Thursday, September 24
10:35-11:10 am
Eric Johnson JOC

The Growing Importance of Software
Partnerships in Supply Chain

Eric Johnson, Senior Editor, Technology
Journal of Commerce

As supply chain managers cope with the new reality of remote and distributed work environments, changing demand patterns, and strategic sourcing decisions, there's a unifying thread: technology. Those practitioners manage more day-by-day and week-by-week with their laptops and mobile phones, and that places an onus on investing in software that can fit together like puzzle pieces. The rise of cloud computing, on-demand servers, and subscription-based software has heralded this trend, but what makes it work operationally is the fact that niche software providers realize more than ever they need to partner together through pre-built integrations to amplify the value of their individual products to the end user.

Eric Johnson is sponsored by WMEP.

 About Eric »

Eric Johnson is Senior Editor, Technology at the Journal of Commerce (JOC), where he leads coverage and analysis of technology’s impact on global logistics and trade. Eric regularly reports on how shippers, carriers across all modes and logistics companies use software, as well as new concepts impacting core freight transportation processes like procurement, execution, visibility and payment. Johnson is a regular presenter and moderator at industry events and webinars. Prior to joining the JOC, Eric spent 13 years with American Shipper in a variety of roles, most recently covering the logistics tech landscape and leading the production of a series of benchmark studies on the logistics industry.

Eric has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in international business from the University of Leeds, UK. He has lived and worked in Southern California, the UK and India, and now resides in the Washington, DC area.


Thursday, September 24
11:20–11:50 am
Geoff Fry Cree Lighting

Lead Time as a Competitive Weapon

Geoffrey Fry, Global Vice President of Supply Chain
Cree Lighting

Two challenges many organizations share are having the right amount of inventory on-hand to fulfill demand and decreasing lead times without holding large amounts of inventory. From finished goods to raw materials, having the right levels are key to supply chain and sales success especially in a dynamic environment when lower lead times are often a competitive advantage.

In this session, Geoff will take a look at one company’s journey to transform from a forecast and build-to-stock process of fulfilling customer demand to a rapid make-to-order process. Cree achieved this by integrating both the supplier-facing supply chain and the customer-facing supply chain, resulting in an improved customer experience.

About Geoffrey »

Geoff Fry has managed many different functions within the supply chain area, including supplier quality, customer order fulfilment, warehousing and logistics, but most of his experience is in sourcing, purchasing and planning. Geoff has worked with suppliers and customers in high-tech manufacturing and electronics distribution for over 20 years in the Americas, Asia and Europe, dealing with some of their most complicated global supply chain challenges.

Currently, he leads the supply chain area at Cree Lighting, a leading provider of LED lighting solutions to retail, transportation and industry.

Thursday, September 24
11:50 am–12:20 pm
Jeff Cartwright Shoreview Management Advisors

Alternatives to Sourcing in China:
Safeguard the Supply Chain by
Shifting the Supply Base

Jeff Cartwright, President and CEO
Shoreview Management Advisors

Prior to 2020, there were continued disruptions to our supply chains. There was a strong sentiment to bring back manufacturing to North America. This was constrained by the shortage of skilled labor that we experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, bringing manufacturing to North America by shifting from China to Mexico will provide a far more secure supply chain with potentially lower costs.

The failure of China to honor agreements on intellectual property protection, the large subsidies of export businesses and the undervalued Renminbi are not likely to change, thus nearly guaranteeing tariffs will be here for the foreseeable future.

The economic costs of these massive supply chain disruptions and costs to suppress the virus have more than made up for the price advantage China once had. Factory labor in China has been increasing from 25% to 30% annually for the last 2 decades. The official minimum wage in China is 257% higher than in Mexico today making products with a high labor content less expensive when sourced in Mexico. With shorter lead times, zero duties due to USMCA, competitive transportation costs, reduced cultural differences and a nation that views itself as an ally of the United States, Mexico may be the clear, strategic choice.

However, sourcing in Mexico is neither straightforward or nor easy. We will discuss the business culture and mindset in Mexico, how to achieve cost savings, assured quality and protection of intellectual property, focusing on total cost of ownership (TCO).

About Jeff »

For the last several years, Jeff Cartwright has led a management advisory firm engaged primarily in the areas of business strategy, operational improvements and revenue growth. This practice focuses on consumer and industrial product companies, and creates value in all aspects of operations from demand planning through manufacturing, sourcing and distribution. By strengthening these areas, organic growth through new products and channels is facilitated. He has direct experience in over 30 completed acquisitions ranging from due diligence through accelerating value creation (100-day plans) to achievement of significant revenue growth and multi-million dollar operational improvements.

Prior to starting Shoreview Management Advisors, Jeff served as President and COO of Igloo Products, as well as CEO of Cosco Home & Office Products. Jeff is a seasoned executive with deep operational and general management experiences in companies ranging from $10 million in revenue to Fortune 50 companies such as Procter & Gamble , PEPSICO and Newell-Rubbermaid. While at Newell-Rubbermaid, Jeff served as the senior operations executive responsible for cross-divisional collaboration in the areas of supply chain including sourcing operations for 20 plus divisions, inbound logistics including ocean freight, manufacturing and distribution systems, and integration of newly acquired businesses.

Jeff has an MBA from East Carolina University – College of Business and a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Friday, September 25
10:05–10:35 am
Melissa Baird hims&hers

Pivoting to a Remote-First Work Strategy

Melissa Baird, Chief Operating Officer
hims & hers

Hims & Hers recently made the decision to morph into a work remote-first company. This is a massive change to undertake, but something they are incredibly excited about. As they remove geographical restrictions to employment, they want to provide more opportunities for people of color and aid their endeavor of bringing diversity to the table in every facet and decision they make as a business.

It’s clear to them that the benefits outweigh any of the risks, and as they are now saying across all of their social channels: “If you know of anyone, anywhere looking for a job — we’re hiring”. While Hims & Hers is not the first company to roll this out over the last few months think about the constraints that have been lifted when trying to find supply chain talent.

While constraints on talent have been lifted it also comes with issues unique to the supply chain. Melissa will talk about how this pivot will affect their supply chain, how the logistics and challenges have stacked up so far, and how they plan to continue to provide excellent customer service and reliable delivery. She will also discuss how they are thoughtfully adding diverse talent to their supply chain ranks.

 About Melissa »

Melissa Baird is the Chief Operating Officer at hims & hers where she leads fulfillment, customer service, supply chain, telemedicine ops and engineering. Melissa has a deep direct to consumer background and has built and led several teams to success; most recently as the VP of Systems and Procedures at Draper James, Reese Witherspoon's lifestyle brand, but also Zulily and Bonobos.

Friday, September 25
10:40–11:15 am
Brian Rouse AGROPUR

Attracting and Retaining Top-Tier Procurement Talent

Brian Rouse, Director - Global Strategic Sourcing

This presentation will explore best practices associated with attracting and retaining top-tier procurement talent and the correlation among three primary factors:

  • The level of focus and investment put into the recruiting process
  • How integrated and essential the procurement function is viewed inside your organization
  • The amount and diversity of opportunities for professional growth

Today, building a top-tier procurement team is more critical than ever. Supply chain related challenges are multiplying and more complex even while it is sometimes becoming more difficult for procurement related opportunities to be prioritized highly across the broader organization.

That said, if you have the talent needed to conquer these challenges and continuously sell the value of procurement, the function will remain effective and continue to attract and retain top-tier talent. If not, the procurement function may naturally struggle with retaining its best people and attracting new, talented people to replace them.

The difference between these two paths can be stark and quite impactful to your company’s bottom line. Therefore, let’s take a look at what can be done to ensure procurement has the talent and momentum needed to sustainably drive maximum value.

About Brian »

Brian Rouse has successfully started up or overhauled numerous organizations, across an array of business models, geographies and industries during his more than 20 years of strategic sourcing, P2P and supply chain senior leadership experience. A primary key to his success has been attracting, developing and leading high-ceiling, diverse talent in ways that drive noteworthy and sustainable benefits for both the business and his team members.

Currently, Brian oversees strategic sourcing for Agropur’s US operations. Agropur is a $5B organization and the largest dairy company in Canada. In this role, he and the team are keenly focused on driving results across four distinct value streams: Cost management, risk mitigation, supplier performance and Agropur employee productivity. In his first year, Brian is developing a three-year continuous improvement roadmap for strategic sourcing excellence and automation, for the function and for all those who interface with the function.

Brian started his career at Kraft Foods in a variety of operations, supply chain and procurement leadership roles that led him to help organizations like Wendy’s International and Tractor Supply Company realize transformative, world class results. Brian resides in Iron Mountain, Michigan with his wife and holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Marketing from Western Kentucky University and a Master of Business Administration from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.


The Supply Chain Management Track is sponsored by:


When: 8:30 am-3:00 pm
Thursday, September 24, 2020

8:30 am-12:00 pm
Friday, September 25, 2020

Where: Virtual


Steering Committee members provide guidance on track content, topic suggestions and speaker selection. Thank you to the 2020 Supply Chain Management Track Steering Committee:

Dennis MaherDennis Maher
Vice President of Supply Chain and Shared Services
UW Health

Tom MoenTom Moen
Associate Director of Global Sourcing
J.J. Keller & Associates

Tom ShieldTom Shield
Manager – U.S. Transporation
& Logistics
Kohler Co.

Wayne ThompsonWayne Thompson
Supply Chain Management Practice Director


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