Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen? Watch Scott and Beau as they interview Kyle Hooper for SCNR Episode 167 at the AIAG SCAC Supply Chain & Quality Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.
W. Kyle Hooper, MBA, CQE, CQA, LSSGB is the Manager of Procurement and SQM Excellence for Volvo Cars in North and South America. His responsibilities include: Procurement Sustainability, Digitalization, Process Management, and Training. Kyle brings over 15 years of experience working with complex supply chains and supplier development in the automotive and aerospace industries. Prior to joining Volvo, Kyle was the Manager of Supplier Development and Quality Systems at Enovation Controls who is a tier one automotive supplier producing on and off road electronic instrumentation in Tulsa, OK. In this role he was responsible for supplier development in North America, TS 16949 certification, and the deployment of a product lifecycle management system at five global locations. Additionally, Kyle has worked as a Supplier Quality Manager at Frontier Electronic Systems in the aerospace sector that provided high reliability electronic assemblies to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and NASA. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Oklahoma State University. He also received a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma Christian University. Kyle holds several quality certifications from the American Society of Quality (ASQ) which includes: Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor, and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Learn more about Volvo Cars here: https://www.volvocars.com/us
In this interview from the SCAC AIAG Supply Chain & Quality Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, Scott, Greg, and Beau Groover of The Effective Syndicate welcomed Kyle Hooper of Volvo Cars, to Supply Chain Now Radio.
[00:00:00] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
[00:00:29] All right. Good afternoon. Scott Luton here with you live on Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. So once again, we’re coming to you today from the AIAG SCAC Supply chain and Quality Conference in beautiful North Charleston, South Carolina. This conference is dedicated to the world of automotive and we have been meeting with a wide variety of the leading industry thought leaders that are here participating. Big thanks to our conference broadcast sponsor the Effective syndicate for making our coverage possible. Effective syndicate helps companies win by optimizing process and developing winning culture. You can learn more at the effective syndicate dot com. Quick programming note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays of radio channels Apple podcast, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, wherever else you find your podcasts. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe, so don’t miss anything. But you thought I was going to leave that one out for for Greene just for a minute. I was what I was watching out for Greg, though. So that’s Bo Gruber, my co-host for this session, founder and president of the Effective syndicate and co-host of our Leadership Matters series here in Supply Chain Now Radio. Beau, how are you doing? I’m doing just right.
[00:01:41] So we’ve got a really interesting story. I think we’ve been on quite a tear with the interviews we’ve had here at the event. And we’ve got a really interesting story to feature on this episode, the story of Volvo Car USA, which has made a huge splash into the U.S. market right here locally. Their first plant here in the states. And we’re now let’s introduce our featured guest for the segment, Kyle Hooper, manager of procurement and rescue him, excellence at Volvo Cars USA. Kyle, how are you doing? Well, how are you? We are doing fantastic in it for us. It’s energizing to sit here and here. You know, last session was on own trade with someone. I was very passionate about trade policy that the previous one was on talent. We’ve met with folks with AIG, which are great ambassadors for the automotive industry globally. So, hey, this is what we’d love to do and we’re looking forward to kind of dive more into your story here momentarily. All right. On that note, com before we talk about Volvo and the neat story I’ve been building there. Let’s get no the. So tell us more about yourself.
[00:02:44] Originally from Oklahoma, I went to the Oklahoma State University. Go Cowboys. That’s right. Yeah. After Oklahoma State, I went to work for a aerospace company dealing with high reliability, electronics and space applications, defense applications. I worked in the Spar quality area there. After that, I moved on to a Tier 1 automotive supplier in Tulsa, Oklahoma, specializing in natural gas fuel systems and also on an off road instrumentation to space in and automotive.
[00:03:17] I mean, you’ve got considerable experience. And two of the the mainline manufacturing industries driving the economy here at home.
[00:03:24] Lots. Yeah, lots of experience in that. Lots of testing experience. Looking at space applications. There’s really no room for error and really trying to focus in on who the right suppliers are, the right level of quality, and how we can deliver to our customers in a good way.
[00:03:39] Love that. And so and it probably just touched on a little bit there. But tell us about your role, specifically Volvo.
[00:03:45] So my role of Volvo is predominantly process management, looking at how we utilize and focused our people in the right areas. Sustainability is also another area of my responsibility. Looking at, you know, how we utilize our natural resources, carbon footprint with our supply base and also looking at digitalization, how do we how we use our systems in a right way to communicate and collaborate with our suppliers.
[00:04:14] And so heard three big huge buckets have three big plates. I mean, just the sustainability piece alone, especially out of an automotive organization, that’s a that’s a full time job. And then some, right?
[00:04:26] Yes, it is. We have lots of initiatives going on currently with sustainability, looking at our carbon footprint from our suppliers. How do we go about reducing that, introducing 25 percent of our plastics made from recycled material, about 20, 25. And I’m also looking at it from a from a material standpoint for cobalt sourcing and having full traceability of that by the end of this year.
[00:04:51] Outstanding. Of 25 percent of all the plastics going into vehicles to be reduced by 2025. I hear that right. 25 percent of. Recycle plastic. Gotcha, gotcha. Sorry. Those are big, lofty goals. Be hags, love that. Yeah. All right. Big, hairy all day shit. All right. So continuing with the Volvo Cars USA story here, so you’re part of the first U.S. plant that Volvo has ever had. So tell us more about what brought that decision for the company.
[00:05:23] Well, I think I think if you look at our our product strategy, since we were acquired by Geely in 2012 I’m sorry, 2010, that we really wanted a presence here in the U.S. and around 2015, we really saw a big turnaround in the U.S. market. And we we came to the realization that we need to have a presence in North America. And Charleston was the area for that. That really kicked off the project in 2015. And here we are four years later with full scale production going for one year now and already looking at sourcing for our second car.
[00:05:56] Fantastic. How many cars per day roll off the line? Around one hundred eighty two every day at the mall. And I wonder what we were talking before we went live. The styling of Volvo is just off the charts right now. That to me, is one of the best looking styling language. Design language, I think, is what they call it across all of the the areas. Did that change as far as, you know, into in 2015 when they came here?
[00:06:22] Was that part of the same like transformation, part of that part of the same transformation and really looking to how we can create a more stylish car that built to our customers in a better way? I think we really see that now with our cars that we have on the road with with the latest with a 60 sedan that we make here in Charleston. And it even go back to the the first vehicle in our SBA product line, that XY 90 right now, which is the second vehicle which we will be producing here in Charleston. It’s two thousand twenty two and twenty three. Awesome. And that’s just fantastic. What?
[00:06:54] The growth expansion.
[00:06:56] Good to hear.
[00:06:57] All right.
[00:06:58] So you are you’ve kind of just touched on what, Volvo mix here in South Carolina, but where they get their shit all over the globe, they roll out to the port here in Charleston and they’re shipped to China, to Europe all over the world.
[00:07:11] So we had someone on with a line port started this morning. Mike said Senate, I bet you’ll have a pretty tight working relationship with the ports.
[00:07:21] We have a good relationship with the port. We depend on them a lot as we have material coming in from our suppliers and also to are completed cars going out.
[00:07:30] So when we think about all the growth that you’ve been describing, what are and maybe, maybe, Bill, you’ve already nailed it. The exceptional styling, you know, maybe the design is ahead of its time. But what else is driving the growth? What’s this? This this this incredible levels of interest in the Volvo products.
[00:07:49] I think one thing, it goes back to safety. Volvo is known for their safe vehicles developing the seatbelt and allowing other automakers to utilize that technology without any royalties dating back to the 40s and 50s when they did that. I think also the stylish designs, they’re really good looking cars. Incredible. 60 that I have is awesome. I love to drive it. So, yeah, I think I think it’s the design and just the the practicality.
[00:08:18] Maybe. All right.
[00:08:19] The simplicity. I think no matter how complex cars get, at some point people buy them because the way they look. Right. I mean, not saying is the main reason, but when you take everything else away, somewhere in there, people think, man, that’s a good looking car. And again, I think it’s the styling, certainly the safety reputation that model has. And I think you guys have a really good quality, reliability, reputation as well. We do. So that’s a winning combo. So you’re saying there’s still an emotional attachment to humans and automobiles? I’m worried about the upcoming generation because it just didn’t seem to be there. But for I think those of us over 30, yes, we still love our cars and we love the way they look.
[00:08:59] All right. So let’s switch gears for a second. No pun intended about that. The Volvo Cars USA story. And let’s go a little bit more agnostic. I know Bo has been one of his interests, have been kind of seeing what industry trends have been on on our interviewees radar.
[00:09:17] Yeah. So, I mean, as you’re thinking about things, Kyle, what are one or two trends that you’re aware of? You’re watching maybe you’re worried about when you look at it, your horizon, you’ve got multiple hats that you’re wearing. What are the things that you kind of keep an eye on or you’re aware of?
[00:09:34] I would say probably one of the biggest ones right now is electric electrification moving in towards a maybe a fully electric vehicle and even hybrids here in the U.S. with all of our cars having an electric option in the future. Big focus on that right now within Volvo. Also, sustainability, how we take care of our natural resources. I mentioned CO2 footprint, recycle plastics. Really a. Some of the to do big initiatives that we have ongoing with Volvo cars and additionally with autonomous drive as well. Mm hmm.
[00:10:06] And I like again, going back to the plastic side to have 25 percent of all the plastic gel used to be recycled by 2025. Yes. That, you know, I think those types of big visionary goals is what it’s going to take to really change some of the things that we’ve seen from a sustainability standpoint. So all of these the story that you described, that Volvo is really building here is having a big impact on the local economy.
[00:10:40] So speak to that. The more so the plant in itself was a one point one billion dollar economic input or impact to this to the area of Charleston, South Carolina. Point one billion of the B is B and the impact from around for, you know, our suppliers and other people. Is it over four billion dollars? Mm hmm.
[00:11:03] That goes a long way.
[00:11:05] And how many people currently we’re approximately fifteen hundred people. And with the launch of our second car, we aim to be around 4000. Fantastic. Yeah.
[00:11:16] And that’s just is all of that direct for with Volvo and it doesn’t include the regional jobs that may be created as well. That’s purely Volvo. Yeah, man. OK. All right. So what? So we’re here again at the AIG, the Automotive Industry Action Group and the S.E.C. South Carolina Automotive Council. They team up. This is the third year I think they’ve posted this event on supply chain in quality. So what does what value do you see in Volvo seeing getting involved with this event and in particular, particularly SAIC?
[00:11:54] I think it’s a good, good opportunity for us to identify new potential vendors for being one thing. But it’s also a good partnership with the state of South Carolina. When we look at developing workforce, moving more into the future with a competitive marketplace out there right now, how can we have we can how can we get people in this community with relevant manufacturing experience where we think they can come in directly and work for us and plant?
[00:12:18] Fantastic. And we’ve seen a lot of that. I think deals have been made since we’ve been here that I have a collect. There’s been some deals made. So you y’all had a earlier keynote, right? Yes, I did. And what would you like to speak to?
[00:12:37] We spoke about the the growth of Volvo, kind of the ambitions that we have with sustainability, with autonomous drive, electrification. Also talked a little bit about the status of the plant at the moment. And I wonder what our future ambitions are with that, with launching the second vehicle. And I’ll also gave some information with for how how to become a sofar what that process looks or looks like around that.
[00:13:01] I’m surprised we got time. I bet folks for work were cornering you after you also got the breakout. You’re kidding out there. You and your colleague Kevin. Right.
[00:13:11] Kevin was actually unable to join us today, but we have several other people from Volvo here from our purchasing department. Logistics speaking with all the folks here and really trying to form some partnerships.
[00:13:22] I bet. And I fuck I bet plenty of folks are trying to form partnerships, which our building. Okay. So final question for you is how can. I mean, it’s really neat to hear. And we’re all looking we’ve touched on the need for good news. Right. And more good news. This is a good news story. So how can folks hurt something that they can resonate with? Maybe they are looking to do business with Volvo or whatever something you’ve said. How can folks learn more?
[00:13:49] They can go to our website, Volvo cars dot com and there’s instructions on how to register to become a supplier. You’re also welcome to reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Kyle Hooper, HBO PR and I’ll be happy to try to punch you in the right direction.
[00:14:04] Fantastic. Kyle, it’s a pleasure. Appreciate it. Again, as busy as it sounds like you all clearly are the car some time out with us here today. We really appreciated your perspective and congrats or our best of luck on continued success as you’ll continue to rapidly grow left and right. All right. Appreciate it. Thank you. You bet. All right. We’ve been speaking with Kyle Hooper, manager, procurement and Execute Excellence with Volvo Cars USA. So, Kyle, hang on one second here. We’re going to wrap up on a couple of upcoming events and maybe some that you have an interest in. I don’t know. So that one of the next events that we’re going to be at is the September 20th event in Atlanta. Both were an executive roundtable where you’re going to be tackling some some growth strategies, right?
[00:14:47] Absolutely. So we’ve partnered up with Emory professor named Robert Keith engine. And we’re going to be talking about the elements of a good strategy as well as the elements of good execution. So we. We believe and we teach that companies that get both of those pieces working well together. Good things are gonna happen.
[00:15:05] Good things are gonna happen, indeed. And then moving past that feet, a few weeks later, we’re gonna be at the Georgia manufacturing alliance is Georgia Manufacturing Summit, right? October 9.
[00:15:17] We’re gonna be all over that. Your colleague Greg is gonna be broadcasting from there with a couple love foreign trade ministers, trade ministers. We’re excited to learn about that car. We haven’t been able to let those names out of the bag just yet. Bo is testing me to see if he’s gonna let our secrets out, but we’re looking forward. Your Bo’s leading a pack. This is it.
[00:15:38] This is about a thousand folks are in. Come out to celebrate Georgia manufacturing alliance October 9th. We’ve got a variety keynotes, including from PSG, some great panelists. And it is gonna be the cop gallery in Atlanta. And the coolest thing. Well, that’s great. But but one of the things I really admire the most is the GMAT. It’s freed up 50 seats for free for our veterans. And, you know, we talk about some of the challenges veterans have when they transition or just in general. You know, networking and having that private sector network and being in places where they can gather market intelligence, whether they’re looking for their next job or their next contract or what. What have you. This event is featured a lot of that throughout the day. So if you’re a veteran listening to this podcast, you can go to Georgia manufacturing alliance dot com and use the promo code USA VIT to sign up for your free seat as long as they last. A big thanks to Jason Moss, the CEO of the GSA, for making that happen. We’ve got a variety of other upcoming events from Austin to Vegas to back to Atlanta with Moto X 2020 ever, ever been out to Moto X, never been there. So Moto X is one of the largest supply chain trade shows North America. Thirty five thousand people to there is how many folks are expecting in Atlanta in March 2020, where they are hosting our 2020 Atlanta Supply chain awards and we’re broadcasting throughout the four days to our listeners. Check out that conference at Moto X show dot.com free to register. Can’t beat it. And we hope to see there.
[00:17:14] But what would we miss? I think you’ve covered it all. Yeah, we’ve tried to. If you want or more information or any of these events we could be at. You can go to our events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com and learn more. Or if you’re interested, whether it is HBO’s event he described or in any of his other ideas that we’ve mentioned or events or resources, you can shoot us a note to connect at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com and we will try to track information down for you. So big thanks once again to our guests today, Carl Hooper, manager, procurement and Eskew, an excellent Volvo Cars USA. We look forward to checking back in. As you all move from from how many employees to 4000 right around the corner, 4000, man. Fifteen hundred today, 4000 around the corner. Those are great, great stories to hear about. Great, great growth stories you hear about. Thanks for joining us. You bet. Gruber. Always a pleasure. Don’t go too far. We’ve kind of couple more sessions throughout the day. Appreciate the Effective syndicate support as we cover this conference. To our listeners. Be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Again, you can find us an Apple podcast, soundcloud. All the leading sites were podcasts can be found. Be sure to subscribe to almost anything on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team. This is Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio.
Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Help with Hurricane Dorian Relief: https://www.alanaid.org/
Connect with Kyle on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/w-kyle-hooper-mba-cqe-cqa-cssgb-b6755a27/
Connect with Beau on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beaugroover/
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottwindonluton/
Georgia Manufacturing Summit on October 9th: https://www.georgiamanufacturingalliance.com/annual-summit
SCNR to Broadcast Live at SC Logistics 2019 Fall Tech Talk: https://tinyurl.com/y2mttrg8
eft Logistics CIO Forum in Austin, TX: https://tinyurl.com/y5po7tvw
Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo: https://rla.org/calendar/1
SCNR to Broadcast Live at MODEX 2020: https://www.modexshow.com/
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