Scott: Nice. Nice. Randy says, “Data pulled from disparate systems needs collaboration across functional stakeholders to ensure interpretation (the story) is correct and business users can improve decision and take action.” That’s a great comment.
Greg: What a great segue.
Scott: Yes, Greg, we’re tracking together my friend, because what we want to talk about is that cross-functional collaboration, which is so critical across business, especially supply chain, right here in the information age. Katlyn, given your journey and given what you’ve shared, you could probably be pretty uniquely positioned to address this critical component. Any thoughts on your end?
Katlyn: Yeah, I think something that Valvoline does really well, and I can’t attest to how other companies do this, but it’s like I said before, supply chain wasn’t something that we did in the background and I didn’t have communication.
I’ve met with the Directors every week for each of my accounts and just been really actively involved with the account and with every part of it – with the marketing side, with the supply chain, the customer service, the sales guys. I think it’s huge being able to have all those cross-functional teams because every analyst has a little bit different information or is at least in a certain specific niche part of the data a little bit more. I think having those connections, and I’ve really learned that with my new role being an operations and sales analyst now, there’s things now that I wish I would have trusted people on or I wish I would have reached out more when I was a supply chain analyst because the operations guy, they could have helped me a ton. But I think I didn’t really know that.
One thing that Valvoline is really great about is having those cross-functional teams meet on a very frequent cadence to say, “I have some data that you might not have or that you might not look at as frequently, so let me pull that in and we can all use this to make supply chain better, logistics operations, even marketing.” I feel like that’s something you would never think – a marketing analyst would go with the supply chain analyst. But we worked, and I think Logan can attest to this – Jordan and I worked together every day just to make sure that we had the right data set together.
Scott: Logan, I want you to weigh in here as well, but one of the cool things that I’m hearing here and I think somebody referenced earlier in the comments is, it can be a headache at times right now, in years like 2020 (I’m not supposed to mentioned that year, sorry Greg) or 2021, to be leading or be a supply chain practitioner, right? It can be a labor of love sometimes. Ton of headaches and surprises, much like the Suez canal – who predicted that two weeks ago?
But these changes, these transformations, these continuous improvement projects, where you’re changing the game but also equally as important, you’re making jobs easier for these folks that have a very complex and pressure-filled position, I love hearing that. Logan, weigh in on this cross-functional aspect.
Logan: Katlyn, you’re right, I think Valvoline does quite well at this. We find that organizations are on a spectrum. If you’re further on one side of the spectrum, maybe it’s your S&OP process is once-a-month duel between sales and supply chain and that’s when I have to talk to them, all the way to, I’m collaborating daily with my supply chain or my sales partner. I think that is so critical because different stakeholders have different pieces of context, and you may have decision makers that sit in different parts of the organization.
When a crisis comes up – a massive order comes in and you don’t know what to do – if you can collaborate and say, supply chain says, “I can’t fill this order” and sales said, “Let me see if I can get the must arrive date moved back so that we can avoid that OTIF fine,” that’s where the magic starts to happen. It’s being transparent and open and collaborating.
I think one of the reasons that’s particularly tough in organizations is supply chains, marketing, sales, all have a very different source of truth and a very different language. Supply chain, you’re looking at your own internal inventory, units of measure, and KPIs and metrics, and your sales teams may own your point-of-sale data and your retail relationships. It becomes hard just because you’re speaking different languages to come together.
Alloy plays a layer to try and break down those barriers, break down those silos. But then also organizations that recognize, “Hey, we got to work more closely together and collaborate collectively on problems that span our organizations.” Because rarely do we see big issues or opportunities sit just in one piece of your organization. You’re gonna need buy-in, support, influence, decisions from other organizations and being able to facilitate that is, we find, super critical.
Scott: Excellent point. Two quick takeaways there. First off, Logan, you make me feel at ease because I talk with my hands too, so I love that, Logan. Secondly, these days if you’re operating in silos, unlike this integrated manner that Logan’s speaking to, you’re inviting disaster and you’re inviting Murphy’s Law into your global supply chains. You got to work in conjunction, in alignment – we talked a lot about on the front end, so love that. If you don’t, your container ship runs aground in a canal.
Folks, that is fascinating, if you’ve seen some of the imagery from the Suez canal and what they’re trying to do, it is absolutely fascinating. Just the scale, the scale is fascinating.
Alright, Greg, before we make sure folks know how to connect, there’s a lot of comments here. I’m hoping we can connect them after the show with Katlyn and Logan. But give us that proverbial one key takeaway or a couple key takeaways from what we’ve heard today here, Greg.
Greg: This makes me think of an episode I did some while ago, and I think we can drop it in the comments, but it is how to conduct a digital transformation. This is not dissimilar. This is any sort of transformation that you do. I think there are a few things you have to think about.
Number zero is that technology is not the solution to your problem. It is the powerful hammer you put into your people’s hands. I think that’s a really critical aspect of it.
The other is, and I think Valvoline has done this an order of magnitude higher than most companies do, and that’s to recognize that supply chain is your main customer experience driver and vice versa. No product, no program. There’s only one thing that your customer wants when they have their experience with you, and that is the product that you have promised them. That, among other things, you’ve got to solve a user pain, something that the users care about. You can’t solve a strategic ivory tower pain if it doesn’t also solve a user pain because where ROI is delivered is on the desktop.
I think both of you, Logan and Katlyn, talked about, you have to teach people to fish. Don’t give them a fish. Teach them to fish and you get real buy-in. Katlyn, you enunciated this really clearly, you get real buy-in from the people, because everybody talks about buy-in during these things, when you demonstrate wins. Demonstrate wins, for your people who have a real problem, you will get buy-in.
Last, and this is not as fun to talk about, but I think it’s something we alluded to and it would be imprudent for Logan to identify this, but the truth is, you have to expect attrition. There will always be that one person who chooses to retire rather than reform. That’s not a bad thing, but you even have to nurture those people. I’ve experienced it. You really have to nurture those people as well and try to bring them along. Some of them just realize they’re just at that point in their career when they don’t want to learn one more thing. They buy an RV and they’re out, and you replace them with somebody like Katlyn, and everyone is better off.
Scott: Love it. I wish I could share my screen here. The Alloy team has been live tweeting along with Supply Chain Now here today, and they’ve picked up on one thing that Greg just shared. “Supply chain is your main customer experience driver” and Michael Scott giving you a little tip of the cup because that’s such a great and powerful point. We talk a lot about how CX is becoming as synonymous as UX or employee experience or you name it. So a lot of good stuff here today. These kinds of conversations energize us here and this is why supply chain is such a cool place to be despite the challenge in years like what we’re living in.
We’re kind of running out of time here. I wanna make sure folks know how to connect with you both. Katlyn, start with you. Not only all the supply chain nourishment you dropped on the community, but your first book is getting released next month. How can folks connect with you?
Katlyn: I’m on LinkedIn, Katlyn A. Davis, and of course, if it says Valvoline, that’s me. So I’m on LinkedIn, you can find me there. Also my website for the book is KatlynADavis.com. The book will be available on Barnes & Noble’s website, Amazon.com, Booktopia wherever you get your books. I’m excited. I think you can preorder it now if you wanted to. If you wanted to go on Amazon, you can also preorder it now as well.
Scott: Awesome, and hey support your local bookstore. Love it. I love when books put the authors on the front cover because you connect with them on a human level.
Katlyn: I was hesitant about it, but the man who wrote the forward of the book said that it was, he described as “a personal thesis.” So I said, I think I should put myself on it then if it’s in reference to a personal thesis.
Scott: I love it. Well support all those, but also support your local bookstores. I bet it’s going to be everywhere. Lots of good stuff there.
Before we ask Logan, I wanna drop, “Greg is PREACHING AGAIN” He sure is.
Quentin says, “first users are always the people we have to satisfy.”
Peter says, “Supply Chain has always been a challenge, 2020 simply elevated it to the C suite.”
Katlyn: That’s very true.
Scott: And Gary, you must be reading from our run of show here because Katlyn just shared that. It’s gonna be everywhere. It’s taking over the world. Fierce.
Katlyn: I hope so.
Scott: Logan, really have enjoyed our conversations, and Greg, I think it’s important to point out, the Logan you see here is the same Logan you see between the shows. He is just an incredible resource and a great individual to collaborate with. So Logan, how can folks connect with you and the Alloy team?
Logan: LinkedIn is going to be the best way, Logan Ensign. I’m active there, so feel free to connect with me. Alloy.ai has some great resources to get more acquainted with the platform. On that website, you can find different ways of getting in touch with folks at Alloy if you want to learn any more about what it is we do and our offering.
Scott: Awesome. One last thing, I’m not sure if we dropped it in the notes as well, but for continuation of the story you’ve heard here between Valvoline and Alloy, there’s that great webinar which is available on demand, which features one of Katlyn’s colleagues, Eric Rossi.
They’ve got that available. I think we can maybe find the link, drop it in. Y’all should check that out. Lots of very frank information, Eric tells it like it is and there’s not enough of that in global business.
Katlyn: He does.
Scott: Okay, Katlyn Davis with Valvoline, Logan Ensign with Alloy, really it’s been a pleasure to share your story with everyone here in our community. Loved the interactions. I love the comments. We’ve got plenty of t-shirt-isms from you both, and we got plenty from the audience and the community as well. We look forward to reconnecting really soon, and thanks for joining us here today.
Katlyn: Thank you all so much. This is awesome. I hope you guys have a great rest of your day and I can’t wait to go back and listen to some of these other webinars that you guys have had.
Scott: We’re looking forward to it. Thanks so much, Katlyn and Logan.
Greg: Thanks for joining us.
Logan: Thank you.
Scott: Man, those kind of conversations, I wish we had a couple extra hours we could bolt on because there’s so many different… I’m sure we’re scratching the surface in a big relationship like that, right?
Greg: Yeah, we are, I’m certain of it. You can tell that they work really closely together. And man, what a couple of powerhouses. I mean, it was really interesting.
You know, that is an industry that I came from – both sides. I was on supply chain, planning and allocation and forecasting, replenishment, all of those things, on both sides – as a service provider and as a practitioner, and as it happens in the automotive industry. My passion, insanity may have come through a little bit there.
Scott: I love it.
Greg: Powerful. It’s good to see. Honestly, the thing that really enthused me is, I can see that they are carrying the torch forward, that which we tried to instill in the industry over the many years that I was still in industry. They are clearly carrying that forward and that bodes well.
Scott: Agreed. Such a neat conversation to be part of, so much there. Not only is the story great, but Logan and Katlyn, to your point, Greg, The relationship that’s there, it makes it even more interesting to dive deeper into. Folks, hopefully y’all have enjoyed today’s livestream as much as Greg and I have. I think all of our supply chain nerdiness was on full display, but this is why we do this. As Simon said, yes, “that was a doozy.” It really was. I appreciate the comments we’ve gotten in.