Skip navigation

I interviewed Ruud Noordzij who discussed International Communication Styles.







Can you provide a brief background of yourself?


Yes, I would be happy to. I'm Dutch born and raised, in the city of Rotterdam, and my dad happened to be working in the shipping and logistics industry. Actually, the company that he was a financial manager at was busy in the barging world, so going up and down the Rhine River into Germany and dealing, basically, with cement. A cement carrier. While I got kind of infected by that part, he'd been trying to steer me away from entering the industry,but after finishing high school, I was interested in looking into industries that would provide guaranteed employment. The logistics industry was looking really interesting to me.Of course, in a big port like Rotterdam, there's a whole lot of things to do.


I went through college, got my degree, and started working as ancarrier agent, being a port captain. I would be visiting vessels that would enter and leave the port. And that kind of got me infected a little more, I started looking at building a little career in the freight forwarding industry, and was able to continue that when moving to the United States to marry my wife.


Can you explain why it would be helpful to learn more about people's communication styles in various parts of the world?


Yes.Absolutely. Well, we're all pressed for time, and everything is driven by a certain amount of activities within a certain period of time. We do communicate quite differently throughout the world, in different parts of the world. Naturally, there is first confusion whichmay take the front seat, which means that if you're talking about legal matters, it might just become a big issue. And I can focus on the way peopleuse the English language, because that would be the international language of choice. We all have quite different expressions. For example, here in the United States, we would tend to be more direct. If we go up north, looking at Canada, people seem to not be as direct, but a little more able to discuss facts and figures.


That is already making a difference. Its like going across the world or going to the other side of the world, looking at, for example, the Indian sub-continent, and the way that the Indians and Pakistani would use their English language It's quite different from ours. And we're looking at the United Kingdom, for example. Their English is a lot different than the way we tend to practice English.


Which areas are more focused on facts and which are more on emotions?


Americans, we're very fact driven. We like to cut to the chase, so bring to the table what you're coming for and also what you want to discuss. If you're talking business, if you're talking about transactions at all. So put your cards on the table, spell it out, and then there might be a confrontation part. There might be a provocation part. Then also, that might just be managed seriously, or not as seriously.


So, of course, a lot of people abroad might misunderstand that. Where I'm from, for example, in Europe, when we would discuss matters with Americans, we would kind of get steered away from where we want to go. Jokes would be made about certain matters, and Europeans would take it seriously. We’re kind of getting away from the subject matter. Not getting closer to each other, and also not closer to the piece of business that both parties want to pursue.


Are there any language barriers or areas that are more prone to confusion?


Well, certain language barriers, there might be... Well, a big one, now, we're doing a lot of business with Asian countries. Of course, there is China. Well, Hong Kong is the part of China that could be regarded as kind of separate. People in Hong Kong are more in our realm. That means more words are being used, but then also the words might be confusing. But then the people in Hong Kong not as moralistic or moderate as the Chinese on the Chinese mainland. They tend to be moderate in the beginning, and then they kind of become more and more direct throughout the process. Like if you're talking building business, or you're talking business negotiations. If you're talking even like certain transactions that take place, in the beginning, it's very friendly. But it's also very... I wouldn't use the word vague. But it's more holding off on the subject matter. And then once people get a hold on what's really going on, then the directness increases.


And then, also, there is, of course, the language itself. And the language might not be understood well enough. And the danger now that I see is something like translation services online. They do translate words, but they don't translate meanings. They don't translate the whole sentence as the sentence is meant. You might have a combination of words that are in a sentence, but when you would put the sentence together, you're starting to look at a garbled composition. It's not really a sentence anymore but a composition of words that don't make a sentence.


Where have you seen some success in business?


Actually, throughout. It doesn't really matter where.I've seen successes in continents like Africa. I've seen successes in the Middle East. Actually, the people in the Middle East, if we're looking at the Arab subcontinent or looking at all the area like Saudi Arabia is, where the Emirates are, there is less use of words but more use of numbers. There is a tendency to look more at the numbers and the facts — summarize the facts; give me the facts — more than words. So if you can work with that, then you can get things done pretty quickly.


I'm looking at my home continent, Europe. Similar matter. It just comes down to whether you make sense or not. You need to make sense. You need to summarize everything. So cut out the words. Just limit the use of words, and give more facts. If you can get more factual, of course, that depends from area to area.


I did work a lot with people in the United Kingdom. They tend to be more verbal. They use more words, and then if you go to the European continent or the mainland, there's less use of words. I can, for example, use the example of the Germans. The Germans are generally factual. You need to state everything. Then if you want to go into the proposal or the business proposal in whichever business you're at, put the facts on the table. Then of course, there is the typical“thanks for giving me those numbers and those facts, but I already have my contacts doing this and that”. So there's the comparison better. Then you kind of need to make your case after that, meaning you should have your case ready before you propose, because you need to be ready for their resistance. Then you need to get in, make your case, counteroffer, and then see where you can end up. That's for the Germans that I've worked with a lot and actually still work with quite a bit.


Looking at other areas in the world, looking at Southeast Asia, for example, you're looking at Indonesia. You're looking at Singapore. Also, you can kind of stretch out to Australia. But then the Australians are way different. So I'll focus more on the Southeast Asian areas. That's more like the people there would want to pick your brain at first. They don't come out and tell them what they're up to and also want you to figure out what they're doing. Then throw in your proposals, your ideas to get business or to start building business. Then the ideas come out. They tend to cater more to what you would like to hear and usually it ends up in an ambiguous area. So that means there is no exact understanding from either side. In other word…. where are we? A dangerous marriage. So that means if you get to a certain conclusion, you get to certain business decisions, and you definitely need to write them down. This goes across the board. Of course, it also goes across the board with anything legal. You need to have it in writing. Especially with the people in Southeast Asia.


I've seen some good successes there too, talking about Thailand, for example, talking about Indonesia. Dealing with people in automotive manufacturing, dealing with people in musical instruments manufacturing. There's always an opportunity.


Thank you, Ruud, for sharing today.


Okay.You're welcome.



About Ruud Noordzij






Ruud Noordzij


Consultant at Apnoor Consulting



LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Boris Tsirline who discussed Towards Operational Excellence With RFID.







It's nice to speak to you today, Boris. I'm looking forward today to hearing your views on the topic of Towards Operational Excellence with RFID.


Hi, Dustin. I'd be glad to answer questions and make comments. Initially I was educated and I would say born as an RF engineer. And I have 20 years of European experience developing RF devices, and the last 20 years I was working practically for Zebra Technologies developing our RFID printer encoders. I have education from Moscow State University, PhD and graduated with Master’s Degree and Bachelor's degree from Moscow Aviation Academy.


Thank you. My first question is can you first define what is RFID and how can it be used for better operational excellence?


RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. And the latest applications have been developed based on ability of this system, practically a transponder also called a tag, to be identified with unique code. And practically most applications lately were spinning around making labels with this embedded transponders and using this capability of the transponder to identify most of them used for tracking for kind of mostly inventory. It allows you to automatically grab this inventory, just moving an antennae around items with the scope's smart labels. And it can contact less identify them.


Because of a natural radio-frequency waves, you don't need to aim it exactly like you used to with bar codes, the beam at the objects and still be able identify objects surrounded the inspector. But it's not... It's sort of the tip of the iceberg because transponders themselves, which define radio-frequency identification technology is capable of much more and has different features, allows to use them not just for identification but with a variety of industries.


First of all, the industries and applications.First of all, regarding operational excellence... For operational excellence, here has been developed accounting system which actually calculates different key ratios, allows it to estimate how healthy is the production or manufacturing or any operation is.


The biggest obstacle for using this accounting measures is there are coming too late, practically the end of a month you will see how successful the operation was or not successful— what has been done right, what's wrong.And RFID, it's capability allows you to get a kind of instant information and also combined with different other components such as microprocessor, batteries, Wi-Fi, and other devices, Bluetooth. It allows you to get this information by demand and organizing a database, kind of the centralized.It's completely not necessarily to send this information permanently to IT technology department and overloading it with data. It can be retrieved by demand, by sending signal and verifying what transponder has collected.


So it opens a lot of different applications, including, for example, moving out equipment, moving personal, and also, what is an important thing, you can get kind of a trend lines from these devices. Estimating if some parameter is growing or trailing down or changes somehow, and practically, as of today, it is possible to organize some kind of fixed asset management. It's also mixed up with tracking and tracing, but it's completely wrong. Because take asset management includes not just knowledge of location and moving our equipment, but rather how reliable this equipment is or how well it works over time.


So using this kind of RFID technologies, you can combine them with different sensors and thus, receiving information permanently about the current temperature or vibration or humility and a lot of other parameters. So this technology will allow you to kind of finally improve Mean Time Between Failures. And thus make your equipment available and working with the minimal expenses for maintenance and repair.


For RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification has been allocated a few frequency bands, a low frequency, high frequency, and ultra-high frequency. The ultra-high frequencies are used for, more or less, long range applications while magnetically coupled devices which work at high frequency has much higher noise immunity. And there's another effect that has a shorter range. But here's the an advantage of being a resilient to different interferences.


At low frequency band, transponders are made kind of hermetized in a small container, it's plastic or glass, and it very well withstands against different environment climate changes or temperature change, environment changes in regards of temperature, humidity, other things. Most applications of this low frequency RFID found in the laundry applications where clothes are sorted out by using automated equipment because what the biggest advantage of RFID is digitization. And RFID devices will be vital for the incoming internet of things because it will be kind of like a glass and eyes and ears of this technology and allowing to exchange information widely and very fast.


And can you share any success stories about implementation?


I can name a few positive and a few negative if you'd like. The practical applications are huge and mostly in the retail sector now and in healthcare. RFID are also used for kind of a compliance. For example, I am aware of cases where police are supposed to monitor some areas, have to come to the post which has a reader. It will let them read their transponders, just verify that they are patrolling a particular area. And that application is for compliance. It's kind of a hand wash for your employees in food stores, food production.


In retail there are a couple of applications, the kind of most impressive is the inventory accuracy at retail store, if I am not mistaken Neiman Marcus or other chains. They were able to increase accuracy of inventory from regular 75% up to 98%, saving a lot of time, because not only their accuracy has been increased dramatically but also time spent for inventory was cut maybe 20 times.


The applications in healthcare for example, in hospitals, when patients were supplied with a wrist band with embedded transponder which is keeping all places patients visited or if he or she goes to different doctors, that every kind of meeting or encounter with doctor is recorded to the wristband transponder.


In this way, a lot of adverse events were prevented. For example, for operation, they always know which hand or which leg to operate because these terrible things happen when doctors are missing the right thing. In operations, the biggest problem among surgeons is leaving sponges some kind of materials inside abdominal patients. And now with transponders, it has been, the procedure itself takes really attentive counting. How many was used? And how many were received. So with embedded transponders in this kind of sponges that's become automatic. And there are no terrible cases when something was left inside of a patient.


This kind of application is very successful and hard to estimate a financial gain for this because health you cannot measure.


Other application encountered in different areas. In production, for example, especially when assembly line is used and this assembly line shares a different product assemblage. A lot of mistakes happen there, happen from different components, especially when they look alike, was used wrongly. And with implementation of RFID, this kind of adverse event was practically eliminated after automatically verifying what came to the next station for assembly, that it's the correct part, correct device. So a lot mistakes prevented.


RFID technology also covers partly real-time location systems. They could not be necessarily based on RF, but some of them are based on radio-frequency identification. The system allows you to practically locate the object remotely by watching a screen with kind of a map. And the marker shows where the equipment or component or barrels located, showing the kind of map where it's located. It's also widely used for parking lots and sometimes in warehouse.


What I would like to mention that is kind of problematic things, because historically, RFID and RTSL has started implementing by the same companies which used to deal with bar code. And this kind of mentality still remains and it caused a lot of trouble because, for example, RTLS working well on open space because some of the methods for RTLS has been borrowed from navigational radio systems used for aircraft.


But people somehow forgot that this technology developed for aircraft worked really well on open space, open air. But when you deal with warehouse environment, there are a lot of reflections which kind of lower the accuracy dramatically of location. Other things also relates to our deep understanding of RFID engineering which deals with signals, level of signals, reflections, penetrations and other things. And what I observe, the education is not really spreading intensively. And that might cause very long pilot trial and finally based the system on error and trial. If awareness of this technology would be higher, then it could help to proliferate this technology widely.


It seems to me that, like I mentioned before, using RFID only like identification, it's kind of fraction a whole capabilities, and it's not really widely known. As of today, the mature applications based on only solutions based on only identification code. But hopefully as this process develops in companies, most system integrated and system designers will realize capabilities that will accelerate the progression of RFID technology applications and create a lot of different solutions.


What this technology is comprised of?


The major four components of this RFID application and technology includes antennas, includes transceiver, transmitter and receiver called reader unfortunately, and also includes a printer encoder for initial encoding transponders. And a key element is the transponder, which calls for transmit and response. And this kind of type, there are a lot of different transponder types available today. And transponder itself, depending on what frequency it works at, depending on signals, technologies, and standards, define the whole capabilities of RFID.


I think that's it. That's probably enough.



About Boris Y. Tsirline






Boris Y. Tsirline, PhD


Expert in RFID Technologies development to maximize P/L Ratio; Business Technology Consultant


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Don Jacobson who discussed Shortage of Talent in the Supply Chain Discipline.







This is the most severe talent that I've seen in my experience in doing this. And there's certainly a lot of reasons for it. I think probably the most important reason is that businesses have rebounded from the downturn and the right sizing of organizations and been hiring because they were doing it without a lot of people. Now they're looking for talent. So that's number one.


We were in a mode for so long of stagnation, of not seeing people what they're worth, working the talent that they had. Bonuses were smaller than usual. Now these things have all come back now, which is a good thing. However, what happens is the people that you have are, when I say fair game, they're interested in hearing about opportunities that will keep them seeking opportunities more than what they're doing now. There's no question compensation could be more, but the organizations can offer more in all different ways.


Just the social consciousness of an organization, how important that is today to a lot of people who would consider making a change. The history of the company, the future of the organization. These are all things that candidates are looking to do and to make a change. The percentage, the number of people that are looking to make a change, even if it's tacitly is really also at an all-time high. So companies need to do more in order to keep the talent that they have.


The shortage, what happens is — and they aren't enough good people to go around – organizations, they'll post time all the time on the big job boards and do their own recruiting and all of that kind of thing. They do get bombarded with resumes that are just not a very good fit. And in organizations like ours — I'm not saying we're the only game in town — but organizations like ours that have established a really strong network of nationwide and who can help our clients...when I say fairly quickly, if you think about the time it takes to hire someone, and if all of a sudden that's taking more than 90 days, your chances of finding the right person diminishes.


So we're able to look at a job description, understand an organization, and actually recruit for those kinds of candidates of the people that we bring to the table we know can all do the job. Then what we have to figure out is the cultural fit and does it make sense for the person.Is the money right?Is the organization right?Is the organization right for the person and the person right for the organization. And those are the kinds of things that we have to fine tune and benchmark and improve on. But we can do that much faster than an organization's human resource department that has to work on a lot of different things. So the use of a specialized recruiter in this kind of environment certainly makes more sense than ever.


We're a firm believer in that. We shouldn't work on every opening that company has. We should work on the ones that are the most difficult to fill and that are the [00:04:50] most important but we'll say that the most critical at the moment. So that's really what we're all about is partnering with companies, understanding their culture, becoming an extension of their organization, and then helping them as quickly as possible find the right person for their organization.


I think that's it in a nutshell. Obviously, there is very specific things companies can do to retain the talent that they have. But I think that's a whole separate subject. We're on the other side of it. It's when they're not able to do that, that's where we come in.


Can you provide a brief background of yourself and your contact information so if any wants to contact you?


Sure. Of course.Of course.So my name is Don Jacobson. The company I'm the president of is called Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters. And we have offices and relationships in the northeast in New Jersey, in the Dallas market, and the Chicago market. So we provide permanent placement, interim consultants, industrial staffing. We have a group that just does that. We work on an engagement basis. We work on a contingency basis. And the reason we have to offer all of those services is because we are discipline-specific, which means we only do supply chain and logistics, but we will work at all levels. So we will place a distribution center manager, but we'll also place the chief logistics offer or a CEO of a third-party logistics company. So we have different levels of service, and we have different recruiters handling the different types of positions.


Thank you, Don, for sharing today.


Yeah. Is that enough for you? Or is there anything else?



About Don Jacobson






Don Jacobson Matching Supply Chain and Logistics Pros With Great Organizations Nationwide


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jim Bisaha who discussed Innovation in the 3PL World.






Can you provide a brief background of yourself?



Yes, Dustin. My name is, like Dustin said, Jim Bisaha. I have spent over 34 years in the transportation and logistics industry. The first 10 years of my career, I was with Roadway Express, a LTL carrier. I handled all vehicles systems there and that was 12,000 tractors, 48,000 trailers. As I said earlier, I was responsible for all of the vehicles and the accounting systems that were there. Then I got lured away within the Roadway family to work on a startup endeavor which was called Roadway Logistics System, which was one of the first 3P, third party logistic providers in the industry. That was at the end of 1991, early 1992. I was there for four years. We did a lot of innovative projects there, which I will touch on later in the conversation.


And then in 1996, I got lured to come to Atlanta, Georgia to work for a $24 billion company that was alarge logistics business,and that was UPS. And I was at UPS Logistics which became UPS Supply Chain Solutions for 15 years as a division manager, at the director level. So we have a wide variety of roles there, was there when we did the 23 acquisitions of different companies, so I have experience in that.Also, was responsible for the last four years when I was there, was running the healthcare IT organization and worked closely with the business throughout my whole career.


And for the last five years I've been doing consulting, helping customers out in the transportation, logistics, and supply chain. I have worked with a variety of different customers helping them streamline their supply chains and really helping them, bringing them some ideas to help them improve their businesses.


Do you think that there is innovation in the 3PL world?


I think that there was innovation at one time, Dustin. I look back at some of the things that I have a seen in my career and things that were done, and since probably 2008, 2009, I don't see the same level of innovation that is out there that was previously done. Let me touch on this. I think that there is some of the things that I've seen in the past when I was at Roadway Logistics, one of the things that we did is we worked with John Deere and we came up with an innovative solution for returnable containers or plastic totes. We came up with a method to track those totes because there were some new green laws in effect.


I look at some of the things at UPS that we did where we did some work with the automotive companies. We did a Chrysler referrals parts piece of business where we worked with Chrysler and we were able to route spare inventory from the dealer network, put them into a facility where they were cross-docked and then shipped back out to the dealers. Some of the other things were some of the GM warranty parts where we put up a facility with GM to be able to track failure rates. We hired some engineers. Another thing that we did was we had [inaudible 00:04:29] that was a track and trace for the finished vehicle, kind of like a UPS tracking system for finished good cars. So that was a collaboration with Ford.


Some of the other things was the whole return and repair effort with some of the major computer manufacturers where you collaborate, set up the return center, actually do the repair.


It may be out there, Dustin, but I'm just not seeing it today where there is the inspiration between the customer and the 3PL. I think that what we do see is everybody -- and there are studies out there that will back this up -- it's about reducing costs and controlling costs. The days where companies will allow people on site and pay you to come up with ideas and help them to understand their business, to be able to reduce costs in the long run, I don't see that happening. I think that there has been a definite turn since 2009, since the last recession, that it is now all-hands-on-deck to be able to reduce costs. And that is not only from a customer's perspective. They're under the gun because they have cut logistics. They have cut the transportation departments. Where they used to have a team of people,it's now one or two guys or gals that are running the whole thing, and they're running [inaudible 00:06:09] on the thing.


The same thing with logistics companies. Logistics companies no longer have the luxury of meeting with customers, putting people on site for projects to develop the business. It's all about results now. And I think that's sad. But I think it's a state of where history is. And it's also a state of business as it exists across the spectrum.


How would you define innovation the way that you think it should be in the supply chain, in the 3PL world?


I think it is understanding your customer's business. It is working with your customer, being able to come up with solution to help them reduce cost and provide better information to them. And I can cite some examples.


What we did when I was at UPS with the GM warranty parts, we actually developed a system, put up a facility where parts would come in, they would be inventories, they would be tracked, UPS would pick up the parts, if it was bigger, then they would use an LTL carrier. They'd come into a facility. The engineers that UPS hired would work with some of the General Motors engineers and the supplies as well to really break down those parts and see why they were failing. I mean, that was a whole win-win for everybody because it allowed GM to be able to work with buyers better. It allowed a revenue stream for UPS. It cut through the bureaucracy.


Do you have any final recommendations on how 3PLs can start to innovate again?


I think it's taking a step back. This is interesting in that, throughout my career, if you do a good job for your customer, business begets business. Organic growth is the way to go. So you earn your stripes every day you provide ideas, you understanding points of the customer's business, and additional revenue opportunities will come, and that will bring innovation back, because the customer will see that you add value.


Over my career, I've been in organizations from a pure new business perspective. We never were able to make the revenue plan, but we were always able to smash the revenue plan by getting add-on business because our customers loved us. And that was in both companies that I was at. I guess, to say is you need to do a good job. You need to prove for yourself, and at the same time, you can't pinch so many pennies that you have to make an investment in your customer as well. But they also, at the same time, have to make an investment in your 3PL as well. So it's got to be a partnership and a win-win for everybody.


And thanks for sharing today, Jim.


You're welcome.



About Jim Bisaha






Jim Bisaha


President - Logistics Trends Inc



LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Tricia Heidemann who discussed Greening our Supply Chains in the HABA/Beauty Arena.







Tricia, could you first provide a brief of yourself?


Sure. My background is in supply chain management with an emphasis on greening the beauty supply chain. My background started in pharmaceuticals. I was buying raw materials and components for aesthetic dermatology and pharmaceutical company. And what that transitioned into was going into replenishment of global distribution platforms for skincare for an Australian skincare company while I was based in the US. That meant a lot of making sure that not only the raw materials that were being sourced from the biodynamic for the ingredients but also the actual components and everything got rolled into making sure that the whole globe was able to be supplied with the brand's product for their specific launches.


Once I transitioned out of that, I went into the strategic sourcing category from the supply chain standpoint for Henkel with Sexy Hair Concepts and that meant managing the contract manufacturers as well as the vendors that provided the componentry and secondary packaging for the brand. And making sure that not only were we getting the best pricing, but we were also optimizing the smartest supply chain from inception to launch each year for the brands that we were launching.


I also have a background in manufacturing and distribution with the lowest carbon footprint. And a lot of people say that. And typically what that means is just being about to capture additional cost-savings and increased margins for the clients. There are so many different ways to do this, and a lot of it starts from that product development standpoint with cost savings as well as getting those increased margins by not only sourcing the best raw materials but also looking at the different standpoints from where the manufacturer is and the actual distribution and freights and also using contract manufacturers that utilize the renewable energies.


We work with a company called BAM Superior Solutions, and they do amazing these for the contract manufacturers, because they have huge electrical bills, energy bills based on manufacturing of these products for us. So what they do is they go in and put solar panels on, battery backups, so we never have to worry about, "Oh, we're not able to produce your product. You're going to miss your launch because we don't have the ability to turn on all of the machines." And that's a huge, huge resource and part of greening the supply chain that we use.


My business partner, Karen Reznik, started out in the entertainment industry, and she was drawn into beauty to lead product launches and manage project managers. And her specialty is in the actual project management and product development for our high-profile projects. So these are well-known, established brands that people go into the Sephoras and Ultas and grab that product off of the shelf and have been using it for years. And she's been a part of that. So that's what started Athena Beauty Group was just our passion.My background was supply chain management and Karen, with the ability to do the product development in the forefront of that and combining together has just been so much fun.


What does greening the supply chain mean to you?


Greening the supply chain can mean so many different things. But for us, it's making sure that we're able to get our clients that lower margin so that they can use that extra working capital for the things that they want to, such as social media campaigns and marketing. When we do our market analysis, it's all about how the brand is going to be perceived and [inaudible 00:04:43] and that's where we suggest the product type and size and packaging based on the current market conditions and the trends.


So when you go to actually green that supply chain for that specific brand, it's looking at everything from the very beginning. So again, it's the contract manufacturer. How are they utilizing their resources? Are they using renewable energy, such as the battery backup and the solar panels? Are they using the secondary packaging, or do we need to source a secondary packaging vendor that we have selected that uses the FSD certified and the soy-based inks? And that is a huge part of not only being able to market for their brand but also cutting back on their costs, because that's definitely where the globe is going when it comes to products that are sitting in the HABA aisles. They want to see the leaping bunny certified. They want to see the FSC,all of these eco certs, things like that. It's a huge part of what markets the beauty brands that we work with, the prestige and also the masstige. Everyone is definitely paying attention to that.


So I think that the best way to say green your supply chain, make sure that you have a team that is looking at your overall carbon footprint, so everything from the beginning, which is the product development. And using and creating formulas or reformulating so that you actually have a formula that isn't ingredients from that no-no list — the parabens, the sulfates, the phthalates, things like that. And also sourcing raw materials that aren't on that no-no list and that are certified as fairtrade or ecocert or organic. That's huge. That's not something that is going to go away.


How can this be done effectively in the HABA beauty arena?


That's a really good question. There is so many different things that you can do. I briefly touched on them. But I think that the most important one is when you are in that beginning stage — in the product development and/or reformulation — you want to make sure that your product is efficacious but it still is something that people can pick it up and look at the ingredient list and say, "Okay. Yes, this is a clean formula. I know that I can put this on." Especially for women, they want to know that they're not putting anything in their skin that will affect, later on in life, if they decide to have a child. There is nothing in the ingredient list that will potentially cause cancer or endocrine disruptors or tumors or things that the campaign for Safe Cosmetics Act points out.And that's a great resource, and people use it now. There are apps that people scan and it connects right to those. And it can say, based on a color gradient scale, this is a really great formula. It has in the green area where it's not going to be something that could potentially be harmful to you all the way up to the red saying this is why this could potentially be harmful. And then the consumer can make that educated choice. But it's all about the education.


The health and beauty aisle is something that originally when it started out, just more in the natural, crunchy, granola-y, now it's become the trendy more of the norm expectations, especially when it comes to the buyers. I used to be in my background. So I can relate very well to what they're looking for. And now it's just based on what that consumer knows that they should not have in that ingredient list and educating yourself based on it.


Where have you seen success in implementing changes?


We've seen a lot of success with implementing these changes just purely based on what the buyers are asking of us. Obviously when you have people going out and going in to buy their beauty, skincare products, hair-care, nail, color cosmetics, they already know what they want. They've already done the research on many different sites. They're very educated. The consumer is so educated now. So when they're going into Sephora, for example, they know what they are looking for. And the buyers have to react to that. So they notice the uptick in the more natural category, which is why the indie category is becoming so huge. We're based in Los Angeles, California, and there is such a demand for indie beauty brands. I could go on and on about it. But the bottom line is that ticks the buyers to know that they need to change what it is that they're looking for for the brands that they're forecasting to come in for their marketing plan.


So the success in greening the supply chain is very transparent. When you look at all of the new brands, look at 2016 and go into these retail channels and look at what they're launching for 2017. There is such a huge demand for the more natural category that doesn't have those no-no lists in the ingredient lists, but also is very focused on efficacy. And you can absolutely have both now.



About Tricia Heidemann






Tricia Heidemann


Co-Founder/ Supply Chain Management


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jeannie Pumphrey who discussed Third Party Risk Management.






Third party risk management is managing the risk inherently introduced through the utilization of a third party in either the performance of services for a business or the outsourcing to a third party. Third party, as defined by the OCC, is any business arrangement between a bank and another entity by contract or otherwise. So, as you can imagine, this opens up a very broad definition. Sometimes you will hear them identified as a vendor, a supplier, counterparty, joint venture, and even or a parent or a subsidiary is considered a third party.


So when we talk about the risk introduced by a third party, we have to look all the way through their supply chain, because that risk also comes through fourth parties or what we would consider subcontractors. So the suppliers or third parties that our third parties use in performance of services provided to a company. As that service, that practice, has grown of outsourcing core business practices to third parties, so has the risk involved in the company receiving those. And some of those risks have materialized based on bad performance or failed performance, data and information breeches and just bad business practices as we've seen in the mortgage industry I'm sure everybody is familiar with.


So not only is management of third parties regulatory mandate, it's also a business imperative.


Who does it impact? It impacts, really, everyone in terms of suppliers, employees, stakeholders, and our customers. So when you think about, even from a brand or reputational risk, when you have one of those data breeches, it's going to impact all of those folks on a regular basis. So it's really everybody's responsibility, from an organizational perspective, to make sure that this is something that they keep top of mind when dealing with any external third parties.


Who needs to pay more attention to third-party risk management?


When we look across the landscape of the third-party risk management within industries, we really see that the financial services industry is probably leading in terms of they've been at this for quite a while. As I mentioned earlier, the GLBA probably prompted the majority of the third-party risk management obligations from a financial perspective. So when we think about who really needs to come up to speed and get with it, if you will, I'd say the laggards are the insurance and retailers.


Retailers, as we've seen in the industry, the breeches are there. They're dealing with customer information, customer financial data. And the insurance industry, because they're not regulated by the FRB or the OCC, have really not had as much movement as you would like to see within the third-party risk management space. I think there is an opportunity there for them to take some of the learnings that the financial services have had and kind of get up to speed very quickly, climb that ramp, and get a program that they could implement to help them in a relatively short period.


Another group, if you will, that we've seen in the industry are around the community banks and the mid-tier banks, because as some of them are regulated by the FRB or OCC, they were never really called out as key constituents of this regulatory guidance until December of 2013 with the latest OCC guidance. So they also have some room to move in terms of the maturity scale. And I think that we'll see that coming around from both regulators as well as the industry in the next year or so.


What do you see as the future of third-party risk management?


The future that I would see is really around continuous change, more regulatory influence, more stringent management on those third parties that are considered critically important to organizations. I foresee more internal and external audits, both to businesses themselves as well as their third parties. I see the sourcing and supply chain organizations stepping up to have a better understanding of supply chain internally in better management of their program, processes, and procedures on an ongoing basis. And I think that based on the guidance that came out recently by the CFPB and the FRB and OCC, I hope that these organizations are looking at scaling their programs based on the services provided by the third parties so that we stop seeing this one-size-fits-all approach that seems to fail more often than not and that the programs themselves are based on the risk involved with the delivery of services.And I that that's really where the industry needs to go in terms of third-party risk management and how to better manage that supply chain and those third parties.


Well thank you, Jeannie, for sharing today.


I appreciate it, Dustin. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.



About Jeannie Pumphrey






Jeannie Pumphrey


Integrity, Excellence and Execution - Enabling Client Success


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Finn Laursen who discussed M&A in the Transport Industry.







Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Yes. Thank you. And thank you for calling. Yes, I have been in the transport industry for 20 years, both in shipping and forwarding. And then I have been within the IT solutions for transport and logistic another 20 years before a found this company. I had an IT company by myself, which I sold five years ago. So I have tried on my own how to sell its own company.


With your background, how can your clients have any advance of this? How can they get help with mergers and acquisitions?


They have to think about advantages like what kind of business they are doing. I mean, it's not only to move to another point,  there are more aspects in the transport company. And there's different kinds of transport. They are transports within the road transport, sea transport, and airfreight, and a combination of all three, of all of them. And I have been working with those kinds of transport and therefore, I very fast can see what kind of transport they have and who I think could be interested in their business, if they want to sell.


What is the process when a company wants to sell?


It all starts with an informal meeting at our office in Copenhagen, or it could be at the seller's office. And then we discuss what kind of ideas they have and how are they prepared to sell companies, they may have a product company that have been maybe run a business for 20 years or more. And they are not to do too much having a great profit but making good money and had a good income over the years. So it's very important to think about this one, two, three years before you're really going to sell your company.


So we have an informal meeting and then if we go any further, we make an agreement and we then make a small teaser and send to those buyers we think could be good for the seller, for the selling company. And after the teaser, and if the seller pays the buyer a small interest, we make an NDA with the buyer. And then we have made an information memorandum with a [inaudible 00:03:14] financial figures and also oversee the budget for the next two to three years.


And then without the seller being with us, the seller is coming later when we have agreed on a price that we know that the seller would like to have in that range of that price. And then we take the seller with us because sometimes we're having to make negotiations with a buyer who sometimes can get [inaudible 00:03:59] each other. But that doesn't matter if we are getting a little bit upset with the buyer because we're not going to work in [inaudible 00:04:06] with the buyer afterwards.


Many sellers, they have to buy [inaudible 00:04:12] in the company for at least one, half or two years, together with the buyer, and therefore it is important to they have a good feeling about each other, and they can see each other every day without getting upset.


Does the seller have a realistic idea of the price they want to sell?


Not really. Some of them have. But many times, they have maybe 20 to 40% more that their company could bring in. So there, we have to tell them where we think the price should be. It could be, of course, they can have a higher price if they agree on a certain amount for the first or second year. So they have an interest to make sure that that company is going to do the same good performance as they were doing before when it was their own business.


Are there any companies that to sell or buy?


Yes. There are. They're both, I think, in today, in Scandinavia, I think there are more companies who wants to buy than companies are selling. And there we see sometimes that, especially if the owner is getting older and do not have some party in the family to take over, we see when they start to do this, it may be sometimes too late. We always say to our clients, if you want to sell, sell when you are on the top, not when you're going down, because many think, "Okay. Next year is getting better." And then if next year is not getting better, the price is only going one way, and that is down.


So it's important to find the right time to do it and to make sure and to have someone to help to start this process.


So is selling your company, your so-called baby, is this the same as when you sell a service or a product? Can you talk about what is important before you start to process?


It's important that you realize that when you're talking about selling your service and your product, because your services and products [inaudible 00:06:54] big pride in your product and your service, it's not the same as when you're selling your own company. I have tried by myself when I sold my IT company five years ago. It was a different process you have here, because you have so many feelings within it. It's like being a part of your family that you're having to not work with anymore. So that's important that you have somebody to help you. It could be [inaudible 00:07:25], a company like ours. It could be solicitor or it could be somebody else. But I think it's important that you have a third party to give you the right advice and to do some of the negotiations for you in this process.


What is your advice if someone goes in and plans for selling their company?


I think they have to, first, I think they have to think about how is my company today. Is it really a good shot on the figures? Is it a good turnover? Can I approve an increase in turnover for the last three to five years? Can I also prove that there's been an interest in the [inaudible 00:08:18] for the last three to have years. That is important. And also, that I've made some [inaudible 00:08:24] who looks very similar what I have made in the increase for the past years.


Also, it's important, many companies, when the buyer company, they're wanting to have the second person in the company so [inaudible 00:08:38] for you is that the right person who can take over the business if the seller [inaudible 00:08:46] go into [inaudible 00:08:47] he doesn't want to carry on in the business. Or if they make an agreement that the seller is leaving the company...very soon. And then it's [inaudible 00:09:07] and the company and has a good [inaudible 00:09:10] with the [inaudible 00:09:11] and the customers.


Another thing is, of course, also, you have to bear in mind to think about how important is the company name for me when I [inaudible 00:09:23] is important that is [inaudible 00:09:26] bear my name, or is it not very important to you. Many who sell their company operations [inaudible 00:09:34] 20 or 30 years, [inaudible 00:09:36] with the company name is going to stay for another five to ten years, some way or the another. So those things, you really have to think about before you're starting, go into an MNA or another advisor to sell your company.


Well thank you, Finn, for sharing today.


Yeah. Okay. You're welcome.


About Finn Laursen






Finn Laursen

Managing Partner at Laursen Partners and Director / Advicer for Venzone Consulting


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Bennet Bayer who discussed Collaboration, the Currency of Business.







It’s great to speak to you today, Bennet. And I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the topic of Collaboration, the Currency of Business.


Well, thank you, Dustin. I think the rationale for running a successful business today includes knowing how supplies and customers lead the personalized engagement in today's connected, digital environment. Now for me, success in technology business, my fields, and specifically in  product marketing is built... How do we build bridges across the various constituents in the ever-involving need to become close to the digitally connected vendor or customer.


Now to facilitate these relationships that foster communication with the minimum of complexity across multiple market segments and product lines is the goal of collaboration, which therefore, I believe, becomes the currency of business. Now collaboration as business currency needs to go beyond the traditional unified communications and instant messaging technologies. As a start, I look at business social solutions, which mixes technologies that the CIO and CMO can bolt on quickly.


Some examples would include IBM Connections, Jive , Moxie. These are examples of core business social platforms. Or another way to think of it is linked-in groups with communications the share points integrated into it, plus other elements to map and monitor the interactions between members and their efficiencies. By doing this, mission critical applications such as CRM and ERP become revenue positive. Collaboration focuses everybody on building trusted relationships with the customers and vendors. And each member of the organization and vendor can interact with the distribution channels with a timely response relevance, which is often a differentiator in business.


How does this work? How are the impacts and relationships?


I think of the collaboration solution as a series of concentric circles starting with each product or service team, the “what” that the business does. This is replicated across each product and service managed. Another way to do this is to go by how the company is making money, into what channels and verticals.


Now this group connects with the engineers and the developers of the OEM team and then to the supplies. The solution then extends to include front line sales and the customer service teams and eventually to the customers themselves. Now once you find once these teams have integrated, the last component is to extend solution and find interaction in between. And you want to map this out into what they call the customer journey.


How is this valuable?


Again, I think of each product and it's chain as a series of connected linked in groups. Communication can be focused between two individuals with one distribution partner or all of them. The market communication is greatly enhanced, even to include social media. Customer care is more personalized and distributed and includes the ability to interact with the vendor and the CRM solution and the ERP solution. And extending it into social to give a higher level of transparency.


And this is where the power of business intelligence, dashboards, and visualization can really be leveraged and quantified. The methodology is overlaid with communications, especially unified communication, mobile, insta-messaging, and social. CRM and ERP become, actually, self-funding. Social media and customer inputs become measured across each channel and each touch point. And the customer experiences are monitored by mapping the customer journey. The customer journey is each and every point in which someone interacts with the end user.


Now collaboration, I believe, makes this customer journey mapping come to life and become measureable. The compelling reason is to change the nature of customer relationships and the connected digital customer is 40% more likely to change their allegiance and shift their spend. And there's another 25% developing that mindset. Those are four statistics that come to mind.


What tools would you use?


Well the benefits of this collaboration goes beyond getting everyone on the same page. Using collaborative tools around customer and vendor experience and managing campaigns and the communications enable five different things.


First, to be able to see where and when the customer and vendor experiences satisfaction or the pain points. What are the moments of truth and barriers to forward movement?

And then we have the visualization to develop metrics. We can have dashboards. And on the effectiveness and value of the member interactions,visualization also shows how the customer is using the products or services across each department and each business silo and even each vendor and sub-supplier.


This highlights what is most important to your customers and what contributes to or detracts from what they value and drives their loyalty, which benefits everybody. And the marketing measurement of these actions, which is always difficult to quantify but now you're able to and you are more likely to be able to structure offer and redemptions which are affecting the members at each level. And finally, there's a demonstration of the operational process and methodologies in a given area, impacting the entire organization.


Now using tools to do brainstorming is also beneficial. This is also known as sticky note collaboration. Virtually, you save the organization time and money and automation is required. The traditional way to map the customer journey is linking sticky notes around the wall. Fortunately, there are some automation tools that have come on the market -- SuiteCX, Journia [ph]and Jenro[ph] come to mind and they are very helpful, especially SuiteCX.


Tools bring quantified measurement of the information consolidation. It gives you a single place for performance and operational, rational, even emotional data,and the attachment of data and content to collaboration. And then you have the visualization again, which you collect, the collaborative and social interaction about behaviors and processes assessed by multiple users, enabling management to the path from discovery and the purchase through fulfillment, along with filters and various needs.


And then finally, there's a dynamic versus the static. You're enabling a continuous adaptation to drive your strategy, your planning, and your tactics. It's a live, living, configurable dashboard to track trends and progress.


What is gamification and what do you see that helping?


Well, embedding communications and the customer journey mapping tools into your organization collaboration solution provides renewable benefits and a part of continuous improvement. And that continuous improvement culture within a business and the channels are directed by the customer needs. And at, your vendor relationships are directed by the end users.

Tangible benefits include documentations of each interaction point, a holistic view of the company, the employee, partner, and customer experience. Getting to see what works or not with data drives specifics along with the gaps and opportunities between each.


And the overall purpose of this is to see what is working and what's not. Now this is driven by the data and used to measure each collaboration, the extent to which each person contributes or obstructs what's going on. That's gamification. And finding these gaps is one key to business management in the digital age. And this is the point and the purpose of gamification, which we take from online gaming. Each player gets a score. And rather than scoring points, as in online gaming or online marketing, gamification for collaboration tracks each member's contribution, what is the value of that contribution, the frequency of it, or lack thereof. And ideally, this becomes part of human resources and a tool for them to reward and incent for success.


Now to the customer, this could be applied as discounts and recognition and adds to the vendor. Perhaps the vendor in the supply chain gets involved in supplying or providing a solution for care. That should go into the financial benefits and relationship between the vendor and OEM.


The tangible benefits include engagement of key stakeholders throughout the organization and certainly a [inaudible 00:10:19] we saw a great success with this. It provides the means of breaking down silos and a rationalization for the company, the employee. And it's focusing everybody on the customer's needs. In short, it's innovation. Innovation that can be measured, executed and recognized,not to mention the emotional buy-in for everyone through visual storytelling.


I think the digital connected customer and worker are constantly multi-tasking. And by mapping this journey to the customer from supplier through the product teams, through  the front line and customer care. And then you overlay this into CRM and ERP and the communications with measurement to collaboration, you can understand and create relevant currency for the business in the connected age.


Thank you.


About Bennet Bayer






Bennet Bayer


Former Global CMO of Huawei


LinkedIn Profile