Supply Chain Now Episode 419
“There are accidents; nobody tries to do this stuff on purpose. But things can tip off of a forklift… or maybe a job is a two man lift and one guy is trying to do it by himself. We protect against the things that you weren’t imagining when you developed your product packaging.”
Angela Kerr, Vice President of Product Management, SpotSee
Angela Kerr is the Vice President of Product Management for SpotSee, a company that helps customers look at their supply chain and find ways to reduce the damage that happens during shipping by tracking and reporting on the conditions experienced by actual shipments.
In this podcast interview, Angela tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:
- The range of industries and shipments types that benefit from the in-shipment condition tracking made possible by SpotSee
- The changes in demand and supply chain activity that SpotSee has observed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The role that artificial intelligence is starting to play in the application of data gathered using RFID
Amanda Luton (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 technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white here with you on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s show. So in this episode, we’re featuring an outstanding business leader with an organization that provides visibility to their customers around the world, especially to protect their shipments from mishandling. So stay tuned for an outstanding episode. Want to welcome in Greg white, my steam cohost for today’s session. Hey Greg, how are you doing?
Greg White (00:53):
I’m doing great, Scott, how are you doing great. Uh, this is, uh, our second conversation with this organization. Spotsy and I’m really looking forward to learning a lot more. Right. The last time we had this conversation, we literally learned that it wasn’t rocket science because we started talking about rocket science. So that doesn’t mean it’s not important or complex or really cool. Um, but yeah, we talked about NASA, so we’ve re we’ve kind of raised the bar for Angela.
Scott Luton (01:23):
Let’s see what she’s got. That’s right. Hey, before we dive in with our guests here today, quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us wherever you get your podcasts from and subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing. Okay. With no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guests here today. Angela Kerr, vice president, product management with Spotsy. Angela, how are you doing great. Thanks. It was a pleasure to connect with you and, and, uh, uh, in the warmup conversation getting a little bit better and we’re Greg and I both are excited about not only learning your kind of your backstory and your journey, but a lot more in our most recent update with Spotsy cool. I’m glad to be here. All right. So Greg, with no further ado, we’re going to dive right in. So Angela front end, we try to give our audience the opportunity to get in our, get to know our guests a little bit better. What kinda thing we have, but you know, tell us, you know, where are you from? And you got to give us the goods, at least a story or two on your upbringing.
Angela Kerr (02:25):
Okay. So I was, I was born in Ohio, um, and then around the middle school years, we actually moved to New Mexico. Then I went to school in Lubbock, Texas at Texas tech, and then never left the state, stayed in Texas, my entire career, you know, Houston and Dallas, primarily
Scott Luton (02:46):
Two great cities, no shortage of business taking place in both those markets. Huh? Absolutely not. So high IO to New Mexico to Texas and they call it in Texas. What, what was one of your passions as a kid or, you know, as you were growing up was something that you could not get enough of.
Angela Kerr (03:02):
So as a kid, I was, you know, honestly I was a, I was a worker, right? So, you know, from as soon as, as soon as I could possibly, you know, get a job, I got a job. Um, you know, so I had all those typical, you know, teenage jobs, right? Babysitting, you know, I worked in fast food, you know, I spent a summer, you know, in a bank being productive was really important to me and being financially independent, you know, even, even young, I did not want to go ask my parents for money. So that’s really where I spent a lot of time as a kid was, you know, at a job
Scott Luton (03:36):
That sense of independence, even at an early, early age. And I love how you put it independence, but really being productive and giving back and contributing. Do you remember what your very first paycheck, what, what you did for?
Angela Kerr (03:49):
So my very first paycheck, I, you know, I babysat a four year old. Does that count
Scott Luton (03:55):
As, as a tough job?
Angela Kerr (03:57):
Yeah. I had a biology test the next day. So let me tell you that was the, that four year old knew he knew how like the muscular system in a lab frog. Well, he was a little crazy, but he definitely, you know,
Scott Luton (04:15):
You were over-delivering
Angela Kerr (04:19):
Nope. The typical four year old does not know.
Scott Luton (04:22):
So technically you were a babysitter and tutor,
Angela Kerr (04:25):
Hey, there you go. I didn’t even charge extra.
Scott Luton (04:31):
So you brought more value to the table and I bet as we’ll talk about momentarily a lot more, how you continue to do to that with, with Spotsy. But before we get there, you mentioned Texas tech home and the red Raiders. What led you to majoring in engineering at Texas tech?
Angela Kerr (04:45):
My original plan as a, as a high school kid was to go to medical school. And I had a teacher who was in my math and science teacher for, you know, honestly, most of my, most of my high school years, who was like, what you really should do is you should really get an engineering degree because that’s a degree that kind of helps you solve problems rather than just memorizing things. So learn how to solve problems, then go to medical school. And he was, I mean, he was such an influence on my life that, you know, I listened, you know, I was like, okay, here’s a smart guy. You know, who’d been an engineer in his professional career who mentored me into the end of the field. And then I, you know, I got through school and went, you know, I think, I think I’ll do this. I don’t think I’m going to spend another eight, 10 years in school. So
Scott Luton (05:38):
In a way he tricked you into becoming an engineer.
Angela Kerr (05:42):
He totally tricked me.
Scott Luton (05:46):
Yeah. Angela, what a specialty, what niche and engineering did you study at Texas tech?
Angela Kerr (05:52):
Um, I was in electrical engineering
Scott Luton (05:54):
Now, before we dive more your professional journey of post-college, let’s talk about engineering and in a broader sense STEM programs in general, you know, based on your experiences. And of course since that time, what are some ways that we can attract a healthy, diverse mix of talent into a STEM pipelines?
Angela Kerr (06:15):
I think encouraging people is the way to get them in, you know, seeing, seeing past any stereotypes into, you know, what seems to make them, you know, how do they think, what seems to make them excited and then really nurturing them around that, you know, encouraging, you know, women or diversity candidates to find a mentor, find mentors who are willing be that mentor for people and, you know, really helping develop that network for these, these young professionals.
Scott Luton (06:46):
And you saw just like you just talked about, you saw that firsthand, the value of that by having that mentor kind of open up the door of engineering and, and clearly that huge impact on your career. But I like how you put it, we’ve gotta be willing candidates. Not only need to be willing to find mentors, but you know, industry leaders gotta be willing to raise their hand and, and serve as a mentor.
Angela Kerr (07:07):
That’s right. That’s right. You know, it’s, you know, everybody stands on the shoulders of those who came before them be willing to be that person is really important.
Scott Luton (07:17):
All right, Greg, so let’s dive more into Angela’s professional journey. Yeah. You know, it’s really interesting also to talk about particularly talking to you, Angela, but to talk about women in STEM and women in, in engineering, I have, I actually met the very first female student at Georgia tech and it was not as long ago as I would have thought it would have been. She was actually a student in the late seventies, early eighties. And as she said, and you may have found this as well at Texas tech. I don’t know what the, you know, what the ratio was, but she said the odds were good, but the goods were odd. So even, even being a lone female there initially was not, not that great for her, but obviously schools have come a long way in that time. So let’s, let’s start to talk about that and tell us a little bit about your career, maybe even in college, but certainly after college and some of the key roles that you were in that made you who you are today.
Angela Kerr (08:17):
I’ll go ahead and start with, you know, after college. So in college was probably not anything too dramatic, right? Women were not a common, you know, a common occurrence in engineering, you know, the engineering class. Um, but you know, they weren’t completely out of the, out of the ordinary, but my first job, and I’m really excited to talk about this one is I actually went to work for Lockheed and worked for, wait for it, the Johnson space center. Wow. So there’s all this space, you know, associated,
Scott Luton (08:53):
Well, never brought you all down to earth.
Angela Kerr (08:58):
So I didn’t get to do anything to, you know, to rocket sciency, but, but I was involved with, you know, with the NASA program, with the, uh, you know, the old space shuttle and space station program. So that’s kind of exciting.
Scott Luton (09:12):
Okay. So I got to ask, w did you and Yon, did you ever know one another before?
Angela Kerr (09:17):
We did not. We did not. You know, so I spent a couple of years there and then I went to work for Hewlett Packard, um, and spent, you know, let’s go with, you know, at least a decade with them. Um, I was mostly in sales and in applications, engineering management for them. And then I came to, you know, shock watch now Spotsy so, and I’ve been here ever since.
Scott Luton (09:40):
I’m sorry. All of that is really interesting, but I’m still going back to the space program. I cannot believe that that is so impressive. So do you ever, I have to ask you this too. Did you ever, do you ever tease yawn about that, about being in the space?
Angela Kerr (09:53):
Well, so we know we do talk about, you know, if it’s not rocket science, because we know what rocket science really looks like, so,
Scott Luton (10:02):
Right. And it’s not rocket science, and you can verify that. Right. Other than, other than Spotsy, which is, I think really cool and advanced technology, not being rocket science, it, is there any other Eureka moment or discovery that you’ve had in your career that just really stands out to you?
Angela Kerr (10:20):
You know, I think my new, my Eureka moments are around, around change. Right. So if you, you know, if you look at, you know, kind of working with NASA, then, you know, moving into sales and then moving into an engineering management role and then moving into a product management role, you know, and, and marketing roles, if you want to learn something, you can learn something and don’t be afraid of, you know, those changes that present themselves to you in your life.
Scott Luton (10:48):
Yeah. And engineering is often fraught with failure, not, not longterm failure, but I mean, it’s a series of evolutions, right? Absolutely. Yeah. I think that’s an important part of being an engineer that, and being able to pass differential equations, which is that that’s, that is the dividing line between engineers and business majors right there,
Angela Kerr (11:11):
You know? And so now I really just, I know I remember enough about engineering really just to be a nuisance to yawn.
Scott Luton (11:19):
So, Hey, if I could just chime in real quick, some of our listeners may have missed that episode, Greg and Angela Yon, Bob, as we’re mentioning John Yon, we’re talking about Yon van Niekerk with Spotsy also a senior leader. And his episode with us was episode three 34. We’ll include a link in the show notes, but a fascinating episode. And Angela, one final thought, I’d love to hear kind of the comradery and, and the banter between the two of y’all around one of your joint experiences and passions. That’s a really interesting dynamic. I mean, it’s kind of a cool thing for you to have together also to be able to share with the team. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about Spotsy. So we’ve alluded to the fact that it’s really cool tech, but tell us a little bit about what Spotsy does and, and what your role is, which I think people will really be able to tie your space history and, and your engineering education into what you’re doing today.
Angela Kerr (12:14):
Sure. So, so what spots he does is we really help customers look at their supply chain and look for ways that they can reduce the damage that happens during shipping. So, um, we’ve got products that help them, you know, deter detect and diagnose what’s happening in their supply chains so that they can ultimately reduce the damage. Um, because knowing the damage that has occurred is, is great, but figuring out ways to stop it from happening is really important as a product, you know, the leader of the product team. What I do is I look and see, you know, what are customers struggling with and how do we make sure that we have solutions that will help them, you know, eliminate those pain points.
Scott Luton (12:59):
Yeah. And yours, are there physical products? I mean, they, for instance, they can identify that a pallet or a box or container or whatever has been tilted or rolled over.
Angela Kerr (13:11):
Yes. So they’re, they’re, you know, they’re indicators and recorders. So they’re simple, you know, simple go-no-go devices all the way up through very complex, you know, data recorders that gather full information about a journey. And we, we just really want to connect customers to that data, um, so that they can, they can look at it and then they can start making decisions around it. Are they using the right channels? Are they, you know, are they using the right carriers? Do they have a particular warehouse where they’re, you know, where they see more issues than another and then put in plans to help them eliminate that? Yeah, absolutely.
Scott Luton (13:52):
So this is typically called, you may have said this condition monitoring, but other than the obvious, tell us, tell us why it’s important. I mean, what are some of the conditions that you’re monitoring for some of the things that you’re trying to get your customers to preempt or to record and be able to analyze or avoid?
Angela Kerr (14:12):
So the conditions that we monitor most are shock and vibration. Um, we look for, if products have been, you know, tipped tipped, or, you know, completely inverted, and we look for, you know, if products have gotten too hot or too cold, so, you know, depending on what kind of product you’re moving would determine, you know, what conditions are really important to you. Um, or it could be a combination of, you know, solutions.
Scott Luton (14:39):
Yeah. So if you’re shipping beer, you want to know that it got turned upside down and got warm. Cause then you want to wait to open it.
Angela Kerr (14:46):
Exactly. I was thinking of Greg,
Scott Luton (14:53):
I immediately went to the Coors light can of course. Um, is it colder? Is it not? Yeah.
Angela Kerr (14:58):
But what you, what you might want to know seriously with a load of beer is you might want to know, you know, they’re, they’re shipped, you know, on pallets, you know, did your pallet get dropped in, you know, did your load shift, you know, and are you, are you creating, you know, a mess in the back of, you know, of containers and some are sensitive to temperature such that you would want to monitor?
Scott Luton (15:19):
Yeah, no doubt. Really good beer is right. If I could ask a quick question, Greg, Angela, would we be surprised? And, and do you see a lot of organization leaders you’ll work with surprised with just how often their products are tipped or inverted or some of the other phrases you use?
Angela Kerr (15:35):
They’re surprised by the conditions that their products can experience. Um, so, you know, I mean, if you think about it, you know what, somebody invents a product and, you know, somebody develops the packaging and they put it, you know, they roll it out to the dock for it to be shipped. And then it just magically appears at its destination. That’s as far as they’re concerned, that’s what happens. It just magically appears. So they can’t imagine how it’s being manhandled, how, how it’s being moved, what the risks are in the supply chain.
Scott Luton (16:08):
Yeah. But it was a lift out in the rain, or as you said, not temperature controlled or whatever.
Angela Kerr (16:13):
There are accidents. Nobody tries to do this stuff on purpose. Right. But things can, you know, tip off of a forklift when you’re, you know, when you’re moving something, you know, or they can, you know, two people, you know, it’s a two man lift and maybe one guy is trying to do it by himself. And, you know, one end kind of hits harder than is expected. We protect against the things that you weren’t really imagining when you develop your product packaging.
Scott Luton (16:36):
So imagine people are imagining the kind of products that other than beer really important products that you all are, are monitoring and protecting and preempting damage to. So give us some examples of what some of those products are that maybe aren’t in the forefront of people’s.
Angela Kerr (16:54):
Um, so we protect, you know, against him with our cold chain products, we monitor lots of vaccines. Um, we monitor parts that go on aircraft. We monitor huge power transformers that you see it, you know, these power stations, we monitor equipment that goes into nuclear power plants. We monitor, you know, parts that go on spaceships. So, I mean, it is, it is an unbelievable range of products that we monitor for, you know, for supply chain damage.
Scott Luton (17:28):
So is this something that is practical, I guess I’ll ask a general question, but at the same time, I’d like to know this is this something that is practical for somebody who has a consumer product and wants to assess the verticality or the temperature or whatever of that product.
Angela Kerr (17:45):
So again, it depends on the product, right? So, um, we monitor, you know, so pharmaceutical products that go into the home. So it’s, you know, it’s not really a commercial product, but you’re dealing directly with the, you know, very end customer. A lot of times we are monitoring some of the commercial products really more in the middle of the supply chain rather than that very last mile. Um, so we’re monitoring from, you know, manufacturing to a distribution center where they’re moving more than one. So they’re moving, you know, a container or a pallet full of goods rather than, you know, that single.
Scott Luton (18:22):
Yeah. So more B2B type deliveries eat even though sometimes I think, um, is it going to the end? I say end user, but I mean, if, if you’re talking about a vaccine, are you monitoring it all the way to the hospital or
Angela Kerr (18:36):
We’re monitoring it usually from a distribution center to a doctor’s office or a hospital.
Scott Luton (18:41):
Okay. Um, you’re refreshing our memory of just how universal spots see applications in the kind of a family of, of devices and technology. Is, is there one or two sectors under the 2020 is such an interesting and challenging year? Have you all seen one or two sectors in particular, just the activity just ramp up, uh, above typical levels here this year,
Angela Kerr (19:06):
As you can imagine, our cold chain businesses pretty strong, you know, so anything temperature related is pretty strong because companies are, are monitoring, you know, samples of, you know, diagnostic kits, you know, for people who are doing the testing, um, people are starting to do, you know, plan for vaccine delivery. Um, and you know, it’s, it’s not just the code vaccine, but you know, the flu vaccine, we anticipate that there will be more people getting the flu vaccine this year than ever before, before, just to, you know, to kind of pump up their immune system, one product that we have been selling. It really takes a pandemic for there to be a need, which is kind of sad. Um, but forehead the monitors. So we have, you know, a thermometer that, you know, is just culture and technology that, you know, you put on your forehead and it’s being used as businesses start to reopen as a way for people to monitor their employees for fever.
Scott Luton (20:02):
Wow. That’s heady stuff. Nice, nice Greg man, right on time, uh, with, with his cohost, I’ve ever had the pleasure of conducting interviews with Greg. So we covered, I need a 45 second delay. So let’s talk about, um, great segue, uh, Angela, and to this next segment of the interview, where we really want to, uh, learn a lot more about how COVID-19 has impacted the spots, the organization and the operation, the enterprise, really, but also how it’s provided an opportunity for you and your team to help join in the fight and help folks, you know, in their own fights against COVID-19. So let’s start with Spotsy, um, how, it’s, how it’s impacted your, how you do things at the organization,
Angela Kerr (20:54):
A couple of different things. So I’ll start with the forehead thermometer example. So that’s a product line that was right at the end of, you know, ah, let’s just kill this product line. And all of a sudden it’s like, Whoa, you know, let’s figure out how this product line gets ramped up because you know, there are now customers who need millions of these things, making sure the supply chain ran well was important there. But I think, you know, just with general supply chain things, some of the things that we saw that we expect that our customers see very similar things is all of a sudden your supply chain was disrupted. So you have to figure out, you know, are my suppliers, are my suppliers open and are they producing product? Do I have to find new suppliers, transportation channels, all of a sudden started to change?
Angela Kerr (21:43):
You know, it was, it was hard to find carriers. So you had to try new carriers, you had to try new suppliers and everything was happening really fast. It feels like everything slowed down. Right. But I think everything got amplified because now everybody’s doing all these tasks, they’re doing them from home in a lot of instances. So, you know, you add on this level of everything is virtual now, um, to how do I get all these things done? You know, so, you know, communication, how do I communicate effectively with a team of people that I, you know, I used just used to like walk down to the water cooler and say, Hey, um, you know, now it’s, it just, it complicated things, but you know, the speed and so many new things, um, and speed usually results in, you know, mistakes happening.
Scott Luton (22:36):
So I’m assuming correct me if I’m wrong is the Spotsy team largely working from home still.
Angela Kerr (22:42):
So we are still largely working from home, our, our operations, we have put in, you know, all of the appropriate safeguards for our operations team. Um, but we were, you know, luckily we had the space that we could spread those people out, but we’re monitoring them for temperature and, you know, everyone is wearing a mask and we’re putting the plexiglass barriers around workstations,
Scott Luton (23:07):
I guess I would, uh, with the nature of your products, it would have to be just about essential that your operation continues because of how it protects so much of the rest of industry. Right.
Angela Kerr (23:19):
That is, that is correct. That is correct. So, um, we were, we did not shut down our operations because we really were deemed an essential business.
Scott Luton (23:29):
Well, with everybody being introduced to new vendors, how much more important does the capability to measure all of that become, right? These are not potentially not the previously trusted and verified vendors or, or right, right.
Angela Kerr (23:47):
Um, you know, so, and again, not because anybody’s trying to do anything wrong, but because everybody’s, you know, it’s new, it’s new and it’s happening fast. Um, so that’s where, you know, something can get, get dropped or mishandled because you just, nobody knew any better.
Scott Luton (24:03):
All right. So we want to ask you about, um, and so I love hearing what y’all have done to go above and beyond to protect your operations team. Uh, you know, Greg, and I’ve talked a lot on the show here for, for months about just the need to, you know, as, as essential as healthcare and frontline is, and we’ve got to protect those folks, Hey, protecting the folks that make end to end supply chain happen is just as essential. So love hearing what you are doing there before we talk about some of the ways that you’re, you’re kind of giving outside of the four walls and helping others, is there one, you know, in this remote work, from home environment that so many folks are experiencing now, and somebody folks will be, you know, this may be a permanent type of arrangement for some folks in industry and global business. Is there a leadership or management lesson learned that has really stuck out that you’ve had to make an adjustment based on just the nature of not being able to walk down the hall and, and, you know, exchange a cup of coffee.
Angela Kerr (25:02):
So communication clarity is so important, right? So because you can’t watch somebody start something and then start to make, you know, it’s like you can’t course correct because you see them now. Um, so if you’re not really clear in what, you know, what you need, what you expect, it’s really easy for people to not understand what the goal was and, you know, and they moved down a path that you, they get to the end and you’re like, huh, that’s not what I was thinking. So I think just making sure that you’re connecting with employees, not micromanaging, but you know, connecting with them and making sure that they know that you’re still, you know, you’re still here and you’re still interested and making some of those conversations casual. So it feels more normal.
Scott Luton (25:54):
That’s a great leadership technique. I mean, I think I was taught early on. You should assume if you don’t get what you want, you didn’t communicate that exactly. Right. And as a leader, especially since everyone is remote, you need to communicate that that is your intention, right. I’m going to assume that if you don’t deliver what I asked for, I didn’t ask for it properly. And that takes a lot of pressure off of, off of the person doing the work and it, and it, it makes Tran transparent the spirit of that constant communication rather than it being, as you said, micromanaging, I heard that. And the other element to what Angela just shared there, Greg is the need for it. It’s okay. Not to talk about all work, all operations all the time. You know, some folks need to have outlet if they want to talk about the dogs or the, or the, the, uh, not in the football score, because we hadn’t seen that lately, but you know, 49 days, but who’s counting right. That, that casual conversation that you, I think that’s the word you used, Angela, how important that is to still have time for that and make time for that, right?
Angela Kerr (27:02):
Yeah. We have, we have zoom lunches every couple of weeks. Right. Which is not the same, it’s better than nothing. Um, so it’s kinda like we’re in the, you know, the break room having lunch
Scott Luton (27:15):
And no one’s burning popcorn and salmon right. In the microwave. Alright. One more question about, uh, about this COVID 19 environment. And then, uh, Greg, I know you want to weigh in and kind of get Angela to, to, uh, talk more broadly about what she’s seeing. So give us some good news. H what are some of the ways that spots is helping, you know, get forward and, and do good things in our collective fight against COVID-19
Angela Kerr (27:42):
One of the things, because we have cold chain experience, one of the things that we did, you know, early on was, you know, we donated product to, um, FEMA. So as, as products are being moved around, that are temperature dependent right now. So, you know, whether that be diagnostic kits or, you know, even, you know, some of the food pantry places, you know, they wanted to be able to have their food monitored to make sure that it stayed within refrigeration guidelines. Um, so we donated a whole bunch of product, um, whole bunch of temperature indicators to those organizations so that they could, you know, rest assured that, you know, even though things were weird and they couldn’t have, you know, this face to face exchange with, with their, uh, with their clients, that they still had a, a level of protection for, for them to make sure that if they’re picking up, you know, meals that, you know, the product that the food hasn’t gone, hasn’t spoiled.
Scott Luton (28:39):
No, that’s cool. I mean, Oh my God, I did it again. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Um, no, that’s really good. I think that’s incredibly helpful, right? Because as you said, for everyone, things are moving fast and changing and to, for you to even think about doing that for, uh, for emergency organizations is, I mean, first of all, that’s great. Thank you for giving forward like that. And secondly, that it’s so useful, something that in an emergency situation, they probably didn’t think of themselves.
Angela Kerr (29:12):
Exactly. So it was, you know, it’s, it’s nice to do. It’s nice to do good things, right. So it makes everybody feel good.
Scott Luton (29:19):
It’s nice to be nice to the nice well, and one of the things we’ve talked a lot about Greg with, with our other shows and our logistics with purpose series a with the group, a great group over at vector global, um, is that the need is no greater, um, whether it’s tied to COVID-19 directly, or whether it’s nonprofits that have been doing work for years, that all of a sudden, a lot of their support, you know, there are new obstacles that, that need that they’re serving. Doesn’t, doesn’t just go away. In fact, it probably has, has, uh, been amplified. So really admire teams like Spotsy and, and you, and, and, and the team, their leadership team, their Angela of making sure that y’all make it a priority to give back during what’s a, uh, such a challenging year. So I have a, I have another question, uh, since we kinda talked about COVID and what’s going on there, I’m interested really in seeing, because you’re, since you’re in charge of product, you must be really in touch with the demands of the marketplace and the problems that they’re facing and, and how you construct a solution to solve that.
Scott Luton (30:27):
So, a one, maybe tell us what you’re seeing that either you have seen before, but, or haven’t seen before, but that you’re really interested in working on now. And then maybe if you have a crystal ball, share that with us and what you see in the future in terms of, of this type of monitoring.
Angela Kerr (30:48):
So one thing that we are seeing more and more of is customers want to be able to do something with the information that they get. Um, so spotty as an organization, you know, for 40 years, we’ve made very simple indicators that they’re just visual indicators of, you know, did your product get mishandled. Um, and it took a human being, looking at the indicator and saying, you know, okay, it’s good to proceed. Or, you know, Hey, let’s pull this off to the side and inspect it. But that information was never really captured anywhere. So, you know, as soon as you decided, okay, it’s fine. It just moved on down the supply chain. Um, so you were never able to figure out, you know, do I have, do I have a problem until the problem became, you know, so apparent that, you know, nobody could miss it. What we’re trying to do now, even with our simple indicators is to connect them through RFID technology. So the information can get captured, you know, in, in systems. And then you can start making intelligent decisions around that. So we really see the supply chain becoming far more transparent and customers taking action on what is happening in their supply chain.
Scott Luton (32:08):
I love that. So you’re so previously, I mean, you, you kind of waited on Billy Bob to report, Hey, this pallet was upside down, right? And now you want to monitor and with RFID, communicate that to some central analytics or alert repository that notified
Angela Kerr (32:26):
That’s exactly right. It, it takes all of that data and it, you know, it houses it, and it allows things like artificial intelligence to really happen. Artificial intelligence is based on data. Um, we’d like to think anyway. So, um, so, you know, giving customers that data, um, allows that next transformation to happen.
Scott Luton (32:50):
Wow. That’s cool. Yeah. I love that data is certainly powering, you know, if we’ve heard digital transformation, the meantimes, we’re about to hear it 5 million more times a month ahead. Right. But I mean, but that’s the age we live in and, and, and spot sees burgeoning business Stan’s testimony to that, right? We’ve got to have the visibility we need that. We’ve got to have the data at our fingertips, especially as supply chain is going to help pull the world, frankly, not be too dramatic, but, you know, Greg, you don’t have talked about it, pulling the world out of the pandemic, into the post pandemic, right. So fascinating organization, what you and the sponsor team are doing. And this I’m glad we had a chance to reconnect with a member of the team. Once again, Angela,
Angela Kerr (33:34):
Thank you. It was a pleasure being here
Scott Luton (33:36):
And a bonus, a member of that. So, yes, Sarah, you know, um, we’re going to have to, we’re gonna have to tee up another show just to dive in deeper on that element of your background, both on the show at the same time.
Angela Kerr (33:50):
That would be cool.
Scott Luton (33:52):
So, Hey, so we’re going to make sure our listeners know how to connect with you in a spot to your team, but if you would just humor me for a second, cause you spent 10 years with NASA, right? It’s the headlight, right?
Angela Kerr (34:05):
No, I spent two years with NASA and 10 years with HP.
Scott Luton (34:08):
Oh, okay. I got them flip flopped. Okay. Well still, I’m gonna ask you a question in a way, because, um, I’m a big space nerd, um, as, as I think we share with you on, but, um, so in your two years time with NASA, you know, what element, uh, of that culture do you, um, do you think more businesses could benefit from and what, what did you love so much about that culture during those two years?
Angela Kerr (34:32):
Probably the precision. So if you think about it, you never, and it’s this surprise, this was the surprise that I had when I went there. You never send brand new technology into space ever, right. Because, Oh, it didn’t work. Yeah. That’s not an option, um, reboot. Yeah.
Scott Luton (34:55):
Right. Launched into an oxygen list environment. Yeah.
Angela Kerr (34:58):
Um, so, you know, just making sure, you know, all of your I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed was so important in that environment. Um, making sure that, you know, the solutions that you were using were rock solid, um, because there’s no second chance
Scott Luton (35:16):
And you know this, so this episode will, we’ll publish a few weeks, you know, a few weeks later, but you know, we’re coming off on the heels of the 51st anniversary, uh, the moon landing and, uh, your comments around precision. I mean, just, you know, a quarter of an inch, you know, the, the tolerances are so tight and I, as we became reacquainted with the spots story, I bet there’s a lot of that. And a lot of transfer to the Spotsy culture.
Angela Kerr (35:45):
Absolutely. Right. So, you know, having data that isn’t good data, you might as well not have data, making sure that our solutions work for customers and that they solve, you know, solve the problems that they’re experiencing is really important to us.
Scott Luton (36:00):
And, you know, who knows that space supply chain may not be too far away and Spotsy products yet. Maybe it outer space is we’re tracking shipments to the moon, to Mars and wherever else, uh, Elon Musk and the space X and NASA teams will be taken us. So who knows. All right. So thank you for humoring us a bit. Uh, we’re big fans of our space program and, and that was neat. Neat to see recent accomplishments there. Alright. So Angela Kerr, how can folks connect with you and how can they connect with the Spotsy team?
Angela Kerr (36:34):
I’d welcome anybody to connect with me on LinkedIn, or if they can reach us at www dot [inaudible] dot com
Scott Luton (36:41):
Outstanding and S S P O T S e.io. Uh, Angela Kerr. Thanks so much for your time today. Really? I feel Greg, I don’t know about you. I feel that there are so many stories that we need to have Angela back on to get even more information on there’s so much she’s not sharing. Right? Yeah. I, you know, I, I keep thinking, you know, the biggest, maybe the biggest influence that you mentioned to Angela was that you wanted to work from a very young age. Right? Absolutely. And I think that that’s so impressive and, and there’s just so much there. What I’m also thinking about Scott is when we had the discussion with Yon, we talked about the precision that Angela, you mentioned in terms of, I mean, we’re talking about a little sort of U shaped plastic tube with a little tiny ball in it too, to track whether something has been tilted too far, but the precision with which they determined what those materials would be and the tolerances of that little ball and that little U shaped tube are absolutely necessary in order to measure that accurately.
Scott Luton (37:52):
And I completely get why NASA precision NASA level precision is required for this toolset. I mean, it has to be accurate. It can’t stick. It can’t stick when it’s too hot or when it’s too cold or when it’s too humid or too dry outside, you know, that little device has to work under all kinds of conditions. So you can see where the precision of NASA is really necessary for this. You think of it as pallets, right. But, and you just don’t think of it as needing that kind of precision, but it’s absolutely necessary. Angela Curry, vice president product management with Spotsy. Thanks so much for taking time away from your activities to detect, diagnose, and tour across global supply chain world. Fascinating. Thanks so much for your time here today. Thank you. I appreciate it, Greg. Uh, another great conversation really enjoy sitting down with a member of the Spotsy team.
Scott Luton (38:45):
Again, they seem to be quite, uh, on a roll. Yeah. So to speak, there you go. We are puns today. Aren’t we? It must be it’s one of those days, I guess, but, um, you know, a great conversation with, uh, Angela and at the opportunity to check back in with what spots he’s doing, especially what I really enjoyed beyond the space talk and beyond the technology and, and the innovative technology, but, but how they’re giving back and give forward to borrow your phrase. Um, that is so meaningful. Uh, in 2020, when so many companies are struggling, so many people are struggling. That’s some good news we can all use. All right. So to our audience, be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain. Now radio.com, fondness and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of Greg white, Greg. Great. Another, a great conversation enjoyed you joining us today. Well, thank you. I’m glad to be here. Anytime we talk about space or engineering, which I don’t fathom at all, I’m fascinated. I can learn every time I talk to an engineer. That’s right. Uh, well, Hey, to our audience on behalf of our entire team, Scott lewd and Greg white, wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best. Hey, do good give forward and be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time on supply chain.
Angela Kerr is the Vice President of Product Management for SpotSee. Angela joined SpotSee in 2016 and in this role, she focuses on building our existing business and developing the next generation of cloud-based temperature products that help our customers cost effectively track their products around the globe. Angela previously served as Vice President, Indicators and Cold Chain Solutions. Prior to that, she was the Vice President of Marketing and Product Management and Director of Product Management, responsible for developing roadmap strategies and coordinating with engineering and manufacturing teams to launch new products. Angela also spent three years as our product manager and one year as our marketing manager. Angela has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University. Learn more about SpotSee here: spotsee.io/
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