Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 246

Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 246
Broadcast live from eft’s Logistics CIO Forum, a Reuter’s Event
in Austin, Texas

Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott and Greg as they interview James Wilson for SCNR Episode 246.

Scott Luton and Greg White welcome James Wilson to SCNR at eft’s Logistics CIO Forum.

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio Broadcasting live 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.


[00:00:25] And now here are your hosts pay or by Scott Luton with Supply Chain Now Radio. Once again, welcome back to the show. Today Show we aren’t broadcasting from Atlanta, Georgia, but rather we’re broadcasting live from Austin, Texas, home of E.F. e.t.’s. Logistics S.O form a Reuters event where we’ve been interviewing some of the most innovative thought leaders that are up to the big things, doing big things, leading big things across C-A and Supply chain industry. And our team is proud to continue our partnership with Nick OSRF and the E.M.T. And Reuters event team. So you might have heard there some limited enthusiasm is welcome in my fearless cohosts here today. Greg White, a Supply chain tech entrepreneur, chronic disruptor and trusted advisor. Greg, how you doing?


[00:01:13] I’m doing great. I’m glad you added the chronic disruptor. Yeah, well, the hot industry you talk about. I think, yes, that really upset. But like I said before, Chronic has a dual dual meaning in that, considering that some of the companies that I can fit, I. Yeah, the cannabis industry. We’ll let our listener just look that up. Let’s let him have a good time. Yeah. Okay. So great. We’ve got a great repeat guest. This is our second or third repeat guests as we continue to cover this event. People love us. They keep coming back. Well, that was that. But we really enjoy that and really appreciate that.


[00:01:46] It. On that note, let’s welcome in James Wilson, partner in development with Think Al James. How are you doing? I’m doing great. Thank you for having me. You bet. Great to have you back. You know, you we we interviewed you at e.t.’s three people and Supply chain Summit in Atlanta in June. And there a similar buzz here, this Logistics CEO forum.


[00:02:05] He had great speakers. It’s a good event. And everybody loves Austin. Yeah.


[00:02:09] And you’re my favorite speakers coming up. You keynotes at five fifteen today, is that right? Five. Forty five. Forty five. Supply chain. We don’t take breaks. We don’t. There’s no 9:00 to 5:00. Right. We just use this 24/7.


[00:02:22] He’s the owner. Well and yeah. James is concerned that he was between people in the bar. They ought to just put the bar in there that would give people make sure they stay. Yes. And then they would be Rod. Yeah, that’s right. All right.


[00:02:35] Get lock him in. Okay. So, James, for folks that may or may not have called that first podcast, which, you know, we published number two hundred and twelve this week, and that was probably back in the 60s or 70s since Jean as crazy thing. But for folks that may not have heard that podcast, let’s make sure they can they can learn a lot more about you. So tell us where you’re from and where you grew up and what you did for. Thank you. Think.


[00:03:05] Ok. I grew up in Athens, Georgia. I’m the sixth generation to graduate from Georgia. Wow. Got no choice there. Go, dogs. I was in the army three years out in California forward. And so I started out in telecom call center telecom. So I started a company in Czech Republic and then sold that. You don’t hear that every day? Yeah. What? What? What? Czech Republic. Beautiful girls and cheap beer.


[00:03:37] Not so sure.


[00:03:40] So anyway, I sold that started another company in 2001 after the telecom bomb. And that was called a Foxley. And we centered on call centers. And so I worked that till 2014, sold my part and left after another two years, kind of worked around a little bit. And then I met up with started my own company called a call center Pros. dot com. And then with that I started working with both think, wow, which is a German company and I think so. Okay. Gartner wanted the two companies separated because think how is the customer facing a guy? And I Tick’s Solutions is the back office automation and that’s spelled T Y X..


[00:04:27] Okay. Yeah. Good. So you’ve you’ve had a couple of full plates here with these organizations, right. Oh yeah. Yeah. And there’s growth and we’re and we’re going to dove into especially what we think out does. But so when you’re not helping these companies grow and expand, what do you like to spend your free time?


[00:04:46] Well, I’ve got twins that are 8 and the 13 year old, so. Oh, wow. Boy, girl, twins.


[00:04:50] So so it doesn’t matter where you’d like to spend your time. That’s where you spend your. Where it’s a soccer swim, last swim team, whatever. That.


[00:04:59] Gates an adult and now call the metro Atlanta area home, too. Exactly. We love Atlanta. Is this your first time in Austin? It’s my first time.


[00:05:07] I was here last week or last month at another trade show. OK. Yeah. CCW was here. Okay. Carlson a week. Yeah.


[00:05:15] Beautiful city, great food. Okay, so let’s talk a lot more about think now. So.


[00:05:21] So tell us what what does organization do you think el automates customer interaction? So in Logistics we specialize in email, social media, chat, ask Hamas any kind of communications you’re having with your customer. We can help automate that. So what you want to do is those highly repetitive e-mails. You want to take care of those as quick as possible, answer them as accurately as possible and move on to more productive things. So when tracking and tracing email come in, we classify it. We understand what it is. We start integrating from third party systems into before the agent even opens up the e mail. We’ve already pulled up all the tracking and tracing information and then A.I. will kick in and say this would be the right response for this type of email. And we suggest you attach this form for a claim. And so with two clicks they get my reply to the email and it gets smarter every day. And who’s using this? Who’s typically, well, that type of company. We’d get FedEx in 40 different languages. So 40 countries. We take care of Samsung and we have about thirty five hundred agents with Samsung and we’re in thirty five languages with them. Those are our two biggest and it’s predominantly customer support or I tick’s is always customer support it. So whatever type of e-mails we’re doing are the highly repetitive so we can take care of that. Those type of repetitive e-mails in line agents take care of the more important money-making email. Right.


[00:07:07] Right. So I don’t know if you’re like our family. Sometimes we have eight pages long a football game, text strings, Ryder, especially on any given weekend.


[00:07:18] Have you found a way to automate those text takes pages? Yes. So let’s talk about the math. Yeah. Yeah. Now his family has all five generations, his fanfics, they’re all cheering. So, yes, their own thing. Same size. All right. So you didn’t have the same issue you had. Nobody’s ribboned any. Right. All right.


[00:07:36] So let’s you see your role and particular your growth. You’re helping the company growing right in the partner, the partners.


[00:07:44] And so we specialize and work with partners. So integration partners and also channel partners. So that’s my specialty. But we’re also helping new customers and them working with our channel sales team as well. So it is a a sales role, but that’s like three full plates.


[00:08:03] I mean, especially as much as the company is growing.


[00:08:06] Yeah, a lot of hand-holding, a lot of training and a lot of demos.


[00:08:10] Yeah, good stuff. Okay. So what brings you here? But beyond your keynote? I know that clearly you’re an EMT fan as well. We are second event here. What UPS do you enjoy about an event like this?


[00:08:22] I really like this particular event. It’s so Richard C. O’s who are the heart. And, you know, you realize now CEOs are are now chief data officers. There’s a lot of different variants of a CEO. So that was kind of eye-opening then, you know, understanding their mindset and and hearing where all these CEOs started and where they came from and where they’re going.


[00:08:49] Yeah, we really have enjoyed that as well. I am not a technologist. You know, I don’t go to school for computer science or something that at 2 degrees or whatnot. But what you said is really accurate. We’ve heard from a lot of CEOs that grew up in other industries. And then the Supply chain industries recruiting them because of just the overwhelming amount of technology here. But what’s neat about that is, you know, we’re talking with a CIO one, the last podcast and he’d Arbaeen, he knew analytics backwards and forwards and was recruiting in nine, 10 years ago once as Supply chain really began, you know, doing something with all the big data.


[00:09:30] It had been accumulating. And so for him, it’s kind of old hat, right. And at that, I can only imagine how much of impact for that organization when he came on and especially started figuring out the industry, because if he came on Manattan years ago, that was way ahead of me.


[00:09:44] It’s mostly been in last three or four years that are.


[00:09:47] That’s right. Well put. Yeah. Yeah. So on that note, let’s talk about some of the other supply chain trends going broader. What are some of the supply chain trends? Or challenges or topics that you’ve been tracking more than others lately.


[00:10:04] What we’re doing now is we’re opening up our R A.I. platform where people can actually process minded people could actually start creating their own process without help of a bigger company. So, for instance, of FedEx over in Europe, everybody knows you could Google your tracking number. But what you do when you email FedEx in Europe, that is new to me.


[00:10:28] That is, I might be the want last person left, left, left on earth that we could do that. Now, everybody. Sorry about that. OK.


[00:10:38] All of us have to Google a UK actually e mail your check ID number and they will give you a 15 minute window. So they go to the truck. Find out how many stops her head and then estimate that 15 minute window. So in Europe, you don’t have to leave a package on your front step or or have to wait there for hours.


[00:10:56] Right. Right. Yeah.


[00:10:57] You know what? We what I use for the first time here as we arrived yesterday, we had we ordered some equipment that we were to experiment with and didn’t think, of course, before we left to get it. We won those Amazon Dropbox for the first time and it worked like a charm. And then to Khanum, on a related note, you get the bypass, you know, send it to the hotel and then it might hit the front desk at the wrong time with the wrong person. And then you’re out of luck and you’re leaving town in a couple of days. All right. It worked really well. We should have got there early. The communication was seamless. You pop in the 7 code, you know, a delivery code, whatever it is, it tells you what box opens at the door. It was a it was very impressive. I have used the drop box yet.


[00:11:42] We have it’s in downtown Atlanta next to Georgia Tech. That’s the only one in Atlanta.


[00:11:48] You know, that’s that’s an interesting that. Sorry. Not too far off topic here, but that’s a really interesting evolution because we had a drop box in Miura, suburban Cobb County, west of Marietta. Right. At a Meineke muffler store. And you could both pick up and do returns at Random Locker, but it disappeared. And that was two, three years ago. So it’s kind of so. Well, and it was an Amazon one. So I think what’s happened is Bubba pulled in, hits that thing to back his truck. I think what happened? That’s your part of the country? No, no. Buffett he pulled in and hooked it to the back of a Range Rover. No. What? What happened was I think they they pulled him back out and then figured out that they needed a certain population density to have it be useful, because I know that thing could not have been full.


[00:12:46] I mean, where we were in really all of this, when you were talking about the technology of automating the delivery information, the communication that you have to have. Right. Especially when you’re sending out packages to, you know, this Dropbox or that Dropbox and also trying to coordinate when you’re gonna be through that part of town, because we all know living in Atlanta based on traffic and and, you know, when you can be a never win away right now. But it seems like y’all’s technology, it think now is helping to automate a law that’s critical communication that you have to have in the world. Logistics, right?


[00:13:21] We are. Yeah, absolutely. Especially back again with the customer facing right side of it. Right. So customer facing can be, you know, claims and damages and and, you know, those highly repetitive. But also, once we see 250 e mails of a new subject, we’ll create it automatically will create a new a new response for that. Wow. So it sounds like some of what you’re doing. I can’t. You know, one of the terms that we’ve been hearing in the last couple of years is robotic process of automation. That is that at a tangent or is that so core to what you’re doing? RPA is not A.I.. Right. But A.I. and RPA together are much stronger. Right. And that’s really where you want to go. And a lot of RPA is not a AI. And so there are a lot of AI is not a B actually. That’s a that’s kind of. So we started in nineteen ninety six our first patent, it was called PTM me and it was non rules based A.I. so it was actually using algorithms to help respond to our e-mail on it. And learn enough negative reinforcement from the human agent. Do you ever get involved in the coding.


[00:14:34] I mean it seems like you know. Well. And I ask that because it seems like you get the technology on a pretty deep level. We do. We have to. I mean, you work for a German company and, you know, how far can you go? And you gotta you got to learn it.


[00:14:48] You must. Any any other.


[00:14:53] So before we make sure folks know how to how to find you and then learn more about think about any other. Supply chain news or developments or trends out there that you found you find compelling here lately.


[00:15:05] What I thought was the most interesting is how agents in humans are now working together in. So when you’re getting the chat board and you know it’s a chat board and they don’t know the answer, it’s a human right behind it to help. So that’s where we think the real future is, is that human age A.I.D. Partner relations area. And that will only continue to help the A.I.. Right. Sorry, it’s not that scary A.I.. Right. You know, it’s kind of a partner, kind of. We think of as little our body. Yeah. That little owl on your shoulder helping you. Yeah.


[00:15:43] Well, that has been a common refrain on our shows. You know, it’s not like technology and a machine learning and insert popular technology here is coming to get you for folks again. I feel like, you know, we’re beating a dead horse in many ways, but it’s such an important message. It is there to complement a workforce. And for folks that want to learn new things and willing to do new things and, you know, step through the door and raise your hand to volunteer and learn and apply these new things. This this technology immersion that’s taking place across the Supply chain industry is going to open up a lot of new doors and more importantly, opportunities for folks, right? Yeah. And so going back to how your technology, you know that the bots and the people are working together. Right. Exactly. And so when I’m on that. When does the. And if it doesn’t work like this, just just tell me, obviously. But in my mind, it’s like I’ve got. Here we go. No. When does the how does. So let’s say it’s a text back and forth with a bar and a consumer and it appears at first to be mundane and and just, you know, standard rule the day. How does the technology say, you know what?


[00:16:59] This is something that Raj, he might need an intervention. Yeah. How does that work? So every every email the agent would know how assured it is of the correct answer. So if it’s ninety five percent. Got it. And the SLA is two minutes. The agent just can ignore it and they’ll go out in two minutes or you can hit send and I’ll go out immediately. But if it’s seventy five percent he wants to read it. And make sure. Or change it slightly. And we learn from that change.


[00:17:26] So you represent you present a confidence factor. Mm hmm. And so it’s kind of like when you raise your hand in class, do you really know the answer to the question?


[00:17:37] Right. I think I know the answer to the question right now. Yeah. Little Jimmy, take this question.


[00:17:44] Right. It’s kind of like that. So you want to have the SLA that you’re going to get that answer out quick. Yeah, but you wanna make sure it’s the right answer. And A.I. needs that negative reinforcement to learn. So that’s, you know, where we’ve always been and that’s it assumes it’s right.


[00:17:59] Right. So now, unlike the current generation, it assumes it’s right until it’s told otherwise. Mm hmm.


[00:18:05] Well, and I’m assuming setting up the risks are the. Yeah. The works and the service levels and defining all of that upfront is critical.


[00:18:17] Critical. So you can have different service levels per customer, per category. So maybe it’s a financial question or maybe some way says, hey, I’m called the attorney general. You know, maybe Legal’s brought it, you know, for all those key phrases, legal lawyer, all those, you know.


[00:18:34] So you clearly are working a lot and Logistics space. But I hear platform, what you’re describing, that probably is a wide variety of applications across industries. Yeah, we’re in 10 different industries. Outstanding. Yeah. So how can our listeners learn more about you get in touch with with you, James, or learn more about think.


[00:18:54] All right. My phone number is 4 0 4 9 3 6 4000. And my email is James Scott Wilson at think al dot com.


[00:19:03] Bold move. Yes. Fill out your phone. Fairless. I love that. Everybody out there, call James. Call me. Think Al. Dot com. Yeah. Ask Nate.


[00:19:14] And it really need the beach to reconnect with you as you continue to grow. I think else technology. I can just think about all the different directions you can take and apply it.


[00:19:24] So what podcast number will this be?


[00:19:27] This will have to let you know. OK. So we know that. We know that it’s it’s somewhere around two twenty two. That’s right. Okay. Easy to remember, Willie. We’ll let you know.


[00:19:37] I guess as we as we continue to crank out content, we’ve got you know, we’ve published over 200 now. Right. Hmm. But then we’ve got a lot of episodes that are still be there in post-production. All right. And Greene, we’re publishing Monday every weekday. Yeah. Which is also a big change. The last time he came on the show when we were publishing once every so often.


[00:19:57] Yeah, I think that was the schedule. One every so, you know, we’re laughing.


[00:20:01] But it really we kind of published as as is ready. Right. So sometimes a lot shows would be ready same day and it would roll that dump truck back and dump it on the market. And, you know, we’re trying to as you might imagine, we really put our finger on the pulse, learn what our what our listeners, consumers want and when they want and try to serve that need as best we could. You can’t. So. But, James, great to reconnect. We want to bring you back on down the road a little bit. We’ll get another update on. All the cool things that that think doing. What was the other organization I took?


[00:20:36] Tics and Eye Tick’s solutions. And that’s I.T. y x solutions dot com. And that’s the back end. That’s the back on non automatic facing. Got it. Interesting. So one last question. You won’t make a bold prediction when it comes.


[00:20:53] George Osborne, he was going there. Well, and not game by game. Just just let’s fast forward let’s say it’s January.


[00:21:02] January. Gosh, I hope we’re in the playoffs. And then the top four and going for the best going for the national championship as two years ago.


[00:21:12] Heck of a team from is just a whole the whole team. So we’ll see how that plays out. I think this is gonna be a neat guess.


[00:21:20] We’ve got Missouri and then we’ve got Auburn. So we’ve got two back to back good games.


[00:21:24] Here we come. We heard it from a sixth generation bulldog, which is cool in and of itself. But big thanks to our guests here today on Supply Chain Now Radio. James Wilson will think now to our listeners. Stay tuned as we continue our coverage of the E.M.T. Logistics S.O form, of course, a Reuters event now right here in Austin, Texas. Be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays, all of our interviews. You name it, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Check out our new blog, which is cool. We had Road Runner and we’ve run a freight in Vector Global Logistics or in recent elections. Yeah, you can find all that Supply Chain Now Radio dot com and you can find us on really anywhere you get your podcast from the Apple podcast, SoundCloud, Spotify, Greg’s favorite YouTube.


[00:22:09] Of course we play. Where else do you learn anything in this world anymore?


[00:22:13] Besides, we like publishing a lot of our behind the scenes footage and some of the videos on YouTube, but be sure to subscribe so you don’t Missy ϴ behalf of the entire team here. Scott Luton wishing you a wonderful week ahead and we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks, everybody.

James Wilson serves as Senior Vice President, AI Customer Relations for ThinkOwl, a technology company that started in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in 1996. ThinkOwl supports some of the largest global logistics companies in almost 40 languages/40 countries. Working with unstructured data of customer facing emails and semi-structured data of forms like invoices and BOLs, AI is quickly trained for any repetitive emails, such as: track and trace, claims and damages, proof of delivery, brokerage and finance/billing/collections can gain efficiency. Learn more about ThinkOwl here:

Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now Radio. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now Radio and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory:

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:

Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Connect with James on LinkedIn:
Connect with Greg on LinkedIn:
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn:
Subscribe to Supply Chain Now Radio:
SCNR to Broadcast Live at CSCMP Atlanta Roundtable Event:
Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo:
SCNR to Broadcast Live at MODEX 2020:
SCNR to Broadcast Live at AME Atlanta 2020 Lean Summit:
2020 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards:
SCNR on YouTube:
The Latest Issue of the Supply Chain Pulse:

Check Out News From Our Sponsors

The Effective Syndicate:
Spend Management Experts:
APICS Atlanta:
Georgia Manufacturing Alliance:
Supply Chain Real Estate:
Vector Global Logistics: