but also infrastructure and service, if you look in those categories, the mindset has been switching from building monolithic software that can do everything, but also have to do everything, to building these little micro services that get [inaudible 00:02:46] together using open APIs to form a bespoke solution as needed and can be started, killed, sort of minute by minute or hour by hour.


When I look at that...  I think Amazon and Docker and Swagger, these are kind of all examples of this technology in play. But then look at supply chain software. It really seems to be in the last throws of this drive to build cohesive single-provider platforms. So, it's really the mindset is pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum from micro services. But I think that's going to change. I suspect it's going to be a shift in focus. So, instead of having one big solution which can kind of do everything for your supply chain—and not just for yours, but maybe for everyone's supply chain. I think there's going to be a shift over to a lot of small solutions that could be easily and obviously integrated.


As an example, instead of having a TMS or WMS that has tons of capabilities inside of it, you'd have a lot of selections of little capabilities which are easy to put together, and therefore you can stitch them together, make your own kind of super system in a really intuitive way.


And I think the last trend I mentioned is—I know it sounds a bit crazy to talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning, but we have Siri on our phones now and our iPhones. We have driverless cars that are going into mass production.


Something I would think that's important for supply chain software as [inaudible 00:00:07] would be machine learning. And I know it sounds a bit crazy when people talk about machine learning, artificial intelligence, but if you look at other spaces... So, if you look at mobile phones that have things like Siri for iPhone, if you look at driverless cars which are going into mass production, it just seems obvious that supply chain as a space can benefit from machine learning.


To give an example, if you look at most supply chain software, one of the challenges that they have is bringing the user's attention to the things that are exceptional so that they focus kind of their time and energy on what needs to be, what's not routine, what needs their attention. And not spend too much time just on the flood of transactions which is going through the small chain. Well, that's actually pretty similar to something like a Facebook feed or a news aggregator, where you've got this flood of signal, you've got this flood of transactions, and you need some intelligence to adaptively figure out what's most important to that user and get it up in front of them, sort of at the top of their feed.


So, I think...that's just an example. People don't realize it's machine learning, but it is. It's adaptive. It's taking in a lot of data and coming up with a sort of hypothesis of how to act on it. And then looking at the results of that hypothesis once it takes action.


So, I think those three, just to recap them, the mobile first approach, the micro services, and machine learning. Those are probably the three most important trends I see in supply chain software states in the medium term, anyway.


And what are some of the related other near term moves of interest?


The three I described, I think, are interesting in the, let's say, five to ten year range, which is important for people who are making... I think there are a lot of decisions that people are making in that five to ten year range where they need to be aware of this.


But if you look more from zero to have years, I think there's going to be... I guess the most important trend I see would be a general crossover of consumer tech expertise over to supply chain. And so, I think consumer tech... I meet people leaving companies like Google and Yahoo and Apple and Airbnb and Uber and going towards supply chain. And they may approach it... They may go to supply chain in any of the subfields underneath it. So, that might be international trade, compliance. It might be sourcing. It might be production planning, whatever.


But, I think that there's a lot of expertise coming from consumer tech that has low-hanging fruit applicability in supply chain. So, things like design, engineering, and also just generally the management style of a software company and how do you manage a software company and the financing for startups. Those are all things that are better done in consumer tech than in supply chain software. And therefore, there's a lot of room for people who have the capabilities in that space and move over to our space.


If you look at... Let me just sort of back this up. If you look at Y Combinator, a famous incubator called Y Combinator, published some data earlier this year, and among other things, they show what are the keywords of things that are being funded or incoming startup concepts by year over the last ten years. Then you can see that things like logistics and transportation were just not present ten years ago. And now they are.


I think there's another reason why this is particularly attractive for consumer tech companies to move into supply chain and other enterprise spaces, is because they're seeing companies like Workday and the success that they have by applying basic software design principles to enterprise software, because to enterprise software, the users are just always dealing with these antiquated screens that are not very fun to use, not very easy to use.And so, just a little bit of the consumer tech thinking there goes a long way.


And finally, enterprise spaces, like supply chain software spaces, they are not as large as consumer tech in terms of overall spending. They don't have the “winner take all” mentality, or “winner take all” dynamics that consumer tech has. So, you can be number two or three in supply chain software and still make good money. Whereas, in consumer tech, there's a pretty steep cliff between being number one and number two. So, I think there's more willingness to fund software startups in the supply chain space.


So, I think in the near term, and the zero to have years term, the answer would be it's an inflow of consumer tech expertise over to supply chain. And it really is going to only take one of those kind of companies to succeed at the levels like an Uber or Twitter, Airbnb, to alter the industry to its core. Because as soon as you have one example of success, that draws in all the other hungry fish who want to take a stab at getting their own market territory there.


So, I imagine first one that succeeds totally changes the industry.


Thanks for sharing today, Jonah, on the trends in supply chain software.


No problem, Dustin. I really appreciated the invitation to speak with you and to get this out to your listeners.






About Jonah McIntire





Jonah McIntire


Co-Founder at an Undisclosed Start-Up


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Dr. Rajesh Arora who discussed Employability Enhancement Initiatives At All Levels.







Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Good evening.I'm Dr. Rajesh Arora, president and CEO of TQMS Global, Mumbai. I have been in the industry for the last 20 years of my life. And my mission is to enhance human capital in conflicts that does not get left in the balance sheet of any organization. My focus is enhancing capability of people that have a static relationship with productivity and profitability of the organization.


What is this about, employee enhancement initiatives?


First of all, I think it's very important for us to know what are career lifecycles. Every individual starts their career with the basic graduation of a Master's degree, which is [00:01:20] and assume that they have got all the skills necessary to perform the job. And year after year, their focus is on getting [00:01:33] and looking at due promotions.


We had to turn around the world and say it should not be that way because as new jobs, new industries, new markets, new products, new business environment, it's extremely good intention for every individual to know what are new skills that they need to develop. Enhancing becomes imperative for them to understand that it's not just the first job, even if it was a job after 10 years of your work experience, you need to know what around the new skills you need to really learn and master it well.


Can you talk about how it's done in practice?


Sure. The initial part, when we look at the first time people who want refreshers, they start with their job, because they need to first, be on the floor, to understand how much they know and what they don't know.


But I would like to talk about the learning cycle, which talks about very clearly that if an individual is unconsciously incompetent, that means I don't know that I don't know about my skills, knowledge, and professional skills supplied for the job, they won't learn anything. it's the intention for every individual to observe. And the strategy should be that you should always observe people who are one level up. So, you should know how your boss actually operates. You should know their strategic thinking. Then find it within yourself.


So, observation is the best way to learn the mechanics. That's where you come to know, and you become consciously incompetent, that you know that I don't know certain things, and I need to learn about it. Now, that's their willingness that is required for an individual after the observation to put it into practice. So, once you know that what you don't know, you can go for certain training sessions organized by the company. You can have on-the-job training with your immediate manager, which can be done anywhere. You can observe certain colleagues in their presentations while it is happening.


There are fantastic videos available on YouTube, all levels of skill that allow you to observe. There are lots of professors from various foreign universities who are [00:03:43] sessions on scale enhancements. I'm sure we can observe that too. And I will [00:03:46] I think, if you are going to put up a certain [00:03:49] the site, really certain [00:03:53] books, subsequent [00:03:54] people and individuals who respect others.


Can you share any success stories that you've seen?


A lot. I think I've trained now more than 35,000 people. And a huge number of people I have [00:04:13] in the success shows that one is the willingness. Because you may train them, you may coach them and communicate with them, but it's equally important that they follow those practices in reality. So, when I talk about a sales person who has not been able to enhance their skills and get more [00:04:32], we are not able to [00:04:35] the call well. They can't handle the objections well.


So, obviously with the [00:04:41] guided methodology which we use in training the development, it has helped them to enhance their conversion ratio of approximately from just [00:04:51] 8 to 12% to almost now 20 to 25%. It has doubled their insight to what they were able to do it in the past. And if I communicate this as an attitude [00:05:05], I would say that even a person with five or 10 years’ experience would have similar issues because they have stopped practicing the skills they learned in the past. And that was where we bring out the [00:05:19], why communicating to the world in term of coaching and [00:05:19], but it's equally important for you to use those skills which you have stopped using in the past, so use it now. And you'll find that they also are able to improve upon their conversion issues.


Have you dealt with any clients in the supply chain industry?


In the supply chain industry, especially the intensity level [00:05:52], which has a mass distribution that work all over the country, especially when I look at oil, power, and gas, we [00:06:01] a really [00:06:03] in terms of a solution that's [00:06:06]. And [00:06:09] from the doorman and the chairman will be trained on everything.


Can you talk more about at all levels? You mentioned that this should be done at all levels. For example, what are some levels that you deal with?


That's right. You want to talk about the first level, which [00:06:29] initial [00:06:31]. The second is the first time managers. From an executive level, you become a first time manager. How do you manage it? Because most of the time it happens that people start looking from management [00:06:48] collection. All the managers have to [00:06:50] aspect of the job. [00:06:55] essential for you not only look at [00:06:56] but also start looking at how do you build up people. So, you coach them. And you do on-the-job training that is required. So, the first time manages [00:07:06]. Because it's the one constant which I have still not been able to understand in this role is that people think that [00:07:14], they think that they don't require any training. They don’t require any help.


And I say that it requires more help. Because they are not able to communicate to anyone as to what they’re lacking. And [00:07:28] that I [00:07:31] for company because I've invented so many [00:07:34]. But it is not necessary that it would be affecting my position because I have spent so many [00:07:40], because I have acquired certain skills. And then to be continuously employed at that level also, you acquire certain [00:07:47] in which you get for those individuals. So, private coaching, a counseling session, a mentoring session can definitely work eben at that level.


[00:07:58] the person is open to learn. I think any person of any level who thinks, I would love to learn more, and I can learn from person down the line. I can learn from a colleague, and I can say to someone, "Hey, look. I don't know this, and I want to know more." That person has to be [00:08:13] work very well for them.


Thank you, again, today for sharing today on this topic.


Sure. Thanks, Dustin. I would love to hear this interview sometime in the future, whenever you post it.






About Dr. Rajesh Arora



Dr. Rajesh.jpg

Dr. Rajesh Arora


President & CEO - TQMS Global


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Aakash Deep who discussed Digital Supply Chain.






Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Thank you, Dustin. Thanks for the opportunity to speak to you on digital supply chain. Before I start, I'll give you a background. I'm a supply chain professional through and through. The last 15 years, I've been working in supply chains across the globe. I started my career in India, working in the operations space for multi-nationals, managing their supplies chains, and then I shifted into consulting. And I've worked almost all—lots of supply chain except product life cycle and manufacturing. ButI've dabbled in procurement, planning, and fulfillment, and after sales strategy logistics, etc.


In the last two years, I have moved to Barcelona, and now I live in Spain, and I'm driving some supply chain initiatives from here. I'm happy to be here talking to you.


What is digital supply chain?


That's an interesting question, actually. Digital supply chain—what is digital supply chain? Lately, in all the digital word is quite used on issues, probably. And then we say digital supply chain... When somebody asks me this, I say there are different types of digital supply chains. One is where the supply chain is completely digital, and that's happening in the media, communications, and now, lately, in the education industry, where the products are digital, the sales is digital, and the delivery is digital. So, it's a complete digital supply chain happening in the digital world, which has been supported by all the big giants—Apple, Google, namely, and some others.


But for the physical supply chains, digital supply chain also has a big impact, and that is because of the technologies which have emerged in recent years. Analytics, robotic, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data—they are having huge impacts on supply chains.


Supply chain has been adopting technology over the times, but that's digitization. The processes were being reconnoitered into the digital space using technology. But now, you're seeing a lot of data being [inaudible 00:02:47] by supply chain because of that digitization. Huge amounts of data. Supply chains every year are generating almost to the tune of data which is in zettabytes. And it's projected to grow more and more with IOD and devices coming into play in the supply chains.


So, that creates a big shift from learning a physical supply chain to a technology-enabled supply chain and finally do a digital supply chain where a large ocean of your supply chain exists in the digital world. And it's basically your physical and your technology supply chain and information supply chain have to mirror each other. Now, you cannot say that they exist in separate streams. So, they mirror each other, and they come together, this fuse together, to create a digital supply chain where there's full [inaudible 00:03:48] visibility. The visibility gives you data, and using a lot of tools you create insights, intelligence from there that helps you to execute faster.


And the execution may not be always faster. Sometimes you have to slow down the speed as well. So, that is the second type of digital supply chain.


So, these are the supply chains, I would say. And for the major industries—for manufacturing industries, [inaudible 00:04:22] be used for product companies, those are the second type of digital supply chain is more and more important.


Can you talk more about why is the digital supply chain relevant now and how it's different from the regular technology adoption?


Yeah, so as I said earlier, over the years, supply chain moved from first there was a mainframe era and then an internet game, and then ERPs were implemented, and then best-of-class solutions from [inaudible 00:04:58], etc., were started to being implemented, to aid the supply chain managers for execution and planning and all.


But now, the supply chain manager is getting tons and tons of data. So, big data is becoming a huge problem for the supply chain manager. The global expansion—you have your manufacturing plants all over the world, getting the products to a different market and getting them and selling them and making them reach the shelves—it's a big challenge.


There's some statistics, for example, [inaudible 00:05:39] that reach US shores. By the they reach the board, 10 to 15% of them are already obsolete. So, imagine the impact which creates the value it's lost. The inventory lying in warehouses, and if it doesn't reach the customer, it's burning a hole in the pockets of the [inaudible 00:05:59].


However, now the technology is there, the data is there, which can be harnessed, which can be used to take insights, used to extract information and help the supply chain managers execute better—better and focus on more value tasks. More and more with the data infiltration and the technology infiltration, more and more you can automate the standard tasks to some somewhat of automatic decision-making in the supply chain where supply chain managers don't have to look at those tasks every day. And they can focus on value tasks. And they can help the supply chain tradition from a cost-centric organization and the auto-cost centric function in the corporate tool values centric, where they are driving more and more value.


So, because of that, the digital supply chain become more important. This is from an execution or an internal standpoint. But from an external standpoint, your customers are becoming digital. It's the tradition of the digital customers, which is coming more and more.


So, to manage them or to serve them, if your supply chains are not suited to serve your digital customers, then your set up for failure. Things like Apple and Amazon, they are generating innovation. They are creating things every day to serve those digital customers. And this puts the onus back on other giants to see how they can align themselves to the [inaudible 00:07:50] of the digital customers. So, that's why digital supply chain are becoming more and more important these days.


Digital supply chains can be used in many [inaudible 00:00:03], especially the companies and consumer goods and retail industries. They need digital supply chains to sell to their digital customers. They can also take advantage of digital supply chains to create supply chains of one customer, basically serving big clusters of digital customers that have similar taste and that can be made possible only by the use of digital technologies and successfully not only integrating but evolving with the supply chains.


So, digital supply chains are very much relevant today. In terms of where they have been a success, it's been in pockets. So, digital supply chains, as of now, are, as usual, evolving in silos, because that's how the supply chains have been in the past, but with the concepts like control towers or [inaudible 00:01:04] invisibility and [inaudible 00:01:10] analytics, which takes insights from big data across the different systems is actually helping merge and integrate the full supply chain scope, right from sourcing to servicing to the customers.


So, I would say that digital supply chains is the future. The scope is growing really tremendously, and it's also being caused by the [inaudible 00:01:35] factors, which is primarily the emergence of digital customers.


Thank you, Dustin. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.



About Aakash Deep




Aakash Deep.jpg

Aakash Deep


Digital Supply Chain & Strategy Expert


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Martin Robinson who discussed A Game Changer - Dynamic Performance Assessment.





Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Okay, Dustin. Thank you very much for the opportunity to have this interview. I'm Martin Robinson. I used to work for Nestle around Europe. I left them in 2010 because I was captivated by the idea that we could found much greater efficiency in logistics and transport. And so, I'd come across a couple of branches of mathematics [inaudible 00:00:46.1] work with them. Since then, I've been working on that. I'm the founder of a company called Transfaction that provides dynamic performance intelligence solutions.


I'd like to talk to you today about something that's we've developed, which is a dynamic performance appraisal tool.


That's interesting. Can you tell us what is a dynamic performance appraisal?


Basically, what is does is it takes... It's an online tool that we can take data from clients, if they upload to us their departures and arrival data, the from that, we're able to give them a lot of things. First of all, we're able to give them a top-down view of their performance and tell them what the size of the gap is on their total added costs. So, compared to what they actually planned to do, what did they really do, and what was the size of that gap.


The second step is that we're able to give them a good stare into where they are lacking defined, improved performance.


I'll give you an example from a recent [inaudible 00:01:56]. We took some data for a UK retailer, and we did 2 reports for them, and noticed a big difference between the first and second report in term of in-transit. We saw a big improvement on transit times and pointed that out to the client, and they said, "Well, that's interesting, because we just recently changed our scheduling so that we're not transiting in such a congested area in rush hour time.


So we were able to give them that feedback so they could see what actually is working, what is not working, and it gradually improved their performance.


What makes it distinctive, I think, is that the feedback is dynamic. It's very quick. As quickly as the data is loaded, the feedback is given, unlike traditional consultancy where you maybe spend several weeks preparing the data, then analyzing the data, the feedback and so on. It could take six weeks. The report back is virtually instantaneous. I think it's going to affect the performance market.


Some say that supply chains and logistics in transport is too complex to model. So, how do you respond to this?


Well, certainly that's absolutely true that supply chains are very complex. But, to be honest, I think too many people are hiding behind that and are really not taking into account modern technology that's available. So, I think that point of view needs to be reevaluated.


We've developed over the last number of years, global techniques for [inaudible 00:03:41.7] the way one looks at the supply chain. And then, sort of as we're building up, layering back up, so as to create a complete year. So, yes, supply chains are complex, but technology has moved a long way, and the type I technology that we're developing, we think that we're able to see through big data into what is really happening in that supply chain.


So, now's the time to start reevaluating that approach. I think we can get a lot closer to the approach the factories manufacturing [inaudible 00:04:16.9] for very many years, where they've had a [inaudible 00:04:18.7] around their production lines. I think we can start to think to develop the same sort of approach to the way we run supply chains.


The supply chain and logistics industry is conservative and, generally speaking, traditional. What kind of response are you getting?


Well, I'm finding, initially, when I go to speak to somebody, people's initial response is, "That's interesting, but I don't see how it applies to us. Maybe to somebody else." Typically, by the end of a 45 minute conversation—and believe me, I'm not a great salesman—but by to end of a 45 minimum conversation, people are saying, "Let's give you some data. Let's see how that works for us."


The beauty of our solution is that we're doing analysis, how a client can deploy that in their own setting. By the end of the conversation, most companies I'm speaking with are seeing how they can apply it to their own particular circumstance. So, yes, the approach is traditional, initially, but it can be very easily persuaded once they see the power of what's possible.


Thanks, Martin, for sharing this game changer about dynamic performance assessment. If anyone has any questions, how can they reach you?


They can email me. They can also phone, if they like. I'm on a UK number. 7736-235-944.


Great. Thank you.


Thanks, Dustin. Thanks for the opportunity.







About Martin Robinson



Martin Robinson.jpg


Martin Robinson

Supply Chain Professional / Business Owner

LinkedIn Profile