Maximize Opportunities with Optimized Supply Chains

If you want to see how this could help, join us for this MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Anna McGovern, CPIM, CSCP, Founder and Managing Director, Pondview Consulting, LLC, talk about the opportunities to create value by optimizing your end-to-end supply chains.

When was the last time you optimized your supply chains?

If you want to see how this could help, join us for this MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Anna McGovern, CPIM, CSCP, Founder and Managing Director, Pondview Consulting, LLC, talk about the opportunities to create value by optimizing your end-to-end supply chains.

Anna, hailing from Connecticut, is a supply chain and procurement evangelist preaching the gospel of value creation through an optimized supply chain and collaborative supplier partnerships. Her unique value proposition is her planning experience and strategic procurement background from over 22 years at Unilever, working in multiple supply chain positions as Director, Global Category Procurement Operations Personal Care & Beauty. Similarly, she knows how to leverage the supply base for maximum supply chain efficiency and cost savings. Moreover, she partners with suppliers to create value and solve supply chain problems to bring new products to market faster and under budget.

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Anna faced many challenges in these roles that enabled her to add value to every step. She offers advisory services to C-level supply chain and procurement officers to maximize profits by solving problems.

Damon and Curt’s enthusiasm impresses Anna, who is pleased to be a part of this Livestream. Curt asks her about her childhood inspiration. Since Anna is an Italian American, other than her parents, she has grown up idolizing Ella Grasso who was the first female Governor of Connecticut. Anna praises her because of the latter’s efforts for a clean environment, recycling the bottles, etc. Anna regrets that despite her potential, Ella could not become the first-ever female US President.

She has been an Adjunct Professor of Supply Chain Operations and Business Management at Sacred Heart University. A graduate in psychology and philosophy, Anna admits that she accidentally “fell into the supply chain.”

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While recollecting her early professional struggles, the guest makes some revelations. She discloses that after completing her college degree, she starts digging into her employability. To improve her skill set, she took “a bunch of marketing classes.” Being the first in the family to attend college goaded her to “do something.”

In the 1990s, she was hired as a customer service officer at Spartech Corporation for $26,000 a year, fairly better than most of her classmates. There, she went into manufacturing and reached the post of Purchasing Manager. The said position honed her problem-solving skills.

Continuing her upward journey, she got recruited by the then Lever Brothers (now Unilever). Reaching the top slot of Director, Global Category Procurement Operations Personal Care & Beauty, she worked at Unilever for 23 years.

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She finally started her firm after passing through thick and thin and learning the best of the supply chain. “I love supply chain,” she continues, “it’s about problems and then finding solutions.” She is proud of her “superpowers.”

Curt asks, lightly, if she has ever experimented with haircare products. Upon her exclaim, the host intends to seek Anna’s advice to regrow his hair.

He then inquires about the guest’s secret of “consistent long-term success.” Anna issues a humble statement in response. “I can’t take the credit for any of that. I have been absolutely blessed to have been surrounded by great people,” she remarks. To her, if somebody thinks she is a good leader, it’s because somebody has paved the way for her. Similarly, she paves the way for others that may come after her.

“Resilient leadership,” “servant leadership,” and “humble leadership” lead by example. She passes the most self-aware comment: “I am smart enough to know that I’m not smart at all.” She has been “blessed with keeping in touch with a lot of people over the years, people who are way smarter” than she is. She is hesitant to ask for a favor, help, and advice.

Curt asks Anna about the secret of her effective leadership techniques. Firstly, she appreciates the host’s efforts to delve into her LinkedIn profile. Secondly, it’s all about being authentic. Thirdly, she genuinely has never had an ulterior motive or a plan. “I do have this Pollyanna vision of always wanting to do the right thing,” she maintains. She shares her strategy. “Surround yourself, always with people who are better than you.”

Curt invites Anna’s comments on her path as a supply chain leader through the 90s and 2000s.

She relates that she had a professor emeritus while doing her MBA. He taught the class leadership and ethics. The concept of operations was in its making. We didn’t even call it the supply chain back then. Working for an “a-one company like Unilever or Procter and Gamble, or like a Motorola or McDonald’s or Amazon” was a dream for many.

So, the modern-day supply chain, arguably, was created by Walmart, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever. The whole concept of supply chain dates back to the US military and logistics of World War II. She talks about some no more mass merchandisers like Kmart, Sears, Bradley’s Convenience Store, and the like. These hypermarkets are no longer around us because Walmart and Procter paired up. And they introduced the concept of low pricing in the late 80s and early 90s. It was basically to curb the bullwhip effect of the supply chain.

The 90s, also known as the Good Decade, was marked by Clinton’s rule as President, the Fall of the Iron Curtain, “and everything was stable.” Moreover, there was tremendous prosperity, the “ boom,” and oil was at $20 a barrel. She explains supply chains evolved when the manufacturers could afford to fetch their products from inventories throughout the country or “multiple sourcing points throughout North America.” Because the oil was cheap, entrepreneurs could afford mega factories, like in the suburb of Chicago or outside St. Louis. “The beauty of a plan is not the plan because the plan is not exact. So, the beauty of a plan is our ability to react to a plan.”

The discussion enters an interesting phase when Curt asks Anna to diagnose some “red flags” in the evolution of the supply chain from 2008 to 2020. The guest replies that there will always be these kinds of disruptions. In 2008 and 2011, financial meltdowns not only dried down the capital of business but also “took away our innocence.” For weeks, the workers could not work out of depression. Moreover, massive layoffs the ordinary life. It was complete gridlock, and the crisis was very global and short-lived.

Similarly, the Covid-19 Pandemic “has fundamentally shifted everything.” For instance, the way we go to work, dress for work, and live our values have changed for good. Moreover, costs are skyrocketing. “We’re just going to leave the workforce entirely.” The supply chain is becoming digitized, but it will take some time. Only digitalization, in her view, is not a panacea.

Contrarily, she observes that many people impatiently desire to solve technical issues. She argues that they need to invest and take the time. We have “never seen where three women can deliver a baby at three months. Right?”

She maintains that digitalization with a rooted human element is crucial because it allows us to process large amounts of data and mobilize teams quickly. We cannot do it without humans. “And that is the unlock to the new supply chain. Right?” Like control towers, they show us where things are and where the inventory is. It will give us time to figure out how many porters we need once our shipment arrives at the dock. “It’s all about people and relationships and that connectivity.” So the tighter we can collaborate with our customers and suppliers, the more resilient our supply chain will be. “My evangelism is all about interconnected, collaborative relationships,” she comments.

The host seeks Anna’s counsel for small manufacturers who are “struggling out here.” She replies that every state has manufacturing enterprise partners (MEPs) aligned with the Department of Commerce. This is a joint investment opportunity. And small and medium-sized manufacturers can tap into these opportunities.

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Anna McGovern


Damon Pistulka  00:05

All right, everyone, welcome once again, it is Friday and it is the manufacturing ecommerce success. I’m one of your hosts Damon Pistulka. And that pretty guy right over there is Kurt Anderson. We’re gonna be discussing maximizing opportunities with your supply chain today. Kurt, take it away my friend


Curt Anderson  00:27

Damon, you handsome devil. How about this guy over here so you know, exit your way exit and growth strategy specialist and he’s been Doesn’t he look refreshed? He just you know, you’ve been on vacation during family time, and you just look more handsome than ever. Daymond. So Happy Friday to you. I am so honored and privileged to introduce our guest today. None other I don’t know if she even needs an introduction. But Anna McGovern, happy Friday. How are you my friend?


Anna McGovern  00:55

Hey, Kurt, great to be here with you, Damon, you guys are the best keep doing what you’re doing love. And honored to be here.


Curt Anderson  01:03

Oh, absolutely. So tons. I mean, like, you have a laundry list. So first off, guys, you need to connect with Anna here on LinkedIn. She has just we’re gonna take a deep dive into her background her superpowers. But and you know, I want to kick things off a little question before we dig deep, you know, so we have a lot to cover. And you are the supply chain evangelist. Boy, the guru. So we have a ton of cover. And I think Damon, I don’t know about you. Like if there have been some supply chain challenges the past couple of years. I


Damon Pistulka  01:32

think someone said something about it too soon.


Curt Anderson  01:36

And I know but we’ll dig into that. And here’s our first question. Have we kicked things off today? young girl growing up in Connecticut, if I drive that correctly, did you grow up? As a young girl growing up? Who was your hero? Who was your hero growing up in the great state of Connecticut?


Anna McGovern  01:55

Oh, my goodness. Well, you know, it’s interesting. You know, the easy answer is, you know, my mother and my father, both were immigrants. But you know who my hero was. Ella Grasso, Ella grasa was the governor of the state of the kings of Connecticut. And she was the first female governor in the country. And she was, you know, this, like Italian girl who like made it big.

And she actually introduced, you know, the nickel deposit on all the bottles and like the whole concept of recycling, you know, this is like back in the late 70s and 80s. But I just was so in awe of the fact that she made it and I was like, you know, you know, what does that say for all these little girls, you know, who want to be president of the United States and stuff like that. And I can’t believe like, to this day, we still don’t have a female president. But anyway, I like Ella Grasso, may she rest in peace?


Curt Anderson  02:59

Yeah, what a fantastic choice. Thank you for sharing that. And of course mom and dad being immigrants, I think you just shared. So that is also a lot of inspiration. And it’s kind of leading up to your background. So founder Managing Director of Lb view, you have an illustrious wonderful career, heavy duty corporate fortune 500. We’re going to talk about that. I believe I saw that you were the Bronx food bank, you know, so we’re going to talk about that. So let’s, as you came out of college, and I think that were you an adjunct at your alma mater, to did I see that?


Anna McGovern  03:28

Yeah, I taught Believe it or not, I taught supply chain to MBA students. Wow. Yeah, that was a great job.


Curt Anderson  03:37

Let’s kick things off. So you have your Bachelor’s your master’s degree, and you decide to bring your superpowers into supply chain as a young woman you just mentioned, governor of Connecticut was a great inspiration to you, what attracted you what brought your talents, your skills, your passion into the supply chain world?


Anna McGovern  03:57

Well, you know, most people this, you know, I should have a better answer for this. But really, the truth of the matter is, and let me be truthful, and very upfront, I kind of fell into supply chain. I kind of fell into supply chain. My undergrad was in psychology. I’ve got a minor in philosophy. And as I start digging into my employability coming out of college, I was like, Man, I need to add a little, you know, a little backup in here. So I started taking a bunch of marketing classes. And, and really, it was the realization that I’ve got like, all these student loans, I was the first person to go away to college right in my family.

So I was like, you know, money is factoring in here. I better do something. And I got hired for at the time, like $26,000 a year and that was like way better than most of my classmates and I was doing customer service, you know, for a bit. So that was like the first entry level and I was doing it for manufacture that made the competitive product to Plexiglas. Right, so we made something called poly cast. And, and then from there, you know, I went into manufacturing, I was doing materials planning for the factory, and I became a purchasing manager. And honestly, it was all about fixing things, it was all about solving problems.

And that is something that came naturally to me. It was a role that I had to inherit very early on, like as a teeny, weeny child, oldest child always having to fix things, always having to sort things out. And I enjoyed it. And you know, from there, it kind of one thing led to another, I got recruited by the old lever brothers, which is a Unilever company. And I then I hit the big time I was on Park Avenue in Manhattan, I took my parents and to show them that their daughter had arrived, I was like, Look, I’m gonna be working across from the Waldorf Astoria.

And then I spent the next 23 years working for Unilever. And then, you know, I went into a PE back business in the beauty initially, and then I went into nonprofit. And then I went into my own firm. So that’s, that’s really kind of the nickel tour of how things you know, started the supply chain path. And, you know, I love supply chain, because really, it’s about problems, and then finding solutions. And that’s kind of one of my superpowers.


Curt Anderson  06:39

That is awesome. Now, if I’m not mistaken a unilevel. Did I happen to see like haircare products do you have experienced with haircare products?


Anna McGovern  06:46

Oh, my gosh, yes.


Curt Anderson  06:48

Maybe offline? Could you give me some tips or some advice? Surgery? We’ll take that conversation. Yeah. So but I’m just kidding. Damon, i Are you guys sitting down for this statement? Are you? Alright, get back and get in just Daymond sit back and just get comfortable for a second. Okay. Take me a few minutes. Okay. You want to hear about our friend Anna. Okay. First off, if you’re out there, drop us a note. Let us know that you’re out there. If you have any questions about supply chain, great. We have the evangelists, we have the guru, you want to check this out.

You want to connect with Anna But alright, let me just share a couple things. Her level of leadership to ensure projects were done on top that were done on time and were second to none. Results Driven leader passionate leader, highly passionate, effective management manager dedicated smart, energetic creative, continually drives value creation for Unilever. And a can do things in supply chain that are superhuman and sustainable. And as the continent professional who works tirelessly with every endeavor, her style gets us her style and polish Daymond. Like,


Damon Pistulka  07:57

keep it that word


Curt Anderson  07:58

is not on our show very no is that does come around me in Polish is not in our show. Yeah, yeah. And presenting an ability to make everyone feel comfortable is extraordinary. Oh,


Anna McGovern  08:10

my goodness, who paid you to sail?


Curt Anderson  08:13

And here’s the thing. I plucked these off of your LinkedIn profile. Damon, I know you’ve been on LinkedIn a long time. But I bet you a lot of folks on here probably have been recent. A lot of these comments came from 2006 to 2008. Like this is like, Anna, like, dude, how did you? I’m like blown away by your leadership. Now, you talked about the governor, you talked about Mom and Dad, just you know, and I know you’re very modest, very humble, but just sure you’ve had theater from 15 years ago. You know, these are not recent. You’ve had your like the Tom Brady, the Williams sisters, like long term consistent success. How have you done it?


Anna McGovern  08:53

Well, look, I can’t, I can’t take the credit. So I can’t take the credit for any of that I have been absolutely blessed to have been surrounded by great people. Right. So you know, you’re only as good as your support system. And I’ve been blessed to have the most amazing leaders model the way for me. So if somebody thinks I’m a good leader, it’s because somebody paved the way for me, and I’ve tried, you know, I’ve tried to pave the way for others that came after me. You know, I’ve been around resilient leadership. I’ve been around servant leadership, humble leadership, these people that lead by example. And it was walking the talk as well as talking the talk, right?

So and, honestly, it’s also the strength of the network, right? Because you don’t have to have the answers. Right, and God knows like, you know, I am smart enough to know that I’m not smart at all. But what I can do, what I what I can do is I know where to go to tap into the answer, right? So I’ve got, you know, I’ve been blessed with keeping in touch with a lot of people over the years, people who are way smarter than I am. And I just go and say, hey, you know, I’m not afraid to go and ask the question, I need help. You know, do you have advice for me? Or how would you go about this challenge? And that’s, that’s really been the unlock for me.


Curt Anderson  10:37

Well, I, you know, I appreciate your magazine. And I’m, I’m sorry, I have to read, I have to read one more to you. Okay. I just, I’m sorry, ready for it. Few people have the opportunity to report to a manager who is also a coach and mentor. And I did when I worked for Anna McGovern. I had the pleasure of working for Anna Intuit for two years, she taught me the importance of strategic influencing building relationships, I was always impressed on how she excelled in these areas, she was able to get offer stakeholders on board with her recommendations. Even people who initially had alternative ideas, that’s a polite way of saying that we’re pushing back and resistant.

She is a true leader with both knowledge and soft skills and motivate her team I grew up and again, I love your humility and your modesty. But Damon, listen to this sentence right here. I grew and asleep during the time. I’m like just getting chills reading this. What the leaders do, leaders grow leaders. I grew tremendously during this time we worked together and later we both moved on to new roles at Unilever.

Alright, we’re gonna take a little pause, let’s give a little Oscar and just like how people are speaking about you the love back the admiration, like you are a force and folks like what a gift to have her here to learn from Anna but and again, I know you’re being modest mentors, friends, I know, I know, like you’re active with your church faith, like what, you know, what’s been the driving force for your leadership, like someone just starting out their career, They’re young, they’re looking up to someone like you like, boy, and how did you do it?


Anna McGovern  12:17

You know, honestly, first of all, I want to thank you for having delved into my, you know, LinkedIn profile the way you have, because honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve looked at some of these things, and I appreciate you highlighting them because, you know, we’re always the hardest on ourselves. Um, you know, we’re not supposed to talk about our faith, but, you know, faith is a huge part of who I am. And it’s all about being authentic. So whether you like me or you don’t, you’re gonna get authenticity. Sometimes, you know, I’m a little too direct for people, sometimes I’m not direct enough for people, but you’re gonna get my authentic self, for the most part.

I genuinely never had an ulterior motive or an agenda. I do have this Pollyanna vision of always wanting to do the right thing. And that’s guided by my faith and my values. You know, I often say, you know, I often say it’s 75%, my higher power and 25%. Me, I think you have a much easier burden to carry if you offload, you know, the burdens off your shoulders. You know, I had a business coach recently asked me I had all these things going. And he was concerned that I didn’t have the wherewithal or enough bandwidth to take care of it.

He’s like, Well, what are you going to do if all these things come to fruition? And I said, I said, I’m going to say a couple of our fathers and a few canaries. Yeah, like, ha ha, ha, that’s great. Really, what are you gonna do? Like, what’s your strategy? Yeah, really? Oh, haha, that’s really much. So I was like, that’s, that’s my strategy, a little bit tongue in cheek. But, yeah, one of the other things is that, you know, you follow your gut, right, you follow your heart? Yeah.

And if you’re leading from always doing the right things like value based leadership, then execution becomes really second nature. You know, I mean, I’ll just leave it at that. But, but that’s, you know, you just have to follow your gut sometimes, and surround yourself with good people. So there is a bit of planning right? Here is a bit of strategy. Surround yourself, always with people who are better than you. Yeah. And don’t be afraid to have people that are better than you on the team because they’re gonna pull you rather than drag you down. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  14:54

Awesome. Okay, so thank you. And again, hats off to you for what you’ve done. In the support that you’ve given to your team, teammates, people under you over you, you know, all of the above. So let’s dig into supply chain. Okay, let’s go there. So, as we said, very challenging past couple years, but let’s talk about so you know, you we, and we, we go back to the 90s. So we’ve had this wonderful career, anything that you want to share, like from either lun Unilever, or your any, any of your past things that really helped prepare you for these deep dive challenges. Talk a little bit about, you know, through the 90s 2000s, you know, as you grew as a supply, supply chain leader, expert, what, like, what was that path? And then let’s get into the code what it looked like during code.


Anna McGovern  15:39

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Sure. Um, so, you know, I had, I had a professor when I was going for my MBA, old school guy, right, you know, long, long since retired. But he, he taught us leadership and ethics, right. And so when it came to leadership, right, he basically said, any business, it doesn’t matter what field you’re in, there are three things you need to worry about, okay, you need to worry about marketing, you need to worry about finance. And then you need to worry about operations, right.

So those are the key online marketing, you got to have a product, and you got to know how to sell that product finance, because you got to know what it costs, and how much money you’re gonna make an operations, they are the glue that holds it all together, right.

So like the concept of operations, we didn’t even call it supply chain back then. So it’s really in terms of preparation. One of the blessings of having worked for, you know, an A one company like a Unilever or Procter and Gamble, or like a Motorola or McDonald’s or Amazon. I mean, really, the modern day supply chain, you know, people might argue with me, right, but at least in terms of everyday products, right, that was created by Walmart and Procter and Gamble, all right.

And Procter and Gamble was like the competitor to Unilever. Yeah, still are. But that was really started back in those days. But like, the whole concept of supply chain dates back to the US military and logistics of World War Two. But you know, yeah, they’re, you know, many of us who are old enough to know about like Kmart and Sears and Bradley’s and Kaldor and all these mass merchandisers that are no longer around, right.

And that’s because Walmart and Procter paired up. And they started something in the late 80s, early 90s, called everyday low pricing. And it was basically to do away with that bullwhip effect, you know, of supply and demand, we’re just going to create stable demand, you’re going to come in, you’re going to buy products, everyday low price, and we’re going to plan demand, and then we’re going to plan supply in a way you go. So the whole concept of how do you stabilize demand so that your supply matches?

It’s the old economics, right of, you know, supply and demand? And how do you balance them out and inventory optimization and Right place, right time? lowest cost option? And how do you maximize, you know, production efficiencies, and that sort of thing? And, and really, when you start to think about, like the 90s, and what was happening, you know, Clinton was President, it was like, such a major time of peace post the Iron Curtain falling, and everything was stable, and it was tremendous prosperity and the boom, and oil was at $20 a barrel. Yeah. Right.

And so you begin to design supply chains that are you know, why would you have like four factories throughout the country or multiple sourcing points throughout North America or the region when, you know, because oil is so cheap, you can have mega factory, like in some kind of suburb outside of Chicago or outside St. Louis. And you know, and then you can like ship to all the nodes of the country because it’s a barrel, right? Well, that was the model okay.

And then the model came along you know, we can even do it cheaper if we start offshoring All right, we can go to Mexico so now you got the whole NAFTA thing driving the you know, remember Ross Perot and the big sucking sound down to Mexico you got low labor, low manufacturing base slow you know, low costs. That was the first thing and then we’re ship everything over to India. You know, start putting service centers in Bangalore start making things in China, right? And then you have that low cost supply chain. And really that model stuck around. For the next couple of decades, it was all about low cost supply chains. Right.

So it was all about globalization. We’re going to design once, and we’re going to deploy everywhere. It’s the McDonald’s approach. Right? It’s the Nike approach. It’s the Coca Cola approach. It’s the same everywhere in the world minor tweaks for you know, local regulations and that sort of thing. But that was the model design once deploy everywhere. And source in China or India, or low cost countries. And then, you know, and then there’s always going to be black swan events, right? There’s going to be natural disasters and this and that, no one ever thought of the biggest Black Swan event. Yeah. All right. So COVID changed everything.

Right. And that was nothing ever impacted the globe that way. And suddenly, you realize that even the most mature supply chains had fissures all over the place, there were chinks in the armor everywhere. And what had happened is we were so low cost, that we just didn’t have the elasticity. Or the cushion. Yeah, be able to absorb the major shocks. That was COVID. Right, this major supply disruption, we couldn’t react, right. So I’ve been in supply chain for, you know, 33 years, right?

And I’m only 29. But you know, is like, definitely, but So honestly, we’ve been trying to solve the forecasting issue. My entire career, we’re never gonna get forecasting, right. Um, and, you know, the beauty of a plan is not the plan, because the plan is not exact. Right. So the beauty of a plan is our ability to react to a plan. So it became about, you know, how do you respond to the risk of the disruption? Right? And then how do you recover from that disruption as quickly as? And the way to be able to do these things is to build that agility into your supply chain?

And what are the ways to do that? Right. So, you know, the old school of thinking is that you always have to invest in inventory, inventory covers all kinds of egregious sin. Yeah, that’s not always the right thing, because you’re never going to have the right stuff in inventory. Right. And then it’s funny, because during COVID, I got all kinds of family and friends who have like, no idea what I do, really. I’d say to me, you know, I ordered a refrigerator, and it’s been eight months, and I still haven’t gotten my refrigerator. Why? Like what I know, from refrigerators, right?

I mean, it’s like really funny, that I was getting those kinds of questions, and I would try to explain, you know, the various nodes of the network. But it was really, that kind of disruption that started to prioritize low cost, versus high resilience, right, and the cost of being off shelf, not having a product to sell, you know, unless you’re Apple, you know, that has like significant brand loyalty. You know, like, if you’re buying an everyday consumer product, right? If you’re buying used by tide, and suddenly tide out on the shelf, but you’re gonna go and you’re gonna buy, you know, you’re gonna buy all or you’re gonna buy your books, or whatever it is.

And there’s no loyalty, like the switching costs are so low for consumers, right? Yeah, they’re just gonna find what’s on shelf. And guess what, they may discover that buying all is a lot cheaper than buying tide. And they’ll, if they picked up tide, and they realize jeez, it cleans just as well. Like, you know, 40% less cost. I’m just gonna keep buying. So at that point, what is that opportunity cost on the top line perspective to Procter and Gamble because they just lost that tight sale, and they lost a loyal consumer to a lower cost product.

And if you remember during COVID You always found tide, you always found bounty paper towels, you always found Charmin for the most part, for the most part, like the toilet paper crisis. You always could find Charmin which was like double the cost of everything else but it was on shelf. Right? Because those are mature supply chains. They are the best Some of the best, and they understand that connectivity of top line to bottom line, everybody thinks supply chain is about bottom line cost, right? reduce your costs so you can maximize your profit.

Nobody ever equates it to driving the top line. Right. So I think that’s the biggest lesson that we learned in COVID. And you know, where I’m getting, you know, my opportunities now, now that I’m an independent, and I don’t like to say I’m a consultant, I am an independent supply chain practitioner, who has the hands on experience, who can fill the void because what’s happened? The other thing is, you’ve got the talent gap. So all of this stuff, leadership, yeah, supply chain, you know, talent management, it’s all interconnected, right? So people are leaving the workforce in droves, and they still continue to lots of baby boomers have retired.

And so we believe it or not, whether you’re a small company, whether you’re a large company, a mature business, an immature business, whether you’re a startup, I am shocked by the low level of maturity, or unpreparedness, you know, business unpreparedness in many of these companies, and so, we haven’t systemized things, so we rely on a lot of tribal knowledge. Okay, so you know, Anna has been practicing and doing this for us for the last 25 years. We don’t have to worry well, now aniseh to retire. Right? And, all that knowledge goes out the door with me.

So how do you systemize what’s in my head, and that’s the trick for Supply Chain Leaders, but leadership of any kind, whether you’re a marketing leader, a sales leader, a finance leader, HR is going to become the new seat at the table, right? I mean, we do have them at the table. But you know, before it’s like, oh, well, supply chain is now sitting at the table procurement is now sitting at the table, the next round of CEOs is going to come out of the HR function. Because at the end of the day, no matter what we make, it’s about people. Right? It’s about people take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business. So I’ll stop to see if you have any questions for


Damon Pistulka  27:36

  1. Don’t think we just need to take a moment of silence.


Curt Anderson  27:43

We need to Okay, let’s that was it. I think Matt goosey had, you know, he jumped the line. So hey, happy Friday to everybody out there. I think who got


Damon Pistulka  27:54

Yeah, we got Katie we got an Matt. Yeah, Matt, give me a bad time. Yes. The Seahawks are gonna have a tough year this year. Much tougher than the Green Bay Packers. I will give you that right now. David. Hey, David, how you doing today?


Curt Anderson  28:08

Oh, this is this was just a massive this was just activating just absolutely phenomenal. And I would I’m gonna digress possibly here. It’s a 911 anniversary coming up on Sunday, guys. 21 years ago already. You know, 2008 was, you know, so we had a tragedy of 911. We’ve had 2008. So totally dumb, ignorant question on my part. Any of these, like you talked about, like, you know, the night and I love history. And I was a logistics major in college 100 years ago. So I love where you’re going here. And you know, Sam Walton, how he just completely disrupted dance. I love how you took us from the 90s 2000s up to COVID.

We’re in you talked about located like everything is great when everything’s as planned on a script, but then all sudden, something happens. Were there any? So I’m going to kind of unpackaging a question here. Were there any rumblings from 911? Was there anything from 2008? With the market, you know, collapsing, what have you were there were like, Hey, we do have kinks in the armor. We do have some challenges, that there were red flags coming up to what we saw in 2020, or anything that you want to share there from 2001 2008 Up until COVID Anything? Does that make sense?


Anna McGovern  29:23

Yeah, I mean, look, there’s always going to be these kinds of disruptions. You know, 2008 2011 just took away our innocence. Right? And, you know, there was a country in mourning, and I just remember I was literally getting ready to fly that morning. Jefferson City, Missouri. And you know, suddenly I’m not going anywhere. Because every airport just shut down. But we literally I think about that time. We were allowed to mourn like nobody worked right? We showed up work but nobody worked. We had about a week where no one did anything, we just kind of like or lethargic. We’re sitting at the coffee bars watching TV


Curt Anderson  30:08

or zombies, right? Yeah, it was not. And we


Anna McGovern  30:11

had a give, we had a grace the people, and the country just sort of stopped. But then the, you know, the American and us kicked back in and we’re like, Okay, we got to get back to it. Otherwise, we’ll have been defeated. 2008, the financial meltdown, and the drying up of capital. And it’s all business, right? So it’s all connected, suddenly, you know, there’s no money, there’s no money to borrow. So there’s no money to invest in infrastructure and factories, and projects. You had massive layoffs. It wasn’t it didn’t just impact the finance industry, and impacted everybody because suddenly no one wants to invest. Everyone wants to hold on to their capital.

Because we just don’t know it was such a meltdown. That it was complete gridlock. Right. And nobody, everybody wants to hoard their cash. Right? Nobody wants to invest in business. Yeah. So that’s a major disruption. And that was very global. But it was short lived. Right? And think about the supply chain, right? I remember, like, I don’t even know what it is anymore. But like, I remember, there was a statistic, and this is going back, maybe 20 years. But like for think about the auto industry, right?

And you know, GM and Chrysler going bankrupt, and we bailed that, you know, the government, you’re too big to fail to remember that? Yeah. 2018, I think there’s something like one out of six jobs in our economy is directly tied to the auto industry. Right? So. So this is why you know, this concept of too big to fail, you got to bail out these guys. Because otherwise, you’re going to completely collapse your economy. Right? I think it’s probably even like more, you know, more dependent. Right. So it’s, again, think about it, it’s the extended network of the supply chain.

So 911 I wouldn’t say and I can’t believe it’s like, 2021 years, but yeah, I wouldn’t say that was a long term issue. Okay. And certainly 12 2008 was a bigger issue, because that was also global. But then you had this epidemic, or, and, you know, pandemic, that just would not it does not go away. And it has fundamentally shifted everything in the way that the way we go to work, the way we dress for work, the way we live our values, we’re just going to leave the workforce entirely. And trying to figure out what is the true fallout from that?

Write that what is the true fallout? I think, you know, supply chain business did as digitization, I can’t stick when I misspell it Miss State words. But you know, people throw that around, and it’s very loose, right? Digital is a tool, right? At the end of the day. It’s not a panacea. You can throw like, you know, you can put me in a boat right now. And it’s gonna, like get me, you know, across the sound faster than trying to go around, you know, an island go away. Oh, this is good. But I don’t know how to drive a boat.

Right? I don’t know. So yeah, that might be a way for me to get from point A to point B without having to go all the way around. But if I don’t know how to drive a boat, it does mean no good. So unless you are focusing on people in process, okay, technology is useless, right? And so many people want to solve technology issues, when they have people in process issues, or they want to throw technology at it. And you need to invest and take the time. One, I mean, you’ve never seen where three women can deliver a baby at three months. Right? I mean, it’s just never happened, right?

You got to take the time. And it’s got to be one woman at a time taking the baby full term. So you gotta do this. And digital is very important because it gives you the ability to process large amounts of data in real time very, very quickly. And that is the unlock to the new supply chain. Right. That is the unlock it really is about the network nodes. You know, you can’t toss it over the wall. It’s got to be an inter connected network, right? It’s sort of like the whole blockchain and the whole, you know, crypto and all of the nodes that you say I don’t know much about, it’s all stop right there with that, but it’s got to be an ability to read where it is.

So you got to have like this control tower view, like, think of an airline control tower. And now we’ve got supply chain control towers. And it is in real time able to show you where things are going to be right, it’s gonna, you know, where is my inventory, it’s on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic. And we think it’s gonna get here in three days. And maybe it’ll give me time to figure out how many porters I need, you know, once it arrives at the dock, how many Porter’s Can I plan for, you know, what do I need to do, but it is about collaborative partnerships.

And then it brings me back to it’s not about people. It’s not about systems. It’s all about people and relationships and that connectivity. So the tighter we can collaborate with our customers and our suppliers, the more resilient our supply chain is going to be, you can’t do it without them. And that’s what I try to teach, right? That is my evangelism is it’s all about interconnected collaborative relationships. And that’s what’s going to take the waste out of the supply chain. And that’s what’s going to drive the value


Damon Pistulka  36:30

just have to sit back for a minute and think about that one again.


Curt Anderson  36:33

It’s all about the relationship. So Anna, what we’d so you know, since it’s lunchtime, what we do is like, you know, when you’re just like, just dropping when you’re providing a masterclass, and we’re just, we’d like we just like to savor and just enjoy, just relish and cherish what you’ve just shared with us. So and maybe you’ve kind of answered this any, any new opportunities, kind of, you know, your boots in the street, you’re out there, working with code side by side, any new opportunities, trends, things, you know, and as you just said, All About those relationships, any other new opportunities that you’re seeing for folks?


Anna McGovern  37:05

Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting, because during COVID, it was really all about, you know, supply chain, or rather procurement, it’s finally the bride. Okay. So, you know, procurement is no longer the bridesmaid, it’s the bride. They were sitting at the table, right? And it’s like, people were beat up. So it’s like, how do I work with my suppliers? How do I squeeze my suppliers? Or how do I enable my suppliers? How do I become a supplier or a customer of choice? Because it’s not about squeezing, it’s not about I’m going to beat you up for the best price because guess what suppliers all of a sudden had all the power. And they were firing customers.

So it really became How do I become a customer of choice. And of course, it was about inflation containment. Right, costs are skyrocketing. You know, demand was far outstripping supply. So now I’ve got the ability to generate price. customers and companies were passing price on to their customer base, and it was hitting all of us on the consumer level. And now it’s kind of like, well, that was reactive.

And now what I’m seeing is people are starting to realize the importance of planning, right, the importance of supply chain planning and management. And it’s funny, because most of the queries that I’m getting now are from, you know, small companies, medium sized companies, large companies. It doesn’t matter. It’s not discriminating. It’s every size, every industry. It’s really funny because like my wheelhouse is consumer packaged goods, it’s food and beverage, its beauty. That is my wheelhouse. I’m now in like oil and gas and I’m in agricultural equipment and I’m in like, you know, you know, heavy earthmoving equipment and all these industries I don’t know much about.

But people are inquiring because they’re like, We need to look at our, our planning processes, we need to look at a sales and operations planning, we need to assess how to effectively manage our production. We’ve got way too many gyrations. We’ve got way too many fluctuations in demand. And I’m sitting on a ton of inventory when you’re in an inflationary period. And cash is tight. Cash is king. And everyone wants to figure out how to you know how to generate better cash flow. margins have been terribly squeezed, right? Sales are not as robust as we think.

Right. And so All people want to reduce their costs, and they’re trying to figure out how and suddenly they realize I need to look at my planning, because I am inefficient. And suddenly inventory management and optimization. And how do I release cash from inventory? And how do I have the right inventory levels? And how do I look at what we call multi Echelon inventory. So in other words, if you’re building cars, you don’t want to carry, you know, a bunch of, you know, Honda’s, you don’t want to carry a bunch of, you know, Honda Accords, in inventory, you want to look at the various stages of raus.

And, you know, like, the parts, and where is the lowest, you know, the lowest cost opportunity to carry inventory, because you want to carry as low and inventory level as possible. But at the same time, you want to be able to react, right? You want to be able to react, so if I need like to make a bunch of blue Accords, the touring version, I don’t know, I’m making it up. You know, you’ve got like a big spike in demand, you know, where is it best that you can react.

And then the other thing is, we never like to talk about this, but not all customers are created equal. Right? People really need to do that big time analysis, you know, you’re not going to treat mom and pop, you know, dealership, you know, the way you would a car Max, I’m, I’m making it up. Because I’m on that auto industry, you really have to have the right segmentation of your supply base. And you need to work your way back, right, you need to work your way backwards. So it’s like, what are your top customers, right, you need to look at a revenue model. And you need to look at what drives the majority.

So if you do the 8020 rule, you know, what is driving 80% of your revenue? And then you need to map that out if you are a discrete manufacturer. So if you’re a manufacturer of goods and services are rather good, then you need to map out that product line to make sure you are protecting that revenue base. If you offer services. Do you have the right talent? Do you have the bench strength? How are you recruiting? And how are you attracting? Retaining, you know, and training your talent? Right. So that’s all tied into it. But that’s kind of how you have to look at that interconnected supply chain.


Damon Pistulka  42:35

Yep. Well, and again, we should just take


Curt Anderson  42:43

me man, I like I have, I’m just taking notes here, you know, yeah. I love that accolade. recap on a couple of things. You know, we’ve talked about heavy communication aligning with your vendors, your partners, you know, the 8020 rule not treating offers the same. I just like fantastic tips. You know, and as you’re talking about, you know, we’ve talked before, when you and I talked previously, you know, Dave and I, we work with a lot of small manufacturers, maybe 3040 50 employees, and obviously noted folks have been hit really hard.

Yes. Well, they don’t have the team, they don’t have the bandwidth, they don’t have the man or woman power to like, you know, maybe, you know, maybe flow or, you know, put the resources in that. Yeah, publicly traded companies do. What are you seeing with like, small manufacturers or any advice strategies for the smaller folks out there that are like, man, and I’m just I’m really struggling out here. What? Any advice for those folks?


Anna McGovern  43:37

Yeah, you know, what, every state has a manufacturing enterprise partner that’s aligned with the Department of Commerce, right. So I’ve had the honor of just sitting on the board of the Connecticut MEP called con stuff. And every state has this version. Right. So this is a joint investment opportunity. And small and medium sized manufacturers have the ability to tap into these resources. Right, so well, I’ll just use Miami pee, right.

So con step in the state of Connecticut is funded, you know, 50% by the Department of Labor, the rest of it comes from funding from the state and from, you know, fees that are collected from the clients, right, and these clients are typically small and medium sized manufacturers who need that resource. And these companies have the skill base, right? They’ve got the consulting, you know, resources that you can tap into to help you solve some of these issues. Right, they can connect to and I think it’s really important and that’s, that’s what a lot of, you know, state governments have been doing in the last couple of years. resist, how do we equip, right?

So you had the Cares Act, you had the American rescue Act, and the federal government has made significant investments into trying to prop up, you know, all our manufacturers, right. So even things like, you know, we’ve got family owned businesses that have been around 4050 years, you know, suddenly mom and dad want to retire and Jr. Doesn’t want to take over the business. Right? And what happens in that situation? Right. And Damon, this is where you come in, you know, when Jr doesn’t want the business that mom and dad put their whole life into. And yet they employ 75 people, and therefore they’ve got responsibility for 75 families out there.

What do you do with a business like that you can’t let it you can’t let it shut down. So you’ve got people like Damon, right, you got these resources in the MEPs, that exists that help you to find caretakers or people who can acquire these businesses, but you know, and they help you to reduce your costs or to maximize your revenue, or to streamline your operation. And, and I think it’s really important to join up with your local chambers and your local resources, and your nonprofits, you know, that are out there to help businesses remain solid and strong.

And I can tell you in the state of Connecticut, two things are top of mind supply chain and talent. Right. And I mentioned that would go for many of the 50s. Right? Um, how do I create low cost supply chains? How do I create that material availability? How do I create, you know, opportunities where I’m not disrupted? And how do I attract the right talent in the state of Connecticut, I’ve got 110,000 open jobs, and 77,000 candidates to fill them. So anybody wants to move? You’ve got opportunities. So I mean, but that’s what these MEPs are here to do. And I’m really honored to be a part of, you know, being on a board to drive some of this agenda.


Curt Anderson  47:18

Absolutely. And what an absolutely, as you just said, what an honor, what a privilege. And again, you know, as we kicked off the program, you know, no surprise whatsoever with your leadership, your expertise, your passion, that concept would reach out. And again, folks, if you’re out there, whatever state you’re in, as Anna just described, the manufacturing extension partnerships MEPs.

There’s one in all 50 states incredible, wonderful resource, Damon, we interview, folks, we matter of fact, I think I think we have three, three MEPs are on the program this month coming up. New Jersey, Alaska and Kansas. So we’re all over. Yeah. And I’m actually I have the honor privilege. I’m going to be annual MVP conference in Chicago. Yeah. And so we’re gonna have a good time hanging out with folks at the me at the manufacturing extension partnership.

So and we could chat with you keep you all day, I know that you are super busy. Find your cape supply as a supply chain evangelists. And super Yeah, so let’s wind down, you know, you do a lot of work, volunteering your community, I know you do a lot of other board work, you just mentioned that you are now on the board of concept. Can you just share, you know, what’s going on in your community? And what’s going on with? Like, how do you find time, like you’re doing all these other great all this other great work? How do you find time to be involved with your community and your volunteering work? Well,


Anna McGovern  48:37

you know, it’s really interesting. The more I give, the more I seem to get back, I can’t turn it around. Look, it’s really important. First of all, you know, like I said, the more I give, the more I seem to get, so it’s always me, it’s a lopsided scenario, right. I think it’s important to give back to your community. And, and so I tried to do it and the way I’ve joined up the community, and my volunteer efforts have to do with either my values or supporting our kids.

So I was like, on the Youth Orchestra when my son was, you know, in the youth orchestra, and he made it to a national level one of two kids from the state, you know, when my kids were playing Little League, and you know, then my older son, you know, became captain of the baseball team, eventually, you know, through high school, and then, you know, in my church, you know, I get sucked in, and I just don’t know how to say no, you know, so I, you know, you know, ran religious education ran, you know, the parish council, that kind of stuff.

So, I do it and I try to balance and what every once in a while, I’ve got to prioritize. So, you know, little by little, you know, I let something go something else comes on and you know, it’s all about balance, but you’ve got to give back. It’s got to be part of the agenda. That’s the way I look at it.


Curt Anderson  50:03

Well, that is so amazing. You’re such an inspiration and guide and how can I well, I want to give one shout out you both your kids are at UConn I believe right so yeah Huskies


Anna McGovern  50:13

Go Huskies.


Curt Anderson  50:15

Oh, Huskies so basketball, they’re proud, good basketball, a decent football. So actually, I met the football coach last year at UConn. Great guy. He’s not there anymore. But so as we wind down, I just want to give a shout out. Thank you. How can everybody? Obviously anybody catching you here on LinkedIn? If they’re catching you live? Or I’m sorry, replay later on maybe on YouTube? How can folks connect with you? And how can they find you to help them with supply chain challenges? Yes.


Anna McGovern  50:41

So certainly reach out via LinkedIn, or you know, Instagram or Twitter, I’m on all of it. pondview, you can go to my website, you can, you know, go to my LinkedIn business page pondview Best way is really through LinkedIn, or through my website, I would say look forward to hearing from whoever wants to discuss supply chain.


Curt Anderson  51:10

Awesome. All right. So I want to give a shout out huge thank you to everybody that’s joined us today, we deeply appreciate you more than you know, we boy, this is just such a privilege for demonized to hang out here every Friday. And just to learn and listen and just relish and just absorb all this brilliance that you shared with us. Anna, thank you, thank you, God bless you for what you do for your community.

Thank you for what you do for supply chain, you are all over the place on LinkedIn, you’re just uh, your enthusiasm is just so contagious. Your positivity is just love every single bit of a thank you for taking your time to hang out with Damon night today. It’s such a privilege. And everybody you know what, on Sunday at 843 4546, I think was a 903. Let’s give a little moment of silence for 911 can’t believe it’s been 21 years. But thank you to everybody for what you guys do. Damon, why don’t you take us away? Take us out.


Damon Pistulka  52:14

Wow, this was awesome. today. I’m gonna tell you, I would say as Kurt was saying, I was taking notes today. Listen to Anna speak about maximizing opportunities with the supply chain. You know, I go back to a few things real quickly before we wrap up, go back and listen to this because she talked about a couple things that are key, you’re missing out on top line opportunity when you’re when your supply chain isn’t working right. That just hit me hard. There was a couple things in there. And then another thing Anna talked about several times in here was people and process. Make sure you systematize your processes first.

Then make sure your people understand then look at the technology to support those processes and work through them like she was saying in there. But it’s just some great stuff just Thanks so much everyone for being here today. Go back and listen to this stuff. Listen to Anna talk, reach out to her and ask her some supply chain questions. But thanks everyone for being here today. We’ll be back again next week with another manufacturing ecommerce success, having fun and talking about some manufacturing ecommerce success topics. Talk to you later. Bye, everyone. Thank you

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