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Let's Talk Supply Chain

Let's Talk Supply Chain is not your average supply chain podcast. We feature not just the top of the industry, but also diverse voices from within the community, new innovations and the disrupters making waves in the industry. Don’t listen to the same ol' same ol', be sparked by new ideas and fresh perspectives only on Let's Talk Supply Chain.
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Now displaying: October, 2020
Oct 29, 2020

This is the fourth and final show in our “What Does Intermodal Mean to You” series, in partnership with IANA.

In last week’s episode, ‘The Technology,’ I was joined by Phil Shook, Vice President at C.H. Robinson, to talk about exactly what kinds of tech is used in the industry; the importance of connectivity and partnerships; why technology companies themselves are attracted to the intermodal industry – and the role IANA thinks tech will play in the industry moving forward.

Today in Episode 4, ‘The Workforce,’ I’m joined by Mark McKendry, Vice President North American Intermodal at NFI, to shine a light on workforce development: the trends, the skills, the challenges – and what the future will look like for people in supply chain.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[01.14] Mark’s role at NFI and a key misconception about intermodal.

“The perception of intermodal is that it’s a minor player compared to truck.”

[02.19] e-commerce acceleration, a major supply chain trend affecting the workforce right now.

[03.57] From smaller, local warehouses to staff who work remotely, the current trends in decentralised workforces.

“The pandemic has brought us 10 years into the future, to show us what decentralised work can really look like.”

[5.15] From truck driving shortages to curiosity and a willingness to learn, the skills that are needed in intermodal right now.

“Being curious can get you into a leadership role in this industry.”

[11.12] Technology within intermodal – its impact, and current gaps.

“There are far too many pieces of proprietary technology – there’s no real dominant player”

[15.57] The challenges to entering intermodal, and the benefits of being a generalist.

[18.09] What is an IMC, and their benefits.

[19.33] Developing workforces for the future.

[23.10] Whether a certain level of education is needed to enter supply chain.

“There’s a strong argument for not needing college degrees for many of the roles in our industry.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to IANA’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 26, 2020

Jon Trask founded Digital SCM over 12 years ago and as the industry changed, he kept up. He went on to found ETA Guru and Identity Guru, which ultimately came together with Digital SCM to create Blockchain Guru, the powerhouse company we’re talking about today.

Blockchain Guru is working at the forefront of emerging tech, blending tested technology with modern advancements to deliver tangible results.

Today, Jon and I will be chatting about artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency and their benefits; how Blockchain Guru is making big changes in supply chain, and how emerging tech will help to shape the future of, not just logistics, but the world.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[07.51] What exactly is blockchain.

[08.55] The benefits of sharing data.

“People are generally reluctant to share their data, but [sharing data] gives you the ability to have a better, more robust process in improving your business.”

[11.21] From reducing third party dependency to creating immutable data, the benefits of blockchain.

 “In a world where we’re always worried about data security, blockchain changes what data security looks like.”

[14.34] The relationship between blockchain and bitcoin.

[15.33] The idea of data as currency.

[16.40] An overview of AI and machine learning, and its benefits.

[20.55] The balance between people and technology.

[24.41] An overview of Blockchain Guru, and ETA Guru.

“We help an organisation to define a problem, and then solution that problem.”

[30.31] A closer look at Digital SCM, and how the industry has changed since its inception 12 years ago.

“Historically, a lot of our work was around helping companies who are struggling with their existing technology. So, the mission hasn’t changed, but what’s changed is the technology.”

[36.32] Examples of how Blockchain Guru has helped customers to make efficiencies and save money.

“It’s amazing how much value is hidden in the data.”

[40.54] When, and why, you should get in touch with Blockchain Guru.

[43.58] From problem-solving to a unique solution for cattle-tracing, the future for Blockchain Guru.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to Blockchain Guru’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 22, 2020

This is the third show in our “What Does Intermodal Mean to You” series, in partnership with IANA.

In last week’s episode ‘The Equipment,’ we spoke to Frank Sonzala, CEO of CIE Manufacturing, about the types of equipment that are key within the intermodal industry, what role they play in keeping freight moving and why maintenance is so important.

Today in Episode 3, ‘The Technology’ I’m joined by Phil Shook, Vice President at C.H. Robinson to talk about exactly what kinds of tech are used in the industry; the importance of connectivity and partnerships; why technology companies themselves are attracted to the intermodal industry – and the role IANA thinks tech will play in the industry moving forward.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[01.20] Phil’s 20+ year career at C.H. Robinson, how much he’s seen the industry change over that time, and his current role in staying abreast of technology so he can make the right decisions for their intermodal business line.

“Collaboration is why the change has been so quick, and so successful."

[03.41] From track and trace and cargo sensors all the way to AI and machine learning, the key technology defining the intermodal industry right now.

“It’s starting to get more integrated – and smarter.”

[06.40] The chain of custody in intermodal and how advancements in technology are helping to deliver a much higher degree of confidence for clients.

[08.25] The importance of data to consumer buying habits, and how key industry problems can be solved with data driven insights.

[12.39] How data drives connectivity and transparency, allowing businesses to measure up against best in class, create efficiencies and collaborate to drive better outcomes and solutions.

“Presenting data in a non-threatening and fact-based way opens up conversations, and customers are willing to change behavior because of it.”

[19.18] Why tech companies are focusing on intermodal, and supply chain in general.

[23.46] From growth in AI and machine learning to investment in railroad, the future of intermodal and supply chain.

“We need to make sure we're developing the technology to keep up with an ever-changing consumer buying habit.”

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to IANA’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 19, 2020

Export Development Canada has been Canada’s credit agency for over 75 years. Through their years of industry experience, they’ve helped businesses across Canada to manage risk, secure finance and establish themselves on a global platform.

Today, we talk to Zeeshan Fazal, Senior Account Manager - Technology Group at EDC to talk about helping SME’s achieve global success, how COVID-19 has affected the nations’ industry and the huge role EDC plays in supporting the Canadian economy.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[08.08] An overview of EDC, how they began and how they can help.

[10.39] EDC’s financial solutions, and their focus on managing risk.

[13.45] EDC’s non-financial solutions, and how they help Canadian businesses to navigate the international market.

[19.26] How EDC's Global Trade Team find and facilitate opportunities, by analyzing the global market and ‘matchmaking’ with Canadian businesses.

[24.15] The importance of championing SME’s, and their benefits over big business.

“The world is asking for innovative solutions, and flexibility.”

[26.43] A real life success story, and the EDC solutions that facilitated it, including risk management, and secure credit lines.

“Try to protect yourself as much as possible when you’re beginning a new relationship.”

[38.13] EDC’s integrity and commitment to social responsibility.

“We’re all learning, but it’s important to start off with a robust approach to ensure we’re living in a fair world that promotes peace and justice.”

[42.24] The impact of COVID-19 and how EDC pivoted to support Canadian business in their time of need.

[47.01] Ambition, growth and innovation, the future for both EDC and Canadian business.

“Canadian companies have proven on the global scale that they're innovative and have the capabilities to respond to global demand.”

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to EDC’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 15, 2020

This is the second show in our “What Does Intermodal Mean to You” series, in partnership with IANA.

In last week’s episode ‘The Industry,’ we spoke to Jim Newsome President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority in Charleston. We found out more about what the intermodal industry is, how it works and how ecommerce has changed the landscape of the industry. We learned more about IANA and its role within the industry, and about the impressive investment in infrastructure that Jim has been overseeing over at the South Carolina Ports Authority.

Today in Episode 2, ‘The Equipment’ we’re talking to Frank Sonzala, CEO of CIE Manufacturing. We’re going to explore what equipment is key within the intermodal industry, what role it plays in keeping freight moving, why maintenance is so important – and we’ll be having a little bit of fun with a maintenance horror story, to remind you why paying attention to the details can make or break your supply chain.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[01.01] Frank’s impressive 37 years in the industry, and how he moved from vendor to in-house with CIE Manufacturing.

[02.45] From containers to cranes, the various components that come together to make up the intermodal industry.

[07.29] The improvements Frank has seen in road safety.

“In 2010 when CSA came in, the chassis really started to blossom into a maintenance machine that was taken care of on a timely basis instead of on a breakdown basis.”

[11.33] A maintenance horror story – why pro-active maintenance and repair is vital.

“Quality and safety mean so much!”

[14.31] IANA’s maintenance and repair committee, and the benefit it brings to the intermodal industry.

"We're all about preventative maintenance now."

[18.21] How IANA established best practice for the industry and have so successfully connected its disparate elements.

“The future is bright for intermodal and it needs bright young people to carry on the torch.”

[20.29] How technology has changed the face of intermodal.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to IANA’s website and CIE Manufacturing's website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 14, 2020

Welcome to Blended! This is a brand new show for Let’s Talk Supply Chain and it’s going to be a little bit different to what you’ve heard before.

We talk a lot about the challenges facing our industry as a whole – changing technology, network complexity, surprises like COVID-19 – but what we don’t talk as much about is the people. The people that really drive our industry forward. And specifically, the under-represented people in our industry.

I’ve been flying the flag for women in supply chain for a few years now, through the podcast and some of my other endeavors, but Blended is going to go much further than that. Because it’s not just women who are a minority – we need to be thinking about the LGBTQIA community, people of color, those with disabilities, whether they’re visible or hidden.

As minorities, we need to join together to support each other and be each other’s allies - to ensure we ALL have a seat at the table to make our industry the absolute best it can be.

Today in Episode 1, ‘What’s in a Name,’ we’re going to be talking all about the language we use when discussing minorities – what do these words mean to us, and to others; are there right or wrong words to use, and what are the subtexts of those words; and what does diversity, inclusion and identity mean to us.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[03.29] Introductions to our Blended panelists.

  • Prakash M Radhakrishnan – Courier Operations at Toll and award-winning YouTube producer with a focus on disability and mental health.
  • Holly Qualman – VP of Marketing and Client Solutions America for Apex Logistics and adopted Korean-American woman, flying the flag for multi-racial unity.
  • Matthew Hernandez – General Manger for North America at Xenata and representative of both the LatinX and LGBTQIA communities.
  • Hope White – Founder and CEO of HD White Logistics, Founder of Hope White Consulting and Logistically Speaking Online and proud black woman.
  • Greg White – Founder of Blue Ridge Global, host of Supply Chain Now and father of daughters, with native American heritage.

[11.23] The word ‘minority’ and its connotations.

“It’s time to think about the world on a global scale.” Greg.

  • Is it a beneficial or derogatory term?
  • Does it perpetuate the feeling of being ‘other’ or ‘less than,’ since its technical definition is less than half the whole?
  • How does the insistence on labelling people affect mental health and self-esteem?
  • How does being a minority affect your goals and ambitions – are they personal to you, or are they developed so you can conform to a societal norm?
  • Are we designed to keep each other at arm’s length; is the tendency towards segregation a result of evolution – how do we push the reset button on human nature?
  • Are labels necessary at all, or are we all just people?

“It’s another stage of evolution – before we develop the language for it, we need to understand how we got here.” Matthew.

[33.20] What words should we be using specifically for the disability community?

“There’s no rulebook – and the disability community feel the same.” Prakash

[36.10] The impact of upbringing.

  • Why the way that we’re raised is so vital – prejudice is learnt, or tackled, at an early age.
  • Why we need to support everyone to succeed, and make sure that those at a disadvantage get equal if not greater support.
  • The danger in not taking on board peoples experiences and viewpoints because of preconceptions.
  • How the use of incorrect labels muddies the water and creates confusion.
  • Assumption is ignorance: the importance of being able to continue to interpret and learn.

[44.12] What words should we be using specifically for the LGBTQIA community and people of color?

  • Why it’s important to take the time to listen.
  • How some words have traditionally been used to separate minorities and make them ‘an other.’
  • Why education is so important.

[55.28] The importance of identity.

“It’s not what you’re called, it's what you answer to.” Hope

  • Why we all need to be in charge of our own identities.
  • How descriptors have changed over time and the impact that those changes have had.
  • Why it’s OK to ask, as long as you’re asking for the right reason.
  • Why we need to pay attention to the nuances of individual identities.
  • The responsibility of minorities to educate others.
  • The importance of open and honest conversations, that come from a place of empathy and understanding.

[69.09] Today’s buzzwords: diversity and inclusion.

So many of us minorities have to jump through so many hoops just to get a small slither of the pie.” Hope

  • What do these words mean to us?
  • Can you have one without the other?
  • How the meaning of diversity and inclusion can be influenced by how we’re raised, or what we’re exposed to on a long-term basis.
  • Why diversity and inclusion also need to include processes to build the foundations for education and understanding and promoting acceptance.

Often in the corporate world, we know there’s a problem, but we very seldom have the opportunity to talk about it openly.” Matthew

[80.16] Our summaries of ‘what’s in a name.’

  • Keep an open mind – Holly
  • Everyone has a story – Hope
  • Don’t be scared to ask the question – Prakash
  • Take some time to self-reflect – Matthew
  • Seek first to understand – Greg

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 12, 2020

Pallet Alliance takes a holistic approach to pallet program management that’s far more than just quoting pallet prices. Through managing cost drivers like sourcing, design and implementation, they deliver comprehensive solutions tailored to fit operational requirements, whilst investments in Iot-based logistics, customized reporting, and industry-leading expertise continue to drive their ongoing improvement.

And Tyson Steffens plays a key role. After holding positions at General Electric and United States Gypsum, he initially joined Pallet Alliance in 2003 as a business development manager. But now, after nearly 20 years with the company, Tyson and the team are transforming pallet program management with new technology, tailored solutions and a fresh outlook.

Today Tyson will be sharing his thoughts on the importance of partnerships, championing industry improvement, and how Pallet Alliance can help you to optimize cost, quality, and efficiency through their unique collaborative approach.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[08.50] How Tyson’s background in engineering, and at United States Gypsum, led him to the pallet industry.

[10.59] Exactly what Pallet Alliance does and how it helps its customers.

“We’re coming in as a cross functional team of speciality buyers.”

[13.37] The variety of options available in the pallet market, and how Pallet Alliance helps guide customers through them to find the right solution.

“We’re material, design and program agnostic – our goal is to help the customer.”

[17.33] The hurdles that companies often face when trying to source the right pallets for them, and Pallet Alliances’ holistic approach to problem-solving.

[20.21] How teamwork and sourcing the right product can save time and money down the line.

[22.13] Some real-life examples of the positive change and value that Pallet Alliance has delivered for its customers.

[27.23] A look at Pallet Alliance’s ideal customer.

[29.55] Why partnership is so important, both technically, and culturally.

“Nobody can do everything by themselves – we really do need each other.”

[33.25] Pallet Alliance’s commitment to social issues.

[38.25] From organic growth to a focus on de-risking, the future for Pallet Alliance.

“We’re the people to marry the pallet world with technology.”

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to Pallet Alliance’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 8, 2020

This is the first episode of our latest mini-series in partnership with IANA: The Intermodal Association of North America. Over the next four episodes, our “What Does Intermodal Mean to You?” series is going to take a closer look at the intermodal industry and its benefits, the equipment and technology that serves it, and all of the different people involved.

Today in Episode 1, The Industry, I’m talking to Jim Newsome President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority in Charleston. We’ll be finding out exactly what the intermodal industry is and how it works; looking at how ecommerce has changed the landscape of intermodal in recent years; learning more about IANA and its role within the industry; and finding out about the impressive investment in infrastructure that Jim has been overseeing over at the South Carolina Ports Authority.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[01.25] Jim’s background, his role with the South Carolina Ports Authority and a closer look at what the intermodal industry is.

“To me it’s the confluence of modes of transportation to provide an efficient product.” 

[03.52] From 3PL’s to container shipping, the key intermodal supply chain players.

[06.51] The benefits of intermodal transportation.

[10.09] The need for better infrastructure and the challenge of planning for growth.

“Our port, by the end of next year, will have invested over 2 billion dollars in infrastructure.”

[12.55] Why global businesses, like BMW, set up home and invest near ports.

[15.12] The possibility of re-shoring manufacturing post-COVID.

[17.28] A closer look at the South Carolina Ports Authority’s recent investment projects.

[19.49] Exactly what an Inland Port is, and its benefits.

“It’s been a winning concept for us. We’ve quadrupled the volume of moves per day in the last decade.”

[22.34] What the next 5 years might look like for the industry.

“We’re seeing a renaissance in retail distribution.”

[25.30] The future of technology and automation in intermodal.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to IANA’s website now to find out more and discover how they could help you too.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Oct 5, 2020

From gaining her degree in Business, with a concentration in transportation, Michelle has gone from strength to strength. Her career has seen her achieve leadership roles within large organizations from Kraft to JC Penney, move all around the USA, and now sees her helping to shape the whole future of transport and supply chain, as the Vice President of Transportation for The Home Depot.

She’s also actively engaged within the industry and serves on the boards of a host of different associations, advising the industry and championing female leadership.

Today Michelle tells us all about her impressive career, her love for, and commitment to, the industry and the importance of supporting women in supply chain.

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

[06.44] How lively conversations with her trucking Father brought Michelle to supply chain, despite wanting to be a teacher in her early years.

“Never underestimate the power of a dinner conversation with your children!

[08.28] How a part-time job at a burger restaurant in her early teens helped Michelle to find her voice, through a focus on customer service and communication with management.

[10.17] The importance of mentorship and how, on reflection, the pressure of being a woman in a male-dominated industry meant Michelle didn’t always use her voice the way she now feels she could, or should, have.

[13.10] How The Home Depots' ethos matches with Michelle’s; and the challenges as well as the positives of working for the company.

“If you enjoy fast-paced, high-energy, challenging, thought-provoking workload, being in supply chain and transportation is a great area to be in.”

[14.50] How COVID has affected supply chain, and the benefits it’s brought along with it, from improved technology to more flexible communication.

[15.50] How an understanding of data is going to be key for the next generation.

[17.30] The benefits of engaging with the industry and taking seats on boards, from networking to giving back.

[20.11] How organisations like AWESOME are changing the game for women in business, and the importance of continuing to champion female voices.

[21.37] An overview of AWESOME.

[23.22] The challenges and benefits of the industry, particularly for women.

“The benefits far outweigh the challenges I’ve experienced.”

[26.51] Why Michelle now serves on the board of the Supply Chain Academy at Indiana University, the same institution where she gained her own degree.

[28.45] Michelle’s passion for working with people and helping them to achieve their own sets of goals and dreams.

“It keeps me energised every day.”

[29.39] Michelle’s advice for up and coming women in supply in chain.

“Just do it! If you don’t allow it to intimidate you, you will be pleasantly surprised at all the wonderful things you too will accomplish.”

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

Head over to LinkedIn to connect with Michelle and find out more.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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