Supply Chain Now Episode 303

Live Interview from the RLA Conference & Expo 

Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott and Greg as they welcome Rich Bulger with Cisco to the Supply Chain Now Booth at the RLA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

“Cisco is willing to take back 100% of customer gear anywhere in the world at no charge. It’s a bold statement. Huge. You can do that at a revenue loss, or, if done right, you can combine what is not only right for the environment with what is smart for business.”

– Rich Bulger, Director of Reverse Logistics at Cisco


Reverse logistics is a unique space, and many companies underestimate its complexity as well as its benefits. When done right, reverse logistics can be a sales driver as well as an investment in sustainability.

Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT, networking, and cybersecurity solutions. Their equipment is costly, but it holds its value well over time. As a result, their CEO has made a commitment to take back all Cisco gear, regardless of who or where it is coming from.

In this interview, recorded live at the Reverse Logistics Association Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rich tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:

· Why it is easier to talk about valuing a circular economy than it is to create or operate one

· The secondary market that will always exist for high priced goods that hold their value over time

· Why a circular economy will never be sustainable if the operational changes it requires do not align with corporate culture

[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, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Hey, good morning, Scott Luton. With you here once again, supply chain. Now welcome back to the show.


[00:00:34] So today we continue our coverage of the reverse Logistics conference, a reverse Logistics Association conference. And next, Barry Gill, the center of the universe for all things were turns in reverse Logistics. So we’re not in Atlanta. We’re in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. So we’re going to be continuing our interviews with some of the brightest thought leaders in Supply chain, leaders in the space, many of whom led keynotes and panels and participated, some of it exhibited. And we’re going to continue that trend right here with our our guests for this episode. But before we do, let’s welcome in my fearless co-host, Greg White. He is a supply chain serial tech entrepreneur, Supply chain adjutant and trusted advisor. Greg, how you doing? I’m doing great. I keep trying to make up new titles at 0 1.


[00:01:20] That’s good. I’m going to I’ll I’ll make another one for you that starts to feel more impressive. OK. Now, look, eight today seems to be tech day, right? We’ve talked about a smart labels. We’ve talked about c_t_s_. And now we’re going to talk to one of the leaders in technology in the world. Yes. Right.


[00:01:39] And one of our favorite companies, one of the world’s most admired companies. And we’ve we’ve had good fortune at Supply chain now to feature several the leaders of gas episodes before we introduce our featured guest. Where can folks find our podcast?


[00:01:52] Where can they find him, Scott? They can build podcasts. Google, podcasts, Spotify. Really? Anywhere you get your podcasts, including YouTube.


[00:02:03] And be sure to build it a little deeper. YouTube. OK. Practice zet with my music teacher. But yeah. Be sure to subscribe so you’ll miss anything. You won’t want to miss conversations like this. We’re going to have with Mr. Rich Bolger. Mr. Yes.


[00:02:18] He said to call him Richard if he was in trouble. Is he in trouble? He is not. OK. Wait, wait. We didn’t establish that groundedness established, sir. Mr. Really? Exactly. Yes.


[00:02:27] Is the formal introduction so. So Rich serves as director of Reverse Logistics with Cisco Systems, not Cisco, the food organization, but Cisco Systems, which as we alluded to, whether you’re thinking sustainability or you’re thinking some of the most admired brands in the world. Cisco always ranks sometimes at the top of that list.


[00:02:47] More connected, but less tasty. Yes. Right. Oh, boy. All right.


[00:02:53] So, Rich Afia, great day is the area. Yeah. Keep it lively. Rich, I know you’ve had a busy week here. This is a good final days. It has been a good week. Yeah. And so tell us about first off, where you’re from.


[00:03:09] We know we already know. We’ve done our homework for you. And you know what? I’m going to go off script, Ben, that microphone in just a smidge. OK? Yes. Perfect. And we’ll edit that on post. No Froome. So we already have done our homework. Only rich. And we understand your big Rams fan. I’m a giant Rams fan. Really? Yeah. And it just so happens there was a famous boulder that played quarterback for the ranter was Mark Bolger.


[00:03:35] You know, he played for a university, West Virginia, and then he was drafted by the the Saints. And he made his way to my beloved Rams. So a lot of people think I’m going to go off on a tangent. OK. But a lot of people think that that Bolger replaced Kurt Warner. Yeah. There’s actually a Jamie Martin in between the two UPS.


[00:03:52] Right. So Biljana very won him twice. Right.


[00:03:55] So I still support the at the number 10 jersey. I take my kids to go see a home game in L.A. every year. They’ve been to two in a in St. Lewis. But every year we take our Tucker mentioned and we still rock the number 10 Bolger’s Wow big.


[00:04:11] He is the heart that is a huge fan. All right. I’ve got to shave my ram cave when we go off. All right. Man cave I love.


[00:04:19] I’ve got a pretty impressive ram cave.


[00:04:21] So one quick side note. So I told you, I grew up a Rams fan back in the days of Jim Ever and Flipper Anderson and Greg Bell. And I did not know that. Yeah. It just it was kind of a weird thing because I’ve never we never talk anymore.


[00:04:35] We’ll welcome you back to the fold if you want to join our end to end. I love that. Yeah, my my license plate in my Dodge Ram, says Bramley.


[00:04:42] Wait a minute. That says I drive a Dodge Ram m.E. With license plate. Yeah. That is hardcore. Is it blue and gold or is it blue and yellow? It’s black. Oh, I’m I’m a black on black car driver.


[00:04:57] All right. So let’s let’s talk about real quick. Where you grew up?


[00:05:01] Yeah, I moved around quite a bit. I’ve lived in New Jersey, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky.


[00:05:08] Why was that military family? Was it?


[00:05:10] I was a child, the divorce growing up. So that that moved me around quite a bit when I was younger and like this. And then I joined the army at 17. Got out when I was 20. I spent some time with the Society of Automotive Engineers after the military. And then I met a girl who got a scholarship to the University of South Carolina and where I started on at Verusen Wireless, also as a temp from a decco. And I relocated with them six times. I think you two might be separated at birth.


[00:05:36] Really? Rams fans? Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a common another common connection. University, South Carolina. Right? Oh, are you a gamecock? I.


[00:05:44] He’s a big star when the lifelong Clem7 that graduated from Carolina, so. Oh, that’s so weird. The Air Force had a little something to do with that, as they always do.


[00:05:54] I’ve got a guy that I’ve worked with for almost two decades. He got a undergraduate at the University of South Carolina and then he got his master’s degree at Clemson. So whenever he says something silly, I’m like, that’s your Clemson degree talking. Whenever he’s on point is go Gamecocks.


[00:06:10] So, Olivia and tough conversations with adults. I’m still that. So you moved with a decco six times earlier.


[00:06:17] Risin Vuzix time. Sorry. So I Verizons had me in Columbia, South Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina. And then back to Columbia. And in Knoxville, Tennessee. Yeah. Then in Greenville, South Carolina, before they moved me to Texas. And that’s where I’m at now.


[00:06:30] So were you involved? You told me something pre-show that you were part of the team at Verusen early on. They got involved in reverse. Just weird religious reverse. Logistics. They were turns.


[00:06:42] Yes. Yes. So a little bit of history down with that. I started with Verizons attempt from a decco taken bill payments in a store in Columbia, South Carolina. Wow. And then I worked hard and got a part time customer service job and then part time sales. Full time sales was a top sales rep in the top drawer for Horizon, the South Brant relocations around that number one store. And then I became a retail district manager, running 17 stores from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Bristol, Virginia, to Asheville, North Carolina, of about 260 districts in the company. Our team was the top producing team in activations, handset movement, accessories that made it happen within the team. But but oh, no, it was it was a team. You know, we we outperformed, you know, markets like New York, Florida, Southern California because our stores were spread out and we had to focus hard, really hard to make our stores places that people wanted to shop. So I would go through without knowing what process engineering was. Right. We process engineer on the line. We would take phones apart, rubberband them together. We knew it took 47 seconds to do that. Right. And if you had 50 people on a floor, getting everything that you needed ready could result in a customer walking out.


[00:07:53] Right. So every morning we would prepare the store by getting our inventory ready to to go. And then. So I got really good at being efficient in processing. And really good alara lot else. Yeah. So I became a operations and marketing director supporting North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee as a $618 region with 10 million subscribers. So it from Missouri who barely graduated high school, didn’t have an online degree yet got put into this role where I was supervising both operational aspects and marketing, which made sense when you thought of it. If we had a promotion that was coming out and we didn’t have enough inventory for the promotion. Someone like me could go through and say, well, that doesn’t make sense, right?


[00:08:37] More people should do that. Yeah, it won’t help you make dollars.


[00:08:41] Yeah. And I became one of the first. There was only two operations marketing directors that could see the business from that lens. Right. And part of that responsibility was continuity marketing.


[00:08:52] So if I can stop. Yeah. Real quick, because I think what I’m hearing is you’re a very unique breed that can come to appreciate and know and and become very proficient and expert at both sales and the operations side.


[00:09:08] I think that the problem solving, too. I mean, yes. Did a lot of problem solving without I mean, without a specific education towards that or without a specific understanding of even what to call it. I mean, it’s not like you would read a book and go, oh, and apply that. And I just figured it out.


[00:09:24] But yet the bulk of the workforce, I would argue, at least from from my experiences, either you’re sales oriented or you’re very operationally oriented. There’s there’s a very minority population that can really play in both of those sandboxes.


[00:09:40] Yeah. But half my life I spent on quota, I’ve had a sales later throw a Waffle House applications at us and we fell from number one to number two. Really? Oh yeah. Anything about that.


[00:09:51] That’s a Glengarry Glen Ross moment is.


[00:09:53] Yeah. When someone throws 40 Waffle House applications at you and you fill every one of those applications. Out with the name of the person who threw them at you and turned them into every Waffle House in Columbia, South Carolina. We love the Army. His phone rang for months. I love it so. About half my life I spent on on quota and I actually got into reverse Logistics from a marketing role. So at. At Verusen. At Verusen. Yeah. Yeah.


[00:10:21] So after your days of driving revenue from a traditional sell side, you were moved over into the probably the earliest or some of the early reverse. Logistics. Team one. Verusen.


[00:10:34] Well I was moved into this operations and marketing role as a part of my mission was to drive down return rates, catchin to drive down discounts, to drive down the credits that we were giving GATA customers while managing acquisition marketing and continuity marketing. I got to new sponsorships like the Gamecocks and and Clem SILC Mercy Tennessee. Yeah, so that that position was was really unique and wasn’t just focused on retail. I had a business to business team that I had operations support for. I had indirect teams and I told my boss, you know, whenever he wanted to take one of the most aggressive sales ADAS that he had and and put it over an operations role. I might. Do you really want to put the fox in charge of the head? Yeah, right. And what he told me during the interview. Yes. Has shaped kind of my professional.


[00:11:22] And so on that note, let’s fast forward to Cisco in this ad to join the. Initially, we had to join the Cisco team.


[00:11:32] Well, I got involved with a rise and basically built their trading program back in 2010 when no one wanted to do it. And eventually I got moved into running the reverse Logistics and global repair operation for Verizons and processing about fifteen million handset gotcha. Running a very large budget. Applying tools. Applying Logistics processes. Managing the contracts. Managing the performance metrics that the KPI is that we needed to run the operation. So I did that for two years and then my boss came to me and said, Hey, we’re growing. This space is training program that no one really wanted to get involved with back in 2004. Now, we had just hit a very big numbers in terms of revenue off of the used equipment. Okay. And we were challenged with growing that number. So when she came to me and said, Hey, I want you to run BEA monetization team, it took me two years to learn reverse Logistics when I was over it going from sales and marketing to reverse Logistics was like going from taekwondo to tennis. The rules of engagement were totally different. You had to be athletic. But my spider sense was going crazy, trying to figure out what was a problem, what wasn’t a problem.


[00:12:49] And then after I figured that out, she’s like, well, hey, we’ve got all this excess inventory that we just made a lot of money on. So I want you to take that team and basically grow it by your entire operation and repair budget. So we did that and we doubled that number in two years. So Cisco came after we won a Gartner award to visit the facility. And they were one of the only companies, the only company I can think of that got a floor tour to see the robotics and automation, the process. And I got to know the folks at Cisco and I get to learn about their mission. You know, learning about Chuck’s pledge, our CEO’s pledge at Davos, where Cisco is willing to take back 100 percent of any customers gear from anywhere in the world at no charge. It’s a bold statement. Huge. You can do that at a revenue loss or if done right, you can combine what is not only right for the environment with what is smart for business. So we went through it was an idea sharing session. And then at the end of that year horizon, you had new leadership at the top and they offered a package.


[00:14:03] It was very similar to what I saw in the military in the late 90s where they wanted to do a voluntary drawdown. So they had a retirement package that that they offered to people who chose to go and they advertised it. And in the reverse space there, there’s not a lot of people that understand the scale and how to harness it. So I had seven job offers before I even had to click the button. And Cisco, oddly enough, that they contacted me at the same time. And Jack Allen, my boss now said, hey, we wrote this job description because we thought is what you did if you’re ever interested in making a change. Let me know. And I’m like, well, did you hear about the package? And he was like, no. Now we just on your way to a slight amount of time before we tried to reach out and bring you on the team. So the ad, the cosmic stars align well and at Cisco at that point was rated the number six place in the United States to work. They have since moved to number one. They’ve got a phenomenal mission, they’ve got a culture that wants to change.


[00:15:04] They’ve got Jack Allen, they’ve got Jack Allen.


[00:15:06] Jack Allen wasn’t afraid to fire a hire that furry guy to come in and run reverse so that the stars aligned. It was like a day interview.


[00:15:16] So let’s talk about reverse Logistics and what your team is doing at Cisco. Cisco Systems. Tell us more. What what’s your what’s your approach? What? Or maybe a little bit about the company approach. Limbaugh About your approach.


[00:15:29] Sure. The company is definitely driving towards a circular economy and sustainability. Absolutely.


[00:15:35] And they’re they’re an industry leader and a noted industry leader for years now. Yeah.


[00:15:39] Yeah. It’s easy to say circular economy. It’s tough to understand what it is. And it’s even harder to figure out how to execute on that play, because in order to do that, you’ve got to fundamentally change the way that you operate your business.


[00:15:54] You’ve got to first have some level of awareness. I mean, if there’s anything we’ve heard this week, it’s been that there there’s very little awareness of the breadth of what reverse Logistics is about. I mean, it’s I can’t remember who said it, but, you know, it’s not about end of life for the product. It’s about new life.


[00:16:12] Yeah. The products are getting Lu to me. Products? Yeah. To the people that don’t necessarily want the new gear. Right. But they use gear is a very attractive proposition. If I take my 2015 Dodge Ram. Yep. That I bought for $40000. That’s black. There’s a black. That takes your rambly out of my rambly. And I traded in if Dodge’s stance on my old Ram was to take it and throw in the chipper because they use Dodge Ram to displace the new sale. Then I would have twenty five thousand dollars less in my pocket to buy the next new thing. Yes, right. And the person who wants the 2015 Dodge Ram is not. There’s a market for that. There’s totally a market. And the Internet and a lot of organizations that are at this event with RLA right now are really good at matching USD supply with the user demand. Yeah. So the gray market, the secondary market, I call it the Greene market will never go away. Yeah. So all year long I’ve been telling the story that if you can’t beat it, be the best at it. And that’s dictating our strategy, our investment. And you know, Cisco has a phenomenal manufacturing and for Logistics flow. And my mission is to make our reverse flow when that product comes back just as good as the manufacturing flow. You better love it.


[00:17:42] I’m I’m ready. I’m sold. I want to run through that wall. Right. I really mean, I’m count- tongue in cheek.


[00:17:48] But I love how you kind of illustrated the journey to get there and some of some of the big things you did at Verizons and then Cisco. Very a love there. They’re surreptitious approach to having you in part of the team. And now you get a chance to double down and take their successful approach, because I would say you said it’s easy to say circular economy is easy for companies to say that. It’s easier for companies to say sustainability. Yeah, but the action behind it is often lacking. But not it. Not with your organization. That’s right. And so now you’re you’re it’s like you’re you’ve got this great legacy, but now you’re going to double down and go bigger.


[00:18:32] Right. Right. I think it’s a good example of how culture flows through a company. I mean, we know Jack Allen Skip. Right. And if you think about you think about what the charge is from the top. Right, from management at Cisco. You think about what we know about Jack. And what we’ve just learned about, you know, it’s a very clear picture of how that culture flows through the company and accrues to the benefit not only of the company and of you and your your fellow colleagues, but also to the world, because you’re now dedicated to cleaning up your part of the world. Right. With equal efficiency, as the as the rest of the company is, is creating a world impact from the forward Logistics as you Dessa.


[00:19:13] And. And I would also say that not only the sustainability, but the most important thing I can press upon this interview with Reverse Logistics is I am a driver of sales. I can impact the company’s stock price has a greater reverse Logistics.


[00:19:29] Yeah. It’s not just a backoffice thing, right? You’re not you’re not just trying to offset costs in the back end. You’re actually generating value to the top line.


[00:19:39] Well, I don’t think about that. The RAM illustration if you turn.


[00:19:43] I have a feeling you’re not going to allow us to think about any other illustration that illustrates. I’ve got I’ve got tons of it. I do. Goodbye.


[00:19:52] If you went through to the car market and said, hey, you can no longer trading cars and give people money anymore, we’re just gonna throw in the chipper. That would fund a. Any change? Yes, the direction of new sales. Yeah. And back in 2010, when no one wanted to trade in phones, that was a battle to get people to within the Verizons culture, to get a valuated trading program. And we don’t buy phones, we sell phones. And now the entire cellular industry is oriented towards how much is my own thing, right? That’s right. And where I had to fight tooth and nail to get the very first valuate trade out the door in the cellular industry. If he tried to take the trading program away, not only would your sales team kill you, but your customers would kill you too, because they’re acclimated to that.


[00:20:39] So thank you for making that that one big point very clear, because that we haven’t harped on that enough despite haven’t heard it.


[00:20:47] I mean, I wouldn’t say we’ve heard it that much. Right. That that’s fair. That reversal Logistics can impact the top line is the sales drive sales. It’s a spectrum. That’s right. Yeah, that’s that’s an unique perspective. And I think that changes and probably raises the import of how people view reverse Logistics if they can recognize that it impacts not only the bottom line, but also the top line. Yeah.


[00:21:08] Greene call it that. The Bolger principle moving forward. Suzanne like you are the first. I mean Jeff and other folks have maybe spoken to it. Like I said, look, this is the most important point made during this conversation. Yeah. Yes. Bolgar principle moving for like it. So before we. I’m sorry. Yeah.


[00:21:24] Yeah. Just just a story about. Yeah. That trading program came to be I was a marketing director. I had some some operations ability. But growing the top line revenue is always exciting me. And we had a continuity marketing program at Horizon called New Every Two. You know, back when. Oh yeah. Yeah, I don’t remember. Yes. You if you add your phone for two years and we would give you a hundred dollars off the purchase of another one. Yep. And then when smartphones came out that started changing the game because the price of the phone started going up so much. And the carriers were shell shouldering the weight of offering the subsidy offset. Right. So eventually the finance team, I call them the army of Dr No went went through sales prevention, teen set sales prevention team. It went through and said, well, hey, that that program’s costing us too much. Yes, we’re going to end it. And Rich, by the way, the new guy in this operation is a marketing role in charge of preventing discounting. You are now in charge of making sure that the people that you work with and your customers don’t apply that discount inappropriately. And I told my boss, Mike, it’s terrible because, you know, we’re not valuing our customers that are staying with us. And he’s like, if you don’t like that, fix it. So I initially attacked the trading program to try to drive market share.


[00:22:52] And I found a company is recycling their their Haisla now that wanted to buy phones. They had the infrastructure to do that, but they weren’t involved in the conversation when the magic happened. Customers much more likely to trade in their car when they’re buying a new one. Rod right customer is much more likely to trade in their phone when they’re buying a new one. Right. And if you can apply the value of the old gear as a form of payment towards a new transaction. Well, now the world changed. Right. And, you know, we went through when I started this, all the folks are saying, well, now we don’t buy phones with cell phones. We don’t want to give discounts. We don’t want to invest in infrastructure. We don’t even know if this thing is going to make money. Right. And I talked my boss into give me two districts of 15. I want to try this. And we had to go through and build the valuation portal. We had to find a way to duct tape and super glue. How do we pay customers for their old phone? Ron, my very first foray in reverse Logistics is how do I go through and get the use phones to the site in Indiana instead of where all the other phones go in Fort Worth? So I solved that with 10 SLAPP boxes and greenback’s Greene for recycling.


[00:24:02] And then what happened was after we went through and we were able to go through and buy a phone back for $100, apply the $100 towards everything else we’re trying to sell in the store. The sales rose and we made money on the used gear. We made money selling the new gear. And when I knew we were onto something was when we were at a review horseshoe table. Yep. Region present the medal. Doctor no finance on the left. I was on the on the right with my binder of of information and everyone of the 15th district managers had to come up and put their numbers in front of everyone’s. Greene read. And where do you stack rank? And the two districts that had my program were number one. Number two in every one of those 14 categories, some of which I had Waffle House applications thrown at me, not doing well enough. And the other 13 district managers complained this that their results weren’t as good because they didn’t have the. Program. Wow. And then he’s like, well, now you have all 15 districts and area. So we went through and rolled it out. And then after that, we had to go through and we were part of the panel, the firing squad and the CEO, C.O.O. over there. And we had to go through and put our region results. We’re one of six in that in the area. And our region was number one, number two and everything. And I love it. Wow. And overnight, it’s like, all right, let’s let’s go through Daryl tells me you like a challenge. I don’t know.


[00:25:28] So what do you think the pivot point was? What what changed in the company’s mind or in the consumer’s mind that enabled this additional sales and try to improve all these metric?


[00:25:41] Yeah. Yeah. I operate off of three rolls around, rolling anything out. You’ve got to make it simple. Then you got to prove that it works. And then you have to create an inspection point to make sure you can be viciously consistent when you when you get it done. So for me, the first investment in time was going through and talking to my sales team and say, hey, I want to try this. What would it take for you to say? Yes. And sales one to one if you can’t do something in 30 seconds or or less than the floor, a retailer UPS not going to do it right. So very simple question. What are you doing with your old thing? And a very simple way to go through and see how much it’s worth. And then when I was able to go through and prove that you could impact the sales results, this wasn’t just one more thing that had no value. Right. This is one more thing that done right could impact the stock price. You know, and then developing the tools to simplify the process over time. It was not being afraid to get fired. I always joked, hey, I’m going to get fired for something. It’s going to be something I believe in. But I’m not afraid to go through and try something different. Yeah. Love it. I.


[00:26:55] Ok. So before we ask you to, you elbow him and Johnson. Oh, OK.


[00:27:01] He said Richard stuff Richie’s got he’s a mention is spotty since earlier he got a fifth sense. You can read where we’re going. I hate to contain this conversation.


[00:27:16] In the meantime, we have so we’ll have touches that opens up an opportunity for us to have another one. Yeah. There we go.


[00:27:21] At some point, I think a lot of folks. So why what you’re addressing? I think there is some X’s and O’s and some things that are directly applicable, of course, for Supply chain reverse Logistics, but more importantly for for leadership geeks like me that enjoy kind of hearing some of the leadership, some of the bigger picture, IMO, that you have, that could be a whole different conversation. So. But before we move on and get your take on Owen in global supply chains, a key issue or two there. You’re tracking. Give us one more set. So looking forward based on what where where Cisco’s going, where they reverse Logistics is going, what’s the most important thing moving forward that you see leading your team to do so?


[00:28:10] A loaded question. You know, the most important thing that I need to do right now is build and prove. So developing take-back programs that are simple, reliable, and for our customers to get them to want to want to send me gear is one of the first things, you know, how can I go through and ensure that I receive 100 percent data? Integrity keeps me up at night. Yes, sure. So how can I know? Should keep more. Yeah. Leaders up at night. But the first and most important lesson I learned in reverse Logistics is protect customer data. Always. Yeah. So developing tools to go through that are reliable, that are viciously consistent and repeatable to to to go through and do. And you know, right now I am building the reverse team of the future so that, you know, we’ve went through and I’ve doubled the headcount that our team has had, Testament’s Jack Allen’s leadership, because he went through and he made a bold statement that we’re going to go through and do this. We’ve got innovative leaders like John Kern, who has put dollar real dollars around investing in these processes. So we go from talking about it to actually doing it at scale. Yeah. And there’s no blueprint on how to do this. So I’ve got to try things. I’ve got to fail. I’ve got to fail fast.


[00:29:34] When you’re an industry leader, yet there’s not a blueprint. You’re following your building, the blueprint. You’re building the plan as you fly it.


[00:29:40] That’s right. So fail fast. Yes. And fail small investment. That’s right. All right. So so may not never with customer data. Yes. And did that. Yeah. All right. So, Rich, tell us if he had one thing in in in the bigger picture.


[00:29:57] Right. Bigger circular economy, bigger global in an supply chain hands. There’s one thing that really is intriguing you more than others on your radar, more than others, what would that be?


[00:30:08] I’m gonna go back to that ad, that statement that I made, that circular economy done right is not just good for the environment. It is smart business. Yes. The Boulder principle. Yeah. So how can we go through and leverage the value of a used thing to help sell a new thing? Foster renewals and upgrades in data centers, transition to a subscription and software based type of solution and potentially use use gear as a competitive weapon to go through and displace competitors. New gear. Love it. It’s possible it’s been done and I get to do it again in a great place.


[00:30:49] All right. So I won’t too. What I’d love to do down the road soon. You are a outstanding case study for veterans, especially early one term veterans that come out. And they’re not sure what to do. Not sure where they belong, so to speak, or what opportunities you are like a a walking perfect example, what veterans can do once they find just that, you know, that that first opportunity. Right. So we’ll talk more about that after the episode. But but you gotta ask, Natty, so how can folks learn more about one of the world’s most admired companies?


[00:31:26] If you go to Deborah Dull video of you that Cisco dot com, well, we’ve got a lot of information about our products or portfolio that the direction that we are going. The links to our trading and take back our portals.


[00:31:37] C S SEO dot com. Cisco, dot com. Okay. Perfect. Yeah. Thanks so much. We’ve been chatting with Rich Boulder.


[00:31:45] How how can they reach you? Oh, yes. I’m on LinkedIn. Yeah. Why? The Addington’s use there like a Rams fan forum that you’re running. Or actually, yes. Fort Worth Rams fan. Is the Facebook group that you can join if you live in? Do you’re going to get about 2000 new members? Right. So, yeah, we love it.


[00:32:08] Got a really good rap club. First it was me and one other guy. Yeah. And then the Rams got good and I found other people wearing hats. And over time in Fort Worth, we’ve got a really good Ramli.


[00:32:20] Yeah, love. That’s good. So just love the passion here. It’s a little bit just load of passion. I love it. I hate that we’ve got to be succinct today. But Will I will. Well, we got a lot more to talk back when we get back. You’re based in the Atlanta area or what we thought were OK.


[00:32:35] That’s why the Fort Worth Rams Cavs only way, way to connect the. Yeah. Well, plus, I have an incredible dress for the obvious.


[00:32:42] I thought it might have been one of a stops in your career, but now you live in the desert area.


[00:32:47] Jack lives in in Fort Worth. All right. Now, Atlanta and I. I gotta go see him from time to time. He’s gotta come see us when I go to him. Atlanta quite often.


[00:32:56] Great. Rich Bolger, director of Reverse Logistics at Cisco, really enjoyed the conversation. Sit tight. One second as we wrap up here, Greg, I tell you, I almost. We need to be here like two weeks next time. All right. And hold people’s flights over and make these three hour episodes. We can have deeper the stuff.


[00:33:14] If the wind blows next week like it did this week, we may not have the flights yelled over by the FAA.


[00:33:21] That is true. So, you know, to our audience. Come check us out in person, automate a wide variety of events. You can find events ranging from Mode X to the AIAG, which is the Automotive Industry Action Group and A.M.E., the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, a wide variety of events. And we’ve got a pretty global interactive forum coming up. Yeah. Or stand up and sound off. Yeah, but the difference of that event is that’s not your fault. Even though we’re using a webinar platform. Yea, the panel s right. Our audience is the experts are the presenters are the thought leaders. So in that type of event come prepared. No wallflowers allow. Yep. Spend some time thinking about something. Yes. You want to talk about. Yes. And B be prepared to stand and deliver. But you can learn more about that on the webinar tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Learn more about the events at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com on the events tab. And you know, check us out where we get podcasts from. Supply. Google Podcast. Apple podcast. Spotify. YouTube. You nailed it. Nailed it. And subscribe so you don’t miss a thing like the conversation we’ve had right here with Rich. If that doesn’t get your blood and you’re journalling going. I’m not sure what will in the world supply chain to really enjoy it. Stay tuned as we continue our live coverage of the reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo. On behalf of Greg White and whole team, here we look forward. Thank you for joining us today. We look forward to you joining us. Once again, Rossignol thinks about.


Rich Bulger joined Cisco in January of 2019, after a 17 year career with Verizon Wireless. He runs a global team focused on leveraging Reverse Logistics to help achieve Cisco’s Circular Economy goals and objectives.

Rich is focused on transforming Cisco’s Reverse Logistics operations, and evolving the way we collaborate with internal and external partners. He’s bringing a data-driven approach, combined with advanced technology tools, in order to optimize the returns process, improve the level of data security, and increase the overall economic benefit.

Prior to joining Cisco, Rich developed & lead Verizon’s trade in and monetization strategies for their B2B, retail, indirect & online programs for over 9 years. He set up the infrastructure and began the first two district pilot for their retail trade in program and helped grow the program company wide. After he moved over to run Verizon’s reverse logistics and sales team, he developed the direct to consumer grading logic and enabled them to be the first U.S. Wireless carrier to sell product in “Good, Better, & Best condition” on ebay/Amazon. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Reverse Logistics Association.


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:


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