Transcript: Manufacturing Supply Chain Woes – Feb. 2023

Manufacturing Supply Chain Woes
February 2023

Featured Panelists:
Matthieu Pappalardo and Lauren Pesko

Welcome to our Manufacturing Supply Chain Woes Show. I am in Austin today survived a absolutely crazy storm freeze a couple of weeks ago where we had people with no power, no water, and no internet I was without I was without power only for 12 hours and I had no internet for two days but half of our neighborhood was without power and internet for five days so my little house turned into the neighborhood hotel cooking dinners, housing people so I’m excited to be back to a little bit of a normalcy this week laughs so today I’ve asked a couple manufacturing experts to come on and talk about some of their absolutely crazy supply chain nightmare experiences that they’ve lived through so I’ve got Lauren and Mathieu with us today and our show sponsor again for this year they sponsored last year awesome partner as RapidRatings I’ve been friends with their team for several years was actually a customer of RapidRatings at my last company so a big fan of their software and what they’re doing in the manufacturing space so I’ve asked Eric from RapidRatings to come on for a couple minutes introduce himself and Eric maybe highlight, talk about if there’s anything new or special that you guys are working on this year from a product perspective yeah absolutely yeah thanks Sarah and yeah we’ve been really busy given the eighth interest rate hike right earlier this month so that makes the the cost of borrowing capital more expensive for suppliers which usually leads to liquidity and operational issues especially those private companies so we’re really helping our manufacturing clients you know detect weakness in those upfront and early with monitoring the financial health so we’re working on product roadmap stress testing scenarios some more API updates a lot of program management and dashboarding so a lot of good things coming out of the roadmap this year and you know we’ll keep doing what we’re doing around predictive analytics and AI

yeah my last company we had partnered with Eric and and team but I I think one of the big values that they provide is having a sense of financial stability of your suppliers right if you have a key supplier and they’re at risk of going out of business or having financial difficulties as a buyer it’s so important to know that so you can plan and prepare so I’m big fan of what they do and Eric thanks again for sponsoring and absolutely our pleasure yeah thanks Sarah have a good time alrighty

so I always like to make our conversations as interactive as possible so in the comments we’d love to have you drop in where in the world you are joining us from today so give us a shout and then also share with us your biggest supply chain challenge you are dealing with right now today put it in a word put it in a phrase type out a full paragraph but would like to hear what our audience is actually struggling with and living living with dealing with today from a manufacturing supply chain perspective so drop us some notes in the comments I’m going to have each panelist do a super quick intro as I ask the first question

so I’m going to go ahead and start with Mathieu so Mathieu super short bio tell us just a little bit about you and your background and then my first question for you is coming from a you have a pretty diverse different background what was your biggest misconception or wrong assumption about procurement when you started in your role so yeah very quick intro my name is Mathieu I’m with GoGo Squeez the apple sauce in pouches I’ve been with them for about six years now in leading procurement for the last four before that I’ve been doing different different jobs I was in finance I was in business development I was in consulting so when I get into when I got into procurement like four years ago I think I was I made the rookie mistake to believe that supply chain was a needy thing like it was a smooth flow with with no issue you know you order on Amazon you click boom it gets delivered simple right well it turns out you get your order same day or next day right I mean exactly and exactly with no no many issues well my first year in the job 2019 was actually pretty okay we were you know doing fine no major disruption things were coming on time we could produce on time so at the end of that first year I thought yeah that’s what I thought you know supply chain is pretty easy and then Covid right and then it changes complete completely the way I understood supply chain it was a it was a big wake-up call for me you know prior to Covid. we were very cost reduction driven that was really our or or procurement organization with not a lot of people in the team are very very fast to make decisions not too much focus on building resilience also because we didn’t think we needed it well what I learned what we learned through through Covid and the aftermath of covered is that we had to change the way we were organized because what happened for us during Covid was that ourselves exploded because we we have a shelf stable product right so overnight we saw ourselves increased 50 and we were not equipped to answer that demand so really had to find short-term solution costly solutions to make things happen so we couldn’t so we could avoid shutting down our plans and you know keep keep providing products on the market

question around that you said your sales just

during covid you couldn’t predict right and going back on historical data has kind of become irrelevant what what did you do from a cost perspective given you had to pivot and get really creative did you increase costs and if so or or how did you manage from a cost perspective with your sales increasing so significantly so it was the the the goal was let’s make it happen let’s make everything that we need to do to provide product on the on the market that was really the the ultimate goal almost whatever the cost right because it’s always more more costly not to sell than to sell even if you procure things at a higher cost so we had to accept using more expensive suppliers using air freight sometimes so that kind of thing that will you know in our cost of goods overall were more expensive but we we got the sales with it so so that was that was a company decision to not so not focus anymore so much on the on the on the bottom I mean yes on the bottom but on the on the savings part we’re really on the delivery part

first try

yeah it was we switched from profitability to service like making sure we we kept our service rates as high as possible well to serve our customers obviously and to avoid cuts as much as as much as possible got it okay so going back then to the original question your assumption around procurement being kind of steady pace, even-keeled, no disruption it was kind of blown up when Covid hit what were some of the most important learnings as you went through the last couple years that you can really pinpoint and highlight for the audience today how many but I’m gonna I’m gonna select a few of them I think I I’m going to mention too uh I think the first one is probably the overall supplier network that we had and that we have built since that time we buy a lot of fruit in that we put in our recipes right and fruits you know it’s a seasonal thing so and depending on where you produce you know the northern hemisphere or southern hemisphere you don’t have fruits as as available as you may need so basically building a supply network with season and contour season anticipating on climate events we have you have a bad crop in one region while you need a sec another region to to be your backup so basically developing a much stronger network of suppliers that one that was one one one key learning and key action we took from from that and the second was that we were not enough integrated with our suppliers in terms of sales and operation planning to for the lack of the better world like we did not have enough visibility on their struggles that will impact ourselves you know what I mean so I think ever since we also built much stronger connection between all teams and their teams so we can anticipate much better on on bad news basically yeah it’s like the how to avoid the fire drill right how to be prepared and be able to have a backup plan and work and help your suppliers there may be things that you can do to actually help them prevent issues which will have a big impact down the line on your supply chain exactly

Lauren excited to have you here you were on one of our shows last year and had lots of wisdom to share with us so glad to have you back so we’d like to have you do a quick intro show us a little bit about your background and how you got into the manufacturing space and then my first question for you is what is the biggest supply chain challenge you’ve been dealing with in the last six months if you had to pick one disaster one big big challenge what would that be

okay so my name is Lauren Pesko I work for Klein Tools which is a essentially a tool manufacturer Jocelyn who’s popping up on the screen right here is is also one of my co-workers we’re located in Lincolnshire, Illinois I am a global commodity sourcing manager for client tools for three different categories my rough background was I’ve been in medical for medical instruments from Hugh Fredy I’ve worked for Danaher I’ve also worked for automotive companies like first brands group so I do have kind of a wide perspective of manufacturing and and the challenges that you know happen and and pop up every now and again Mathieu I can’t really relate to the food yet because I haven’t dipped into that one but so basically you can cover that last piece that I can’t I can’t do yet last six months I would say that the most challenging thing is just making sure that you have strong relationships with your suppliers so for example I needed to make sure that the suppliers that I was managing they knew my name they knew that you know what you know that we were we were wanting to grow business with them they knew kind of our our plan as far as like what we’ve locked in for the next three years they feel like their voice was heard and basically just kind of making sure those relationships were were strong so that we would be able to ensure that they would go to you know that they would essentially help help me out if you know we’re facing a delivery issue or you know there’s a gap in cost like they’ll know that that I’ve stayed true to my word and and that you know we have strengthened this relationship and and also it’s a long-term partnership and relationship and so really just making sure those relationships are are good with the supplier and and you know you’re answering the calls and things like that that’s the most important thing because really we manufacture stuff but we can’t manufacture stuff if the supplier isn’t willing to cooperate with us or is mad at us or you know is is threatening not to send material you know you don’t want to shut down the production line so you know these are things that are really important and before it was you know maybe we we you know the suppliers rely on us for the business because we’re giving them business so they can produce so they can give us these parts but really it’s it’s kind of you know twofold now because you have the supplier and the manufacturer that really are working together and we’re all going towards a common goal

so Lauren what would you say stands out as to how you’ve been able to build such solid relationships as a buyer you’re super busy you are slammed all day with emergencies emails spreadsheets it’s hard to keep up just with your day-to-day workload how are you actually being strategic and going about developing these partnerships

good question

so when I’m interacting with my suppliers I like to have a very relaxed environment not so much you know I’m here to to get money out of you I’m here to you know beat you up it’s really collaborating with the supplier and figuring out what are their pain points what are our pain points and how can we how can we come to an agreement on these pain points and and figure out some resolutions for example trying to think here there was a situation with a supplier where they had they had gone to bat for us on NPD projects and you know given us really really competitive costs on NPD projects but what happened was for the current projects they would have they had to press pass on an increase and unfortunately because they were so low on their margins from the beginning they just had to pass it on and it was after 10 years right but how the company and looks at it from a high level is the the you know the financial data so this cost is higher than this cost and you need to go back to that supplier and negotiate it so one of the things that I did was I brought to light the fact that the supplier has saved us this much in VAVE redesign they’ve also suggested that we you know change our MOQs and reduce the cost that way they’ve worked with us on overall developing these products even though we’ve had three different redesigns they’ve been very collaborative and also willing to work with us and communicative and so I basically said this supplier is you know this is not the person that we should be targeting and and communicated it to the company and said just because these dollars are showing you need to know what’s behind those dollars and you and so basically I had a chat with the supplier and we were able to come to an agreement that you know he would be able to lock in two years worth of pricing and then we would revisit a cost reduction on the new products where he felt like his margins were healthy and he agreed to let me benchmark the pricing and then also come back to him so that he can kind of challenge his team and see where there was room for them to grow so I would say that’s that’s kind of how I how I structure it is is I try to be the advocate for the like I try to be the advocate for the supplier if it’s you know if that supplier doesn’t feel like I’m the advocate for them and the company continuously you know blames the supplier I mean we all know if it’s valid then I understand and I will address that but if if we’re not holding up our end of the deal and you know they are you know there’s you can they can’t they can’t you know go the extra mile if they don’t even know where to go they don’t know if something’s confirmed or they’re missing artwork you can’t move forward unless you know and hold yourself and hold the supplier accountable if you don’t hold yourself accountable yeah and Lauren I think if you bring up a good point around great areas and suppliers need to make money too and sometimes suppliers collaborate and partner with us in ways where we don’t have documentation on the value that they’re providing and or in your case these cost savings that they’re providing in other ways so something that’s I don’t know if we’ll ever get perfect at as procurement professionals but something to definitely strive for is putting data points around value activity based on certain performance metrics

Mathieu what about you you also mentioned supplier collaboration Mathieu you mentioned supplier collaboration as being a big priority for you what have you done to work closer with and better collaborate with your suppliers so I mean I completely agree with that you said Lauren it’s very easy to blame to blame suppliers when something goes wrong I think I think what we’ve done is well concretely what we’ve done is workshops with with suppliers so having suppliers come to home to our facilities through our plants ourselves going to their plans basically to understand better each other the challenges that they face that changes that we face and understanding basically what is the level of information that they need that we need by when what’s the escalation escalation process if something goes wrong so basically putting on a table how we can work together better by being very very transparent with each other because if you don’t do that over time frustration builds up right and you don’t want that because there are partners so you want to maintain a good relationship with them it’s it’s a win-win for everybody if that happens so we we really did that we say okay tell us what do you want us to do differently or more or less and we’re going to tell you the same things and then we’re going to make sure we do that and we’re gonna meet again to make sure that we’ve done that and and measure ourselves against that

so Mathieu when we were preparing for our chat today you told a story that really stood out so I’d like to ask you a question around that and have you share it with the audience today so when was the last time you thought you would actually be shutting down your factories and this is so before I answer this is the thing we want to avoid you know like I mentioned but before that’s the ultimate goal we don’t want to shut down the line of the factory so we have we have we have 40, 50 different recipes right that we that we do at GoGo Squeez but do we have common ingredients our common fruit that we put in those in those recipes which is Apple so fresh Apple that we process ourselves but also appropriate concentrate that we also add to our recipe so that appropriate concentrate is common to everything that we make so it’s a very critical ingredient for us as you can imagine well we have several suppliers on this ingredient one of them being our biggest out of South America and usually they they represent they’re used to represent 60 of our volume right and they told us without notice that they were simply stopping making that product they basically said we’re gonna focus on tomato sauce tomato paste because that’s our new strategy so we won’t be doing this apple tree concentrate anymore with that we are without without warning so we basically we learned that at the time when we book the volume for the full season when you say book Mathieu do you mean you actually cut your purchase order and then at the time they told you they’re not producing anymore when I say by book I mean we booked the full year or 14 months usually volume so we said we tell them okay we’re gonna need X thousand tons of this product for next year first shipment two months from now because we you know we had still inventory from previous season so that’s that we’re saying that’s what we heard no we’re not doing that product anymore so big big shock as you can as you can imagine so we have the two other suppliers obviously that we call rely on but the volume was so different than when they used to provide us with that that only was a challenge so we were able to stretch those existing suppliers to a bigger volume and and I mentioned that before find creative solutions in the meantime by having accelerated qualification of new suppliers to to bring that that volume to bridge that volume that we were missing and doing some air freight from Europe when we had to so again creative solutions short-term fixes but we were a week away from being out of this product and and because it’s a product we put in everything again it’s not just selling one line or one range of product is just a whole two plants that we have two plants just sitting on two plants until we will receive the new product but luckily we were able to to avoid that

additional complexity as as Lauren mentioned when you’re dealing with food you’ve got expiration dates so things are very time sensitive and then you also have the factor that people are consuming the product so there’s all these extra laws and regulations and rules that have to be followed when you’re going out and sourcing and finding new suppliers so dealing in the food space is particularly challenging when you’re trying to deal with a 50 increase overnight in sales well exactly in my my my main fruit buyer always says fruit is seasonal unfortunately there is there is a limitation that goes with that which is well if if it’s not the season maybe you won’t find the fruits so you know that’s when we when we organize or or planning every year when we book our volume as I explained we look 14 months 18 months ahead in our you know in our sales plan to make sure we book enough but not too much you know obviously trying to balance the the need but sometimes we have a new item that comes on the market and that’s a big hit and we hear from cells wow we need twice as much as this specific ingredients I’m like well yeah but you know the Harvest is passed we’re gonna have to wait to wait six months until next harvest so that complexity itself in the food space is big but it’s also fascinating because you have to deal with all those parameters make sure you anticipate long enough so that’s that’s that’s that’s pretty cool actually and then you’ve also got the reversed you do a new product and it bombs and you’ve got all this inventory that you can’t move right so you’ve got to keep the brand intact but at the same time try to move the product yeah and that happened too well we launched a new product on the very usually that happens on very unique ingredients when you you know when you want to try a a recipe that’s kind of different banana not strawberry you know the basic fruits and sometimes yeah you miss you just miss your targets and you end up with more inventory than that than you really need so either you re repurpose that ingredient to something else you set it back or you just write it off that happened that happens too so it’s a it’s a it’s a very interesting topic because us procurement we have to be very well connected with with the sales team for any new innovation specifically on innovation or discontinuation but we need to be aware of what’s Happening in the market in advance way in advance because if we we do recipes that also include vegetables or vegetables it’s an added complexity because you have to plant to get them fruits every year they get on the on the tree right vegetables well you have to plant specifically for your needs so it’s even more important to anticipate on vegetables because if you didn’t plant that’s it the volume is gone so that connection that’s collaboration with the sales team is absolutely critical in our in our world and then that’s what yeah that’s what we’re trying to to do so we’ve got some questions coming in from the audience I want to thank Jocelyn for her fun comments glad you’re with us today

Larry from Canada is with us hey Larry, Dave Chrysler who has been in the manufacturing space for gosh his entire career is with us Fred Richards has a question Fred drop us a note in the chat and tell us where you’re joining us from today

so I’ll start with Mathieu and Lauren if there’s any additional notes or commentary you’d like to add around things that you ask suppliers as well his question is Mathieu how do you structure a workshop what questions do you ask what is the format and he also want you to know that he loves this idea thank you Fred so the way we structure the workshop is is we look at the the starting point is we look internally at who is interacting with a given supplier so it will be procurement obviously it will be r d most of the time it will be the supply chain teams you know in our in our case the plan supply chain team so we basically assess who has a touching point with that supplier and we’re gonna ask the supplier to identify on their side the same thing like who is talking to to from your team who is talking to my team basically to put it simply once we have that we at least we understand who is going to make who is going to be in the workshop and then every single team so again procurement r d supply chain they come up with their simple I like that I don’t like that I want more of that I want you to stop that I would I would love for you to do that so we start very open very very simple conversation from both sides just to engage the conversation and by just by doing so then you find solid you find ideas that sometimes become solutions and and actual fixes but it’s really always an open conversation to begin with because once you identify areas of improvement then you can have specific meetings more technical meetings how to make it happen like you know for example we need a report that’s going to show this instead of that okay so how do we make it happen work with it work with whichever team to make that happen but the starting point is really very open to let people talk and and make sure people are heard in their in their in their needs so I hope that answers the question Fred thank you Fred and Fred is joining us from Chicago today Lauren what about you any words of wisdom from your supplier conversations around questions that you ask that are useful or maybe questions that you’ve passed and feel like maybe you shouldn’t be asking those in the future

okay so I would say I guess

I think about a week ago I had kind of a workshop type of meeting with my supplier and then everybody who is involved from from my team or so from the development standpoint we you know talked about like I had mentioned before pain points man you you had talked about that as well and it was a very open conversation and then it turned into you know a show and tell where they had one one product and then all of a sudden they had this giant suitcase with all these other products and it turned into a working you know meeting where they had all these new products and all these things that the engineering engineering team was writing down I was super excited about the supplier was excited about and so you know just getting everybody engaged is just what’s more what’s the most important like I don’t want to just be in the room if I know an engineer has a question or a concern that they want me to address I’ll address it with a supplier not to embarrass them outside you know but then we’ll bring it in we’ll bring in the engineering team and just make sure that any any processes you know for an exam an example would be we had talked about there’s a language barrier between you know the development team and and our team and so it made more sense to do Powerpoints and to have you know short answers instead of long emails because you know translation is lost some like things get lost in translation and that was one of the things that was brought up and you know those conversations won’t you know won’t happen unless you get everybody in the same room so I agree with that

Lauren when we were prepping for our chat today one of the things that you brought up a few times is where cost fits into the equation now verse the importance from three or four years ago so the priority and the focus on cost has really changed and I’d like to have you shed some light on how you’re managing cost where it fits into the equation if you have advice for people who are listening who are struggling with how to balance cost versus some of the other things that they’re they’re trying to balance and manage

so I would say bring it back to the entire company and say what is their overall goal is it to meet the delivery dates for the customer or is it to have a have costs that are you know have cost savings because in this time it’s not possible to do both without giving up something so for example I think I brought this up in the last call so I apologize if this is regurgitating that but basically there’s an example where an MCU yes absolutely Dave an MCU there was a a shortage for a component and basically we had to buy it in the market and it was so much more money but what was more important to the company at the time was delivering to our customer getting the product on the shelves so we’re going to take a hit for two months and then we’ll revisit it we’re going to take a hit maybe for a quarter we’ll revisit it so it’s really just taking a look at what is the what’s the company’s goal and then another thing is I would say where can you take a look at the cost maybe it’s the spend from the overall supplier and you say okay you can’t improve on this cost but can you improve on any of these these are your top 10 you know high runners where here’s the growth that we’ve identified in the last three years work with me on this and then we can you know we can somehow be able to accept this price increase but then we also want to revisit it so it’s an ongoing conversation about costs but it’s not necessarily like this needs to be the cost there’s always going to be a negotiation and that’s the you know that’s the point of the job you have to figure out how the best solution for your company and then also for you know for your supplier and and see what what is the best option but you don’t say no you don’t say okay they’re not going to give me this cost savings you have to dig into other things okay they’re willing to give us warehousing you know for three months that’s going to help us with delivery that’s you know that should feed into the cost you know increase and they’re also willing to work on you know redesigning an electrical working with their electrical team to redesign a new power circuit board with a different you know MCU different component so they’re willing to take those you know strides it’s just time time is the of the essence and so I would say yeah that’s that’s what I would say because you have costs you have delivery and you have quality obviously quality is is the non-negotiable but but yeah I would determine what your company is really really focused on if it’s delivery to the customers then you do have some you know you can strategize some different ways to get around some of these cost increases

Mathieu how have you been able to get executive alignment at your company on what your priorities are because what Lauren said is really true but it’s not easy to do you’ve got different departments sometimes departments don’t work together and they have different goals and priorities and there’s actually can be even competition so what have you been able to do to get alignment across departments so there is two answers to that at the executive level to get alignment on the priorities was actually pretty simple and remember we switched from a very cost reduction driven organization to okay let’s enter the service and now we’re back to let’s do everything so to your point Lauren yeah cost is not is not the only objective but it remains an objective so it’s service so it’s quality so it’s Innovation so it’s sustainability so it’s really a blend of all of that and what overall value A supplier brings and if we procurement are able to show that value whichever it is then in my in my case in my company the alignment is pretty simple pretty easy to to find other level now within the supply the global supply chain team and I mean the plans the the procurement the the the logistics there is frustration because getting alignments on HUBA is when when we deliver how much did you buy for when you know like all those daily problems that happens in supply chain which I discovered finally after after a few years for that we’ve done exactly what I explained before with our suppliers we’ve done internal workshops too because we know each other we’ve been working together for years but do we really know each other do we really know what our pain points are well we didn’t know really that until we did this internal Workshop we call them also workshops to to understand what can I do to help you do your job better or more efficient so we did the same I mean we are all doing the same it’s in process right now we haven’t finished but but that’s hopefully going to bring as much a good result that it did with our with our with our external partners okay yeah good insight there getting alignment it seems like in your case that the executive level was easier than I’ve heard at other companies but between departments can be a challenge as well so that brings me then

Lauren to another question and one of the reasons why I specifically wanted you to come on the show is that you are actually an individual contributor for your company what are the struggles that you face as an individual contributor and if you had a magic wand what would be the very first thing that you would change

um so what I struggle with as an individual contributor is really just getting my message across across the company so to the executive level I’m a firm believer and you know give everybody a seat at the table and in manufacturing that’s not always the case especially for women and so I definitely feel like it’s it’s a it’s it’s a struggle to really communicate you know the need for for somebody to coat you know to listen to what I’m saying unless I have data or unless I just go above and beyond to present that so it’s really important to have support from your your boss or the person who is leading your department to really go to bat for your team and really push these these initiatives that you believe are are the best for the company because me communicating it until I’m blue in the face is unfortunately not going to be enough I’m not going to get that message across it needs to come from a from a more like a higher position but also just from a universal like this is what the team is going to go with this is the new process this is how we’re laying it out if you know if those things are not defined then there’s a lot of room for you know going against the process and and and kind of coming up you know fighting your own battles which is what I’ve had to deal with in my career in manufacturing is I’ve had to fight my own battles with teams you know developing different products because there’s so many different categories and everybody’s involved and you know not everybody understands what sourcing or procurement is actually doing from a data on a day-to-day basis and so the workload between you know new product developer product management and engineering and you know sourcing is is very different because of the the lack of understanding of how much work actually goes into these tasks and and these these deliverables and so I would say that that’s it’s a very I mean it’s a very something I struggle with today still is really making sure that that you know either we standardize processes or we get some type of Kaizen going or workshop like match you would mentioned where you know cross-functionally we can get together and maybe look at some of these internal processes and figure out where where we can improve and where we can eliminate some of the some of the issues or some of you know some of the the the extra stuff that is unnecessary the redundancy in some of these processes and I would say I have challenged it before and one of the things that I would say is you know you need to you need to know your audience and you need to know kind of how how you need how you come at them and what how you’re presenting yourself and if you’re coming at them with this idea that I’m gonna you know I believe that this will change this this and this it’s not going to be as receptive as hey let’s take a look at this and let’s see what what we can identify cross-functionally that in that we can change so what what are some things that we can change cross-functionally whether it’s communication whether it’s just a form or a process or you know an internal process like there are so many things that could be improved even from a systems perspective our systems are are pretty dated and we have a ton of different systems and so just kind of centralizing that and and driving that message home that it would help us tremendously if we had some type of system that we could use universally instead of us kind of jumping everywhere and figuring things out I have long already argued that procurement people are not the best at marketing and it’s very important to build a brand and educate people internally about what our function does and potentially even renaming by a buyer purchasing procurement is not the coolest and sexiest name so what can we do internally to build Our Brands and make what we do more cool and hip and interesting to other people within the organization

thank you for that Lauren I I appreciate you being so open and honest because I think your challenges are very relatable and a lot of other people struggle with this as well

Mathieu one of the other things a story that you shared with me that I’d like to have you share today is a time when you wish Microsoft Outlook did not have a spam filter and that that relates to to what Lauren was saying about about systems outdated systems and and how it can impact your business so the story is the following we do seasonal items like Halloween Halloween packs for example where we have to we have a specific design on our cartons and a specific design on our pouches right and they have too much of course because when Halloween is is is gone that’s it you cannot sell this product anymore so we calculate very precisely how many cartons do we need how many pouches do we need to make it match and we track those specific production error suppliers very carefully even more carefully than any other production because we cannot miss the deadline on those so we had last year so a launcher of the all-new pack for Halloween we knew we had a supplier that we needed to watch even more carefully than the other the car the I’m not going to mention names obviously but the cartons one was okay the pouch one was a little more difficult so we were very very focused on that supplier to make sure they will deliver on time but still keeping in touch with the other supplier everything fine still good on the timeline yeah yeah it still goes so good so really paying attention to one supplier than more than the other to basically eventually had the products on time but what we missed was an email from the other supplier informing us that they will be a week or two weeks I don’t even remember but like two weeks delay but two weeks delay it’s it’s already a problem right so we just didn’t see that in that that communication because it went into somebody’s spam folder so I guess my point with that story is you can build all the processes that you want you can you can you can really walk really hard strong teams strong processes strong collaboration with with

your suppliers internally if you don’t have good systems or good good way to to have visibility on what’s happening sometimes one thing like that can just kill a launch or or or yeah or or some kind of opportunity that you may have had so regarding my company I think we are in a in a phase now where we should really need to invest in tools in better tools we’ve done a lot with our supply network we’ve done a lot with our teams with our training with our coaching I think now we’re still very outdated in our systems I think it’s really time for me for us to look at that that piece of the of the equations to basically support the teams and and automate as much as possible what can be Mathieu that brings up a question how do you get budget going out and buying software is not cheap and requires a lot of time and effort and money so how do you build a business case for your management and Leadership to get funding for these types of things so we do that for for for this thing but for everything that we need to buy every time we need an Investments the way the way I I bring it up is what are we trying to solve basically what’s the what’s the pain Point not just for us but for the organization if it is a pinpoint for us it is a pinpoint for the organization and I’ve always tried to explain how a given investment is going to solve that that that pain and be of value for the company sometimes it’s very obvious because the pain points or what it what what is being solved is directly impacting the bottom line so it’s it’s an easy sell internally sometimes it’s you know productivity teams productivity it’s which is always a horror cell internally to to to to get people convinced that we need to invest in software so the teams basically focus more time on what’s more strategic and less time on what’s very day-to-day tactical it takes time honestly it took me has been I’ve been foyer in the in the role that’s really the piece I’ve been working on more recently versus the other aspects of of my job but I’m I’m seeing a chain right now like people are listening to me when I talk about that because I think they and again maybe one of the benefit of Covid I don’t know to say there has any benefit but it’s like procurement was very visible during that that time for us because my the team that I have this saved the day like they they fund solutions every day to to help the business keep going on so I think that really helped too to show that what they did it’s not something they can do forever like they need help they need support they need assistance whether it’s with more people or better tools so I think I’m lucky that now the management sees that in my company so it’s easier and we’ve been having resources recently and we’ve looking at investing in some software so I think there is a very good momentum right now Lauren what about you and you and team have

variance or from a technology perspective getting things put in place so you’re not doing so much manual work

so yes I I like to dig into it stuff and see if we can automate anything just because if you know if there’s something that can be improved that everybody’s kind of dealing with and challenge like they’re challenged with consistently then I’m gonna probably find a different way or a more efficient way to to get that information quicker happy Valentine’s Day Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well I feel like none of us are wearing red we’re not okay I know but we’re like wearing the same colors Sarah so

I forgot what I was hold on digging into the it spent you oh yeah yeah yes okay so really the challenge I would say tools are going to help right no matter what they’re there to really improve your processes I think there’s a lot of there’s a lot of worry around the data and how we’re going to transfer it correctly because our day-to-day is just flowing the way it should be right but if we invest in a tool let’s say the tool doesn’t work for two days we’re shut down for two days and so there’s a lot of risk that that the company sees when they see a tool and you know investing in something so for example a new ERP system or something like that you know I’ve been in a consulting role helping a company kind of roll out a new ERP system and their data wasn’t you know great to begin with and so you know we’re going to run into challenges and so really what has to be communicated is that if we can get you know a dedicated team to clean up the data before we even move forward towards the migration then then we’d be in a better spot and that would eliminate some of the risk and it’s really just like it’s not just hey let’s invest in this tool and this is how much it is and you know we can invest in more people and we can save as much money with this tool it’s more so like this gives us an opportunity to clean up the data to automate some of these POs to automate some of these processes to you know instead of rely on confirmation emails have some type of you know notification if the if the the PO is accepted you know things like that like just eliminates a lot of those those messy emails that really can just go back and forth for days so If you eliminate the risk for the company then I think that’s how you open up that open up that like route to really getting them to see what the value is

well we are just nearing the end of our show I’ll do a final call out for any additional comments or questions from the audience again as Mark said Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone Sneha had a comment that tools are enablers but they are as good as the only as good as the data we give it so if you have any last minute questions for analysts now is the time to to drop that in I will just make can I make a comment about the last comment I completely agree yeah the the data in is key but I found that with us that once you have the tool it also forces you to clean up your data like before you have the tool you just don’t do it and once you have the tool and you miss out on the opportunity to use that tool it kind of switches the the mindset and then you you like I said you’re forced to go back and clean your data and have a better a stronger process to keep that acting yeah good point my friend is has a company and she’s the classification guru and she spends a ton of her time cleaning up people’s Data before system implementations so exactly Mathieu to your point they’re investing significant time and resources in a new application and then they realize their data’s crap so there’s a whole whole mindset shift around the importance of having good data and then once you have good data in your system how do you maintain and keep it clean because we all know our ERP does not always have the cleanest data our next show is going to be March 28th we’re off our schedule a little bit I’m actually going to be in San Diego attending a conference the second week of March so our show is going to be pushed back a couple weeks so March 28th at 12 Central 1 pm eastern time where we will have our next panelists and talk about another round of supply chain craziness within the manufacturing space Mathieu Lauren thank you for being here today and for those who joined us I encourage you to reach out and connect with them both on LinkedIn.