Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 209

Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 209
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Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott as he interviews John Paxton for SCNR Episode 209.

Scott Luton welcomes John Paxton to the Supply Chain Now Radio studio for episode 209.

[00:00:05] 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 technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Hey, good afternoon Scott Luton. Here with you, Lauvergne Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. On this episode, we’re gonna be speaker speaking with one of the senior leaders at MHR, the nation’s largest material handling. Logistics and Supply chain Association’s MHR is also the organization that powers two of the largest industries trade shows in North America. The Pro Matt and the Mode Ex tradeshows on a quick programing note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a wide variety of channels Apple podcasts, SoundCloud at YouTube, Spotify, you name it, wherever else you get your podcast from, as always. We’d love to have you subscribe. Don’t messy thing. So with that said, let’s welcome in our featured guests here today, John Paxton, CFO and CEO designate with MHR. John, how you doing? I’m doing great. Great. Great to be here. Great to have you. We had a great interview. One of your car senior level call leadership colleagues here a second ago and looking forward to diving in with you and really gaining some of your insights and and pick your brain as well. Great. So with that said, you know, John, where we like to start these interviews, these podcasts, is kind of give our listeners a sense of who they’re hearing from. Right. You know, probably most importantly, your professional journey, the time from what took place to get you here today with MHR. So tell us a little more about yourself and your journey.


[00:01:56] Okay, great. Yeah. So. So my journey started with a company, Dematic, Cranes and Components and the North American business. And what Dematic was doing was importing components from our German headquarters and manufacturing overhead cranes and supplying them in the North American market. So started out in a roll of software development, moved into roles of outside sales, product management and and then for the past 15 years was the president of the North American business. And along with that, we had our manufacturing facilities in North America. We also had a large service component. So we had in the crane world, you have field service technicians that go out and service cranes. So that’s a big part of the of the cranes. Once you sell them, you have to be able to support them. You want to keep them running. Yes. So we had a large service contingency of with 45 locations around the U.S. taking care of our products out there.


[00:02:53] Wow. And it’s interesting to hear you from a software background to hansell and then and then senior levels leadership. Very well rounded.


[00:03:04] Yeah. I mean, actually, my my training was as a mechanical engineer, but early days it was in software design and then developing systems to automatically design and develop products. So so so back then it was kind of high tech. Now everybody has an app for something. But. But through the course of that, had many different stretch assignments and ultimately ended up leading the North American business for about 15 years.


[00:03:32] Outstanding. And you joined. Tell us more about when you joined the MHR and more importantly, what opportunity do you see? Why did you join the organization?


[00:03:43] Yeah. So actually, it’s interesting. My career my regular career also was augmented because we were a member company of MHR. So through the course of being a member, I attended MHR events for about 20 years and then moved into the MHR volunteer board level.


[00:04:02] So first off, being president of some of the industry associations, the Crane Association and the monorails and the Hoist Association. But then after that actually moving into the board and finished with the chairman of the board position for MHR. So from there, again, the background of not only the product side and the market side, but also really the day to day operations of MHR. So I kind of came to MHR with both of the member perspective and also the operational side of MHRA already in place. So the opportunity came where George Prest, our CEO, was looking to looking to retire at the end of 2020. And they were looking for his successor and and the opportunity arose. So with my background, I thought it was a perfect fit.


[00:04:50] Wow. Well, congratulations. That’s a huge jachin only. Imagine the burden responsible that comes with. But also on flip side. All the opportunities that you have that as you lead MHR into what’s next. It’s pretty exciting.


[00:05:06] Yes, it’s it’s quite a dynamic time for four MHR. And for the industry as a whole.


[00:05:12] Absolutely. You know, we were talking earlier and heck, we talk about it just from every show. It’s such an exciting time to be in the in the in Supply chain profession in some way, shape or form right now when it has a seat at the table. Unlike ever before, especially with the the global nature of business, that that’s never going back. Right. And the reliance of how we could talk about this in a second. But Supply chain is what makes it happens. What allows us to enjoy those things in those two day time frame soon to be one. Right. Yeah, that’s correct. OK, so let’s before only get your your input. Own leadership in a second. But if you could just for those that may be new to MHR in a very small nutshell, what what does the Magi do?


[00:06:02] So MHR is it’s a member company trade association. So we have about eight hundred members and they represent all different areas of the Supply chain. So primarily they’re manufacturers, consultants and integrators who are providing the solutions and the technologies in warehouse distribution and manufacturing. So we represent those companies and collectively MHRA focuses on on really four core values. And those are the first one is market access. So helping these companies connect with the customers and connect their solutions with customers. We also have a value center of connections. So networking, the opportunity to share, to collaborate on on different developments in the marketplace. We have a knowledge component to help our members make better business decisions. And then we also stake out a leadership or an industry leadership position. And that’s where we’re developing safety standards, product publications and specifications and ANSI standards to really help guide the development of products and guide the industry. So so we’re we’re delivering for our members on those four pillars of value. And those pillars also relate to the users of these type equipment.


[00:07:25] So there’s so much interest and demand and finding information and best practices across those four pillars. As you know, someone that has volunteered in the search industry association space for 15 or 15 years now. Folks are constantly looking to connect with a resource or connect with your network colleagues or. Yes. Fortunately, safety seems to have taken a front seat over the last 10 or so years, which is a welcome development. So it seems like you are bringing a ton of value to the table.


[00:07:56] Yeah, and members, they find value in any or some or all of those components. So our members come in and they’re looking for some are smaller companies that are just getting started. Some are emerging tech, some are large, very large corporations. And each of those has a unique thing that they’re looking for from a value point of view. And our objective is to is to deliver on that. And and similarly with the users, when they come to the MHR members, our members represent the industry leaders, the people who are driving the industry and who are leading in the technologies. So it’s a great place for the users and the buyers as these types of equipment to connect and and find the leaders in the industry.


[00:08:41] So we’re talking here with John Paxson, C.O.O. and CEO designate with MHR. So, John, as as a senior leader here at the organization, a rock n roll organization, I’ve really enjoyed as I was telling George earlier, I volunteered on the executive committee with the George Logistics summit back in 2018 when it was co-located with MHR and learned a ton, went to my first MDX event and they really enjoyed ourselves. So as a senior leader, let’s let’s talk about leadership for a second. And so and of all the different traits and attributes that go into making successful leaders and we all know leaders are built in much different ways. There’s a wide diversity in terms of how folks approach successful leadership. But there’s one attribute that you feel is more important than any of the others. What would that be for?


[00:09:32] For me, it’s it’s the team. It’s building the team and building the collaboration and the teamwork and developing the team that that for me in MHI is worlds. We have about 30 people on our team. And what they’re able to produce and there and to deliver either at our trade shows or annual conference is really based on a complete, collaborative, highly motivated professor. Team. And for my role, it’s to it’s to develop them, to help them support them, provide direction, but without the team leaderships, it’s all the other things to still matter.


[00:10:12] I’m with you. Great answer. I love that. I think that that speaks volumes to them. Especially with an organization that puts on the huge shows such as Pro, Matt and Modoc, you’ve got to have an engine V8 engine behind its things. OK, so, so moving right along. Let’s talk about how industry is evolving. And you know, I know you’ve been here about a year and that might sound like a short period of time, but a rate of change just continues to get faster and faster and a lot of a lot is taking place in the year.


[00:10:45] But how do you see industry evolving over the last couple years and into the next few years?


[00:10:52] Yeah, so so when I look at what you can read about trends and all the different things that are going on, and I I kind of break it down a little bit more simple from the technology trends. I break it down more into the into the customers, the consumers and and what’s going on in the marketplace and the demands. So if you think about it in your own personal life, I want to pick up my phone. I want unlimited selection. Right. I want to press the button and I want it delivered to my house or I want to drive by and pick it up. And, oh, by the way, I don’t want to be charged for that. And while you’re at it, why don’t you track some of my searches online? My previous buying habits and Bayo to predict what I might be wanting. Right. And send me that information, too. And I’d appreciate that, because then I can buy that those things also. So we can all relate to that, because, you know, whether you whether you get an Amazon Prime package at your door every day or once a month, or whether you go to the grocery store and drive up and they put the groceries in the back of your car. But all of these type of expectations, what it’s driving in our industry is, is phenomenal innovation, because the only way to meet those those requirements or I mean, it’s two ways.


[00:12:10] One, meet them or or just keep up or get ahead of the curve depending on where you are in that cycle. The only way to do that really is to is to innovate. And so so what that’s driving in our marketplace is in the past, warehousing distribution was take a pallet, put it on a shelf, get a fork truck, take it back down, stick it in a truck and send it to a retail shop. Now, it’s we want to take an individual piece. We want to package it. We want to label it. We might want to customize it. And we want to deliver it. And in a one day time period or or hours could be hours. So that completely changes the dynamics of the warehouse, the supply chain, how you get it last mile. All those dynamics have completely changed. Even the retail process has changed. So people say, oh, retail is going away. I think. I think retail, many of those stores are in a good position if they put the automation in those locations. So customer demand is driving it. And then from there, we you know, we can talk more about robotics and automation and artificial intelligence. Those things are are being spawned by the drive for innovation.


[00:13:23] So before we dove into some other trends and maybe the ones that are most fascinating to you, do you feel that the consumer market, the consumers in general, you know, beyond you and I as consumers, because we kind of haven’t we know kind of what’s on the back side of why we enjoy these these one day and to the delivery times.


[00:13:45] Do you feel in general the global consumer universe, as it were?


[00:13:50] Is is better connecting that you that consumer experience in that those quick service levels to and supply chain that makes that happen? Mm hmm.


[00:14:03] Yes. So, you know, there’s there’s a couple components to that. You know, there’s the idea when I just want I know what I want and I want it fast. You know, that’s one type of shopping. Pick up your phone search. Press the button and you got it. So so that and that supply chain, you know, you’re looking at not only where the product is and had the inventory and handling it and packaging it, but then then there’s the other experiential side of buying things. So the experiential side is I want to see it. I want to touch it. And oh, by the way, I still want it delivered to my house very quickly or I wanted immediately. And and it’s it’s an interesting way that this is developing the marketplace and the companies that are leading in this are finding a way to deliver on both pieces of that. Absolutely. So that’s that’s what we’re finding is it’s really interesting in the full range of supply chain how you accomplish that. It’s. Not just making it now and putting it on a shelf. It’s how do you deliver it all the way to the house? To someone’s house. Absolutely.


[00:15:05] And what we’re seeing is consumers are connecting those dots better. You know, we’re seeing different different folks say the word supply chain. Then it was never on the tips of these tongues. In previous years. And that’s neat to see because, you know, that’s going to help us vie for talent in the industry that we serve in. It’s going to help folks better appreciate what takes place in these wide variety of facilities so they can appreciate those those consumer experiences that you speak of. OK, so so let’s let’s stick on the trends industry trends topic here. What else? In the end, you just rattled off a few minutes ago. You know, I.T. and machine learning and a blockchain is some of the usual culprits that folks talk about. And there are fascinating and they’re transforming how business is done globally. But what else? The those or anything else in terms of topics and trends that you are tracking more than others right now? A couple of those.


[00:16:12] Yeah. So so what what we’ve seen and it’s really developed over the past the three, three to four years and it’s moving extremely fast. Is is the the arrival of robotics and automation into the into the warehouse and distribution into the chain. So robots are are not really new. They were they were always been in manufacturing as far back as we can go. You know, doing repetitive tests. So welding our car frames, cutting, cutting certain types of material, handling certain repetitive things that that’s been going on. That’s not really new technology. But when you take the customer demands and actually, you know, the difficulty finding people for warehousing distribution to handle all of these packages in parts, the solution becomes robotics. But the challenge with that is not everything that chips is the same. In fact, most of it is different. So you need speed, you need flexibility to handle different types of items. And and then you also need the mobility. So what we’re seeing now is, you know, robots with with vision systems and and and machine learning so that they can actually see things now. So it’s not just programing a robotic and letting it do something now they can see what they’re doing and vision, make decisions and adjustments.


[00:17:39] And then the other developments are in the the grippers and the handlers on the end of the robots. So before you put a welding gun on there and it moves to a position and makes a weld and moves back. Now, depending on what comes out of the automated systems, you need to be able to handle that and grip it. So we’re seeing those those technologies really advancing and you see those on display at the trade shows where it’s amazing from one year to the next. What companies are developing. So and then the other part of that is, OK, you know, robots were big and, you know, you’d have a need a cage around them and you would have to mount them on the floor and put a big pit in place and. Right. And right now, robots are mobile. You put them on an HIV or an EMR, automatic robotic or mobile robots. And now you can travel around a facility. They have guidance systems. They have laser lasers, systems that are safety for seeing, you know, so that they can see also. And now what you have is a complete ackerly, complete supply chain within four walls of automated systems and robotics.


[00:18:49] And it is the rate of change. And the speed of that change is absolutely remarkable. And this is what you’re describing for folks that may not have been in some of these facilities. It is current state. This is not, you know, future state technology is here now and then and more, you know, next week, maybe, maybe some more advanced. You mentioned the trade shows and of course, mutex coming up in March 2020 in Atlanta. These are exceptional opportunities to get out and see these technologies. You know, one of my co-host, Greg White talks about how basically folks come out in the Mode X and some of them setup many manufacturing plans right there on the trade show that the scale and scope of it is really interesting. And I think one of the big reasons and see if you would agree, John, to come out to the Mode X is important pro perhaps of the world is to gather the you know, do your market until I gather and right. Connect, see what these organizations do and see what were the solutions are today and and what’s coming.


[00:19:54] Yes. Yeah. So. So with the trade show what we described. Trade show and say, what is it? It’s it’s our material handling and supply chain industry on display at one place. You can basically see the whole industry and and what companies do is they they are setting up, you know, automated warehouse and distribution systems. They’re setting up with robotics, they’re setting up a GVS is all these products are there and they’re running. So, you know, it’s one thing to see it on a brochure or see it on a Web site. Here you can see it. Touch it. You can talk to the people who are who are doing the programing, who have implemented it. So it’s it’s our industry on display. A lot of equipment is brought in for those type of demonstrations. And then the other part of it is, is we combine about 150 educational sessions along with that. So our member companies are producing and putting on educational sessions about the latest technologies, what’s going on. So you can come see the products, see the industry on display. But also it’s a learning experience and you can learn about what’s happening and where things are headed. So it’s it’s really I call it a two for one. It’s not an educational conference. It’s not just a trade show. It’s really both.


[00:21:15] Absolutely. So then you’ve got great keynotes. Ambassador Nikki Haley Tansley, George George Prest is going be talking about the state of the industry report. And I think I interviewed MHR, interviewed over eleven hundred business leaders and basically asked him what’s what’s keeping you up at night? That’ll be an interesting keynote. And then for fun, you got Payton and Archie Manning to do Archie certainly in the Hall of Fame. Peyton, you’ll be there soon. You’ll be there. That’s right. And there and I understand are taking the stage together. So that should be a really interesting fun keynote. And. You know, keynotes, of course, get people out as well who folks wanna hear from, right?


[00:21:56] Yeah. And with the keynotes, we really try and offer component to the show that’s even beyond the technical side.


[00:22:05] And so, you know, technical side learning about the products and the solutions. But Nikki Haley in her case was a governor of South Carolina learning, you know, heavily into the supply chain, heavily into the things that were going on in the ports and communication. So she can provide perspectives on that. So, you know, we’re trying to provide other types of business leadership perspectives. And Peyton and Archie Manning’s case, you know, to to have with Archie Manning, have two sons. You know, there’s two Super Bowl winning sons, which is, you know, and he’s already a Hall of Famer. Probably both of the other ones will probably get there. But, you know, how did that work and how does that how does that feel? And so that will be more inspirational and leadership type discussion. So we combine that. We also have a student days along with our Moto X show where we’ll have between 200 and 300 students coming, where we introduced them through tours to the industry at large. So so we’re introducing new students to the supply chain looking to engage talents. And we have educational components at the at the high level and the in the overall sessions and then the specific Technical sessions. I love it.


[00:23:21] And, you know, going back to the Mannings, mutex has a history of. You’ve got to bake in the fun factor, right. I mean, the complexities and and the professions and the hardworking days and the stress that goes across the business world and certainly in an supply chain has our fair share of that. So everyone needs a breath of fresh air. You know, in the past, Mike Rowe with Dirty Jobs, I believe, has been one of the keynotes. Jim Gaffigan, I think a couple years ago was one of the the breath, a breath of fresh air as this neat to see Madox continue that trend, because that’s really important. Mm hmm.


[00:24:00] Yeah. And on the Wednesday of the show, we have Peyton Manning and an Archie Manning. And then we also in the evening we have industry night. So and we give out one of the key parts of that is we give out innovation awards. So the companies from who are part of Moto X will if they have new products, they can apply to be judged for innovation awards. And we have a panel of users. So it’s not judged by anyone with MHR. It’s not judged by their peers. It’s judged by users of the products will go around and actually pick the innovation award winner. And it’s really become quite a big event, if you can imagine, with all the innovation going on and then to be someone who’s picked as the top innovation award. It’s really quite an event. So we present that on on Wednesday night at the show. Yeah. And then we also have a comedian that in the evening to really kind of kick. Back and enjoy ourselves. Love it.


[00:25:00] And you also know that competition factor as folks are vying to finish first. So sounds like a fun night. Look forward to that in 2020. Well, appreciate your time. And to our audience. So mutex 20/20 is right around the corner, believe it or not. I mean, it’s already November. Time flies right ahead. Ah, Tom, waste no time. Right. And flaunted a calendar. So we are going to Supply Chain Now Radio as we broadcasting live throughout all four days of Murdoch’s 20/20. And that runs March 9th through the 12th again in Atlanta, Georgia. And John, one of the neat things that we’re excited about is we have partner actually we partner with image on a couple different levels, not just to help drive content and sit down with with leaders to get their insights and their thoughts and their perspective during the event. But mutex is also gonna be hosting our 2020 Atlanta Supply chain Awards, which we’re really excited about. Christian Fisher Prezant, CEO with Georgia Pacific, is going to serve as our keynote for this second year event and we’re expecting 300 people, which is a big number for us. But mutex is expecting 35000 of our best friends and neighbors have come out at one of the largest supply chain trade shows in all of North America. And is it is free to attend, if I’m mistaken, which which is unheard of.


[00:26:26] Yeah, it’s free to attend. So so the idea is that to allow people who are interested in this equipment to come to the show free of charge, come out, see what’s happening on the floor, interact with our members. And it is it is free of charge.


[00:26:42] Outstanding. Well, so to learn more about Madox 20:20, you can go to motets show dot com in ADX Show dot com again. As John mentioned, it’s free to attend. What an incredible learning opportunity and networking opportunity. Best practice sharing opportunity. You will not regret that you came out. It’s gonna be a trend. Should not be missed. Now with the Atlanta Supply chain words a little bit different, there’s a small registration fee. Are nomination’s registrations and sponsorships are all open. You can learn more at Atlanta Supply chain Awards dot com. Big thanks to John Paxton, C.O.O. and CEO designate with MHR. I’m looking forward to not only seeing through that this year and through Moto X of what MHR does, but you know your vision as you and the team executes on it in the year and the months and years ahead.


[00:27:34] Great. Yeah, it’s gonna be a great show. And and the technology. It amazes me every time I go to the show, every year there’s a brand new products, brand new companies. It’s gonna be really exciting.


[00:27:45] Absolutely. Looking forward to learn more again at Moto X showed. So to our listeners, check out other upcoming events, replays over interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. You can also find us on Apple podcast, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, wherever else you find your podcast from. Of course, we’d love to have you subscribe so you don’t miss anything on behalf of the entire team here. This is Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks, everybody.

John Paxton is the Chief Operations Officer and CEO Designate of Material Handling Industry Association (MHI). Mr. Paxton has over 30 years of leadership experience in the material handling industry and was President of Demag Cranes and Components, North American crane manufacturing and service operations. Mr. Paxton has been recognized for his volunteer leadership in the material handling industry. This leadership includes serving as Chairman of the Board of MHI, as well as the president of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI) and the Monorail Manufacturers association (MMA). Mr. Paxton is a graduate of the Ohio State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and of Kent State University with an MBA focused on international business. In addition, he completed the University of Michigan executive leadership program. Learn more about MHI here:

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about SCNR here:

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