What the Duck?! Episode 1 Transcript
What the Duck?! Who is Sarah Scudder and What is This Show About
Welcome to What the Duck?! A podcast with real experts talking about real issues in direct spend supply chain, and now here’s your host, SourceDay’s very own supply chain maven, Sarah Scudder.
Hey Sarah, it’s really great to have you on today. I’m super excited to be launching our new podcast for SourceDay. So, I think it’s only appropriate that we kick off the podcast by interviewing you, our wonderful host. So, I’m excited to get to know you a little better and let our viewers know what the podcast is going to be all about. So, let’s get started.
Why don’t you start off by telling me a little bit about your current role at SourceDay? Yeah, so I joined the SourceDay team – I like to call us the green machine – October of 2021. So, very, very last week of October, I packed my bags from Cali on a Saturday, flew on a Sunday, walked to the office on Monday. So, a pretty quick move and transition and been here now about 10 months. One of the things that I’m most excited about in joining the team is our focus on direct spend.
The first part of my career, I spent on the indirect side. So, doing things that were more technology-focused, things that didn’t necessarily go into the direct product that a company was selling, and I think there is a huge opportunity for innovation and technology and automation in the direct spend side of the industry. So, really, really excited about our laser focus and one very, very important specific part of the supply chain.
So, you’re the CMO at SourceDay now, but what did you want to be when you were little and dreaming about your future career?
Yeah, so I actually was planning to go into the fashion industry for some reason, and I have no idea why. I have no fashion history in my family. No one’s ever been a designer or in runway or modeling before, but there was just something about it that really fascinated me. In high school, I used to do runway locally, and I thought about pursuing things in college and after. And I decided that instead of going the modeling route, which is very, very tough, by the time you’re 25 or 26 typically your career is over. I had an interest more in the production business side of the industry and thought it would be really fun to produce fashion shows.
So, my plan was I was going to go to college, major in business and marketing, and then I was going to move to New York, London, or LA, work for a company that produced fashion shows, see what I thought about it, get some experience and then potentially start my own company. And so I decided to go to a very small school called Sonoma State University in what I call the real wine country in Sonoma County. It was almost like a private school. They had about 4,000 undergraduate students. I’m someone who really likes small class sizes. I like the networking community experience. So, it’s one of the reasons why I chose to go to the school, and I double majored in business and economics. I had an emphasis in marketing. I had a minor in American Multicultural Studies. Fashion was absolutely something that was not really part of the school. Not part of the program. Wasn’t even really a lot of internship opportunities. Most of the things in that area centered around the wine industry.
So, that was kind of the big focus, and my junior year, I was president of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. We go by AGD, and after I finished my presidency, I decided that I wanted to have one last hurrah, something big that I did and a way to give back to my sorority and my school. So, I decided to co-chair a very big fundraising event where all of the proceeds went to diabetes research. That was our national philanthropy for our sorority, and so we put on this really, really fun production. Lots of the Greek organizations and other organizations on campus prepare for months these very funny and some very serious dance lip-sync performances. We raised a ton of money, which was really awesome, donated it to what I think is a really good cause. And when I was working on putting the event together, we had to source a lot of marketing-related things, so media, print promo, swag. I had absolutely no experience with sourcing or procuring things, and I had a really busy workload, and so I hired a local company at the time that did marketing procurement. So, they sourced and procured anything marketing-related for companies, and after the event was over, they offered me a job. They said, “We would love to get more women in our industry. We’d love to have some younger people at our company, and we think there’s an opportunity to leverage more technology to help grow our organization.”
Now at first, I thought absolutely not. I have no idea what procurement is. I have no idea what supply chain is. It sounds kind of boring actually, kind of nerdy, nothing to do with fashion. But I took a couple weeks and I thought about it and one of the things I learned about myself at a very young age is I’m very entrepreneurial and I decided that working for a small company would give me a lot of really important business experience that I wouldn’t necessarily get going and working for a very large organization and I knew that if I was going to go the startup route, or eventually have my own company someday, I needed to learn all aspects of business. So, what is customer service? What is account management? What is sales? What is strategy? What is… How to do accounting. So I decided to take the job a week after I graduated. I started and I spent the first 12 months really helping pivot the company strategy for more of a commodity driven organization to more of a technology driven company. So we actually pivoted and started selling supply chain software specifically for people in marketing procurement. So this is a role that typically sits on the marketing and the procurement team. So kind of a hybrid and people in this position work with marketing to help them source and procure anything they need a lot of that may be data driven technology given you’ve got more of a commodity piece with the print, apparel and swag; and so I stayed there several years, helped grow and build the company to become a national organization, and then we were acquired by a company based out of New York that had three locations.
They were looking to build a west coast presence. We had two offices in California. It was just kind of a natural fit to help them grow and get that presence that they needed on the west coast. I became the Chief Growth Officer at that organization and then had another really exciting opportunity a couple years later to join another startup pattern here. I really, really like startups to help build out a sales and marketing organization for another supply chain technology company, also with a heavy focus in the marketing procurement space. And then, after doing that for a couple of years, I decided that I was really passionate and interested in the direct spend side of the industry.
Being in the indirect space, sometimes it can be a challenge and struggle getting stakeholder engagement, getting stakeholder buy-in, setting strategy. There are just some things that you continuously run into, and I saw that there was more of a strategic, more of an important role that direct spend played because these are sourcing and procuring things that directly go into a product that a company’s selling. So, I decided to pivot and join the SourceDay team, and now I’m all in. All things direct spend.
So, I know a few of your earlier roles were more on the sales side of the business. Why the pivot from sales to marketing within that procurement and supply chain industry?
Yeah, so I actually started my career in sales and actually have spent more of my career in a sales role than a marketing role. And I think as I progressed as a top performer in sales, one of the things I constantly struggled with is the outbound motion of reaching out to people cold. It didn’t seem like a very buyer-sensitive, buyer-friendly process. And I think about myself and all of the cold emails and phone calls and LinkedIn DMs that I get constantly, and it’s not a way that I like to buy, and it’s not something that I respond to. And I said, “Well, why am I doing this myself? If I myself wouldn’t respond to this outreach?” So, I decided to try some more marketing-focused efforts around content production and producing useful, interesting insights, posting them in channels where our buyers were, and I did it for 90 days.
There’s a lot of marketing strategies that go kind of across industries, but what about marketing in supply chain in particular do you love? Yeah, so it’s a very challenging vertical. I get a lot of other marketers reaching out to me all the time on LinkedIn, struggling because they say, ‘oh procurement is so hard to sell to. They get sold to constantly, they don’t respond to anything. How in the world do we get our messaging out? How do we get in front of them?’ So I love the challenge, and I think it’s a really interesting place to be when you’re selling to somebody that their job is to buy things for a living.
But what I love about it is I think there is a very educational-focused approach that works, and I think the more that you can provide useful, valuable insights to buyers and people in supply chain, the more they see your content, the more they see your data. At some point, they’re going to engage, and you just want to be top of mind. So when they do have a need, they will think of you and your company, and they will reach out. So it’s a combination of the challenge and the struggle that it’s a really hard person to sell to, but a great opportunity to have an educational-led approach and an educational-focused strategy.
So, you wanted to launch a podcast specifically about direct spend and supply chain. So, tell me why? Why a podcast, and why now? Yeah, so podcast is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, and so what I started doing first is LinkedIn Live shows. I’m a LinkedIn fanatic. I love LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn all the time. Every single day. And so I decided to host some shows and see what the response was. Would we get people registering? And to me, more importantly, would we get people continuously returning? To me, that’s a really important sign if somebody is constantly coming back and tuning into your content.
So we decided, as a team at SourceDay, to launch actually four LinkedIn Live Shows. So we host one a week: one is a women-only focused panel, which is really fun to give women an opportunity to speak and highlight the great work that they do, and then the other ones are manufacturing, you know, supply chain-focused shows. And I think those went really well. We were getting really good sign-ups, people continuously tuning in, people seeking out, messaging us afterwards saying we loved the content, can we get a copy of the recording. So those are the right signs when you’re having people reaching out and interested.
Then, I decided to look at what podcasts were available in our space, and I did not see anything that was 100% focused on direct spend because that’s the world we live in. And I think there’s a huge opportunity to educate and help buyers in the direct spend space be more efficient and leverage technology. I decided that it was a really good opportunity for us to add tremendous value into a pretty specific niche in the supply chain. And so, what about this podcast, in particular, is going to be different from the other supply chain podcasts that are out there? I know we’re going to focus on direct spend. So in addition to that, I would say, absolutely, like you said, we’re 100% direct spend focused. Everybody who’s coming on the show is either going to be a buyer, a practitioner, somebody on the buy side, or consultants – people who are working heavily in the direct spend space in some capacity. The second thing is it’s going to be very unfiltered and very honest. So I don’t want people coming on the show and sugarcoating anything. There’s a lot of crap that happens in direct spend. It’s a struggle. There have been major disruptions. Things happen hourly, and this is not meant to sugarcoat and talk about how great everything is. I think we can learn a lot from each other by talking about the struggles and the challenges, so I want this to be a very open forum and a safe place for people to talk about the struggles and challenges that they’ve experienced and lived through. And then, I’m also very big on actionable things that people can do immediately to go back to either their own organization or the clients they’re working with. So I always want to end every single show with one very tangible piece of information that will help the listeners do better at their jobs and further their careers. And who is the audience for this particular podcast?
Yeah, so I would say the core focus of this is buyers and practitioners who are in the direct spend space. So people that are living and breathing direct spend day in and day out. I also think there is value if you are a consultant, potentially even a supplier, or someone in the research side of the business. So you can listen in and hear what the actual practitioners are living and experiencing every single day, and we’ve talked a lot about how we’re going to focus on direct spend.
Can you give us your version of what is the difference between direct and indirect spend?
Yeah, so the direct spend side of supply chain is sourcing and procuring parts and materials or commodities that directly go into the product that your company is selling. So if I am making a HydroFlask water bottle, I’m looking at it right now in the podcast studio, any of those materials that go directly into that water bottle that I’m using is considered direct spend. Indirect, which is where I spent the first part of my career, is procuring things that don’t directly go into the end product that you’re selling, but these are things that your company needs to use to operate. This would be things like marketing procurement facilities, contingent labor, payroll office supplies. So very, very different, and again, I think the direct spend part of the industry is absolutely mission-critical and a huge opportunity. I would also say the really important part of the direct spend, which I think we’ll get into a little bit later today, Sheyna, is the first-mile piece of the direct spend.
Great, and who are the guests that you’re hoping to have on this podcast? Who can people expect to hear from?
Yeah, so we’re actually in the process right now of securing guests, and most of them are practitioners and buy-side at all different levels of their career. I think it’s really important to get perspective from people who are very new to their career as a buyer, people who have been a buyer for several years, people in a management role that are potentially managing teams that are overseeing direct spend, and then we’ll even have some chief procurement officers and chief supply chain officers. These are more strategic positions where they’re really looking at the strategy, the technology, and the data piece and guiding their teams on how they can better leverage those things and automate more, so they can get more things done using fewer resources.
And what would you say your interview style is for these esteemed guests that we’ll be talking to?
So I always like to have some fun and personal facts. I think at the end of the day, we’re all human. It’s important to relate to each other on a personal level. So I want to make sure that the personality of the person that’s on the show comes through. I always like to hear a little bit about how they got into the industry. I can say almost every single person I’ve interviewed or had on a show has not planned to go into supply chain, even you Sheyna as a marketer. You probably didn’t wake up and say, “yes, I am going to go into supply chain. I want to do marketing for a supply chain technology company.” So a lot of people just stumble along our industry, and I think it’s really awesome to hear those stories about how that happens, but then more importantly why. Why they fall in love with it and why they stay, and then again very, very casual conversational.
I want to allow each guest an opportunity to really share their experiences, and not only the good, but talk about what are the struggles? What are the challenges? What have they learned? Because again, I think we can learn so much from each other and learning from experiences about the not so good stuff that sometimes happens. And what are some of those learnings that you’re hoping listeners will take away from the show?
So, gosh, there’s a lot. A couple that come to mind are the importance of interpersonal and soft skills. I think a lot of times when you’re new to procurement or new to supply chain, you think that you have to be really, really good at data and Excel and looking at research and running numbers. While that’s all important, I would actually argue that more important than any of that is having the ability to build relationships with your internal stakeholders. So that when they do have a purchase or when they do need to buy something, that they seek you out and they want to work with you. So I think getting that message across about why that’s important and how buyers have learned to become internal salespeople and champions.
The other thing I think that’s really important is the focus on rebranding procurement and supply chain. Let’s be real: it’s not the coolest, sexiest name. It’s not the coolest, sexiest category. So what have buyers done to change the reputation of their function and of their department internally? I think that’s so, so important to get engagement and to get adoption. The third is the power of using technology. I think there’s sometimes a myth that if we use technology, we’re going to lose our job, we’re going to be ousted from the organization, or maybe technology’s going to complicate things, nobody’s going to use it, there are going to be major adoption issues. But I think there’s a lot of good that organizations can experience from using technology, so I want to highlight and talk about what are some of those challenges but also wins and successes that buyers have had and how have they been able to do their job better and more efficiently and not have to work crazy hours to leverage some of the new technology in the market.
We talked a little bit about how you want to get to know our interviewees and get some fun personal facts about them. So I think we should also get some fun personal facts about you, our host. So to start, tell me a fun fact about yourself. So I’m really good at loading a dishwasher. This also ties into one of my pet peeves. I cannot stand when people do not load a dishwasher correctly and I have been known to actually unload an entire dishwasher and reload it just so everything is placed correctly and just so the space is optimized.
So tell me a little bit about an accomplishment that you’re most proud of. Whether in your career or in your life in general. Yeah I would say being a woman in a very very male dominated space. So when I started right after college, in my first job, I was probably one of the only women at any event or conference that I went to. And I just saw that as a huge opportunity for me to be a role model, an example, and kind of a champion for supply chain or women who maybe hadn’t even considered the profession before or maybe been a little bit scared or hesitant to go into the industry. So I think that has just been really really awesome to see some of the women that I’ve mentored that I’ve helped get into the industry – women that I’ve helped get jobs or really further or progress their careers.
And what is the quality that you would say you most admire in yourself I think I’m very calm and collected and level-headed in most situations and I think that’s a really important skill to have in life. You never know what’s going to happen in life. Craziness comes up all the time and I think how you hinder yourself in stressful, challenging situations says a lot and sets a really important example for your team. Work is not life and family and their other priorities and I think, as a leader, if you lead by example your team will follow and understand that – how to act in those situations as well and what the important priorities are.
And what would you say is your biggest dream, either in your career or just in your life? That’s a hard one. So I always wanted to be a CMO, once I decided that I wanted to pivot from sales into marketing. So one of my dreams I’ve accomplished, and that is to lead a really awesome marketing team and do a lot of groundbreaking and ground-changing work. I would probably say setting up or doing some more mentorship in the industry, and I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I think there’s still more room and opportunity to motivate, I would say, a younger generation and really inspire people to think about pursuing careers in our industry, not just falling into them. So it’s something that I am passionate about, and I think as I continue in my career, I’ll figure out something that I think makes sense to help more people.
And what is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? Well, I haven’t had a lot of free time in the last month or so. I moved, which has been a little bit of a supply chain nightmare. I moved into a new house, almost all of my furniture was delayed weeks or some things came and didn’t have all the parts. So I’ve been focused on getting situated and adjusted. But outside of that, when my life isn’t so crazy and hectic, I really enjoy hiking and running and doing some sort of physical exercise. In Austin, that’s a little harder to do in the summer when it’s 110 degrees out. I made the mistake a couple of weeks ago of going running on a Friday afternoon, and I am not used to running in this heat nor the humidity, and I thought I was going to faint. So I’ve learned very quickly to keep my workouts indoors for a while. Or if I’m going to go out, do a walk or something very late at night.
And, kind of as we wrap up here, getting to know you and learning more about the podcast and what folks can expect, is there anything else that you want to put out there that people can look forward to or that you want to make sure people know about our What the Duck?! Another Supply Chain Podcast?
So first of all, I think our name is absolutely awesome. What the Duck?! I think it is so funny, and this was actually a program started by Patty and Clint a few months ago. They run our partner program, and they decided to do green rubber duckies with stickers on the bottom and send them out to our partners. It was so creative and fun that it’s really taken off, and we have people taking ducks when they travel, doing TikTok videos, and taking pictures all over the world. And I just think it’s so fun and interesting, being able to tie that into direct spend and supply chain challenges.
So Sheyna and I, as we were putting the podcast together, decided this absolutely had to be our mascot and the face of our podcast. I just have to call out that I absolutely love the name of the podcast. I would say we’re always looking for guests, and I like people who aren’t necessarily in the spotlight all the time. So if you are somebody who maybe hasn’t had a lot of public experience, speaking experience, maybe someone that’s newer to the industry, or you really want to get out there a little more and build your brand or share your experiences, I would encourage you to shoot me a note on LinkedIn because we really want to feature and highlight all different types of people in the industry, and that’s something that’s really important to me.
And then, we’re going to be releasing an episode every single week. So lots of content coming to you all the time, consistently. So make sure to just bookmark, flag it and it’ll be available in many different channels. And where can folks find more information about you, more info about SourceDay, get in touch with you? Yeah, so best way to reach me is on LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn all the time so Sarah Scudder Manufacturing Maven I’m also on Twitter @SScudder and then on our website, which is sourceday.com. Under resources you will see a drop down for our podcast. We’ll always have all the episodes available there. We’ll have the newest one at the top. We are doing this with video and audio, so if you want to actually watch the interviews you can do that. If you’re like me and like to listen to podcasts when you exercise or drive, you’ll be able to listen to the audio as well.
Awesome, well thanks so much Sarah. It was really great getting to know you a little better. I’m really really excited to launch this podcast and get started with all of our amazing guests and I can’t wait to talk to you again.