Supply Chain Now Episode 358

On this episode of Supply Chain Now, Scott and Greg cover the top news in supply chain for the week of May 11th.

Scott Luton (00:00:01):

Well want to get whiteboard. All right. Hey Scott, Luton and Greg white here with you on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream where it’s all about the supply chain buzz, right Greg? It is all about blockchain buzz. After I accidentally hit the a button on my surface pencil and brought up the white board. Now it’s all about the supply chain buzz. Let’s talk about what’s important in supply chain now. That’s right, and that’s what this series is all about, right? We’re, we’re today we’ve got four stories teed up, recent developments, important developments and we’re going to walk through that based on some other great reporting and then give you our take on what, what may be the most important things to know about these developments. So all about supply chain buzz. So stay tuned as we like to say for a very informative, lively, interactive discussion where we will incorporate our audience as well.

Scott Luton (00:00:54):

Or our aim is singular. We’re looking to increase your supply chain leadership IQ, right, Greg? Indeed. All right. So before we get started, a quick programming, if you liked the live stream, be sure to check out our podcast wherever you get your podcasts from today. We published our third episode, third installment of a four episode series with Sarah Barnes Humphrey, right? Yeah. Um, we were talking about talent. That’s right, right. We have the live stream last week where we reviewed the first couple episodes and previewed the coming episodes. This is one of those that we previewed and as Sarah said, she posted on LinkedIn. I don’t know if you got a chance to see it, Scott. She said she may or may not have slightly challenged HR professionals and we know we had a lively and and Frank conversation. You know, we all have room for improvement and certainly for not challenging folks and we’re not having the conversations we need to move the industry forward.

Scott Luton (00:01:52):

So, Hey, real quick, before we talk about this day in history, when, uh, uh, give a shout out to some folks, Kathy Maura Robertson, uh, who, uh, is following along to some degree on LinkedIn. I bet she is conducting some analysis. And if you haven’t checked out the logistics trends and insights, they’ve got a great newsletter shock full of industry insights. So looking forward to Kathy’s going to be on that future of supply chain, uh, panel event. Uh, this coming Thursday, Greg Kathy is doing research and under her voice she’s about to say has always the Greg though I always read, I love that she’s even listening to us. I just feel, I feel like we’ve made it when Kathy’s at least listening to it. All right. Brian Bird song a ups or is tuned in via LinkedIn live in a ups has been doing a lot of great things during these challenging times.

Scott Luton (00:02:44):

Joseph Valentino, uh, it’s Valentine’s day. Every day I think is either Joseph or our friend Tom said that, uh, and Kyle Reeves who has been really active both in the live stream on social media, uh, great to have all of you as, as today’s supply chain. But so with no further ado, let’s make it worth their while. Tell me a little bit about this day in history this day in history. It is already May 11th. So on this date, Greg, in 1858, Minnesota was admitted to the United States as the 32nd state land of 10,000 lakes. But what I hear there’s a lot more than 10,000 lakes. Yeah. So this picture here, so this is one of the landmarks in Minnesota. Uh, believe it or not, this is a Minnesota. It’s on Lake superior. This is the split rock lighthouse. It’s on the North shore of Lake superior in silver Bay, Minnesota.

Scott Luton (00:03:38):

This was completed in 1910, five years after a spat, uh, where a storm clean 29 ships. Well, uh, in 1905 and much to some people’s surprise, perhaps there’s still a ton of shipping activity on the great lakes. Uh, over 160 million tons of cargo in fact, are still moved through the region that supports 329,000 jobs in the U S and Canada. Does that, uh, does that sound about right to you Greg? It’s an impressive number. I don’t know the numbers, but having lived up there, I lived in Detroit for a while as a kid. And then having worked with a lot of companies up there, Wausau paper and mills, fleet farm and quality farm and fleet, um, I’ve been all over the great lakes up there. And of course they go out and they, so many of them connect with the Hudson river and that’s how so many, um, how so many, uh, bits of goods get to the Midwest.

Scott Luton (00:04:36):

Right? That’s right. That’s right. Of course. Chicago’s into the great supply chain city. Yup. Um, alright, so Sylvia, speaking of, of harbors and, and, uh, see cargo shipping, Sylvia says greetings from Charleston where they’ve seen a lot of growth in that port as well, and deepening, uh, and our friend memory, uh, one of the, of our livestream thought leaders, really man time is it in South Africa? Sorry, series. About to tell me. Actually it is 6:05 PM in case you’re wondering, six Oh five today. Thank you. Memory for working late. That’s right. And she says hello from Johannesburg. So great to have you back memory. All right, so driving right along, see if I’ve got our graphic teed up here. So also, uh, so AI of course, is all the rage these days, right? It’s going to be more prevalent in 2020 than ever before. Uh, on this date in 1997, deep blue defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch.

Scott Luton (00:05:34):

So the IBM supercomputer, the every, everybody, especially if you grew up in the nineties, you knew what deep blue was. It wasn’t just a rock and roll group. Uh, it became the first device to beat a world champion chess player in classic match format. So a little black little backstory there. Deep blue loss to Kasparov in 1996, but the IBM team came in and they really up the ante and rebuilt the computer. In fact, unofficially it was known as deeper blue for the rematch in 97 and it came back, uh, armed to the teeth and beat Gary Kasparov and he was done to please there. There was a lot of images. This one came from, from Reuters of the match itself, but there’s lots of images. Where were mr Kasparov was not happy, but the robots are coming. The robots are coming. They’re already here, right? Greg,

Greg White (00:06:24):

one of the greatest minds of the planet ever. And certainly the greatest chess player of his time, at the very least, maybe ever, um, kind of a John Henry story, if you think about it, Scott, right? John Henry and the steam engine, yep. Driving spikes on the railroad. And you know, this, this happened over 20 years ago. So those of you clinging to your spreadsheets and manual processes and paperwork,

Scott Luton (00:06:52):

let it go. That’s right.

Greg White (00:06:55):

Much, much smarter than, and more, more trained, highly trained at his gifts than any of us have been. Um, and he eventually lost to the machine.

Scott Luton (00:07:05):

So that’s a great point there. Great point, Greg. Uh, real quick, Nathan has been to Duluth, Minnesota, beautiful place. Nathan is tuned in via LinkedIn, uh, live today. Uh, Michael [inaudible]. Ms Cindy, I may have gotten that wrong, Michael, but, uh, glad to have you. Greetings from Kenya. Michael, great to have you here. And let’s see here. One, I think we got one more story for today in history. It’s always fascinating to take a look back, right? So today, uh, in 1998, a French mint produced the first coins of Europe’s single currency, the Euro. Wow. So do you happen to know and, and, and you know what I meant at Google this, this morning before we went live, I checked it out yesterday. Do you happen to know the current exchange rate of the U S dollar to the European Euro? Hey, Siri, Siri to the rescue.

Scott Luton (00:07:59):

So yesterday it was a dollar was your was worth about a dollar and 8 cents. You’re a dollar Euro. Yeah, that’s right. Wow. That was yesterday. So I’m not sure what the rates are today, but interesting enough. All right, so also May 11th is celebrated as national technology day in India, which, believe it or not, that national day in India is tied to a five successful nuclear tests that took place in 1998 where the, you know, the, the holiday traces its history to Vietnam. It’s Vietnam human rights day, which dates back to 1994. And with all that being said, Greg, let’s dive into the buds. What’s your thing?

Greg White (00:08:43):

Let’s do that. Um, yeah, let’s talk about PMI. So we’re not going to open with good news folks, but Hey, sometimes you gotta face the hard truths, right? Right, right. And I think it’s important for us to know where we stand, uh, as we go through, uh, these, this difficult, uh, time. So forgive me while I look down a little bit at my notes here, but, uh, the PMI contracted 7.6 percentage points. This is from March to April to 41.5%. The lowest indicator in the manufacturing sector or of, uh, of, uh, manufacturing contraction. Um, since 2009. This is the only way the PMI has put out by the Institute for supply management. Formerly the, uh, the, um, I can’t remember what the name of the organization was before, but it merged with another. Um, so remember PMI over 50% means growth under 50% means, uh, decline, right?

Greg White (00:09:47):

So new orders posted a a 15.1% declined to 27.1%. Again, lowest reading since 2008. And the largest one month drop recorded since 1950. One case, I don’t know, that was almost 70 years ago. I can do that. I mean, when you put it in that perspective, that’s pretty substantial. Also, remember that in 1951, we were coming off production from, uh, transitioning from the war effort to building all kinds of cars and bikes and buildings and whatnot for people coming back from the war effort to get back to work. So there was a, there was a different, completely different reason for that drop then and, and not as negative and indicator to the economy as it as it is now. Yeah. Um, so, you know, obviously there’s been a big drop here in Scott. Thank you. Has added this, uh, graphic here that shows the dip in China, the lighter blue and then, and then ultimately the dip that has followed areas following in the States.

Greg White (00:10:59):

So whether we’ll see that level of depth, we reported on the depth of the dip in China some weeks back. Um, but this is the bullwhip effect, right? This is the effect of demand declining, production declining, and then of course, supply, uh, declining on the backside of that. So we’re starting to see some impacts of the, of the bullwhip effect there. Um, you know, some of the, some of the, some segments did actually increase food and beverage and paper products. Um, we’re the only ones out of 18 manufacturing industries that ism tracks that showed growth in April. So, um, memory says that Greg, you are a encyclopedia of information. Some might say a font of useless knowledge. I studied

Scott Luton (00:11:54):

history and what was your favorite? And so I’m sure we both use encyclopedias back in the day before the internet was around. For us it was encyclopedia Britannica. I think my grandparents gave us a couple of additions of that. What did you use grownup?

Greg White (00:12:09):

It was encyclopedia Britannica. So when I was a kid, we all lived, my parents, grandparents and great grandparents all lived on three houses on two lots in Wichita, Kansas. And all that stuff was in one house. Cause I mean we weren’t wealthy so we often pooled our money to buy stuff and it always wound up in my great grandparents house. And so we did have an encyclopedia Britannica

Scott Luton (00:12:35):

along to the whole family. Love that. Which being an air come door to door and sell it to you, the air capital of the world, Wichita, Kansas. Good stuff there. 19, 17 South Washington in case you’re wondering, you can drive by and see my homestead. Alright, so anything else related to this first story, uh, that you, you want to share?

Greg White (00:12:57):

I think, I think the indicators are showing that we can expect a continued downward trend for, for a period of time. The truth is, in my opinion, I always like to qualify that, that we will start to see, uh, this come out once as the restrictions on this seismic societal disruption. Thank you again, um, to Brad Jacobs for that term. Um, as we start to see the, the restrictions easing and people getting back to commerce in, um, in the various States and municipalities as they start to bring industry back online, I can tell you here in Georgia, um, and particularly on Saturday, it, uh, you know, as we were driving around, uh, my wife said this looks like any other Saturday, you know, traffic and transport and parking lots, um, are starting to fill up. Interesting and different. Everyone is wearing masks and everyone is maintaining social distance. And I think, and I applaud them for that, but it’s interesting to see how commerce can come back and frankly, I think the retailers in, you know, in Georgia, at least the ones that I’ve seen, they’re doing the right thing, restaurants and whatnot. So anyway, we, we won’t see this turnaround until we’ve turned the economy back on.

Scott Luton (00:14:23):

Yup. Great point. Hey, want to shout out to a couple of folks. So Claudia freed is tuned in via LinkedIn live. Goodness. It feels like we’re alone out here. If we don’t have Cathy Robertson, we don’t have memory and we don’t have Claudia. That’s right. Good, good point. Uh, so Claudia, I hope you’re doing well. Also. Joseph Maretta who’s with technologies, he’s an active participant and yeah, going back to Joseph, uh, Valentine, I didn’t pick this up on the first couple of shows he joined us for. He is in the world of logistics. So Joseph, here’s a challenge for you. I would love to get, you know, that’s a, I’m speaking of challenging components of global supply chain right now. Reverse logistics and returns processing. You know, that’s always complex, right? But in this environment, uh, it’s even more complex. So we’d love to get your insights there.

Scott Luton (00:15:09):

Just a Valentine, a couple of observations from what’s going on in the reverse logistics space. That’d be great. Alright, so let’s keep driving this next story. So, um, this is the question on so many people’s mind. Insert product here, right? Toilet paper, paper towels. That’s right. Yeah. So Greg, this comes to us from, uh, Sharon Turlock over at the wall street journal. Uh, so what do big foot Lochness monster, accurate forecasts and disinfectant wipes all have in common? Nobody’s ever seen them. They’re all rumored to exist. That’s right. Right. So, uh, kidding aside, I think, you know, most of the country here in the States, at least we have seen, you know, toilet paper. Being able to find that a little bit easier, we can even find some hand sanitizer more at least than you could, you know, a month or so ago. Not always, but, but more than, than what you could, what little while back.

Scott Luton (00:16:06):

But this infect wipes still have been really tough to find. So why exactly is that? So in this great article from the wall street journal, um, you know, they identify as, as any of our listeners may, uh, connect with from our previous shows, demand is still a huge juggernaut, right? So take a look at Clorox, one of the leading manufacturers of disinfecting wipes in the industry. The company has increased production of disinfectant products by a whopping 40%. That’s massive given their footprint. But sales of the same products have increased to five times the normal level at times during this panic pandemic environment. So according to Nielsen, right, it’s the same a hundred percent. I mean, it’s unbelievable, right? That is an unbelievable uplift. Yep. So according to Nielsen, the same folks that measure all kinds of things, including television ratings, USLS of disinfect, disinfected wipes were up 140%, 146% for the eight week period that ended March 25th, 2020.

Scott Luton (00:17:11):

So even when, to your point earlier, we’re seeing some little bit sense of normal normalcy kind of creep back in. Still wipes are going off the charts and really we can expect that probably four months. Come on that in just a second. So that level of demand, whether it’s solar paper, whether it’s wipes or whether it’s it’s meat or anything else that’s really difficult to plan for, especially in industries that typically this demand comes out of nowhere, right? It’s not tied to anything you could forecast for, you know, six months ago, even a year ago. So this article here references Clorox CFOs, Kevin Jacobson who says, quote, we’re shipping canisters of wipes every day to our customers and within 30 to 45 minutes they’re gone from the shelves. The demand has outstripped what anybody could have imagined in a quote that comes from the chief financial officer’s office.

Scott Luton (00:18:06):

So Baton until that paper, right? Cause that was all the rage and they’re still getting some questions in some markets, haven’t quite seen as much consistency as others, but you know, we’re seeing less Horton, right? Because every American seems like it’s already filled up their garage, so they can’t take on anymore. It seems like at least. And the major manufacturers also, uh, the production gains have started to help address these gaps as well. Hand sanitizers, as we’ve talked about, that’s become a little bit more available. We’ve seen a lot of companies come into and start making hand sanitizer. Right. That’s helped.

Greg White (00:18:41):

Scott, I’m talking to, um, one of the owners at granddaddy Mims. Um, who is, is doing that, I’m talking to one of them tonight. So it’ll be interesting to hear what they, you know, what they are experiencing in terms of, of shifting their production like that. By the way, real quick shout out to anyone who’s in the wine and spirits industry when demand is up over 40%. Some of them are sacrificing, fulfilling that demand to help fulfill the need for these kinds of essential products. And that is, that’s a big move if you think about it. That is a give forward moment.

Scott Luton (00:19:21):

Great point. Great point. So why are wipes so challenging? So, so a couple of points here. So first off, of course you’ve got to source the fabric, but, but more challenging, you’ve got to mix a fabric with this specific chemical mix that meets EPA standards for what can be promoted as effective for knocking out SARS cov two which is what is the evidently is the virus that causes COBIT 19 so if you’re going to promote certain things that these disinfectant wipes or anything else that’s disinfected can promote, you’ve got to meet those certain guidelines. So they had to change their formula then, uh, I, I’m sure, and, and recently

Greg White (00:20:00):

there was no SARS Cove too, right? It’s, it’s a, it’s a new virus. Yep. So they’ve act, so part of their production shift is not only been to increase volume, but to change their formula as well.

Scott Luton (00:20:12):

Well, you know, I speak from years and years of failing chemistry class to be able to completely not be able to answer your question related to that, Greg, but I’m sure there’s folks out there that’s for sure. Right? That’s right. Um, so yeah, that’s a great question. Had they had to update their, the chemical formula so that it could address COBIT 19. I don’t know. It’s a great question. Um, back to demand though. The arts, this article talks about how prior to the pandemic environment, only about half of American households at least really use and purchase disinfecting wipes. So not only of course with the massive change, uh, which is also reflected in sales, not only are those households buying a lot more, but you had a lot of new customers come into the mix. Right? And that’s again, challenging to forecast. So

Greg White (00:21:03):

well it also changes the dynamic of production, the lines, the lines for toilet paper because it’s a commodity. The lines for milk, eggs, bread, butter, whatnot. They are already built for high speed, high volume,

Scott Luton (00:21:18):

the, the

Greg White (00:21:19):

production lines for products like this, they’re are not built for that high level of volume. And it does put a strain on a production capacity to have to try to produce at that level. And ordinarily that growth would come over months or years, not days.

Scott Luton (00:21:35):

Great point. And that’s where we’re going. So what is Clorox? One of the leading manufacturers of disinfected wipes. What are they doing about it? Well, they’re doing a lot about it and kudos to the whole Clorox team and our manufacturing team or supply chain team. Of course, they were one of our award winners with the Atlanta supply chain awards back in March before the world changed. But four things in particular. Number one, they’re running plants 24, seven to increase production, you know, 40%. Clearly they’re using third party manufacturers to help increase inventory. They’re ceasing production of some lines that aren’t as relevant during these pandemic, uh, uh, times that we live in to gain that capacity for more disinfectant wipes. And fourthly, in the bigger picture, this, this is one of the most interesting things about articles that I found at least, you know, a toilet paper.

Scott Luton (00:22:27):

We know anyone that knows supply chain knows that was just a temporary demand. That demand wasn’t going to be around for 50 years. So it did not make sense for these paper manufacturers to go out and invest in massive new lines or new plants because it was temporary demand. Right. Well, uh, on the other hand, Clorox believes this demand for their products for disinfection disinfectant wipes for some reason that’s just not rolling right off the tongue here today. Yeah, it’s hard. That’s right. They’re predicting this demand is going to hang around for months to come based on how some of our cleaning behaviors are going to be changing. So they are, they are investing in new production lines as they expect that demand to remain high. So, you know, interesting. The differences between products, between consumer products, between the different manufacturing rules of thumb. And I’ll tell you again, Clorox, it, uh, they are making it happen, no pun intended. So Greg, what was your, uh, tell us what, what are you thinking here?

Greg White (00:23:33):

Well, I mean, I think we need to talk to Rick McDonald, VP of ops at Clorox, right. Um, who we’ve had on the show before. I’d be interested to see what they’re doing. I, I hope they’re trying to solve the proximate problem

Scott Luton (00:23:46):

before they try to solve the longer term problem. And I sense that they are, but this is a dramatic shift in a product. Again that didn’t have that level of demand. And by the way, um, the issues with supply, sustainable supply, uh, at least at retail for toilet paper and paper towels continue to exist. Yep. Um, and I’m going to give all consumers a tip here and that is a tip that I received from my local Publix grocery store chain manager here in, in Cobb County, Georgia. People are asking the store employees when the truck with particular products arrives and trying to meet the truck at the store, which is why those goods are running out in such a short period of time. Additionally, the manual processes in most grocery store chains, not Costco necessarily, but in most grocery store chains, they don’t know what they have in inventory. Their systems don’t yet capture that. And they also don’t, in many cases, at least in the States, and this will be a literally foreign concept for anyone, most anyone outside of the States because in Europe and Asian and the rest of the Americas, by the way, retailers, grocery retailers do know what they have and they do have automated systems. But because we don’t have automated systems, it’s in my head how much I’m going to adapt to this. Right. To go back to the Gary Kasparov and deep blue.

Scott Luton (00:25:22):

Alright. So, uh, I want to give a couple of so good, good points there. Absolutely Greg. And there’s so many different ways. It’s tough to dive into a story like this that impacts a global sector of our, uh, consumer goods in 10 minutes or less. But I want to give a quick shout out to a couple of folks. You know, you can’t talk about the air capital of the world without having gone, isn’t he? When I was thinking about people that we should have, we should be seeing out there in the world. Mohave is out there. So yes, and Mohib says air capital, world converging point of global supply chain to take their maiden flights. My most favorite place in the world. So great to have you here. Where this once again, pro professor Mohit. Um, all right, so Nathan, Greg, you started to share some of the substitute things you can use.

Scott Luton (00:26:11):

Nathan also comes in. Nathan Sparks, I believe, and says, here’s a substitute. You can create a home during the disinfecting wipes shortage, ketorolac, cut of, cut a roll of paper towels in half and add rubbing alcohol and dish detergent to the container. It’s also more sustainable as you are reusing the container. Good stuff there from Nathan. Felicia, our our one of our dear friends, Felicia with the reverse logistics association says you can also use water and Clorox at a ratio of five to one water to Clorox of Felicia. Hope you, Tony and the RLA team are doing well. Looking forward to reconnect.

Greg White (00:26:51):

[inaudible] and Nathan were awake during chemistry.

Scott Luton (00:26:54):

I applaud them for that. Unlike me, chemistry never was my strong suit. Uh, and also, uh, Mohave says good to joints at supply chain now and get my weekly dosage of supply chain, buzz, entertainment and happiness. Hey, all right, let’s see. We’re going to keep on driving. Uh, and so memory, uh, Amanda, if you’d grab me. OK, great. It’s coming. All right. We’ve got a couple of comments and questions from the audience that will get up on the visual here momentarily. But let’s go back to story number three, if my graphics will work here. All right, so in store number three, we’re talking to potential new factories in here in the U S right? Correct.

Greg White (00:27:37):

Yeah. So, um, we, you know, one of the big topics coming out of this is the need to reshore or near-shore or you know, we’ve heard a lot about China plus one or China plus two in terms of production options and sourcing options or two-plus China, whatever somebody’s philosophy is. But this is, um, this to me is good news. It is an active collaboration between companies like Intel who have long since been trying to bring both their capital and their production back into the States and Washington to start to make that happen. We’ve talked in previous episodes, I’ll get back to the specific about the chip makers, but we’ve talked in previous episodes about how we used to produce a lot of our medicines in the States, in Puerto Rico specifically. Um, our, I’m going to say 51st state. I hope all my friends in Puerto Rico take that the right way.

Greg White (00:28:36):

Um, but, um, we, the capabilities, the, um, regulations and the, um, incentives that existed for a period of time, they lapsed and a lot of companies moved from Puerto Rico. Um, but the capacity and the skills still exist in Puerto Rico to be able to do that. This is another example of where they’re trying to, and I think they should use Puerto Rico as a model by the way here. But this is another opportunity where Intel and the department of defense are in discussions to improve domestic sourcing for microelectronics and other related technology. So that’s, um, from William Moss, uh, from the department of defense. So, um, there, there are other companies, not just American companies, Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing, TMS, TSMC, um, had already been in talks with the department of commerce about building a factory, but hadn’t made a final decision yet. So again, in an effort to, um, to at least broaden our sourcing and manufacturing capabilities, this is a good indicator. Government is a slow moving and slow turning ship, right? Glacially slow. We want them, as we’ve said in previous episodes, not to rush to any kind of solution. It’s never good when government rushes anywhere. Um, but we want, but it’s good to see that they have started trying to solve this problem. Another thing that we have seen among companies as well is not only trying to survive this seismic societal disruption, but also to plan for this and other risk potential or even disruptions that that could be coming in the future.

Scott Luton (00:30:33):

Well put. Um, well hopefully, you know, we’ll see. And going back to the China plus one comment you made, I had a fascinating conversation with a friend of mine that’s really tuned into central and South America and, and the manufact and all the industry down there. And he was talking about how there’s a conversation brewing about how, while we know a lot of the production activities are gonna stay somewhere in Asia, you know, for those that may leave China and may go to, you know, Vietnam or someones other countries over there. But he was making the case for bringing some of that industry to central and South America. Absolutely. Which is, which is an, you know, that near shoring, uh, uh, a theme that we’ve all heard about because let’s face it, some of it just isn’t, uh, it’s not a good fit for the mix as you’ve spoken to at length of the labor and workforce available here in the States. So, right. It’s going to be really interesting to see as different industries, geographic markets around the world, look to vie for a piece of any of the pod that is going to be shifted to, you know, out of China. So a lot, a lot more to come on this, right?

Greg White (00:31:41):

Well, yeah, I mean, just to be clear, by the way, Samsung already has a chip manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas and the government is working with them. Department of commerce, I believe. Let me check that. Us officials, sorry, is all they say, but they’re working with them to expand that capability. And those discussions are ongoing. But if you think about it, um, Canada, Mexico, lots of the South American countries do have really educated and really capable workforces. Um, I don’t know how anyone knows this, but Claudia freed, my friend knows I’m a huge fan of Argentina, a lot of off, uh, off shoring, I guess if you could even call it that. It’s a long drive, but you can drive to Argentina. Um, but a lot of the outsourcing of, of um, technology development occurs in Argentina and in Chile and in, in other countries around, uh, South America, Brazil.

Greg White (00:32:39):

Well, right. So there are opportunities right here in our part of the world to, to do those that, you know, to do those kinds of things. If we can’t make the economics work here in the States, we can at least be associated with friendlier and closer sourcing partners. Yep. Great points there. A lot more to come. Speaking of Claudia, that’s, so going back to some of the things we’re talking about earlier about, uh, transportation schedules kind of being reevaluate, reevaluated and reworked. She weighed in that big lots is not revealing their delivery schedule, although folks are looking to buy garden furniture, which they’ve put on sale. Hey, you moved point Claudia because, uh, Costco, my wife is very diligent and she learned the trick from the folks at Publix and um, she went to the store and said, when is it toilet paper and paper towels coming in.

Greg White (00:33:38):

And they said, we don’t know what is on our trucks until they arrive. Wow. That’s, I mean, I’m an old time retailer. Lots of people know that I worked for an auto parts chain in the early to mid nineties. And even then we knew what was on the trucks. We knew everything that was on the shelf. So it’s not because the technological capability hasn’t existed for over two decades. Right. It’s because they have chosen not to use it. And that is something that I’m certain Costco is a great organization. They’re very highly advanced in a lot of ways. That’s something that they have to be looking to resolve. They must be, if you think about companies planning to do things, I got to believe that. Grocery store chains. Um, and you know, we’ve talked a little bit with Mike Griswold about this. I’ve got to believe that grocery store chains are looking to automate, um, stock status, what they, what they know they hold in the stores and how they fulfill those stores.

Greg White (00:34:41):

They’ve got to be looking to automate that. And Costco likewise, yeah. Into, into what’s coming is crucial. Yep. Great point. And I’m sure visibility will be a big part of our webinar with Mike Griswold of Gartner on May 27th more, more to come on that momentarily. Hey, going back a little bit further. So memory weighed in when we’re talking about the disinfectant wipes and as we’ve seen a lot of new product, new from new people, new new companies flood into the market, she says, Hey, is there any form of regulation to ensure that the sanitizer manufacturers are actually selling standardized sanitizers? Opportunists are popping up and riding the demand wave. You’re right. And just like we’ve all seen the stories of certain, um, lack of quality and defective PPE equipment, which unfortunately is a huge safety issue. Right. Um, I’m not sure what the, uh, EPA and other similar regulatory agencies

Scott Luton (00:35:38):

are doing because Greg, to your point, they’re trying to act fast and move fast to meet the demand, meet the demand and the need. And I can respect that. However, in any agency’s efforts to move fast, what’s getting in under the radar? I don’t know. That’s a great, great point there for memory. I think, look, we again, some weeks ago we started talking about sourcing relationships, B2B sourcing relationships. I would argue that the same applies B to C and that is if you don’t have a relationship with, with a company, haven’t had one in the past, you have no reason to trust them now, particularly if they are a popup, if you will, um, who’s just, who’s just come into the market now. It’s very possible that the government is trying to keep up. It’s unlikely however, that they are able to. Yep. Claudia just shared, and I think she may be referring to Unilever here, but UL is making specs available for free.

Scott Luton (00:36:38):

I’m assuming she’s underwriters laboratories, people who make sure stuff is safe, at least, at least here in the States. Greg, you are an encyclopedia of information. Holy cow. There’s not an acronym you do not know cause stuff. Claudia, thanks for sharing. Cause I don’t remember what the TNI is in logistics T and I for Kathy. So trends and insights, trends and insights, we should just call it that. Hey Claudia, if you can, uh, if you can share the link to the news story or to the underwriter’s laboratory and, and that’d be good for folks to know. Alright. It may not apply to South Africa where memory is button. They probably have a similar, um, a similar agency. Great point. Alright, so diving back into our final story here, uh, on, on the supply chain bus. So, you know, we’ve spoken to a wide variety of industry leaders and a lot of them have spoken to just how tough it is to manage plants and this new environment where you’ve got to protect the workforce and really entirely new ways.

Scott Luton (00:37:46):

Right? So in this article that comes from Jim Miller over at supply chain DOB, a lot of the constantly moving pieces are identified in this ongoing effort to protect the workforce. So let’s keep this simple because there’s a ton of issues here, but let’s start with the technology side first and the app technology applications first. So we all would love to have a vaccine rolled out in the weeks ahead, right? And make things a little bit easier and allow us to eliminate large part of threat. That’s not going to happen. In fact, JP Gander a VP and principal analyst over at Forrester says that that’s just not going to be the case. He says, quote, people need to think outside the box a little bit and use innovation to overcome this. We’re unlikely to have a vaccine anytime soon. And millions of frontline workers need to keep the world moving.

Scott Luton (00:38:35):

Must be proactive in quote, good stuff there. So the article sites, one technology practice in particular that’s already in place. So the wearables, you know, that alert or buzz when they get, when folks may, maybe they get close to close to each other or equally as important to close to dangerous areas or equipment. Right. And, and these facilities, uh, the article cites a Canadian company known as proxy P R O X X X. X. I was cited as already producing this type of equipment. Additionally, a company known as halo is producing similar equipment, but their equipment has a built in ability to offer contact tracing. And there’s a lot of different opinions on this, this notion of contact tracing. But in this case, if an employee gets a virus, you can go back and figure out who else was exposed. So that the first half of this article, you know, putting it in the bucket of the technology that’s already out there and spend is being used and being developed and being ramped up in terms of production.

Scott Luton (00:39:42):

But that opens up the second bucket. Right. And that is employee privacy. Right? Right. Did you know, Greg, I didn’t know this, but did you know that the under the Americans with disabilities act, the ADA certain data is protected. In fact, Bob Nichols, who’s cited in the article, a partner in attorney with Bracewell LLP says that under the ADA quote, you can’t monitor health conditions or biometric conditions of your workforce in quote. And Nichols does say that that may change just like it did in March when the U S equal employment opportunity commission allowed allowed employers to begin measuring body temperature, which was a, again, that’s true. ADA. I that. Hmm. Uh, so that begs the question, just how far will all of this this movement go? Cause you know, uh, Amazon took some flack not too long ago. In fact, we covered it here on the buzz, I believe, where a patent that they had filed went public that allowed for wearable buzzers to communicate picking errors or productivity lapses to the employee.

Scott Luton (00:40:52):

And there was a lot of hubbub over that. Lots of moving pieces here. Undoubtedly a lot of tough decisions that have gotta be made by a bunch of smart people all around this ever evolving and moving debate. But you know, keeping it simple, this is the North star. We’ve got to protect the supply chain workforce and take care of the folks that keep the global economy moving and keep, keep us consumers with stuff full in the pantries and things we need. Right? We do, you know, a lot of what you’re referring to is, is covered in some part by HIPAA. H I P a here in the States, which means your medical

Greg White (00:41:34):

records are your own and you must give permission for anyone to access those. I could see this being tied into that somehow. So early on I worked with a company called Henry shine, um, which is a big healthcare distributor. Um, and at the time they had human health care. Now not as much dental, they have dental, but um, at the time they had medical health care entities as well. And that was a major issue that that right to privacy of your own body is really, really important. And what is, what you must sacrifice for the greater good of humankind is going to be a long drawn out debate at the same time. Anything that you consent to, to, um, expose to anyone you know, or any entity, of course you have the right to do that as well. And, and like, um, GDPR which is a European, you know, sharing of your personal web data basically, let’s just say, um, you have the right to determine what of that you want to share and for a particular time periods. So perhaps there’s a way to solve it in a similar fashion.

Scott Luton (00:42:52):

Yeah, a lot more is going to be a lot more folks are gonna weigh in here. We’re going to see some precedents be made and some lines in the sand certainly be drawn. Uh, it’s fascinating to see just how far technology has evolved and that’s, that’s a good thing, right? Because we have options that we can, uh, innovative options that we can apply to take care of this, this very valuable workforce that are, that look, these men and women are extremely courageous. They’re, they’re jumping into their truck cabs. They’re picking things that fulfillment centers, the rise of e-commerce, which was taking place long before this pandemic environment is on steroids now. And these folks are still that they’re going into these meat plants, which we’ve seen some, you know, be taken offline because of some of this, the spread or these, these are folks that are just so critical to keep protecting the psyche of global consumers and, and all the more reason to make sure we protect the workforce. Can I say,

Greg White (00:43:47):

well, I think we need to put this in some sort of perspective. And, and that is, um, there are a lot of other illnesses out there that could have a similar effect. For instance, in, in the States. Okay. Since March one, 4.88, 2 million people have been tested for Covin 19 and about 17% of those people have ha have actually, um, have actually had a positive test. So remember, the tests here in the States are limited to people with, with a sufficient, at least right now with a sufficient number of symptoms through to be suspected to have Cove at 19. And even those people, only 17% of them have coven 19, that means 83% of them have something else that approximates the conditions, the symptoms of Colvin 19. So it’s not as if, if you don’t have at 19, you’re necessarily healthy. Right, right. I think we should be equally as concerned about things like pneumonia and things like that, which are commonly pneumonia and flu. Even the common cold, which is also a Corona virus, are commonly transmitted through the workplace. And we adjust, started to reach a point where people were saying, if you’re sick, stay home. Right. And now, now that we have that recognition in the workplace, this or some semblance of this gives us the ability to protect those who are healthy and also identify maybe only for that person, those who are ill so that they don’t further contaminate themselves or the rest of the workforce.

Scott Luton (00:45:38):

Yeah. That’s just part of protecting the workforce, Scott. Yeah. Yep. Well, you know what’s also interesting, w w we didn’t teed up today and they will teed up for next week, uh, related to the vaccine. You know when that is eventually, I think Johnson Johnson has been taking the lead on that and they’ve had some early breakthroughs. But when that’s ready, we’re just like, we’re still struggling to get enough tests available. We need a lot more needles. [inaudible] there was a story floating across the, uh, the wire this weekend, I think, uh, our good friend down in Florida, uh, uh, mr Ben, uh, I think he was reporting he picked up on it because it’s not just going to be a, um, a magic wand that poof, everybody’s immunized. There’s a process, a big process, and it’s going to be a huge demand. So lots of stuff to track here. Right?

Greg White (00:46:28):

Well, I, for one, I’m not waiting for, for a, um, you know, for a medical solution. We haven’t cured the common cold. Yup. Also a Corona virus. We haven’t cured the flu and the flu, um, mutates every year. We still haven’t eliminated pneumonia. So I don’t think there’s any reason to necessarily believe that we will cure this. I think we all hope so, but I think we’ve all got to face the possibility that that may not happen in this might be something that we live with for a long, long time. And as I said, it’s 17% of the illnesses that, that mimic the kind of symptoms that Corona virus does. So there is clearly a lot more out there that we need to be concerned about. And somehow we were living with those things threatening us as well. So we’ve got to start to in our mind, um, think about life beyond this lockdown without right. Without a cure or, or antidote or, you know, whatever. Sorry. Alright. I think we need to start thinking about that possibility and what you’ve just described there is, is a helping hand for all of those illnesses that allow us to get back to work and to remain more healthy because a lot of people die of pneumonia every year. More have died this year of pneumonia, um, at least in the States by a good measure than have died of coven 19. Yep.

Speaker 3 (00:48:05):

Alright. So Nathan, uh, Nathan Sparks own LinkedIn, says a quote, privacy and safety tradeoffs. Shirley will bring important ethics issues that legal and corporate compliance groups will need to address. So yeah, back to Costco visibility, he continues, I suspect they are not telling their employees delivery info. So to limit risk and compromise behavior within the store, employees and customers. Good stuff there. Uh, and memory, uh, along the lines of things that may be overlooked right now. She says another disease being overlooked right now is to uh, to work closest. Yeah. Excellent. That’s an excellent point. Yeah. All right. So, um, a lot, a lot, a lot of stories going on here today. Busy time and supply chain. As always, Claudia. Um, looks like Claudia and Amanda just found the link for the, uh, underwriter laboratories information. So they put that in the LinkedIn feed. Are you going to be putting that?

Speaker 3 (00:49:03):

Okay. Becka hit all of our, all five social feeds. So good stuff there. Alright, so moving right along, we’ve got some interesting events coming up, right, right, yes. And a lot more fun than talking about this stuff, right? Well, you know, necessary, but not that much fun really. It is. Well it is necessary. And you know, there’s, there’s a lot of, a lot of information out there, a lot of smart people on all sides of this ongoing discussion and, and it’s, you know, it’s still unprecedented, right. And, um, there are folks hurting economically, which is really important for us to think about and there’s folks hurting from a healthcare standpoint. And so we just, you know, weigh in and report what we see and then kind of give you our spin. So, but to your point, this was a lot more fun. Alright, so coming up again, one of our, uh, 0.5% of our content is supply chain trivia night where we’re trying to give folks an Avenue to the stress and, and reconnect with some of their, uh, supply chain practitioners globally. So our next round to which you don’t have to be if you didn’t have to be a part of the first one to participate in this next year, the new game, it’s a new world. It is May 3rd,

Greg White (00:50:23):

you don’t have to have watched season one to watch season two. It’s not like the Sopranos or Ozar.

Speaker 3 (00:50:28):

You hop right in. That’s right. May 13th, 4:00 PM Eastern daylight time supply chain trivia night. Join us, come win and take our money. I think we’re first prize gets 200 bucks. Again, $200 gift card. This gentlemen here, Greg, tell us about the current champ.

Greg White (00:50:46):

Dimitrios is sort of like a, um, a WWE fighter with a mask on. So he played the whole game as mr inventory and then only revealed himself in the last moments after he overtook the virtually wire to wire leader. Uh, Chris Gaffney, who is chief supply chain officer, Coca-Cola. I know you’re coming back, Chris. Um, and after he overtook Angie Reno and Sarah Barnes, Humphrey and Peter Heflin and a number Jonathan Townsley and another, uh, uh, an Claudia as a matter of fact of other strong contenders. So I feel like there might be a little bit of a grudge match effect here and I know that there are people coming after Demetrius.

Speaker 3 (00:51:32):

Yes. Uh, all right, so join us May 13th, 4:00 PM Eastern daylight time. We have got, we’re, we’re coming out bigger and better so we’re not going to be moving as fast. We had a challenge with the delay since it was a live stream. So we’re gonna slow down a bit and have a few less questions but have plenty of time for folks to answer the question. So register you don’t have to, but it helps if you register cause we’re gonna be sending out some instructions, uh, the day before, uh, at supply chain I, Now, real quick, Greg, we need to recognize a member of our team but also has who has her own entrepreneurial venture called made the balloon. So Michelle Bartlett Yarborough weighs in. Good, good reminder to remember the other issues are going on. So absolutely Michelle. But you know, she is celebrating a two year anniversary of her, of her entrepreneurial venture, made the bloom today.

Speaker 3 (00:52:25):

Whoa. Uh, in this day in history. That’s right. That’s a good point. So from all of us, Michelle, we’ve been collaborating from MODEC a lot of other projects, initiatives. You’re a, you bring so much to the table and congrats on your business. That continues to grow, uh, made the bloom, makes. Let’s make sure we get a link. Um, so we can share that with folks. Okay. So we’ve got two other, uh, quick resources that are coming up. We want to make sure are front and center for any of our listeners. Uh, the first is, so have you had a chance to even think about the upcoming challenge that will be the 2020 hurricane season? Is that, I mean that was not on my radar until I reconnected with risk, pulse and resilience three 60,

Greg White (00:53:13):

you know, we’re piling one ordinary dis disruption on top of an a completely unexpected and frankly self-inflicted disruption. And we

Speaker 3 (00:53:26):

have used and so many other people have used the term unprecedented, right? This is undoubtedly unprecedented. Um, I think from my perspective, the benefit that we have here is this is something we expect in the Southeastern us and the Gulf coast every year. So we are equipped to deal with it. And by the way, I think the provisions that government and retailers and distribution and, and um, and consumers as well have made for this season are a great model for the possibility of other significant seismic disruptions. So, um, but yeah, these two companies, risk, pulse and resilience, three 60, they’ve been in the forefront. We actually met with David Schilling furred they got it. Their chairman, uh, mode X the last trade show to go on. That’s right. Um, and, and he had, uh, led a panel there and continues to lead the fore in terms of helping people to understand the risk.

Speaker 3 (00:54:35):

And, uh, both of these companies, they are the technology behind so many of the technologies out there that help predict disruptions in the supply chain. Um, and, and this is a valuable service that they’re offering. And I’m thankful to them for, for sharing this out there. These are basically the weather channel in a way of, of supply chain. That’s right. Thousands and thousands of data points that they, that their team has crunched and overlayed that across the, uh, busiest and most vital seaports and airports to help provide some proactive, uh, data and insights that global supply chain leaders and practitioners really need to consider. Cause this, as Greg mentioned, this is going to be a very unique, uh, tropical season. So check out that webinar they’ve got coming up on May 14th, just a couple of days from now. 11:00 AM Eastern time. Good stuff there. And you know, we make it easy.

Speaker 3 (00:55:31):

We’ve included the direct link to register, which it is a complimentary webinar, but you still have to register. We’ve put that in the show notes of each of the, uh, if you’re, if you’re listening to us on Facebook, uh, on YouTube or on LinkedIn, you can register directly from this, uh, the show notes. Okay. And then Greg, moving right along. One final resource to share with folks is our webinar we have with Mike Rosewall with Gardner on May 27th, which is going to be a little bit broader, right? Right. Where each year they come out with the Gartner supply chain top 25 rankings where they crunched data on about 300 global enterprises. And their key takeaways and common threads from all of this exhaustive research always is very informational and actionable for business leaders of just about any type business,

Greg White (00:56:24):

right? It is. And look, if you listen to us all the time, and so many of you do, don’t miss it. Uh, there’s so much we need to learn to help better supply chain to, to solve or prevent the issues that we’re facing right now. And, um, and as I always say, Mike is a practitioner first. He’s an analyst. Second, he has, I think we’ve agreed to say over two decades of experience, um, a lot of information and of course he’s dedicated his life now to researching and improve and assessing and improving supply chains for, um, particularly retail company, but companies, uh, brand companies of all sorts. Yeah, they have, um, they have an enhanced, um, corporate responsibility metric, um, environmental and societal governance, ESG that they’ve, they’ve tagged it. That is even a greater standard than typical what’s called CSR. And that goes into the supply chain, top 25 and we expect a significant shuffling of the top 25 because of that this year, some companies, um, will score fairly high and some may score nothing at all depending on, I mean, these are high high standards of ethicality and sustainability and supply chain.

Greg White (00:57:51):

Yep. I’ll come into you by Mike Griswold who always delivers, as Greg mentioned, the guy, just a, um, uh, a walking him, a Greg walking encyclopedias of insights and best practices and uh, perspective. Okay. So that’s May 27th a few weeks out, uh, at 12 noon Eastern daylight time. So join us for that. You can find that direct link on this, uh, livestream All right, Greg, uh, we covered a lot. I, I should have 58 minutes and 24 seconds. That’s right. Um, you know, what’s, as we close here and thanks to all of the audience for weighing in and, and the questions and the insights that comments, um, really that’s what makes these live streams so rewarding for Greg and I and the whole team here. Uh, but Greg, if there’s one or two things that folks really need to and reader’s digest version really needs to focus on and take away from this at least this edition of the supply chain buzz, what would that be?

Greg White (00:58:53):

I think we all need to face the fact that whether we feel comfortable doing it or not, we are going to get back to business. So we need to figure out a way to get comfortable with that. We need to be explicit with our employers and business partners, uh, in, in what we determined as comfort in terms of redoing, in terms of renewing business. We all have to acknowledge that if we, that particularly here in the States, every single penny that is being doled out to accompany here in the States is not coming from your fellow taxpayers. It’s not coming from your U S government. It’s coming directly from China buying us bonds and the trillions and trillions of dollars of additional debt that we are taking. We are literally taking directly from China and we need to acknowledge and start to figure out how to solve that problem because having China more over our head is not going to bode well for us in the future.

Speaker 3 (00:59:56):

Yeah, great point. You know, uh, along somewhat along those lines, I think we as supply chain leaders and business leaders, you know, uh, we’ve got the look and start to put our own what’s coming next, right? There’s no shortage of challenges. We’re just talking about hurricane season. It is so difficult and that, and we get it. It’s so difficult to start thinking about that when we’re still, you know, world. That’s right. But we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to take our medicine, no pun intended, um, because organizations, uh, and the markets we better off if we can really jump into proactively, you know, some of the challenges we know around the corner so that we can be better prepared for the challenges that we don’t know are right around the corner. So, um, and hopefully these resources that were, we just walked through. The trivia game is a look that’s for camaraderie and kindred spirits and, and distress, uh, distressing activities. But the webinars do offer a great avenues for proactively looking at, um, you know, what’s just around that proverbial corner. So, um, there’s no time like the present, right?

Greg White (01:01:04):

Scott, you a quote, you made a quote some weeks back. If your job is to eat frogs, eat your frogs in the morning, get it, eat, do it first thing and get it over with this culture. Part of the culture of supply chain has been to sort of kick the can down the road. That’s a U S term for not deal with hard problems, kick the can down the road on risk management, on single sourcing, on sourcing through unfriendly, um, empires, whatever you want to call them. And, and one of the things I would encourage people to do is starting right now, right on whatever it is, eat your frogs in the morning, stop kicking the can down the road, whatever you call it, wherever you’re from, start recognizing where you’re doing that. And start ending that practice right now.

Speaker 3 (01:01:56):

Good stuff. And with that, we’re going to close. Hey, thanks for tuning in today for the supply chain buzz. If there’s something you’re looking for, uh, at supply chain now, you can’t quite find it. Or if there’s something that we share today and you can’t quite find it, shoot a note to she can also help you if you’re interested in the supply chain now platform. So check that out. Uh, you know, Hey, uh, there are certainly absolutely and sooner than we know, brighter days. Line ahead. Thanks for joining us here on supply chain. Now on behalf of Greg white and Scott lewd and our whole team, hope you have a wonderful week ahead and we’ll see you next time here on supply chain. Now. Thanks for buddy.

Prefer to watch the podcast in action rather than just listen?  Watch Scott and Greg as share the top stories in supply chain in the Supply Chain Buzz.

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. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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