6 episodes

The latest and greatest in Supply Chain and Retail

Supply Chain Scoop Priyanka Asera on Supply Chain and Omni Channel Retail

    • Business

The latest and greatest in Supply Chain and Retail

    Supply chain veteran Ben Cook on moving iPhones to moving cannabis

    Supply chain veteran Ben Cook on moving iPhones to moving cannabis

    I’m in conversation with Ben Cook – COO of MedMen – the largest cannabis company in the US. But let me back up a little bit here and address the legend that is, Ben Cook! I started working in supply chain in 2016 when I first started following Ben – at the time he was the Director of Supply Chain & Logistics at Apple and was working on building the supply chain for iPhones and iPads. The following year, I noticed he went on to lead the supply chain at Target and the year after that at Walmart. Cut to the present date, and Ben has basically transitioned from moving iPhones to moving weed! I mean …. How “dope” is that?!

    I have so many questions for Ben, not least of which is how and why did he even decide to make such a big career move? And then of course a lot of other questions about the cannabis industry itself and its supply chain challenges – something I know very little about. What’s also extremely interesting is that MedMen is often called the “Apple store of weed” because of its look and experience. So I’m going to be asking Ben how his former Apple experience helps him in his current role.


    A quick brief of cannabis rules and regulations – how many states is it legal in – medical vs recreational?
    From established companies like Apple, Target, and Walmart… to now MedMen! What made you make the jump?
    Cannabis is an interesting one in that it has a long shelf life just like medicines and is very regulated just like pharma. Yet, it is produced and grown in smaller units like groceries and not in mega factories like in the case of pharmaceuticals. So where exactly is it positioned and what “industry” does it fall closest to in terms of how the operations and supply chain is set up?
    Can you describe the MedMen operational set up and distribution nodes? What are the biggest challenges in your supply chain?
    MedMen stores are touted to be the Apple stores of weed. Was it a conscious decision to decision the stores as such, and why? What effect does this have on your brand? How does your Apple background help?
    Since cannabis is not legal in all states in the US, how does this impact your inter-state logistics? Or do you always have to end up producing right in the state it is expected to be consumed?
    Unlike most other retail products that are openly marketed through various channels, cannabis doesn’t have that luxury (yet). How do you market MedMen/how is the demand growing so quickly?
    Paint me a picture. It’s 2028… what is MedMen up to and what does the cannabis industry look like?

    • 28 min
    FreightWaves CEO on future of freight – Blockchain, digital marketplaces & Futures trading

    FreightWaves CEO on future of freight – Blockchain, digital marketplaces & Futures trading

    Priyanka talks to Craig Fuller – Founder & CEO of FreightWaves, a platform that provides the most up-to-date information on the freight market. He’s also the founder of BiTA – which is the Blockchain in Transport Alliance – basically an association to help educate and advocate for the implementation of blockchain applications across the logistics industry.

    Craig’s also been involved in developing a futures market for the trucking industry – which surprisingly isn’t something that already exists! This is something that’s of particular interest to me because it could be a game-changer in what’s over a 1 trillion dollar industry! What’s REALLY interesting about Craig is that he has inherited his background, interest and love for trucking and logistics by his father – who owns US Express, the biggest privately-owned trucking company. Craig literally grew up in this industry around trucks and load-boards and has seen it evolve over the years to what it is today.

    1. What is the biggest, most under-rated development that’s unfolding in the logistics
    industry at the moment?
    2. What is the most over-rated trend reported today about the freight industry that’s
    unlikely to have any major impact?
    3. Why isn’t there already an existing futures market for the trucking industry? And what
    will it take for it to actually take off? What effect would this have on the business?
    4. Now that incumbents have started coming out with their own digital freight matching
    platforms, what does this mean for VC-backed tech start-ups?
    5. Is there really a driver shortage?
    6. What is the role that blockchain is currently playing in logistics and how long will it be
    before it’s ubiquitous? What are the major roadblocks currently to its adoption?
    7. Paint me a picture… What does the freight industry look like 10 years from now?

    • 34 min
    Doug Stephens on Amazon’s blind side and the future of retail

    Doug Stephens on Amazon’s blind side and the future of retail

    In conversation with Doug Stephens, Founder and CEO of Retail Prophet, the consultancy Doug founded almost 10 years ago. Doug has spent over 25 years in the retail industry and is one of the world’s foremost retail industry futurists. Safe to say, retail is now completely different to what it used to be when Doug started out. In huge part thanks to eCommerce!

    His unique perspectives on retailing, business and consumer behavior have been featured in many of the world’s leading publications like the The New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg Business, TechCrunch, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.

    I am going to be talking to Doug about surprising developments in retail over the years, how the role of the stores is changing, which technologies are transforming supply chain, how a retailer can keep up with customer behaviour and how has the retail organizational set up changed over the years as a result of “omnichannel”.

    Questions Doug answered:

    What’s a development in the retail industry today which you absolutely could not have predicted 3 years ago?
    What’s a prediction that you made years ago which is now a reality?
    How is the role of the store going to change in the next 2-5 years?
    Which are the top 3 retailers according to you that are most agile and adaptable to the reality of today? And why?
    What are some of the most noticeable shifts in how functions and departments are set up within a retail company as a result of “omnichannel”?
    What can a retailer do to keep up with evolving customer behaviour and demands?
    What is the top technology that’s having a transformative effect on the supply chain function in retail?
    What’s your “prophecy” for the next decade of retail?

    • 31 min
    XPO chief Brad Jacobs on consolidation in the $2 trillion logistics industry

    XPO chief Brad Jacobs on consolidation in the $2 trillion logistics industry

    Brad was the biggest outsider in the logistics industry in 2011. And fast forward to now in 2018, he’s not only the biggest insider but has truly changed the face of the industry in just the past seven years he’s been in it!

    While most 3PLs and logistics companies are headed up by industry veterans who have lived and breathed logistics their entire lives, Brad casually walked in 7 years ago with past experiences in wildly unrelated spaces such as construction equipment, waste collection and oil trading, and went on to own the logistics industry like nobody’s business!

    A lot of XPOs success stems from a series of successful acquisitions – which is where Brad came with a wealth of background in! There’s a lot of exciting development in the logistics space – which is over a 1 trillion dollar industry.

    Questions Brad answered:

    An introduction to yourself
    What is the similarity between a construction equipment company, trash collection, oil trading and logistics? Why did you even decide in 2011 that this is now what you want do?
    If not logistics, what was your Plan B?
    What are the key things you look for while considering an acquisition?
    What sorts of companies are you now looking to acquire?
    Thoughts on autonomous trucks. How close are we to it being ubiquitous and commercially common? What impact will that have on the business?
    XPO’s vision towards automation in the warehouse and what does this mean for the role and extent of human labour in the warehouse?
    Your thoughts on the blockchain and its application in logistics?
    What drives you? What is your first thought when you wake up?

    • 23 min
    President of SEKO on collaboration, cultural differences, and upcoming trends in logistics

    President of SEKO on collaboration, cultural differences, and upcoming trends in logistics

    Today I’m in conversation with James Gagne, President & CEO of Seko Logistics. James brings with him 24 years of experience in the transportation and logistics industry, and has spent significant time in China heading up companies like Agility and DB Schenker. During this time, he’s also headed multiple M&As.

    “Consolidation” is something that is becoming increasingly common in the logistics industry in North America, so I’m sure that experience comes in very handy!

    SEKO has undergone tremendous growth over the years, and has also recently got in to a strategic collaboration with Hermes Logistics in Germany. I’m really excited to talk to James today about various topics such as the biggest challenges in logistics and freight forwarding, how do we bridge the talent gap in logistics, how do we solve for the truck driver shortages, what is the future of cross-border eCommerce and what kinds of innovative partnerships we need to forge going forward.


    Let’s start with an introduction to yourself and your role at SEKO.
    What are some of the biggest challenges in logistics and freight forwarding today? What keeps you up at night?
    With logistics going digital, there seems to be a big talent gap in the industry. How do we solve for that?
    You’ve spent a considerable part of your career in China – what would you say are the biggest differences between working in logistics in North America vs China?
    How do we solve for the truck driver shortages?
    SEKO has recently gotten into a strategic collaboration with Hermes in Germany – why, and what impact do you expect it to have?
    What’s the top most innovative idea/solution in your space you’ve heard of recently that you’re keen to explore?
    It seems that companies cannot work in isolation. Strategic partnerships are the way forward. What does an ideal partnership look like and what kind of players need to come together?

    • 43 min
    CTO of CaseStack on what Blockchain can do for logistics and supply chain

    CTO of CaseStack on what Blockchain can do for logistics and supply chain

    Guillermo is the Chief Technology Officer of CaseStack. He has been at CaseStack for over 17 years and in technology for over 20 years.
    I talked to Guillermo about blockchain in logistics and supply chain. We start from the very basic question of “what is blockchain and how do you explain it to your grandmother” and go on to discussing tangible examples of its application in supply chain as well as the biggest challenges it faces currently.
    Listen on for more..
    Questions answered by Guillermo:
    Introduction to yourself
    How do you explain blockchain to your grandmother?
    How is this technology already being applied across industries and which industry is the most further along outside of finance?
    What opportunities could blockchain deliver to logistics and supply chain operations? Any tangible case studies?
    What are the biggest challenges it faces?
    What are your predictions regarding use of the technology and its penetration commercially?

    • 18 min

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