Supply Chain Now Episode 341

“One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that barriers to global shipping have been coming down. Countries are more open to receiving aid. Hopefully we’ll learn from that and be able to make that happen on a continuous basis in the future.”

– Randy Strang, COO at Medshare


Randy Strang is the Chief Operating Officer at Medshare, a 501c(3) humanitarian aid organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people, communities and our planet by sourcing and directly delivering surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need around the world.

Not only do those medical supplies go to the people and countries who need them most, but they are also removed from the waste streams in more developed nations. Older equipment can be refurbished, and SKUs that are being replaced by updated versions and designs can be moved out of inventory and put into use rather than being thrown away.

In this interview, sponsored by Vector Global Logistics, Randy tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:

· The equipment, material, and training support provided by Medshare to communities around the world to provide them with supplies and ensure they have the skills to keep those devices working long into the future.

· The surprising phone calls and requests for assistance that Medshare has received since March 2020, with local clinics in the U.S. looking for supplies that would previously been deemed more appropriate to send overseas.

· How important it is for leaders to have a strong mission and vision – especially in the face of challenges such as the ones we see today. Leaders should set priorities, manage unpredictability, and accomplish each day what they can.

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply chain now broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia, heard around the world, Supply chain now 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.


[00:00:28] Good morning, Scott Luton here with your own supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. On today’s episode, we are continuing our Logistics with Purpose series here, powered by our dear friends over at Vector Global Logistics. On the series, as you may know, we spotlight leaders and organizations that are all on a noble mission and are changing the world in one way, shape or form. So stay tuned as we look to increase your Supply chain leadership IQ. Quick programing note before we get started. If you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcast from. And welcome in my fearless, esteemed co-host here on today’s show, Enrique Alvarez, managing director with Vector Global Logistics. Good morning, Enrique.


[00:01:14] Good morning, Scott. Good morning, Randi. Monica, pleasure to be here with you guys today.


[00:01:19] Great to have you back here on the heels of a fascinating conversation we had with Mickey over at Rod Against Hunger. And as you mentioned, you’re joined by your colleague, Monica Rush, business development associate with Victor. Good morning, Monica.


[00:01:34] Good morning, Scott. It’s really nice to be here again.


[00:01:37] Absolutely. We love the series that there’s so much passion and purpose and leadership. Best practices have come out these conversations. It’s just one of our most enjoyable series on the Supply chain Now’s team. So with all that being said, well, welcome in our featured guests here today, Randy Strang, chief operating officer with Medd Sheer, which is a global humanitarian aid organization that happens to be headquartered in Atlanta. Good morning, Randy.


[00:02:08] Good morning, Scott. Pleasure to be here. It’s an honor to be here.


[00:02:14] Well, so glad that your team continues to push forward and deliver on your mission, so thanks so much for taking some time out to join us and fill us in on what Matt Sheer is doing, as well as some of your your thought leadership on the Supply chain industry. So so, Randi, with all that said, as with all of our series, we really like to get a snapshot of of who our guests are so up front. Tell us tell us about yourself, where you’re from and give us up a story or two from your upbringing.


[00:02:45] All right. Well, first of all, I get I get apologies.


[00:02:50] Any Michigan fans online because I am a Buckeye. I guess I did go to Ohio State. In fact, I’m second generation Ohio State. My father went to school there, too. I grew up in, obviously, Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio, where my father was a he’s a director of product development at Procter and Gamble. He’s the peak in chemical engineering. So we had to we get to enjoy all kinds of test foods and test products. He’d bring home all kinds of crazy things, Pringles like years before they were ever produced. He was bringing home potato chips. So we get to try all kinds of fun things. But.


[00:03:30] So you and has gone up in Cincinnati, Randi, I’m sure Skyline Chili and some of those other Cincinnati Chili’s was part of your diet as well, right?


[00:03:39] Absolutely. Part of my diet. Yes, still is. You can you can buy it here in Atlanta if you look hard enough. So, yeah, it’s it’s a wonderful thing. And every time I travel up there, I make it a point to visit Skyline. Is it Montgomery? And for those you know, those places, favorite spots. So yeah. So, yeah, like I said, Ohio State to study industrial engineering. And I really purposely chose industrial engineering. Some people just call imaginary. But I I happen to think it’s one of the most important engineering disciplines because it’s it’s a discipline of people and processes, which to me are really making the things that make world around. So I’ve always been fascinated by, you know, human engagement and in processes and how people work together to make things happen.


[00:04:32] Well, that’s it. Ran. Yes. Important note, because despite all the technology that is in the industry these days and certainly is in Supply chain, it still takes people working together to solve problems and innovate, drive new products, you name it. A lot of what kind of what your dad was doing at PSG it.


[00:04:51] Well, yeah, except with people. Right. And that’s really what I enjoyed. I I was I was lucky when I was there at school. I had an opportunity to go up and actually worked at a diamond plant. So which, you know, I always like to tell me. But it was Industrial based. In spite of his General Electric, Keta had a business unit that produced Industrial Diamonds. And I get to learn all about the fairly complex process of making diamonds. So that was a lot of fun, a lot of really hands on manufacturing experience. And it wasn’t an automated process.


[00:05:29] There was a lot of human interaction on their site, learned quite a bit as a as a student. And it was a great opportunity.


[00:05:38] While I was there. And so, you know, one of my first jobs out of school was, believe it or not, I went to work for a mission graduate. You never think that, Binoy. My my first boss was a graduate from University, Michigan. And here. I actually went to work in Texas. I moved down to Texas. I always want to live in the south. I moved to Houston and work in the pulp paper industry. So there at the paper mill for about five years, I learned a lot about papermaking. Funny story about that. You know, one of the things I preferred to do in order to learn the process was to work the 24 hour operations. I work the graveyard shift. I’d come in and spend several weeks at a time getting to know the guys who worked on the great graveyard shift and did to me. That was how you learned how to make paper and you work with these guys. Then their most of their career. And they used to send me on a wild goose chase around the mill, you know. Teaching me and teasing me about, you know, being a Greene being and, you know, learning. We had a fun time. They tell me to trace a line of feedstock lying around the mill. And when I’d come back and say, well, you know, here I followed it all over the place, that turned out to be a deadline. It was shut off and they laughed.


[00:07:05] Well, you know what, Randy?


[00:07:06] Now, to figure that out, Randy, I tell you, I’ve been in I think I’ve been over 300 plant tours in my career. And I love the plant floor. I love the people that make manufacture a make. Supply chain happened, but certainly make manufacturing sites happen. Salt of the Earth people. And that’s so important right now with what we’re facing. I want to bring Monica in. Monica, as we’ve kind of taken a few steps with Randy into his career, I know you’ve got a interesting question around his professional journey, right?


[00:07:40] Yes. Scott, thank you. So, Randy, it’s so nice to have you here today to get to know you a little better. I wanted to ask you, a budget professional Jenny, what roles were critical to shaping you be?


[00:07:55] Good morning, Monica, I’m sure.


[00:07:57] So I was. I’ve had a.. I feel very lucky in my career. I. Had a lot of different opportunities I mentioned, you know, moving in Texas and working in the paper industry, in the paper industry. I learned a lot about technology and had very involved in the paper making technology. And from there, I had an opportunity. I met a mentor in that in that phase of my career.


[00:08:23] And I actually followed that mentor through a good part, a good part of my career. And I learned an awful lot from that person. And I highly recommend for those who are listening, if you can be a mentor to a to a young person, find an opportunity to do it.


[00:08:43] If you’re a young person, find a good mentor that’s willing to take you under their wing, so to speak. And because it was immensely beneficial to me. Right. So I had an opportunity in the paper industry. And from there I got into consulting. I was actually I joined Accenture.


[00:09:02] Back then, it was Andersen Consulting and had an opportunity to really get into solving problems of all out imaginable different varieties. You know, here I’ve been in my career focused on a fairly narrow set of business processes and all of a sudden I’m thrown into a world where you are often hit with problems you had no idea how to solve. You had to figure it out as you go. And one of things I learned there was build your network, because that’s how you’re going to be able to truly solve problems, is build a network of people you can rely on, you can trust and you can reach out to when you need help. And that’s one of the things I learned at Accenture as part of their culture is you establish and leverage that network to solve problems because, you know, two minds are always better than one. And, you know, a whole network of minds that work together is is just phenomenal.


[00:09:57] You know, Randy, along those lines. I couldn’t agree with you more and I cannot. The name escapes me. Who coined this phrase. But Dick, your well, before you’re thirsty, right. As a plus in networking. Because you’re definitely going to need people. You definitely need more minds as you solve problems and navigate through your journey. But, you know, it’s tough to build the network when you need it. You need to build it, as you’re alluding to before. Be proactive about it, right?


[00:10:25] Exactly. You need to have that network because you don’t know. You’re always going to be hit with unexpected challenges. And it’s when you get hit with those unexpected challenges that you need to reach out to others who may have solved them before. And that’s that’s where you can truly innovate track. In fact, because that’s where innovation comes from, Ryder trial and error. And by having a good network, you can trust and reach out to, you get to benefit from all those trials and errors that other people experienced in order to better innovate and better solve all problems.


[00:11:00] So so I had I had an opportunity to to work in that environment. And then that’s where I can be expanded out beyond just the pulp and paper industry. I got into lots of in business environments. Most of them process industry related, but simply because that was where my background was at the time. But I then, through my mentor, had an opportunity to to experience another culture, another firm. I had a period of time. I went to work, for instance, on which center to Ernst and Young and their Supply chain practice. And that’s where I really started to get more involved in, you know, different industries, much broader array of industry challenges. I got involved in retail consumer products, you name it, and all kinds of different fun challenges that I get involved with there. And again, it was through my my mentor that I was introduced to the firm. He was asked to join the firm. And I said, I am faster in Y. And then it was city and Y where I was. I had an opportunity to join u._p._s.


[00:12:09] And today I was one of the. Today it was a perfect fit. I said something about my personality fit pretty well into U.P.S., its culture, which is a pretty rich culture. But I came in at a fairly senior level at u._p._s. Which was unusual. Most people at my level had been had been at the company for twenty five or more years. So my peers had very different backgrounds than I did.


[00:12:37] And.


[00:12:39] And and I tell you that the people in the culture, U.P.S., we called the partnership culture is truly remarkable. There’s there’s a level of trust and reliance on your partner within that business. That is in my experience, working with lots of different clients is unusual and unique.


[00:12:58] Right. You know, U.P.S., the founder coined this phrase constructive dissatisfaction that’s always stuck between my ears. Randy, you’ve being I’ve never worked with u._p._s. You’ve been a part of that culture, in your words. What does that mean to you?


[00:13:16] Well, I mean, I use it every day. It’s constructive dissatisfaction is is you should never be you.


[00:13:23] Here’s my interpretation of it anyway. You should ever be suspect as completely satisfied with the status quo. There’s always a better way, a different way to do things. And and it’s it’s not a matter of just being dissatisfied. You have to bring in solutions. You have to be constructive in improving the process and improving how you get things done. So to me, that’s the definition of constructive dissatisfaction. Never be satisfied before you are always Trident Froome did better.


[00:13:52] Absolutely. And and that’s for the infamous words of Jim Casey, the founder of u._p._s. And I got to tell you, that’s a big part of the culture over a vector, you know, being actively and consistently and constantly dissatisfied with the current state. And that’s what I love about the series of ballot initiatives that Enrique and his team are leading. So Randy and I don’t want to short circuit us here, but what was just prior to your current role? Well, what what was the role that that kind of leapt you into your current role with Matt Sheer?


[00:14:31] Ok, so one of the questions, too, and I’ll go back, I’ll kind of blend the answer into two. One was, you know what? What what is something that shaped your global view? And there was a situation that I was faced with at u._p._s. No, it was during peak. And, you know, as you probably know, life and U.P.S. changes very dramatically.


[00:14:53] Then to our and to our audience just to you know, we may have some folks that are new to Supply chain are still in school. So peak usually is the run up the lead in to the holidays, right. The third, the November and December holidays. And then, of course, Pete continues. For many that are in the returns business in January when when all the stuff is unfortunately going back to some of the retailers. So it’s a busy time of year, as you put it, Randi.


[00:15:22] Yeah. You know, there’s you know, there’s two things and there’s there’s peak and there’s planning for peak, so.


[00:15:31] So there’s.


[00:15:32] So we were in we had just kind of launched into peak, which I believe this was. November, it was right to Ranko for Black Friday. In fact, it might’ve been that weekend isn’t even after Black Friday anyway. We had regular calls. It was a pretty much a seven day week process and I had at the time had had a group called Customer Program Management. What we did in that organization was a global organization as we provided essential overt oversight to the EPF business units to make sure they were delivering on what we committed to to those customers. So you quickly get to the point you’re the first. So I had a call at about 7:00 in the morning from our somebody on the management committee, EDP on the management committee that basically said, hey, we’re having some real challenges with health care. You know, we need to establish a war room today. So we scrambled. We gave up asking as part of this whole process. We we gathered you. Can you rely on your network and you’re glad you have it when you when you need it. So I started making phone calls and we pulled together a group. The focus here was to improve the delivery performance of critical health care supplies. And if you can imagine, a busy highway and you have one car that needs to get through. If the highway is just jammed, it’s gonna be very difficult for that one car to get through. And that’s the same thing with packages.


[00:17:09] You know, the critical health care packages are things that are lifesaving. These are medications or medical devices that have to get where they’re going on time and peak. The highways are crowded. The facilities are full. And it wasn’t happening the way it should have at the time. So this group scrambled to triage and resolve that. And one of the things, you know, in terms of shaping my view and one of things that truly led me to where I am today, it Sheer was, you know, the the maybe obvious to many, but the critical nature of of global health and of health care to people that need things and how the supply chain is so integral to healthcare functioning properly. I mean, you know, what UBS was facing was how do we get that? How do we get that? You know, that one medication that needs to be given to a patient at a certain time so that they’re ready for surgery that’s been scheduled. And we would actually courrier a small box in a chartered airplane across country. We had to make that happen. It was that type of extreme do whatever needs done process that we put together. And then we had 30 people in a room. We had one hundred and twenty five, I think people scattered all over the country and facilities working 24 hours a day. I mean, we were shifts, obviously, but it was a very intense process.


[00:18:44] And one of the things it was you really don’t know what to call it, a slap in the face if you are kind of an awakening for me, as I recall.


[00:18:55] Supply chain and health care are together. You know what? We do it med Sheer obviously is critical to global health. Right now, we’re fulfilling a need that that’s overlooked. It’s just so difficult for some communities, some organizations, some countries to get what we often take for granted here in the United States. In fact, recently with 19. We’re starting not to take we realize how critical PPE is. This is a situation countries all over the world have been in for years.


[00:19:26] So let’s pivot on that. It’s a great Segway. But before we do, we want to we want to make sure our audience knows exactly what made Sheer does and hopefully maybe we’ll find some new supporters. But I think it’s a critical point you just made, and I think it’s one of the silver linings of this pandemic environment ran where I think there’ll be a new appreciation for not only health care and and folks on the frontline and folks literally saving lives, but also. Right. Saw that there’ll be a new appreciation and understanding of what in the end, supply chain folks do. And best good for everybody. Right. These are you’ve got people that are saving lives and putting themselves at risk in hospitals and doctor off doctor’s offices. And then on the flip side, to get people put themselves at risk, to keep product on shelves and to protect that psyche that’s so important during in challenging time. So a great point you made, Randi, and want to make sure that we double down on that. So with all of that said, you start to kind of Sheer the mission that med Sheer spent on. Let’s talk more about that. So what does med Sheer do?


[00:20:37] Great. No, what we do is we we collect. high-quality supplies, medical supplies and equipment. And then we donate them to underserved communities in both the US and all over the world. We we by doing that, we actually divert about 2 million pounds a year of what other would otherwise go to landfills. So so we’re diverting perfectly good high-quality medical supplies, equipment and we’re re repurposing them where they’re most needed around the world. So we serve. I’ll give you some numbers here just to give you an idea of the magnitude. We were founded in nineteen ninety eight. We’ve we’ve delivered about 240 million dollars with supplies since that hundred and five different countries and we supported it serve to twenty 22 million patients in those years. So it’s it’s it’s a tremendous need that exists out there and we’re just we’re just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the need. It’s almost an infinite demand for what exists in terms of need in the health of the global health.


[00:21:47] All right. But you make such a huge impact that may be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a big tip. I mean, you are doing the good Lord’s work and helping people, you know. Twenty two main patients. And you said it was founded. Was it nineteen ninety eight or 1988. 1980. Nineteen a nineteen. All right. Now I got 98. OK, that’s it. Wow. There’s a ton of good work in less than 25 years, Tom. So let me go back to you. We love our numbers here. Forty million under five countries, 20 million patients. But what you said up front about how you’re redirecting supplies otherwise would just add to our landfills. I mean, I love the circularity that’s baked into your model.


[00:22:33] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s it’s it’s shocking when you see the quality that comes as X as from our eyes. I mean, these are donated supplies. We get it from hospitals. We get them from corporate donors. So a lot of times there’s, you know, a product change and now all the hospitals want the newer products. So we we tend to get the surplus older product on equipment we get. Hospitals are constantly upgrading their diagnostic equipment, their treatment equipment. And we we get whenever they upgrade. We will get frequently donated the the used equipment. We refurbish it. We have three facilities in the US, one up, one here in Atlanta. This is our headquarters. And we have a facility of equal size in the same Shitskull Bay area. And then we have a small facility, more of a collection point up in the New York City area in Secaucus, New Jersey. So we’ll collect the equipment and supplies, we refurbish the equipment. We use WQ guidelines in terms of both supplies and equipment. All the supplies have at least a year of expiry left. So it’s the year before they expire. We don’t take anything. It’s expired.


[00:23:54] And I think, you know, I think a lot of our audience will certainly appreciate and use a lot of refurbish re remanufacturing equipment. And for folks, our audience, that may or may not be tapping into that stream. As Randy is pointing out, there’s so much product, great product that is either return and is simply destroyed because it never makes it back on the shelf or or is destroyed for other reasons. There’s so much great quality products in that part of global supply chain. All right, Randy.


[00:24:28] All right. It’s it’s yeah, it’s it’s amazing what we what we do get. And it’s really it’s amazing the relationships we developed with hospitals and manufacturers to because they’ve been incredibly supportive of our mission.


[00:24:42] I love that. You know, I’ve told this I’ve worn this story out. I beat a dead horse. But I’ve been using a remanufacturing printer for up about seven years. And it just now, I think, gave up to go south. I think we have to put it out of its misery. But but seven years of a printer that was rebuilt. Right. So there’s there’s so much good quality. And hopefully we continue as supply chain leaders to find ways of making more and more circularity into the global supply chain. So go ahead.


[00:25:18] Let me just add another dimension to this. You talk about the equipment. One of the one of the challenges that we also see in fullfill is we will do. We’ll send this equipment, biomedical equipment to countries and hospitals around the world. We also train their engineers and technicians on how to repair and maintain them. You’d be shocked at how often we see equipment in the field. Didn’t come from us. That just sits there in a closet because it broke and they don’t have anybody to fix it or they don’t even know how to use it. It was delivered them as a donation, but they don’t know how to use it. So they push it in a closet because they get more pressing matters. So one of things we do just in fiscal year 19, which, you know, we were about six months after we just finished fiscal year 19 as we train three hundred eighty two engineers around the world. So it’s not a light operation. We have an engineer who spends about half his time traveling in the pack as much into these trips as possible, in fact. Right now, he’s he’s he’s working with State Department to try to get home from Nigeria.


[00:26:28] So you’re kind of effectively teaching teaching them how to fish, right? Not just providing fish, but also teaching them how to fish in some respect, how to maintain this equipment.


[00:26:38] So they continue to they can continue to use that equipment, support no patients that need it. Yeah, the supplies, you know, we we receive these supplies and they need there’s a lot of work that goes into preparing them for delivery and that and that we have to do a Q A on and we have to sort them, we have to repackage them and we use volunteers for that. We see amongst our three facilities we see about twenty thousand volunteers a year and.


[00:27:07] So let me let me. I want to bring Enrique into the conversation. Not not for the question he’s got for you, but I want to kind of put Enrique on the spot here. Enrique, I know you’ve collaborated with with Mette Sheer for quite some time. What do you admire about the operation that Randy has been describing to our listeners?


[00:27:24] Yes. Thank you very much, Scott and Randy, once again, we have told this to you before. We really admire what you and your company and your organization is doing. And we’re really proud to just have known you guys and had the opportunity to work with you. I know you were talking about the volunteers and how the sorting operation works. And we’ve done that as a company a couple of times. Thank you. It’s unbelievable. It’s just not only impressive to see because I think that Randy. All right. Describe it a couple of times when it’s just. It’s hard to imagine how much surplus gets to their warehouse, right, even even again, Romney has mentioned it again and again. But until you’re there at the warehouse looking at all those rows and boxes and plastic bags and it’s really it’s really boggling and they all come together, make stop. And you have this huge plastic bags that you’ve put on the tables and teams work maybe five per table trying to sort every single thing. And I it’s just impressive. It’s amazing, though, they get. So I admire their dedication and commitment. Does it? It’s painstaking, lays low to kind of really.


[00:28:42] Break everything apart and put Legba glasses at one end, the Moscow one, then this and that. Yeah, it’s very complicated. It’s time consuming. And honestly, I just admire the way they have been able to to build there. They’re the foundation of followers and volunteers and people that believe in their cause and what they stand for. So if if I had to kind of single one thing out from from from things that I had my admire about met Sheer, it’s used to the foundation and the the amazing community that they have built throughout the world. Because. Because it. It’s not it’s not an easy job. I’ll tell you that much.


[00:29:25] You know, in Riga, you’re kind it’s we try really hard to make it a great experience for the volunteers. We we want to engage them in a mission. We want them to feel, you know, while they’re here, they’re really, really adding value. They’re really doing doing good while they’re here. And hopefully when they leave, they feel like they really accomplished something at the half. We at the end of each session, we let them know how many pounds they saw and how many patients will receive that. Where are those products are going to go? So when they leave, they know, hey, what I did is going to go to Kenya. What I did is going to Ethiopia, support, you know, x thousands of patients. So I love that.


[00:30:08] And they and Randi might not say it, but they run. Randy and his team run and they run a tight ship. They have all the steps, all the processes. They’re very professional, good technologists, less less so. Really? Well, yeah. Well, well established operation for sure.


[00:30:24] Love that. So, Randy, let’s talk about that for a second. So, you know, I think in all of our conversations, a lot of folks will assume where CEOs or CEOs or you name it, spend their time. And as we have found it, there’s so much variety. So we’re in your role as chief operating officer at Sheer. Where do you spend your time?


[00:30:47] Well, that’s a great question. I thought a lot about. I thought a lot about this. I spent a lot of time, you know, obviously trying to make this place more efficient, make it, you know, find ways to get more done at a lower cost, more done with with with the people that we have, both our staff and our and our volunteers. You know, I work hard and thinking a lot about how do we how do we make a volunteer program, a great experience for everyone. So we we do work harder than we think a lot about it. You know, we don’t have a lot of technology here. We have what we need. We can always use more. So there’s there’s there’s a lot of time and thought goes into, you know, what is the what is the best way to leverage the funds that we have and and the talent that we have to innovate and do things more creatively and better leveraging technology or just leveraging smarter way of doing so. That’s probably the biggest focus that I have every day when I come in. And every night I go home, I’m thinking about, you know what? What else can we be doing and how could we be doing it? Smarter, better.


[00:31:56] Love that constructive the and having that that innovation and continuous improvement process forward. OK. Enrique, I want to bring you back in. You’re always curious about what else is is between our guests here so far wider.


[00:32:11] Thank you much. And so, Randi, you mentioned that you’re constantly thinking about how to do things, how to improve the processes. You create more. I guess one of the questions that I had for you today was what has changed? Like, I know that many, many things have changed with this coronavirus pandemic that we’re facing. But as the CEO and someone that has had an amazing career from consulting to UBS to manufacturing, what what can you tell us about the things that you’re kind of seeing in the market now, the things that are actually making your work a lot more stressful, maybe a lot harder. But then also, what are some of the silver linings that you see that that could give us some some hope to do everyone else and some other organizations like yours that are really trying and funded on helping others, but yet they’re now facing this additional kind of hurdle. Right, to do their to their costs and their purpose. And you can’t stop because if you stop now is when people need you even more than before. But you’re faced with this incredible challenge. So how do you cope with all that, how you think around this?


[00:33:23] That’s a great question. And Begaye. So some of the things that we’ve we faced, you know, we were very focused on on working with with countries taking the surplus that we have here that we enjoy here in the United States and using that surplus in communities around the world. So that was our key focus. And we did. We also support local clinics. That was a small part of it. We an important part of we do. But it wasn’t a major part of where our focus was. And then all of a sudden somewhere mid-March, it did a 180 on it. It just completely turned around. And all of a sudden we’re getting calls from local hospitals saying, you know, we need gloves, we need gowns, we need masks, face shields, you know, can you help us? And all the sudden, we’re completely spun around. Now we’re providing whatever entry we have to hospitals and clinics in, again, our communities, in the services area, in the Atlanta area and up in New York City. So it’s it’s been a 180. And I’ll tell you, one of the things that that we’ve enjoyed there is, is we do have a good network of partners. We were blessed with a pretty good inventory of personal protective equipment. We were able to when the when the outbreak initially occurred, we were able to deliver needed supplies to China. And then when we’re now in the rest of the world, begin to experience in a far worse way and in many, many aspects, you know, the impact of this pandemic, we were you know, we were fortunate to have inventory to be able to continue to supply hospitals and organizations here in the state. So it’s been a 180 in terms of our business model. We did lose s we no longer see volunteers. We’ve put that on hold. Our staff has been busy. We’ve we’ve got an amazing, dedicated group of people here that are I tell you, they’re just amazing and how they’re focused on the mission and how they’re able to do what they do every day. You need to continue to provide that.


[00:35:40] That’s for Randy in light of kind of the changes that all of we’ve all had to make from a volunteer standpoint with fiscal distancing and all that. Quick question, how how can our listeners support Medd Sheer right now? What what’s a what would you suggest?


[00:35:59] Well, first of all, you’re welcome McMaster which website to learn more about what we do with W W W? Metcher dot org. You can also see us on Facebook, the net Sheer mission. Instagram is at med Sheer official and Twitter we’re at midshires. So we’re pretty active in social media if we are looking at bringing volunteers back. This summer we’re starting to book in in July and volunteer sessions. We’re hoping we’ve got our fingers crossed that we can. We’ll be in a position to be able to reopen some volunteers, smaller groups, but we’re open to that.


[00:36:42] And these are great. So when you when you talk about planning these volunteer sessions, that will be a great opportunity for teams to come out and support what you do. And I imagine I’ve never been a part of a Met Sheer volunteer activity, but I imagine it’s also a great team building and sprayed a core building opportunity as well as doing good things, helping to support a great organization. Right.


[00:37:06] Yea, I can jump in because I’ve been on that end of the spectrum and they are they’re really, really great team builders and I think they do a really good job too. To follow up with what you’re doing because you’re not just spending a couple of hours. And that said, but you really get a sense of the impact that what you’re doing is going to have in some other people’s lives.


[00:37:32] And I think that’s what that’s what kind of closes the loop and makes it more meaningful. And I think it’s a really, really good activity for teams we’ve done in a couple of times already, and I’m sure we’ll continue to do it goes. Because as much as we feel we’re helping my chair, I really think it’s the other way around. And every time we go there, become hoglund like just so much more energized, more focused. And I think it’s just Metcher helping us every time we go. So. So we’ll keep doing that.


[00:38:00] And it’s great to hear that. Intriguing. So let’s shift gears one more time here. That’s that’s what we do. There’s so much to cover in an hour or less. Let let’s shift over to what else is going on across the global in the end. Supply chain. Right. Ironwork, I want you to weigh weigh in here in a second. But Randy, what when when you survey this pandemic environment we’re in, what topic or to or development or or you name it, what’s what are you tracking more than others right now.


[00:38:32] Well, you know, one of the things where we are. I’d say one of things where we’re tracking right now and we’re involved with on a daily basis is just some of the challenges of moving freight globally. It’s always something, I’m sure, Enrique, you lead you live this every day to the more we can bring up great barriers, the more we can make trade move fluidly around the world on to remove some of the uncertainty that is involved and in moving product globally. I think that the better off will all be. I mean, may make commerce better and make our mission easier. So many things would improve and that is one of the key challenges we face. In fact, you were looking for silver linings. I’d say one of the one of this silver linings. And, you know, I’m sure that there’s more out there. One of the silver linings I see is, is with this over 19, you do see some of those barriers coming down. You see it becoming you know, countries are more open now to aid. Obviously, in the US is more open to import of aid from other locations. So we’re seeing some of those barriers come down.


[00:39:40] And hopefully we’ll learn from that. And we can we can make that happen more continuous basis in the future.


[00:39:50] Great point there, Enrique. Like I mentioned, I’d love for you to weigh in. And what’s your live in a lot of that right now, you and the vector team. What are you tracking more than others right now?


[00:40:01] Yeah, I know. And we’ve been working on this and similar due to Randy and Matt Sheer, like they have they ship masks to China when doing the virus hit China. So so they’ve been tracking this for six months. And so how we kind of shipping around the world and the one thing that we’re currently seeing is that. The US is still needing a lot of help and everyone’s trying to help them. But then the virus going to its slowly shifting to Latin America and Africa and I think those two areas of the world are going to be hit next and maybe last and this pandemic. And so as Randi mentioned, we we’ve been fielding calls from all over. And I think we’re we’re expecting to do that again sometime soon, especially Mexico, Bolivia. Some countries in Latin America. And after that, it’ll be called from Ghana and Nigeria and in Africa. So so it just. We still have a couple. Yeah, hopefully less than than than a few months, but but it’s still it’s still developing and I really think that this is still not over. And we have to kind of keep together and make sure that there’s trust in the system. That’s the one thing that I but I think we all need to promote friends rusting a little bit more in each other and just being a bit more transparent about why we’re doing things and then just getting them done.


[00:41:28] Great point. Randy, I hope you don’t mind I ask you a question that that wasn’t part of my initial plan, but talking with you and get to know you little better. There’s some sense of calm in your perspective right now. And I got to ask you, if you had a couple of thing. Given all of your leadership experience and your journey, if you had to offer a couple of things that for other organizational leaders to kind of keep in mind as we go through these uncertain times, what would what would those couple of tips look like?


[00:42:01] Wow. I guess one that comes to mind right off is, you know, stay focused on on your purpose and your mission. To me, that’s always been a, you know, a. Guiding guiding light, if you will, is, you know, we need to understand our mission and we need to understand our purpose. And then we need to stay focused on how do we get that accomplished. It helps you prioritize. Their use of resources that helps you prioritize both people and physical resources and helps you focus on any uncertainties that come along. One of the things you know, all of us in the Supply chain practice, if you will, we deal with uncertainty right now. That’s that’s what we do every day. Is as we try to minimize uncertainty. We try to predict uncertainty and we try to manage through uncertainty. And, you know, one of the things that I’d say is key going forward is this is this is a new and different challenge for us. And we need to continue to keep our eye on where we need to be. What the most most important priority is and focus what we have at our disposal to accomplish that.


[00:43:19] The power of focus is such that it cannot be overstated during challenging and uncertain times. And also, like what you put your supply chain folks are used to trying to peer around corners and hit curve balls and and and carry out, you know, problem solve all the unexpected that kind of comes with the professional like how you put that there. OK. So, Randy, before we bring Enrique and Monica back in to talk about a couple of initiatives that the better team is leaving, you’ve already kind of shared a couple of different things that folks can learn more about. Medd, Sheer. But let’s let’s make sure they submit Sheer dot org Imedi s h a r e dot org is the Web site and where else can folks learn more and potentially get engaged?


[00:44:08] Well, social media were like I mentioned, we’re at Facebook where I met Sheer mission and Instagram were at Medishare official and Twitter were at Sheer.


[00:44:22] So we’re pretty, pretty active in all three areas of social media as well. As, you know, we keep people up to date on our on our Web site. And if you want to come volunteer, our Web site is is where we interact initially with groups where they come request times and dates. If you want to provide a donation of supplies or equipment, again, come to our Web site or obviously you could reach out to me personally. I’d be happy to talk to you. But we we welcome any engagement around the global health, space and supplies and equipment that we can’t so outstanding.


[00:45:03] Really appreciate what you’re doing. Thanks so much for carbon. Some time out and joining us here on Supply chain now. And stay tight as we wrap up the interview here. Don’t go anywhere just yet, Randi. Big thanks to to your colleague Nancy Hunter over at Med Sheer for helping facilitate today’s conversation.


[00:45:20] Absolutely. She Nance’s is fantastic.


[00:45:24] You bet. OK, so want to bring Enrique back into the conversation here. Enrique, it’s tough to do it justice. And just a couple of minutes because Victor is involved in so many different initiatives. But now what’s one or two critical initiatives that the Victor team is leading right now that folks should hear about?


[00:45:41] Yes. No, thanks, Scott. So I’ll talk about one jerai and then use one very specific that I’m very passionate about. The Daryl comment that I wanted to make is we’ve been working with different companies and organizations trying to help in any way we can. We’ve been dealing with this condeming since the beginning when we actually ship masks in to China. Now we’re trying to bring them desperately back to the US and some other parts of the world. And so one thing that we did is we launched on steam, not with people not only here in the US, Mexico, Chile and other parts in Latin America, but also with a with a specialized team in China that’s helping us go in different suppliers and different sources. They will go to the manufacturing facilities, take pictures, they videos, interview and double check that all the products are FDA approved. They have the certifications in place. They have to see. There you have all the different quality control. Guidances that not all their countries stipulated for them to be imported efficiently. So the first thing is if anyone out there needs help either sourcing or shipping or both. Feel free to reach out to us. We are really trying to do just bring some clarity and just openness and transparency to the whole deal making process that they will currently see the market stuff.


[00:47:07] It’s been challenging. There’s a lot of, I think, corruption and inefficiencies, a lot of people claiming to do things that they probably can’t do or they weren’t doing for long. Like a lot of manufacturing facilities that we’re making umbrellas a couple of weeks ago and now they’re making knau 5 mats. So there’s there’s a lot of noise out there. And that’s what we want to help with that. And then the other the other initiative that we’re launching and I’m really excited about is we’re partnering with Love Beyond Walls, Terrence Néstor. And it’s our organization that helps homeless people in and all over the country. And we are trying to help raise money to bring hundred thousand masks for the homeless. We’ve got some samples this morning I’m really excited about. I can send you a picture and show you before they put it. We’re really happy about this. I think that’s something that’s really going to help people, but that really need it, because one thing that we sometimes and I had happened to me so we forget is when all this different and social distancing rules started, everyone’s you stay home.


[00:48:19] Stay home. But. Well, some people don’t have homes, right? And it’s you sitting in the way that the mandates are written. It’s just offensive and wrong and it’s heartbreaking because they literally say if you don’t have a home or a home as well, then none of this applies to you. And you’re like, well, yes, but that’s not the answer. How are we going to help these people that unfortunately don’t have homes?


[00:48:42] So that’s that’s one thing that I that I’m really excited about. And I literally look forward to working with parents because he’s an amazing individual.


[00:48:51] Outstanding. And I think we’re working on putting together a livestream featuring Victor and Terrence and learn.


[00:48:58] Yeah, I think I think we’re going to have we’re going to interview him in a couple more ways, which can be interesting and outstanding.


[00:49:05] You know, it’s the things in our blind spots during especially challenging and and unique times that that can’t get enough attention, you know? So really appreciate what you’re doing and the better team is doing. How can folks learn more about Victor and Rick?


[00:49:22] Yeah. So you can send me an e-mail. Enrique Alvarez, Victor G.L. dot com. You can go to our Web page and vector jail Deborah Dull people or I use Instagram as well. And I would like to have more and to introduce herself as well, because she’s been very helpful and amazing kind of coordinating some of these interviews for the series Logistics. And that’s another way of really getting in touch with us through her. So my.


[00:49:58] Things in Rickett Well, you can reach me in my email, too. It’s Monica that R O E C H at better deal dot com or owning Tene as money go to the Grosch W.


[00:50:16] Outstanding. Monica, I really appreciate what you’re doing to help us facilitate these conversations like the one we’ve had here today with Randy Strang. And thanks so much. So, Enrique, Monica, thanks so much to our listeners. You can learn more about vector at Vector G You can learn more about Medishare at med Sheer dot org. And of course, we’ll have those links in the show notes of today’s episode. Thanks again to our listeners. Thanks for joining us in this conversation we’ve been having with Randy Strang, chief operating officer with Med Sheer, a global humanitarian aid organization doing big things across the world and so many different ways that happen to be headquartered here in Atlanta. Randy, thanks so much for your time.


[00:50:58] Absolutely. Thanks again for having me.


[00:51:01] You bet. Stay safe and all the best to you and your team. Thank you, Enrique and Monica. All the best to you and the Victor team to our audience. Be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at Supply Chain Now Radio Find us and subscribe or ever get your podcast from on behalf of our entire team here. Scott Luton. Wishing you a successful week ahead. Stay safe, don’t panic or we’re going to break through anytime now. But please do follow the expert advice and precautions that have been distributed by your local health care entities and know this brighter days lie ahead. We’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now.

Prefer to watch the podcast rather than just listen?  Watch Scott and Greg as they welcome Randy Strang to Supply Chain Now on our YouTube channel.

 Randy Strang came to MedShare after retiring from UPS where he spent nearly 18 years as a vice president. He held several roles at UPS including leading the Retail Solutions team, serving as the integration manager for a strategic integration and leading the Global Program Management team, a global team of professionals who provided service level oversight for our largest customers. Prior to UPS he worked as a Management Consultant at Accenture and Ernst & Young. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now. 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 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. 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 Supply Chain Now here:


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